Posted on August 18, 2009
Beach Action Shots.
When we participated in the kazoo band on the 4th of July, they gave Ellen some free passes for the Ocean Grove Beach (we would have gotten some as well, but we forgot to pick them up.) So, off we went, with Ellen and her crew, to Ocean Grove Beach.
I really liked this beach, it was much cleaner than both Avon and Manasquan. I am not sure why, but it was practically empty today, so we didn’t have to deal with a lot of beach traffic. And we were able to find a location that was relatively close to the bathrooms (good for our newly potty trained munchkins. Okay, Seth has been potty trained for awhile now.)
The only complaint the kids had was the waves were very mellow. Of course, us Mommy’s were just fine with that! There was only one mishap when Chloe and I were out in the ocean. I misjudged the strength of a wave and it knocked me over while I was holding Chloe. In my attempt to keep Chloe’s head above water, and try to get myself back to a standing position, I wrenched my shoulder and inhaled some sea water. (I can actually still taste it in my mouth, I should go brush my teeth!) Luckily, Chloe thought it was funny and it didn’t scare her at all.
She is getting a little too brave for my comfort, though. Granted, the ocean was extremely calm today, but she wanted to go off by herself (The big kids were doing it!) and was upset that I told her I needed to keep ahold of her. I guess in some ways I am glad she is challenging herself more. But, that’s my baby, there is no way in HELL I am letting her go in the ocean. Sorry, not gonna do it!
Posted on January 25, 2009
Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad.
There are a few tips that I would share:
1) Renting the Villa was one of the best things we could have done. It gave us a temporary “home” where we could try to develop and maintain a consistent schedule so that she didn’t feel overwhelmed by all the other new experiences we were throwing her into. She did a lot better when we were at the Villa or when we were at Becky and Roberts house in Germany, then when we were staying in the hotels in Florence and Genoa. In the Villa, we could also do one day in Rome, then take one day easy, then do another day in Rome, that sort of thing. So we were able to give her some down time where she could get decent sleep and just be a kid. Plus, we could put her to bed, then hang out with our friends without worrying about leaving her alone in a hotel room. It worked out really, really well.
2) Become familiar with the local grocery store. We had to replenish the snacks we brought with us much sooner than we thought because Chloe refused to eat the food at the restaurants. Plus, the other positive with the villa, we had a kitchen. So, we were able to make Chloe fish sticks, chicken nuggets, and french fries. Not the healthiest of meal choices, but the child survived on breakfast bars, crackers and popcorn. The occasional Chicken nugget was a necessity! In addition to that, we didn’t bring enough pull-ups because we were planning on only having her sleep in them. When she gave up on potty training, we had to replenish our supply of those, too. (Having a kitchen also saved us a lot of money when it came to eating out. We only ate out a few times for lunch and dinner in Rome. We had breakfast EVERY day at the villa, and ate in most nights. Luckily, we had some really good cooks with us, so it was a pleasure to hang out at night, eat good food, drink good beer and wine, and relax. Plus, nobody had to drive home!)
3) Bring lots of small books and toys. Chloe’s favorites were little plastic animals. Just be aware that there is a strong likelihood you will lose one or two of whatever you bring, so don’t bring anything valuable. We had these with us all the time, so Chloe could play on the train, in a restaurant, or even in the museums, when she got bored with the “statues”.
4) Don’t worry about sleeping arrangements. I was extremely concerned and so we brought a camping air mattress with us for Chloe to sleep on. (It rolled up REALLY small so we could easily fit it in our luggage.) We only used it when we were at Becky and Robert’s house. The villa had a pack and play, and it was easy to find a hotel room with two beds (one a single.) We just rolled up a blanket and tucked it up under her sheets so she wouldn’t roll out of bed. It worked fine, and she slept well.
5) Take advantage of technology. I have an IPOD tv adaptor, so we could plug Chloe’s movies in where ever there was a TV. It came in handy when we were trying to prepare food, or eat (since she refused to eat with us.) I know, electronic babysitter, yadda yadda yadda. Sometimes you just gotta do what ya gotta do. And she had no trouble accepting that when we got home, her TV use was limited again. Plus, a video ipod comes in handy when you have to fly for 8-10 hours and your child refuses to sleep on a plane!
6) I wish we had done this one: Don’t try to keep your child happy all the time. I think for the first week or so, we tried to keep her happy because we felt kind of guilty about dragging her around through all of these adult experiences. Well, she just got increasingly demanding and then unbelievably whiny when she didn’t get her way. I honestly think if we would have stuck to our normal discipline expectations, that wouldn’t have happened. So, we learned from our mistake. Luckily, she never really got THAT bad (I mean, she’s two, so you have to make some allowances for behavior) and she again seemed to return to normal when we got home and back to our routine.
All in all, it worked out very well, and we all had a good time.
When we ask Chloe what she saw in Italy/Germany, she say, “Castles, statues, and towers.” I will be curious if any of it sticks, although I expect that she won’t remember this trip. I do plan to take our photos and put them into a photobook, so we can go back and look at them. I think she will probably remember the trip through the photos and our stories, so I will try and take advantage of that.
Posted on January 22, 2009
We are jumping back into potty training with both feet, and I gotta say, it’s not going well. Chloe seems to have lost her motivation to be a big girl. She doesn’t care if we put her in diapers. She doesn’t want to sit on the potty. I find myself doing things I promised I would never do. I even yelled at her, and I almost NEVER yell. (In my defense, she had just sat down on the potty for like ten minutes, then got up and pooped on the floor.)
Finally, I embraced the phrase, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.” We moved the potty into the room where she spends most of her time, we turned potty monkey back on as a reminder for her to try at least every half-hour, and I created one of my famous motivation charts (okay, famous in my own mind) where every time she pees she will get a star, and if she stays dry all day she will get to pick a surprise out of mommy’s surprise box.
I know she can do this, she’s done it before, it’s just a matter of convincing her it is in her best interest. I just keep reminding myself that no one goes to college in diapers, right? We’ll get there when we get there!
Posted on January 20, 2009
I admit, I was a little disheartened when I realized that my experience when it comes to this historical and amazing day, is much different than I would have liked. I am, at heart and soul, an educator. And it was painful to me to sit at home, in this days of all days, with a child who can’t possibly understand what all of this means. I wanted to explain to her how far we have come, as a country, as a society, and as a consciousness. I wanted to share this with SOMEBODY, anybody.
But, instead I sat with my child while she was playing, and I listened to CNN in the background. But, while she was playing, I listened to her, too. I listened as she comforted her “babies” using the same words I use to comfort her. I listened to her explain right and wrong to her dolls. I listened to her tell me her alphabet, count forward and backward from ten, and identify her basic shapes. I listened to her tell me how she loves me. And I appreciated extra kisses and hugs. And I payed attention to HER experiences. (she loved the parade) And I listened to what she was observing and what she was thinking. I realized that not only am I creating a human, I am creating a “character.” One who knows right from wrong, one that is well rounded, one who appreciates all aspect of life. I am creating the future. I might even be creating a leader.
Suddenly, I feel at peace. I am doing what I can for the future of this country by nourishing the character of my CHILD. I am raising the future, one person at a time. It just so happens that the person I am focusing on is my own child. And I am okay with that.
I may not be where I thought I would be. But I am where I WANT to be.
And five years from now, Chloe and I will discuss what happened today. And she will have an extra understanding because I was paying attention. I am keeping track, and in some ways, score. And when I look back on my life, I won’t regret not being THERE. I will appreciate that I was HERE.
Posted on December 10, 2008
Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde is back in spades.
Chloe had been so good. However, when we came back to Colorado to help with my dad, she shifted back to where she was 6 months ago. She now says “No,” to almost everything. She screaming at me, she’s being mean to my mom, and she has truly taken on the role of “Queen of Contrary.”
If she’s watching Ponies, she wants Tinker Bell. If I put Strawberry Shortcake pajamas on her and she wants Cinderella pajamas, she throws a 20 minute fit. Yesterday, her fit was because she wanted to wear her pj’s all day and we had to get her dressed because we had to take my dad to his physical therapy. I literally had to walk out of the room because she was screaming so loud she hurt my ears. When she finally calmed down, she would only wear a particular dress because it had CInderella on it.
If she’s downstairs she wants to be upstairs, if she upstairs she wants to be down. If I make her chicken nuggets she wants grilled cheese, if I make grilled cheese she wants pancakes. If I poor her a cup of juice, she throws a fit because she wants milk, if I take the milk away to get her juice, she throws a fit because I took her milk. I can’t win, and its driving me INSANE.
I’m worried this is happening because we have disrupted her routine so bad now she feels the need to control EVERYTHING that she can. She misses her daddy, she misses school, she misses her own bed. She keeps asking if we can go to “Mommy’s house” at naptime, because she doesn’t want to nap at Papa’s house.
I am glad I came out here, I really needed to do it for me. I really feel like my parents needed me and have benefited from my help. (I even got my dad to agree to a dramatic change in his diet!) But, Chloe is losing it, and I don’t know if there’s anything I can do about it. I think I just need to try and be as understanding as possible, and brace myself for the storm.
I just really hope we don’t have a repeat of this when we are in Italy. I am not sure I can handle being in a foreign country with a cranky toddler!
Posted on November 25, 2008
One of the things I love about being at my parents house is the absolute absence of “should be’s.” At home, when Chloe is napping or at school, I always feel like I should be doing something productive. Should be doing the dishes, laundry, reading, whatever. But here, there is no should be’s. I should be sitting here on this sofa waiting for my baby to wake up. I should be relaxing, cat napping, watching cheesy movies. I should be lazy. And that’s what I am doing. Being 100% lazy, and enjoying EVERY MINUTE OF IT.
Which, is why I am not writing.
But, I’ll get back to it. As soon as I am done chillin’.
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