Changing my Expectations and Opting for Preschool-Mom Sanity!

Daniel's adorable drawing of Grandaddy

Daniel’s adorable drawing of Grandaddy. Don’t worry. Those things under his nose are supposed to be Grandaddy’s mustache. 

While working on improving the blog and sifting through my old work, I came across this OLD post that I wrote in 2013. I emphasize that it’s from 2013 because I do not want any of you to get all excited and start thinking I’m expecting a baby. There’s no baby. I’m so sorry to disappoint you. Ha!

Such a 'special' phase of life...Waiting in back rooms to keep children quiet during ceremonies....missing things......nurturing your children so they turn out to be good people

Being a preschool mom is such a ‘special’ phase of life…Waiting in back rooms to keep children quiet during ceremonies….missing things……nurturing your children so they turn out to be good people. It is hard, fun, but hard.

I’m sharing this because I want every pre-school mom I know to read it. 

Some of you are like me, and you are busy, busy, busy with those little ones, and you are disappointed that you are not out there saving the world. Or you know, at least serving on the PTA. Ha! Because that’s the same right? But why run yourself ragged? Yes, be involved in the community. You need that to stay sane, but once it gets to the point that you feel worn and empty, start cutting things. You can pick them back up later.

Okay, so here’s what I wrote at the time:

2013

It seems I will really never catch up on my housework now. I had booked myself too full of appointments and such the rest of the week to get much done. Alan is fantastic about helping, only Alan is too busy now to do much either. He had work, cub scouts, and baseball coaching this week. We both did our best, but the fact is that we currently have more work than capable working hours.

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You know what I think? I think God is preparing us for having four children. Four children, and not one over the age of seven. We need to learn our lesson now to stop signing up for activities, especially leadership roles (that’s Alan more so than me). Most all of my activities are physical maintenance and child rearing (like constant doctor visits). I did sign up to help my friend Margret with Staff Appreciation Week, and I haven’t even been able to be an effective helper! I do feel quite badly about that.

One thing that has been great this year is that I’ve met several more moms in the my neighborhood that also have preschoolers at home. Here I am beating myself up because I cannot do all the things that Joshua’s friends’ moms do with the PTA and volunteering at school, when that is simply not the phase of life I’m in yet! These moms are a few years older than me, with no preschoolers left at home. The fact is we have different roles right now. Daniel and the baby that is soon to arrive (we do seriously plan to name him eventually) are a full-time job.

I had the privilege of walking to my Yoga class (oh, yes, I did sign up for 1 yoga class/week) with Monica yesterday. Monica has a daughter in Caleb’s class. Monica also has a three-year-old, and she said some things that really made sense to me. She said something like, “I just figure for now, while I’m taking care of a little one, I’m just not much use to anyone for much else. Even when it’s not nap time, there’s only so much I can do. You never know what her needs are going to be, or what mood she’s going to be in.”
Oh, yes, never were truer words spoken!

I’m going to finish out the things I am currently committed to (well, as best as I can), and then I’m done. Of course, the Yoga class and the Fitness in the Park class I actually consider to be for my health. There are lots of negative health effects to gaining 50 pounds with each pregnancy, believe me! I’m still not convinced I can change that either though, but ugh I’m so tired of even thinking about pregnancy weight!
I even turned in my resignation for my Sunday school class a few weeks ago. I’m going to do it until the baby comes, and then I’ll just be home for a long time. When I finally go back, I will be attending Alan’s class, since he’s actually going to be teaching an adult class, starting in June.
Gradually, I’ll add back in nursery duty. When you’re breastfeeding you spend a ridiculous amount of time back in the church nursery feeding your baby anyway!

I’m not cutting everything, but it’s time to give my family a little extra grace and time and space to grow in. Reasonable expectations are a rewarding thing to have.
Praise the Lord for our sweet little boys. Can’t wait to meet the new one!

Have you ever gone through a phase where you simplified? Did you see a huge difference? I  certainly did, and I’d love to hear about your experience too.

 

Mommy Brain: Probably the Result of Sleep Torture

Look closely. That was Dan, not JD. He was 20 months old, and he was apparently causing me to lose lots of sleep–not a good situation when you are pregnant.  (Noooooo, I’m not pregnant now. Stick with me here. This was 2012.) Daniel is 3 1/2 now.

Dan was such a good baby. I did not have to ‘sleep train’ him. Yet, somehow he gradually developed a bad pattern, and we had to work on it.  What is it with our toddlers??

The funny thing is I TOTALLY forgot that I ever had to “sleep-train” Dan at the ripe old age of 20 months. If you would have asked me, before I found this old blog post from 2012, what kind of sleeper Dan was, I would’ve said, “wonderful.” HAAAA!  The Mom Brain is a funny thing, full of selective memories.

I totally blame the sleep deprivation.

Don’t despair when you tell your woes to moms who are out of this phase. They have selectively pruned most negative memories, and they may think that you just don’t know what you’re doing. Don’t worry. That’s not the case.

So what gives with these babies? Sometimes you just need to examine the circumstances surrounding your toddler.

JD carries around his polar bear or a dinosaur everywhere he goes. Shout out to Amy and Sean for the dinos! Thank you!!!

We’ll get to what I did for Daniel in 2012 in a minute. First, let’s talk about my current toddler, J.D. This summer JD gave us FITS in the middle of the night. He still had to have a bottle. He still had to be rocked.  Some nights he would wake up every couple of hours. It was miserable.

Did I let JD cry it out? No. No. No.  This isn’t rocket science. In this case, I firmly believe the right thing to do was to suck it up and just be there for my baby. JD was in the middle of a domino-effect of life changes, and he was only a 12 month old. To ignore his cries actually would have been pretty mean because he needed some extra reassurance. We were out of our ordinary routine, moving from place to place, from the beginning of June through just a couple of weeks ago.

Guess what happened? Well, let’s NOT count our chickens before they hatched, but I THINK it worked itself out on its own.  We’ve had two glorious full nights of rest. Who knows–he may wake up once tonight, or he may sleep all night. Either way, this is not bad.

Honestly, I could never let a little baby just cry and cry without consoling them. I can’t do it for too long for a 20-month-old either, but apparently I did cave and let Daniel cry a while. I knew there was nothing wrong with him, and he was getting cuddled all day long, so it really did pay off.

For my first two munchkins: I re-sleep trained them any time it was necessary–pretty much just used the “Ferber” method. We would put them to bed, and then flee the room. We have always found that having an established bedtime routine makes a huge difference.  Once we left the room, if they cried without stopping, we’d go in there after 5 minutes, pick them up–yes—pick them up, console them for a bit, and lay them back down. I’d do this in increasing intervals. The truth is, I’m a softie, and usually by the third interval, my “consoling” would put them to sleep. This all worked just fine.

However, Dan gave me enough trouble that I had to get tough with him. In November 2012, I resorted to some longer intervals:

This is what I wrote in 2012 about sleep-training the Dan Man. He was 20 months old. Also, I should tell you, that Daniel was quite the mischief maker during the day. I described that too….

“-Daniel is still a sleep challenge. THANKFULLY, he DID finally sleep through the night last night. However, as we speak he is in the crying it out process in his crib….
 
 

Daniel, November 2012

 
-(About my missing wedding rings–sadness!) I still haven’t found my wedding rings. I am pretty sure they were flushed. I have good circumstantial evidence pointing in that direction.
Daniel went to sleep!!!!! Hallelujah! Sleep training= letting them cry it out, but never more than an hour. After a couple days of that, they decide crying for an hour is just not worth it!
-His current goal is to put his shoes on by himself. I find him practicing all the time. OH! Also, he said “Joshua”, actually “Yoshwa”, and “Caleb”, “Cay-cay”, this week! We were so excited!
-Tonight I walked into the boys’ bathroom, yes at our house there is actually a boys’ bathroom, to find Caleb putting toothpaste on Daniel’s toothbrush for him. Dan was leaning on the sink, waiting patiently.
-About Daniel’s name: I like Daniel, Dan, and Dan-Dan, even the Dan Man, but I do not like Danny–I really don’t like Danny at all. Just wanted to make sure everyone knows.
-Yesterday I wanted to shower while all the boys were running loose in the house, so I paid Joshua and Caleb $1 a piece to keep Daniel out of trouble while I took my shower. Best idea I’ve had in a while, and money well spent!”

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And now look at us, 2014, and dealing with so many of the same issues all over again!

We’ve read Babywise and tried that. We’ve Ferber-ized. You name it; we’ve done it. I also read that if you want to keep your children from waking up in the middle of the night, you should be sure to spend time talking (NICELY) to your spouse each day. Make sure your kids are watching while you chat with your spouse to really build up security points!!  That gives them security, so they wake up crying–or walking to your bed–less at night. I will say, Alan and  I were in two different states for half the summer, so that also could have contributed to JD’s insecurity.

They call the parent-talk time “couch time,” and I do think that’s a great idea. Google it.

So, in summary:

1. Different times call for different measures. You choose what works for you and your baby.

2. These are not hard and fast rules. There are none. Even if the American Academy of Pediatrics put out guidelines about it, you’d still need to go with common sense.

3. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

4. Every kid is different.

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Quote of the week:

Alan: I’ll put the trampoline together right now if ya’ll can tell me all the states and capitals ya’ll have learned.

Boys:  Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

Alan:  What’s the capital of Vermont?

one of the boys:  Massachusetts!!!!!!

Alan: This could take a while.

🙂 They’ve got it down now, and the trampoline was a life saver today. 🙂 Roll Tide. Yep. It’s that time of year again.

Stories of our Boys, Skylanders, and the Flaky Tooth Fairy

Thank you all so much for the support and suggestions from my last post about our crazy military move obstacles.  I’ve always said that I have the best family and friends. The good news is that we may be able to actually move in on the 8th of August, so that’s just a few more days at the hotel than we originally planned.

Sometimes you just gotta take a deep breath, and say, “Everything will be fine.” Right? Why am I so stressed out? I don’t know, but I really am.

Here’s a little of what else has been going on during this month of Alabama:

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JD has been doing this little bashful act, which I find completely irresistible.

John David does lots of cute things these days:

-My favorite thing is that he’s finally sleeping better. Hallelujah!!!!

-He plays with dinosaurs and makes them roar. His roar is SO STINKIN’ CUTE.

-He plays with cars and makes them say “vroom vroom”.

-He will say random words, but then he won’t say that word again. He does say, “Mama” sometimes, usually when in great distress. Great distress usually means that Joshua is carrying him around in spite of his ardent protests.

-He LOVES Joshua and thinks he is hilarious, but JD would appreciate a little more independence.

-He has a new tooth, is finally being weaned off bottles, and stands alone– occasionally– for a few seconds at a time.

-Blueberries are his favorite food.

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He enjoyed Water World, but he was so serious about the whole thing. He never cried, but he also never cracked a smile. Maybe he will be more like Caleb (nonchalant) than Joshua (super excited).

Also, I thought his hair had a little bit of a red tint in the sun!!

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I thought this was a cool photo of the waves in action! See if you can find Joshua, Caleb, and Daniel in the waves.

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Dan LOVED the ‘kiddie’ pool. My mom and I took turns handling babies and handling big boys. That made it so much more fun–actually being able to enjoy a little ‘big pool’ wave time!!

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The boys had such a great time at the water park.

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By the way, I got so sunburnt that I am still pealing.

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Daniel is hilarious, as always. He keeps asking, “Can we go back to Mommy’s house now?”

He calls our house ‘mommy’s house.’ I’m not sure what that says about me…but in my defense, he refers to all houses as belonging to whatever female lives there. “Nana’s house” “Nonna’s house” I’d say he has a few things right, wouldn’t you?

We have had this conversation a few times:
D: We go your’s house now, Mommy?
Me: Um, well, Daniel, actually we’re going to have a whole new house, in California, with Daddy. We’re all going to go there really soon.

D: Wow! Me excited ’bout that!! We go there now?

Me: in about 6 more days

D: Yay! Me happy.

…….I promise we do work on his grammar a little…

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The Flakiest Tooth Fairy and the Cunning Children

Caleb seems to be having a very happy summer. He even managed to get a quarter from a tooth that Joshua lost last week. Yep. The tooth fairy paid CALEB for Joshua’s tooth. Isn’t that impressive? It’s not what you might think, either. Granted, our tooth fairy is the flakiest, lamest tooth fairy EVER. A few months ago, she didn’t show up until 7:30 am. I had to send Joshua back to bed, telling him that it wasn’t really morning yet. Then I had to go in and give him an extra hug or two and tuck him in really nicely (while reaching under his pillow), doing some fancy handiwork to make up for her transgression!

Then, last week, she didn’t show up until 9 am when Joshua said, “OH yeah!  Tooth Fairy! I forgot to check!”

My eyes got really big, and I said, “Joshua, you HAVE to use the bathroom first. Then you can go get your tooth fairy money.”

That was a close one. Our tooth fairy appears in the morning and works super, super quickly. We are not happy with her tardiness.

The boys do not seem to have noticed all this. They still have a high opinion of her. In fact, they decided to see if they could milk a little more out of her than just the customary $1 that they typically receive. They actually wrote her letters and put it under their pillows, along with a Skylander a piece. The note asked her to “Please replace this Skylander with another Skylander.”  (!!!!!!!)  Wha…???

Does this not ‘beat all’? Joshua wrote, “Dear tooth fairy, Would you trade Spyro the Skylander for Dark Light Crypt something toy for me please? And look under Caleb bed too and my tooth is right here.”

Our very kind tooth fairy wrote them each back a letter, explaining to them that she only deals in teeth and cash, but since Joshua was so sweet to include his little brother, she left Caleb a quarter as well.

Have a great week, ya’ll!!!

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