Friday, April 30, 2010

Fingers crossed! Making progress.

I'm fully prepared for a setback, but I have to take this evening's post for a little brag about my girl. Amelia has been extremely well-behaved for two full days! We're getting along really well, and I couldn't be more proud of this cutie-pie.

Photobucket Photobucket

For my part, I am working very hard on patience. My brain is probably tired of hearing "she's only two... she's only two..." over and over each day. But really, I often try to make Amelia older than her 107 weeks. She doesn't understand Mommy's obsessive need for organization. Nor Mommy's intolerance of clutter. She has no idea why Daddy freaks out about crumbs (although she does notice the new ant visitors we've been battling in the kitchen). She needs some room to be a kid, and I'm trying my best to give her that space.

I'm also consciously manging her expectations. It's amazing that something so simple as "choo-choo show, then diaper, then nap", repeated a couple times, can really cut down on the tantrum when naptime comes around. I try to use my new-found "first this, then that" strategy throughout the day. She knows what to expect, and she accepts my timeline pretty well.

I'm proud of my girl. It's be a very challenging few weeks. That's not to say the Terrible Two monster won't rear it's ugly head again soon. But I'm happy. Two days where Amelia and I can be friends and have some fun. Not too shabby.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Vegetables should not sing

Chick-Fil-A, I love you. Always my choice if I have to (or want to) eat fast food. Your chicken nuggets are yummy, your fries are crispy and tasty. You offer diet lemonade, which makes me happy. Amelia is always excited about her 4-piece nuggets kids' meal with fruit and juice. You give us a child-friendly, easy place to grab a mommy & daughter lunch once in a while. You even have employees who bring the food to my table because you understand rambunctious toddlers. And sometimes you have an indoor playground. Awesome.

But my dear Chick-Fil-A, I have to say, I am not happy with you this week. I am not happy with you for putting those Veggie Tales CDs in the kids' meals. We now have two of them. These CDs introduced me to the talking and singing vegetables for the first time recently. Amelia loves them. Asks for them in the car. But oh my goodness... these vegetables CAN NOT SING! The song lyrics are not bad, but the mouse-like, squeaky high octave vegetable signers really hurt my brain. And now I can't turn off the pain, because my demanding little princess in the back seat requires this music at least once per day.

Someone told me that the kids' meal prizes can be turned back in for ice cream. I believe I will let Amelia in on this secret next time. I'll accept sticky hands and messy clothes any day if it means I don't have to listen to Veggie Tales in my car. Ever. Again.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Thumbs up, thumbs down

In honor of Amelia learning how to do a "thumbs up" (which, by the way, is crazy cute!), here is a thumbs up/thumbs down recap of our Sunday:

Gorgeous sunshine and perfect temperatures...
Thumbs up.

Playground in the morning, followed by shopping at Super Target...
Thumbs up!

Amelia managing to get out of the shopping cart belt - without unbuckling it - and jumping at me in the bread aisle...
Thumbs DOWN.

Amelia sitting on the floor of Super Target, taking her shoes off, then screaming "MY TURN!" at Daddy when he tries to put them back on...
Another thumbs down.

Amelia's incredibly embarrassing and super-gigantic parking lot temper tantrum because she did not want to get back in the car...
A big, really big thumbs DOWN.

Amelia deciding she would stop crying long enough to let me go pick up lunch while Daddy drove over the speed bumps in the lot...
Thumbs up.

Amelia not taking a single minute of nap today...
One more thumbs down.

Outdoor playtime and Steve grilling our dinner so I did not have to cook...
Thumbs way up!

Amelia kissing me goodnight instead of saying "no" as usual...
A happy mommy thumbs up.

It's funny. No matter how tired or frustrated we are, at the end of the day, everything is always OK.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Restaurant grumblings...

I don't cook on weekends. Maybe a sandwich lunch or an easy Sunday night something, but generally, I do not cook. I concentrate on grocery shopping and healthy meals for my family Monday through Friday morning. I look forward to my weekend break where someone else shops for the food, cooks the food, serves the food, and cleans up after us. So imagine my disappointment when two back-to-back restaurant dinners were really quite bad.

Not just the food, mind you. Although tonight my 6-ounce sirloin was as dry as a hockey puck (thanks, Outback) and last night's "cedar plank tilapia" (O'Charleys) was as bland as the wood it was cooked on.

Both times, I was greeted with a brand new menu. Both times, I knew what I had in mind to order and it was no longer available. Both times, I hoped to order something semi-healthy. It seems the new menu trend not only highlights higher prices, it highlights less nutrition-conscious food options. And don't even get me started on children's menus... I will continue to bring Amelia's food with us as long as I can. My kid eats green beans. And she loves fruit. Wheat crackers make her happy. Why does she only get to choose from fried, greasy, or even more fried everywhere we go? Chicken nuggets, hot dogs, or pizza? Fine selections now and then, but certainly not all weekend long. Not as long as she's willing to eat veggies instead.

Perhaps we're to blame for frequenting the mega-chain places. But those are our reality right now, given we are the proud parents of a spunky 2-year old who doesn't like to sit still. Ever.

I see an adult evening out in our future. Hopefully soon. Anyone want to borrow Amelia for a bit?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Taking a little break...

I've been having ongoing migraine issues for a few days now. Not sure if it's my diet or allergies. Or perhaps a chronic sinus infection. Or maybe I've met my match when it comes to stress. I'm even less patient with my girl because of it, and I need to step back and chill out for a minute.

So, thus starts my 48 hours of social media/blog detox.

See ya later :)

Monday, April 19, 2010

If 2-year olds ran the world...

Did you ever wonder what the world would be like if 2-year olds were in charge? No? Too scary? I totally agree.

But imagine it with me... a whole group of 2-year old leaders in mismatched clothing they picked out themselves. A few with shoes on the wrong feet and the others with no shoes at all. And at least one (probably mine) with no pants on.

They are fighting amongst themselves over snacks. And balls. And books. Demanding that the mommies all over the world cater to their whims, and cater to them NOW. Screaming until just the precise amount of ketchup has been placed exactly on their plate in the right place at lunchtime. Crying if the food in front of them is the least bit too warm. Or too cold. Smooshing cupcakes into their hair and watching hours of TV. The same show, over and over again. Terrorizing every cat within reach and trying to ride on all the large doggies.

Riding in cars with no car seats, just like the "big kids". Heck, they'd probably drive the cars themselves too. No naps, late bedtimes, and toddler chaos everywhere.

Wait a minute...

This isn't too far off from my actual reality. I think Amelia is gearing up to overthrow her mommy.

Uh oh.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Three new issues, three new purchases

We welcomed three new items into our home in just one week. It has been a doozy here. I am disheartened and concerned with Amelia's seemingly constant bad behavior. I am covered with scratches and fingernail marks from small hands. Despite giving up practically my entire life and wearing myself ragged for this little creature, I am abused.

I ask her what she wants to do. She says she wants to go outside. I say okay - let's get your shoes. Nooooooo! She does not want shoes. Now she says she doesn't want to go outside. She wants a snack. I let her pick her snack. She picks Goldfish crackers. I put the crackers in a bowl. Nooooooo! She doesn't want that snack anymore. She wants to go outside. With no shoes.

I can only hope & pray at this point that Amelia is a normal 2-year old. Maybe a little feisty, but not beyond the range of normal. I'm terrified every day that I'm not handling situations correctly and creating a monster child. I'm already near the point of begging to be on Nanny 911.

So, anyway... it has been a doozy of a week. In the past 7 days, Amelia became terrified of getting her hair washed, furious over brushing her teeth, and afraid of the dark. I don't get any freebies or money for product reviews - my blog just isn't that big (yet?). But these three items really saved our lives this week:

(1) Shampoo Rinse Cup.

I found it at WalMart. When we first tried it, Amelia had every muscle in her little body clenched, just waiting to scream at Daddy for getting water in her eyes. But when her hair got rinsed and her little face stayed dry, she immediately exclaimed, "Daddy did it!". She is thrilled with this new bathtime helper, and is no longer afraid to get the shampoo rinsed out of her hair.

(2) Battery-powered toothbrush.

Amelia used to love to get her teeth brushed. Until this week. For three nights in a row, we endured painful battles over a chore we feel is not optional. Based on the advice of other moms, I took Amelia to the store, showed her the battery-powered toothbrushes for kids, and let her pick the one she wanted. Despite my best efforts to steer her towards something girly, she chose the ugly Diego one. But she carried it proudly through the store and couldn't wait to use it when we got home. We call it the "tickle toothbrush". She starts the process by touching her tongue, then each of her teeth. And she lets us finish the tickles - or brushing - for a squeaky clean smile. Crisis #2 averted.

(3) Night Light.

I've been taking over nighttime duty for a couple nights because Steve is working. Amelia has been acting up more and more at night, and tonight she adamantly refused to lay down. My heart broke as I had to listen to her scream and cry after I left the room. I gave it almost 10 minutes, then went back in to soothe her. I asked my girl if she would like a small light in her room. She looked at me with that red, tear-stained face and puffy eyes. Then she just nodded her head. "Amelia scared", she said. So out came the standard, nothing fancy nightlight. She loves it! I hope if she is having some nighttime fears, that this light will help her. Crisis #3 (hopefully) averted. She's asleep, and we'll see what happens in the morning.

Whew. Life is ever-changing in our household these days! I hope I can keep up.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

We may not be cool, but we're moms

Growing up, I often wondered why my mom's friends were usually the mothers of my friends. But two years into Amelia's precious little life, I think I get it.

While there will always be a very special place in my heart for my single and/or currently childless friends, I'm pretty sure they don't want to endure hours of conversation about Amelia's latest antics, potty training, and tantrums. They are still cool. They still dine at trendy restaurants. And enjoy music concerts. And go to MOVIES! They wear nice clothes and go to work and always look current and beautiful. Many days, I wish I could still be like them (but with Amelia somehow).

My mommy friends are available for 9:30 a.m. playtime. They understand why I'm so excited by Amelia's latest potty achievement. They are as clueless as I am about what movies are out and which ones are being talked about.

A mom acquaintance of mine recently posted a question on Facebook, regarding current clothing trends. I laughed as I read the responses from other moms:

"It's a personal victory if my clothes match and are stain-free!"
"One of the guys at work tells me I dress like a Mom now."
"Just now realizing I can no longer shop in the junior's department"

See? None of us are cool anymore! That's why we get along so well. Perhaps our husbands don't enjoy that we make each other so comfortable with comfy. But my mommy friends can save a horrible day with a few minutes of toddler playtime; they know exactly how I feel when I've had one of those days. They struggle with the same things I've struggled with and they rejoice in the same seemingly small accomplishments.

It's nice to find comfort in a group of friends. But it's also nice to have the option to branch out and spend a few minutes with the trendy crowd again.

So how about this?

Mom friends -- please continue to keep me sane as I battle these terrible twos.

And others -- promise to pull me out of the abyss of total uncoolness if I take it a little too far.

Love you all!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

She'll hate this story when she's 12

Amelia just treated me to the most revolting child moment so far in her 735 days of life. Spit-up, vomit, and diapers have nothing on this one.

Picture if you will, a quiet moment or two in our house. I'm enjoying a few moments of lounge time while Amelia plays nicely in the other room.

I ask, "Amelia? Are you doing OK?"

"Yes, Mommy!", Amelia replies.

Ahhhhhhhhh. I lean my head back and enjoy my rare moment of peace.

About 52 seconds later, here comes my girl. She shows me her hands. Alarms blare in my head. Amelia has something BROWN all over her hands.

"Moooooommy! I pooped!"


So now my ahhhhhhh.... moment has turned to AHHHHHHH!!!! My daughter stuck both of her hands down her dirty diaper. She is a smelly mess. It's even ground down into her fingernails. We rush to the bathroom for a serious scrubbing. I still feel grossed out by it.

Add this to the fact that she did not take one minute of nap today. May I go to bed now, please? We'll just start again tomorrow.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Speed, thy name is NOT toddler

Efficient (adjective) -- Performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.

Whenever someone in a job interview asks me to describe myself in one word, I always have the same response: "efficient". I am very type-A. I want to immerse myself in a project, work like mad until I drive myself crazy or my eyes begin to cross, and finish as soon as I can. I don't like to waste time or stop and start too many times. I am just not a chat-in-the-hallway type of worker. Focus, focus, and hurry up and focus. That's pretty much me.

Well... here comes toddler independence. All day long, my ears and patience are tested with one short phrase, over and over again.

"MY turn! My turn!"

Amelia wants to do everything herself. She climbs into her highchair unassisted. She wants to buckle herself in the chair. And in the car seat. She wants to climb into the car and into the car seat all by herself. It is "her turn" to wipe up a spill. "Her turn" to put her shoes on. "Her turn" to open the door. The girl knows what needs to be done and wants to do it. All by herself.

The problem is, this clashes big time with my "efficient" personality. Do you know how much longer it takes for Amelia to put on her own shoes? Or to climb into the car and safety seat? And how long it takes for her to struggle with the buckles on every single thing we own that has straps???

Getting out of the house went from two minutes when I was child-free, to 10 minutes with an infant Amelia, to at least 20 minutes now that Miss Independent has come along. I find myself really struggling to control my frustration with these things. The world will not end if we are five minutes later (but still on time) for a doctor's visit. If Amelia gets to preschool at 9:31 instead of 9:25, I highly doubt she will get expelled.

I won't be docked any Good Mommy points if I'm running a tad behind schedule. Certainly, I would get docked exponentially higher points if I squelched Amelia's need to learn and do things independently. I know it is a normal "side effect" of her growth. But it's still a challenge for me to adjust.

Patience. I need it more and more and more every single day. Too bad I'm really quite bad with patience in general.

I will not fight the 2-year-old will.
I will count to ten.
I will breathe.

A most importantly, I will not, under any circumstances, forget to clap and cheer for that bright-eyed incredible little creature whom I love so much.

They grow too quickly.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Four celebrations later...

I think we are finally at the end of the last birthday celebration for Amelia. Today we gathered with friends and family at a park. We let the little ones run free on the playground with a pizza and cupcake break at lunchtime. Amelia ran and ran and ran for three hours straight. All with a big birthday grin on her face. There is no denying that this girl knew it was HER special day.

Happy birthday one more time, my dear. We love you so much. All the planning and hoopla and excitement was totally worth it. All for you!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Happy birthday to my girl!

Dear Amelia,

Happy birthday! You are such a big girl now. Two years old! Time has gone by so quickly since you were born. I look back at photos and barely remember that tiny, helpless baby you once were.

Now when I think of my Amelia, I recall a spunky, funny, and energetic toddler who loves to play. I know that you're struggling to grow up and assert your independence. I promise to let go of your hand when you need me to let go. But I will always be near to pick you up should you fall. I am proud of you for trying so many things all on your own, but also hope you are never afraid to ask for help. Daddy and I are always here for you, whether your needs be big or small. There is nothing we would not do for you.

Thank you, Amelia for being YOU. No one in this world could make me laugh so much every day. You really are funny. And smart. And the brightest ray of sunshine in my life.

Happy birthday!!!!

We love you, we love you. Morning, noon, and night. We love you, we love you! You make our worlds so bright!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The weirdos come out at 5:00

Okay, so maybe weirdo isn't the best (or nicest) choice of words. But let me tell you about our adventures at the mall yesterday evening...

I'll start by saying that Amelia and I go to the mall quite a bit. It's our no-cost indoor option when the weather isn't cooperating. Our mall has a children's soft play area, a choo-choo, and a pet store with bunnies, birds, and dogs. Oh - and a Disney store. And Build-A-Bear. It's Amelia's dreamland.

We usually go to the mall on weekday mornings with all the other moms and kiddos (and a few old ladies). Yesterday, Steve was coming home late and it was near 90 degrees outside, so we went to the mall in the afternoon. Talk about a strange feeling - it was a totally different world.

First was the family in the play area. A mom, dad, teenage daughter, and a toddler. The toddler was starving for attention, and coming up to all of us for some conversation/affirmation. The teenage girl would jump up, yell at the girl, smack her arm, and drag her back to the mom who then also hit her. The teenager was bossing this poor child around every second and hitting her every other minute. And get this... at one point she told the toddler not to hit! Ummmm, where do you people think she learned the hitting? It broke my heart and made me nauseous to see such horrible a horrible example of poor parenting. I hope that little girl gets through life unscathed, but more likely she'll become a good-for-nothing bully herself. Very, very sad.

Then came the guy on the cell phone. He walked through the mall literally screaming on his phone. Yelling at some unfortunate fellow on the other end of the line, I guess. He was threatening and downright mean. And did I mention LOUD? I've never heard someone so loud in public, nor seen such blatant disregard for their effect on passersby. Amelia grabbed my hand because he made her so nervous.

And finally, we made it to the food court. Amelia and I sat down to eat our dinner next to a mom & her kids at the next table. The mom's back was to us, but she clearly did not care to feed her kids. Or keep them contained. Or actually look at them. The younger of the two boys decided to come over to our table. He placed his little folded arms on the table, approximately 3 inches from my food. Then he stared at us. He wanted Amelia to look at him. He jumped up and down, making our table shake. His mom didn't care or even bother to turn around. At one point, I told him, as nicely as possible, to please leave because we needed to eat dinner. He took 2 steps away, then came right back 45 seconds later. And was joined by his older brother, who managed to immediately cough on our table! I've never experienced anything like it. I probably should have asked the mother to please collect her rude children, but I tend to shy away from conflict. So I ate as fast as I could, encouraged Amelia to hurry up as well, and got the heck out of there.

Weird, weird mall experience.

I think we'll stick to weekdays at 10:00 a.m. from now on.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Helloooo, attitude

How many times per day can an almost-two-year-old say, "No Way!"?

If that kiddo is my Amelia, I'd say at least 27 times a day. This is her favorite new phrase. It is useful in many different situations - deciding what to wear, which shoes to put on, what to eat for snack, what to eat for lunch, which direction to walk when we go outside, which slide to go down at the playground....

We have no idea where it came from. I'm guessing school, since school pretty much accounts for anything she learns outside of our house. We don't particularly like this new phrase, and we especially don't love the toddler attitude that goes with it.

I think Amelia is in full-blown terrible two's at this point (at least I hope so... please don't tell me it gets worse!!!!), and she is asserting her independence whenever & wherever she can. Don't think you can put her in her car seat. Oh no, she has to struggle to climb up into it herself. Same with the highchair or her "big girl" booster seat at the table. You'd better think twice before mandating which snack she should eat. It's all about choices.

EVERYTHING is about choices. And only Amelia's choices. She is the queen bee around here for sure.

Yesterday she completely freaked out when Steve was rinsing the shampoo out of her hair. She told him to stop ("No, Daddy!"), but he had to keep rinsing to get all the shampoo out. Amelia was not having this. So she screamed, and fought, and pushed, and spit. Then she did not want to get out of the tub. Then she did not want a diaper. And she certainly did not want her hair combed. A 30-pound child can be surprisingly strong when she wants to fight.

It was quite the performance, for sure. So far we haven't experienced and encore today... but it's only a matter of time. She is a tantrum time bomb.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Amelia's prayers

On this Good Friday, it seems appropriate to share Amelia's favorite prayer. She says her prayers over and over again, all day long. I think we must all be extra blessed by now.


"God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy, God bless A-ma-ma (Amelia), God bless Nina, God bless ma-moo (Grandma), God bless ga-da (Granddad).... eventually naming every family member she can think of .... Thank you Jesus. Aaaa-MEN!"

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My little April fool...






She'll be two years old in one week!

"Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away."

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