Archive for the ‘toddler life’ Category

My Tip-Toe is Too Loud

October 10, 2012

So Annalise spent the weekend at the grandparents again. Her transitions back home have been a little rough lately (code word for lots of time outs, fussing, whining, and crying). Within a few days, things seem to get back to normal. But those first few days are a living nightmare doozy. Especially those 9-10 hours when it’s just me and the terror daughter.

So one day this week, Annalise’s afternoon nap lasted only one hour. This only happens when she’s sick, teething, or upset that she’s not at Mawmaw’s house. I was not ready for her to get up, and neither was she. Generally she wakes up happy, but she was fussing and crying. I let her cry for a while, hoping she’d go back to sleep. (We are in the CIO camp, which has worked great!) I eventually went in to get her, but she immediately collapsed on my shoulder when I picked her up. She was exhausted. I let her rest on my shoulder, and then decided to put her back in the crib.

As soon as her head hit the pillow, she shrieked in protest. I rubbed her back for a bit, and she sucked her thumb and laid back down. By the way, we never do this. Primarily because 1) it doesn’t work and she will not go back to sleep, and 2) see number one.

So I am tip-toeing out of the room, and I’m at the door. As I turn to go out, my foot cracks. You know what I mean, right? My bones just slightly crack as I shift my weight.

Up pops her head. Annalise cries out as she sees me. And naptime is over.

And I have to mention that we have a white noise machine that is cranked wayyy up in her room. So her bionic ears isolated my foot-cracking while surrounded by the soothing sounds of a mountain stream.

Ridiculous. No wonder Annalise was such a light sleeper as a baby. Oh wait – she still is.

Not a problem – we just won’t make any noise louder than a foot-crack while she’s sleeping those 12-14 hours each day.


Trust Has Been Broken

October 2, 2012

No, not my trust in Annalise. That is still being earned. But the trust of which I speak is in an inanimate object…

Door knobs.

One day last week, Annalise was able to open and close a door, repeatedly. With a knob. A knob I have trusted in since Annalise was able to crawl. This knob is no longer able to keep my toddler in or out. I am in a state of shock.

I knew this day would come, and I’ve even seen glimpses of it’s coming. Annalise figured out a long time ago that the shiny brass (I know, we have the latest 90s fashion in door hardware) handle was the key to freedom. As soon as she could pull herself up, she’d reach up for that handle. And I’d smile as her fingers barely touched the knob.

Now I’m not smiling. Her entire hand fits squarely over the knob. It’s just the twisting mechanics that is keeping her at bay. Until last week.

Thankfully, Annalise has forgotten about her new found skill. I shan’t remind her. And you better not either.

Is it Still Called “Time-Out” if it Happens Most of the Day?

September 24, 2012

At Annalise’s 18-month doctor’s appointment, I had so many good things to share with her peditrician. In the past three months, Annalise has learned so  many new things, and she is really a full-blown toddler. We were both amazed at her verbal and social skills. But then, there is the issue of discipline…

I brought up the issue because I was a bit discouraged. At 7 months pregnant, a rule-breaking toddler exhausts me! So I lamented with the doctor the day-in-the-life with Annalise, and asked his advice…

Back story:

When Annalise first started disobeying (meaning she knows not to do something, and she does it anyways – not just her exploring and learning about the world), I tried smacking the back of her hand. This didn’t really go so well – since she rarely got the point. She’d usually laugh or smile after I slapped her hand. And she’d even hit her own hand, while saying “No.” It was a game to her.

Then we moved to time-out. It was a struggle for me to just get her to sit still, but I knew it would be effective since she strives for attention. I did start to see some results…but then I was hit by round ligament pain, and I got lazy. And when you aren’t consistent with discipline, it never works.

After explaining the the doctor Annalise’s struggle with obedience, he reaffirmed Annalise’s readiness and need for time-out, and discipline in general. She is “advanced” in many ways, including testing authority. Joy. So we left the doctor’s office by 9:15am, and I was determined to stand up to the will of my 1.5 year old.

By her 12:30 nap time, we’d probably already had 8 time-outs. Almost all of them were because she had hit me. When Annalise hits, sometimes it’s out of frustration, sometimes anger. And many times it’s as she is expressing her understanding of the “No Hitting” rule, which means she hits me while saying, “No.” Needless to say, on this day, when Daddy got home from work, I left Annalise into his care while I got some space. Of course, she’s always much better behaved with anyone else.

Time-outs at this stage look like this: Annalise is taken to a designated area in the room (or in the car, if we are out…getting in and out of the car is a prime-time for hitting). She sits down and is told, “You are in time-out. We do not hit/throw/touch/run-in-the-street/etc.” I divert my attention, but stay close enough to make sure she doesn’t get up or find a nearby toy. After about one minute, I go over to her. I get down on her level, and get her to look at me (which is usually difficult because she “hides” by covering her eyes…ugh…another game). I tell her she is done with time out, and that we do not x…y…z…. She gives Mama a hug and kiss, and off she goes.

Honestly, I don’t know how effective the time-out is. She doesn’t complain in time-out, and actually seems to enjoy it (she often sings or hums). Annalise still hits and disobeys known rules, but not as often. I think she finds the whole system of time-out intriguing and new. After a week of this, she still hits me (while saying “no hit”), but now she’ll head right over to the time-out spot without being told.

Even though I haven’t created this obedient angel child, I can tell that she is exercising some self-control. When she does hit, she doesn’t do it hard – or she completely misses me. I think she’s testing the limits of her rules, and time-out is just a new activity. I am trying to be much more consistent. The hard thing is enforcing rules when we are out and about, or she’s about ready to go down for a nap. I’m torn as to how to handle those extraordinary circumstances.

But we’ll see how it goes. I have several books in the queue for disciplining strong-willed or spirited children. I’m sure we haven’t solved the problem, and it will always be a journey with Annalise as she grows and exercises her independence.

Anyone else out there have experience with disciplining strong-willed kids? I’d love to hear some feedback!


Goodnight Moon – If I Could Just Find You!

September 18, 2012

So I’ve always known that my little Annalise was a comic. She will do anything for a laugh, or for some attention. Here is her latest tactic…

We read books. Lots of books. They are probably her favorite thing to play with. But in the last few weeks, she has put a new twist on “reading.”

Let’s say we are reading 101 Dalmatians (which is quite likely this week). There are three pages in the whole book that have a picture of a moon in the background. Whenever we read the book, she will always point and exclaim, “Moon!”

Not so unusual yet?

Well Annalise will often immediately close the book and hold up her hands – her way of asking, “Where did it go?” Then she will flip through the pages trying to find it. When she’s on a page without the moon, she will shake her hand and say, “Noooo….” And keep flipping. Then she will find the page and say, “Moon!” But the victory is short-lived. Usually, the book is closed again and Annalise holds out her hands in confusion. Repeat x 48383.

So I have played a similar version of this game with peek-a-boo. When Annalise first started playing that game (which gets really old really fast), I’d mix it up by guessing places she was hiding. So instead of being right in front of me on the changing table covering her eyes, I’d ask, “Is Annalise in the bathroom? Noooo… Is she in the kitchen? Nooooo…”

So today, the “reading” game has also been mixed up. Instead of just flipping through pages looking for the object (this time, it was a cat), Annalise started making the baby sign for car. It threw me off, so I asked, “A car?!”, thinking she was anxious to get out of the house. But to my surprise, Annalise replied with, “Nooooo…” And then said, “Outside? Noooo…” And so the game continues…probably even at this very moment…

Haha. I think she’s pretty funny. And Annalise knows it, too. So I guess that means that I’ve just guaranteed that I’ll be playing this game until she goes to Kindergarten…

There’s a Toddler in My Bed

September 12, 2012

So I’m getting sick with a cold. It’s at the point where my head feels heavy and congested, and I can’t always breathe through my nose at night. This spells disaster and fatigue for a pregnant lady. No NyQuil for me.

Double bonus for the toddler also being sick (I blame her for catching the bug and passing it to my compromised immune system). Today Annalise wakes up at 6am, crying and fussing because she doesn’t feel good.

So desperate for a few more minutes of sleep, I bring her into my bed (I never do this…). She’s a snotty mess, but cuddles up to me. “Good,” I think, “She’s going to go back to sleep.”

In 10 seconds, Annalise realizes its play time. She proceeds to slap my head, saying “Hug.” then points to my facial features, calling out, “Ear”, “Nose”, “Eye.” It’s really hard to sleep when you are a learning poster for your extroverted daughter.

I keep telling her that we are going “night night” and to “lay your head down.” It works for about 5 seconds, and then a neuron fires and she’s popping her head up with a new revelation.

“Dada?” “Dada is at work…shhh.”
“Pillow.” “Yes, let’s go night night.”
“Drink!” “Shhhhh.” “Drink!!!!” “Later, lay your head down.”

I finally wave the white flag and get dressed, probably with about 4 solid hours of sleep. Let’s just hope we both get a good nap this afternoon.

Labor Day Loungin’

September 3, 2012

So we are sitting at Starbucks, enjoying an extra long weekend. Jason has the day off, which means I’m off baby-chasing duty. It’s glorious.

And it’s September, which means its pumpkin spice season at Sbux. I got a decaf, iced version (not as good, but I’m roasting as a pregnant lady in this 75 degree weather). As soon as my drink came up on the counter, Annalise wanted a sip. She lowered those puckered lips over the green straw, sipped, and said, “Mmmmmm…milk.”

And that is how Starbucks gets customers at an early age. Most expensive 12oz of milk ever.


When Daddy’s Away…Annalise Knows???

August 24, 2012

Jason has a great job. He loves it. He’s good at it. His co-workers and supervisors love him. Occasionally he has to travel to supplier facilities, mostly within a day’s drive. While I love so many things about Jason’s work, I dread these overnight trips. They come too often, in my opinion. Mad respect for single moms or military wives.

The most challenging thing isn’t that I get lonely, or bored, while he’s gone. I mean, Jason and I have been married 5 years. I don’t need him by my side every day. Call it lethargy security. (I am also an introvert, and love curling up with a book or HGTV.) The main thing is that I get tired of taking care of Annalise and our dog 24-7 for more than 24 hours. Who cooks dinner and then cleans the toddler, the dishes, and the kitchen afterwards? Who does the nighttime routine, and then walks the dog? It’s a lot for me. I’m sure there are other moms that do more on a regular basis, but it really wears me out.

But I digress. I have a theory: toddlers know when Daddy is gone. I swear it. The very day Jason got in his car to leave for his last trip, Annalise started acting up. This time? Hitting.

Now Annalise knows that we don’t hit. It’s one of the battles I choose to fight every.single.time. “No hit Mama.” “No hit Mya (our dog).” Annalise pushes against rules pretty frequently, but usually not in a malicious, rebellious way. More out of curiosity and limit-testing. But not this time. Rebellion. Frustration. Violence. All in my sweet, curious, fun-loving daughter.

I think this trip only meant 2 full days with Jason away. And in that time, I was probably smacked in my face (hard) a dozen + times by Annalise. A few times, she hit me so hard that my glasses flew off (!!!). Now, I mostly can keep my cool with Annalise. I understand that she’s usually frustrated or sick or tired when she acts out. But she still has to learn that we do NOT hit. It’s not okay. And that’s where my friend, discipline, comes in.

Now I know there are LOTS of strong opinions out there on disciplining children, and then the age-appropriateness of when to do what. But let me just say it (and please, have mercy on me): I do believe in corporal punishment. And I use it. And I also ignore Annalise, which is very effective since she seeks so much attention. Regardless of your stance on discipline, I have to tell you, I could not believe how much I had to discipline this child when Daddy was gone. What had gotten into her?

And you know what? As soon as Jason was back, it’s like the hitting never happened. She hasn’t hit me in the face once since then. What gives?

Is it just coincidence that she decided to slap me around while Daddy was gone? Or did she somehow know that Mommy was in a vulnerable place and decided to push limits? And of course, Jason is going away again soon…this time I might wear contacts.

Choices: from the Perspective of a Toddler

August 21, 2012

Annalise is passionate. Have I mentioned that? She is giddy when she’s happy; a terror when she’s upset. She definitely wears her heart on her sleeve – and there’s no questioning what kind of mood she’s in. When her mood swings quickly from one extreme to the other, it’s a sign that she’s not feeling well, tired, and/or hungry. If more than two of those conditions are true, I should take a depressant cover.

Any who, Annalise is getting to the age where she is able to make choices. It’s a new way for her to assert her independence. This should be great, right? Well, not for my passionate, opinionated daughter. By choosing one option, she is inevitably choosing NOT to do something else. This is hard for her ego-centric self.

In my opinion, this truth of life is difficult for many college students and adults, too. Their coping strategy? Non-commitment. Don’t we see this so often in our culture?

“Commit to plans on Saturday night? Let me see if something better comes up…”

“You want me to promise to be at this small group/Bible study/club every week for 6 months? Well, if there’s nothing better going on that night…”

“Marriage? Whoa, let’s slow down and make sure that someone better doesn’t come along…”

Our human selfishness and our consumer-oriented culture tells us we can have anything we want, and do anything we set our minds too. While this can be true in some regard, we must value commitment. And saying yes to one thing inevitably means that we must say no to others. 

But I digress. Annalise is coming to grips with this truth, and it shows in a BIG way with her BIG personality.

Last weekend, Jason got Annalise up in the morning while I stayed in bed a few more minutes. (Isn’t that awesome? I hope this doesn’t stop when I’m no longer pregnant…) They were all getting ready to go walk our dog, Mya, when I came downstairs. Side note: Annalise loves walks, especially now that she “helps” by holding Mya’s leash. Anyways, I happened to come downstairs before they had left. Of course, Annalise is thrilled to see me (who isn’t?) and wanted to hug on me.

But…then Daddy needed to leave and walk Mya. And Mama was staying home. What is a toddler to do?

Well Annalise screamed in protest when Jason asked if she wanted to come on a walk. And then, as he walked out the door, she screamed and ran to the door. Jason heard her, came back, and as soon as he came to the door, Annalise screamed and ran back to me. This dance repeated itself probably three more times. Annalise wanted to go on the walk with Daddy, but she didn’t want to leave Mama. So what happened?

Jason left. There were tears, and lots of screaming. I held her and hugged her as she sobbed into my shoulder. “Da-da…Da-da…Walk…” As I rubbed her back, she eventually found comfort in a toy, forgetting the consequences of her decision.

Life is tough. Growing up is tough. Making decisions can be hard, especially when you can’t have the best of both worlds. Because Annalise is so passionate, she may be particularly disillusioned as the reality of life shocks her system. Oh, the joys of growing up! No one tell her about the horror of middle school…

Hugging the Toilet

August 17, 2012

Nope, no one in the house is sick. Thankfully, we are a fairly healthy family. I attribute that to Vitamin D supplements and lots and lots of HFCS (if you know what that is, you probably just cringed…haha).

No, this is a quick tale of my daughter Annalise and her entertaining self. If you didn’t hear about her last  antic for attention, don’t worry. This one is better.

So we’re at the stage of no personal space pre-potty training. If anyone in our house goes to the bathroom (aka “potty”), Annalise wants to come too. She may watch you in action, or just play in the room, but she always wants to help flush the toilet. It’s quite the adventure. And with her almost-6-month preggo Mama, this is a frequent one-stop show.

Anyways, I was done using the potty, we flushed, and usually Annalise watches the water go down. Such a thrill, I know.

But today, as the water was swirling down, she put her cheek on the bare seat and hugged the toilet. And when Annalise hugs, she says, “Awwwwww.”

Of course I flipped out that she touched the toilet seat, but then I laughed. And that did it. After I closed the lid, Annalise continued to hug the lid and the toilet for a few more seconds.

We love us our toilets, ’round here. I do appreciate running water and modern day facilities.

Reason #234 Why Annalise is Gifted

August 15, 2012

Yesterday, I just talked about why Baby #2 may need therapy. But today, I give you a tid bit of the day-in-the-life with Ms. Annalise. Last time we did this, it may have been the adventures of independent (unsupervised) play.

So a few weeks ago, my good friend came to visit with her little girl. Her daughter is about 7 weeks older than Annalise, and she’s pretty smart. I was really impressed with all the “tricks” she could do – counting, recognition of a few letters, singing songs with motions, and understanding colors. 

Now, Annalise is also pretty smart (in my completely non-biased opinion). Actually, she might not be as much smart, as she is a ham. She is an attention-hog. If she can do something to get a smile or a laugh (or a slap on the hand), she’ll do it. Remember the post about story time at the library? Annalise isn’t just wanting center stage out in public…it’s an all-consuming drive deep inside her. So having my friend’s daughter around gave me some new ideas for Annalise to become my entertainment more learned.

Colors. They became part of my daily language. I’d say, “Let’s put on your pink shoes.” “Now you have your red block.” When I first started doing it, I don’t think Annalise noticed much. And if she did, she’d just look at me and say, “Ba-lock,” emphatically. As if she was correcting me, and I was the person who had misnamed the said object.

Any who, all of this seemed to be going nowhere for the past month or so. Then yesterday…

She was holding one of her stacking rings in her hand, ready to put it on the stacker. She pointed to it, looked up at me, and said, “Ba-lue.” And yes, friends, it was indeed the blue ring.

I was momentarily shocked at her brilliance, and then broke into applause. “Yes, Annalise! Good job! That is the blue ring!!!” She beamed like the proud genius that she is. She had succeeded in becoming the center of the universe.

Then I held up another ring. I chose carefully…the pink one. She should know that one. Almost her whole wardrobe is pink. So I ask, “What color is this ring?”

Annalise smiles at me, looks at the ring, and says emphatically, “Ba-lue.”

Ha. Oh well. I won’t wait by the phone for the call from Harvard admissions office.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll keep working with her on those colors…only 23 more to go, according to a conservative Crayola estimate.