Tag: Toddlers

Lisa and Sydney Opera House

The Girl Who Cried ‘Poop!’

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day, I asked my mom to share one of her “hot mess” stories with us. It would appear that I’ve had a lifelong appreciation for poop humor…and I was obviously more fearless about shouting in public than I am now!

Enjoy!


I am a mother of two grown children. Motherhood brings so many rewarding experiences and mishaps.  I’d say some of my “mishaps” were just part of the messy, quite normal, day-to-day routine for a first time Mom. It’s been a while – I’ve probably blocked out most of my “hot mess” stories, but I’m confident I did pretty well as you can see them both now.

MattLisa08

Here’s one of our favorite embarrassing stories from Lisa’s childhood.

Children of a certain age – about 2 or 3 years old – take great pleasure in hearing their voice echo off the vaulted church ceiling during Mass. Our church was old, built before the time of special “cry rooms” for children.

On this particular day, little Lisa’s word of choice was “POOP!” Fortunately, our family’s unique dialect includes a number of Filipino words in place of English. So while mildly embarrassed by the shouting, we felt confident that nobody actually understood when little Lisa shouted “Taee! TAEEEE!!”

We finally got her to sit quietly, and the rest of the service was uneventful. Mass ended, and we felt like we had “gotten away with it”. Just then, a small group of nuns came up to us.

“Good morning! Filipina, ka ba? We heard your daughter!” They laughed. “What island are you from?” I told them I was from Cagayan de Oro, in Mindanao, and coincidentally several of the nuns were from the Lourdes College there.

Lisa with Mom and RVM Sisters

So that was the day we met the Filipino RVM Nuns that ran the Parochial School. They became lifelong friends to us. If Lisa hadn’t shouted “POOP!!” at the top of her lungs, we may not have met them!

Lisa and Sydney Opera House
Who, ME??

Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas!!

Child Sitting on Potty

Montessori Inspired Toileting

Child Sitting on Potty

We’ve been “potty training” for about 6 months now.  I’m using quotes because a) I don’t think we’ll be at 100% toilet use for a while and b) I don’t really like that term.  He’s a person learning an essential life skill, not a cat refusing to use the litter box.

No matter how you handle it, toilet learning is a hot mess.  Sometimes literally, like when your kid poops in the potty and immediately puts his hand in it.  Or when your kid gets up and runs down the hall with poop falling out as he runs.  Thank goodness for tile floors!

My toilet learning method is heavily influenced by Montessori Toilet Learning (examples here and here), and Homemade Mothering’s Potty Training Manifesto.  Sure, it’s not for everyone, and every child is different.  You know the drill.  This is what’s working for us, and hopefully this will be helpful for other mamas out there.

I gradually began changing the diapering routine when he was about a year old.  Why?  Because he HATED lying on the changing table.  Every diaper was a wrestling match!  So I changed him standing up in the bathroom.  Then I put a potty in the bathroom, and would have him sit there for a moment before putting a new diaper on him.

The real fun began when he started walking at 14 months.  He was already used to seeing and sitting on the potty on a regular basis, so I started taking him to the bathroom frequently throughout the day, regardless of whether I thought he had a dirty diaper or not.  It was definitely hit or miss for a long time, but it became a mostly successful routine. We would go as soon as he woke up, and before/after we did anything (eating, leaving the house, naps, etc.).  If he didn’t want to sit down, I just changed him and we’d move on.  Lately, if I suspect he does need to go I’ll bribe him into sitting with a chocolate chip, but I try to keep the whole thing pressure-free.

So where are we at 20 months?  He’s recently started wearing training pants at home, and he’s learning to pull pants up and down.  He usually pees in the potty, as long as i take him there frequently.  He knows to tell me if he has to poop, but by the time we get to the bathroom its often already…out.  If we do make it in time, I distract him with books and poorly-sung songs to keep him from getting up and running off mid-poop.

A quick Pinterest search for “potty training” returns tons of advice for fast potty training: “3 days or less!” “Potty trained in 1 week!” “Potty train in 24 hours!”.  Every time I come across pins like these, I start to feel anxious.  Am I doing it all wrong?  Should I be rolling up my rugs and letting him run around naked?

And then I come back to my real life, with my un-Pinteresty house and my not-yet-2 child who actually does use the potty fairly often despite my relative laziness in “potty training” him.  And I think we’re doing just fine.  Maybe the 3-day roll-up-the-rugs method would be better/faster, and I guess that’s still an option.  But for now, the slow and steady method is working for us.

How did you handle potty training?  Let us know in the comments!

Reading a bedtime story

A Goodnight Kiss

Reading a bedtime story
Imagine a night…with a stress free bedtime!

When I was pregnant, people couldn’t wait to tell me that I would “never sleep again”. But I want to tell all future mamas out there that this is NOT TRUE.

What IS true is that you will think about sleep a lot. If you’re getting enough. If your kid is getting enough. Why your kid isn’t sleeping. About bedtime. About how much time you have AFTER bedtime to clean and make lunches and eat ice cream with your husband before YOUR bedtime. About how you should be sleeping, but your brain is full of ideas & useless trivia. You should be sleeping, but you keep admiring your son in the monitor and the way he sleeps with his hand patting his cheek and his blanket balled up under him.

Until last week, I was having trouble getting my kid to go to sleep on his own. He would fall asleep in my arms, but not in his own bed. But everything about parenthood is a phase, isn’t it? Every time I start to think “What am I doing wrong?” or “Is it always going to be like this?”, everything snaps into place.

A little backstory: My little dude has been a great sleeper. Then three molars came in at once, and we are all awake for 2 weeks straight.  Every morning, I would huddle over his toddler table like a shell-shocked refugee, with a cup of coffee and a dirty bathrobe over my shoulders.

I finally caved and tried “Cry It Out” after 2 weeks of pacing the house all night with him and those molars. What made me change my mind? Well, I feel asleep. And sleepwalked into a wall. While I was holding him. We were both fine (just startled), but that was my wake-up call. It took a few days of tears (mine and his), but night wakings were finally over.

But CIO didn’t work at bedtime. That was my fault. The crying and 5-10-15 minute checks were cutting into my cleaning/laundry/prepping time. It was just faster to let him fall asleep in my arms. So, that’s how he got to be almost 20 months old and still not falling asleep in his bed.

Last week, something changed. Instead of clinging to me, he wanted to lay down in his crib. I rubbed his back, said goodnight, and walked out. Cue screaming and tears. I waited 5 minutes. I gave him a hug. More tears. I planned to check in after 10 minutes, but he was quiet and lying down in 5. What? It’s a Christmas miracle!!

Last night, I brought him to bed after his bedtime story. He laid down and hugged his “Toto” (Totoro). I rubbed his tiny shoulders.

“Goodnight sweetheart.”

It was dark, but I saw him sit up. Uh oh. Was he going to cry?

“Kiss, mama.”

He stood at the end of the crib for a goodnight kiss. Then he laid back down. As I left the room, I turned and blew a kiss. I couldn’t see him, but I didn’t need to.

“Mmmah! Mmmah!”

It was so adorable I almost picked him up and squeezed him. But I’m pretty sure if I had done that bedtime would have taken another 45 minutes (you know how it goes).

If you’re a mom, you know that feeling. When your heart swells up with love and awesome and cuteness and ahhh-this-is-the-best-child-ever.

Even if I “never sleep again”, that feeling is worth it.

Toddler Walking Outside

Mud, Coffee, Pee: A Typical Morning

It’s a normal weekday morning.  We wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and he plays with his toys while I pack his school bag.

We start to leave the house for school.  He runs around the front yard shouting “Stick!” “Tree!” “Leaf!”.  After days of rain, the sun is finally shining.  It’s one of those perfect “I love being a Mom” moments.  I bask in the adorableness of it all as I carry our bags in one hand, my coffee in the other.

That’s when it all falls apart, naturally.

I open the van door and set the bags down.  I scoop up my son (coffee still in hand, what a pro!).  He immediately flips out, squirming and kicking and “No no no no!!”.  I set my coffee on the floor of the van and use both arms to wrangle this kid into his car seat.  He pulls my hair and kicks me in the chest with his muddy shoes.  Dammit!  Oh well.  I’ll come back home and change my shirt.  He’s in the seat.  Ahhh.  I get in the car.  Off we go.  I back out of the driveway.

Wait.  What is that noise?  Glug, glug, glug….

It’s Mommy’s turn to have a tantrum.  “No no no no!!!”  Back into the driveway.  Open the van door.  Coffee ALL OVER the floor.  ALL OVER the cloth diaper bag.  “Nooooooo!” 

Run back into the house.  Do I have a clean diaper bag?  Err, not exactly.  Crap.  I empty yesterday’s dirty diaper bag into the diaper pail.  It smells faintly of pee.  It’ll have to do.  It’s going to have dirty diapers in it later anyway, right?

Back to the car.  Ignore the coffee spill for now.  We’re running late.

We get to school.  He walks right in, neatly dressed and hair brushed.  Meanwhile, I look crazy, with my ponytail askew and mud smeared all over the front of my shirt.  And I’m carrying a day-old diaper bag, so I probably smell like pee.

I walk back to the car and burst out laughing.  And then I see another parent giving me the side-eye.  Oops.  Better go home and change my shirt.


 

Do you have a Hot Mess story to share with our readers?  If so, we want to hear about it!  Just shoot us an email (hello [at] hotmessmamas [dot] com), or send us a message on Facebook.

Kids & Screens: The Magic of Toothpicks

I rarely watched TV as a child.  We watched things like the Marx Brothers or Alfred Hitchcock films on “Friday Movie Night”.  We almost never watched anything current.  In fact, my childhood wasn’t too far from this Onion article.  Even now, I don’t watch TV much.  We have Netflix & Hulu, or if we want to watch something current (like Downton Abbey or Walking Dead), we have an antenna & an Apple TV.

But you should also know that my son LOVES Winnie the Pooh (he calls the TV “Pooh-Pooh”).  He also loves dancing to the “Creature Report!” segment of the Octonauts.  I usually let him watch Sesame Street while I get him ready for school, and Octonauts or Baby Genius while I make dinner.  We also use iPhones as Emergency Entertainment during flights or grocery store meltdowns.  I feel okay about the fairly limited amount of screen time he gets.

Unfortunately, screen time has become my cure-all for the insane (and sometimes public) meltdowns we’ve been experiencing as my little dude enters toddler-hood.  Anything to prevent the top-volume “no-No-NO-NOO!!!!” and the dirty looks from other moms with well-behaved children.  This NEVER happens to them.  Doesn’t it feel that way?

But the temporary reprieve comes with a price: MORE meltdowns!  When the TV turns off?  Meltdown.  When he spots an iPhone or iPad and hears the word “No”?  Meltdown.  I’m at the point where I’m shoving all screen-like devices under pillows and contemplating mounting my TV on the wall and hiding it behind a canvas.  TV?  We don’t have a TV, son.  What is this “TV” you speak of?

Over the holidays, he was cutting 2 teeth, surrounded by 5 other boisterous children, and spending lots of time in the car as we shuttled from one activity to the next.  After a few days of this chaotic holiday schedule he was OVER IT.  Loudly.  And in public places.  He was a little ticking freak-out bomb every time we sat down in a restaurant.  He was spending a LOT more time with our iPhones, as my husband and I ate and socialized in shifts.

At our last dinner away before heading home, I took our little Grumpus outside while we waited for a table.  I was about to whip out my phone, but at a nearby table I spotted a shaker full of toothpicks.  Ding!  Those pointless hours perusing “DIY montessori activities” on Pinterest paid off!  For the next 15 minutes my son was completely absorbed by putting toothpicks into the shaker, one by one.  Phone?  What phone?

This was such a great reminder for me to be creative in the ways I keep him busy, especially in public.  I just ordered these: SO Awesome portable wallet & cards.  And instead of resorting to the phone, I now keep a shaker of toothpicks in my purse.  While I know we’ll still watch a little bit of TV, I’m trying to be better at enduring those tantrums.  Because guess what happens after 5 minutes of screaming?  He moves on.  And finds something else to do.  Meanwhile, if you have a bit of something in your teeth, I can totally help you with that.

What about you?  How do you manage screen time with your kiddos?  Tell us in the comments!