Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Food

Self Sufficient

The boys are becoming so much more adept at doing things for themselves. In some ways it's really, really good but in others it can be so frustrating.

They now like to pour their own "milk" (which is either rice, hemp, almond or coconut). They like a mix of plain with flavored so will take both from the fridge and get a cup from the dish drain and sit down to pour. The messes aren't as much as you expect, but I am having to wash the floor almost daily. But sometimes they don't want the milk, they just want to practice pouring. When this is the case, the entire cup of liquid will get dumped somewhere (intentionally). Sometimes they will help to (try to) clean it up, sometimes they wont.

Corwyn starts every morning by going to the fridge to get his milk. No matter how much I want to sleep, or what time it is (5am seems to happen a lot) I have to spring out of bed to catch the spills and accidental overflows before they run across the entire floor.

They like to get their own snacks. Again, this can be a good thing, except when it's 10 minutes until dinner. One evening when I was relieving myself in the other room, they decided to make their own PB and bread. While I let them use a butter knife when I'm around, they are normally kept out of reach. So they made do on their own. Nathan used a fork and Corwyn a spoon and they made their own snack (and yes, this was one of those times when dinner was imminent and not eaten as a result).

This morning Nathan really got me. I was amazed enough that my annoyance all but went away. Yes, he defied a direct request, and yes, I had to do a bit of extra work but still, wow.

They have a small table and chairs in the bedroom that I got them and another set in the living/dining room that someone else gave us. For reasons unknown to me, Nathan wanted the table from the bedroom in the living room. We don't have room for two tables there so I said no. Then I also let him know that the table would not fit through the hallway (because of the laundry baskets being at his height and making it narrow - so ha, I win). But he had to try. Rather than give up, he turned the table upside down and took the legs off. Then he carried the table top followed by the legs into the living room. Tada. I just told him wow, what great thinking and moved the other table and chairs into the bedroom. Seriously, he figured it out on his own. I'm so in trouble as he grows up if he's thinking like this before he's even 3.

I also was able to employ some letting go (something I'm practicing). There was no real reason why the specific tables were in the rooms they were in. Well, some small reasons, but nothing to stop the switch. I could have fought him (and won) by force, but really, it wasn't worth it. There are and will be bigger battles.

I want them to be able to think for themselves and challenge things, but at the same time I need them to believe me sometimes when I say something without finding out for themselves. He challenged me wanting the tables a certain way. Sure, okay. But how do I balance that with him not believing me when I tell him that he will hurt himself when pours an entire kettle of boiling water over himself (in that case if asking gets no results, I use force and then 'try' to redirect his attention, so far no burns).  I guess we're all just a work in progress.

Friday, February 10, 2012


I wasn't even out of my (sofa) bed this morning when the boys had dumped the Zipbin of Duplo on the floor to start building. Duplo is a daily part of our life. As a Lego-addicted mommy, I couldn't be happier. I have an entire closet full of Lego just waiting for them to be old enough for the tiny pieces. And when I say closet full, I really mean it. Their big (Lego themed) Zipbin is less than 1/10 of the size of the storage for the Lego to come. Plus, I already have a box of the new Duplo Learn to Build with Duplo cards at the office as part of their birthday gift (if it waits that long).

Next month, Lego is teaming up with Today's Parent to do a 30 Day Duplo Challenge. They were looking for mom blogs to participate. I signed up and am really hoping to get picked. Clearly we're already fans and even if not picked, I will be looking at the daily challenges to bring more depth to our Lego playtime.

To start the morning, Corwyn began with a checkerboard style tower while Nathan went for the height right away. When the caregiver came, the first thing Corwyn did was have her come check his tower. He was still working on it an hour after he started, and barely stopped long enough to say good-bye to me. How is that for an addiction?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

I did it!

This phrase is Nathan's motivation.

I asked earlier about motivation but it appears my question or the rewards for it (none) were motivating to many.It was more to put into your brain the concept of motivation.  Everyone is motivated in different ways, my kids are no exception. This post is about Nathan and what motivates him (or not).

Nathan loves to figure things out. He sees something, anything and wants to do it, master it, even if it's only once. He's always been like that since he first realized he could move his own body parts on command.

He is the type who tries and tries and tries again when he wants to accomplish something. Sure he fails and damn straight he can get frustrated and angry, but he usually keeps trying.

Once he rolled over for the first time, quite by accident, from his stomach to his back, he realized he didn't have to stay trapped in horrible tummy time. He made it his mission to roll over on his own schedule. It took a couple of days and lots of trying and voila, success! Of course once he could do it, he didn't mind being on his stomach so much. In fact, he discovered that while on his stomach, a few combination of limb flails could result in propulsion across the floor. So he crawled (commando for a while).  Walking was the same way. He tried and failed and tried and failed and tried and failed and eventually he could do it.  The smile on his face was priceless.

For Nathan the thrill is in initial accomplishment. He will continue to do something he's mastered when/if it suits his purpose, but it doesn't matter as much.  He can easily feed himself with a fork or spoon and even spread peanut butter on bread with a knife or cut a banana.Can do it. But he is also lazy. Meals are often accompanied by the phrase 'mommy do it' because he wants me to feed him, even if its just a sandwich, he wants me to pick it up and hold it to his mouth. Um, no.

Nathan all but potty trained himself. He decided he wanted to do it. We read tons of books and watched every movie on the subject. It was talked about lots. One day he asked to pee in the toilet and that was it. Yeah, he had accidents, but he kept trying. Then we had a childcare change (temporary) then the holidays and it was too much bother to try anymore. I don't get mad if they have an accident or shame them etc, I just change them and ask if they want to use the potty/toilet. So he got lazy and just let it go. In come the stickers (see details in a previous post).

So while his primary motivation is accomplishment, he is like most people and also appreciates external rewards. In this case, stickers and presents. He's back at being a potty pro now and no longer even asks for a sticker after he goes. It was just that little extra motivation at a time when things were going haywire.

He really does love praise and I give it freely. I try to praise the effort or his actions. I really work hard to avoid saying 'good boy' when he succeeds. It leaves the feeling of 'bad boy' if he fails, even when trying really hard. Still, even without praise, he loves to do things.

I don't want to raise kids who will only do something to get something. I want to raise a kids who will appreciate the external rewards but who's main driver is a sense of pride, of self accomplishment. Overall, Nathan fits this, even if he is lazy at times. If he continues like this, he will be the kid who will do his homework without prompting just to get it done. He will help out around the home because it needs to be done, not because he'll get paid to do it. He'll do his best at everything he starts and see it through to the end. Yeah, he'll slip now and again, but he's only human. I will still offer rewards (bribes) for things that are less appealing but I can only hope those times are few and far between.

Soon I'll give a post about what motivates Corwyn. It's very different, they are very different.

 They almost never get computer time, not because I'm against it, but because I cant afford to buy the new computer I'd need when they broke my current one. This video was taken when Corwyn was out playing with the caregiver and Nathan was home sick with me. This is the first time he's actually gotten to hold the mouse and work the computer himself. I'd say he's a natural. Watch his level of concentration, and the expressions on his face as he works things out.

Monday, February 6, 2012

2.5 hours with a 2.5 year old in an adult emergency room

And I lived to tell the tale.

Let me start by saying that I'm amazed that we've gone this long without a trip to emergency and honestly, I expected our first visit to be a broken bone, or stitches or other such injuries that happen to rough and tumble fearless toddlers but this was more illness related.

Nathan had a cold. It started out fairly normal and then moved into his chest. No big deal right? But the last time this happened, his lungs didn't recover on their own and 2 months later he was on a inhaler for a couple of weeks. Then he was fine again. This was again a basic cold, no fever, no other aches, a stuffy nose and then through the night, chest congestion. And to be fair, I had it first and was just getting over it, it was a basic cold. Somewhere in the night, his breathing became shallow. This starts out as intentional on his part, when if he breaths normally,  he coughs, so he switches to short breaths, then it becomes the norm.

He was still coughing but in good spirits this morning when I left for work. He ate normally too. But it didn't get better. So I had friends come pick up Corwyn and I took Nathan to emergency.

There is a hospital 5 blocks from my home. It's the one they were born in and the one Nathan spent his first 3 weeks of life outside of me in. It's a good hospital, and while they treat kids, it's not a children's hospital. But that is much further away and I don't drive.  And I was pretty certain we wouldn't be admitted for a stay.  It's also the hospital that serves the downtown and the street people so there is a range of people there. I'm really happy the full moon is tomorrow night.

A friend had been a couple of times with her son and said they had a paediatric room in emergency. We never saw that. We were in the 'regular' fast track area. To be fair, Nathan was his usual perky, talky self when we checked in. His admission form even reads "Cough, looks well". I suspect they thought I was one of "those parents" who panics at the slightest thing. Um, no.

He got frustrated in the second waiting room and I downloaded the first toddler game I could find onto my phone. He was in heaven at this point. They never get mommy's phone because they broke the last one (and a camera and video camera) because they fight over it. He was still in good spirits and I was getting that patronizing look as he happily followed them into the fast track area. The first time he baulked at anything was when they asked him to climb onto a  bed. No way, no how. He sat in a chair. Then the intern came by for more info and I think they actually heard him breathing for the first time. Doctor was fairly fast after that. Nathan immediately pulled up his shirt to show where his chest hurt when the Dr asked what was wrong.  Nathan loves the stethoscope and breathed in/out on command. Since I use an ear thermometer at home, he was quite patient in getting his ears checked. Seriously, you could not have asked for more cooperation.

I mentioned that he said his elbow hurt and the Dr did a quick check. Elbow is fine but he noticed his psoriasis. I gave what info I had (no itch, had since birth etc, etc).

So then they ordered a chest xray. Really? I was worried how he'd react. The tech came, and Nathan took his hand and I followed them down the hall. They explained it to him, he stood still, held his breath on command and loved every second of it (seriously). Then the tech took his hand and walked us back.

Other than regular demands for food (my fault, totally my fault) the only real issue came around the nebulizer they gave him. They couldn't find a paediatric mask so he had the adult size. He hated it. It was supposed to be 10 minutes but he likely got 7 or so of those. An orderly came and helped and kept him a bit amused to make it go faster. I found another game to download. The boy is fast and had no problems doing these puzzles. It was great to watch. I wish there was a safe way for them to use the computer when they are together. He played so much he drained the phone's battery.

Eventually we were discharged. Official diagnosis is bronchiolitis (and asthma but only if he has a chest cold). His lungs are slightly infected as are his ears. He's on a short dose of antibiotics for 5 days and the inhalers for 2 weeks. We're going back to our ped in a couple of weeks to talk about an allergy and overall asthma test.

He also recommended that we give up dairy and wheat to help his skin. I've spent the last month trying to move them off dairy anyway. Corwyn is willing, but with Nathan I'm still trying. I'm going to have to be more consistent in mixing his milk with rice, almond or hemp milk. I have some gluten free cookbooks around so will be spending more time looking at those. I picked up a loaf of wheat free bread tonite. The boy lives on pb sandwiches and yoghurt right now.

We walked home (him in an umbrella stroller, playing with my phone) to get his prescription. He was not happy so I dropped him at home (its less than a block away) and went back to pick the prescription up. They didn't have it in stock. She had called all around to find anyone with it in stock (there is another pharmacy across the street, 2 up the street etc) and only 1 had it. They transferred it and I ran the 5 blocks to pick it up. What a night.

My friend had given him a snack so I forced the antibiotic down his throat with the promise of his 'breathing machine', which he loves, afterwards. I have a video from the first time he was on the inhalers that show how much he likes them. I'll try to find it. He thinks the antibiotic is poison and he's not really far off the mark. We already take a probiotic so that should help.

It was 2 hours past bedtime. They were clearly tired but didn't want to sleep. I still hadn't eaten and was emotionally wiped out.So they fell asleep in the floor with the promise that I would let them come to my bed later (which always happens when they wake up anyway). Nathan wanted to start out in my bed, but since my bed is the sofa and it's still folded up, that is not going to happen. I think I sang Mr Moon 30 times or so. Then at their insistence to continue recited every nursery rhyme I know (and I know a lot) and finally I moved on to some Peter, Paul and Mary. Success at last. I'm writing this up and chowing down on some cheese and almonds. I'll be sleeping soon, or at least in bed, trying to unwind.

I wish I had gotten some pictures of him at the hospital tonite, but he laid claim to my phone. So you have to settle for this one I took after they went to sleep.


So, Nathan had a rough night. He wasn't feeling well and was plagued with nightmares to boot. Once we covered off the illness part of it (cough, cold, and upset stomach) we talked about the nightmares.
Mommy: Did you have a scary dream?
Nathan: Yes
Mommy: Want to talk about it?
Nathan: Yes.
Silence, silence and more silence
Mommy: What was it about?
Nathan: Don't know (his new favorite phrase)
Mommy: Did something scare you?
Nathan: Yeah, fighting.
Now I'm single so no fighting parents etc. I was a bit puzzled
Mommy: who is fighting?
Nathan: Corwyn is fighting
Mommy: You don't like it when Corwyn hits you.
Nathan: No, I don't like it.
(and then he went to sleep for a bit so hopefully just getting it off his chest helped a bit)

Corwyn is very aggressive with Nathan. If he wants something, he takes it. Nathan will start to cry, Corwyn will laugh and run away. If Nathan chases him, Corwyn will hit, kick and bite to keep it. Corwyn also seeks revenge. It's really hard. They are usually loving and play together well, but not always. And while physically larger, Nathan is gentler and always loses.

Sometimes Corwyn genuinely wants what Nathan has. Sometimes he wants it only because Nathan has it. But most of the time he just wants Nathan to play with him. Nathan's verbal skills are on the high end of a 'normal' 2 year old, Corwyn's are middle to low (but getting better). This is some of the problem. Corwyn is also the loudest and most tenacious so when it comes time to pick a TV show or book, he usually 'wins'. That's up to me to change.

I saw one bit of hope this weekend. Nathan had something Corwyn wanted, but instead of taking it away, he grabbed Nathan's monkey and ran. Nathan didn't even notice and when Corwyn realized this, he brought it back and tossed it to him and walked away. It was a big step in so many ways but a small one as far as Nathan's feelings are concerned.

I really do need to find a way to get them apart for at least a few hours each week. Give them time to play with just me or with other kids without the other one around. Yeah, the twin bond thing is great, but they need the chance to develop as individuals too.

And because I can never be all doom and gloom, here is a picture of one of the highlights of our weekend (which was overall really fabulous). My little superheroes (in pjs that are just a bit too small now)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

What motivates you?

I'm going to be doing a post on motivation and my take on it soon. But I want some input from others to add to it. Everyone is different and I'm not looking to judge, just find out what works for different people.

What motivates you personally? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? Why do you go to work (not just for the money, but the specific work you go to). What would make you try something new? How do you stick to resolutions/goals?

For your kids, what motivates them? Are they self motivated or do you offer outside motivation?  Are each of your kids motivated differently? Do you force your will onto your kids or give into their every want? To you bribe or reward?  Do you feel that how your parents motivated you as a kid influenced how well or poor you are at follow through of your own goals?

Do you ever say 'Johnny is eating his dinner, you should eat yours.'  or 'everyone else is playing nicely, why can't you?' How do you compare that to 'if every other kid jumped off a bridge would you?'.

I've been doing a ton of reading lately on child rearing methods. Some make sense to me, some seem so WTF, but clearly they work for some people and families. I know where I'm leaning, and it's what feels right to me, for us. It's still a struggle though.

Please chime in on the comments with your thoughts, info and any book recommendations. I've probably read or have in my read pile many of them, but I'll take more.