Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Lilypie Third Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Weekly Accomplishments

Charlotte has started rolling over and we have stopped swaddling because of it.  She can only roll onto her tummy right now and doesn't know how to get back over. She is quite the talker and I can tell we are getting into the depths of competition for attention.  Lillian has begun screaming in a sense like Charlotte does so that leads to some fun afternoons!  As you can see in the video below Charlotte often makes noise at Lillian.  This video was taken the first time it happened and I wasn't sure if she enjoyed it or was angry but I figure as long as she is content in any sense then she's ok.  She has had enough experience with Lillian to know if she really doesn't want her to do something then she just cries.  We were out getting an ice cream treat earlier this week after dinner and Charlotte was not in the mood to be messed with (if I recall correctly she had a doctors appointment earlier in the day and had received shots).  It only took Lillian leaning over her car seat before the pouty lip would come out.  If Lillian touched her then she cried.  So I'm learning more and more about their interactions together (although I will admit it is scary to ride it out at times.....)

During Charlotte's nap times, we have been focusing on number counting with Lillian.  She can count to 20 almost on her own (the teens give her trouble and that is common with kids; they don't seem to follow patterns of the 20's, 30's and so on).  We have been focusing on counting each object.  Sometimes I'll pull out a muffin tin, put numbers in each one and she has to count out that many to put in the "cup".  I also just got a number go fish game and we play it only from 0-5; I think the game has cards all the way up to 12.  She hasn't totally gotten the concept of asking and focuses more on the match.  We only play with 2 cards each and I have her lay her cards down (when we first started we all laid our cards down) and I talk her through what she has to say and how to figure out what number is on each card.  With more practice I'm sure she will master 1-10 very shortly!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

July- A Month of Reflection

I'm going to deter away from my typical child progression post for a moment and talk about my month of reflection.  It happened unexpectedly but has led to a much happier me... and ultimately to a much happier home. My reflection has progressed from our home tasks, how I want my children to portray themselves and ultimately how I portray myself; learning to accept my post baby body and live comfortably and confident in my skin.  Bear with me, this is a long post!

Being a stay at home parent is no easy task... it is trying, it is exhausting and sometimes unrewarding (on those days of testing from the moment we wake to the moment we shut our eyes again).  I will admit it, sometimes after the rough days I'd be tense the following day almost holding a grudge or holding yesterdays actions/bad behaviors against Lillian; a sense of fuel to the fire that didn't start the same day.   I knew from my teaching that each day was supposed to be a fresh start but I wasn't following it.  We needed a change, we needed to do something different... I was not enjoying my children in the way I hoped.  I know Lillian does much better with structure, with routine, with a schedule. She has been on one since she was a baby and Charlotte is on the same one; however, it was a bone structure of meal times and bed times, nothing else.  

In a mom group on Facebook, someone casually asked in a post how stay at home parents keep on top of all the chores.  I replied having a schedule and writing everything down helped.  My mother in law has been telling me to do one task a day to help cut down on the chores; however, I never followed it.  I came to realize I didn't have much of a schedule and often took Lillian out during the days so 1.) I didn't have to entertain her all day with activities every 15 minutes (I didn't have to lesson plan out our days.... I thought I still had more time before I had to embark on that journey) and 2.) Less time at home meant less mess (or so I thought).  Weekends were often spent running around all day long then being both too tired and too lazy to do the chores so Monday was a mad dash of catch up from the previous week or weekend.  I was unhappy with Greg feeling like Lillian picked up better than he did and I began feeling like I wanted to go back to work so I didn't spend my days trailing after people picking up messes!  In reality we all got lazy and comfortable with the messes accepting that's what kids do and that's what a "lived in" home was like.  Granted Lillian does pick up her toys and things were organized but there was still clutter..... counters were catch all places for items I'd take from Lillian throughout the day that she shouldn't have and there were piles of clutter scattered around.  After some time of the clutter I'd spend a couple days cleaning everything for it to just get messy again.  I was feeling like being a stay at home parent was a thank less job, spending my day giving to everyone else including our home and it was draining on me.  Lillian would ask me to play but I kept thinking of the mess I still had to do and in reality I feel like the headway I'd make was never very big and my child was thinking only daddy does fun things with her.  But back to the original Facebook post, I followed the additional comments for a day or two and came across a website called flylady.  I decided to look it up and it is a cleaning/organization website to help manage your home, to get it out of chaos as she called it.  I spent the evening browsing it and thought why not give it a try.  She has things broken down into only 15 min a day of de-cluttering and one habit a month.  I jumped right in and followed her plan each day, no catching up just doing the daily task and that was it.  

To my surprise each room was slowly becoming more organized, staying cleaner and seeming less chaotic.  From there I began thinking it doesn't help teach Lillian how to keep a clean and organized home if I'm the only one picking up things; in 15 minutes a day she wasn't really seeing what I was doing so I started including her in all my tasks even if it was just telling her what I was doing.  We began 15 min clean up time after dinner and everyone had a job.  Our habit for the month of July was swish ad swipe meaning you swish your toilet everyday and wipe down your mirrors, counter tops, toilets and floor everyday.  We do a load of laundry a day; having only a small load to put away is much more manageable than 2 weeks worth.  I jumped right in for whatever the task of the day was and only did it for 15 min then moved on to playing with Lillian.  After a month of following her website/plan we have a clean home, ready for the surprise guest at any time, a happy Mama who gets to spend more time enjoying her kids rather than cleaning, a hubby who helps out more (because 15 min isn't that long; I give him a task every couple days) which leads to a happier wife not feeling so unappreciated.  We now have a big calendar that is color coded with our activities/play-dates, meal plans, workouts and chores on it; each are color coded for easy reference.  We make our own cleaner which I feel safe letting Lillian use on her own and it also teaches Lillian how to clean up after herself on a much bigger scale than just putting her toys away (plus she likes doing it).  Now that I had my lists I knew I wanted to make Lillian some of her own routine charts but was having difficulty deciding on their appearance.  The teacher in me knew the importance of making sure it had words but it needed to be simple enough for her to understand.  After stumbling upon another great organizing website called. Iheartorganization I finally decided on a template.  

I brainstormed what routines/tasks Lillian could do on her own and at what times of the day I wanted he to complete each set of tasks.  A while back I introduced stop signs in our house for tasks she could do independently but that she had to stop and ask first rather than just doing it.  Those areas include: opening the front door, opening the fridge, pulling out games that are organized in a giant pocket chart on the back of her bed room door and touching Charlotte while she is in her crib.  Little STOP signs are posted at eye level in each of those areas and they signify, "Stop, Ask First".  I knew picture routines would be a big hit with Lillian.  I ended up coming up with the following: 

Morning tasks include: going potty (including putting on underware), making her bed, putting on sun lotion (a stop ask first), getting dressed, brushing our hair, eating breakfast, then brushing our teeth.  

Before Nap we: go potty, swish the potty with the toilet brush, make sure toys are put away then it's night night.  After we wake up we go potty again and remake our bed.  

Our bedtime routines are the lengthiest and include: 
Putting toys away, taking a bath or washing our face (I decided to include both thinking if we were out and there is no time for a bath then she won't throw a fit because she still completed the task), put on night lotion, put on pj's, hang up towel or make sure clothes are put in the dirty clothes basket, brush our hair, brush our teeth, swish and swipe the bathroom, pick out our clothes for tomorrow, read stories then lights out. 

We have a special one on the front door to accompany our stop sign to help remind us of things we can do before we leave the house and they include: 
going potty, getting shoes on, turning off lights and grabbing our backpack*

*From the IHeartOrganzing site, she has her children bring bags with them in the car and inside they contain items to entertain them while in the car or out at a restaurant.  Before I'd just put items in the diaper bag or sometimes I'd forget, this makes it easier and we will explore what is inside her backpack a bit later. 

I created a "launch pad" area via the flylady where we keep a packed diaper bag and Lillian's backpack. (Basically any item I need to grab right away for a day out; keeping them packed and stocked means I don't have to rush in the morning to make sure I got everything or possibly forgetting something in the rush to get out the door; they are just right there ready to go when I am!)  Also, giving Lillian routine charts has really lessened the amount of time I spend yelling at her to put on her shoes or to get ready risking being late somewhere.  She is held more accountable for her own tasks and we are helping her learn to be more independent.  (we have only been doing this for a few days but surprisingly it has worked wonders)  The other day she had completed all of  her "chores" and even had her backpack on saying she was ready to go before Greg even left for work, less than an hr after she got up!!!!!!!  My templates for my routine charts are pictured below.  I went to Staples and got them laminated front and back to keep them more durable and printed them on card stock.  They are hung on the bathroom door and she can easily see them and flip them over as she needs to.  

Onward to the backpack!  This by far has been a great idea and has SO saved my car from being a mess.  She takes it to and from the car every time we leave.  Inside she has:

A coloring book, a small drawing pad, a bag of crayons, a few books, her camera (yes it really does take pictures), her ABC cards, number cards, dinosaur cards (since we are into dinosaurs at the moment) and a few snapo blocks.  The cards I picked up at the dollar section at Target since they are gearing up for back to school and I hole punched them and put a ring through them to keep them together.  Depending on our outing I may let her throw in an animal or dinosaur toy to play with too.  I am thinking we will change out the books every week or two to give her more variety.  Before I did the backpack I'd just throw things in the diaper bag and she had books in the back of the car in a little organizer that hung near her seat that she could reach.  Ultimately books ended up all over the back seat, she'd bring more and more things from the house out to the car and it would never end up BACK in the house.  The backpack has fixed all that!  Surprisingly she really enjoys the coloring book, we have them at home and she isn't into them but when we are out it is her favorite choice (we even went to the dollar store and picked out a new one just for her backpack).  I think all in all she is enjoying her new routines, looks forward to them and enjoys the independence quite a bit.  

With the royal baby now here there has been much talk of Kate Middleton's post baby body; the media is unforgiving at times.  Anyway, with all that hype lately there have been many posts about body image and maybe considering I am still in the postpartum baby period too they are hitting me a bit harder than I expected.  There have been some wonderful, thought provoking articles of how to talk to your daughter about her body, how to give her a positive image of herself which had me pondering what DO  I want her to learn? We already talk about food, eating healthy, what foods are good for our bodies to help them grow, what foods are "treats" that if we eat too many of them are not good for our body but how do I prevent her from the struggles I faced being considered obese most of my life?  Going back to scheduling, I've been struggling/weighing pros and cons to working out during the day while she is up.  In one sense, she sees me active (although we also try to live an active lifestyle) working out but then it takes away from the already limited time we have to play and learn during the day.  So I have found a medium ground at the moment, I'm not working out as much as I'd like currently but she does join in.  I have been doing an Insanity/P90X hybrid (not too seriously as I'm still playing with schedules but have been able to commit to 3x per week).   I have weights and a yoga mat..... that was fun the first day I tried to do it while she was up!  We decided to get her a yoga mat to designate an area that is "safe" for her to be in if she wishes to join in without getting in my way, without getting hurt by my weights and to give her some boundaries.  We also picked up some dog toys that look like weights so she isn't trying to pick up my 8lb ones.  

I have begun talking with her about how adults have to find time to run around and be active since we don't do as much running, playing and jumping as kids do.  We have to keep our hearts healthy by exercise.  After reading the article on how to talk to your daughter about her body I realized I also need to be telling her I am working on making my body stronger.  I will say my weight has been a life long battle and some days I am just angry at my body.  I make sure she doesn't see my frustration those days and we do make it a point to walk around in our underware so we are all comfortable, or at least pretend to be comfortable in our own skins (I am probably the only one pretending) but it is hard.  It has been a year since I have switched over to a plant based diet and now 4 months postpartum and I'm only down 15 lbs.... I rarely eat meat, have given up most carbs and cheese and pretty much stick to a vegan diet.  I get frustrated with my slow progress thinking people who went on this diet lost a significant amount of weight, some the same amount if not more than they would have if they had received gastric bypass surgery.   I don't want to one day blurt something out of anger of my own body and have it negatively affect Lillian's image of both me and her own body.  I am trying to make peace by living a healthy active life and trying to accept my weight will fall where it may.  Although I haven't done it yet, I think posting some body affirmations on the mirror to read daily may help keep my perspective in check..... my body is strong as it carried life twice.  My body is nourishing a little baby with everything she needs. I think we all need some reminders of the wonderful temples our bodies are and how much they do for us other than appearance.  I need to stop thinking of my body and being angry at it for not looking the way I want and start loving it for all the things it has and still is capable of doing.