You Can’t Keep Them In Diapers Forever

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I have been in no big rush to potty train our daughter. I actually have been pretty much dragging my feet when it comes to getting her out of diapers. There are many reasons that I have not pressed the issue, for one I did not want to put too much pressure on her or us. I know that she will learn in her own time & she is getting there slowly, but surely. Changing diapers may not be my favorite part of motherhood, but I am not so eager to give it up.

The speed in which our daughter is growing up is anxiety inducing. Every time I turn around she is learning something new, outgrowing her clothes and becoming less reliant on us. Before I have barely adjusted to one stage in her life, she is on to the next. She is beginning to exercise her independence.  The sound of the phrase, “I do it myself” echoes through our house several times a day.

Mommy can no longer put her in her car seat. She doesn’t need me to pour her a cup of juice anymore. The list of things that she needs me for are diminishing.

Recently she has been very particular about what she wears. Getting her dressed in the morning is a battle of wills. I have started to let her pick out her own outfits. Whatever she chooses is fine with me as long as it is weather appropriate.

Over the weekend we had one of our usual power struggles. Clad in nothing but a diaper I chased my daughter through the house trying to get her dressed for the day. The outfit I picked out was all wrong, so of course she wanted to pick it out herself. She burrowed through her dresser and pulled out an adorable long sleeve shirt with an owl on it & a glittery black tutu. As I reached to take the shirt from her to get her dressed, I heard that oh so familiar phrase. “Mai can do it. I do it myself.” I released the shirt and took a step back. I would let her try it & was ready to step in whenever she needed help, but she never needed any help. I stood there and watched as my little girl wrestled & struggled with pulling the shirt over her head and searched with her arms for the sleeves. She was persistent and determined. To my surprise she managed to get her shirt on. Without hesitating she reached for her skirt and pulled it on with more ease. She beamed with pride after she was done. I was beaming as well. I quickly picked up my daughter & brought her outside to tell her daddy what she had just accomplished. I couldn’t have been more proud. Along with that pride brought the realization that she really was not a baby anymore.

The infant stage went by in a blink & now I am watching as my daughter no longer resembles a toddler as much as she does a little girl. When did this happen? I should be happy. Her newly found independence takes a lot of pressure off me & my husband. I should be proud & I am, but I can’t help feeling a little weepy as I look behind me and see the days, months & years pass by. It is strange to think that by tomorrow even today will be a memory. Life with a toddler moves at warp speed & sometimes it is hard to keep up. I am trying my best though. I am not quite ready to move onto that next stage yet, but I already know that I cannot keep her in diapers forever.

 

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Gingerbread Haunted House

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My child has very little concept of time. It is hilarious because she knows the names of the days of the week and she will use them with no real understanding of when that day actually is. She will reminisce about a something that happened weeks ago & retell it saying that it just happened yesterday. It is no surprise then that she does not have much of a grasp on the seasons or when the holidays fall. Most of the summer Mai had been asking me to make a gingerbread house. Trying to explain to my daughter that we were in the wrong season for gingerbread is pointless. Last week she was especially insistent, so what is a mommy to do?  I promised her that we would make gingerbread houses. To keep with the theme of the season, we made haunted houses. I found this great recipe for pumpkin gingerbread online.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Pumpkin-Spice-Bread-Halloween-House/?ALLSTEPS

We doubled the recipe for our house.

I measured out the ingredients & handed them to Mai. She sang Patty Cake as she mixed & rolled out her dough. My girl loves to cook.

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We drew out templates earlier in the day, stocked up on candy & made our icing.

Royal Icing

2 eggs whites

1 box of confectioners sugar

Beat eggs until frothy & mix in the sugar until smooth. Add the icing to your piping bag.

As we were working with raw egg, I also used store bought icing for Mai to use when she decorated.

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With the leftover gingerbread I rolled out a haunted tree.

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After you have baked your gingerbread, be sure to trim and straighten edges. Cut out any windows or doors.

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Generously apply icing & assemble your house. Use items around your house to hold your pieces upright and pushed together.

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Once your house is assembled, you can start decorating. We used After 5 thin mints for our roof eaves

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Mai helped out by decorating the tree with some M & Ms.

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We added orange gum drop slices, gummy worms, candy corns, licorice whips, Hershey kisses, pumpkin Peeps, M&Ms & mini Kit Kats to our house.

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While mommy was in charge of decorating the front, Mai got to do the sides. She hid M&M’s & gummy worms in the house through the windows. We gave her a bowl of icing to dip her candy in to make it easier. She dipped the candy in the icing & then decorated her face more than the house.

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It was a lot of work, but it was a fun project for me & the munchkin. I can’t wait for Christmas now to do it again.

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Paper Plate Halloween Crafts

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It is hard to believe that it is already the middle of September. My favorite season is here. I can hardly wait to begin all of our fall festivities. Soon we will go on our annual leaf peeping drive through Vermont & take our daughter apple picking. We have been trying to brain storm for Halloween costumes, but have not had much luck coming up with anything. I asked Mai, what she thought we should all be for Halloween. She said that she wanted to be a Jack-o-lantern & that I could be the mommy Jack-O-Lantern & daddy could be a ghost. Adorable! Although I do not think that I will be going as a mommy Jack-O-Lantern this year, it is never too early for our Jack-O-Lantern & Halloween inspired crafts.

Paper Plate Jack-O-Lantern

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Draw the Jack-O-Lantern face on the back side of the paper plate.

Cut out the the outline to make the Jack-O-Lantern face.

Cut out the outline to make the Jack-O-Lantern face.

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Paint your Jack-O-Lantern orange.

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Paint another paper plate on the top side. Layer colors light to dark.

Paint another paper plate on the top side. Layer colors light to dark.

Cut out a stem using green foam or construction paper. Glue it to the plate.

Cut out a stem using green foam or construction paper. Glue it to the plate.

Glue the two plates together.

Glue the two plates together.

Mai wanted hers to be a mask, so we attached a pipe cleaner to the back for her.

Mai wanted hers to be a mask, so we attached a pipe cleaner to the back for her.

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Scarecrow Mask

Draw your scarecrow face on the backside of the paper plate. Cut out the eyes. Paint your plate yellow.

Draw your scarecrow face on the backside of the paper plate. Cut out the eyes. Paint your plate yellow.

Using black foam or construction paper, cut out & glue your nose & eyes in place.

Cut out & glue your nose & eyes in place using black foam or construction paper.

With a marker draw in eye lashes & stitches around the mouth.

With a marker draw in eye lashes & stitches around the mouth.

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Bend & glue a few pipe cleaners or yarn in place to make the hair.

Bend & glue a few pipe cleaners or yarn in place to make the hair.

Cut out a hat & glue it \to the top of the scarecrow.

Cut out a hat & glue it \to the top of the scarecrow.

Cut out a scarf & check it using a marker.

Cut out a scarf & check it using a marker.

Glue pipe cleaners or string to the back to hold the mask in place on the head.

Glue pipe cleaners or string to the back to hold the mask in place on the head.

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Paper Plate Spider Web

Cut slits around the paper plate every 2 pleats around.

Cut slits around the paper plate every 2 pleats around.

Using black yarn, slide a strand between one of the slits. Cross the strand across the plate repeatedly until you achieve your desired look.

Using black yarn, slide a strand between one of the slits. Cross the strand across the plate repeatedly until you achieve your desired look.

End your web at the same spot that you started it in. Tie the starting strand & end strand together,

End your web at the same spot that you started it in. Tie the starting strand & end strand together,

Cut 3 pieces of pipe cleaner. Glue the pieces to the pom pom to form a spider. Add goggly eyes if you desire.

Cut 3 pieces of pipe cleaner. Glue the pieces to the pom pom to form a spider. Add goggly eyes if you desire.

Stick the spider in the web. Use a hole punch to make a hole on the edge of the plate & use a piece of string or a pipe cleaner to hang your web.

Stick the spider in the web. Use a hole punch to make a hole on the edge of the plate & use a piece of string or a pipe cleaner to hang your web.

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When Honesty Isn’t The Best Policy

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We have all heard the saying that “Kids can be cruel.”. They can be, but not always intentionally. My daughter is 2 1/2 years old. As a toddler, she does not understand the hurt that words can inflict. She is still learning, processing and sharing her new knowledge.

A few weeks ago we went out for pizza during a family date night. While we waited to be shown to our table, our daughter gave us the typical play by play of all the surrounding action.

“Look Mama, lots of people.” 

“Yes there are a lot of people”

“What they doing, Mama?”

“They are eating, just like we will soon be.”

She continued to look around, pointing and announcing what she saw to anyone within earshot. A group of ladies passed by us on their way to the exit, one of them was heavy set & had short side swept hair. 

“Mama, that man is fat.” Just like that the words came blurting out of her mouth. Before I could even react, she repeated…

“Mama, he fat.”

Heat quickly ran through my cheeks & my heart rate quickened as I glanced at the woman to see if she had heard my daughter not only refer to her as a man, but call her fat. There was no reaction. I crouched down & whispered to our daughter, “Mai, you can’t say that. It is not nice.” She repeated her earlier statement. The more I tried to correct her, the more she insisted that she was correct. We decided to distract her instead, to keep her from announcing her observations to anyone else. 

This weekend a similar incident occurred. 

“Mama, she has a big belly.”

Luckily, it was a noisy place, so I was certain the woman did not hear. I crouched down close to my daughter & tried to explain to her that this was not a nice thing to say, that this could make the lady sad. She looked at me with a frowny face & nodded as I asked her if she understood.

“That lady has a fat belly.”

She did not understand. 

I can’t get mad at her & don’t want to yell at her. To my daughter she is not saying something hurtful. She is simply making an observation & telling me what she sees. Children are honest. They are brutally honest, without knowing that sometimes you can’t be. 

Yesterday, I was the target of my daughter’s observations. “Mama, you have a fat belly.” She then stuck out her own stomach and rubbed it and stated, “I have fat belly too.” I called my daughter over to me and asked her to look at me while I spoke. I slowly & carefully explained to her that people are all different, just like the characters in her Dr. Seuss book, some are small, some are big, some are different colors, some have hair & some are bald like daddy. “It made mommy sad when you told her that she had a fat belly. We don’t say that to people.” She put her hand on my shoulder and looked at me with a pouty face and said, “I sorry mama, I sorry I mean.” I gave her a hug patted her on the bottom and sent to off to play.

I can see this will be a challenge for us. We wants her to learn sooner than later that words can hurt, because kids can be cruel, we just don’t want her to be one of the cruel ones.

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Pasta & Pipe Cleaner Crafts

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The other day my daughter was digging through a chest of drawers and came across a bamboo necklace that I bought when we were in the Bahamas. The necklace was just a simple beaded necklace on craft wire. My daughter was having a great time sliding the bamboo beads back & forth. She wanted to break it open and play with the beads, but I did not want to ruin my necklace. Instead we had another idea.

The beads on the necklace reminded me of Ditalini pasta. We had a couple of boxes of it to spare, so we decided to make bracelets with our Ditalini.

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First we dyed our pasta by tossing it a cup at a time into a plastic baggie with food coloring. Spread out the pasta on a paper towel & let it dry.

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(For a more rustic look, toss all your beads together while wet & try baking your beads for 30 minutes at 275-300 degrees. It will change the color & shape of the bead for a rougher look.)

Mai saw all the pasta laid out to dry and got excited. “Mama, we do project.” We do love our projects. Once the food coloring dried, my daughter was ready to dive in. We poured all the pasta beads into a shoe box & mixed them up. Mai had a little difficulty using string to make our bracelets, so we pipe cleaners instead. This worked much better. She was able to string them up with ease. This is a great activity for hand-eye coordination & Mai really enjoyed this.

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Measure the pipe cleaner around the wrist to find the desired size for you bracelet. Snip the pipe cleaner about an inch longer than you need it.

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Twist the two ends together tightly & slide the bead around the newly joined section.

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We made one more bead craft before our night was done. The colored pasta is not just for crafting, it also great for sensory boxes, color sorting and counting games.

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