Eat..Play..Sleep

This year has been a transition year for me and Della.  I lost my job and took her out of daycare. Because of my crazy commute to work, being in traffic almost three hours some days, my sister would pick her up from daycare because of how late I got home.  By the time I did get home, we would only have an hour of mommy and me time before she had to go to bed. So, we’ve basically been adjusting to being together 24/7 and getting to know each other again.  I cut back on blogging and decided to spend the time just hanging with Della. It’s been stressful for us both as we are both very stubborn people but very much worth it.

I think the hardest part has been adjusting to her eating habits.  When she was in daycare, they had a schedule and she pretty much knew what she was going to eat everyday for breakfast, lunch, and snack.  None of this was stuff we had at home.  Her daycare served a lot of prepackaged food and we cook with mostly fresh food.  Trying to get her to eat fresh food for each meal was a huge challenge. I think I heard “I don’t like that” or ” we don’t eat that at school” a billion times.  I wasted so much food trying to push her to eat and because my three-year old’s attitude is a carbon copy of mine and her dad’s, it causes a lot of tense moments. Like I said, we are both stubborn people. Eventually, I gave in to some of the prepackaged foods she liked, and slowly she began to eat fresh foods again. Now, she helps me cook meals and rarely eats prepackaged ones.

One thing my little has taught me is to play more.  I was so stressed out from work and the being stuck in traffic, I barely wanted or had the energy to play when I got home.  Since Della was so used to get up early for daycare, she continued to get up early.  I was not happy about this because I finally wanted to enjoy sleeping in for once.  Heck, I thought she would sleep in since she didn’t have to go to daycare.  Nope, in true kid form, she was up when the first ray of sunlight hit the window ready to play.  I’m not one to talk first thing in the morning and her cheerfulness, millions of questions, and requests to play were not very welcoming.  Little by little as we went outside, in the very early morning, I learned to enjoy our early morning play dates.  I’ve taught her to play games, such as hopscotch, kick ball, and how to fly a kite.  We’ve enjoy making stories using sidewalk chalk paint and playing school on the chalkboard in the garage. Yes, she is the teacher most of the time. We’re mostly just having fun and letting the day take us where it wants.

Bedtime plays a major part in our days.  Della rarely takes naps anymore and by the end of the day, she is so worn out.  When she gets tired she is not a nice or happy toddler. When it’s bed time, and we are all cuddled up, I ask her to tell me about her day. At first she wasn’t really feeling it because she didn’t know what to say. She would just say it was  OK.  I would ask questions about how she felt, what she did, what she ate, or what did she like best about her day.  As time went by, she began to open up and express herself more. It’s all about getting to know her as a person, what she likes, her personality, and how she views the world and our time together without pushing her to share her feelings.  Now, when we go to bed, she crawls in my arms and says mommy I want to tell you about my day.  It feels good to hear the excitement in her voice and know that she feels comfortable talking and opening up to me about things that matter to her.  I hope, as she gets old, she continues to feel she can openly talk to me about things going on in her life.

These months haven’t been all rainbows and glitter.  We’ve cried, gotten on each other’s nerves, and had more personality clashes than needed, but we’ve learned to so much in the process.  We’ve learned to enjoy our mommy and me moments more. We’ve learned to enjoy our free time with play instead of worry and frustration, how to communicate so we understand how the other person feels and what they need. We’ve also learned to cook so good recipes from Pinterest.  But, the most important thing we’ve learned it love and enjoy life.

Museum of Life and Science

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Della and I decided we needed to get out the house, after a long week, so what better place to go, on a dreary day, than the museum.  I have not been to the Museum of Life and Science since I was is in grade school and that’s been a long darn time.  It was exciting to share this experience with her and discover new things together.

The Museum of Life and Science is in Durham, NC.  Looking from the outside, you would never expect the amazing adventures that lie ahead.  We started the day with some music in the musical instrument section outside. Della loved the drums and I must say, my baby got rhythm. We then moved over to the farmyard, to look at the baby animals, before heading off to the train.

The train makes two circles around the park. While riding you can spot dinosaurs in between the trees, animals statues, a giant tree house, and wonderful artwork.  Right before pulling into the the train station, the train enters a tunnel and every one is encouraged to scream as loud as they can. Della and I definitely got our scream on.

The Magical Wings Butterfly House was amazing.  Who knew so many types of butterflies existed.  The museum has a butterfly conservatory that feels like a tropical paradise. All I needed was a beach and I would have been in heaven.

Inside the museum, there is an art gallery and a place for kids to create their own art pieces.  Della’s favorite part was definitely the weather center.  She got to see how clouds and tornadoes form and how changes in the atmosphere affect our weather.

There’s so much to do in at the Museum of Life and Science but we couldn’t fit it all in one day.  After a good three hours, we  were exhausted.  I see us spending many days here this summer.  Since we love going to different museums and science centers, I signed up for a membership.  The membership has great benefits, such as – free entry into the center, early entry for special exhibits, discounts at the center store and cafe’, and discounts or free entry into affiliated science centers around the world.

So, if you’re bored and looking for something fun and educational, check out your local museum or science center. It’s a great way to play and learn at the same time.

 

Yes Della, Your Feelings do Matter

As a mother of a three year old, I know first hand  kids crying is not the most joyous sound to hear.  I know it can get on a person’s nerves and make them uncomfortable.  I know I just want it to stop as soon as possible.  I know I am making it about me and my comfort and not about comforting my daughter. I also know, I am wrong for doing this.

Today, as I listened to my daughter cry because she couldn’t have a piece of chocolate (she’d just had chocolate ice cream) and I told her to stop because I didn’t want to hear her cry, I realized I was not letting her acknowledge her feelings about her circumstances at the moment.  When she decided to go upstairs and cry by herself, I listened to my sister tell her to go back downstairs and cry because she didn’t want to hear it, I realized she was not letting my Della acknowledge her feelings.  When Della came back downstairs looking lost and defeated, I realized I had taken away her power to express her sadness and frustration. I and my sister were telling her, her feelings didn’t matter.

Della is three and three year olds cry.  Does she cry all day?  No. Does she throw temper tantrums? Rarely.  Does she gets sad and overwhelmed at times?  Yes.  But, she is a toddler and she is learning how to process her emotions.  She is learning how to express herself in a world of where it seems everyone can do what they want but her.  As a three year old, she cannot sit down and properly express to me how she’s feeling and control her emotions every day all day.  Usually, Della is pretty good as controlling her feelings.  If she’s upset and crying, she will go sit on the steps, cry, get herself together, and come talk to me afterwards, but, as she gets older, it’s getting harder for her to process and understand these new feelings.

As she looked up at me, with her big brown eyes, feeling defeated and emotionally drained, I realized I was letting my feelings and my emotions dictated how she should express herself.  It also made me look at myself and how I dealt with emotions and acknowledge the shadows of my past.  How I felt I needed to hide when I was feeling sad, when I cried, or was feeling frustrated because I knew my parents didn’t want to “hear that noise”.  I was reminded of how I felt my feelings and sadness didn’t matter and how I felt scared to show any emotion besides happiness for fear of making someone else uncomfortable.  It also reminded me of how alone I felt, as a child and teenage, because I didn’t have anyone to help me understand what I was feeling.  How alone I feel now.  How, as a society, the only emotion acceptable to show is happiness.

I refuse to let Della think the only time she can be around her family is when she is happy.  The only time we want her to show emotions is when she is entertaining us or other people.  The only time she is a good child is when she is happy.  I don’t want her to think she can’t be comfortable, expressing her sadness, in her own home.  I don’t want her to grow up with the belief that other’s feelings are more important than hers.  That she is not allowed to feel frustrated or sad. That she is only here to make other’s happy.

Does this mean I am going to let her throw temper tantrums all day?  No.  It means I am going to acknowledge her feels and her.  I am going to try to help her understand and process these feelings. Not because, I don’t want to hear her cry, but because I want her to understand she can cry and there is someone here to help and love her.  I want her to know and feel she has emotional support.  I want her to know my feelings are not more important than hers and she doesn’t have to hide her sadness. Della is not just my daughter, or a niece, or a granddaughter, she is her own person, who has feelings and insecurities just like everyone else.  As her mom, it’s my responsibility to help her become the best person she can be. Because, she’s too young to live in a world where no one cares.

 

 

 

 

 

From One Sleepy Parent to Another – PLEASE HELP!

My little angel has decided she doesn’t need to sleep through the night anymore.  WTH!  Ummm this was not part of the deal!  How can she just rewrite our contract like this?  Why didn’t I have a say?

For the past month Della has been waking up, multiple times, throughout the night, and that means I am up most of the night.  After about 30 minutes to a couple of hours she will fall soundly back to sleep.  Not me, nope not gonna happen.  I am that person, once awake,  will stay awake.  No matter how hard I try to go back to sleep, it just doesn’t happen.  But once the sleep gods do have mercy on me and I fall into a peaceful slumber – yep you guessed it- she’s right back up.

I know I am not the only parent who’s experienced this. Any ideas on how to get her to sleep through the night again?  From one sleepy parent to another, PLEASE HELP!

Potty Training Hell

I think Della is, intentionally, mentally tormenting me with this potty training thing.  She will go all day at daycare.  All the teachers rave about how well she is doing,  they have no problems with her, and she will get up and go by herself.  She even stays in the same pull-up all day. When she gets home, it’s a whole different story.  It’s like she gets amnesia or something.  She won’t go to save her life or mine.

When I ask does she have to potty she says no.  When I take her she doesn’t go but just as soon as I pull that pull-up, she pees.  What gives?  I’ve tried just putting her panties on and that doesn’t work.  She just takes them off and runs around bare bottom.  Brides don’t even work. We’ve done books, celebrations, dancing, and videos. It’s not that she can’t go, it’s that she won’t go for me.  Every now and then, she will go by herself, if no one is around.  I am seriously thinking she is torturing me on purpose. I will win this war.

Snowed In with a Toddler!

There’s nothing like being snowed in with a two year old.  The East and North East got a big snow storm last week which meant we were stuck in the house for three days.  How do you entertain a toddler for three days?  How do you entertain a sick toddler for three days?  It was not easy but we found some fun things to do.

20160125_125706[1]20160123_103208[1]20160123_103433[1]20160123_104428[1]20160124_102018-1[1]20160124_101935[1]20160123_142034[1]20160123_141656[1]

Della wasn’t up for much the first couple of days, so it was mainly puzzles and painting.  We were supposed to paint the rocks but that quickly turned into paint the baby.  She finally sat still long enough to put her new puzzle together and have a mini photo shoot with Minnie and Daisy.

You know we had to go out in the snow for a bit. She still wasn’t 100%, so we were only out for a short time.

I love spending time with Della. She always keeps me on my toes.  It was such fun seeing her paint and really focus on making a “pretty picture” for mommy.   She loves exploring her creative side and I try to encourage it as much as possible.  Who knows, maybe she will be a famous artist one day!