My Toddler is Testing Me

I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about parenting. What kind of parent do I want to be? What kind of parent does Adeline NEED me to be? How can Daniel and I work to help Adeline continue to develop into a God-loving, confident and respectful girl? WHO IS THIS TODDLER?

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We’ve had a couple of rough patches in regards to “parenting” Adeline in the last few weeks. Just yesterday, I was talking with one of my friends who just had her first baby girl. As I think back to my “new mom” days, I remember the difficulties that come with caring for a helpless babe. The endless nursing sessions and the exhaustion that comes with interrupted sleep. Adeline and I cried together, and I began to understand how becoming a mother TRULY changes you.

Adeline is a lovely girl (check out her 18-month update!) She is typically happy and curious. She doesn’t mind playing on her own and even as an infant, she didn’t mind being set down (as long as she was in the same room with people). Adeline is definitely independent, and she has likes and dislikes. Recently, we’ve had a lot more frustrated moments, a lot more tears and a LOT of “testing”. I’m trying to identify possible causes of these times of frustration, clingy-ness and “defiance”. Here’s my best shot:

  • Hunger (because who doesn’t get a bit cranky when they need to refuel?)
  • Tiredness
  • In need of some 1-on-1 attention
  • Boredom (because staying at the house all day isn’t particularly stimulating)
  • Overstimulation (the world is a big, loud place!)

“I’m hungry or tired”

I feel like I’m pretty good at figuring out if Adeline is hungry. Actually, she usually tells me by asking to nurse or asking for a “bite”. Tiredness is usually predictable, although there are days where she needs extra rest, and there are days where she just doesn’t rest as much as others. I’m definitely guilty of “pushing” her naps so that I can get in one more task, and that often leads to a cranky baby because mommy wasn’t paying attention to her level of exhaustion.

A snapshot of my week. Much more crying than smiling :( Lord, give me strength.

For the past few days, I’ve tried putting Adeline down for a second nap, which actually results in her having some “quiet time” in her room. She usually just chats away and rolls around for 20-30 minutes before getting fussy. But, she does seem refreshed afterwards. Maybe I can try to call this “quiet time” and eventually have her spend “quiet time” in her room but not necessarily in her bed? We’ll see…

“I need mommy”

I’m guilty of not spending time with my daughter. Sounds crazy, right? I mean, I’m with her every day (a little bit less than 24/7 now that I’m working), wouldn’t you think that we have enough time together? Nope. I haven’t done a great job at adjusting my expectations on how to keep our home and how to be with Adeline. If we’re at home, I’m usually scurrying around to vacuum, load the dishwasher or start a load of laundry. If it’s not household chores, I’m usually in the kitchen prepping food for lunches and dinners. I get caught up in prepping/cleaning and I realize that Adeline has just been running around my ankles for the last hour. Like I mentioned before, she does a pretty good job of playing by herself. But, I often ignore her or tell her “just a minute” WAY too often.

I’m embracing the mess today-Adeline is helping me make bread for daddy! (soft wheat sandwich bread from @fitmamarealfood )

I feel like I’m neglecting to give Adeline the 1-on-1 time that she needs. She still needs her mommy to acknowledge her. She needs mommy/daddy play time. She needs our undivided attention (ahem, PUT DOWN THE PHONE, HOLLY!) On days where I incorporate a bit of extra 1-on-1 time, Adeline is generally MUCH happier. Maybe I need to set a timer for myself. For each 15 to 20 minutes of cleaning/prepping, I need to spend 5 or 10 minutes of uninterrupted time with my little girl. Anyone have tips on giving your little one undivided attention?

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I love taking walks with her when she rides in the Ergo. It gives us a chance to be close, and it allows us to be outside for a little bit. I love following her around as she walks too, but there is something special about having her up on my back. Right now, I don’t really have a good way for her to “help” with things such as cooking. She does help me with baking from time to time (we sit on the floor), but I don’t have a stable place for her to stand/sit when I’m doing stuff on the counters. I suppose I could try to do even more food prep on the weekends, but I feel like I already spend a lot of time doing that. I could also try to be more productive at night, but our house is pretty small, and I definitely can’t vacuum when she’s sleeping. Oops, that turned into a bit of a whining section… moving on.

Adeline loves riding in the @ergobaby She even learned how to say ‘ergo’ this week :) #babywearing #ergo

“I’m Bored or Over-stimulated”

As far as addressing boredom, I try to keep a few special activities on hand. One of our new favorites is stuffing decorative puff balls into an emptied milk carton. It’s quiet, it keeps her busy (for a few minutes) and it’s not messy. We tried adding some coffee beans into the mix, but she just tried to eat them. #storyofmylife Being over-stimulated is pretty easy to see, and the “fix” is usually just leaving the environment that is overstimulating. Sometimes story time or playdates can be a bit draining for Adeline, so we’ll head home and she is back to being happy and adjusted. Nursing also helps to “reset” and refuel her if we can’t leave quite yet.

A huge thanks to @kaitlynytterberg for letting us pay while our kitchen floors are being redone! And yes, Adeline is pulling Evie’s hair.

I have also come across a few great blogs that focus on respectful parenting. I’m not sure that I “buy in” to being 100% “respectful parent” all the time, but I can definitely see how some of the ideas (giving your children options, but having set expectations) could be really helpful for our family. I also really don’t want to spank, because I have a hard time separating my anger from actions. I spanked her once, when I was absolutely not angry at all about the incident, but I don’t know if that is how I want to handle things going forward. And I use a lot of “I’s” in this post, but Daniel is also a HUGE part in raising Adeline. I’m just around her the most, so I decided to keep this post coming from my perspective. Here are a few of my favorite posts from some “respectful parenting” websites:

Janet Lansbury’s blog, particularly these posts:

Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids:

Anyways, I know that was a lot of links, but reading through those posts (and more) has helped me to see a kind of trajectory that I would like to follow. I know that every kid is different, but I do think that being mindful and attentive with Adeline is what she needs in this confusing world of toddlerhood.

I’m all ears:

  • Helpful parenting resources?
  • Anyone have tips on giving your little one undivided attention?
  • Any other ideas of situations that lead to baby being extra fussy/clingy/testing (other than sickness, big life events, etc)?

This toddler thing is a whole new ballgame! I thought I had everything figured out, but kids are supposed to keep us on our toes, right? I’m praying that the Lord gives me the desire and the mindfulness to be attentive to my sweet daughter. I’m praying for grace for Daniel and I as we try to navigate parenthood. I’m praying for understanding from Adeline, and for as few counseling sessions as possible in her future because her parents were crazy :) Toddlers are SO FUN, and toddlers are SO CONFUSING!

Eighteen Months

I totally missed Adeline’s 17 month update. Oops. I’m happy we (almost) made it with monthly updates to this point! I think I’ll probably just pop in for random updates (when I have the time) every few months.

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Eighteen months. 1 1/2 years! As a lot of my mommy friends have said, this age is a lot of fun! Adeline is truly a little person, with likes and dislikes. She has a personality and often, an agenda. She is (fairly) easy to take places, and she’s becoming a bit more predictable (and flexible) with sleeping. Sorry for the sleepy, indoor photos! Oops.

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Adeline had her 18 month checkup yesterday, and she weighed 21lb 7oz (34%) and was 31 and 3/4 inches long (49%). I decided to switch pediatricians, and this was our first visit with the new group. They were so much more gentle with her, and the office was extremely inviting and welcoming! I’m glad we made the switch, as I just didn’t love the old practice that we were going to.

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I think our favorite part of this age is the increase in communication. Adeline is a pretty verbal girl, and I feel like she says most of her words pretty clearly (or in context, so that you might be able to guess what she’s saying). Her level of understanding is amazing. I read (somewhere) that toddlers can understand what a child one year older than them can say. For example, a 18 month old should be able to understand almost everything a 2.5 year old could say. I wish I could remember where I had read that…

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I posted a sample of our day in my WOHM post, and I think we’re in a good place. We typically get a good chunk of the evening to ourselves since Adeline goes to bed before 6:30pm. I’m extremely excited that spring is FINALLY here because this girl LOVES playgrounds and being outside! We are trying to set consistent boundaries for Adeline, because she likes to explore and be so adventurous. Its easier said than done, I’ll try to remember to share what has worked for us so far.

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Let’s see, what else… Adeline is still very social. However, if there are a bunch of adults in the room, she is pretty timid for a good chunk of time. If there are kids there, she usually warms up a lot faster. We are still breastfeeding, typically about 4 times a day. I’m really happy with where are nursing relationship is, and I’m very thankful to have been breastfeeding her for this long. I don’t think she really needs breastfeeding, so we may start trying to wean in the next few months. I’m headed to North Carolina for my sister’s graduation in May, and I’ll be away from Wycombe the whole weekend. We will see how that goes, maybe that will be a game changer and how often we are nursing? I know I could cut out nursing session, but I don’t feel like I’m ready yet. I’d rather let Adeline take the lead, I really thought she’d be down to about two sessions by now! I really don’t have much to say, she is constantly changing and we just love her to pieces!

The WOHM Update

Thanks for all of the feedback on our “Ending Cloth Diapering” post! For the time being, it makes more sense for us to save some $$ and use disposables. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for any AWESOME deals on diapers, but in the meantime, ‘sposies is where it’s at. It’s kind of sad, because some of Adeline’s pants don’t fit quite the same anymore!

I’ve been meaning to do an update about being a part-time WOHM (work-out-of-home-mom) is going! In short, I LOVE being a working mom! A huge part of this transition has been childcare. It was my #1 concern, and I think we’ve found a few great people to be a part of Adeline’s life. I found both of my sitters through Care.com¬†(<– if you end up signing up for a membership, I’ll get $25 if you use that link!)

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Who wouldn’t want to hang out with that cutie? ^^

You can post a job for free, but to contact anyone, you have to pay a fee. I just signed up for a one-month “trial”, but paying was SO worth it. I could run quick background checks and I could “rate” people that I messaged (and ultimately, hired) so that potential “employers” in the future could see my thoughts. Care.com is easy to use, and I like the added “security” of having a third-party intervene with the e-mail process. When I nannied in the past, I did find a couple of AWESOME families to nanny for through Craigslist, but I wasn’t quite ready to deal with all of the scammy e-mails that Craigslist usually generates.

Anyways, working is awesome. Adeline’s Tues/Thurs nanny is a SAHM with a 2 year old daughter and a 5 year old son (who is in school for most of the morning). She is WONDERFUL and calm and she feeds her kiddos even healthier than I try to feed our family. It’s a wonderful fit, and Adeline LOVES going to their house to play! AND- she naps there. I was so uncertain wether or not she would nap somewhere else, but she does! This means we can have the afternoon together to play when I pick her up a little after one. We have a college student come to our house on Wednesdays, and she is great! I like that Adeline gets to stay at home for at least one day out of the three. Having someone come to our house also helps me to keep the house a bit tidier than I usually would.
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I really like the structure that working is giving to our weeks. I know we have Mondays and Fridays to do whatever we want, and we have the afternoons on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to run errands or play at a park. I’m still finding myself spending a good chunk of time each evening getting things (mainly lunches) prepped for the next day. I think doing more weekend food prep would help (especially because I pack pretty much the same thing for Adeline each day). I just don’t really like taking time from our family time on weekends! We don’t have *too* much going on this weekend, so maybe I’ll try to get A’s lunches AND my lunches ready to go.

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^^ carrot mac ‘n cheese

I also feel like Adeline and I are eating more well-rounded meals. Because I’m planning and packing lunches, it gives me a chance to think about a more balanced meal. Lunches used to be a mish-mash of whatever was in the fridge, and I found myself relying on carbs + peanut butter to fuel me through the day. Now, it’s easy to SEE that neither of our lunches has many veggies or is lacking in protein. I’ve also been trying to cook more for dinners so that there are leftovers to toss on top of a salad or to mix with rice and beans.
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Here’s a sample schedule of a “working day”:

  • 6:30am: I wake up. Start making coffee, mess around on my phone. I usually try to wash my face/get makeup on and say goodbye to Daniel.
  • 7am: Adeline wakes up. We nurse and then start making breakfast (usually eggs+banana or buckwheat waffles+green smoothie, or oatmeal+berries+yogurt)
  • 7:30-8am: We eat breakfast together and listen to a chapter or two of the Bible on Biblegateway.com
  • 8-8:20am: Finish getting ready: lunches in bags, extra diapers, change of clothes for A, clothes for me, let the dog out, toss stuff in the dishwasher
  • 8:20-8:30am: I usually try to sit down with A for a few minutes before we leave. The morning feels pretty rushed, and I like to have a few minutes of playtime with her!
  • 8:45: Drop off at Nanny’s house (or our other nanny arrives here)
  • 9-1pm: I’m at work!
  • 1:15-3pm: We either go out (to a park, to run errands) or we come home and play. We will nurse a time or two. This is usually the time when I can squeeze in a few household chores and a bit of dinner prep. Maybe a playdate?
  • 3-4:30pm: Snack time! Sometimes we’ll venture out to the library if we didn’t leave earlier in the afternoon. Other times, this is when we take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood.
  • 4:30-5:30pm: Adeline eats dinner around 4:30, so I’m usually tossing something together for her while working on our dinner. Daniel gets home and they hang out while I finish dinner and try to tidy.
  • 5:30-6:30pm: The final hour. We hang out in Adeline’s room while she spins in circles and falls down. It’s a good chance for us to hang out and relax for a bit. Then, more nursing happens and we read a few stories before bedtime!
  • 6:30-9:40pm: This is usually where I get sucked into the internet. I really¬†really want to try to make it to the gym in the evenings, but it’s been really difficult to be motivated. The light in the evenings does help, but I usually just end up staying at home.
  • 10pm: in bed. Goodnight!

A non-working day looks about the same, except I like to “sleep in” until 7 or so. Instead of heading to the nanny’s house, we will go out for a morning activity. Story-time is one of our favorites, but with the spring weather that *should* be just around the corner, I see us taking Silas for walks at new parks and spending time outdoors with friends. Adeline naps from 11-12, so it still feels a bit rushed in the mornings because she still goes down so early. The rest of the day looks pretty much the same!

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I love the time away from my precious daughter, and I feel like we enjoy each other SO MUCH MORE at the end of the day! I know working may not be for everyone, but I’m just so happy that it fits well in this season of life :)
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Did you ever work when you had children? If you don’t have kids, do you plan on working if you have any?

 

Diaper Debate: Ending Cloth Diapering?

Something is going to have to change in the way that we diaper. We LOVE our cloth diapers, but our duplex recently sold and is under new management. The landlord has installed coin operated washers and dryers in the basement.

I’m really frustrated- prior to this new landlord- we didn’t pay for water, just the electricity. AND there are two families in our complex, so we now have to share one washer and one dryer. AND our neighbors just had a baby last week. I feel for them (and for our wallets)!

Anyways, here’s the breakdown of costs to continue cloth diapering. I’ll need to wash diapers 3x per week (our stash isn’t very big): each wash is $1.50. I can get away with doing a good soaking in our laundry tub, but I’m pretty sure we will still need to run two cycles of a wash to get all of the detergent out. So that’s $3 per load of diapers. $3 a load at 3x per week, that’s $9 a week just to wash diapers.

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I’m planning on air drying everything (I already do this with my covers after some started to wear down from being in the dryer- oops!) I can see myself tossing the inserts into the dryer if I have another load of laundry that needs a dry, but I’m definitely not paying another $1.50 just to dry my inserts.

I would love to have the diapers just go through one wash cycle, but I don’t think I can get away with that. Even with the minuscule amount of detergent that we use, I think we REALLY need that second rinse (and there’s no “rinse only” option on the washers- just another full cycle.)

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I’m also looking at the cost of using disposable diapers. I figure we’ll use 4 or 5 diapers per day (maybe less if they hold a lot?) That’s 35 diapers/week. I don’t even know what brands are good- I occasionally pick up a pack of diapers at Kroger (Comforts for Babies brand). I want diapers that work, but that will run us less than $9/week (less than $0.03 per diaper). I could wash less often, maybe 2x per week ($6.00/week) but I’d definitely have to use disposables on “wash days” because I wouldn’t have any diapers.

I really don’t want to use disposables, especially since we love our cloth so much. I don’t want the waste, and I don’t want to feel guilty for having to “give up” on cloth for a bit. Adeline chooses cloth over disposables if we lay them out for her. I know that I didn’t foresee this change of ownership and stupid new washer/dryer situation, but I can’t help but to feel a bit guilty about investing $$ into cloth diapers. We WILL NOT be living in this house forever, but we also aren’t going to go buy a house tomorrow.

Here are some possible options for our family in regards to diapering:

  1. Hand wash my diapers. I feel like this would take forever, has anyone ever done this? Especially with me working part-time, I feel like this would cause a lot of anxiety and stress for me.
  2. Suck it up and pay $9/week to continue using cloth diapers. Consider in investing in more so that I can space washes out.
  3. Wash less frequently (but then I’d have to use a few disposables on wash days). Consider investing in more diapers to cover “wash” days.
  4. Switch to using disposable diapers (buying in bulk).
  5. Any other options or suggestions?

I’d love to hear if you’ve ever had to switch to using a different diapering system.
Any tips/tricks to washing diapers in a “laundromat” type setting?
Does anyone just do one “wash” cycle on diapers?

(Happy St. Patrick’s day! Hope you’re wearing something green!)

Work is Going Well and a Quick Hello

Happy almost weekend! Sorry I’ve been MIA- working has been going very well, but I feel like I don’t have as much “free time” as I used to. Hopefully, we can get a schedule down (when do full-time working moms get laundry done?!?) and I can devote a little bit more time to this blog!
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Anyways, we’ve been waiting (and waiting) for spring. We had a glimpse of warmer weather on Tuesday (70 degrees!) but then it was snowing on Wednesdsay. Whomp whomp. We’ve got a busy weekend ahead and I’m really looking forward to spending time with our family!
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So this post was pretty pointless, but I just wanted to make myself feel better because I’ve been “away” for so long! “See” you soon!

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