Swimmom’s Weblog

Diary of a Stay-at-home Mom, motherhood and beyond

Cut it Out February 5, 2009

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,toddlers,Uncategorized — swimmom @ 6:00 am
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I loved the binkie.

I was excited and put at ease when my daughter took to it.

It soothed her when at times I couldn’t, and keep her pretty much content. But now, I look at the binkie with slight amusement and much despise.  Just like another good ‘ol habit, I want to step on it, burn it and kick it to the curb.  Sometimes I find myself asking, who invented the binkie and did they have children?

The binkie should come with a warning label.

This product can be addictive. Withdrawal can cause major distress to the user and the parent. Addiction can cause all parties involved sleepless nights, temper tantrums and crying fits. Please use with extreme caution.

My son never sucked his thumb or used a binkie.

To my daughter on the other hand, the binkie is her security blanket, in all situations. It was attached to her lip like a growth, a cute one, but a growth.

Although it doesn’t feel like it upon withdrawal, I am sure benefits outweigh the risks, increased brain function and reduced risk of SIDS seem like a far cry when your child wants the binkie, you can’t find one in your purse and find yourself sweating as you dart to the nearest baby aisle to calm the latest public display of “binkie attachment”.

Not only should the binkie come with a warning label, it should come with a withdrawal manual: Tips to successfully “detatch” the binkie from you toddler, physically and mentally. I’ve heard tips that range from going “cold turkey” , burning the tips off, to dipping the tips in coffee (which seems like a disaster waiting to happen).

I tried the cold turkey trick and only lasted about 5 hours because the entire 5 hours, my daughter cried for her binkie. So I went for a slightly more gradual approach, after all, my daughter is persistent, demanding and not one to fall to any old cheap trick.  I cut off the tips to the binkies and laid them on the floor in her “usual” spots. As she spotted the binkie, she excitedly made her way to the binkie and as fast as she put it in her mouth, she took it out in disgust.

“Broken” she proclaimed, and dropped it on the floor.

A bit confused she looked at it for a while and walked away. I approached her with the binkie (the broken binkie) and she turned her shoulder to me and walked away. I said, “It’s broken. Should we put it in the trash?” And she nodded her head. As we said bye bye to the binkie.

It has only been one day and I do let her keep one in her crib to use in her crib only. I’m all for not using the binkie during the day, but I wasn’t ready to give up a couple sleepless nights. Not quite yet.

Like I said a couple days ago, we are trying for a third and I wonder if I will find myself at wits about whether or not to give my newborn the binkie. Afterall, binkies now come personalized, in fashionable colors and blinged out.

How could I resist!


The Bus Ride to Heaven November 2, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,toddlers — swimmom @ 9:42 am
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Some subjects are probably better left untouched, especially when your dealing with a 3 year old, but of course ,a venture into the unknown is always the thing we mothers strive for, right? Maybe not. But I say I won’t go there and then for some reason I find myself deep in the trenches, unable to get myself out.

Here is one of the those examples.

My husband’s best friend, Adam’s father passed away this past week. And my husband, after work, was making frequent trips to Adam’s house and to the reception and the funeral to support his friend in his time of need. Well, no trip, goes unnoticed with a 3 year old and at first I left it alone, just replying, “Daddy is going to visit Adam.” but of course I got question after question, “Why”, but “Why mommy?”

So, I took a deep breathe and a big step and replied, “Adam’s daddy is sick.” I thought he would leave it alone.

“So , can we go visit him in the hospital?” George questioned.

“No”, I said. “Sometimes when you get sick, and you don’t get better and you go to Heaven.”

“Oh, okay.” George stated. “Can we watch Thomas the train?”

A sign of relief, or so I thought as I wiped the sweat of my brow and went to turn on the DVD. Good, I thought, he is onto the next subject.

Why I thought it would be so easy I have no idea.

After nap time, my son awoke on a mission. The first words upon waking up, were a venture further into the subject then I ever imagined he would go.

“Mom, we need to get the bus schedule”, George demanded.

“Who is taking the bus?” I asked.

“Adam’s daddy. He is taking the bus to heaven. Does he take the yellow bus or the white city bus?”

“We need to get the schedule so we can go say bye”

“Oh “, not knowing what to say next ” Well, Adam’s daddy already took the bus to Heaven, and it was the white city bus.”

“Oh, okay.” George replied.

I don’t know the best way to handle the venture into heaven with my 3 year old. I don’t think I should explain to him death. He never knew Adam’s dad. He thinks heaven is a destination, I think he understands it is unreturnalbe, but he thinks it is a destination.

I know now, never to under estimate the mind power of a 3 year old.

He was gentle in his questioing and thoughtful in his answers and for all we know, maybe he found the answers.

The ones we never look for.


Reality Check August 26, 2008

This morning, while my kids where watching their usual PBS shows, I announced that I needed to take a shower. My son startled me at what he said next.

“I need to take a shower. I’m all dirty and stinky.” I said. (I had just done my usual morning workout)

My son looked at me and explained, “You do need to take a shower. I like my color, not yours,” as he pointed to his cheek.

I hesitated, not knowing what to say next.

“What do you mean?”, I asked. ” You don’t like my skin color?”

“I like Sophia’s white shirt.” He explained. That should have been key enough that he didn’t mean what he said, or what I thought he meant.

Probing. “You don’t like me skin color?” I asked again, trying to get into the head of my 3 1/2 year old son, an impossible task itself.

“No, I like your skin color.” he said.

I don’t know why, but I was close to tears.

I called my dad.

“George is 3. He has no idea what he is saying. If he was 10, then you discuss it, but he is 3. You told him you were dirty and stinky. He probably relates it to when he is in the dirt and you tell him he is dirty and stinky and needs to take a shower.”

I know this is probably true.

But still.

I don’t know if I am ready to talk about race stuff or if I am ready to handle it. I know it’s not now, but it will be some day. What if your child, who now looks at you with such unconditional love, all of a sudden has questions to why mommy is “different”?

My dad, who is part Caucasian and part African-American, insists that even though your kids probably will ask questions, they will always love you because you are there parents.

And I guess that’s true. I remember being called an Oreo Cookie (kids can be mean) at school but it never made me not like my parents for being one race or the other, it made me not like the kids calling me names.

So I guess all I can do is tell my kids that there are many different types of people in the world and being one way or another doesn’t make you better, it just makes you different. And differences are what make our world what it is today. People are different sizes, shapes, races, religions, and so much more.

Besides without all these different people we wouldn’t have Sesame Street, Spongebob (a sponge) wouldn’t live in the Ocean with a squirrel and a star fish and Bob the Builder wouldn’t be good friends with Scoop, Muck or Dizzy.

Now that, my 3 year old should understand.


They really do think of everything.. August 21, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,toddlers — swimmom @ 7:30 pm
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…and my awesome sister-in-law can find it.

If you read, my previous post, because he insists on standing, my son has a little trouble aiming at that low potty. For those of you that find yourself in the same messy situation, my sister in law just found this on Target.com

The Peter Potty Flushable Urinal.

Yes Kris, they really do think of everything.

And you bet I’m gonna but it!


Sit or Stand

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,toddlers — swimmom @ 3:19 pm
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I am crossing my toes as I write you this (would do my fingers, but I have to type, right? anyway….) in order to ward off all bad potty spirits, as I take time to gloat about the success of my son’s potty training attempts.

He is doing great!

He has stayed dry for 3 days, no accidents.

We bought him just your good ‘ol plain potty and it worked.  Number 2 is another story but he has stayed dry, peeing on the potty all the time. He wakes up dry from naps, bedtime and stays dry while he was at camp (though I put him in a pull up). So, he was using the big potty and  but we decided we needed to buy him a potty his own size, just in case he decides to try number 2, so that he has his feet planted firmly on the ground. (we bought him one last winter but it had too many bells and whistles and all he wanted to do was play in it and take it apart).

Anyway, he still refuses to sit on the potty, he will only stand, so you can only imagine, having to aim at such a low target, has left much room for, shall we say creativity. He now plays “fire hose” if you get my drift and if he can’t hit the potty, he hits any target in his way, the wall and his sister, yes, he peed on his sister.

And since he pees with the door open, and Sophia is super nosy (I wonder who she gets it from…), she wants to be in the middle of the action watching intently as George makes efforts to go on the potty. If I don’t catch her fast enough, she wants to play in it, and put her hand in the stream. (does anyone have this problem or just me?)

I think the whole watching her brother pee on the potty has left some room for confusion on her part. We bought her a little Baby Bjorn potty (so she wouldn’t mess with George’s) and she wanted to sit on it at first.

Now she stands in front of it, lifts her shirt and pull her pants down. OY!!!


Trains, Trucks and Bridges….Oh MY! August 11, 2008

Filed under: motherhood,parenting,toddlers — swimmom @ 9:33 am
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One thing I love about having kids is watching their enjoyment and complete excitement over “simple” things.

My son, the train enthusiast, and I took a train ride to my parents house this weekend. Sitting on the train, watching his face as he looked out the window was one of the most amazing moments, I hope to have captured for a lifetime.

He noticed everything, every station stop (there were at least a dozen), every car and bridge. He noticed every time a passenger got on and got off.

Every train we passed became one of Thomas’ friends (Thomas the train). We, of course, were riding Edward, but on the way we passed Thomas, Toby, Emily and Gordon. We even stopped at Wellsworth and Tidmouth station (for all of you non-Thomas the train enthusiasts, those are stations on the Island of Sodor, in Thomas’ world, as my son would call it).

He noticed when the tracks were bumpy and the train was “steady” and counted all the little the drops on the window from the rain outside.

His face was lit with pure glee and happiness as we waited at the station for the train to arrive and the entire 45 minute ride to my parents.

That train ride taught me the importance of appreciating the every day things we take for granted but also finding the excitement in the “mundane”. Seeing your kids smile isn’t about buying the most expensive toy at the store or taking them to some exotic island or place. Sometimes, it’s spending time with your kids and showing them you are interested in what they are excited about.

Honestly, before I had my son could really care less about trains, firetrucks or any other construction, transportation or emergency vehicle that I passed on the road. But now, I know all their names, roles and signals they make. And most importantly I know that my son lives, breathes and dreams trains, he can hear a train signal from miles away and remembers every train track we have ever passed on a long and short drive. He can probably run down any dog chasing a fire truck and passing a construction site or seeing a police car speeding down the street is, to him, just as wonderful as seeing all those presents under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

Train Ticket to my parents house: $4.75

Watching my son light up as we boarded the train: priceless


Grocery Store Monsters August 8, 2008

I felt my temperature rise and my blood pressure sky rocket as I walked through the grocery store.

I swore I was this close to breaking out into a sweat as my son’s scream echoed through Wegman’s, my daughter’s closely followed. If I didn’t need to be at the grocery store at this moment, I would seriously just leave my cart in the middle of the aisle, grab my kids and quickly exit the store.

This amazing display of toddler behavior, that shouted to my fellow shoppers, was bought on by a treat I purchased at the cookie counter. Once my son realized he wasn’t going to get it NOW, and he had to wait until after dinner, he lost his cool and I lost mine, while I picked the perfect place to assert my myself and hold my own.

I leaned down to the “car” shopping cart my kids shared and spoke, what I thought, was very calmly, “No George, you cannot have a cookie now, you must wait until after dinner.”

As I repeated myself, I stabbed myself with the temper tantrum knife right in the middle of the back. I felt it pierce my skin as my determination to hold my word, in a public place, set the stage for disaster.

My sweet, curly headed, beautiful 3 year old son morphed into an ugly monster and took his innocent 17 month old sister along for the ride.

Sure, it sounds a little dramatic but if you have been there, which I am sure plenty of you have, there is no pretty way to paint this picture.

My son screamed and then cried. When I leaned down and told him it would be okay, I understood how he felt but he needed to stop crying in the store, he repeated, while screaming, “I can’t stop crying, I can’t stop.” And then hearing, what must have been a sibling signal of distress, my daughter followed suite. Although her crys were high pitched.

People stared and my nervousness caused me to look at them and giggle.

One women who I had encountered at the deli counter before the “blow-up” whom had commented that my children were so happy and beautiful, had met me again at the register with my cart of terror and gave me this look of horror.

I smiled.

But felt like saying come on lady, like you’ve never seen crying kids before.

Anyway, so I learned my lesson…..

1. Never go to the store when your 3 year old hasn’t napped.

2. No matter how bad you want to, the grocery store is not the place to assert yourself when dealing with your 3 year old and your very impressionable 18 month old.

And number 3….

Sometimes things don’t go the way you planned, kids scream, blood pressures rise and people stare but things could always be worse, trust me.

Besides, store tempter tantrums don’t last forever, they usually ( I said usually) abruptly subside the minute you pass the threshold and exit onto the outside sidewalk, no more bright lights, on-lookers and nothing for your toddlers to want you to immediately buy.

This wasn’t the first time and unfortunately, I’m sure it won’t be the last.