Motherhood

Confessions of a First Time Mom #4

I’m so bummed I didn’t write more of these, but the writing ball really got dropped after Hazel was born. Especially once the pandemic hit. But I have a couple more months until I’m technically not a first time mom anymore, so I’m going to try to squeeze a few more in.

Worth It

The above picture was taken right after Hazel had woken up from her nap. Most days she is a dream kid when she wakes up taking time to just play and talk in her crib before actually being ready to get up and this day was no different. Her hats hang on hooks by the door and I hear her repeat, “purple hat” a few times, so I take this as my cue to go in. I give her the hat and then she requests that I take her picture. When I come back from grabbing my phone, she has the hat on her head and is ready for a photoshoot. She is saying cheese and moving her head different ways and making different faces. It was beyond precious and made my heart swell a few sizes.

It still blows my mind that I have a legit toddler with her own personality and opinions; who doesn’t mind communicating those wants and feelings. The fact that she’s getting older and becoming more and more of a little person is very cool, but sometimes can be very stressful. Sometimes those opinions and wants don’t line up with the plan for the day or the food we currently have or the time of a day. When that happens, well, occasionally a tantrum is thrown or a scream is released, sometimes there is kicking or running away, and the best is when giggles and silliness erupt.

I don’t believe in all the terrible twos or threenager stuff or anything to do with toddlerhood being awful. Yes, it has frustrating moments, but mostly it’s just a stage of learning about communication and expression.

Over the past few weeks, Hazel has started to say, “I love you so much” and “thank you so much” and “pop!”. She requests and reciprocates hugs and kisses and “pops”. It is the sweetest thing to experience as a mom. Tonight while putting her to bed, my husband was holding her for our nightly family hug and “pop” (where we squeeze her and then say pop) and I turned out the light. When I came to join them, Hazel had her arm outstretched and said “pop mommy”. She squeezed me with one arm and said pop and then did it to Jeremiah. As she hugged us, she told us, “thank you so much” and although that’s not something you normally say right before bed, I felt like it was her little way of telling us she appreciates us and how we love and parent her. She then gave us both kisses and went right to bed.

This stage has been such a blessing in response to some of the rougher times we have had battling toddler wants and parent needs. But those kind, sweet, adorable, heart melting words and actions from her just make the whole thing worth it! ❤

Motherhood

Don’t Rain on Other People’s Kids

Not to toot my own horn, but Hazel is advanced. It’s not just my opinion, but we’ve been told by both our pediatrician and midwife that Hazel has advanced speech and motor skills. I have no idea whether it has something to do with us as parents or if Hazel is just special. We were told at Hazel’s 12 month checkup by our pediatrician, “if you have other kids, don’t expect them to be like her.” At not even 2 years old, Hazel speaks very clearly and can say a few complete sentences. It’s not normal, but we are proud of her!

I say all that, because we were at a birthday party the other day and some of the other parents there were complimenting Hazel on her speech and behavior; inquiring about how old she was. As a parent, it makes you feel good when other people notice your kid and say nice things about them. What wasn’t cool was another parent there hearing these compliments and inserting her own children into the scenario, claiming that her son spoke like that when he was her age (now 5) and her daughter does now (just under 2.5) in order to make the compliments seem like nothing.

As parents we should always be building each other up. It’s kind to compliment another person’s child when you notice them doing something well or positive or whatever. It’s also kind to compliment other parents when you see their kid doing something well or positive or seeing the parent do something well. Parenting is hard and exhausting and you often feel like you aren’t doing a good enough job or your kid doesn’t measure up… lots of insecurities accompany parenthood. All I can say is let other parents have their moment. If someone is complimenting their kids and not yours, just let them; your turn will come. Don’t cut in to make it about your kids.

Don’t bring the rain, but instead add to the sunshine.

Motherhood

Potty Training // Phase 1, 2, & 3

At the beginning of this year, we decided to start researching how we wanted to potty train Hazel. I always knew I wanted to potty train early – before 2 – but after finding out we were pregnant, I was determined. Diapers are so expensive, there is no way I’m buying diapers for 2 kids if I can help it. At first I thought I would read a bunch of books to figure out different methods, but eventually decided to just read a few articles and pick my mom’s brain.

There are so many methods out there and different ways work for different parents and different kids. It can be really overwhelming, but after doing your own research, just decide what you are comfortable doing.

My absolutes were this:

  • It’s not Hazel’s decision when she’s going to use the potty, it’s mine.
  • I absolutely will not clean out a little kid potty.
  • I will not clean pee out of the carpet on a regular basis.

Essentially my absolutes told me what methods will and won’t work for me… because of my preferences, I’m not really following a tried and true method, I’m just sort of picking and choosing from different methods and putting them together. My first absolute of it not being Hazel’s decision means that I’m not going to follow any child-led potty training methods. My second absolute about not cleaning out little kid potties means that Hazel will learn on the regular toilet in the bathroom. And my third absolute of not cleaning pee out of the carpet regularly means we will not follow any “bare bottom” methods. This helped me narrow down what I would be willing to do.

Hazel will be two at the end of April and Jameson will be born at the end of May, so our goal is to have her potty trained by the middle of May. So we gave ourselves roughly 4 1/2 months to get this completed. I broke down what I want to do into different phases to slowly introduce potty training to her.

Phase 1: Take Hazel into the Bathroom with Us When We Go

In order to slowly introduce the potty to Hazel, phase 1 was to take her into the bathroom with us every time we went. She would sit in front of us or stand next to us as we would go. It was awkward for us at first having an interested audience, but eventually you get used to it. We would ask her to listen to us pee or poop. Again, awkward. Then we would talk about how we wipe, flush, and close the lid. We would have her look in the toilet and tell us what she sees… it’s quite a process. During this phase, she got really good at flushing and closing the lid as well as identifying pee.

Phase 2: Read Books About Going to the Bathroom

I thought I would get a lot of books about going potty, but did really like a lot of the options out there. I ended up getting two books: What’s a Potty For? and What is Poop? [Disclaimer: These are Usborne books, but I am not a consultant and did not go through a consultant.] I figured we’d read these books a few times a week or something, but Hazel ended up being obsessed with them. She asks to read them all the time and will read them by herself or to her stuffed animals. I don’t love everything about these books – Jeremiah and I alter what some of the pages say – but overall they take on a very informative approach which I like.

Phase 3: Have Hazel Sit on the Toilet Before Every Diaper Change

For the past week or so, we have transitioned to taking Hazel into the bathroom and having her sit on the toilet before every diaper change. We haven’t gotten a little toilet seat or step stool for her yet, so we hold her while she sits. We only make her sit there for the duration of a song of her choice – typically Twinkle Twinkle Little Star – we sing it together and when it’s over she gets to get down. At first she was really excited, but she did give us some push back a couple of times, but for the most part she doesn’t mind. We are going to get the little seat and step this week, so that should help with her sitting confidence.

So far I think it’s going really well. My mom is really supportive and does the same things at her house (besides reading potty books) as we do here to keep things consistent. Hazel doesn’t seem scared of the toilet or bathroom and is really excited about underwear, so I think we are on the right track.

Motherhood

Mama’s Hair

We all have those things in our life that as kid’s we found so exciting and special, because of how rare they occurred. I can’t remember any of mine off the top of my head, but today Hazel got to experience one of hers: brushing mom’s hair.

Hazel has been fixated on brushing her hair for months now. She loves using her brush or my brush to brush her hair and more recently she has started requesting to “brush mama’s hair.” This sounds like such a simple ask; one that I would obviously agree to, but before today I have always said no or not right now. Not because I don’t want Hazel brushing my hair, but more out of bad timing. I have curly hair, so it’s not ideal to have a toddler tear through your already knotty hair, so I’ve just been waiting for a good moment to allow her the privilege.

This morning after my shower and her breakfast, I was getting around and she brought me my brush and asked if she could brush my hair. It was so sweet and finally good timing. I told her yes! Before I let her loose, I took it out of the towel and did a thorough brush through to make sure it was smooth. I helped her stand up on the bed behind me and handed her the brush. The first few tries she smacked me with the hard side of the brush, so I showed her how to turn the brush in her hand and how to put the pointy parts in my hair. After that she did so well… it actually felt good!

It truly felt like a really simple bonding moment. No tears. No tantrums. Just pure joy getting to brush her mom’s hair and I was happy to be there for it.

I wanted to capture a couple pictures of the moment, but was hesitant at first. I had just gotten out of the shower, I didn’t have my glasses on, and I felt really uncomfortable with myself. But the more I thought about it, the more I didn’t want to miss out on remembering this simple first out of self-consciousness. Hazel doesn’t care what I look like and neither should I. So I grabbed my phone and snapped a few pictures of her brushing and then when she noticed she started posing. It was a lot of fun and I’m glad I didn’t shy away from taking pictures.

When I sat down to think about the day and what I wanted to share, I thought about sharing the story without the pictures. I figured the pictures would just be for us to look at years from now, but the more I looked at them, the more I just see a little girl being silly and having a good time with her mom. This is real life… I rarely have a cute outfit or makeup on and my hair is normally a curly mess on top of my head, but that isn’t something I should be ashamed of, so I’m not going to be. If you ever want to take a picture, but are wary of what you look like, just take it, you’ll be glad you did.

Motherhood

Hazelism #1 // The Donut Thief

I had goals to write in the space more this year and although writing two posts during January isn’t a terrible start, it’s not great either. I have plenty of excuses, but instead of sharing them I’m just going to try a new method to get myself writing: journaling. I’m going to share more stories of just my daily life; funny kid anecdotes, pregnancy woes, the good and the bad stuff. I’m terrible at journaling by hand, but I want to remember these moments, so maybe this will help. Fingers crossed!

This morning we decided to do donuts for breakfast. We’re running on empty where groceries are concerned, so donuts seemed like a grand idea. Jeremiah and Hazel took a walk to the donut shop and got the goods. When they got back, Jeremiah and I enjoyed our donuts while Hazel ate her mini pancakes and yogurt. All was going well.

When she finished with her healthy breakfast, she pointed to my donut and said “pancake”. I told her it was a donut and offered her a bite of my donut hole. She started crying and saying “no”, so I backed off. Then she started crying harder saying “donut”, so I tried a new method by just placing a donut hole on her plate. This started the hysterics. Her face was all distorted and tears were coming out of her eyes. So I once again took the donut hole away only for her to continue crying.

This is toddlerhood.

We don’t always know what the best course of action is in moments like these, so we just go with it giving her lots of options, because we know she just wants control and to figure out reactions and boundaries. I put the donut hole back on her plate and we just started at each other for awhile. I asked her, “do you want to try the donut hole or do you want mommy to take it?” More starting. Next question, “do you want to get down? are you done?” That question got a reaction. She said “get down”, so I put the donut hole in a bag on the table, took her plate and bib, cleaned her up, and put her down. All was good.

I got her a cup of milk and she was happily walking around drinking it. Jeremiah was making coffee and I was cleaning up in the kitchen when we notice Hazel standing near the edge of the table where the bag was with the donut hole. She places her cup of milk on the table and reaches in and grabs the donut hole. She takes a bite then turns and grins at us. We busted out laughing – not sure if that was the right parenting move, but who even cares, because it was hilarious!

Our kid, the donut thief! Apparently she did want to try the donut, but on her terms… sounds about right!

**if you read my instagram post about the same incident and it sounded a different, well that was the abridged version**