None of the Day

I taped a small 3″x3″ paper to my monitor. I placed it strategically in front of the volume knob and where the monitor on the left meets the the monitor on the right. Scrawled in blue Sharpie pen is one of the greatest lessons I will ever learn.

And I learned it from my four-year-old daughter.

Every day, we ask Charlotte two questions during dinner.

What was your favorite part about today?

What was your least favorite part about today? 

These two questions open up an opportunity for us to talk about wins in her day, as well as opportunities for growth. We can celebrate! And we can learn.

Most days, when asked about her favorite part of the day, Charli will tell us stories about fun activities from pre-school, sugar filled treats or special time with mom dad.

When asked about her least favorite part, she’ll recount a disagreement with a friend, getting in trouble or not getting something she wanted.

My favorite days are when I ask about her favorite part of the day while she bounces in her chair, eating her dinner. Without waiting until she swallows her bite, she bursts out: All of the day!

And when asked about the least favorite, she raises the eyebrows on her expressive little face and her eyes grow wide. She smiles and shouts, None of the day! 

None of the day.

The absence of anything negative in her day.

How fantastic!

Can you imagine if we all shared this same mentality? How might the world be different if we looked on our days and thought – no – believed that “all of the day” was our favorite part, leaving no room for any emotion other than joy?

I want to be undeniably in love with my life just like Charli.

So, I taped a small 3″x3″ paper to my monitor. I placed it strategically in front of the volume knob and where the monitor on the left meets the the monitor on the right. When I felt myself sliding toward negativity, my eyes darted to the paper to read the message.

What is your least favorite part of the day?

None of the day!

*Charlotte

I smiled and continued with the favorite part of my day – all of the day.

 

 

 

The Race to the Potty

Charlotte jumped up and walked quickly to a far corner of the basement. I looked up and asked, “Are you pooping?!”

“Yes!” (With all the sass and know-it-all inflection a two-year-old can muster.) 

This is the “gun shot” that begins our race… 

“Go upstairs to the potty! Go! Go! Go!” 

“Okay!” 

I have never climbed stairs faster than during potty training. I would like to say this is because I’m supermom, and I’m that excited to help my daughter…

In reality, the potty is a shining trophy and I am the winner. Pooping in the potty means I don’t have to scrub a brown booty, and there is zero chance of poo finding its way onto my hands or under my finger nails. 

Potty training is really about me. 

Tonight’s potty training victory was wonderful, but it’s a rarity. We have yet to fully train our toddler. We have tried many tactics, but I appear to be losing the long race (despite the occasional short gain).

Bribery – This worked well for a little while, but quickly tapered off in its appeal. Of course, she still expects treata, it’s not enough to entice her to use a potty with regularity. 

Run Around Naked – I’m not sure why we thought this was a good idea?! I cleaned pee off several carpeted and uncarpeted floors. Hey, at least it wasn’t poop! 

Asking – Charlotte is my child. If you ask/remind her to do something every 30 minutes, she is going to lash out with an unforeseen rage.

Move the Potty – We brought the potty into the living room for easier use. It became a new chair for lounging. 

Fighting/Forcing – This was the worst idea by far. She met every bit of my force with equal (and often greater) resistance. 

Many parents tell us that Charli will be potty-trained when she is ready. While I know they are probably right, it doesn’t do much for me now.

In the meantime, we shall continue our race to the potty until that wonderful day when we no longer have to run. 

Let’s hope that day comes sooner rather than later!

Mommy vs. TV

Charlotte’s obsession with television reached a level that demanded action. I ripped the TV from the outlet, hauled it to the curb and left it for the trash pickup!

I also took a sledge hammer to it, lit it on fire and ran over it with my car for good measure. 

… In my mind. 

I wouldn’t really do any of those things. I don’t know that I’m strong enough to carry it to the curb, and HOS would be livid if I destroyed his TV! 

I did take action, though! Of course, it was a little more rational than the imagined mental breakdown. 

Rather than trying to combat the TV with toys – and failing – I decided it was time for a different strategy. 

Last weekend, we went to the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library where Charli and HOS player while I picked out a number of books. Each book was about a different topic, one for each day of the week.



I teach on Monday night so I wasn’t home for activities, but we kicked TV’s butt the rest of the week! 

Tuesday – We went shopping for a little while. HOS and Charlotte read Bronterina and danced around the living room before bed. 

Wednesday – We read Mr. King’s Castle (no less than five times!) and we built “castles” using Charli’s imagination magnets



Thursday – We read The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse and Thump, Thump, Rat-A-Tat-Tat. We painted a blue horse, green dog, a pink sheep and a brown monkey before bath time. 



Friday – HOS and I went out with friends. My niece watched Charli. They played outside, read all kinds of books and played on the LeapFrog tablet. I was very impressed when I checked in via our security camera and saw a blank TV!

Charlotte isn’t feeling well today. She has a lot of congestion and a rough cough. Despite attempts to get her away from the TV, we spent most of the day cuddling and watching shows. I know a battle worth fighting. We already had enough meltdowns without forcing her to turn off the TV. 

All together, I’m extremely happy with how well the books paired with activities worked. Charli’s behavior was improved, and by Friday, she was hardly asking to watch a show. 

That’s mommy 1 and TV … Well, the important thing is we are on the right track! 

How do you keep your children entertained without TV? 

Yes, I Gave My Toddler a Pacifier

Tonight, I intentionally persuaded my two year old to take a pacifier.

I know. You probably think I’m terrible.

Let me explain… When Charlotte was born, HOS and I agreed that we did not want her to use a pacifier. Lucky for us, Charli started sucking on her index and middle finger of her left hand from day one!

Naively, we thought the finger sucking was adorable, innocent and far more convenient than any pacifiers. Twenty-nine months later, we are in the beginning stages of a losing battle to kick the habit.

Charlotte isn’t conscious of her finger sucking issue. We ask her to stop, and she removes her fingers only to pop them back in a few moments later. She sucks her finger so hard, she is starting to develop blisters and callouses.

Tonight, she held out her hand to show me two deep grooves from her teeth! She is biting and sucking on them so hard she has sores!

I gave up!

I offered her the only alternative I knew. And you know what, I’m not even sorry. I would rather teach her to use the pacifier and then break her of that habit than let her continue sucking her fingers.

What do you do to help your children overcome their bad habits?

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Beautiful, With or Without the Lip Gloss

Charli stood in my doorway this weekend begging for help with her “makeup.” I twisted her lip gloss open and gently applied the smallest amount of shine to her pink toddler smile. She grinned, smacked her lips and said,

“I’m beautiful!”

Without skipping a beat, I said, “yes, you are, but makeup doesn’t have anything to do with it!”

Even at two years old, Charlotte is aware of beauty. She watches me get ready in the morning – style my hair and put on my makeup. We read Sleeping Beauty, a story in which three fairies could give Aurora anything, and they give her beauty and great singing voice. (Gag) But Charli loves it.

She wants to put on makeup with me.

She wants to be the princess from books.

There is nothing wrong with Charlotte wanting these things. I refuse to worry about them. I could spend endless hours reading blogs about how one parent says to raise my child, or what psychologists believe caused body issues. I could become so obsessed with being the “perfect” mother for Charli.

But I won’t… Because the “perfect” mother doesn’t exist.

There is only me.

And I already received some awesome parenting advice on body image.

My mom owned one bottle of mascara and one blush. I don’t know that she ever wore either of those things during the 18 years I knew her. She didn’t need it. She didn’t define herself by clothes, hair or makeup. She was a mom, wife, friend, teacher, follower of Christ. Her actions, not her appearance, told the world who she was.

Now, I’m not naive enough to believe my mom was 100 percent happy with her physical appearance. She would go through slim-fast phases, not unlike my calorie-counting phases. That was the only evidence I had of any insecurities, though. She hid her feelings about her body or appearance from her children. Instead of focusing on outer beauty, mom taught me modesty and humility. She taught me kindness, love, charity, discipline, honesty and strength. I could go on… In essence, mom taught me the beauty of being an amazing person.

I’m not like my mom. Those are some big shoes to fill! I do things a little differently, and you’re very welcome for my diligent use of make-up! I absolutely have issues with my personal appearance. But I’m not worried about Charli.

She comes from a long line of beautiful women. Lip gloss or not, mascara and blush or not, her actions will demonstrate her beauty.

Granted, we have a little while before we get there. She is only two!

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Charli’s Thankful List

I ask Charlotte what she is thankful for every night at bedtime. It’s inevitable that “daddy, “Ashy,” “Gwama,” “Papa” or some friend or family member will make the list.

Sadly, she never tells me she is thankful for me.

Now, I know it would be petty for me to feel jealous of the list of people and things for which Charli is thankful. …

BUT this list includes the likes of Minnie Mouse and shoes, just any old shoes. While thanking God for shoes may be interpreted in a very profound way, I doubt my two-year-old is contemplating the socioeconomic status of developing nations and how millions of people around the world do not own shoes and she has four pair in her latest size.

She was once thankful for a squishy toy lizard. How can I even try to get on this list?!

I want so badly for her to look up at me with those big blue eyes, smile and say she is thankful for me, mama, mommy or even Angie. That would be ok with me!

But no…

I wasn’t here to tuck Charlotte into bed tonight because I was playing volleyball. When I got home, HOS told me that Charli finally said she was thankful for me. ME!!

When he asked her why, you know what she said?

“Uh, cookies.”

Smart girl. And she will be getting more cookies tomorrow!!!

🙂

That’s Some “Shit”

I know it’s wrong. I know I shouldn’t even put it into writing. I definitely know I will be judged by many, appreciated by some and laughed with by most.

There is something adorably hilarious about a toddler saying curse words.

C’mon!!! You know exactly what I mean.

Let me set the scene…

Last night, Charli, my ridiculously cute toddler, walked into the kitchen. Her arms were wrapped around a bottle of Life Water and her sippy cup filled with milk. I hardly noticed as she passed behind me, walking on her tip-toes. As I was jabbering away at HOS and browning the ground turkey for dinner, I heard my daughter’s first (confirmed) curse words.

“SHIT! Oh, shit!”

She stomped her little foot and looked around with utter exasperation.

I probably looked like a moron. My mouth had fallen open, but I was smiling/choking back laughter.

Without thinking, I asked what was wrong. She furrowed her brow and point at the counter top saying, “Rabble, rabble, rabble. Table.”

I asked her to put her drinks on the dinner table instead of the counter. She walked toward the table and accidentally dropped the sippy cup on the floor.

“Dammit!”

This time, my shoulders racked with laughter, but I hid my face. She placed the drinks on the table and tip-toed back to her toys like nothing had happened.

My sweet baby girl with a precious toddler voice that can’t form the sounds for l, r, or y is now competing for swearing sailor of the month.

Fast forward to today…

As funny as it was the first couple times, the cuteness quickly wears off.

Charlotte slipped climbing the ladder to her slide. I caught her bottom in my hands. I apparently didn’t move fast enough…

“SHIT!”

There it was again.

She couldn’t open the door.

“Shit.”

She dropped her baby doll.

“Shit.”

She tripped.

“SHIT.”

We tried ignoring the word in hopes it would go away because it didn’t invite a reaction.

That did not work.

I have moved into the stage of timeouts. How do you tell a two-year-old she is in trouble for saying “shit.”
And that “shit” is a bad word she shouldn’t say. If she says “shit” again, then she will get a timeout. Super scary punishment!

Oh, and you don’t.

For now, we are in a curse word Cold War. Any one who drops one of those bombs goes straight to time out.

Moms of the world, how can I win this war?