Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Confessions

Confession #1: I bought one of these:

(It's a night light - and it wasn't .. exactly... a frugal purchase :) )



www.goodnitelite.com I hope they don't mind that I stole their pics ;) (I doubt it - it's kind of free advertising, right? :P )

Why did I buy this? To (hopefully) make my life easier. I find it very difficult to get Charlie to go to bed at the time he needs to, because older children are still up. He also tends to wake up way too early. I'm willing to bet (the money I spent..) that this light will work with his Charlie brain. It's very "him".

I don't actually have it yet ... and I really hope I don't have to pay customs on it. That would make me cranky.


Confession #2:

I was beyond cranky at Charlie yesterday. We had a great morning. But I did everything I could to get him to go down for a nap for 2 1/4 hours before I gave up.

This is what I get for
a) mentioning recently that he is a good napper (he was)
b) what I get for commenting at a few points in recent months that Charlie can't get under my skin.

Truthfully - I never said he *can't* .. it's just that it is very rare. But yesterday had me googling:

"meditation thoughts to avoid strangling 2 year old"
"my 2 year old is driving me crazy"

I'd like to say this isn't true.. but it is. I was turning to google to help me from my inner rage.

Somehow I made it through without losing my temper on Charlie, however.

I wish I had taken a picture of what happened to my bedroom in the process. Imagine a bookshelf and rocking chair, with 12 toy bins, his bike, a fire truck, a toy motorcycle, a transport truck, a cars suitcase full of toys, all piled around.

I finally resorted to "If you choose to get out of bed, you are choosing to have a toy taken away".

As evidenced by the listing of items that ended up in my bedroom - you can guess how well that worked.

It did work in a way, however. At bedtime last night, we told him he would be choosing to get back all of his toys if he chose to stay in bed (notice the CHOOSE language - it's my thing right now ;) ). He did better at bedtime. Ideally, even though he pretended not to care about the toys - he was very happy to get them back this morning and will hopefully choose differently at naptime tomorrow.

Confession #3

After I piled almost all of Charlie's toys in my bedroom yesterday at "naptime" with no effect, I turned to food.

"Charlie - if you choose to get out of bed again, you aren't getting dinner!"

Charlie: "What?! Mommy! NOOOOOO! *cries* Noooo Mommy! I want dinner!"

He didn't care about the toys..

... I vented to David in an email : "Your son didn't care about his favourite toys, but I take away food and he takes notice. Apparently food is his "currency". Damn your genetics!"

This caused David to laugh out loud in the conference he was at. Hehehe, oops.

Empty threats are dumbParentingMoves. But, since I'm exempt from being perfect... I gave him such a threat. And (of course) I didn't follow through with it.

He seemed upset enough that I wouldn't let him have a snack before dinner. *shrug*


Care to confess anything? Please do!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Little Inspiration

March is almost over. And to paraphrase someone else (i don't take credit) it came in like a lion, and is going out like a velociraptor.

At least, that is how it is where we are living:

To inspire myself on the good days to come, I looked back on my photos from April 2010

We had some wonderful weather that month!

In fact, I distinctly remember filling the kiddie pool at my friend's house and our 5 youngsters spent the afternoon soaked. And warm!

Mmmmm Summer.


Barbeques and ice cream!

I really can't wait.


Flowers, the smell of spring, bike rides, and the park.


No more boots! Winter wear! Calling "CLOSE THE FRONT DOOR!!!"

Camping!!

It's pretty easy to appreciate the nicer weather when you live somewhere that has such a cold, long, snowy winter :)

What do you look forward to most about the warmer weather?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Have You Ever Seen a Run Bike?

Over facebook the last two days, I have mentioned Charlie's newfound love for his 2nd birthday present.


Last August, we got him a run bike.

He wanted nothing to do with it then. Charlie is a late bloomer with balance and physical things and he seemed too unsure of himself to use the bike.


All his two year old groupies were clamoring to use it.. but Charlie was content with his trucks



I admit, that looks pretty cool too.



In honour of the LackOfSnow this week, however... oh wait, I'm sorry, did I say this week?

>> forecast of ice pellets and 5-10 cm of snow for Wednesday here.

I meant to say - the LackOfSnow RIGHT NOW!

Yes. Last night, in honour of that, I trudged through the bike pile (15 bikes?) in our basement to unearth Charlie's itty bitty run bike. And he was fairly excited about this plan.

What a difference 6 months and OutsideDeprivation makes on a 2 year old :)

I was fully expecting him to think this bike thing was pretty cool for about 2 minutes before discarding it in favour of rocks, mud, sticks, or his faded plastic lawn mower.

I was mistaken. Charlie toured our neighbourhood on his bike for a solid 45 minutes before I finally convinced him we should go home. We talked about sticks and mud and rocks. He also got called adorable, to which he turned to me and said "Mommy, that man said I'm adorable. yep"

We discussed parked cars:

"Look - are the lights on those cars mommy? Nooo they aren't. The lights are off. Those cars aren't going to go driving. We are safe"

(ohh the monologues of Charlie).

We discussed the Honda Civic:

"What car was that, Mommy?"

"A Civic. A Honda"

"I don't like that Civic Conda"

"You don't like that Honda Civic?"

"No. It was too noisy. It hurt my ears. That Honda Divic was annoying"

All the while, Charlie was riding his bike. Or... running his bike. Walking it, really.

Tonight, Daddy got to appease the boy and take him out, and already he was faster. In the meantime, Charlie has been riding the bike through our house pretty much all of his awake time.




So what is a run bike?

Well - it is a bike.. without pedals. And without chains. It lets your child find their balance on a traditional two wheel bike without trying to figure out pedaling at the same time. It skips training wheels altogether.

As your child gets their confidence and balance, they can push off and glide with the bike.

Anna had a run bike and used it for 5 days on a camping trip last June. She started out tentative. Within two days, she was running it and then STANDING on the CROSS BAR while it zoomed. Then the tire blew up. (note: black tired bikes should not be left in direct sunlight on 32 C degree days). So we handed her her "real" bike, which she promptly rode away on. She was 4 years old, 34lbs of pint sized bike riding cuteness.


How cool is that?

Being able to ride a 2 wheeler is one of the most majorly rewarding childhood achievements.

Run Bikes are, from what I can gather, the easiest and most pain free way to help your child learn to ride a pedal bike. Also, easily the most fun.

It seems Europeans have this run bike thing figured out - but in North America, we like to use training wheels.

Training wheels teach the child how to pedal before they learn how to balance.

Run bikes teach the child how to balance before they learn how to pedal.

Two year olds that can pedal and steer a training wheeled bike are few and far between. I HAVE seen them, but it's rare. A run bike, however, is instantly fun and easy to do.

They aren't popular enough yet to be found in mass retail chains, but local bike shops carry them.

Now you HAVE seen a run bike :) And they are awesome. I wish I had one when i was a kid ;)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Macaroni, Please!

Do you know what I love? Family traditions.

They can be simple. In this post's example: Letting the Birthday child pick the family dinner on their special day.

For Anna's recent birthday, she chose macaroni and cheese.

I served peas with the mac and cheese. (I swear, I am a responsible parent who serves balanced meals.. and never just "ice cream" for dinner.. I have never done that ... this year... ;) )

Typically, my children like their veggies so much they eat them FIRST - which is why the plates just have yummy mac and cheese on them :)

No, you can not have any of my children, but I can loan them too you.


Do you know what makes that birthday girl happy? Clothes.


See what I mean?

Something else makes her happy.


Princesses. She seemed pretty happy with the Aurora Doll.


One more thing makes a birthday girl happy:


Cake. Chocolate cake. It looked like a giant cake donut. It tasted even better.
Mmmmmm



Friday, March 11, 2011

Silver Lining

Yesterday, 3 people woke up on the wrong side of the bed.

Anna. Charlie. and Myself.

The morning started with crying. Bickering. Tattle tales. Tears. More crying. Pushing. Finger pointing. Name calling. Fighting for space in the bath tub. Unwelcome parenting from 5 year old to 2 year old. Whining.

After enduring the grumpy moods for two hours, we left for Charlie's gymnastics class. Charlie was uncooperative and we ended up leaving early.

After lunch, it was Anna's gymnastics class and Charlie was extremely difficult to deal with. He was so tired and just done. I was barely holding my patience together by the time we headed for home.

When we got home, Anna slurped up some dirty rain water from a plastic storage bin owned by the property managers.

Shortly thereafter, I lost my temper.

(Then I apologized.)

And then I took a look at this picture. It was taken with my cell phone as we were leaving gymnastics for the second time. I remember at the time being grateful for this "nice" moment, when Charlie gladly shared his umbrella with his big sister, keeping eachother close so that they could both stay dry.







Yesterday's silver lining.



Today:


I am grateful that I only have snow to complain about. Not massive earthquakes and tsunamis.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Arabian Nights

As much as I love capturing adorable, happy, smiling children with my camera, sometimes I take pictures of unhappy kids to remember something that made them sad - just like the picture of Anna with her Goofy drawing.


Now it's Charlie's turn.


We went to Arabian Nights in Orlando as our "Anniversary Dinner". It was a good show. We watched Medieval Times and the Pirates Dinner shows on our last visit, and this one was quite a bit different.


When we called and booked the tickets, the woman told us that the show was at 6pm.


When we arrived at the appointed time (5:15) to get our tickets... the parking lot was deserted.


I found a back entrance, wandered around, found an office, and learned "oops, the show isn't actually until 8:30 tonight"


I have a bit of a life mantra goes: "don't stress out about things you can't change" and I generally find ways to roll with the punches. That being said, this was frustrating news for a family with 2 young children. The woman in the office told me that I was not the first person who was misinformed that morning and that she was very sorry. I might have seen if they wanted to make it up to me by giving us free drink tickets, but seeing as we already had 6 free drink tickets, I just walked back to the car.


I returned to our car where the 2 1/2 year old son (who had missed his nap) was sitting in his car seat demanding dinner. I broke the news to David and we tried to find something to do.


We drove through Celebration - which was interesting, to say the least :) Charlie took an evening nap in the car and Anna and David braved the picket fences and perfect neighbourhood of Celebration to join in with some kids at a park. We returned to Arabian Nights two hours later and our kids enjoyed the show. It was a good show!


At the end of the show, however, Charlie realized how tired he was...


Then




One of the things I keep "learning" as a parent, and then forgetting - is not to bother asking questions of your children if you aren't going to accept their answer.

"Charlie - are you going to sleep on the floor?"

"yes. i want to sleep on the floor"

It was a long walk to the car, with a 2 year old screaming NOOOOO I WANT TO SLEEP ON THE FLOOOOOOR! It was pretty funny, but I felt badly for Charlie who was sooooo tired.


Just moments before the utter collapse of toddler exhaustion:


And a few pics from the show:


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Heart Faces - Best February Face


February was a big picture taking month for me, as I had 800 February pictures to choose from. This is my favourite. Anna was anxious the whole time we were in line to get on this ride at Magic Kingdom. She didn't think she would be able to drive it. She got more apprehensive the closer we got to getting in the car, and I did my best to reassure her. As we walked to the car, she said

"No, Mommy, I can't do it - YOU drive".

Here she is - driving that Go Kart! She was squealing happily and giggling the whole time..




Monday, March 7, 2011

Determination

We visited DisneyQuest while we were in Florida. There is an animation workshop, where for 30 minutes you follow along with an animator to draw a Disney character. Anna was very eager to join in.

She followed along. For 30 minutes! Drawing one thing! And for 29 of those minutes, she was crying.


Do you see that picture of Goofy that Anna drew? She was almost 5, she DREW that! (yes, I did help with parts of it, but I can not take credit for it)

Do you see the look on her face?

That sad expression is toned down from the misery she experienced drawing that picture. Her picture wasn't good enough. (in her eyes, of course it was wonderful in ours!)

My daughter is determined.

Determined. Determined. Determined.

I admit, at times it is exhausting and frustrating and overwhelming for me to deal with her determinedness.

But I also am proud of her, of course. Her desire to perfect things and her ability to notice differences and her will to do things beyond her ability... those traits are why she was riding a 2 wheeler at age 4, why she seeks to help me just to be appreciated, why she thrives on the challenges of dance, karate, and gymnastics.

Anna's determination may be what wins over her shyness. Anna is, actually, no longer what I would call "shy". Because she actually loves chatting with people and being social.

Instead, she is anxious. Anxious anxious anxious. She does not seek the attention of anyone she is not completely comfortable with. She is silent around most people. So much intensity in such a little girl - but I watch her fight her anxiety with her determination.

I feel so blessed to have 6 amazing children in my family. They are all such awesome people, and they are all so different. There are traits that are shared, but they all stand out as individuals in drastic ways.

One of Anna's individual traits in our house is her determination.

Okay.

She shares that with her mother.
(but I don't think I cried that my pictures were not good enough at age 4, I could be wrong..)