Thursday, July 2, 2015

Pool safety prep

Our state boasts the highest preschool drowning rate in the nation. When we did our homestudy, we would have had to do extra education if there was a body of water close to our home (there wasn't). However, water safety and my kids is high on my list of Things That Scare The Living Daylights out of me. I'm a strong swimmer, but that doesn't mean a moment of inattention and water naive children won't have horrible outcomes. So, I was so glad to get Hannah in swimming lessons this year. 

We went to the local pool for a 1/2 hour lesson every day for 2 weeks. She now has a good idea of how to kick, hold her breath for a brief dunk, and has started using her arms when guided in a swimming motion. I wouldn't say "she can swim," but her awesome teacher has brought her a lot closer to it. While she was in lessons, we brought Ellie in to the pool ourselves to start getting her used to it and hopefully show her some floating techniques as well. She got a little freaked out by being rolled on to her back, but she at least isn't panicking the moment her skin hits the water anymore. 

Next year, they'll both be in lessons, for sure.

In other news, Ellie is doing great with the potty. She's starting to go on cue when sat on the potty before we leave the house, as well as only signalling when she actually needs to use the facilities (and going immediately when I take her). I'm thinking about putting her in underwear and seeing how she does with that. She is not taking herself even though the little potty is always available to her, so I might as well.

The funny thing about potty training is that I noticed that she does soft grunts a lot while breathing. I kept thinking she was going to poop.... but she wasn't, she was just breathing. I mentioned this to the ARNP at her appointment, and she ordered us an echo-cardiogram. She did hear a slight murmur, so we'll see if any of this is contributing to the other. I took a video- it's not great quality, but you can hear it really well at the end. The little noises that sound like a tap are the grunt sound, it's just echoing a bit in the bathroom where we were.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Flapper Girls Take the Town

This past Saturday was a big, big night for Hannah and me. It was going to be a big, big night for all four of us, but Little Miss Ellie threw a fever at the last minute so Daddy stayed home with her and Hannah and I went out and about. Because Ellie was fine until early afternoon, we all dressed up anyway and took pictures before heading out the door. Hooray for Goodwill. Seriously. And online tutorials on hair and makeup, since I wasn't about to bob my hair.

So, off we headed to my sister's murder mystery party. I had thought the cousins were going to be there, but they weren't so it was just Hannah. She ended up "playing" the part of the mayor whose assigned person didn't show. Apparently, my sister is a master sorceress and ordered up a thunder storm just for effect. And, I didn't do it. Neither did Hannah, so we escaped unjailed. Hannah was ecstatic.

After that, we went to my best friend's speakeasy party, where there were little friends for Hannah to play with. My bestie is currently across the country doing a fellowship as an oncologist, so we hardly ever get to see each other. The little girls danced the night away, played puzzles, and learned to gamble (i.e., they counted chips and rolled/ threw dice). Hannah did not go to sleep until we finally left at 1am. Of course, she was still up at 7am Sunday morning, the rat. 

Obviously we had fun. This week, we are doing swimming lessons AND Vacation Bible School. Sam got into a continuing education class last minute, but next week he's off again and I'll be able to get some swimming lesson shots. I'm really glad she's in them since child drowning is such a big issue in my state. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Miss Scarlet in the Dining Room. With a Knife.

Cherry season is here! Bwahahaha!

This week has been largely uneventful. This weekend we have two parties though, both "speakeasy" themed, so fun pics will happen, I'm sure. We totally hit up Goodwill today as I had nothing even modifiable- my wardrobe is decidedly more 50's- perhaps because my figure matches the ideal of that decade better. Now I have to decide how to do my hair- faux bob, or nape of the neck roll?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Zoo! Also, potty training, week 1.

This week, we got those passes to the local zoo we've been talking about and went!

They had an exhibit of fossil finds in our state, including R.O.U.S.'s. No kidding. Read the sign, haha.

Hannah rode "Morla" (My name, not the zoo's), and Ellie got scared to death of the otters. In the first picture, she hasn't see one yet. The second one is the one I snapped right before I realized she was screaming like a banshee.

For non-animal fun, they had a giant chessboard, and a splash pad for the littles! I'm really excited about this place. We'll probably go back next week, maybe with the cousins.

In potty training world, things are going pretty well. Now that I've done this early training bit twice, I have a few observations that seem to have been a constant between both girls:

1.) "3-day training" is a misnomer. It's more like a 3-day kick-start. By the end of the first day, both my girls had developed a signal that cued me to take them to the bathroom. By the 3rd day with Ellie we had caught a couple of pees, a poop, and minimized accidents. By the end of the 3rd day with Hannah, we had just learned to avoid accidents, but not actually gone in the potty. Progress to consistent holding and releasing takes a lot more time than that.

2.) If you want your kid to be able to remove himself from normal activities and come and alert you he needs to go, early training isn't the way. Little ones do give signals (mine have both patted themselves while making eye contact), but that doesn't always mean they're going to go to the bathroom if taken to the potty, and if you aren't paying attention, they'll give up really quickly and just have an accident instead. So Constant Vigilance is crucial, and it lasts like that for a few months. If you can't/don't want to spend that much time watching a baby who is minimally verbal, don't early train.

Mr. Myth and I take turns being on "baby watch" for those first few weeks. It's really easy right now because he's home all day every day so there's not so much stress on me.

3.) Sitting on the little potty really doesn't happen, because they can stand right back up instead of waiting a bit to actually go. The potty chair I got has a detachable seat that fits on the big toilet, so I have sat both of the girls on the big potty where they can't get down. This is an advantage over big kid training, because your big kid can get off the big potty too. Ellie typically holds it until a meal or snack time, so I've found myself feeding her finger foods while she sits on the big potty, and then once she's peed she goes to her high chair. Whatever it takes to keep her happy long enough to go.

Now that we're a little over a week in, she's getting quicker about going pee pee in a timely manner, and soon it will be automatic. Hannah peed on command almost immediately after she figured out how to go on purpose, and that wasn't until about 3 weeks in, so I'm hopeful it won't take too long this time either.

4.) Outings aren't really that scary. I put a diaper or a puppy pad (incontinence pad) under the bottom in the car seat for a while (a month or two) and keep the bottom bare on outings too. I bring the potty seat with me. It does make shopping a pain for a bit, because I take her to the potty when we first get there, any time she signals, and again before we leave, but it's worth it in the long run.

5.) Naps and Bedtime are still diapered until the girls are waking dry on their own. Sleep wetting is more physiologic/ developmental than trained, and I don't consider cessation of night wetting to be a potty training goal.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Summer is Nigh

For the first time ever, we are about to experience an honest-to-goodness summer break, and I am so excited! I don't have a newborn, Sam is not job hunting, and we get lots of weeks off just to enjoy our family.

To celebrate, I decided to try to potty train Ellie. I'm probably nutso. Hannah trained at 20 months, if I remember correctly, using some version of the "3-day method" which is recommended for 15 months of age. Ellie is 14 months... but summer is starting! What better time than now, when Daddy is going to be home with me to watch her like a hawk?

I started 2 days ago, which makes today day 3. And no, she's not trained like the method name implies, haha. She's doing the same thing Hannah did, in that once she realized that she's not supposed to go on the floor, she just holds it and holds it as long as she can. Today, we caught the tail end of a pee pee in the potty- she was running towards the bathroom while she was doing it, so I'm pretty sure she's got the idea. I'll be so excited if she's out of diapers except for naps and nightime by the end of the summer, but we'll see. I'm perfectly willing to back off if she needs to.

We have a few plans. We would like to go to the zoo. Camping might happen. Game nights with friends are a definite. Breaking out the fondue pot is a probability. Tomorrow is Sam's last day at work, and it's hard not to get too excited, but cleaning is also on the list, so that might curb my enthusiasm a little bit. Well, maybe not Hannah's. She thinks a scrub brush and a spray bottle are excitement sent from Heaven, hah!

We also discovered that the local grocery store had tiny carts for kids. This is dangerous, but uber cute. As if the race car carts weren't cute enough.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Other Love

My husband might have been my first romance, but he was not my first love. In fact, we still have an "open relationship." I've never lied to him. It's not that he's second fiddle, it's just that he can't be everything, and there's something else I need that he just can't give me. There's something else, and there has been ever since I can remember.

It's the Library. I can't help it. I might have backed off a bit in college when our school library was mostly academic snoozers and I wasn't a resident so I couldn't have a county card, but I started right back with it as soon as I was out. It was already a weekly occurrence, but then I bought myself a Kindle with some old visa rewards points, and discovered that libraries lend e-books. Just when I thought I could't love the Library any more, it goes and melts my heart all over again. Because it is so much easier to read on a Kindle while nursing than having to hold a book open and turn pages.

What can I do? I am passing along this obsession to the girls. They will be library princesses if I have anything to do with it!! This is from the "good manners tea party." Where Hannah refused to wear her Tea hat. Ellie is off camera trying to eat it.

My passion is being fed like mad these days. We moved from podunkville, USA where the library with the good preschool program was 45 minutes away (and YES, we made that drive every week!) to a Big County System, where the central library has 4 stories and our local branch is 10 minutes down the road.

The kids programs are awesome. Not only is there story time every week, but now there's a weekly language class for pre-schoolers (Spanish for now- French in the fall!), with short videos that I can access from home, a craft, and songs to learn. Then a couple of times a month, they do a themed story/ craft with decorations and the whole bit. THEN, they have a "Mommy and me" pre-school ballet class once a month- could it get any cuter?

And they deliver books directly to my house. And they have live music events. And they have adult language learning online. And, and, and.... it goes on! I love the Library, and I just can't help it! Oh, and if I check out 10 books, I get a free movie to download. This is not a problem. Date night on the Library!

So, right now, I am reading The Never Ending Story for the first time- anybody remember that movie? Strangely, they changed the name of the imagination world from "Fantastica" to "Fantasia." I am halfway through and still having trouble not saying "Fantasia" in my head every time I read the name of the book world. And Sam and I are reading(me)/ listening to(him) the Inkheart series, which is wonderful. I finally found a way to get him to read with me, thanks to the Library!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Happy Nurses/ Teacher's week!

Thursday was my day. Until I babysat the cousins last minute. And Friday was my day. Until Ellie fell asleep 2 hours early and didn't take a nap during Hannah's quiet time. So Saturday is my day!

Now let me tell you a story. Several years back, I had a bad day at work. And was 7 months post miscarriage and not pregnant again. So I had a sudden craving for Cinnabon, because, it was necessary. I looked it up. Not only was the closest Cinnabon about 10 minutes from our apartment, it was Nurse's week, and Cinnabons were FREE with a name badge. 


So, I took advantage of the deal. And from then on I tended to associated Cinnabon with nurses week,  and with sugar palliation of disappointment. 

Last week, we redeemed that association. For the first time since that episode, I went to Cinnabon. This time, I took my girls. I got to give them a special treat off-budget because I am a nurse! It was heavenly. Heavenly tasting, yes, but more so it just made my heart burst to share the moment with my two girls. Here they are, eating my Cinnabon. 

And the home health agency I take jobs for was giving away cheap stethoscopes to their nurses, so now the girls have a "real" toy stethoscope to play nurse/doctor with. And they are quite cute. 

If you look closely, you can see Ellie's cast on her little arm. She had a tumble in which I caught her, but her arm hit the side of the bench as she fell. Earned herself 2 weeks in a cast for a fracture, poor little princess! Hannah picked the purple for her. It's off now, and no further follow up needed, so we're all back to normal now.

So, of course, it was teacher's week too. I painted the back side of the kitchen cabinets with chalkboard paint, and now the girls can play school too. Hannah has been getting check marks for doing little chores like making her bed (with help) and staying in her room at bedtime. Yeah for teachers and nurses!