Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Potty Training Tuesday # 1

Getting Started

Before you jump into the fun and excitement of potty training, there are a few things you should do.

Buy a potty - there are lots to choose from - everything from simple and 100% functional to funky and fancy with lights and music - you don't need fancy, but if you think it will appeal to your child AND it fits your budget, go for it!  If you would rather have your child learn to use the toilet from the beginning, there are lots of options in toilet seats so that your little one doesn't fall into the big toilet!  Again, what every works for you and your child.  Remember, that your child may be a little scared to sit on the toilet at first because it is big and full of water!  If you are going the toilet route, you will need a good sturdy stool to assist your child getting onto the toilet.

Get LOTS of underwear and extra pants and laundry detergent.  There will probably be lots of extra laundry in your near future!  Children's underwear come in a wide array of styles.  Thicker fabric is good for starting out as it will absorb some of the mess but Dora, Diego etc. underwear might be more of an incentive for your child to stay dry.  Again, go with whatever appeals to your child and fits your budget.  Boxer style underwear is not a good idea of boy as it doesn't keep all messes contained!  (Believe me, it will roll right out and get tracked all over the carpet before you even know that it's happened!  And yes, I know this from experience!)  Pull-ups are also an option, stay tuned for a future post about my views on pull-ups!

Ditch the onesies!  I know they are great for keeping the munchkins warm but you do not want to be fumbling with those snaps while your little darling is doing the peepee dance - unless of course you like to get peed on!

Take a break from overalls - again, fumbling with buttons and straps while your child is peeing on your shoes is not cool!  And even if you do get them down in time, overall straps always seem to have a knack for ending up in the potty!  Check out your local Value Village or thrift shop for lots of elastic waist pants for potty training!

Be prepared for anything!  You could be one of the lucky ones and your child could be potty trained in a matter of days.  But it could take a month or more.  And you may have to admit that your child just isn't ready and take a break for a little while.

Every child is different.  What works for one may not work for the next.  You need to be ready to follow your child's lead and do what it takes to help him or her succeed!  

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks and advice every Tuesday!  And please do share your own experiences!  I am always looking for ways to make potty training easier for myself, not only at work, but also at home as I will soon be jumping in head first to potty train Liam!

Potty Training Tuesdays

Over recent weeks, I've had several discussions with friends, blog readers, twitter followers and others about potty training.  Although I don't for a second consider myself an expert, I know that I have had a hand in potty training countless toddlers since starting my first daycare job in 1998.

The experience, combined with recent requests for help and advice have encouraged me to start "Potty Training Tuesdays."  I will try to make this a weekly post sharing some of the tips, tricks and information that I have gained through the years.  Maybe even a few horror stories!

Please comment with your own thoughts, experiences and advice.  If you have any questions, post them in the comments and I will do my best to answer them in a future post.

Potty training is probably my least favorite part of my job (Potty Training HellPart 2Part 3) but I have learned a lot over the years and hope that this will help some of the many people who struggle to potty train their children with little or no experience!  And maybe it will generate some interesting conversation!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Brain Fart

We all have them from time to time - you know, when you run into your new neighbor at the grocery store and can't remember her name and then you go into the store to pick up milk, eggs and . . . oh shit, you can't remember the and . . .  It happens even to those of us you with the best of memories.

For me lately, my brain seems to be almost constantly in fart mode, especially when it comes to writing.  Throughout the day when I don't have time to write, I've got a million thoughts and ideas bouncing around my brain.  But once I get home, make dinner, get Liam to bed, sit down at the computer and finally find my way to bloggy land, there's nothing, nada, nil, in my head expect for the odd tumbleweed.

So, I head off to read the blogs on my blog roll, searching desperately for inspiration.  Every time, I read lots of posts that make me laugh, many that are thought provoking but none of them wake up my creativity or give me any new ideas that i can write about.

By this point I am ready to bash my seemingly empty skull against a cement wall to try and shake some of the ideas from earlier out of hiding.  But alas, I know that is a bad idea, because I do still have enough functioning brain cells to know that hitting my head against the wall will hurt!  

Then it hits me, I have a BRILLIANT idea, Twitter, I will find inspiration on Twitter.  I follow some really cool people who often give me thoughts and ideas!  But again, I come up with NOTHING!  Sure, there are lots of comments to read and other distractions but not a single tweet that inspires me to write.

Why are the ideas and inspirations only around when there's no time for me to use them?  The harder I try to come up with something, the lamer, more boring and downright pathetic my ideas are.  

Then I start to wonder if this is my brain's way of telling me to give up because I can't write worth shit.  Or maybe it is just my conscience telling me that I should be cleaning my house or exercising instead of blogging.

And that just makes me mad.  What right does my brain or conscience have to tell me that I can't or shouldn't write?  I want to write.  I want to blog, so damn it, I am going to blog.

Then I look back at the blank Blogger new post screen and remember that I don't have a single damn thing to write about.

"Screw you brain," I decide as I log out of Blogger and head over to Facebook.  "I don't need you to play Farmville."

And that's it until the next day when I do it all over again . . . 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cleaning and Organizing

My house is a mess.  There are piles of stuff everywhere.  And as much as I try to deny it when Henry complains, much of it is mine.  It is time to do something about it.  It is time to get organized.  It is time to get rid of the stuff we don't need or use.  And once it is cleaned and organized, I need to figure out how to keep it that way.

Last night I spent an hour trying to clean off my desk.
I found an entire box of paper items to recycle that were just taking up space and collecting dust.  (Seriously, I think my current city councillor has killed an entire forest of trees with all the fliers and crap he has sent out.  It is utterly ridiculous!  Sending me the same information twenty times isn't going to make me more likely to vote for you!)  
Although it isn't prefect, it is much better than it was!  Tonight, I will tackle the file holder on top of the desk and the bulletin board on the wall.  Hopefully I will soon have time to tackle the drawers and the two shelves on either side of it.  

I want to be able to write more.  But I need a useable work space and my desk was anything but useable!

I want to be able to get back into scrap booking and card making this winter.  But I need to sort and organize my supplies, which are stored in the same disastrous room as my desk.

I have been saying for days, weeks, even months that I am going to get this room cleaned up and organized.  And it just hasn't happened.  I thought that blogging about it might give me the motivation needed to actually do something about it.

I know that I am not going to get it done tonight or even this weekend, it is going to take time to get everything sorted and organized.  (There are two large book shelves, two trunks and a whole bunch of other crap in the room as well!)  But I know that if I really try, I can do this.  I just cleaned and reorganized Liam's room after we painted it and it looks so much better.  I want need to do the same with the rest of my house.  So, I will start with this "back room" and hopefully work my way through the entire house over then next little while.  If we're not going to use it, it's GONE!

Please wish me luck!  Send me encouragement (wine and chocolate work well!) and don't laugh at me too much as I complain my way through this larger than life task!  And if I do go completely crazy in the process, please do visit me in the insane asylum.  (Really, I know that sooner or later someone will reopen an insane asylum.  Probably specifically for me!

What else are they going to do with me when this life drives me stark raving mad?  I know counseling won't be enough.  A regular hospital psychiatric ward might be fine for a short time, but when I go insane, I plan to be completely, fucking nuts, you know to the point where I am too crazy to know that I am insane but still sane enough to know that I'm not normal.  Although, maybe I am already there, because I am pretty sure that makes absolutely no sense.  

And I think that this post as digressed to the point where I am wasting both my time and yours!  

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to clean and organize I go . . . hopefully I will survive the massive amounts of stuff and dust!

Monday, October 18, 2010

It is DONE!!

Finally, our back deck project that was supposed to take a day, is finally finished after 3 full days (last weekend) and two afternoons (this weekend).  Woo hoo!!  I am so happy it is finally done, it was such a long, frustrating, project.  

And although I say that it is done, I know that it isn't really completely finished.  The main part of the deck is built and that's what really needed to be done.  We need to build new stairs and a small platform (8'x10') platform deck at the bottom of the stairs and a stone pathway from that to the driveway.  But the work that we planned to do and NEEDED to do this year is done!  The rest, including painting will probably wait until spring.  Although if the weather (and money) hold out we may try to do some of it this year.  Only time will tell.

We had another beautiful fall weekend to work.

This is where we started Saturday . . . 

. . . and this is where we ended . . . 

. . . but the hole is getting smaller.

Late Sunday afternoon and it is finished!

And it has stairs . . . 

I am so looking forward to getting a little bistro table and chairs set in the spring to sit outside while Liam plays trucks on the new deck.

Hey, have I mentioned that it is DONE???

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hey, Look at Me!

I am this week's Featured Canadian Blogger over on Nugglemama's Handful!!

A huge Thank You and shout out to Julia for featuring me!  Please do hop on over and check out her giveaways, help her decide what to wear to the ShesConnected Conference and she's got a chili recipe that I am dying to try!

Welcome to anyone who may have found their way here from Nugglemama's Handful!  Hope you stick around, read my posts and leave some comments!!  :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

It's NOT Teething!!!

If I hear another parent tell me that their child's illness is just because they are teething, I think I am going to scream!  In 12 years of working with infants and toddlers in daycare, I have heard just about every imaginable symptom put off to "they are just teething".  And I am sorry, but for the most part, it is complete and utter bull shit!  

Teething DOES NOT cause high fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, rashes or whatever other symptom that I have sent your child home with.  If your child is not eating or sleeping normally, it is NOT because they are teething.  IT IS BECAUSE YOUR CHILD IS ILL!!!!

Yes, if your child is an infant or toddler, there is a very good chance that they are teething when they exhibited the above mentioned symptoms, but teething is not the cause of them!  I can't stress this enough, your child has a fever, is vomiting or has diarrhea because he or she is SICK!

Don't listen to your mother or grandmother when they tell you that every child gets a fever when they are teething.  Chances are that when they were raising their children, the belief was that teething caused other symptoms, particularly fevers, but things change.  People once thought the world was flat, remember?

It is now known that teething only causes slight low grade fevers (less than 100 F), drooling, excessive chewing, redness and swelling of the gums and slight pain.  If your child has any other symptoms, even if you know they are teething, please take them seriously and realize that this is a sign of illness and that they need to see a doctor.  

And DO NOT assume that as your child's daycare provider, I am an idiot.  I can tell if you child is ill.  Chances are, he or she spends as much if not more awake hours in the day with me than with you.  I can tell if they are in pain or discomfort.  I am going to notice if they have a fever.  You may be able to dope your child with infant tylenol or advil but you can't hide the fact that your child is miserable and pale.  And I am not for a second going to believe that anything other than mild discomfort is "just teething".  

And DO NOT flat out lie to me and say that your child is just teething when you have taken them to the doctor and you KNOW that they are sick, especially when I know full well that there is someone who can look after your sick child while you are at work.  You may be a nice, cheerfully person, you love your son and seem to be a good mom, but you just dropped a few notches in my book.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Deck Building Weekend

Our back deck has been in need of repairs for quite awhile, but we've had a busy summer and really, who wants to spend a weekend repairing a deck when you can do something fun, so we've been putting it off for ages.  Well, as we are approaching winter far too quickly for my liking, we decided that Thanksgiving weekend would be the best time to tackle this endeavor.  

Henry looked the deck over and felt that it could be repaired in a day so that would still give us Sunday to do the family Thanksgiving thing and Monday to relax.  All in all it seemed like a perfect plan.  It turned out to be anything but perfect.  

So, without any further delay, here is the picture story of our Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Deck Building Weekend.

Chapter 1 - Saturday
This is our back deck as it looked Saturday morning.  Although it isn't apparent in the photo, not only are the boards rotting and breaking, the whole thing was very wobbly and uneven.

See what I mean about broken boards?  Repair was very obviously needed, ASAP!

This is the underside . . . notice that there is nothing supporting the joist?  Yeah, that's not a good thing!

Speaking of support, exactly how is this post that doesn't even touch the ground supposed to support anything???

The demolition begins!
And continues!

This was the fun part . . . I especially enjoyed the reciprocating saw!

. . . until we determined that the deck was in much worse shape then we thought.  Henry made a run to the hardware store for more supplies . . . and I went to play with my camera!

Our big maple tree . . . 

Our little Crimson maple tree . . . 

We left this poor spider homeless, but isn't he cool???

Kali did not enjoy having her naps interrupted . . . 

Kruise liked supervising!

And that is pretty much the end of Saturday's chapter.  The day ended and the deck was not finished.  We knew that Sunday was going to start with a trip to the hardware store and end with Thanksgiving dinner, meaning that there would be limited time to work.  We had a bottle of wine and went to bed early.

Chapter 2 - Sunday

Sunday was a long, frustrating day.  We got two support beams up and fixed the frame at the end where the stairs attach.  Seriously, it looked like we had done next to nothing even though we'd worked our butts off all day.

Sunday's lunch . . . highly nutritious, I know!
Liam found bugs when he came home from Grandma's for a nap, so that was cool!

And after his nap, he attacked Mommy as she lay on the ground with the camera!  That was fun too!

Don't mess with the boy and his timbits!  You may not come out alive!

By late afternoon, it was time to turn our attention to Thanksgiving dinner.  Thankfully, we had opted not to go with the traditional turkey dinner, because, well, it just wouldn't have happened!  

Instead, we had grilled portabello mushrooms . . . 

 . . . and Jack Daniels marinated, cedar planked salmon . . . 

. . . the only traditional part of the meal, pumpkin pie for desert!

Chapter 3 - Monday

Thank goodness it was a long weekend, because we needed Monday!

Liam thought that it woudl go better if we would just let him help.

We even called in reinforcements for Monday . . . and look, we are making progress, joists, held up with proper joist hangers!

We were lucky to have beautiful weather all weekend!

All the joists are in place!  Yeah!

And slowly but surely, the top boards start to appear.

It is starting to look like a deck!

Liam decided to show us how to use the cordless drill.

It is looking so nice . . . 

But that's where the sun set on our deck building for the weekend.  

Yes, a one day project and we worked our butts off from three days and it's still not done.  Hopefully, Henry will work on it a little bit after work through the week and it will be ready to paint by next weekend.  

And guess what?  We get to do it all over next year for the front deck!  Yipee, I can't wait!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Halloween Costume or Super Cute Jogging Suit

I am in need of some opinions.  Halloween is just around the corner and Henry and I are having a bit of a disagreement on what Liam should dress up as.

I want to get him some kind of super cute, but not expensive costume. Value Village has some adorable little dragon costumes that I love that were about $20.  He is only 22 months and won't be doing a whole lot of trick or treating or anything like that, but I want something cute to take some Halloween pictures and for him to wear to daycare with all his friends.

Henry on the other hand things that he should wear his "orange, fuzzy tiger costume" and that he is too young to care or know the difference.

Now, the real reason that this is such an issue is that as far as I am concerned, the "orange, fuzzy tiger costume" is NOT a costume, it is a Tigger jogging suit.  Henry is convinced that it is a Halloween costume.  I am sure that it is a jogging suit. 

 So, now, I need some opinions.  Here are some photos of the munchkin in the outfit in question.

"Aren't I the cutest, most adorable Tigger ever?  What exactly is a Tigger?"

Front View
Back View

Seriously, if it were a costume, wouldn't it have a tail???  And the day I took these photos, he wore the outfit to daycare.  None of my co-workers told me that I was a loser for bringing my kid to daycare in a Halloween costume in September, and I think that there are at least a couple of them who would have said something like that.  (Wini, Ashley, you would have told me that I was a loser, right?)

So, there it is, PLEASE leave me some comments to let me know what you think.  (Especially if you think I am right!)

CHANGE - It can be a good thing, right?

The Executive Director, who we don't see very often at the daycare (most of her work is done behind the scenes) has decided to make some scheduling changes to the toddler program.  Now, I know that there are good reasons for her to have made some changes and I know that change is sometimes needed to make things better.  But in this situation, I feel that as the Head Teacher of the program and the one who will be ensuring that these changes are properly implemented, I should have had the opportunity to give some input before the new schedule was made.  

Some of the changes make perfect sense, really are needed and should make things easier once everyone gets accustomed to the new routines.  Other things, however, seem completely unnecessary and without any logical reason.  And that's where I think my input could have been valuable.  Because as far as I can tell, from looking at this new schedule on paper, it is just going to make an already difficult and busy time of the day, even more burdensome and hectic.  

But the Executive Director has been away from working with the children for so long that she probably doesn't even realize all of the ways this one little change on paper really could be not only for the children, but also for the parents and staff.

I am trying very hard to be open minded about this.  I keep telling myself hat she did run the daycare for many years before I was even hired.  I am telling myself that change can be a good thing.  I want to say that implementing these changes for the first time tomorrow will be easy and that everyone will be happy.  But I really do have my doubts.  

So, for the next few days, I will do my best to implement all the changes and follow the new schedule as closely as possible.  But I will also be documenting daily what does and doesn't work out.  Because despite my efforts to be positive, I foresee a lengthly e-mail to the Executive Director as well as the Director detailing my concerns with the changes, as well as my proposed solutions.  

This will be my first time dealing directly with the Executive Director.  Any issues I've had in the past have been dealt with by my direct Supervisor or the Director.  I don't know what to expect.  All I can do is keep my fingers crossed that things work out better than I am expecting and that if they don't, the powers that be are willing to listen to my concerns and make further changes as required.