Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Happy 1st Birthday Ethan!

"Young boys should never be sent to bed,
they always wake up another day older."
JM Barrie, from the movie Finding Neverland

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Easter Bunny brought independent mobility and some whole milk to Ethan!

And he is off...it was a few days last week of attempting to crawl, getting the legs caught up, completely concentrating, (you could see the concentration and thought process on his face each time he tried), but he did it. He is now doing a silly crawl just like Kendall did. He has one leg bent so that the foot is flat on the floor and the other is in crawling position. This form of crawling is conducive to laziness since all he has to do is a slight rock, and he is in sitting position. In the same moments he also managed to now be able to go from a lying position to a sitting position, and also when he is walking, (with the help of another), he will bend down to pick something up from the floor. I think he conquered some fears in his own time. We should now refer to things in "Ethan's time," since he seems to be picking and choosing which milestones he would like to hit in the strangest order.

He is still repeating many things we are saying. He likes to pull off his socks and attempt to put them back on again, and I was saying to him the other morning, 'Ethan where are your socks?' and he turned and picked out of his play basket his sock, and turn to hand it to me, and said' "sock." He also is saying "dis" when he has something in his hands he wants you to have, and is officially saying "thank you." it sounds nothing like the english words for thank you. But the sound is thank you, and he uses it appropriately and will nod his head, each time you give him something he wants or would like. So cute!

He is also drinking whole milk and LOVES it. I prepared the bottle this afternoon and handed it to him so that I could grab something else and I turned around and he was chugging it and objected loudly as I removed it from his grasp to prepare to snuggle with him. So that was an easy transition.

We had a ANOTHER busy weekend. Kendall and I went to the bridal shower for Heather. (Kendall is the flower girl, Andy is the best man) Kendall was quite cranky through much of it and would not take a picture with the bride. It was over her nap time, so I couldn't expect too much from her, but I can always hope for a miracle, can't I? But the Lord let my two year old be a two year old that day. I think he finds humor in it. Over all though, it was a really nice shower, the bridesmaids did a great job.

We then spent Saturday night at my parents and slept over bc we would just be driving back down anyway for church in the morning. This option is so much easier on me.

That morning Kendall got to find her and Ethan's combined Easter Basket from the Easter Bunny (Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop) In all honesty I haven't made up my mind about Easter Baskets quite yet since we have an egg hunt as well and both sets of grandparents get them things for Easter...do I really need to get them more candy or toys? And we do have Santa come to our house, but for some reason I really want Easter morning to be a time we go to church and are reminded of the sacrifice that was made for us, not searching for a basket and then running around scrambling to get ready for church and then stumbling in all frazzled. If the Easter Bunny comes, I think I would want him to come after church, even perhaps after we eat our Easter meal. I know this will be hard for little children, and they will constantly be on me about when they can hunt for their basket and eggs, but in return I can constantly remind them of the real meaning of Easter.

Kendall did love her basket. It had a pair of crocs for both her and Ethan. Kendall got two princess jibbitz (Cinderella and Ariel) and Ethan got cars, from the movie, Cars. Kendall also received some water color paints, which she really enjoys doing, maybe you too will get a painting in the mail. Kendall likes to say, 'look Mommy, its art!' And of course it had some candy, and also fruit snacks. Oh and balls for Ethan to play with since that is all he really enjoys anyway.

The egg hunt was fun. I think that Ethan enjoyed it more then Kendall since we were searching for what he thought was balls. It was so cute, once he would find one he would hold it in his hands and then when he spotted another he would throw the one he was holding really hard and pick up the new one. Kendall did have fun searching, but I think she thought it was a little silly. I can tell that she really thinks things through and this is funny if you think about it; we are picking up eggs from a bunny that have candy in them.

We then started playing an ongoing game of Blockhead. Well I wasn't there at the start, but once Kendall passed out and Ethan was getting a bath and cuddling with my mom and Mom Mom I got to play with Andy, my sister, and cousins. If you haven't played Blockhead in awhile, you should, it got really addicting. They had even named the pieces, 'blue cheese,' for the piece of wood that is shaped like a piece of cheese, and is, well, blue, and 'the recliner' for the piece that obviously looked like a recliner, and 'juicy fruit' for the piece...well so on and so forth.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Nothing brings me more joy...

...then a baby sleeping for 12 hours at a span through the night. Ethan has accomplished this task finally! He was a bugger there for awhile. Some let their kids cry it out so on and so forth, there is all sorts of sleeping methods. Mine is quite simple. Never wake a sleeping baby. (there are those that wake the newborn every 3 hours to put it on a sleep/wake/play schedule, ferberizing them). Help the child in distress. There are those that once the baby gets older they let it cry it out in their crib refusing to feed it or pick it up, just occasionally soothe it rub its belly if necessary. I on the other hand cannot not bear to hear a baby crying for me. It rips my heart out. I tried this with Kendall bc she was a terrible sleeper and it never worked and I would have my head under a pillow crying. If I know that I can get that baby back to sleep and do it within 5 minutes a majority of the time, well then I am doing it.

These methods have been adapted for one primary purpose: Mommy and Daddy getting sleep. Because I know personally if I do not get sleep, I cannot function. I have two small children to take care of that DEMAND my attention from sun up to sun down. Mind you two, 13 months apart. I know there are those with 8 babies at a time, but they get the reality show and can now afford a nanny. There is no down time, and I have tried upping the coffee consumption, I am now immune to caffeine. And Lord knows if Andy doesn't get the sleep he needs. its ugly.

It has been 2 years now of me not getting a full settled nights sleep, bc as all mom's know, that ear is ALWAYS alert. It doesn't matter if they sleep through, you still wake up to listen. So if I know how to milk the night and get 5 more minutes of sleep out of it, well then guess what?

If a certain method worked for you and your baby, well then that is just great. Just don't preach to me about it and that I am just so naughty for not doing it. Why do some people do that? If it works in your house, more power to you, but do you live with me? I think I got it, and if I don't I will soon find out.

I just want to let them be little. They only stay this way for so long. Soon enough they will be shutting their door to their room and deciding when they want to go to sleep. I think we are taught to over analyze every move our child makes and are made to think that there is some method to their madness and we as the parents need to adhere to what these experts are saying or our child will have some misdiagnosed behavioral disorder with a fancy name and big price tag.

I mean honestly, have you heard of someone who is 21 and still needs their mom to rock them to sleep? They grow out of it. They grow out of everything. I just want to hold them while I still can.

If they gave me a hard time about the rocking or I was stuck in a room for hours on end, well then yeah, obviously I would rethink things, but I'm not.

I am all for taking and giving advice. But I like to pick and chose what works for me and my children. Are we all not fearfully and wonderfully made, wonderfully meaning, unique. So one way may not work for another child. I also tend to take the advice of the person who has been there and done that.

Don't get me wrong my kids are not barbarians running around with no structure hanging from the ceiling like a monkey. I am not some hippy mom who lets them roam the house naked, letting them form the rules. I believe that children thrive with discipline and boundaries, but I also firmly believe in abundant love, fun, and comfort that we form as a family. So what works for my kids, may not work for yours. Like many things in life it is all about balence. I am learning and we make adjustments when needed.

Like I mentioned before, in my house we like to get as much sleep as possible. If this means I go in and feed a baby at 3 a.m., because he is waking and is hungry, for 10 minutes to have it go back to sleep and sleep until 8 a.m., well guess what I am doing it. And if it takes a binky to go to sleep, well then they get a binky. (the binky fairy will come soon. there is a deadline above us,ok, so don't worry they won't go to Kindergarten with it)And if they need to come into my bed at night for some comfort to go back to sleep bc their teeth hurt, or they are scared of the monsters, well then guess what, jump on in under the covers, I'll return them when they get back into that deep comforted sleep. And horror of all horrors, if I want to rock my babies to sleep at night, well then I am going to do it. Who does this affect other then me, and I like to do it. I am going to rock and rock and rock my babies.so there. I like this cuddling time, I like to have them curl into me and fall asleep in the safety of my arms. They both fall asleep in under 10 minutes, I sit in there longer to watch them sleep, pray, read a book, be alone, think, and just listen to them sleep. Kendall will be too big to do this and will soon be a big girl, she already is asking to be put in her bed right as she shuts her eyes, she will look at me and say, 'in my bed mommy?'

And sure there are times when Kendall will give me a hard time bc she is having a hard time settling, and sometimes Ethan isn't ready for bed. But for the most part, I have learned that unless they don't feel well, they are going to go down without a fight.

And we have a routine at bedtime. It is typically:
jammie time
The kids snuggle with Andy while I clean up the bath stuff, get rooms ready and a bottle for E
Kendall curls up with Daddy and reads or watches a show
I give Ethan his bottle, kiss him, and if Kendall is misbehaving he doesn't get rocked that long and he is put into bed just about asleep, or just plain tired and wants to go to sleep
I then go in and get Kendall and we go into her room and depending on the time, read a book, say prayers, I snuggle with herk and then for the most part she knows this is quiet time, and she will play with my hair, tell me she loves me, and she is either out, or says good night and I can put her into her bed, and I watch her drift off super fast.

Ethan was hungry at 3 a.m., every night, and since 3 months of age he has only ever woken up once at night, unless he is sick, for a bottle, and is right back to sleep, no messing around. He is a big boy and 7 hours was long enough to go without nourishment. I can't dispute that. So for the past 4 nights he has slept right through. Not a peep, unless I hear him searching for his binky, then I go pop it back in.

Kendall weaned off a bottle at 16 months. I then gave her a sippy cup of warm milk while we read, and then after about a month or two of that, she wanted nothing after her snack. She might want some water or juice occasionally right before going to sleep. So I plan to do the same with Ethan. He too started a sippy cup at 6 months and just gets a bottle before nap and bedtime now. So he is not attached to the bottle either.

So all in all sleep is back in the Fink house, is it time for another?
think again.

But for some reason now with the uninterrupted sleep, I am more tired.
Alright, stepping off the soap box.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

For those that don't know, Kendall LOVES to dress up. She is gathering quite a collection and as I type this she is wandering her play room in a head band with cat ears, her cinderella nightie, striped leggings and her blue, plastic high heels. She thinks that she is a princess. When she sees a princess on tv or in a book, she will say look mommy, a princess, like me. And being a princess leaves her to what she thinks is complete accessibility to anyones high heeled shoes, and pretties. (defintion: Pretties are jewelry and accessories for your hair; things that to Kendall make you pretty) When we are at my parents Kendall can usually be found in one of her aunts rooms exploring the closet for the perfect pair of heels or in the chest which holds all aunt michelle's hair pretties and chunky jewelry. Her imagination is just blossoming and she can make any room her palace. Just recently we were climbing through the play set at the park and she reached the top and said, "we are in the tower of mines castle guys." To explain the picture above, Kendall asked Aunt Meghan if she could wear her princess shoes. This was at the end of a reception for our pastors installation service on Sunday and Kendall walked around making sure everyone saw how pretty she was in her dress, stockings, and heels.

To continually egg on this interest in all things princess, this past weekend Kendall received a stuffed Cinderella from my sisters boyfriend Eddie, from his business trip to Disney. She thinks this doll is just fabulous and carries it around much of the day. Cinderella already needs cleaning since it seems Kendall had a mystery injury while in sunday school and had a little cut on her finger that bled on Cinderella before they could bandage it. We are hoping to get it cleaned through the magic of oxyclean which my mom has, I am out, and not only that my mom has more patience with stains. So we will be sending Cinderella to the doctor to get fixed up.Kendall will most likely cry, but we can't let Eddie see Cinderella in this state, she is brand new, and not only that at least 3 times a day since she has had the doll she breaks into a crying spell because Cinderella has "bled on her dress, from my boo-boo, oh my boo-boo look mommy, it hurts." (the cut is barely there, but she likes to relive it) So for my sanity as well, Cindy needs a new look.

Ethan is still at the frustration stage with the mobility. He is now completely pulling up on things and slowly and cautiously cruising around and will occasionally turn and release to grab the next available thing. He is quickly learning though, that not all things are stable. I back him up completely though. When you think too much about walking, it can be pretty scary.

He is starting to take an interest in books, and will say, 'book.' They are mostly picture books that contain animals, but for awhile there I thought he was turning into his Daddy and opposing books. It's good to know that he will be cuddling up for story time with Kendall and I soon. And as far as Andy and the reading...he will read about current sports until his eyes begin to hurt. Put a book in front of him, forget it. To confess to his senior year professors, I did ALL of his papers that had to reference reading any sort of book. I on the other hand cannot imagine not reading. Beyond reading close to 200 children's books a week, some over and over again, I also average 2 to 3 grown up books a week. I mostly read when I am rocking the kids. Sometimes at 3 a.m. after Kendall has woken up scared of the monsters. What I think has been 10 minutes turns into 90. And we wonder why I am super tired. But Andy does pitch in and melt to Kendall when she asks, "Daddy, can you read this?" And he has been taking her to the library and picking out pretty good books. I think we are converting him. :) Baby Steps, its ok to start with a fairy tale.

So we jump into another week which seems like it is going to be a normal week with nothing much planned before we start to get busy again...famous last words.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Taming of the Two Year Old

Everyone has recovered from their featured illnesses of last week. Appetites are back,(the demand for lollipops is in full swing & the consumption of noodles is plentiful), energy levels are up, ("play mommy, play with me" is the choice phrase of the week),the circles under my eyes can once again be hidden behind concealer, and Kendall's defiance has returned.(she was down & out for a few days there, but could still manage and good fight)

We now have the "naughty spot," in full swing. She is given a warning about her negative behavior and the spot is threatened, and then upon second address, she is in it with an explanation as to why she is there and that she is to stay there until she hears the beeping. The timer is set for 2 minutes, and I return her to the spot again and again, with no words, until she just sits, (screaming and crying is permitted, after all she is in the naughty spot, but it is ignored). The timer goes off, and I go to her, explain the behavior again, " Kendall you were in the naughty spot because...", that I didn't like it, ask for an apology and a hug, and tell her that she needs to listen to Mommy.

The hard part is deciphering what I deem is truly a negative behavior bc I do not want to over use the spot and have it lose its novelty. I have to think, is she bored, is she hungry, is she tired? I try to redirect her, or feed her, or give her some time alone, based upon what I think is the issue and then if the tantrum or negative behavior continues one warning, and then that is where she is.

Thanks Super Nanny.

Easier said then done, but we are trying to tame a two year old child, not a dog. Thankfully Kendall does not act out physically or dangerously. Sure there are the occasional slaps from her, but I believe that they are impulse, because once they are addressed once, the behavior stops. I think that was me making the mistake of slapping her hand when she was bad. I am now going to limit those actions to situations where I deem she is putting herself or someone else in danger. Where no warning is needed because she is knocking someone over the head or running into the street after I have taught her not to. Because what I have learned from spanking or slapping, is monkey see, monkey do, at this point. She every once in awhile is caught slapping Ethan or the cat followed by words of discipline, and I feel defeated knowing that I taught her nothing about the behavior that warranted the act, just that it hurts when you do it and you get their attention. I used to also apologize after the slap because she would cry. Saying, " I am sorry I hit you but you were...." With the naughty spot the only one that needs to apologize is Kendall. I am not making her cry because I hurt her, I am making her cry because she is doing something she doesn't want to do, and that is life my friends.

Last night she was put in the naughty spot by Andy. I believe after many warnings from both him and I she continued to act up at the dinner table and then threw Ethan's cup off his high chair missing him only by luck. Andy followed through and put her there, I set the timer, and she sat. I smiled thinking, oh she's got it. Today she was put there after a tantrum that involved meal time and throwing things all over, and I put her there, she took every opportunity to get up! Frustrating. But she did endure the two minutes and then began to behave again.

Kendall all in all is a sweetheart. She means well a majority of the time and is extremely caring. It is just these few incidents during the day that I am put to the limit. I suppose that is a two year old.

Today was Kendall's two year check up. She was so well behaved, everyone there commented on it. I explained to them that Kendall also believes she is a doctor. We at home are constantly being examined by her with her Dr. Kit. So her behaving there at the doctor's office today was merely her being respectful to her colleagues. She does occasionally have unruly patients at home, most especially in Lily the cat, she can be quite the aggressive patient, so she understands the importance of the cooperative patient.

Kendall weighed in at 26 1/4 pounds.(Ethan weighed 25 3/4 just last week)
She is 34 1/2 inches tall ( will find out Ethan's height in 2 weeks)
Her head is 18 3/4 in circumference. (Ethan's is the exact same size right now)

She got her shot like a champ and received a Dora Sticker and some pretzels for her behavior.

This past weekend was also Andy's birthday. (the 2nd) We celebrated with a family party on Saturday night where the kids were both crank balls. Andy then had a poker tournament with some of his poker friends here at our house on Sunday. My sisters and I entertained each other and the kids. Kendall told my sister Meghan upon her arrival to our house that Daddy was having a friend party. She even helped me make a cake for this event and we sang to him with everyone that was there.

So now some screeching calls and I have to go tame some kids and prepare dinner...

All in day of a stay at home mom. I smell of bleach (from crazy bathroom cleaning) and a dirty diaper ( i hate that the smell lingers in your nostrils for longer then necessary)...cannot wait to shower!