Wednesday, December 28

Merry Excess

Santa overdid it. I'm going to have a long talk with that fat old man because it will be impossible for us to continue what we started this year--nor do we want to.

The problem is we never, ever buy toys. Nearly all of our children's toys have been gifted to them. However, this Christmas, it became obvious to me that Olivia and Lucas could use a few nice toys when I:

A. Realized it will peacefully distract them and allow them to learn, discover, and imagine--independently.

B. Observed Olivia listening to her brother's hearbeat just like their doctor does--but with a leftover silver ribbon from an old gift box. ( I'm actually proud of her for this one.)

C. Caught Olivia and Lucas fighting over (and nearly decapitating) this...

What is this you ask? Flat Stanley? No. This is a fake baby doll that came with a shopping cart that a friend gave Olivia for her birthday in August. It was merely a placeholder in the packaging to demonstrate where you put your baby doll in the shopping cart. Just a mere piece of cardboard to us, but to Olivia and Lucas---a dear, dear friend. If you could only see how excited Lucas gets when he sees this little girl. Olivia has a real baby doll, by the way.

So, a generous Kmart gift card spending spree, and two over-the-top grandmas later...this was our Christmas set up (BEFORE the grandma's added even more presents vtech stuff, pillowpets, tents, play tunnels, art supplies and play food, etc. ).

That damn (beautiful) doll house was my bright idea and nearly ended my marriage. It took us 5 hours to put that bee-otch together. We had planned to drink wine and enjoy our rite of passage as parents on Christmas Eve.
  • Olivia's Dora Tricyle? Easy (I did it). 
  • Lucas' Baby Car? No Problem (Charm City Daddy did it).  
  • Personalize and Set up Olivia's InnoTab? (Fun! me again) 
About 30 minutes into assembly of the doll do I say this...shit got serious. It was only in hour 3 that I finally burst into hysterics laughing myself to tears when I realized we hadn't even touched our glasses of wine.

We made it but many lessons learned for next year.

Santa Pic 2011

Now featuring a much happier Santa AND toddler, Olivia, and the nervous infant,  Lucas, in his first-ever Santa picture....

I think the only thing that gave Lucas comfort was that his sister was arm's length away. See him nudging her? He's like "hey sis, should I be worried?" Olivia's first reaction when she saw the picture was "Lucas was nervous."

Olivia's Christmas Program

We were gifted yet another school performance for the holidays.  He are the kids in the kitchen just before we headed out. Note: Lucas wearing his breakfast bib as a cape. The little man has full command of his walker maneuvering it through narrow areas forward, backward, diagonal and sideways with awesome precision.

This time I tried to outsmart my performer by getting a sneak preview of the song that she would perform, but she was on to me. She instead kept performing her Thanksgiving routine. To my surprise--as it should be I guess--her actual performance included two songs, "Merry Christmas to You," "Jingle Bells," and the class recited a nursery rhyme, "Little Jack Horner."  I've been trying to get a solo performance of the nursery rhyme on video with no success, but take my word for it! It's so CUTE!

Also during the Christmas break, we got a mysterious piece of mail. It was a thank you note from Olivia's teacher thanking Olivia for her Christmas gift (a Starbucks mug and hot cocoa) and that she looked forward to seeing Olivia after the winter break. Um, am I the only person that thinks this was AMAZING and NEVER, EVER, EVER got a stinking thank you note from any of my teachers (and I was a big kiss up--let me tell you)?! I was so impressed and excited for Olivia.  She, of course, thinks this is normal. But give me some time and I will overdramatize this (as I do many important lessons) and it will set in for her.

Monday, December 19

Lucas 8 months old

One afternoon, amidst a hectic and busy work day, I received this picture in a text...

...and I nearly lost it. My little baby is becoming a little boy before my eyes!

Somehow, Charm City Daddy got the little man to balance long enough to take this picture. Very cool, but also very scary.

Olivia's Musical Debut -Thanksgiving 2011

Olivia made her musical debut in her school's Thanksgiving Program. It was 30 seconds of pure delight, joy, pride, excitement.

Olivia smiling and clucking her arms in the middle.
 I wish I had video to share with you but it was only her clucking her arms like a chicken saying "Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Yuuuummmy! Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Gobble, Yuuuummmy!" The end.
Olivia's cute LBD and Cheetah ballet flats.
They close and open the curtains between classes/performanes and her expression and beaming smile when she realized there was a live audience was priceless. We didn't run to the front or wave so she didn't see us and seemed okay with that. She waved back at other waving, smiling parents, however. Afterward she couldn't wait to tell us she was "on the stage!"

Lucas is an excellent spectator. He really gets into the performances, sometimes trying to sing along.

Lucky for us and her grandparents, Olivia does excellent private performances, on demand. I had her going non-stop all Thanksgiving weekend. Hello stage mom.

Lucas is on the Move

Lucas began crawling on December 17th, a date I'll never forget as it was witnessed by one of my dearest friends (thank you, pageants!) who my kids will always call Uncle Kevin! "Kevin Zoe- baby stylist" as I jokingly call him, was dropping off his usually carefully curated Christmas gifts for the kids.

He is fast and he crawls the textbook way, unlike Olivia who went side saddle on our hardwoods and then adjusted back to normal for rugs.

He crawls only to get to furniture or people he can pull up on and then he cruises around from there.  He is fearless. I'm afraid walking is weeks away.

Sunday, November 20

Growing and Bonding

Lucas' big head and big personality is emerging and I could just eat him up.

He has a little temper. Likes to mimic screams and is not the shy guy we thought he would be. He's all smiles and tilts his whole body to the side (like a little teapot) when he really wants to be cute. He  loves to cuddle unlike his big sister. He lights up when Olivia walks into the room or when we walk into her empty bedroom simply because it is associated with her.

He LOVES her and the feeling is mutual. She introduces Lucas to everyone strangers, waitresses, and the teachers of other classes in her school tell me about her daily reports about her little brother Lucas. She's a protective and doting big sis.

She's only wanted equal opportunity lap time in the last week. She's rough with him, wrestling, tickling, and pinning him down every chance she gets and he just takes the abuse like a champ--laughing all the way. He's so strong I find myself warning Olivia less about being gentle with him because he can almost hold his own with her.

Olivia's is in an interesting phase. She's giving lots of compliments (she likes my eyebrows! lucky me) She is also asking "why? what is that? where does that come from?" OFTEN. We answer lots of random questions on a daily basis. Today, among other things, she asked me why our backyard was fenced; why I chose a certain route to her Spanish class; and why I was putting our patio furniture in storage.  Sometimes I impress myself with the explanations I come up with. Without prompting she also told me at breakfast today, "I'm thankful for you, mommy." Needless to say, we are pleased with her school which claims to only be teaching Civilization 101 at her age, but we couldn't be more impressed. She never wants to leave the place when I pick her up after a full 8 hour day--a good sign.

I enjoy watching their bond mature and strengthen as they learn more about themselves and each other. They are "beeest friends" as Olivia often says---and I hope they always will be.

Saturday, November 19

The rest of October

Let's not waste any time with long apologies or explanations----I'm swamped!

Without further ado, here's what we've been up to...

We went fishing at one of our favorite city parks, Robert E. Lee,  which was recently taken over by Baltimore County and got a $6.1 million makeover.  The park looks great.  Olivia has been asking to go back to fish since we left.

Charm City Daddy ran the Baltimore marathon, aka Under Armor Running Festival and we cheered him on at Mile Six with our noisemakers.

He did well with very little preparation. This was his 5th marathon, I think--and the second time he's done the Baltimore event. I remember the first time he did the Baltimore, because we were still dating. We partied and danced the whole night before and he got up the next morning and ran the thing in no time and met me for lunch. That's not normal. He never does extensive training or preparation and does well. It makes you sick. I'll never forget the first time he ran the Baltimore marathon because it was the day I had my weave removed after 2 years of investing time and money every 6 weeks. It was my farewell to my pageant image and transition to natural, professional me . My hair was sooo thin, and he made me feel good about it, because after all it was all mine!

This time around---his cross at the finish was so symbolic for our family is so many ways. He was in tears--and I was in tears when he recounted the story to me in our kitchen--telling me how much pain he was in and all of the things going through his head about our lives, our beautiful children and all that God has given us.  What a difference 6 years makes...

My niece (my oldest brother's baby girl) made Olivia's day when she came over for a playdate on race day, too.

Then before we knew it, it was Halloween!

 And I decided Lucas wasn't just any ordinary skeleton (that I got on sale and figured would be most comfortable for him and usable as pajamas aftward), he's a Karate Kid Cobra Kai! Love my 80's movies.

O was a pirate at home and then a ballerina fairy (Thanks Uncle Kevin!) for school since she was already a pirate at school this year for annual pirate day.
My sister and nieces came to visit. We made s'mores by the fireplace and carved pumpkins in the basement while it snowed outside.

We all crashed the kiddie Halloween Parade in my parent's neighborhood--while they were out of town! My neighborhood has a parade--but we never go. Too stiff. And we gave them a chance with the 30-second Easter egg hunt, but HUGE disappointment. By disappointment I mean, we missed the event entirely because they didn't even hide the eggs! They just sat them down in a small roped off grassy area to keep the children from trampling over (or anywhere near) the precious tulip beds. Give me a break. LIVE a little.

Anyway--just look at this REAL family fun. No exorbitant property taxes required. Imagine that. (clearly it's time for us to move. I'm becoming a tad bitter). 

And that...for the most part...was October!

Saturday, October 8

Hand, Foot, Mouth, and Everything Else!

Lord have mercy. The last few days in this house have been....exhausting.

Last weekend Olivia came down with a crazy fever in church. I mean she was HOT. She took a nap, was clingy (which she never is) and was totally sluggish. It scared me to death. So we got some fever reducer in her and lots of liquids and she managed to get some food down, but the temp just spiked again a few hours later. Overnight was rough--clingy, constant waking, crying, fever. We kept her home from school Monday. She did well during the day, but the fever went up again at night. By Tuesday morning she was acting more normal and eating fine but I noticed a rash developing on her hands, calves, and toes. AHA! Chicken Pox!

I made an appointment with her doctor to confirm my sharp diagnosis. The doctor took a look--nope not Chicken Pox. Then he took one look inside Olivia's mouth and then look at me and smiled, " It's Coxsackie." My response "damnit." I had heard about "Hand, Foot and Mouth disease" from my sister's experience with my neice and another friend of mine and her kids, now Olivia had it. In fact she was pretty much done with it--and handled it pretty well considering. Apparently the rash shows up when the fever breaks. After the fever she's no longer contagious but then we were freaking out about how she got it and if Lucas had been exposed. The doctor said she was safe to return to school once she had no fever for 24hours. So Wednesday she returned to school with non-contagious rash just in time for her first SCHOOL PICTURES! HIP HIP HOORAY! I covered her arms in long sleeves and legs in tights and it was a beautiful 75 degree day. Come to find out three other kids in her school had been out with coxsackie as well. Aha! And turns out sandboxes can be breeding grounds for this thing. Olivia comes home with gobs of sand in her shoes and pockets everyday.

I'm glad that it is behind us and she is now immune--and also thankful that Lucas dodged the bullet, but I am not looking forward to dealing with this thing again with him anytime soon.

Charm City Daddy and I crash every night, only to be constantly awakened at least twice a night by Lucas! Lucas was just beginning to improve in the sleep department but had a total relapse this week--with daytime naps, bedtime all of it.  It is driving us both to near tears.We thought we had a fool-proof system all figuredwith Olivia--no frills, no fuss. It turns out we may have just had a fool-proof little girl. He JUST gave up swaddling at 6 months. If it were up to him--he would still be swaddled.

Lucas' separation anxiety is off the charts too--and to top it all off he seems to be a shy guy. He balls his eyes out when he sees an unrecognizable face. The well-meaning church ladies who crowd around him every Sunday are the worst for his nerves. Poor baby.

Also--Olivia is officially done with the paci at bedtime. She has never needed it at naptime at school and it was time to let it go to avoid her mama's overbite. It wasn't easy, but I told her I simply threw it out of the window of the car--just like she did to her paper elefante from Spanish class on the ride home. She certainly understood the permanence of that action and it ended our discussion. Awesome.

Oh! And CCD celebrated our 4 year wedding anniversary this week. We decided to celebrate the way we've celebrated all of our anniversaries--with a family dinner out--but at a nice restaurant to give the kids the experience. They were well-behaved, and the restaurant was wonderful to us--food also incredible. Olivia loved the live jazz trio and I taught her how to skat. It cracks her up--but she is pretty good at imitating me.

CCD and I have been researching vacations (to keep our sanity and hope alilve) but we both agreed today that we would feel bad asking anyone to take care of our kids (ha!)---at least until Lucas gets this sleep patterns under control. So then we started looking at family vacations--then we looked at family airfare---then we stopped looking at vacations and went back to work. HA!

More to come---I didn't even tell you about my car accident. We just got our car, "The Milk Truck" back this week.

Tuesday, September 27

Let's Talk about Lucas

Lucas is changing before our eyes everyday and knocking down milestones like they stole something!

He is also teething ferociously and it makes for a sad, miserable baby some days and some nights.
He still needs a bottle most nights around 2-3 am--lucky me. Sleep training is going okay. About 4 out of 7 nights a week I can put him down totally awake and without fussing he knows what to do. Other nights he won't settle for anything less than holding him until we fall asleep together.  He is so different than Olivia in that department. Then and now she doesn't want to be bothered when she is tired or sleepy--just let her go and do her thing.

He says mama, bah bah, and dada--and it seems to be in context too! He loves screaming matches with his sister and finds her incredibly entertaining. Olivia can snap him out of any bad mood. She likes to rough play with him and I think his first words to her will soon be "stop"  or "no!"

He's trying to sit up on his own. Splashing and kicking like crazy in the tub. Grabbing and using his hands to put things in his mouth.  He's eating solids--but still won't open his mouth all the way for the spoon unless I play airplane with the spoon to get him to smile. He's also survived his sister shoving random food in his mouth at the dinner table (while we're looking away) that she doesn't like.

He is such a sweet sweet boy. Smiling and laughing all the time. Love him so much and feel so lucky to be able to experience parenthood a different way with another little one with a different personality.

Olivia 2 Yr Stats

O dressed as a pirate for her school's International Talk Like a Pirate Day celebration
Olivia had her well baby 2 year doctor's appointment last week.

It is amazing to think about the difference in her behavior since the last time I had her in the doctor's office just a few months ago at 19 months. She was so well behaved and easy to reason with--and bribery works like magic these days.

Here are her stats:
  • Weight: 30 lbs..89 percentile
  • Height: 36 inches... 95th percentile
  • Head: ? I forgot to record this...but the doc said in the 69th percentile.
She took her two shots like a champ too--only wincing. I gave her fair warning that the nurse was going to give her medicine but she would also give her band-aid too. Yay! She, like all kids, loves the band-aids. Then they had to up the ante and take her down to get two vials of blood drawn. Yikes.

In anticipation of the bloodwork, we stopped by the pharmacy on the walk to the lab and I let her pick out candy--gummi bears--for opening only after the blood. Hey get this, she actually complied with that request and sat like an angel in the waiting area with the gummies in her lap. Since she never gets candy--she knew I was expecting big things from her--kind of like potty training.

For the bloodwork she only jumped a little until the nurse told her the needle was a butterfly with a magic straw. She was amazed that she was making blood/red juice with zero effort!

I was SO proud of her. We opened her gummies when she got back to the car and she ate the entire package in about 15 seconds flat before we could exit the hospital campus.

Her budding personality is the best thing to witness. She sings the Barney song "I love you, you love me..." to Lucas all the time giving him the "great big hug" and kiss. It is so sweet.

She loves school--every minute of it. I was worried that she'd be tired of it after being there for 8 hours a day--5 hours more than most kids her age. But nope--and in fact she is thriving her Spanish classes on Saturday too. The child is a learning machine--a little sponge.

She also loves the grocery store---I mean she gets really excited about it which makes me get excited too and I HATE the grocery store. Now that she's potty trained and her bladder is stronger the short trips are actually enjoyable.

She's such a little girl now--a tough little girl but a little girl nonetheless.

Saturday, September 10

First Day of School

Olivia had her first (half) day of nursery school last Friday!

She only went in for 3 hours mind you. From 9am to 12noon--- just long enough to drop her off, complete one errand, feed Lucas, and turn around and pick her up again. We celebrated with family lunch out and she passed out in her carseat on the way home. Awesome.

I was a nervous wreck--had butterflies the night before--and kept obsessing over the list of things she had to bring in: box of tissues, art smock, change of clothes, everything labeled, rain boots, etc.

Olivia, on the other hand, was perfectly fine. Having gone to her school for her "admissions observation" and then again for the new student play date--she loves the place! It also helped that both of those earlier encounters with the school ended on the playground, so in her mind it is a wonderfully fantastic place. I wish I would have videotaped her excitement as we turned the corner walking up to the building.

She was jumping up and down and showing off her backpack "Look at my backpack! Look at Dora!"  to the school staff. It was hilarious.

Here's all of us--in front of the building on the rainy day.
I felt like I was the only one with a camera, and we were those parents. I was embarrassed to ask someone to take the picture--but really wanted it--so I got over it really fast.

I am so excited for her to get this exposure and specialized structured experience from age 2 through 6. She is going to thrive! It's become clear that she needs to learn to balance the social aspect of group settings with learning. Being with a nanny since birth means "playdates" and storytimes are the only times she gets to socialize with other children regularly--which makes focusing on tasks in group settings that much more difficult for her.You take for granted the basic rules like sitting in place and listening quietly without touching other children.

For example, today at storytime (which she's being going to since birth) she walked up to each of the other children there and individually "roared" (loudly and obnoxiously)  in their faces after the storyteller asked the audience what sound a lion makes. At first I laughed (with pride--the other kids were mute!), but when her third victim flinched a bit and when O started going to adults I quickly snapped out of my fog and jumped up and snatched this little rude (hilarious) child of mine.

So---school will be good for her.

Oh..and here's what she should have worn---I ordered all of her school uniforms way too big. Mom FAIL.

Sunday, September 4

Makes Me Laugh

Olivia loves loves her undies---6 times over.

I woke up to this sight one morning when Olivia got into her underwear drawer. I preferred this morning over the one where she found the lotion dispenser in the bathroom.

Friday, September 2

Potty Training Boot Camp: Wrap Up

I think this potty training saga could go on and on for the next year, so I think I'll just wrap it up here.

Olivia understands the concept--and even went a couple days without an accident, but we are still trying to master the dreaded number two. Dun. Dun. Dun.

She's just too impatient when it comes to number two. We read books. Sing songs in the bathroom and she still gets gun shy.

The potty training manual says--"stay positive don't scold" but when Olivia told us she had to go "caca" and Charm City Daddy sat her down on the potty and she commenced to prancing and pooping all over the bathroom (diarrhea cha cha cha)--we lost it.

I was amidst the post-bath routine with Lucas in another room when I heard a big SPLAT! "That can't be good," I thought. I slowly peeked in--afraid of what I might see. It looked like a crime scene, people. There she was sitting on the potty at moment in time, of course with a very fitting "oh, shit" look on her face. I gagged--then we lost it.

And that was on Charm City Daddy's Birthday! Happy Birthday daddy!

Anyway..I'll wrap up this experience with a few lessons learned as well as gear that helped us out.
  1. Stock up on undies. I started with just 5 pair, but later went to town in Walmart and bought at least 30 more. I bought ten Dora, Disney Princess ones(added incentives--"don't pee on Dora!")--and the rest were Hanes, FOTL generic. I haven't used them all yet--we do laundry quite often--especially when bodily fluids are involved. I have extras everywhere--diaper bag, car, grandma's house.
  2. Portable Potty. At the suggestion of a friend, I got the Pottete Portable on the go potty. It has great reviews and I love it's versatility and it's small enough to fit in the diaper bag or keep in the car. (and get additional liners!)
  3. Seat Liners. For the public potties--these liners are adhesive and worth and peace of mind. I keep these in the diaper bag.
  4. Carseat Saver- Piddle Pad. Yes! Many swear by carseat covers for this reason alone.. We haven't had any accidents yet but better safe than sorry.
Other thoughts:
  • Constant reminding and nagging--not asking worked well for us.
  • Positive reinforcement DOES work. Olivia loves saying "I so pwoud of you" all the time now.
  • O's reward was a single gummi bear or sing fruit snack for every successful droplet in the pot. It's quick, tasty--and unlike the popsicles her daddy wanted to give her, don't get messy--take forever to eat or contain water.
  •  Have old rags--in our case gym towels--mop, and cleaning supplies on standby. 
  • Consider rolling up your rugs if you can--or staying in rooms that have no floor coverings during the training period.
  • I sat Olivia down with my laptop on Day 2 and we went through all the YouTube videos I could find about potty training for kids--singing her songs--watching cartoons talk about it--seeing other kids do it. And I think it helped.
Finally---COMMIT and DON'T GIVE UP! Your partner must be on board too! Good Luck!

What worked for you Mamas?

*I was not and have never been compensated (in any way) for my baby gear suggestions on this blog.*

Thursday, September 1

So we had a Earthquake and Hurricane... the same week!

I feel like I need to mention these two things, because they were kind of big deals.

First, the earthquake...

-I was at work.
-Olivia was at home sleeping (it was naptime) and remained sleeping through the whole experience.
-Lucas was in his baby swing sleeping and also remained unimpressed with the earth moving.
-Charm City Daddy was standing in the front yard talking to a neighbor.

Later that week, Hurricane Irene came through and surprised us all with her overnight winds and rains which uprooted nearly a tree on every street of our neighborhood--which is filled with big, old trees. A tree came down over a power line in our next door neighbor's backyard that left our side of the street without power for 4 long, days.

One tree came down (never heard a sound) in our yard just feet from Olivia's room and miraculously missed it---and somehow bent around our sun porch. Only God.

Wednesday, August 24

Potty Training Boot Camp: Day Five

I am still logging Potty Training days--and will continue to do so until Olivia goes at least one entire day without a  single accident.

And guess what? She had ONE accident today with the nanny. Again, I don't think the nanny is reminding/nagging Olivia enough to tell when she has to go potty. So--what do you get? A nice little puddle of piss to cleanup. Your bad.

It only took Charm City Daddy one accident clean up to catch on to the nagging method. Before you know it he was looking for all of the signs. haha.

We went on a picnic today in nearby Sherwood Gardens for dinner and then grabbed ice cream at Taharka Bros. and Olivia was perfectly fine and told us when she had to go. We had about 5 fibs (aka false alarms) but hey---that's okay.  She a little voyeur that's all. LOL. But I am happy to go through all the motions even if she can only squeeze a droplet.

On to day six!

Tuesday, August 23

Ready to Learn

It feels like Olivia and Lucas both made significant developmental strides this week.

Lucas transitioned to the bouncer and the bumbo seat this week. I've been attempting solids with him for 2 weeks, but it seems like today was the day he decided to take the reigns and embrace the concept. I was away when Charm City Daddy sent me this picture with the caption "Code Red: He just grabbed the spoon from me."


As added incentive and reward for her great strides in potty training, we gave Olivia a few items on her school supply list: her first backpack, her new rain boots, and a water bottle. SHE LOVED THEM and we were nearly brought to tears at how fast our little girl is growing up.

I am still getting used to the arrival of O's attitude. She has an opinion and preferences already?! Yesterday I sang along with her Disney Princess piano that plays various songs including "Be Our Guest" and she got really frustrated with me and ordered me (with her little finger over my mouth) "No, don't sing mommy! Don't sing!" She wanted to dance to the music without me cluttering up her experience with lyrics, I guess. Geez.

The little mama orders poor Lucas around too. Yesterday she told him she was going to "spank yah butt!" He just smiles at her and she melts into a puddle--just like us.

That little boy has this amazing power that no one can resist. It's his kind eyes.

Potty Training Boot Camp: Day Four

To sum it all up.......It hit the fan today. Ha!

First, the nanny reported that Olivia had two accidents. Olivia had self-reported and nearly made it to the potty. I suspect the nanny wasn't able to move quickly enough with her hands full of a 5 month old Lucas and another 19 month old. Tomorrow/time will tell. The power of suggestion is really the key here. Asking does not work--Olivia gets defensive.

Then, Charm City Daddy was on duty while I had to work late and really felt the brunt of it when as he was preparing dinner and feeding Lucas, Olivia had two more accidents---one of which was the dreaded appearance of #2.

Hopefully these are minor setbacks and we can celebrate a comeback tomorrow!

Monday, August 22

Potty Training Boot Camp: Day Three

Day three was a huge success! Olivia didn't have one accident AND didn't wet the bed at naptime either.

We rewarded our progress with a trip to the park after three days of potty lockdown.

We brought the small potty with us along with a change of pants, panties and a towel.

I kept a close eye on O and reminded her to tell me if she had to go potty repeatedly upon arrival to make sure she understood that the same potty rules apply---even in a different setting. It took only 5 minutes for her to tell me she had to go potty and the next thing I knew I was running her across the playground waving my arms like a crazy person and motioning for Charm City Daddy to get the potty ready.  He knew just what to do--and had been watching for the signal from me.  In hindsight we probably looked like a melodramatic parents--but we don't care because guess what---she made it! Success again! I have never thanked and praised God over bodily function so much in my left. I am SO proud of her. 

There we were off to the side of a park bench with O sitting on her little white pot and Charm City Daddy is shielding and protecting his little girl when another dad walks right up and says "Aww, congratulations!" to us. CCD rolls his eyes at the guy like move along pervert--nothing to see here.  It was so funny. Get a clue dude.

The only thing that was missing about Day 3? Poo poo opportunities. That is the last hurdle we haven't experienced with her--as so far she has done #2 just after waking up on Day 1 and during a nap on Day 2. So I technically can't claim potty training until we have conquered #2.

Tomorrow reality sets in when O returns to her usual childcare routine with less one-on-one attention in the nanny share. Here's hoping that the nanny isn't too busy and preoccupied with taking care of the whole crew (Lucas, O, and her nanny share buddy) that she neglects to remind O enough!

Sunday, August 21

Potty Training Boot Camp: Day Two

SIGNIFICANT progress to report today!

Only two accidents (wee wee in the floor--and the rest in the pot)--ALL DAY LONG.

This morning we had to watch Olivia like a hawk to catch "the look" a combination of blank stare and panic. We told her to tell us if she had to go pee over and over again (as the book says), but she just wouldn't tell us. If we, on occasion, would ask her if she had to go potty? (which the book tells you NOT to do) She would answer dramatically, "No mommy/daddy I'm not going to go potty, EVER!" I would reply "don't say that you're a big girl" and then look at Charm City Daddy as we both fought back laughs.  CCD said "maybe she means she won't potty on herself again EVER?" Nice try daddy. She is sassy and there are no excuses. She also refused to let me follow her into the bathroom a few times this morning--pushing me away b/c she wanted to do it herself.

The two times she had accidents she just gave us the look, we'd ask her as we dove to scoop and run her to the potty. But something must have clicked after her nap today. Zero accidents and she told US she had to go. I was in the middle of reading an interactive book to her on the iPad and she stopped me and said "mommy, I have to go potty." I jumped up and she made it there without a losing a drop.

I want to claim that we are done but we will go hard one more day tomorrow to seal the deal. The real test will be if Olivia adapts and reports her bodily functions to the nanny this week AND the nanny stays on top of it and doesn't take shortcuts. 

Please God let this be it. We're just three weeks away from her first day of school.

Saturday, August 20

Potty Training Boot Camp: Day One

We're in the  countdown until Olivia starts nursery school and one of the big requirements that's been hanging over our heads all summer??!!----potty training! Dun. Dun. Dun.

For some reason I feel like I'm in high school again and I waited until the last month of summer vacation to start my summer assignment for A.P. Modern European History. Why I do I torture myself like this?

It's not that we haven't been having the potty conversation for the past year. She's had a potty since before she could walk after all. She's even warned us and made poo and pee in the pot this summer, but now it's time to get serious and commit. Do or die.

School starts September 9th, but new student orientation day is August 31 and we want to make a good first impression!

So, I'm taking a three-day weekend to do a three-day potty training boot camp a friend of mine shared with me via e-book. I didn't exactly stock up on all the supplies suggested like have 30 plus pairs of undies ( I have 5 pair ---that were each washed 3 times today) and  I don't have all of the on-the-go liners, and portable pots it recommendeds once your kid is trained but we're making do with what we've got.  I've got plenty of gummy bears and fruit snacks which seems to be doing the trick just fine.

The method seems to be exuberant positive reinforcement (no scolding whatsoever), complete stalking and focus on the toddler to look for the "signs", constant, nagging reminding (not asking) to "tell mommy when you have to pee, ok?", lots of water to give her plenty of chances to do her thing, and for us, a single gummi bear for even an droplet of success.

The results after Day One?
  • No less than 15 accidents---pee puddles everywhere (even one in the grass in the backyard). I rolled up the living room rug too--SO glad I did.
  • She made it to the pot at least 5 times--one of which I had left the room (bad mommy) and she peed on the floor a little and ran and made it the pot all by herself for the rest! Another time she told me she had to go, and wanted to go by herself and pushed me away and wouldn't let me follow her to the bathroom. She made it to the pot and exclaimed, "I'm a big girl now!" It was pretty awesome. THEN she peed on the floor at least 2 more times after that. LOL
  • Naptime was successful--she stayed dry. 
  • No poop at all today--not normal for her.
  • I have cabin fever. I am on complete lockdown--can't even watch TV--must watch her at all times. But I have caught her signals, she stiffens and spreads her legs with knees locked and goes up on her toes, all with a worried/blank look on her face--usually looking me dead in the face. LOL.
I felt like giving up about 20 times today--which was everytime I had to clean up the pee and balance Lucas' needs, cries, bottle, naps, tummy time, entertainment while still keeping O from making a mess of her own--mess.  Yuck. No way Charm City Daddy could stomach this job. No way.

It will all be over soon. She looks so adorable in her Princess and the Frog undies too.

Wish us luck for Day 2!

Wednesday, August 17

Olivia's Second Birthday!

As promised here's a recap of Olivia's Second Birthday Party!

When I informed parents to bring their kids' swimsuits for a "water fun" little did I know that we would be dealing with much more water than the slip n' slide and baby pools I had in mind. The sky opened up and it rained like a monsoon but guess what--we still had a GREAT time. We have the BEST friends who still showed up for our little girl's day--with their kids in tow. Love them.

Besides rain turned out to be the small glitch--and an empty gas tank (whoopsi) for the grill left Charm City Daddy cooking up turkey burgers and hot dogs in the kitchen instead. CCD and I agreed that of all of the parties we've had in our home it probably ranked as the second most fun of all time---with our first New Year's Eve party taking top honors. Both were simple, small and unpretentious with just the right mix of people.

Olivia is such a great little hostess too. She returned the "Happy Birthday" wishes to each and everyone that wished her a happy birthday--lol--it was everyone's birthday! At one point, during the rain storm, she invited all of the children ranging in age from 8 years to 19 months up to the third floor of our house which gets awesome acoustics for a full out screaming match and game of "tagyou'reit!" I shut that down after 5 minutes. Everyone complied but the birthday girl who was removed kicking and screaming.

It is nice to have experienced parents around as well--helping me relax about the rain issue and transition the children from activity to activity. A new friend of mine brought her 4 kids (ages 2-8) and it was awesome--like a built in party. I was so thankful and happy to see all of them--and they are such great, well-behaved--adorable kids.  At one point, her two year-old son was actually talking to Olivia's cake, "Caillou, I love you! I love you Caillou!"

I could go on's the party in pictures!

Miss Personality Times TWO!

Olivia is two going on twenty-two!

Whoa-nelly! I am not ready. There are a lot of emotions being expressed at this stage with semi-grown-up vocabulary and a lot of silliness---and Charm City Daddy and I find ourselves suppressing and hiding laughter ALL the time. The girl is just full of personality.

Just this morning after Olivia burst into our room and realized that although we would let her climb between us in bed at 6:30 a.m. we weren't about to wake up and start the party with TV and teeth brushing. Nope she would have to sit there quietly or fall asleep for at least 30 minutes. After about 3 minutes of silence she started swaying back and forth between us..

"What do I do? What do I do now? What do I do? What do I do now?" she said.

After suppressing another laugh I responded, "You lay your little self down and fall asleep. That's what you do!"

This parenting thing is getting harder and harder, I tell you because at times I am thoroughly entertained and it is so hard not to show how amused, impressed, surprised, scared, proud, angry I am.

Like in Olivia's less-than-redeeming moments when her excitement gets the best of her and she kicks her little brother repeatedly in the head while they lay on the bed to get lotion applied after a bath. It takes every ounce of control in my being not to snatch her up and scream at the top of my lungs, "HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND!?" and instead sternly talk to her in a disapproving voice while quickly catching her swinging feet and slightly squeezing them while widening my eyes to let her know that I. mean. business. Oooph! Parenting is tough.

She is little carbon copy of everything we do and say right now, so Charm City Daddy and I really have to be on our best behavior, speak in code, and spell lots of w-o-r-d-s to communicate.

Some of Olivia's recent favorites:
  • "No I don't want to...!" fill-in: go inside, get my hair done, put my pajamas on, get in the high chair, drink milk.
  •  "Mommy, I love it." or "Mommy, I happy"
  •  Charm City Daddy is also known as "my daddy" as in "I love you my daddy."
  • "No, that's MY lamb and my teta (paci)!" *Holding it closer to her and farther from you while and looking at you like you're crazy*
  • "Mommy can you play 'I gotta feel it'?" *music request for Black-Eyed Peas' I Got a Feeling*
  • "Mommy Lucas is cryin'/happy/smilin'/sleepin'.
And the list goes on and on and on.

Love her so much.