Tag: Toddler

Most Important To Do on your List Every Day

Cheesy Post Alert!!

Don’t care. Sometimes you need a little cheese. Today, it’s all about the cheese… and cute pics of my babies.

Most of my days end up just like today. I have a long list of things I should be getting done, but I don’t really get many of them done. But that’s okay. I think I did the most important to do on my list. I didn’t finish folding the laundry, or write this blog until super late. Dinner happened, but it was just Macaroni and Cheese, nothing special.

It seemed like a lot of things just got left undone. Some days I get even less than that done. But I always try and accomplish my most important to do. I try to remember to keep it at the top of my list. Because if I only do my most important to do every day, then my day is successful. If I accomplish it, I know that I am still One Helluva Homemaker.

In the House

Especially during the winter, most of the time we just hang out at home. Our home is our children’s world. They get to be in the place where they are most comfortable and can act like themselves the most. At home, it’s super easy to do your most important to do. And being at home all day, I love watching my babies just be. They are 100% themselves and they are so full of love!

toddler watching television in the middle of laundry
Sometimes, the laundry doesn’t get put away for a long time, so it becomes a nest for my toddler to watch TV in.
showing my toddler my most important to do
Her favorite spot to hang out while I try to whip together 3 meals a day.

My little boy

my daughter sporting some tude
I don’t know how I got a photo with so much attitude, but I absolutely love it!
most important to do in action from my son
This is what he looks like right before he goes to sleep. My heart!
Siena helping her brother
The little mommy helping her brother.
both my kids in the crib
Siena always loves to get in the crib with Grayson and play with him. He loves it too. I love watching them play together.

I love going out and letting them explore too. But, sometimes it is great to just be homebodies and enjoy being around each other.

Most Important To Do

That brings me to the most important to do. You could get absolutely nothing done ALL DAY LONG in terms of getting stuff done around the house, cleaning, shopping, whatever and still have a productive day as long as you do the most important thing on your list. Love your family. Just show your babies you love them. Show your spouse you love them. That’s all you got to do, and your day just became one of the best days ever. Literally, it is the BEST thing you can do every single day. That is what makes you One Helluva Homemaker.

most important to do shirt
Customize your shirt with different colors or choose from so many of the other products!

Remember it!

So, because I wanted you to have a way to remind yourself that you are amazing just because you loved your family today, I designed some shirts, water bottles and phone cases! I love how they turned out.

Check them out! 

 

My Daughter – Ambassador of Light

I’m sure most people feel the way about their kids that I do about my daughter. She lights up my world. My son does too. This post however, is about my daughter. It is over the last two years of having her in our home that I have come to realize just how special she is. Let me share with you what little I know about my daughter’s potential.

When I First Met My Daughter

My daughter was born in the afternoon after a grueling labor. Twenty hours of labor and three and a half hours of pushing. As I finally got her out of me, I collapsed in a kind of exhaustion that I think few have experienced. My body and spirit felt broken and I didn’t know if I would ever be the same again.

I was right in being worried; I never was the same again. But it wasn’t because of my delivery experience. It was because of the big, beautiful eyes looking up at me when they placed her in my arms. She made me a mommy. Her eyes were wide and it seemed like she was seeing more of me than I have ever seen of me. My baby girl was perfect.

my daughter-at-6-months-old-looking-up
Looking-at-my daughter-right-after-she-is-born

The First Sign

The first sign of just how special my daughter really is, was the complication with the umbilical cord. We found out after I had delivered that the cord was small and that it had a knot in it. If she had somehow managed to tighten the cord during her 9 month stay in my womb, she would have died. If it had pulled tight during delivery, she could have died. But somehow, through all of that, she survived.

Survival

She survived during a very rough postpartum for me. Our challenging stay in China would have been enough to rattle the calmest of babies, yet she survived.

I got really sick when she was just two and a half months old (bronchitis, tonsillitis, a viral infection and the flu). My temperature was 104 and I finally had to an IV with antibiotics to knock out the infection. Yet somehow, she never got sick. Not one time during the China trip did she get sick.

We rode in taxis without seat belts or car seats (because they didn’t have them) on what looked like some of the most dangerous roads we’ve ever had the pleasure of taking. Granted, we were observing with our Western eyes.

She has shown her resiliency time and time again, proving to me that she is here on earth to bring light to those in darkness.

waiting-at-a-bus-stop-with-my daughter

Helping her Brother

Grayson, has not been as easy-going as his sister was. Perhaps it is because he was not forced into a life of nomadic venturing from the very beginning. He gets very upset when he cannot go to sleep on his bed, our bed or someone else’s bed.

If we are out and about and he is having a hard time, Siena will grab his hand and say, “It’s okay.” She’ll give him her favorite blanket and her favorite baby. If I need her to, she will run and grab his pacifier so that he will have something to suck on. She wants to help her baby brother to be happy.

my daughter-holding-her-brothers-hand

Helping her Mommy

About a month ago, I got the flu after she did. She had thrown up, been miserable and then of course, it was my turn.

I was laying on the couch, perpetually letting Daniel Tiger occupy the screen so that I would have to get up as little as possible.

At some point, Siena came over and patted my hand and then climbed up with me. She snuggled next to me, grabbed my arm, put it on herself and held my hand to make me feel better.

my daughter-holding-her-mommy's-hand
My daughter-at-6-months-old

What I See

Every day she is learning. She creates new things, comes up with new words, or impresses me with her actions as she learns to be a good person.

One of the things she absolutely loves to do, is be a mama. She tries to do everything I do, so I have to watch what I do sometimes. I have to send her out of the room before I trim my bangs… because we all know what could happen if she found scissors and decided she wanted to be like mama.

She puts her baby and bunnies to bed. She tries to feed Grayson. Her favorite thing to wear when mama wears boots, is her boots that match. She likes to sit in the sink while I get ready and pretend to put lotion on her face while I’m getting ready. She loves to wear a backpack and get ready to go because I have a diaper bag backpack that goes everywhere with us. Our baby girl is a Mama in training.

Siena loves music. She dances, tries to play the piano and sings along when her mama is singing at the top of her lungs. She laughs when she tries new things at the thrill of doing something new. My daughter is the sweetest.

She is Human

She gets angry, throws tantrums and tries to kick the cat. My daughter is imperfect, but her human nature is not ever going dissolve her worth.

my daughter-sleeping-as-a-newborn

Rarity in Vision

It is rare that someone gets the opportunity to see just how special someone is. I think that is the role of a parent. I doubt anyone will see as much as I, her intrinsic value. She has overcome so much already and she is only two years old.

I can already see her doing so much. One day she’ll light the world. She is going to accomplish so much and become so much. I can't wait to be a witness to it. Even now, there are so many people who want to talk to her because she is lighting up their day. My daughter is an ambassador of light and one day, everyone else will see it too.

One Way to Spend Time with Your Toddler & Still Get Things Done Around the House

I will be explaining to you how to spend time with your toddler, but first a little preface to what the events typically look like leading up to it. It's hard to know how to keep a toddler engaged. It's even more taxing trying to figure out how to spend time with your toddler when their interest level peaks after just a couple of minutes and all you want to be doing is something else.

The Go-To Entertainer

When we are bored in the winter, it is a constant battle of 'how much television am I going to let my kids watch today?' I go back and forth with myself. I have all this stuff I need to get done. We're trying to save money, so I need to cook more meals so we don't go out to eat. The whole house is a disaster and I have students coming over for piano lessons. The laundry has literally not been done in weeks. The clean clothes are wrinkling in piles in and around the laundry baskets that have been tucked at the foot of our bed. Showering is a must... And it's too cold to go outside! If I am going to get stuff done, I've got to find a way to keep my kid engaged.

The easiest solution is, of course, television. If my daughter has her eyes locked on the TV, she won't chuck a doll at Grayson's head. And let's be honest, we watch TV at our house all the time. Every day. I would be lying if I said that I did not just let Netflix of Amazon prime run through episodes like a perpetually energetic hamster on a wheel. It's fine if you judge me.

Most of the time, at some point during the day, I decide, okay, we've watched too much TV. Jennifer, it's time to spend time with your toddler and baby... or at least de-zombify your children.

spend-time-with-your-toddler-doing-something-new-and-exciting

The Meltdown.

Tantrum. The end of the world. Life is over as we know it because Wa-Wa (Sofia the First) and Grr (Daniel Tiger) are no longer welcome in our home. After the initial earwax curdling screaming, the negotiations begin. "Mama, wa-wa?"

"No. Mommy said no."

"Grr?" she asks.

"No, sorry."

"Choo choo? (nursery rhymes set to music)" Now she's getting more desperate.

"Siena, no more show."

Another crying session. "Show!"

I finish up whatever task I was working on while she tries to figure out what to do with herself. Then, the inevitable happens. If she can't be watching her show, then mama can't be doing whatever she wants to be doing. Mama is now my daughter's new favorite toy.

The Point of Decision – Mommy Leash vs. Ignoring Your Kids

Siena has now learned that in order to get what she want, she needs to communicate it. This is great, most of the time... One of the not so great aspects is what I call 'the Mommy Leash". The Mommy Leash is when your child grabs your hand in an attempt to do whatever it is that they want you to do. This is aggravating for Mommy and Toddler.

I now have to decide if I'm going to engage with 'the Mommy Leash' or if I am going to pull my hand away from her and say something like, "Mama's busy right now."

I hate both options. On the one hand, I don't really like being forced to do something, even if it is by my toddler. I have watched her try and do this to other toddlers too and they don't like it either. So, I should at least resist for their benefit so she learns that that is not an effective way to get what she wants. But if I don't come, she will continue to pull and pull until we go back to the last phase and start all over again at tantrum.

The second option of brushing her off, makes me feel like I am ignoring my child or not being attentive enough. Should I be playing with her as frequently as she wants me to? Does it make me a bad mom if I don't? I don't think so.

So, I'm stuck.

spend-time-with-your-toddler-doing-what-she-wants-to-do-sometimes

Secret Option #3

So, while you are caught in the dilemma of Mommy Leash or Ignoring Kids, instead I like to try and remember the alternate dilemma. This dilemma is Mommy Leash vs Mommy Led. I remove my hand from my daughter's sticky grip and ask her if she would like to do something with me. This can be anything. It could be helping me unload the dishwasher, pick up toys, color in her coloring book, play with bubbles, build a block, read a book, sweep up the crumbs, help me vacuum, give her brother a kiss or cook a meal. LITERALLY ANYTHING.

If your toddler is trying the Mommy Leash on you, they probably are trying to communicate that they just want to do what you are doing. They want to be with Mama. Sometimes, though, they just want mama to entertain them. The distinction is easy to determine for my daughter. I usually know if she actually wants to spend time with me by asking, "Do you want to cuddle with me?"

If she says yes, I know she really wants her mama.

"No," is usually the response I get, which means, she just wants someone to play with and she wants them to do her idea. Now I can choose whether I want to do what she wants me to do or not.

Spend Time with Your Toddler – Siena Style

If I agree to her idea, I know what I am in for. My daughter's favorite thing to do, is pretend to be the mommy. Frequently, she will announce, "Night-night!" Then she will take my hand and try to force me to bed. (Which is funny, because that is never how we get her into bed.) She pulls and pulls and if I acquiesce, she will 'read' me a book, put me in her bed, give me her baby and blankie, turn on the 'shishis' (the projector fish night light), shut the door and leave me in her room.

If I try to get out of bed, she puts me back in bed and closes the door. Typically not the best way to spend time with your toddler when you are not even in the same room.

Regardless, sometimes I play her games with her, especially if I want to just lazily play on my phone in her bed after she closes the door. But a lot of times, I don't want to be put to bed multiple times throughout the day.

It is okay to say no and still spend time with your toddler. It is also okay to say "no, thank you. I really need to finish this right now". Or "No thank you. I don't want to do that."

I am no expert, because my kids are still young, but I think being honest with them will pay off later.

The Most Common Responses

I am learning more and more that my daughter is very opinionated about what she does and does not want to do. But, she is also very open to new ideas. Sometimes I will suggest a long list of things and she will say, "no... no... no... no..." and I am flabbergasted when she says no to the one thing I thought she would certainly say yes to.

But more often than not, when I suggest something she will get excited about a new idea or a new experience and say "okay!" It could be work, but she has seen me do it and so she wants to give it a try.

My toddler will try anything, except different foods sometimes. But if she has seen mama do it, she wants in! And if she has seen dada do it, even better!

I have learned that just by asking your toddler if wants he to do what you are doing, you get to spend time with your toddler AND get stuff done.

My daughter really likes to help. And even if it takes me twice as long, it's a lot more fun... or memorable... doing it with her.

spend-time-with-your-toddler-while-you-are-cooking

The Result

The best thing when you spend time with your toddler this way, is that even though they may only stay engaged for a couple of minutes, they learn that mama is doing something important. If I let my daughter help me with chores, she may lose interest, or I may have to ask her to let mommy finish. But even when she disengages a couple of minutes later, she doesn't try to take me with her. Now she understands that I need to finish what I am doing before I can hang out with her.

It's almost like she has been let in on the secret. Now she is a part of the task and understands its significance. Spend time with your toddler, even just for a couple of minutes or explain to them why you can't, because they're smart. They know your sincere intentions.

Spend Time with Your Toddler and Love it!

Taking a little bit of time to change the situation from Mommy Leash to Mommy Led will help you relax, have open communication with your toddler and will help you to spend time with your toddler.

We still watch a lot of TV. It's hard to find stuff to do in the winter, but I treasure the times when I am brave enough to push the big red power button on my remote and really BE with my kids.

I love spending time with Siena. She is getting to the age where she does or says things that catch me by surprise and have me laughing more every day. She knows how to help me unload the dishwasher, she will sit on the stools by the counter and snack while I cook, she tries to entice me away to one of her fun games on a daily basis and on the rare occasion, she will let me snuggle with her if I put on her show. My baby girl is my buddy and I love it!

For fun indoor ideas that require more preparation than I am usually willing to do, check out this Stay at Home Mom's sweet blog!

Toddler Activities