Thursday, September 29, 2011

The "terrible twos"

Everyone has at least heard of the dreaded "terrible twos".  Whether you have kids or not you've certainly heard of it.  And there are always a few people who insist it wasn't so bad for them with their kids.  And that always give you hope that it's not gonna be so bad.  But then you hear the horror stories from others & you worry it's gonna happen to you.  But you hope it won't.  And of course part of me feels like if I just don't talk about it I can remain in denial & pretend it's not so bad really.  But it is bad.  At least for me, with Lil J, it is bad.  A friend asked me how the tantrums were going so I decided to just write a blog about the topic.

Next month Lil J will be 2 1/2, on my stepdaughter's 24th birthday actually.  I keep hearing people who say it only gets worse when they turn 3, that then I'll be begging for the "terrible twos" to return, but we'll see about that.

So there have been times in the past when Lil J has had disasters.  There were times when he played in the dirt in a planter in the house & there was dirt all over the whole dining room & living room.  There was a time when I was organizing the kitchen pantry cabinet & he stole a box of cornstarch without me noticing & he was having a blast spreading it all over the living room without me realizing. 

But a couple of weeks ago when I came in from the garage, from working out, (the door to our garage is actually in our master bathroom, weird set up, I know, but that's how I busted him so quickly) & he had the bowl from his potty chair & was scooping water out of the toilet with it & pouring the water all over the floor.  And when he had scooped out all the water, he had flushed the toilet & left the flush knob turned to keep it flushing, so he had a never-ending supply of water to scoop.  Luckily he hadn't been at it TOO LONG, just a big puddle right where he was standing.  I could see by his face that he had no idea what he was doing was bad.  And so I didn't freak out, I just made sure to tell him to never do that again, that it wasn't ok to do that.  And he helped me clean it all up. 

Lately when it's nap time I just tell him it's "quiet time" & he plays quietly in his bed (which is in the master bedroom) & then he goes to sleep.  I know that at some point he's going to give up his nap, so I'm hoping to be able to keep the "quiet time" going so I can have a break myself.  So a few days after that toilet fiasco it was time for quiet time.  So I put him in the room & told him it was "quiet time".  I heard him playing for a little while & then it was quiet, so I assumed he had fallen asleep.  Quite some time later I had walked to the entrance area of the house (which is right next to the master bedroom & bath) & I heard water running.  So I went in & found him flooding the bathroom in the exact same manner.  This time he had continued doing it for quite some time before I caught him & there were INCHES of water on the entire bathroom floor.  The carpet in the master bedroom was SOAKED & water was literally pouring out the door that leads to the garage.  I honestly couldn't believe my eyes.  And this time I could clearly see on his face that he knew it was wrong.  This time I did spank him.  It was such a nightmare cleaning it all up.  It took me a really long time & it still took several days to get the carpet in the bedroom dry.

So you would think he learned his lesson that time.  But no.  A few days later hubby put him down for bedtime.  About 20 minutes later I was going to go give him a kiss good night.  As I opened the bedroom door I saw that the bathroom light was on.  I asked hubby if he had left it on (Lil J never needs a night light, we never leave lights on for him) & he said no.  It was then that I heard water running.  I told hubby & this time he got to bust him pulling the exact same stunt.  Luckily we caught him really early so there wasn't much water to clean up.  Hubby spanked him as well. 

And the very next day I went out & bought a toilet lock.  Hopefully we've put an end to that.

So then yesterday I put him down for "quiet time" & I noticed he was awake for a really long time.  I had a lot to do & was busy, just listening over the baby monitor.  About 2 hours later it got quiet, so I had assumed he finally fell asleep.  At the time I was putting him down he kept yelling "potty, potty" & wanting to sit on the potty chair (this is becoming a trend, a trend that I need to put an end to).  So in my impatience I just took his shorts & undies off & left him to potty on his own & put himself in bed when he was done.  So it was quiet for about 20 minutes & then I heard something.  So I went to check on him & he had pooped in his potty chair & then proceeded to play with it.  He was literally head to toe covered in poop & had smeared it EVERYWHERE.  I had to take a deep breath & then throw him in the bath tub & while he soaked in the tub I worked hard at cleaning up.  It was a horrendous sight to see & a horrendous job to clean up.  Unlike any other mess, there's the fact that feces contains lots of bacteria.  So a simple wipe down isn't gonna cut it.  I had to also disinfect every surface as well.  Just trust me that whatever image you conjure in your mind while reading this, it was worse.  That's all I can say, I can guarantee it was worse than you can imagine.  I told my hubby I would've taken pictures, but I know my hubby would never use the bathroom again, LOL.  So I definitely cannot leave him bottomless at quiet time & I need to work on putting a stop to the "potty, potty!!" screaming deal that he's starting lately.

And of course there's the temper tantrums.  I had read that a lack of magnesium can lead to behavioral issues, including temper tantrums.  Upon searching for a good source of mg I found chlorophyll listed.  Since it's a liquid it's easy to give & I already had some in the house, so I've been giving him that once in a while, in his milk (be warned that it WILL STAIN if you want to try it).  It seemed like it was helping at first, but it doesn't seem to be anymore.  :(

I still do "time outs" when he's in a bad attitude & being disobedient.  I've always done them in the play pen & the first one is 15 minutes & each additional one throughout the day gets another 5 minutes tacked on.  He used to spend the first couple of minutes screaming & crying & then he'd calm down (however, if I took him out early he would just return to the bad attitude almost immediately).  But now he's kicking & screaming for a long time in there, sometimes trying to climb out.  I simply add more time to his time out when he does this, but it's becoming a regular thing.  The time out is still effective though, just takes a little longer now.  I know for some kids it doesn't work at all, but it has always worked well for adjusting Lil J's attitude.  When he comes out I still sit down & have a talk with him making sure he understands WHY he got the time out & I am now teaching him to apologize for his behavior.

As I said before, his latest thing is to scream "potty, potty!!!" & want to sit on the potty, usually when he's being forced to do something he doesn't want to do--time out, quiet time/nap time, bed time, etc.  So I'm working hard at breaking this.  This is a tough one cuz I worry that he might legitimately have to go potty & I don't want to just ignore him & have him wet himself.  BUT I am starting to recognize the pattern of how he yells it when he's faking it.  And I just tell him he doesn't REALLY have to go & he has to do (fill in the blank) right now. 

The "terrible twos" is a tough topic to write about.  Even when you read it it doesn't fully convey how hard the situation really is, day in & day out.  But yes, we are in full swing with the "terrible twos" & I am waiting to see how much worse it's gonna get for the rest of the twos as well as the upcoming threes next spring. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Post Partum Body Image & other ramblings Part 2

I wrote a blog with this same title a while back.  I have been concerned with health & fitness since I was very young.

To me health & fitness go hand in hand.  I find it odd that some people can eat healthy & yet not care about physical fitness.  And then there are people who care about physical fitness yet live on junk food.  I've never understood it, they totally go together in my mind.

And so when I speak of postpartum body image it's not so much about the physical (vain) aspect of it.  It's a matter of getting my muscles strong & fit once again, after having been so stretched out during the pregnancy.  This is mostly true of my "core" muscles as they refer to them in pilates.  Basically it's the whole torso area.

While I was pregnant I was concerned about getting back in shape after having the baby.  This was mostly due to my age, being pregnant in my late 30's.  Body's aren't as forgiving & don't snap back as easily & quickly as you get older.  During my pregnancy I mapped out my post partum fitness plan & I stuck to it well.  It has evolved as time has passed, obviously.  Of course you start out gradually & work your way back to where you were before you were pregnant.  But I recall "hoping" I'd have my body completely back in shape by the time he turned 1, but just in case I was allowing myself until he turned 2.  This was just a mental note to myself, as I didn't want to be crushed if I couldn't get my body back in shape in one year.

I did gain A LOT of weight while pregnant (47 lbs to be exact) & I did lose most of it quickly.  Within a couple of weeks most everyone was telling me it looked like I had never been pregnant at all.  But of course from my perspective my body was not the same & it certainly wasn't as strong or as fit.  And by the time he turned 1 it still wasn't.  I was a bit sad, but figured I'd give myself another year.  And so that year passed & he turned 2.  And while I was definitely more fit than I was when he turned 1, I still didn't feel as fit or as strong as I had before being pregnant.

Next month he will be 2 1/2 & I am just now really feeling back to my old self.  I feel very fit & strong & I've lost some more weight (still at least 7 lbs heavier than I was before getting pregnant at best).  I am very happy to report that I feel like I finally got my body back.  :)

The only exception is with pilates.  Prior to getting pregnant I was at the level of a professional pilates instructor.  I LOOOVED pilates & was perfect at doing it.  I loved the challenge of the difficult moves & building up the strength to be able to do them slow & controlled like the instructors.  I continued to do "pregnancy pilates" through my first 2 trimesters of pregnancy (I also did pre-natal yoga & spinning).  But after he was born I kept trying & just absolutely couldn't do pilates.  I just couldn't engage the muscles properly.  I kept trying & would give up, & would promise myself to try again later.  And I would, but it would always be the same.

So a month or two ago I decided to keep at it on a regular basis.  I've been doing it about once a week for maybe 6 weeks now.  I would really like to do it more than once a week to be able to reach my goal with it sooner, but I just don't have the time.  I also do weight lifting/strength training & running, & I don't want to skip either those.  I have ALWAYS tried to focus on a balanced fitness plan of 4 components (strength, cardio, pilates, & stretch).  I am still trying to fit in more stretch time, so I certainly can't dedicate more time to pilates.

Since I had a c-section that means that my abdominal muscles were actually cut.  And I already know that a cut muscle will NEVER regain the strength it had prior to being cut.  So I am extremely doubtful that I will ever reach the same level I was at with pilates prior to pregnancy, but I do think I can do better than I am currently at.

When I was 12 I had surgery on my chest/rib cage to repair a ribcage deformity I was born with.  They cut my chest muscles when they did that surgery.  And prior to that surgery I had very good chest strength.  I could do a million pushups, etc.  Ever since, no matter how hard I work, I have not been able to come even close at regaining my chest muscle strength.  And so, because of that experience, I know that my abdominal strength is going to be a real challenge for me.

Quite some time ago I had actually gone through my closet & thrown out a lot of clothes (mostly tops) that just didn't work now that I had a baby.  Most of them were too short & I didn't want to be showing my "mommy tummy" off.  So my closet has been pretty empty all this time.  There was also a small section of tops that were tight &/or clingy & they really showed my "mommy tummy" but I put them aside in the closet, in their own little section as it were, to be tried on again at a later time when I had lost more weight.  And that time has come & I tried them on & only had to toss one of them.  There was one that was just a tad too short, but made me uncomfortable.  All the clingy ones now worked for me.  And my stepdaughter recently put out of a bag of give-away clothes that I chose to go "shopping" in (she says she doesn't mind & I am not too prideful to do that) & so now my closet is looking much fuller. :)

But overall I am very pleased that my body is totally feeling back to normal & strong these days.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

29 Month Updates on Lil J

I really should've posted a 28 month update blog.  There was plenty going on with the potty training.  But because there was plenty going on I was REALLY busy.  I kept meaning to write the blog ahead of time & then simply publish on the 20th, but never found the time.  And then on the 20th was my hubby's 30th high school reunion, so of course we were super busy that day.  And so it never got done.  My apologies.

So Lil J is now 30.2 lbs (50-75%), 36.5" tall (50-75%), & has a head circumference of 21" (>95%).

I started potty training on 8/9/11 using the 3 day potty training method.  I have posted 2 blogs specifically on that issue, so I won't say a whole lot about it here.  I am planning to do another blog on the topic soon & will probably post another one again later on down the road.  It's now been over a month since starting & definitely the majority of the time is perfection.  And almost all naps & overnight time he remains dry.  But we're still having issues while he's at church, not sure exactly why.  But I do feel like those issues are causing some going backwards here at home as well.  I'm doing my best to crack down & reduce accidents overall. 

All his fall clothing is purchased & ready to go.  He has already worn his new pants a few times now.  We are now entering the phase where it's cold early in the morning & at night, but it's still pretty warm (up to 90) during the middle of the day.  Tonight I am planning to pull out the footed PJs once again.  He's just been in soft pants & socks with a tshirt for summer sleeping. 

He is extremely active, cannot sit still or be quiet EVER.  He's even moving in his sleep LOL.  He LOVES to be outdoors.  During the summer months when it was SUPER HOT & he HAD to be outside I pulled out the little wading pool we got him & put him in swim trunks & that kept him cool while out there.  Now I'm trying to figure out how to keep him warm & dry during the winter months.  I think I definitely need to invest in some rain boots for him. 

He is definitely a little boy now & not a baby anymore.  He often shows me things, wanting to know what it's called.  I tell him & then he practices the word a few times.  And he has a great memory, which often amazes me.  I often just sit & look at him & am amazed at how big he's gotten & how much he comprehends. 

That's all the updates I have for now......until next time.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Mastering the art of shopping (for a toddler, that is)

I've never had, nor have I needed much of a "system" for buying clothes for myself.  I'm finished growing (& do very well at maintaining my weight), so I don't really have to replace clothes very often.  Yes, I'm a girl, & I do enjoy picking out new clothes from time to time.  I usually make sure they are super cheap so I can get as much clothing for my buck as possible.  There are a few items I am willing to spend some money on--shoes (not all shoes, though, just for work & working out), bras (I am a hard size to find so I am actually forced to buy pricey bras due to that, but I also think it's worthwhile to invest to good quality bras that give good support), & some few "classic" pieces that won't go out of style for a long time (like coats, blazers, that sort of thing).

I guess I do have a little bit of a system going on because I do laundry once a week, so I do try to make sure I have enough to get through a week & a little extra so that I'm not wearing the exact same clothes every week.  But that's about the extint of my "system" when it comes to buying clothes.

When I was pregnant I was kinda worried about clothing for the baby.  How much would I need?  What types of clothes would I need?  How much was it gonna cost me??  How fast would the baby outgrow the clothes?  That sort of stuff.

In the early days after the baby was born I was surviving solely on what little clothing I had received at my baby shower.  I had a 5 pack of onesies, a couple of drawstring gowns & a "sleep sack".  Of course in the early days there were lots of "accidents"--whether it be leaky diaper or spit up, so there was lots of laundry going on.  As time went on there were less accidents.  And as I learned my kid was gonna spit A LOT I decided to invest in tons of bibs, realizing it was so much easier to swap out a bib than a onesie.

For the first month or two I relied on those 5 packs of onesies that they sell at Wal-Mart, Target, Babies R Us stores.  Then one day my stepdaughter went to the Carter's store & came home with some really cute outfits.  She said she wanted to see her little brother in some cuter clothes & she also mentioned how cheap the clothes were.  That was it, after that I headed to Carter's & quickly developed a system.

Each time I headed to Carter's I would go straight to the back of the store.  The clearance rack was all the way in the back & prices went up gradually as you progressed to the front of the store.  I always got amazing deals & really loved the store.  I always preferred bodysuits (aka onesies) over shirts & bottoms when he was little because the shirts were always riding up.  I usually paired the onesies with shorts or pants.  That was another nice feature at Carter's.  Most everything was in blue or brown.  Occasionally red or grey.  And it was so easy to coordinate pieces together with their color scheme.

But then the day came when Lil J progressed to toddler clothes.  Carter's does sell some toddler clothes, but not much & I never really liked what they had, especially the prices.  It was much harder to get good deals on the toddler clothes.  Last year for the fall/winter clothes I was a little frantic trying to find a new store.  I tried Kohls, WalMart, & Target.  Target & WalMart seem to have the best deals, but the variety they offer seems to vary a great deal from one location to the next.

Last year I quickly bought up cheap long sleeved shirts.  Later on I found cheap pants & bought those.  And then I found myself trying to match them together.  It was a little tough.  And then he outgrew his jacket before the cold weather had ended (or at least windy weather, it's frequently windy where we live so I like to always have a jacket with a hood available for him).  But by that time they were selling summer clothes, no jackets could be found.  We did manage to find a windbreaker on the clearance rack in his size, but I made a mental note to make sure to not let that happen again. I also realized that the clothes that fit him well at the start of the season were the ones he grew out of before the season ended & the ones that were big on him at the start of the season lasted through the whole season.  And so I made a mental note to make sure he starts the seasons with big clothes.  Because when he outgrows them it's the same scenario as with the jacket he outgrew, it's hard to find replacements as they're then selling clothes for a different season.

Then came summer clothes.  I was happy to discover that most of his shorts still fit.  And it's always easy to find cheap shorts, which is nice.  And it's pretty easy to find cheap shirts as well.  Overall summer clothes were very cheap & easy.

This time around I am now finished buying the fall/winter clothes.  But I feel like I've got a system down now, I feel liked I learned a lot & improved on my past mistakes this time around.  I am feeling very accomplished & proud of myself.  This time around I started with pants rather than shirts.  I actually did this because I want the cheap pants & they can be hard to find & they tend to sell out fast.  I bought a size larger than he's currently wearing.  I can roll them up if I have to, but I am confident they will last the whole season.  After buying 8 pairs of $5 pants & 2 pairs of $6 jeans I then moved on to shirts.  Since I already knew what color pants I had to work with I was able to easily pick out shirts to match them.  (In the past I had bought the shirts first & then the cheap pants are very limited & it's harder to match the cheap pants to the shirts)  I also made sure to get a jacket one size larger than what we currently have for him, just in case he grows out of it.  And I also got a couple of pairs of $3 sweat pants, they just looked really comfy & cozy & were really cheap & I still had a little money left over to buy them.  And then recently hubby came home with a new pair of fall shoes for Lil J.  He said he got a super deal on them.  They are timberlands & will match very nicely with all the clothes I got.

The only thing left that I want to try to find is a pair of galoshes or rain boots.  He is such an outdoor kid that I don't think there's gonna be any way to keep him inside during the rainy season so I think I'll make sure he has a pair of rain boots & let him go out, so long as it's not pouring, which it rarely does.

Lil J has a long torso (just like his mommy & daddy) & so he has always been one size larger in shirts than pants & he still is.  He is currently in 3T shirts & 2T shorts (although some of his 18 month & 24 month shorts do still fit just fine & are still in his wardrobe).  So for the fall I bought 4T shirts & 3T pants.  So next spring I'm guessing I'll have to buy 5T shirts & 4T pants, unless his growth slows considerably.  He is currently wearing size 9 shoes, so the fall shoes hubby got are size 10.

I am so very happy that the shopping is done (with the exception of the rain boots) & that I now have a system down.  I will be sticking with this system of starting with the pants first from now on I think.  There will be a slight hiccup in the system because when he first goes into pants (from shorts) he will still be in the current short sleeved shirts.  But I did go through them & most do match up with the pants I bought.  It just won't be quite as perfect as when the weather gets cold & he moves into the long sleeved shirts with his pants.