raising toddlers

Today marks day #5 of no daddy at home. We all miss him dearly and we’re making it just fine, but this place is different without our daddy. 🙂 He is so much fun and makes the kids so happy. He also is a great helper around here. He cooks every meal and takes care of Carson (our dog) for me. Those are big things to me! When he is gone the two things I miss about him being here the most are cooking and taking care of Carson. I mean I miss him and his voice and all that stuff, but as far as what he does around here those are the two big things I miss.

Single mom’s are my heros. This is hard work! When we move to Austin … oh yeah you didn’t know …. Aaron broke the news here on his blog …. I’m going to find a single mom and invest in her and her kids. Invite her for dinner. Watch her kids and just help her out. I have a family that does that for me and I’m not even a “real” single mom. They have blessed me beyond belief.

The boys miss him too. I am not that good at playing “alligators” and wrestling. He does all that much better than me! I must say we’ve had a great week though. Deacon cried tonight while I was putting him in bed. He cried big tears. I want my daddy! I explained he was at camp and then Cayden started talking about something and Deacon was fine. I think when he gets overly tired or upset he longs for someone new.

Right now I’m watching AUGUST RUSH while blogging, returning emails, and searching the internet for guides on “how to sew”! A few weeks ago Aaron, myself and 8 of our closest friends ventured out to a wine tasting event. I won this for Aaron for his birthday at the Bethany New Friends Dinner last year. I was so excited to give this to him and we finally used it in May. It was at Cabana and I highly recommend this place to any of you readers that live in Nashville or visit there ever. Very cool place, and a great owner too. Anyhow, the owner and instructor of our “class” introduced us to a new wine called NEW AGE. It is a light wine and he told us that in Vegas at Belagio’s they sell it by the pool for $99. WOW. Yeap you can get it at your local wine store for about $9! You add lime and an ice and it’s a perfect summer drink. Tonight I’m enjoying a glass while I watch the movie and ask you some questions that are running through my head these days.

I’ve been thinking about kid stuff these days.

What’s new, right?

Every time we lay the kids down they want to chatter. How much is okay? I mean two brothers in one room, what do you expect? We tell them no talking. Of course, they always talk. How do I know how much is enough?

Cayden is four and asks “why” after I tell him something all the time. When is it okay b/c he’s a curious four year old and when is it inappropriate b/c he should just say “okay mommy” like we want him to say? Ex: while they are taking a shower tonight I tell him not to play with the curtain. He says, “why” – is he curious or should he just say “okay mom” like i want? How do I know when to explain it to a curious four year old and when should he just say “okay mom”? Or maybe I should say … “don’t play with the curtain BECAUSE you could get water all over the floor”. who knows? I guess I don’t feel like explaining myself all the time, but yet I remember hating hearing this from my parents … “because I said so.”

When do I stop putting lotion on my boys when they get out of the shower/bath? Aaron doesn’t do that when he gets out.  I do when I get out. When do little boys stop? Do all mom’s put lotion on their little boys every night when they get out of the shower? Is it different for boys and girls?

How long can I keep Deacon in a baby bed even though he gets out on his own every morning and comes to my room? The only problem is he can’t get back in!  I’ve seen him get out and he is perfectly fine.  Sometimes he even straddles the top and acts like he’s riding a horse.  I know, he’s a weird one!

When do you stop cutting up your kids grapes? Yeap I have a two and a four year old and I still cut them in half. And if they are super big I cut them in fourths. Am I psycho?

I lay my kids clothes out every night. Sometimes Cayden wants to put different clothes together and they don’t match. I don’t let him wear them. Am I cursing his creative side, or teaching him basic fashion?

I just started letting my boys shower instead of bathing. I still lather up their hair and they do the rest. I still lather up their loofah and then they wash. I worry they aren’t getting clean enough? Am I psycho?

Why does my two year old give me so much more love than my four year old?  Will my two year old turn into that four year old when he is four years old?

My kids are constantly talking about “when Amos and Story come home” …. do they truly know what that means?

My two year old naggs the heck out of my four year old.  The four year old screams like a baby and the two year old laughs. Who gets in trouble?  The four year old for screaming and acting like a baby?  The two year old for nagging his older brother?  I’m at a loss.  One side of me wants to tell Cayden to chill and act like it doesn’t bother him and then Deacon will stop.  The other side wants to tell Deacon to stop pestering his brother.  Who should get in trouble?  (keep in mind that 90% of the time they play GREAT together, I am seriously blessed – it is the 10% that I don’t know what to do with)

Okay so any of you have answers to any of these questions that plaque my mind each and every day?  Fill me in!!!!

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13 responses to “raising toddlers

  1. Heather Sepulveda

    You are doing such a great job with your boys! All of your questions are real ones that all moms ask ourselves.
    I am still always wondering why I still cut grapes for my 6 year old! I worry if she is getting clean enough in the shower (I will still a couple of times a week help her wash and rinse her hair because I worry she isn’t doing it good enough but most of them let her do it.)
    Reagan won’t snuggle with my like she used to because she is “BIG” and I miss it. The struggles of a mom! 🙂
    You are doing a GREAT job!
    I am getting a small taste of single parenting as Mark is out of town for 2 weeks. Bless those single moms!

  2. Heather Sepulveda

    BTW…..I am breaking into some BLACK BOX tonight….yummy! 🙂

  3. good to hear all my crazy questions are normal. love me some blackbox. 🙂

    i forgot to ask you other mom’s …. what questions do you find yourself asking about your children?

  4. Here’s the rule in my house with the question, “Why.”

    You can always ask why, but you obey first. So, if they’re just standing there not obeying, and asking why … hoping to negotiate after your response, you say, “Obey first, and then ask why.”

    Now, when they’re in that really annoying phase where they are asking “Why?” and you are pretty positive that they really already know the answer (and yes, it can get worse when they’re five – please don’t hate me for saying that!), you just look at them say, “Why, Presh?”

    Not that I just gave you any clue as to what I deal with all day or anything. But nine times out of ten, she’ll tell me the appropriate response, usually in a tone of voice that sounds as though she’s rolling her eyes.

    Put the question right back on them. If they honestly don’t know, as for a guess. Then give the answer. Then praise them for obeying first.

    If you like putting lotion on your boys after bath, keep doing it. When they tell you to stop one day – just stop. That one is easy!

    Give your kids choices on their clothes. Lay out one pair of shorts and two choices of shirts. Or two of each that would coordinate okay and they pick the top and bottom. At least one day a week, give them a free for all (down to the socks), and just make sure its a day when you can handle the embarrassment.

    Once my kids were nervous about going to the dentist. They begged to wear their Halloween costumes so they would have fun and relax. I let them. A giant bee with wings and a princess with a wand. It was February.

    Kiss yourself on the mouth for having them take showers already. I’ve had to wean mine off of baths, which always end up making a bigger mess because they always last longer and they always play more. Showers rock!

    Oh, and NO they will not get clean enough most days by adult standards. Yes, you will one day have your seven-year-old boy lay his head on your lap at church, and audibly scream at the layered dirt behind his ear.

    I’m just saying.

    When you don’t know who should be in trouble, and they were both equally tooty, then they take a three minute break from one another … or they need to say something nice to one another … or hug one another … or rub their mother’s feet for 15 minutes.

    Remember my mantra: sure, why not? Is it going to compromise their safety, physical health or spiritual health? Then – sure, why not?

  5. As I sit with a clearance bottle of pinot noir I will comment

    Though its been awhile since college I do remember that the Nat. Assoc. for the Education of Young Children recommends or at least requires early childhood centers to cut grapes at least for those children three years or younger. (that was a long time ago though, this could have changed!) This also goes for hotdogs. I see many uncut grapes for young children and have personally seen two choking incidences with children who were THREE and FOUR years old, respectively. So, I cut up my three year old grapes most of the time (especially when shes in school or not going to be in my presence cause I KNOW she will be goofing off!) and will continue to do so for awhile!

    As for them picking out their clothes…Im just not one to care much about that. I remember chosing some not so hot fashion choices in my day but couldnt have felt better about myself at the time!! And I also remember many a night going to the store in (literally) my pjs and slippers. My husband is telling me that no, honey, not everyone does this in college!

    You do such a good job though. The fact that you have given thought and have these questions is probably enough no matter what you decide is best! Some of the things make me nervous about having another child someday. Or three for that matter! Enjoy your evening…hope time flies till Daddy gets home!

  6. I’ve been reading your blog for a couple of weeks now…originally came over to read more about RHFH from Kim’s blog. It’s the middle of the night here, for us mom’s anyway (1:30am) and for some reason I can’t get to sleep. Anyway, I really like your blog and your adoption story, and I just couldn’t resist commenting tonight. Your questions were just too compelling. I have a 4 yr old boy, a 2 yr old boy, and 9 month old boy, and I felt like I could’ve written many of those same questions!

    First of all, I just said a prayer for you and the boys, making through the rest of your time without your hubby. My husband travels occasionally for work, and it’s so tough w/o him. He’s the cook at our house too, so I can really relate. Before one trip (4 days, mind you) he took, he cooked up meals and put them in tupperware for me. I’m pretty sure there’s a commercial about that, but the other way around!

    I have to say, I’m pretty strict about the boys chattering at bedtime. All three boys share a room and the chattering always seems to escalate into giggling, then full belly laughs, etc. But if it was just some innocent chattering before peacefully drifting off to sleep, I could probably live with it.

    Both my older two boys ask why about EVERYTHING, and I have the exact same delima as you! It’s funny too, because I tell them so often to just say “okay mommy” instead of “why” that now the conversation goes like this…me…”don’t play with the shower curtain” 4yr old…”okay, mommy…………..can I ask why?” then I have to decide what to say. I mostly say yes, and then explain why, but sometimes I say, “because I told you to” because I want him to respect that answer too, and not always expect an explanation. Too funny. I’m not sure it’s much better than just asking why the first time, but I think his heart is in the right place.

    The lotion question stumped me. I have to say that I almost never put lotion on the boys after baths/showers…only if I notice some seriously dry skin.

    As for keeping Deacon in the baby bed, it was exactly what he’s doing now that prompted me to move my oldest out of his crib when he was about 2 3/4, which, I know is longer than most parents hold out. I just got tired of lifting him into bed. I think you should let him stay in that crib until it annoys you. Otherwise, why mess up a good thing?

    No good answer for the grape question. I wish my boys would eat grapes!

    I let my 4 yr old pick out his own clothes, but send him back if it doesn’t match. I’ll say, you can choose that shirt, or those shorts, but they don’t match because blue doesn’t really match with black. Which one do you want to wear more. Then, he’ll choose either the shirt or shorts, and I’ll say, okay, then go see if you can find a pair of khaki shorts then…etc. I think he has plenty of other opportunities to be creative (my husband thinks I’m the best/craziest mom ever because I let them paint) and might as well learn now that clothes should match! Really, it’s only been a few months and he hardly ever picks out things that don’t match anymore.

    I’ve actually got you beat on the bathing OCD. I do the hair washing, AND loofaing for both boys. I KNOW they don’t get clean enough doing it themselves. I feel like the 4 yr old is probably old enough that I should teach him, but I just can’t bring myself to give up the control.

    Oooh, that last question is the one that made me comment. I could’ve written every word of it!!!! The whole thing!!!! This is what I’ve tried, but with not the best results…I tell my 4 yr old to use kind words to ask the 2 yr old to stop the nagging/bothering. He is not allowed to yell and scream for him to stop. If the 2 yr old doesn’t listen, then he is the one who has to go to timeout. If the 4 yr old yells at him, then they both have to go to timeout. I wonder if it’s too much to expect from the 4 yr old, but I just don’t feel good about letting him yell at his brother, no matter how intentionally annoying he can be (which is maybe more like 20% of the time for him).

    I know there was no rule that I had to repy to ALL the questions:) I just couldn’t help myself. What an introduction, huh?

  7. Christine – LOVE the “obey first then ask why” – I’ll be trying that one out tomorrow!!! Also I too once took “spiderman” to target and he was so well behaved!!!!

    Cori – glad to know I’m a good mom for cutting up grapes and not overly psycho!

    Jenny – Welcome to my blog! Hope you enjoy and come back often. I love requiring the four year old to not yell at the two year old. i’m going to be on this one for sure tomorrow too. 🙂 i’m sure eventually my two year old will be four one day and be yelling at his sister when she is 2 as well. We’ll deal with this again and require more out of him then as well.

    It’st 2:25 here and why am I up???? Carson keeps barking at the door. That gives me the random bad thoughts …. glad he’s barking to keep whatever is out there away, but wish i could sleep!!!!

  8. So this is how you tell me you’re moving. By putting a link to your hubby’s blog. James…come on!!

    Ha Ha! Kidding.

  9. OH! Forgot about the whole grape thing …

    I followed the whole APA recommendations and stopped chopping them when they were three. My girls did fine. My middle son has always been a “shove everything in at once and pray it makes it down” kinda’ guy. He was four and shoved a bunch of grapes in and gagged on them. I cut his up again until he was five … or would just give him five at a time and watch him eat. He hated that. But he didn’t die. So, he had to suck up and deal.

    My absolute FAVORITE resource when my kids were that age was the Love & Logic for the early years (up to age six). If I’ve already told you about it – sorry. I’m pretty militant about it. It really is very helpful, not just with dealing with the kids’ behavior, but dealing with how correction comes out of OUR mouths.

    All three of my kids that I had in my home as little ones, went to their “big bed” at very different times. My first slept in her crib without the side on it at age three (she had MAJOR comfort issues). We put her toddler bed right next to the crib, and she would STILL crawl right over it and sleep in the open sided crib. She did that for about a year.

    The next one stayed in a crib til almost age four. He was happy. We were happy. It worked.

    The youngest was … well, it was Presh. She was in a toddler bed crammed between the beds of her big brother and sis at age two. She did fine, for the most part. 🙂

    And on the adoption thing … we explained and explained and explained to our four and five year olds what would happen when we brought their baby sister home forever. They could regurgitate it back to us. They would explain it to friends and family in detail – the whole process. We had transition visits for two weeks before she came home for good.

    Two weeks later, when we were going just to visit our daughter’s foster mom, my son looked at me with relief and said, “Oh good. You’re taking her back!”

    They sorta’ get it. But it takes time to really, really get it. For them it has to be concrete. When they are home, it will finally be concrete … eventually! 🙂

  10. I’ve been thinking about the lotion thing. My 2 year old has dry skin and needs it, but how long can I get away with baby lotion? I am steering away from it now but it makes me sad! Also, I think it’s awesome that y’all are moving back to Texas.

  11. theinnermostbox

    We have the “obey first, then ask why” rule in our house too. It doesn’t always work mostly because I am an explainer/lecturer by nature. Sometimes I find myself halfway through an explanation, when I let out a huff of breath and have to ask why they are not obeying as I continue on my extrapolation of reasons for not climbing up the bunk bed in exactly that manner.

    My boys are seven and nine, so they pretty much shower all on their own. The nine year old ALWAYS forgets to wash his hair (I think shower time is like water-play time for him and he just forgets – does anyone know where I can get one of those shower timer thingies where the water just shuts off after ten minutes or so?), which I often don’t notice until I am combing his hair. I have been known to make him strip down and get back into the shower which he HATES – hopefully it will get through to him one day that showering is actually for hygiene and not for playing! 🙂

    One fun thing that I have tried when my boys are being particularly peckish with one another is to have them wash windows. They have to stand one on the inside, one on the outside and clean. It gives them something industrious to do which helps to focus their energy on something other than arguing. They usually think this is fun too and end up making faces at each other. I often forget about this little strategy, but it sure works to stop them bickering. I don’t know how well that would work with a two and a four year old, but it works great with older kids!

  12. First of all. . oh YES, single moms deserve an award!! With 2 2s and a 3, I’m tired by the time Greg gets home from work! I love all your questions! You crack me up. . I’m SOOOO not an expert or a mom to follow, but here’s what I do. .

    1. We allow a little talking. .but no geting out of bed and when we say stop, it has too or they lose the right. . although. . sometimes when I hear they aren’t taking their naps and are giggling like crazy, I let it go. . just so they have those memories!

    2. the WHYS. . oh my!!! Yes! We try to do a middle of the road. . yes, I want to help him understand the world, but at some point. .just trust me. I think it’s different if he is challenging /questioning or just trying to understand. Don’t feel bad telling him to trust you though and you won’t answer. . God doesn’t always answer our questions, so I think it’s good pracitce!

    3. lotion? I lotion my girl and my African boy. . so I’m just a weirdo!

    4. Will the loving stop? No clue! I hope not!

    5. Do the get it? On some level, b/c our 3 year old seemed to understand and was SOOOO excited when Davis finally got here!

    6. I punish both for their heart actions. . .. .

    That’s my 2 cents. .not that I always do it!! You are such a great mom and I can’t wait to see Amos and Story thrown into the mix!

    Brandi

    4. Sleeping? Whatever is easiest for you! Is it a pain that he can’t get back in or a blessing? Whichever works for YOU GUYS!

  13. So many good questions here! It’s fun to chat about this stuff with other moms in the same life stage. (I’m also glad to hear we aren’t the only family where kids want to play alligators and wrestle ALL DAY LONG).

    About the chattering – if we have nothing to do in the morning, I will allow it. It’s fun for them and I always figure (hope) that they may sleep in, which buys me more sleep. Now if we had an early morning commitment I would be more firm.

    About the lotion – I’m afraid that with your Haitian kids, you should put lotion on them every day forever. Or their skin will get very ashy. 😦 My son HATES this.

    My friends and I do a playgroup every week and that is the day we all let our kids choose their own outfits. You would not believe some of the ensembles that show up that morning.

    Good questions!

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