Teenage Angst At Age 2?

IMG_5234Do not judge me for what I am about to say. It may sound horrible, but when I was pregnant, before finding out the sex of our daughter, I really wanted to have a boy. I did. I am sorry. Of course I knew that I would be happy & love my child no matter what. I knew the only thing that mattered was that he or she was healthy, but my hope still was that we would hear at our 20 week old ultrasound, “It’s a boy.” When my daughter arrived, I was smitten immediately and felt guilty for my original thought. I couldn’t have been happier .

Having grown up with a sister, I watched, participated & often led in the drama & conflict that ensued with our mother on a daily basis. The truth is I was afraid of my payback. Karma was going to get me on this one. I could hear my mother’s voice muttering the words, “Someday, I hope that you have a daughter & she treats you like you treat me.”

My mother must already be having herself a good chuckle from heaven, because my toddler is already jam packed with drama. She reminds me every bit of the surly teenager that I once was.

I certainly never thought that arguments over clothing choices & what shoes to wear were going to begin at 2. The fights are not over the length of her skirt just yet. What they are about is whether or not she can wear shorts when it is 50 degrees outside or that she doesn’t like the pink corduroys that seconds earlier she had just asked to wear. The other day, she asked me where her bra was. What?? “Honey, you are too young for a bra.” “I am growing bigger, Mama.” was her response. Oh boy!

“I can do it myself!”are words that I hear daily. Every attempt that I make to assist my daughter with anything from pouring her a cup of juice to putting her in her car seat are thwarted.

Tempers flare on a regular basis and end in tantrums so vicious that I almost turn numb. I am frightened because I find myself not knowing if I am handling these situations properly. If I mess up now, how will it affect her later in life? I feel inadequate to deal with this. I have tried to give her room to flex her independence and remain firm while she tests her limits. Guilt sets in as she meltdowns. Frustration slowly creeps in as well. My mother’s words come back to haunt me. The thought of losing that unconditional love that she has for me right now breaks my heart. It is hard to believe that someday the sweet sounds of her “I love yous” might turn into angry cries of disdain.  With each new stage bring new challenges. I just hope I am ready to handle them all.

 

 

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Halloween Sock Puppets

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I don’t know about the rest of you mommies, but after I had my daughter, my personal appearance & sometimes my hygiene kind of went out the window. After her birth, I would go days without being able to shower, I did my makeup less frequently, I bit off all of my long beautiful nails & I found myself wearing old grungy clothes. Many of my clothing pieces such as bras & socks were falling apart, but I continued to wear them.

I found myself in a pair of my old holey socks the other day. Check out the chipped off nail polish on the toe that is popping out. Classy!

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I decided it was time to retire these socks, but these days I have a hard time throwing away anything. It seems that everything has a crafty possibility. Ask my husband, we have random empty containers & crafting odds & ends all over the house. We planned to turn this sad pair of socks into sock puppets. We decided to continue with our fall & Halloween themes & make a scarecrow and a ghost.

What you will need:

A pair of socks

Glue gun

Colored foam sheets

Rubber Band, yarn or string

Popsicle sticks

Tissue paper

Scarecrow

Directions:

Crumple up a sheet of tissue paper.

Crumple up a sheet of tissue paper.

Stuff the tissue ball in the heel & fold the sock in half, so the the top of the sock & toe end are dangling below at even heights..

Stuff the tissue ball in the heel & fold the sock in half, so that the top of the sock & toe end are dangling below at even heights.

Use a strand of yarn or a rubber band & tie off under the ball to form the head shape.

Use a strand of yarn or a rubber band & tie off under the ball to form the head shape.

Stick a popsicle stick up the open end of the sock.

Stick a popsicle stick up the open end of the sock.

With a glue gun, glue a second stick to the first to lengthen your stick.

With a glue gun, glue a second stick to the first to lengthen your stick.

Cut the other dangling toe end portion up the center until you reach the head.

Cut the other dangling toe end portion up the center until you reach the head.

Spread the splits ends out to the side so that they look like arms.

Spread the splits ends out to the side so that they look like arms.

Glue two popsicle sticks to the center of the scarecrow over the spread arm fabric, as shown,

Glue two popsicle sticks to the center of the scarecrow over the spread arm fabric, as shown.

Glue another stick over the top for added stability.

Glue another stick over the top for added stability.

Fold the cut fabric over the popsicle sticks & glue in place.

Fold the cut fabric over the popsicle sticks & glue in place.

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Cut out a piece to use as a scarf. Set aside.

Cut out a piece of foam to use as a scarf. Set aside.

Cut out a hat & glue to the top of the head.

Cut out a hat & glue to the top of the head.

Cut out a front & back piece of shirt for the scarecrow. Be sure to cut it so that there will be enough space on the edges to glue & join seams around the doll.

Cut out a front & back piece of shirt for the scarecrow. Be sure to cut it so that there will be enough space on the edges to glue & join seams around the doll.

Cut the bottom portion of his sock up the center to give the appearance of pants.

Cut the bottom portion of his sock up the center to give the appearance of pants.

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Add a triangle nose, a foam mouth and add googly eyes.

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Ghost

Follow steps 1-3 from above.

Cut the bottom of the toe end of the sock, so that both sock ends are open. Cut up the side on both sock ends & then cut jagged edges into both bottoms.

Cut the bottom of the toe end of the sock so that both sock ends are open. Cut up the side on both sock ends & then cut jagged edges into both bottoms.

Join the sock seams on both sides so that it creates one large piece that dangles below the head.

Join the sock seams on both sides so that it creates one large piece that dangles below the head. Add two connected popsicle sticks up the middle into the head the same as above.

Cut out two tiny foam circles for eyes & one larger circle for the mouth. Add googly eyes to the middle of the eyes.

Cut out two tiny foam circles for eyes & one larger circle for the mouth. Add googly eyes to the middle of the eyes.

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Mai had fun with her new scary puppets. “Booooooooooooo, mama. I scare you.” She asked me for a Jack-O-Lantern too. It’s time to dig through my sock drawer & look for more socks with holes.

 

 

Posted in Arts and Crafts, Holidays | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Play-Doh & Popcorn Craft

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I was born with a creative soul. I didn’t have a choice, it was hereditary. I came from a family of artists. Every aunt & uncle on my father’s side had a God-given talent. Since I was a small child I have been drawing. For years I would flip through magazines & draw portraits that I found beautiful or interesting.

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When our daughter came along, I was anxious for her to reach an age where we could start drawing & crafting together. My hope was that some of that creative gene would be passed down to her.

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As you all know my daughter has indeed followed in my footsteps. She loves drawing, painting & doing arts & crafts with mommy. I have to admit I swell with pride with each new drawing & art project. She has amazing vision. Here is an underwater drawing that she made, complete with sea creatures.

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This is a drawing of a savanna. My two year old daughter actually used the word savanna while making this. What a little smarty.

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Mai asked me to make her some Play-Doh tonight. So we did. We made a lot of it. With all that extra dough, we decided it was craft time.

What you will need:

Play-Doh or colored clay

A piece of cardboard

Popcorn

Sugar

Water

Food Coloring

Directions:

Find a square or rectangular piece of cardboard.

Find a square or rectangular piece of cardboard.

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Choose a color for your sky & roll it out over the top portion of your cardboard. It does not have to be perfect.

Add your tree trunk & grass using your dough.

Add your tree trunk & grass using your dough.

Add a background color to cover our whole board.

Add a background color to cover the whole board.

Make popcorn & set aside to cool.

Make popcorn & set aside to cool.

To color our popcorn, I followed the directions from this sight. I needed to use more water in mine. Add more water as needed. http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Rainbow-Popcorn Pour the different colored mixtures over separate containers of popcorn & allow to dry.

To color our popcorn, I followed the directions from this site. I needed to use more water in mine. Add more water as needed.
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Rainbow-Popcorn

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Pour the different colored mixtures over separate containers of popcorn & allow to dry.

Give your child the mat & explain to them that the popcorn is for leaves.

Give your child the mat & explain to them that the popcorn is for leaves.

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There goes that maternal pride again. She made a beautiful tree with her popcorn. She showed me as she placed each popcorn leaf. “Look mama, I make a orange leaf. Seeeeeee.” I was very impressed that she placed every piece around the branches all by herself. She was proud too. Mai was so excited to show off her artwork that she woke up daddy from a much needed nap to show him her lovely craft. Daddy was proud too.

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Posted in Arts and Crafts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Parenting- The Good, The Bad & The Nasty

IMG_4824This weekend, I had a rare opportunity to get away for a night with the girls. The conversation as it often does shifted to our husbands and our children. One of the ladies in our company did not have any kids. She listened as we told horror stories about botched birth plans, sleepless nights & a variety of other less than pleasant experiences. After sitting silently for a while, she finally chimed in, “The more I listen to people with kids, the more I realize that I don’t want them.”

I realized at this moment, that this is probably the case for any non-parent sitting back & looking in. How many of us only talk about the negative things, whether it be about our work, our husbands or our kids? The good stuff is never nearly as much fun to talk about. I find my friends and I arguing over whose child was the worst infant & who now has the most tantrums & meltdowns.  I think mine normally wins. There are many different facets to parenthood, some are good, some are bad & some are just plain nasty.

All of these things began as early as pregnancy. Some people I know loved being pregnant, I however did not. I had every possible pregnancy symptom that there was. If only 5% of pregnant women had it, I fell in that 5%. I had morning sickness, let me correct that, I had all day sickness for 8 out of the 9 months. My toothbrush terrified me to the core because of it.
I had nose bleeds, carpal tunnel, round ligament pain, hemorrhoids, constipation & heartburn so bad that I did not eat in my 3rd trimester. When my ninth month hit, I could hardly wait for my pregnancy to be over. I was eating fresh pineapple & eggplant, massaging the webs between my fingers & tweaking my nipples while simultaneously bouncing on a yoga ball. That baby needed to come out.

When the time finally came, nothing went as planned. During my 24 hour labor I had 4 botched epidurals, endless Pitocin induced contractions & an emergency C-section that was a thing of nightmares.

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In the hospital, I struggled as my daughter & I tried to learn together how to nurse & feed. Breastfeeding is not as simple as it seems. I cried for days as tried unsuccessfully to nourish my baby as an unsupportive nurse hollered at me for doing it incorrectly.

Once home, those tears continued as my nipples chafed, the lack of sleep set in, and I flipped through books & websites trying to find ways to get my daughter to stop crying.

Parenthood is a difficult thing.  You surrender your independence & your freedom to this little creature. You don’t realize how much you took for granted before. Things like running to the store for milk or going to the bank are no longer a simple process. Sleeping in is a thing of the past, unless you consider 7 am sleeping in. Your immaculately decorated home now looks like Romper Room threw up all over it. Trips to the grocery store alone feel like a day at the spa. You need to schedule time to take a shower. Privacy in the bathroom is non-existent.
You get pissed on, puked on & pooped on. You may even get lucky & have all three done at the same time. Freshly picked boogers will be handed to you on a regular basis. Your lunch menu consists of half-eaten, soggy cheese sandwiches & left over juice with backwash. Breastfeeding, diapers, potty training, tantrums & tears, these are all a part of being a mother or a father. I have been exhausted for the past 2 years, 8 months and 16 days.

Before we made the decision to start a family, these were the things that scared me off from wanting children. My friends never shared the good things with me. If you think that you can handle all of the above, remember that there must be some reason that even after all of this, women are still willing to try for baby #2. Being a parent is tough, but trust me when I say that it is worth it.

Here are some of the things that make it all worthwhile…

The first time you hold your new baby in your arms
The anticipation & excitement of every milestone
Watching & hearing them laugh
Every kiss, even the snotty nosed ones
Hugs
The first time you hear mama or dada
Seeing them grow & transform
The sweet sound of all the I love yous.
Seeing parts of yourself mirrored through your child
The awe & excitement in their face when they experience something new.
All of the funny things that they say that make you smile or laugh
Cuddles
The pride you feel as you watch them learn new things
Being the one that teaches them those new things
Unconditional love & forgiveness
Hearing them screaming “Mommy!” when you come home from work
Hearing them sing
Baby feet

What are your favorite things about being a mother? Let’s share all the great things too.

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Felt Birthday Cake For Toddler Play

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Our daughter is a fan of the television. I am not a fan of her watching television, but still we do let her watch videos & toddler appropriate programming in moderation. She does not like it when we shut off the TV. She is a smart cookie though & knows how to work her family.
Daddy: “Mai, we have to shut of the TV.”

Mai: “How bout, we watch Patriots.”

She knows her daddy’s weakness.

She also knows her nana’s. “Nana, do you want to watch Cooking Channel?

Mai enjoys watching cooking with her nana. She also loves helping in the kitchen and pretend cooking in her play kitchen.

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Her favorite pretend food to make is cake. She makes cakes out of Play-doh. She stacks her stacking cups to make tiered cakes & then decorates them with the cherries from her Hi Ho Cherrio game. There is a learning exercise on ABC Mouse that allows you to decorate cakes & she adores this. She will draw with her imaginary icing & place flowers & fruit all over her virtual cake.

To help inspire our future little cake boss to continue to make tasty treats, we came up with this felt birthday cake for her to decorate.

What you will need:

A medium sized plain cardboard hat box

Assorted colors of felt sheets

Yarn

Craft pom poms

Elmer’s glue

Glue Gun

Scissors

Pen

Directions:

Start with a medium sized plain hat box. You can purchase on of these at a craft store for only a couple of dollars.

Start with a medium sized plain hat box. You can purchase one of these at a craft store for only a couple of dollars.

Remove the top & trace out the outline of the top on a felt color of your choosing & then cut it out.

Remove the top & trace out the outline of the top on a felt color of your choosing & then cut it out.

Measure out and mark the felt to cover the side of your box top as well.

Measure out and mark the felt to cover the side of your box top as well.

Using Elmer's glue, glue down the top & sides. The Elmer's glue will allow the felt to dry flat & smooth.

Using Elmer’s glue, glue down the top & sides. The Elmer’s glue will allow the felt to dry flat & smooth.

To make my icing edge, I braided 3 long strands of yarn & used the hot glue gun to glue down along the edge of the box top.

To make my icing edge, I braided 3 long strands of yarn & used the hot glue gun to glue down along the edge of the box top.

Cut and glue felt to cover the bottom half of the hat box as well. Allow to dry before proceeding.

Cut and glue felt to cover the bottom half of the hat box as well. Allow to dry before proceeding.

Cut out colored felt strips about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut using a waving pattern on one side.

Cut out colored felt strips about a 1/2 inch thick. Cut using a waving pattern on one side.

Roll the strip to form your cake flowers.

Roll the strip to form your cake flowers.

Glue the flowers in place using a glue gun.

Glue the flowers in place using a glue gun.

To form a strawberry, cut out two heart shapes. Dot the heart shapes with a green marker to add seeds.

To form a strawberry, cut out two heart shapes. Dot the heart shapes with a green marker to add seeds.

Place a craft pom pom in the center of one of the heart shapes. Add hot glue from the glue gun around the edges & place the other heart over it, dotted side facing out. Press the edge together all the way around . Cut  out a small star shape in green & glue over the top center of the strawberry.

Place a craft pom pom in the center of one of the heart shapes. Add hot glue from the glue gun around the edges & place the other heart over it, dotted side facing out. Press the edge together all the way around. Cut out a small star shape in green & glue over the top center of the strawberry.

To make a cherry, I just used a red pom pom & added a green felt piece for the stem.

To make a cherry, I just used a red pom pom & added a green felt piece for the stem.

Cut out letters & numbers. Make as many different fruits & flowers as you like. Let your little baker go to work decorating their cake.

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Store cake pieces inside the box.

Store cake pieces inside the box.

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Posted in Arts and Crafts, Toddler activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments