Sunday, December 26, 2010

Liam and Santa

Part 1 - Terrified!

Christmas In the Gower: We looked at Santa from a distance.  Asked if he wanted to see Santa.  "Yes!" he said excitedly.  He happily sat and coloured while we waited for the crowd to thin.  We waited in line.  We were excited.  Liam was excited.  Finally it was our turn.  I walked to Santa with Liam in my arms.  The closer we got, the tighter he held on to me.  By the time we got to Santa, he was in full out death grip mode.  I started to put him on Santa's lap.  The tears started.  "No, no, no!" he yelled, tears running down his little cheeks.  Apparently, he didn't really want to see Santa after all!

The next morning, I asked, "What does Liam do when he sees Santa?"  His answer, "I cry!"

At least he enjoyed colouring while he waited!!

Part 2 - Reluctant

Daddy's Work Christmas Party:  It was a fun party.  Out first family bowl adventure.  We all had fun.  Liam even won!  (Yeah, mommy and daddy don't bowl very well!)  Then we went into the restaurant.  "Santa is going to come bring you a present," we told him.  His answer, "NO!" as he played with his hot dog and fries.  

Santa arrived.  Liam was concerned.  He watched as other kids got their gifts.  Then it was his turn.  He took a couple of steps towards Santa.  He stopped.  
Is that for me??

He was about to have a meltdown.  I could see it on his face.  Then he saw the present Santa had for him.  He let Santa pick him up.  He sat on Santa's lap but only to get that present!
Thanks, but can I go now?

After that, he talked about Santa constantly but still, when asked, "What does Liam do when he sees Santa?", the answers was "I cry."  And at the mall, when Daddy asked if he wanted to go see Santa, the answer was a definite "NO!"

Part 3 - Excited

Daycare Christmas Party:  He enjoyed the songs and listening to the music.  He was excited that Daddy was there, completely ignoring Mommy, which was kind of a good thing, because Mommy was still working.  We expected a melt down or that he would at least be clingy with one of us when Santa arrived.  He watched from a distance as the first few kids saw Santa and got their gifts.  And then, there he was, in front of Santa, ready for his turn, without waiting for his name to be called.  I moved him away, to wait for his turn and told him to listen for his name.  But he was having none of it!  So, instead of being near the end of the list, we moved him up.  "Liam?" Santa called.  he ran over eagerly and put his arms up to sit on Santa's lap for a picture.  
"Tank you Sasa!"

Now, instead of crying when he sees Santa, he talks about him CONSTANTLY!  

Who knows what next year will bring but this year, we had a little bit of everything on the Santa tolerance scale!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Potty Training Tuesday

You may have noticed the lack of a Potty Training Tuesday post last week.  I am taking a little bit of a break from potty training talk for the holidays!  I will be back with more potty training tips, tricks and stories in the new year!

Remember, potty training doesn't take holidays!  Try to be as consistent as possible with your potty training during the hustle and bustle of the holidays!

Happy Potty Training . . . I mean Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My Christmas Tree Tells A Story . . . Does Yours?

There are a lot of ways to decorate a Christmas tree -  you can choose a theme or colour scheme, you can be organized and symmetrical or completely random.

Themes and colour schemes used to mean searching store after store to find enough matching decorations to fill a tree but now, you can just go into a store and pick of a tub of decorations in one of the years hottest Christmas colours!

If I were decorating a tree for an office or some other public place, I would probably be all over the organized, symmetrical, colour scheme trends.  But for us, at home, that's not what I'm looking for.

To many people, I am sure our tree looks mismatched and disorganized, but I think it is great with a lot of ornaments that actually mean something to us.

There are ornaments from a gift exchange that I did with my closest friend in 7th grade.
There are ornaments that my Grandma crocheted years ago, that until recently hung on her tree every year.
There ornaments that have been given to me by daycare kids over the years.
There is a bride and groom ornament that my mother in law gave us the year we got married.
There's Liam's First Christmas ornament and a ball with his name on it.

There are ornament's that Henry's had for years and years.
There's the first ornament that Liam ever made, at daycare last year.
There's a collection of Canada Post decorations that my mother in law (who works for Canada Post) has given us over the years.
There are ornaments that I made years ago.
There are lots of snowmen and snowflakes and other things that are there just because we like them.

And on top of the tree is an angel, made by my mother out of the same fabric that she used to make my wedding dress.

Sure, there are lots of generic balls and bells scattered around through out the branches.

But it is the other ornaments that tell the Christmas stories of our family.  And that will continue to tell our stories in the years to come.

(I've heard a rumour that an Elmo ornament will soon be joining our collection for our Elmo loving little man!)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday the 13th is the new Friday the 13th!

At least it was for me this morning.  It started with being almost late for work.  And quickly went down hill from there.

The front gate lock at the daycare was frozen.  This shouldn't be a big deal.  I carry lock deicer in my purse for such occasions.  BUT, have you ever tried putting lock deicer in a padlock, on a chain while holding a squirming, impatient toddler, a purse AND a large reusable shopping bag full of stuff?  Well, let's just say it's pretty damn near impossible.

I tried putting the bags down and keeping the boy in my arms, but finally had to admit that there was no way I was getting that lock open without putting Liam down.  As I expected, he stood beside me for all of about 17 seconds before he decided to wander down the sidewalk.

Now, this is where it probably got really interesting for the neighbor across the street who was scraping the ice off their car, but I am pretty sure that she was just watching my comedy show.  

I grabbed Liam, just before he stepped out into the street (thankfully it is a very quiet street).  I wrangle him around so that he is between me and the gate and proceed to squat enough to use my knees to hold him against the fence so that he can't take off again.  

I repeatedly squirt lock deicer into the lock, shake it, wiggle the key, curse to myself and even resort to banging the lock against the fence all while trying to keep Liam from running away.  Honestly, I have to admit, that if I was the neighbor across the street, I would probably be watching and laughing too!  Or getting ready to call the police to say that a crazy woman was trying to break into the daycare with her kid.

Finally, I get the lock open.  And I got a slight confidence boost as Liam yelled "Yeah Mommy!" before I grabbed my purse and bag off the sidewalk, looped my arm around his waist and dragged everything through the gate and up the snow and ice covered front steps.  I put Liam down, to save dropping him at the top of the steps and frantically open the front door, knowing that the first children will be there any minute.  Of course, as I am ready to go in the door, Liam tries to run away again, causing me to almost set off the building alarm.

You would think that once I get us into the building, things would have calmed down and returned to normal.  NO!  It was a mad rush just to get the lights turned on and curtains opened before the first child arrived.  I had to get my co-worker to start her shift early to clean the snow and ice off the front steps.  

The phone was ringing nonstop.  I had one co-worker having major car issues and not sure if she was going to make it to work or not.  Another didn't want to come in because she was ill.  And the kids were coming faster than ever.  Parents probably thought I was crazy the way I was running around trying to organize and figure out the best way to do everything while short two staff.

Slowly, things started to work themselves out.  The flow of children into the building slowed considerable and a few had called to say they weren't coming in.  My sick co-worker was coming, but stuck in traffic.  And the co-worker with car problems expected to arrive by 9:30am.  

And I finally, after and hour and a half of chaos began to breath normally again.  And in a way, we were almost rewarded for the craziness we endured by a lower than usual number of children for the day.  But if that's what it takes to get a quiet day, I'll take the busy ones, thank you!

Over the years, I've come to realize that the only thing predictable about working in daycare is the unpredictability!  I've just got my fingers crossed that we got all the craziness of the week out of the way today!

And I'll be keeping my eyes out for the next Monday the 13th!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Car Play

Liam loves cars, trucks, buses, tractors, planes and trains - pretty much anything that goes!  Ever since he could crawl and push a truck, that's what he does - all the time!

He plays with them at home, at daycare and at grandma's house.  When we are out, he looks out window of the truck and watches them on the roads and in the parking lots.

This is just part of the parking lot that used to be our living room!

Every car or truck he owns is his favorite at some point.  

If they are big, he loads them up with smaller things.  If they are small, he loads them up onto bigger trucks.  

He tries to get the dogs to play cars with him.  He drives the small cars across the cat's back.  He shows them to the rabbits.

As far as Liam is concerned, life without toy cars wouldn't be worth living!
Sometimes we even have to have dinner with cars.

We gave in and despite the age recommendation of 3 plus, we bought him hot wheels cars.  
A portion of the ever growing collection!

His play is so advanced for his age as he loads small cars one at a one onto a bigger truck and pushes it across the room.  One by one, he unloads the cars and lines them up before pushing them across the floor (or table), one at a time.  

Even with these little cars, he knows to turn them facing forward before driving them anywhere.  And if they don't drive as well as he would like, he turns them upside down to check the wheels.

He would carry his cars with him everywhere if he could!  He says good bye to them when we leave the house.  He says good night to them at bedtime.  The first thing he does when we come home from daycare is look for his little cars.  

He always wants to play with ALL of them.  So far, he only has 10, but he always knows when one is missing and he will look for it and insist that we look for it until they are all found.

He loads them into anything he can to carry them around, his Frankenstein Halloween bag, a pail, his block wagon all make wonderful car carriers.  

The back of the couch becomes a highway and the arms turn into parking lots on a regular basis.  And he has discovered that he can pull the cushions off the couch and use it as a driving area.  That's great fun because it makes space for all the bigger vehicles!

Daddy and I are taking advantage of this love for little cars and using them to work on colours and counting skills.  So far, everything is yellow or green and his counting consists on "2, 3 go!" but everyone has to start somewhere.

I can't begin to imagine where car play is going to take us as Liam gets older and develops more language skills and starts to show more imagination!  But I am looking forward to seeing what roads my little boy's car obsession leads us down in the future.

And Santa, if you are reading this, Liam wants to stocking full of hot wheels cars in a good variety of colours!  He doesn't know it yet, but his cars are a good learning tool!

He is very particular about how his cars get parked.  I parked these ones after he pushed them across the floor to me and then he had to fix them because I didn't do it right!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Potty Training Tuesday # 7

Potty Training and Daycare

If your child is in full time daycare, chances are the majority of potty training will be done by your child's teacher or caregiver.  

Although consistency between home and daycare is an important factor in potty training, it is also important to remember that your child may do things differently when they are away from you.  Your child may eagerly sit on the the potty at daycare but not at home or vice versa.  This is not something to be concerned about.  Your child may sit on the potty at daycare because the other kids do it, but not at home because there aren't any other kids to watch.

If your child is showing an interest at daycare but not at home, work with your child's teacher to encourage your child to use the potty at daycare.  If they want to try your child in underwear, go with it.  Sometimes a child gets to the point where they are potty trained at daycare but not at home.  Again, not something to worry about, it is just a starting off point and in time they will become completely potty trained.  Do not force your child to sit on the potty at home if they are resisting.  Keep the potty available to them and always encourage them to use the potty at home, like at daycare.  With time, it will come!

The same things apply if your child uses the potty at home but not at daycare.  Although it is a little more difficult this way, as a child in full time care spends more awake time at daycare than at home during the week, but it can be done!  Make sure your child's teachers are fully aware of the progress being made at home so that they can encourage the child to do the same at daycare.

Communication between parents and teachers is a key element to potty train a child in daycare.  It is very difficult for either to be successful without the support of the other.  Share your successes and failures.  Discuss strategies.  Ask each other for help or advice.  If your child's teacher has been working with potty training aged kids for a long time, like I have, chances are she (or he) has lost of experience, stories, advice and support that they can offer.  Don't be afraid to ask if you aren't sure what to do or how to do it!  

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks and advice every Tuesday!  And please do share your own experiences!  I am always looking for ways to make potty training easier for myself, not only at work, but also at home as I will soon be jumping in head first to potty train Liam!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


To Do List
Christmas Gift List
Grocery List
Christmas Baking List
Christmas Card List
Brownie To Do List

The sheer number of lists I have on the go right now is almost as overwhelming as the amount of time it will take to accomplish everything on those lists.  

I live for lists.  I really truly cannot function without lists.  Grocery shopping is a complete and utter waste of time if I don't have a list, I forget more than I remember.  And when it comes to Christmas, well, let's just say that there would be no food, gifts or cards if it weren't for my lists.

The problem right now is how to keep my lists organized.  And how not to lose them!  I have the grocery list on a magnet pad on the side of the fridge.  The Christmas gift lists are on my iPhone.  The Christmas card list is on my craft table (I think!).  My to do list is in a note book beside my bed, because I always think of things that I need to do as I am trying to fall asleep.  And I can't find my Brownie to do list.

Even when I try to organize, I am an unorganized mess.  At least I can say that I tried!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Potty Training Tuesday #6

Potty Talk . . . It Can Be A Good Thing

I once had a toddler at the daycare who often talked about "his Willy".  He told me that he got to see "his Willy" and play with him when he was at home but not at daycare.  I assumed that Willy was a family pet. Then we started potty training.  That's when I learned that this 2 year old and his father had nicknamed the child's penis Willy.

No matter how you approach potty training, it is going to involve many conversations about private body parts and bodily functions.  There are lots of words and phrases that can be used to to label and discuss these parts and actions.  Some are very anatomically correct and others are crude and vulgar.  Again, like most other parenting issues, it is your choice what words you use.  But remember that your child may not always choose the privacy of your home to discuss these matters.  So, if you want to each your son that his penis is a pecker (and yes, I've known parents who have done this) you will have to expect some looks of disgust when you son starts to talk about his pecker in the middler of the grocery store!

Personally, I think that it is best to teach children the proper names for body parts from the beginning.  Not only is it the easiest way to keep things consistent between home and daycare, it also eliminates confusion when you child is older and needs to know the proper names and words for things.  Besides, there will be lots of opportunities for your child to learn the slang and vulgar terms as they get older without you teaching it to them!

All discussions about potty training, body parts and using the toilet should be kept positive, even when the child has done something that you see as wrong.  It doesn't take much negativity to turn the whole potty training experience bad!

Here are some examples of how to talk about potty training to your toddler.s  Hopefully these will help you figure out your own version of potty talk.

Introducing the potty:

"It's time to learn to do your pees and poops in the potty."
"You are a big boy now.  It is time to sit on the potty to pee and poop."
"You can sit on the potty while Mommy sits on the toilet."

Making sure everything goes into the potty:

"Point your penis into the potty."
"Sit back all the way so the pee goes into the potty."
"Wait until you are all finished to stand up."

Success should ALWAYS be praised:

"Wow, you did a pee on the potty!"
"Great job, going pee on the potty."
"What a big girl you are for peeing on the potty!"


"Oh-oh, let's go change your wet pants."
"Next time we will try to get to the potty faster."

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks and advice every Tuesday!  And please do share your own experiences!  I am always looking for ways to make potty training easier for myself, not only at work, but also at home as I will soon be jumping in head first to potty train Liam!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sick Little Bear

Another ear infection.
Both ears again.
Sleepless nights.
Antibiotics and Infant Advil.

It is the fourth time in a year.
The first one was just about this time last year.
I know it could be a lot worse.
Lots of kids get ear infections much more often.
Lots of kids are much more affected but the pain and discomfort.
Lots of kids are sick with a lot more serious things.

But this is my Little Bear.
My baby boy.
I can't help but feel bad every time he gets sick.
I can't help but wonder if there isn't something I can do to prevent this.
Did I do something to make him more prone to ear infections?
Does he get them because I only nursed him until he was eight months?
Is it hereditary? (Two of his aunts had chronic ear infections as young children.)

And I can't even be with him when he's sick.
I need to be at work.
When I really should be at home with my Little Bear.
I am taking care of other people's children.
When I should be taking care of my own child.
It doesn't bother him to stay with his Aunties or Grandma.
But it bothers me.  
I am thankful that we have them to look after him when he can't be at daycare.
But I wish we didn't have to call on them every time he gets sick.
I want to be a mom who takes care of my own sick Little Bear.

I hope he knows that I want to be with him.
I hope he knows that I want to be the one who cuddles him when his ears hurt.
I hope he knows how much I love him.

Potty Training Tuesday #5

Time to Actually Get Started

You have the potty and underwear.  You've seen all the signs.  You know it is time.  But you have no idea where to start.

Start by having your child sit on the potty when you change their diaper.  You may or may not see any action, but it will get your child familiar with sitting on the potty.  As you get closer to actually starting to move to wearing underwear, you can start putting your child on the potty more often (after meals, before bath, other times when you think that they might need to pee).  It is always nice to have some success before you venture into underwear so that your child has an idea of what they are supposed to do.

When you are both ready, pick a time when you don't have any other plans and pull on the underwear.  For the first little while, you should plan to take your child to the potty every 15-20 minutes.  Encourage them to sit for a few minutes each time, singing songs or reading stories as good ways to pass the time.  

You will soon be able to tell if you really need to take your child that often.  Some children at this stage pee often but small amounts, others don't pee as often but larger amounts.  You need to learn your child's needs to judge how often to take them.  As the days and weeks progress, your child will start to tell you when they have to go to the potty.

Don't be afraid to put a diaper on your child for naps or going out, but do try to be as consistent as possible with the underwear and trips to the potty.  And be prepared for lots of laundry!

Another very important thing to remember is to always be positive.  There may be a few accidents or there may be a lot of accidents.  But either way, you need to keep this as a positive experience.  If you get frustrated, upset or angry when they have an accident, it is very quickly going to become a negative experience.  Give lots of praise for success and downplay accidents.

You are going to be making many trips to the potty in the first few days and weeks, but it will be worth it in the long run.  Don't be afraid to show your child what you want them to do.  There is nothing wrong with letting your child watch you use the toilet.  Watching older siblings can be excellent motivation as well.  Follow your child's cues and hope for the best!

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks and advice every Tuesday!  And please do share your own experiences!  I am always looking for ways to make potty training easier for myself, not only at work, but also at home as I will soon be jumping in head first to potty train Liam!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kemptville Santa Claus Parade - According to Liam

So, yesterday, we all got ready and went to the Santa Claus Parade in Kemptville.  I've never been to a Santa Claus Parade before, so I wasn't sure what to expect!  But it was fun!

Mom tried to make me wear my hat and mitts.  I don't know why she is always trying to make me do things I don't want to do.  She thinks she knows everything.  She kept telling me that I was going to get cold if I didn't wear them.  I told her she was crazy!

Finally, I gave in a put on my hat, just to get her to leave me alone about it.

Unfortunately, mom was right, I did get cold and finally gave in and put on my mittens.  They kept my hands warm, but it was hard to eat my cookie and drink my milk.

Mom always insists on getting Dad to take our picture.  Seriously, does she have to do it when I am trying to have a snack?

Then the parade started.  There were LOTS of big trucks!  And they had big loud horns!  Vroom, vroom, beep, beep!

The parade was very interesting.

I have no idea what that green creature is, but he had a dog, so that's cool!  I like dogs!  Dogs says woof.

And there was candy!!!  Lollipops are awesome, but again, would have been much easier without the mittens!

There were cows.  Mom says that they are horses.  But I am sure they are cows.  Could someone please back me up on this?  I really want to be right!

There were tractors!  I like tractors.  I want a big one like this just for me.  Wonder if Santa will bring me one?

Fire Trucks are cool too!  They have lights, horns and sirens!  I want one!  Santa?

And at the end was Santa and his reindeer.  I thought they were cows too.  But Dad said no.  I believe Dad.  Dad is always right.  Mom, not so much!

The parade was lots of fun and then we went to McDonalds for lunch.  And then went shopping.  I wonder when the next Santa Claus parade is?  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

But That's MY Boy!

"No thank you, Liam," I hear.  I take a deep breath and try to focus on what I'm doing.

"Liam, you need to be gentle."  I cringe and resist the urge to go see what the problem is.

"Liam, you need to be nice to your friends."  It is all I can do not to rush over, find out what the problem is and deal with it my way.  Instead, I casually look across the room to see Liam raise his hand to hit one of his friends.

"Liam, you need to use your gentle hands," Ashley calmly tells my son as she leads him away.

As I watch my own group of children, I continue to keep an eye on what's going on with Liam on the other side of the room.  

I see it at the same time Ashley does, his hand up, ready to hit another child.  

I watch to see what's going to happen.

Before Ashley can get to him, Liam hits his friend.  

"Liam, you need to use your gently hands," Ashley says, firmly.  "Come and sit on time out."

"No," he cries as she leads him away.  He goes limp and she has to pick him up and place him on time out.  He stands to run away.

"Liam, one," Ashley starts, giving him the look.  By the time she gets to two, he's sitting back down.  He's not happy about it, but he's sitting.  And I can confidently go back to giving my group my whole attention.

It is so hard to sit and watch someone else discipline my child and not be able to do anything about it.  A part of me wants to save him from whatever trouble he is getting into, but I know better than that!  I know that if he gets away with something even once, he'll do it over and over again.

But mostly, I want to step in and discipline him MY way.  Now, don't get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with anything Ashley does.  She is a wonderful teacher.  Liam adores her and I am happy to have her as part of my team.  Everything she does with Liam (and the other children in her group) is pretty much exactly what I do with the kids in my group.  

But Liam's not just another daycare kid.  Liam is MY SON!  My expectations for him are higher.  I don't want him to turn into the aggressive kid in the group.  I want him to know that hitting (or whatever he is doing that is getting him on time out) is unacceptable.  I want him to know that I've seen what he's done.

But I can't.  I need to focus my attention to the kids in my group and what they are doing.  I have to sit back and watch as Ashley does her job.  All I can do is ask her later what provoked his hitting.  All I can do is encourage gentle and discourage aggressive when he is with me.  And hope for the best.

Ashley, if you are reading this,keep up the good work with my boy!  And I am glad he doesn't give you this kind of trouble often!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Potty Training Tuesday # 4

How Do you Know Your Child Is Ready?

A mistake that many parents make when setting out on the potty training journey is starting before the child is ready.  And if the child isn't ready, the child isn't going to potty train and the parent is going to get frustrated!  Or the parent will be potty trained, not the child.

"The parent will be potty trained?" you ask.  "Aren't most parents already potty trained?"

What I mean by this is that the parent gets the child on a schedule of going to the washroom at certain times and takes the child automatically at these times.  Sure, the child may stay dry, but that doesn't mean that they have control or understanding over what is happening.  For a child to truly be potty trained, they need to understand what is going on and be able to control their own body functions.  

My advice is to wait until your child is showing signs that they are ready and then pounce!

Here are some signs to look for to know if your child is ready:

- staying dry for longer periods of time
- wanting to sit on the potty or toilet
- starting to indicate to you that they have just peed or pooped (even telling you after they've done the deed if a very good sign at this point)
- wanting to wear big boy or girl underwear

Once you start seeing these signs, it is time to step it up a notch.

Come on back next week for tips of how to begin potty training!

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks and advice every Tuesday!  And please do share your own experiences!  I am always looking for ways to make potty training easier for myself, not only at work, but also at home as I will soon be jumping in head first to potty train Liam!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Comfort Food

We all have comfort foods - something that makes you feel better when you are feeling down, something that brings a smile to your face when you are sad, something that triggers a happy memory.

Comfort foods are different things for different people and even different foods for different situations.  And everyone has a different reason for needing their comfort foods.

For me, when I'm stressed and busy with a million things to do, I always want a Big Mac.  And for those few minutes, while I am enjoying the gooey goodness of my horribly unhealthy treat, it's like the world stops turning and nothing else matters.  My Big Mac and I could take on the world!

Earlier this week, as I was enjoying some time along at home, I suddenly needed another of my comfort foods.  Not because I was feeling down or sad, it simply took the mention of potato leek soup on Twitter for me to be wanting needing my Grandma's Homemade Cream of Potato Soup.  I pretty much dropped what I was doing to make it, because I knew that I wouldn't be settled or comforted until I'd had it.  (Fortunately, it was also almost lunch time!)

And sure enough, as soon as it was cooked and I'd filled my tummy with it's creamy goodness, I was satisfied and could easily move on to the household chores I had planned for the day.  I know that if I'd had anything else for lunch, I would have been restless and unproductive for the rest of the day.

So, on that note, I'd like to share my Grandma's Cream of Potato Soup Recipe with you.  Not only has it been a comfort food of mine since I moved out of my parents house, it was also the ONLY thing I craved when I was pregnant with Liam!  I must have made it at least once a week the winter I was pregnant and on maternity leave!

Grandma's Potato Soup

6-8 medium potatoes
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic or garlic powder (optional)
2 large carrots
1 cup + 2 cups (approx.) of milk

1)  Peel and boil potatoes.
2) While potatoes are boiling, use chop onion, carrot and garlic.  
( Nicki's note: I like to use the food processor to chop them nice and fine, but not pureed, but you can leave them chunkier if you wish.  They just take longer to cook if chunky.)
3) In a large pot, heat 1 cup of milk, onions, carrots and garlic to boiling.  Turn to low and simmer to cook veggies.
4) Drain and mash potatoes.
5) Add potatoes to milk mixture.
6) Add 2 cups of milk.  (You may want to add a little less for thicker soup or a little more for thinner soup.)
7) Add salt and pepper to taste.  And garlic powder (if not using fresh garlic).
8) Simmer for 10 minutes.
9) Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Poetry doesn't come easy for me - even reading and making sense of it can be a challenge for me.  And I never try to write it.  Trying to write poetry gives me a headache, and I get enough of those without trying! 

However, once in a while, usually completely out of the blue, something will come to me and if I don't write it, I will be haunted by poem fragments bouncing around in my brain until I do something productive with it!  I have tried ignoring it before, to avoid the "trying to write poetry headache" and it doesn't work, the haunting continues day in and day out until I write something.  

Today was one of those days when poetry invaded my little brain and would not leave me alone.  Of course, it happened while I was in the middle of finger paint with my group of toddlers at work AND trying to keep them from throwing toys across the room (yeah, bet you wish you had my job!).  So, between cleaning paint off fingers and the table AND trying to convince them that lego are more for building with than throwing at each other, I grabbed a scrap of green construction paper and scribbled a few things and shoved it in my back pocket before pulling one of my kids off the table before he could stand on it and probably jump off.

Sometimes I write a poem that I am happy with other times, I write garbage.  The ones I am happy with get written in a little notebook tucked beside my bed, never to be shown to anyone.  And the garbage, well, do I really have to tell you that I put garbage in the garbage?

Tonight, I took my scribbles and turned them into something that I call poetry.  (You may or may not agree, and I won't be insulted if you laugh at me!  Like I said, once these thoughts are in my head, I HAVE to write them.)  

They don't listen, 
They run around like wild animals,
Toys are throw,
Paint covers everything,

Patience is wearing very thin,
I want to yell.
I want to scream.
I want to run away.

But I stay,
I take a deep breath.
Remind myself,
They need to learn,
They need to be taught.

I need to show them,
Guide them,
 Teach them.



Suddenly, the quiet settles in,
For a brief moment, 
I quickly search,
For any sign of my sanity,
Grasping for it,
Before it is gone again.
As suddenly as it came,
The quiet is gone again,
Smothered by the chaos.

Potty Training Tuesday # 3

Underwear vs Disposable Training Pants (pull ups)

OK, before I start, I want to stress that this post is based 100% on my opinions and experiences and is in no way meant to cause any kind of bad publicity towards any of the companies that manufacture or sell disposable training pants.  When I say to pull ups, I am referring to all types and brands of disposable training pants.

Now that I've got that out of the way, here goes!  

Based on my experiences, pull ups are a waste of time and money for children who are just starting to potty train.  These children are, for the most part, too young to understand the difference between these products and the diapers they have been wearing for their entire existence.  For this reason, I always recommend going straight from diapers to underwear.  

Yes, there are going to be accidents.  Yes, there is going to be laundry.  But this is inevitable.  Even if you do pull ups first, you are apt to have the accidents and laundry when you finally do make the switch to underwear.  Using underwear usually results in faster training.

Many children really do need to experience the uncomfortable feeling of peeing in their underwear and having it run down their leg and pool in their running shoe to understand why they shouldn't do it.  Like disposable diapers, most pull up type products are designed to pull moisture away from the skin to keep the child feeling dry.  If you are potty training, you want the child to feel the wet in order to learn to associate the feeling of having to pee with actually peeing.

I also find that I am less diligent about making frequent trips to the potty with a child who is in pull ups as I know that even if they do have an accident, it won't result in the same mess as if they were to have an accident while in underwear.  Sometimes when you are busy with something else when a child says "I have to pee" it is just easier to respond with "It's OK, you are in a pull up" than to stop what you are doing and take them to the potty.  I know it's not the right way to do things, but it is the easy way and human nature often pushes us towards the easy path.

If you aren't ready to take the leap into underwear, but want to start working on potty training, save yourself some time and money and stick with diapers.  Most disposable training pants require you to take off pants and shoes in order to put a new one on, which frankly, is a pain in the ass.  Diapers are quicker, easier and cheaper!  (There are some brands of disposable underwear that do have velcro to open the legs, but that doesn't eliminate the other negative points.)

All in all, pull ups in the beginning stages of potty training only prolong the process and eliminate laundry.  Not worth the expense, if you ask me!

Now, that being said, there are times when disposable training pants are a good choice for your potty training child.  When your child is getting close to being completely potty trained, pull ups are wonderful for long car rides and outings where you may not have quick or easy access to a washroom.  Once a child reaches this point in their training, they probably will be able to understand the difference between a diaper and pull up.  And if wearing a diaper, many children will think that they don't have to try to use the washroom.  Pull ups are also a good option for children who are having difficulty with night training.

I am not suggesting that your child will not potty train successfully if you use disposable underwear.  For some children, they work.  Some parents swear by them.  But for me, in daycare, they really are more trouble than they are worth and I cringe every time a parent brings or suggests pull ups for their child.  And whenever possible, I do everything in my power to talk them out of pull ups and into underwear.  And as a parent with a toddler who is rapidly approaching the potty training phase, I can't justify the extra expense to have my son wear pull ups all the time.  I will be keeping him in a diaper until we are ready for underwear.

But, like any parenting decision, just because this is what's best for me, doesn't mean that it's what's best for you!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Toddler Talk

Watching a child develop from an infant to a toddler is a wonderfully interesting experience.  One of the most fascinating aspects of this journey, for me, is language development.  Over the years, I have seen many toddlers go from not being able to say any real words to speaking in sentences as well as asking and answering questions.  And it never ceases to amaze me how quickly they can learn and develop these skills.

Now, it is even more exciting as I get to experience it with my own son.  It has been a while since I posted about his language skills and we were still very much in the Baby Talk phase at that point, but Liam has recently leap into speaking like a toddler.  His vocabulary is growing every day and it is just incredible!  Of course at 22 months, there is still a lot of incomprehensible babble but the real words just keep coming and coming.  

Here are some of his favorite, well pronounced words: cat, dog, cow, meow, daddy, turtle, toes, nose, shoe, eye, car, ball, frog, cup, bear, no, mine, hi, hello, bye, night-night, stat, yep, up, down, help, stuck.  The list could go on, but those are the ones we hear the most often.

And then there are my favorites, the words that don't quite sound like they are supposed to, but we know what he is saying, these are the ones that I really want to remember because they are so cute and so unique.

beeair - bunny, not sure why because we have bunnies, and it doesn't seem like it would be a difficult word, but whatever!

Nonny - Mommy, I believe that he has combined Nicki with Mommy to get this, I am just glad that he's not calling me Nicki anymore.

warewane - airplane, he is completely obsessed with airplanes!

pea - please

tak u - thank you

Kikle- Tickles (one of the cats)

Ayaya - Nala (the other cat)

taktar -tractor

ire uck - fire truck

peea - pizza

lrd - lizzard

key - cookies

Ashee - Ashley, his favorite daycare teacher

Nini - Wini, another of his daycare teachers

Anana - Hannah, a girlfriend at daycare

SeeSee - Sidney, another daycare girlfriend

catca - butterfly, no idea how he came up with this, but he's been consistently saying it for months!

Melmo - Elmo

cheechees - cheesies

Everyday, I wait and listen for now words and love how smart my little boy is becoming, even though he is growing far too fast!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Halloween According to Liam

So, I'm not really sure what this Halloween stuff is all about, but parts of it were fun.  And parts of it were HORRIBLE!!!  

First, I got to wear my Tigger suit to daycare on Friday.  My friends wore costumes too and we had cake with icing for snack!!  I like cake!

Sunday, I had a hot dog for supper and then got my Tigger suit on again.  Mom gave me a tiger nose and whiskers.  And she let me play with my puppup.  (pumpkin)  There are puppup everywhere at Halloween!  I love them, but nobody will let me play with them!

Waiting for mom and dad to take me Trick or Treating . . . at this point, I had no idea what Trick or Treating was, so I was happy and excited.  And they said we were going to Grandma's house.  I love going to Grandma's house!

Trick or Treating started out OK, I followed Dad down the path to the house and up the steps to the door.  And then I was done.  I wanted to go.  But they wouldn't let me.  They all, mom, dad and grandma, made me stay while the door opened.  I yelled and cried and said please, but they made me stay.  They said it was OK, it was Dawn's house and that I know Dawn, but I still didn't like it.  Even when she put goodies in my bag I didn't like it.

Phew, back outside.  Everything was good once we got back to the driveway.  Trick or Treating isn't much fun, but there was a warewane (airplane) in the sky and then birds!  We got back in the truck and I thought we were going to Grandma's house.

But we didn't.  We went to another house.  Mom and Dad thought I would be OK at this house because I have been here before.  But I still didn't like Trick or Treating.  This is Dad's Uncle Richard and Aunt Diane's house, so we went inside for a few minutes.  I did not want to go in.  But they made me.  Eventually when their dog came upstairs, I settled down a bit.

Finally we went back to Grandma's house!!  And I found chips in my bag!  I like chips.  I just don't like going to people's houses to get them.  Why can't we just get them at the grocery store?  But Grandma's house is fun!

Seriously, don't you all think I am the cutest Tigger ever??

"RAR!  RAR!  RAR!"

Mom and Dad keep saying that by next year I will understand this whole Halloween thing better and it will be more fun for me!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I should be . . .

Supper's finished, the dishes are done, the toddler is in bed.  <>  Time to sit down and relax.  Time to check in on Facebook and Twitter.  Time to catch up on reading my favorite blogs.

But not really.  All the time I spend on the computer should really be spent doing something much more productive.  Yet, night after night, I find myself parked at the computer because it is easier.  It doesn't take any physical effort.  It is definitely more entertaining.  And for the most part, it doesn't even take much thought.  Occasionally I write a blog post or have a conversation that exercises my brain cells slightly but for the most part, the only thing getting any kind of exercise are my typing fingers.  Although I have never seen any type of study or proof, I am pretty much convinced that typing isn't going to help me lost any weight.

I need to find a way to motivate myself to do the things that need to be done FIRST and then enjoy some computer time.  And to remember the things that I want and need to do each day.  I spend waste too much time doing nothing on the computer - playing silly games, refreshing Facebook and Twitter every 30 seconds, registering for yet another message board or group that I may will never visit again.

This is all time that could should be spent:

cleaning my house
tidying the drawers of my desk
organizing my craft supplies
organizing and scrubbing out my kitchen cupboards
cleaning out my closet and dresser
planning Brownie meetings
working on my scrapbooks
baking or cooking (to freeze)
exercising to lose weight and get healthier

The list could go on and on and on but I am sure that you get the point.

It is time for things to change.  It is time for me to start accomplishing something.  It is time to start spending at least an hour each evening (after Liam is in bed) doing something away from the computer.  Do you think I can do it?  I'm not even sure I can do it.  But I have to try.  I can't keep ignoring everything except my computer.  Can I?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Potty Training Tuesday # 2


The key to ANY method of potty training is to be consistent.  It doesn't matter if you are using diapers or  disposable training pants (pull ups) or underwear you need to keep everything as consistent as possible.  Constantly switching back and forth between diapers and underwear is confusing for a toddler who is probably already confused about what is suddenly expected of them.

If you child is in any type of childcare situation, be it daycare, home care, a baby sit or even grandma, it is imperative that you are all on the same page about potty training.  You need to work together to follow the same methods in both settings.  Make sure that all caregivers, even the teenager down the street who babysits on Saturday morning while you go to yoga, know that your child is potty training,  Make them aware of the method and schedule of the child's potty needs.  Consistency in the choice of words used to describe body parts and functions is also important.  

Now, there are obviously going to be exceptions to the consistency rule.  When you are just starting out and even when you are getting close to your potty training goal, there will be times when having your child in underwear just isn't realistic.  Don't be afraid to put your child in a diaper for naps, at night or when you are going in the car.  But switching back and forth from diapers to underwear when you are at home and for no apparent reason will confuse your child and ultimately delay the process.

Consistency isn't a magic trick that will ensure quick, easy potty training but it will make things much easier for your child and for you!!

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks and advice every Tuesday!  And please do share your own experiences!  I am always looking for ways to make potty training easier for myself, not only at work, but also at home as I will soon be jumping in head first to potty train Liam!