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Archive for the ‘Childhood Milestones’ Category

No, I did not say that!

I want to get my haircut like Katie. She has fangs.

– Ellie, age 4

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

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After all that wiggling and the loose tooth still not falling out, Grampa Joe came to the rescue. With a piece of floss and a little tug, that little baby tooth went flying up in the air, hit the wall and bounced somewhere in the living room. Miranda was too busy laughing to realize that she was bleeding from where her tooth was. The Tooth Fairy came for a visit, and she was very generous! She gave Miranda a spinning toothbrush and a five-dollar bill since the first tooth was a special one. Finally, Miranda can go to school and write her name on the tooth chart at school! Yippee! Then my daughter completely surprised me. She decided to donate her tooth money to Operation Rice Bowl because she said she wanted to help the poor during Lent. I’m so proud of her.

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Whether you are a mom, dad, babysitter, relative or grandparent trying to feed your toddler at the table, it can be a challenge because kids at this age are very squirmy. Here are some creative tips to keep them happy at the dinner table and in their chair eating:

  1. Be creative with toddler utensils. For example, give your kids a garlic press to puree some of their own dinner.
  2. Let them play with a cookie cutter, whisk or lidded containers with food inside of them (this entertains them while you are at the table so you can get a quick bite in too!)
  3. Keep a small stash of plastic toys ready that you can put onto the high chair tray as your child’s interest in the food begins to go downward.
  4. Play farm animals – ask your toddler to pretend to be an animal who can “eat some of his or her meal.
  5. Use plastic cars or trucks to drive up to the food (fill the truck, such as a dump truck, with food and “drive” it into a pile for him or her to eat.
  6. Lastly, consider eating in your toddler’s favorite spot. If your child eats with you at the dinner table every night, why not switch it up and eat at his or her play area once in awhile or perhaps have a “special night” not in the high chair as a treat! 🙂

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Yesterday was Paulo’s first pre-pre-school type class. I remember taking my daughter to this FOUR years ago! The classroom looks exactly the same. The toys are still the same toys. The format is the same. And we also have the same teacher. It was weird being in the same environment with my second child. Just so surreal!

With my daughter, the class seemed so fun and relaxing. We did puzzles, Playdough and paints, and she was very easy going. It was a gratifying and pleasant experience. With Paulo, it’s a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT story. At first, he wouldn’t walk into the classroom. He clung to my leg and I had to walk into the room looking like Frankenstein. Then within the first 15 minutes, he threw puzzle pieces all over the floor, toppled over a stack of blocks, screamed and whined because he wanted the exact same cars that another boy was playing with, then proceeded to have a tantrum in the middle of the rug. The teacher had to come over to see if he was okay. (Yeah, he’s fine. Just the Terrible Twos.)

At Circle Time, he didn’t want to sing the “Slippery Fish” song. He wanted to eat the toy fish that each child was given to hold then had a fit when I tried to pull it out of his mouth. The fish stayed in his mouth. At least he wasn’t screaming, right?

At snack time, he accidentally flung his spoon out of the yogurt he was trying to eat and spilled a spoonful onto floor which happened to spill on his t-shirt and jeans on the way down. Easy clean up, right? Until I realized that the little spoonful of yogurt managed to splatter all over my sweater, shirt, and jeans before landing on the ground! (Lovely!) Then when he had HALF-EATEN everything out of his lunchbox, he threw another tantrum on the floor because he was done eating and wanted to go to the train table. A little girl walked up and stood over him and said, “Are you okay?” (Too cute! That would have been my daughter.)

At recess, he didn’t want to share. He cried because another boy was playing with the steering wheel on the play structure. He wanted someone else’s ride-along car. He wanted to sit on the swing that was occupied. He tried to steal a child’s bucket in the sandbox. And finally, he took a handful of sand and tossed it in my direction. So now I have sand stuck to the yogurt on my sweater and jeans that I didn’t wipe off completely, plus I have sand in my shoes! (GRRRR!!!)

But enough about the negatives. Here are some positives…

  • He made a shamrock project.
  • He learned to play with Playdough instead of eating it.
  • He didn’t dominate the train table like he usually does.
  • He got some much needed outside playtime.
  • And most especially, Mommy got to spend some quality time with my little “angel.”

It’s all good!

This class goes on for 10 weeks. One week down, NINE more to go. This is the first time he’s been exposed to all kinds of stimulation in one place at one time. I know (and I hope!) that each week will get easier, and that he will learn to play nicely with others. I really don’t want to be the mom that everyone talks about behind her back. “Oh, she’s the one with the bratty child.” It will get better, right? Right?

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Usually when it’s snack time, I will place Paulo’s food and his glass of milk in front of him while I busied myself with some other household chore (like the dishes or putting away toys). He usually babbles and makes animal noises while he’s eating or maybe he’ll say dog or bird (if he happens to be looking out the window while he’s eating). Today he was doing something new. I couldn’t understand what he was saying, so I turned around to see what he was doing. He had lined up his goldfish crackers and was mumbling some words, “Muh, Eh, Nah, Bu…” Wow! He’s counting. He wasn’t saying the words clearly, but it was obvious that he was counting.

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My 4-year-old and I recently went to our local retailer to purchase some nighttime diapers. Yes, she still uses them at night. We’ve tried to reduce fluid intake and have her get up at night to use the potty, but it hasn’t worked out yet. Anyway, our retailer was out of her size, so I ran the idea of pull-ups by her. We tried these before and she couldn’t stand them (didn’t like the feel, the girly prints, or the fact they were like underwear), but that was before she knew they had pull-ups with Diego ‘the animal rescuer’ on them.

Though I was happy about her interest in the pull-ups, I was concerned that they would be padded for boys, not girls. Since I couldn’t find anything on the box stating that they were specific to gender (except for the boys on the box wearing them) and the store representative told me they were all padded the same, I went for it. I have to say, it is making my life easier. Now Lilah is happy to put on her pull-ups when she puts on her jammies (since they are like underpants, not diapers). This means we haven’t had any night time accidents from me forgetting to put her diapers on before bed. I used to forget sometimes if she was already under the covers when I went in to read her a book. She has also been more receptive to using the “potty” just before bed for some reason which means we are one step closer to using nothing at all. The lesson I learned is just because it didn’t work in the past, doesn’t mean it won’t work now OR if at first you don’t succeed, wait, and then try another way. Go Diego Go 🙂

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Miranda is wearing Dottie Scotties from Le Top's 2010 Fall/Winter Collection.

Miranda finally has her first loose tooth! Ever since she learned about the Tooth Fairy, she has been bugging me about when her first loose tooth was going to happen. Of course, it doesn’t help that all her classmates in First Grade have already lost teeth in class. Whoever loses a tooth gets to put a sticker on the tooth chart, a trip to the nurse’s office, and a very cool tooth holder necklace to place the fallen prize. So it’s quite obvious on the tooth chart, that my poor little girl still has all her baby teeth.

So now she has a “looth tooth,” and all she does is wiggle it. Morning, noon and night… wiggle, wiggle, wiggle. I can’t wait for that little tooth to fall out already so I can see her whole face without her hand or finger in the way.

Anyone know the going rates on baby teeth these days?

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Every parent has been there….found themselves in deep negotiation with their 2-year-old over whether he can wear his cookie monster shirt 5 days in a row? What parent has not, at one time or another, taken a “walk of shame” out of the grocery store when their child throws themselves to the floor with a tantrum? Toddlerhood is a hard time for many parents because this is the age at which children become more independent and discover themselves as little people that are independent. BUT – although they may be able to communicate well, many have limited ability to reason.

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Here are some secret tactics I gathered from various moms on how to discipline your toddler: 

1. Think Like a Toddler
Toddlers aren’t mini-adults. They have trouble understanding many of the things we take for granted, like how to follow directions and behave appropriately. Try to see the situation from your child’s perspective and help prevent a tantrum.

Giving choices also shows that you respect your toddler and recognize your child’s feelings. In a way, this can make your child feel as though he or she has some control over the situation while you remain in charge.

2.  Avoid Stressful Situations
By the time children reach the toddler stage, you’ve spent enough time with them to know what can set them off. The most common ones are:

  • Hunger
  • Being tired
  • Quick changes in location

With a little advance planning, you can avoid these potential “meltdown” scenarios and keep things relatively calm. If you can, try to make sure your child is home at naptimes, bedtimes, and mealtimes. If you are out, always keep food on hand in case of a sudden hunger attack.

3.  Try Distraction
Fight the urge to raise your voice at your child when he or she acts up, because your tone will either make your child distressed or curious. Instead, quickly and calmly get him interested in another activity. This is especially a good tactic for toddlers who fall down and get a “boo-boo.”

4.  Be Consistent
You and your spouse also need to be on the same page when it comes to family rules. Sending your child mixed messages about whether she’s allowed to get up from the table while everyone is eating or splash you in the bathtub will only confuse and frustrate a child.

Try to keep to the same schedule every day. That means having consistent nap times, mealtimes, and bedtimes, as well as times when your toddler is free to just run around and have fun.

5.  Keep It Positive
If you say the word “No!” to your child all the time, he may start to tune you out — or worse, begin using it himself when he doesn’t want to do something. “Save ‘No!’ for situations when safety is involved.

6. Praise Good Behavior
Sometimes, toddlers act out because they lack communication skills — and it’s a surefire way to get your attention. That’s why you should always let your child know you’re pleased whenever he does something that you like or remembers to follow one of your rules.

7. Know When to Give In
Certain things in a toddler’s life are nonnegotiable. A child has to bathe, eat, brush teeth, and ride in a car seat. Hitting and biting are never OK. Pick your battles.

8. Do the Best You Can
Finally, know that it’s OK to feel stressed out by your toddler sometimes and that you do the best you can. There are good days and bad days, but as long as you parent consistently, you are doing all you can.

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Many kids are afraid of the dark – whether it be from watching a movie, monster in the closet or a boogeyman under the bend…here are some tips on how to conquer those fears and why millions of kids feel that it is so real to be afraid of the dark.

Fears
Fear is a normal part of life for all of us, including our children. It tends to start when you try something new, something that you’ve never experienced before, something that is an unknown.

For small kids, especially toddlers, this happens almost every day, so fear has a lot of opportunity to pop up – especially at night. It tends to be that ‘the fear of the dark’ begins when children are old enough to have a sense of imagination and around 2 or 3-years-old. Kids at this age are old enough to imagine, but sometimes not able to decipher between real and pretend, which can then turn to “scary.” This fear suddenly becomes ‘real life’ when a shadow in the dark can get very scary!

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Why Fear of the Dark? Where does it come from?
Some of the worst offenders of ‘fear of the dark’ is the TV! Many parents don’t recognize how the TV affects their children, especially parents who tend to use the TV as a form of babysitting when they are busy. If you do not regulate what shows they watch or what time of day in the child’s sleep pattern, it can be very stimulating and expose your kid to things that might seem  scary. Another common reason is younger siblings watch TV with their older sibling and it might not be age-appropriate, such as a scary cartoon.

Another root to the fear can actually be books! Yes, the age old books. Images can be intimidating and provoke a child’s imaginations depending on the content. For example, a drawing of a monster in a fairy tale book or witches from a Halloween book.

Scene from Monsters Inc.

A last reason of these fears can come from older siblings or even parents where someone might say to your toddler, “You better brush your teeth or the boogeyman fairy might get you!” Although it is intended as a joke, these simple light-hearted phrases can be a reason by a nighttime fear or nightmare.

Dos and Don’ts

Do:

  • Communicate, be respectful, and show that you understand your child.  Don’t tell them their fear is silly, because not only does it not help and they’re still scared, but now they feel guilty and ashamed of their fear.
  • Ask your child what he or she feels when he or she is alone in the dark. Even if your kid’s apprehension seems ridiculous to you, reassure him/her with concrete information. For example, say, “You’re right that the house makes funny sounds at night. Let’s listen to them together, and I’ll tell you what each one is.”
  • Teach your child to calm himself by saying, “I’m safe in the dark; my mom and dad are nearby” or “That sound was just the heat coming on.”
  • Gradually decrease the light in the room, starting with a lower-watt bulb in his lamp, then leaving a light on only in the hallway. Offer praise each time he goes to sleep with less light.
  • Help your child avoid scary TV shows and movies, since nighttime fears can be greatly intensified by what a child is exposed to during the day.
  • Reassure your child that his fear of the dark is normal.
  • Arm your child with comfort items, whether it’s a blanket, a stuffed animal, or a night-light, to help her sleep soundly.

Don’t:

  • Do sleepovers. Although it may be tempting to let your little one crawl into bed with you, resist the urge.
  • Say to your child, ‘Let me make sure there aren’t any monsters under the bed.

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Oh, boy! My baby is growing up. He’s hit another milestone. Paulo is 21 months, not quite two years old, but my husband and I have decided to move him into a regular bed. Our daughter was probably about the same age, but I’m not an expert. I’m not quite sure when the right time is to transition your toddler from a crib to a bed. BabyCenter says “sometime between ages 1-1/2 and 3-1/2,” stating that “it’s best to wait until your child is closer to 3.” I’m within the range but I decided to use mommy instincts on this one.

Usually I can leave my son in the crib while I go brush my teeth, wash my hands, or even just a couple steps to his closet to pick out what Le Top outfit to put him in. However the past couple of months, he’s gotten so active that when I turn around he’s already got one leg hoisted over the crib and the second leg spring-loaded ready to propel himself in mid-air. So before he seriously injures himself, my husband and I decided to move him to his first bed.

For safety, we put the bed mattress directly on the floor instead of putting the mattress on a bed frame so that he is closer to the ground. To keep him from rolling out of bed while sleeping, we placed bed rails on each side. The first couple of nights were tough because he was terribly excited about his new sleeping arrangements that he would just roll himself from left to right, then back again, only because he can. (Mind you, he has a full-size bed so there’s a lot of room to play steamroller.) By mid-week, when the excitement boiled over, he became accustomed to his bed.

It’s been three weeks now since the big “move” and Paulo LOVES his bed! His crib is still in his room because my husband is too lazy to dismantle it and I am in denial that my baby is no longer a baby. Sometimes, out of habit, I’ll put him in his crib while I go to his closet. He cries and looks at me with sad puppy eyes as if he’s asking me if he’s in trouble. (We really need to dismantle it!) Although, the best part is when it’s time for bed. After we brush his teeth, he’ll run to his room and things will be quiet. When I walk in, I always find him under the covers sitting up with a book on his lap and a big smile ready for story time. So precious!

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