Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Birthday Milestones

Sorry for not posting anything in awhile.  My life the past few weeks has been double birthdays for my daughters, which also means each one entering a new birthday milestone: Terrible 2's and the 4's.  I've always heard if you didn't have a Terrible 2, then you will have a Terrible 3's and possibly a 'Fits at 4'. In our house, my oldest was more of the Terrible 3's.  And now she just turned 4 and my youngest just turned 2.  So, here we go right??

My 2 year old so far has been pretty normal, a few tempter tantrums but it's mostly because she is learning to talk and can't express herself as much yet, so she gets frustrated, etc. etc.

But my 4 year old, eech!  Yes, so far the 'Fits at 4' is a for sure.  All of my friends with daughters have told me that right before they turned 4 and a little bit after, their daughters turned into little monsters. Mood swings, nap transitions, bickering, etc.

We definitely have crazy mood swings going on.   I told my husband our 4 year old has the hormones of a pregnant woman right now.  One minute she is smiling and laughing, and the next a demon has possessed her, tears all over the place.  I swear she is manic.  The funniest is when she wakes up so cranky, she comes into the kitchen and says, "nobody look at me, don't talk to me!!  I don't want anybody to talk to me!"  Who is this child?

And on top of the mood swings is her nap transition phase.  Going from napping to not napping.  Goodness me, I never knew how hard this was going to be.  There are days when I know she is T-I-R-E-D.  Like, she is not even speaking English anymore she is so tired.  And she needs a nap, because she will not last until 7:30 (her normal bedtime).  So I always put her in her bed at 'Rest Time' and give her some books to read and her ladybug nightlight.  The days she is exhausted, she falls asleep immediately.  The days she is not as tired, she will read, talk, sing and dance around her room until I tell her rest time is over (usually about 1- 1.5 hours).

BUT THEN, there are days when I know she is exhausted and she doesn't nap, and I get her up from rest time and she is crying, whining and super tired until bed time.  This is when bedtime gets moved up to 7pm.  Even one day last week she didn't nap and she was so tired she could barely stand up. We were at a park in the afternoon for a playdate, so I took her home at 5:30pm, fed her dinner, put her to bed and lights off at 6:30pm, she was sound asleep immediately!  She hasn't gone to bed that early since she was a baby.

Then there are the times when she goes a few days without a nap, doesn't sleep much at night and is OVER tired and cranky.

Or the times when she does nap during the day, I put her down at her regular bedtime at 7:30pm and she doesn't fall asleep until 10pm! She's in her room singing, laughing, dancing and using every stall technique possible: "I'm hungry, I need more water, I need another book, I'm ready to wake up!"
I think the answer is to try to get her to stop taking naps, have rest time, then put her to bed early.  But it's so hard when she really needs a nap.

Teacher friends have prepared me for Kindergarten too, telling me that when they start school be ready for them to fall asleep at 6pm each night as they'll be super tired the first few months adjusting to the long day and schedules.  Eek, what happened to half day Kinder programs like when I was a kid? Oh well.

Then there is the drama of not Sharing that is taking over my house right now.  The authors of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen wrote a great book called Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too  (9$) and I need to start putting it to use, now that my youngest is understanding things more.  (Stay tuned for a review of it in my next post).

But lately all I hear is, "but I had it first!," "mommy, she took it from me,"  "mommy she's not sharing" and crying, screams and tears.  This is when I just say "work it out, work it out." :)  Ha, well, sometimes it works, but mostly I use a lot of timers for taking turns (iPhones are great for this and kitchen timers), or if it gets really bad, the toy is put in time out.  And a LOT of modeling, teaching them how to ask for a turn, waiting, then giving it back.  Of course a 2 year old has the patience of a flea so we are working on it.  Baby steps, baby steps.

So that is my life right now in a nutshell.  Just surviving the day to days of preschoolers and toddlers. Any suggestions on nap transitions??  I mean, don't we all need a Siesta every day?  :)
Sunday, May 11, 2014

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day!  I loved celebrating Mother's Day before I became a mother and honoring my mother and grandmothers, but now that I've become a mom myself, it has become even more of a special holiday to me.  All my life I knew I always wanted to be a mom, and I am so happy my wish came true!  I just LOVE spending all of my days with my daughters, and this day makes me realize how lucky I am.  

     Walk along side me, Mama. and hold my little hand. 
      I have so many things to learn that I don't yet understand.
                                         Teach me things to keep me safe from the dangers everyday.

                                            Show me how to do my best, at home, at school, at play.

                                        Every child needs a gentle hand to guide them as they grow.

                                                           So walk along side me, Mama. 

                                                                We have long way to go.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Picky Eaters and Whole 30

My life lately has been stressed when it comes to meal times.  I loathe feeding my girls because they are the pickiest eaters!  I know all kids and toddlers are picky, but my toddler refuses ALL FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. I am not kidding. I put a banana, strawberry or blueberry on her plate and she throws it on the floor.  Let's not even talk about putting a pea on her plate.  So right now I can only get them down via smoothies.  My 3 year old is a little bit better, but she still only wants to eat cereal, granola bars and cheese.

AND, I have become a monster mommy lately because I have decided to do a food detox for my body. If you haven't heard of it, it's called the Whole 30.  You basically eat only fruits, vegetables and natural meats (hormone free, grass fed, antibiotic free). That means no sugar (not even honey), no dairy, no grains, no alcohol and no beans. I know, call me crazy!  You can eat healthy fats like avocados and nuts, and you don't have to count any calories.  No calorie counting, yay!

So my whole life right now has evolved around this and it has been eye opening to say the least!  I decided to do it because I have a huge sugar and carb addiction, and I want to teach my kids better habits. I always have to have something sweet before I go to bed, and if I was trying to be good, then I thought a bowl of honey cheerioes was considered a good alternative before bed! Hello carbs.  I heard of these crazy people doing sugar busters diets and I thought there was no way I could give it up.  But I feel like I had reached the breaking point and with small children loving sweets too, I needed to do something to help change our family's habits!

I figured cutting out all of it, no substitutions or points systems, would help me stick to it, and believe it or not, it has. I am on Day 20 of my 30 days and it's been an amazing journey!

The book, It Starts with Food, is eye opening.  It's amazing to learn how much our diet affects our health, I mean we all know we are what we eat, but it's the little things we don't think about.  This diet makes you basically cut out all foods that cause inflammation in our bodies, which are causing an increase in autoimmune disorders as well as causing us to feel low energy, poor sleep, disrupting hormones, etc..  One of the amazing success stories was about a man who had asthma his whole life, and then started this diet and was able to go for a run for the first time without an inhaler!  Amazing, right?  My sister has an autoimmune disease and we are doing this together for support and she may even do a Whole 60 to help determine her triggers.

I also know this will help me long term think about what I put in my mouth from now on and for my children.  They recommend after you finish to first reintroduce dairy, then gluten foods, then non-gluten foods, etc so you can see which ones cause any triggers.  I feel like I am sleeping much better (if only I would go to bed sooner though) and I do have more energy in the afternoons.

My poor kids have had to put up with a few mood swings, as I have found I can not skip a meal and need to eat as soon as I get hungry!  But I've learned I need to start working on their diet and taking more time to focus on what goes in their mouths. I have fallen into that lazy pattern where I just give my kids whatever they will eat because I'm lucky if I can get anything down their throats.  Putting veggies on their plates only to have them go uneaten, sigh, is hard work and you just want to give up.  There may be a big battle ahead for us, but I need to focus on giving them more healthy choices.  "You don't want this, then no soup for you!" Just kidding.   I know there will be a lot of choice giving and limit setting, but giving in lately to whatever they want to eat to avoid a tantrum is also not healthy either.  Sigh.  I'll let you know how it goes, wish me luck!