Things to know if you’re the Mother of a Toddler Boy

Little boys will be little boys. They are wild creatures that create messes out of thin air. Dirt, bugs, and small creatures are all new and exciting things to be explored and conquered. You are now the mother of a little explorer and you too will become an adventurer during your journey together. To get through the toddler years here are a few tips.

You need to have a good pair of sneaker and a pair of mud boots

Boys like to play outside which means you will also be playing outside. I highly recommend investing in a good pair of sneakers so you are adequately equipped to keep up with your child. Toddlers acquire the amazing ability of speed overnight and sneakers are a necessity when you must climb after them after they get themselves in a pickle on the highest piece of playground equipment at the park. If you fail to remember the sneakers you will curse yourself and your normal attire of heels or flip flops just. Your newly acquired taste in footwear doesn’t stop there, though. Rain boots will become another must-have accessory at this stage in your little one’s development.  Boys don’t understand why they can’t go outside when it’s raining, and after trying to keep them inside during a week of rainy days sometimes making the journey outside in the rain is better for the both of you. (Our sanity does have limitations.) He will want to splash in all the puddles and when he falls down face first in the middle of the biggest puddle in the immediate vicinity you will want to have your mud boots on so you can easily retrieve him.

You must show no fear in the face of bugs.

While inside you might be screaming (like the little girl that still lives inside you) on the outside you must show a calm steady exterior as you explore nature and bugs with your little boy and he places a wriggling worm in the palm of your hand. You don’t want your child to be afraid of bugs in general (he is a boy after all) so you must make a pointed effort to yourself be fearless in the face of bugs. At the same time, you do want to teach your child the bugs that will “hurt you,” so they do not try to pick up those particular bugs. “Ant’s bite you and Bee’s sting you” are recited almost daily in our household during our many treks through the backyard. Teaching the kiddo’s about bugs does pay off. . .in our house squishing bugs is fine, and once the babe learned this trick he is more than happy to help me “squish em”. I have high hopes I can pass off all bug squashing duties to him and his father in the near future.

Always check their pants pockets before you do the laundry

A boyfriends’ mom once gave me the following handy piece of advice when telling tales of her own adventurer. “Always, always, check the pockets,” she said.  She failed to do this once and ended up washing a reptile friend her explorer was planning on keeping (yet failed to mention to her).  Other things you might want to watch out for are bugs, sticks, rocks, cars, and anything else small enough to fit in the pockets of a small boy the might wreak havoc on your washer.

All meaningful breakables should be put out of reach

How do little people cause so much destruction?  It never ceases to amaze me what kinds of things my child will break.  Fatalities have included dishes, ceramic keepsakes, child proofing latches and hooks, and books.  My husband had (notice I use the past tense) a quarter scale, upright base from his band days that had since turned into a decorative piece nestled in a corner of our home. Our little one crashed into it at just the right angle and smashed it into several pieces. My husband was upset.  I was upset. It’s a hard lesson to learn that neglecting to keep things out of the reach of curious little toddler hands can lead to casualties’ of meaningful keepsakes.  I knew that this would probably just be one of many catastrophes to come, so since then if it’s breakable and meaningful it’s either packed up and put away or on a high shelf where inquisitive little fingers cannot wrap themselves around it.

5 Ways Pets Prepared Me for Motherhood

For years I worked in animal rescue and when I finally took the plunge from fur babies to human babies I quickly learned that those years in animal rescue helped prepare me for the adventures of motherhood (or did they?)

Grooming

You would think clipping hundreds of tiny little cat claws and dog nails would help prepare you for the task of trying to clip tiny little human nails. I’ll take trimming a critter’s nails over those of a squirmy little babe any day. At least with the critters you can wrap them in a towel or lie on top of them and accomplish the job in one sitting. (I don’t think CPS would take too kindly if you tried these methods with your mini human). When trimming the nails of a toddler I am lucky to get one hand’s worth of nails total in one sitting, it takes all week to get all 20 little fingers and toes trimmed and by the time you do accomplish this feat, it’s time to start over.

Rise and Shine

I had a diabetic cat for a period of time that required insulin shots in the morning and evening with his morning and evening meal. This cat would wake me up every morning by sitting on the pillow and meowing next to my head. If I would shoo him away he would sit in the hallway (just outside of sock throwing range) and continue his serenade until I would get my lazy butt out of bed to give him his shot and his breakfast. This helped prepare me for a toddler who bounces awake first thing in the morning, pulls all my covers off, grabs my hand and tugs me out of bed.  (In all honestly both ways are more effective than the alarm clock that has a snooze button.)

Rules Boundaries and Limitations

According to expert dog trainer, Cesar Milan when training dogs you need to give them rules, boundaries, and limitations.  His same theory can be applied to training; um, I mean teaching, your toddlers and small children. You must be the pack leader. You set the rules for the child and if they do not follow the rules they can go to time out (although I don’t suggest using the dog kennel for the child’s time out, again CPS might frown upon this practice). Repetition will be required. When your child masters following commands, um, I mean behaving properly, a trip to the park is a great reward. Unlike with pups I do not recommend using food as a reward during training with children (unless it’s broccoli and mini carrots).

Poo

If you have pets you are already somewhat of an expert at poo, or so you think. Let me warn you cleaning cat boxes and picking up poo in the yard is nothing compared to the bowels of a baby. Hand me the litter scoop and doggie bags any day because I’d much rather clean up that mess than the one in my child’s diaper. I did quickly learn, though, the doggie poo bags are excellent for bagging dirty, smelly diapers.  I promise you one of the best tricks I ever learned was keeping a roll of doggie poo bags in the diaper bag, you never know when they will come in handy.

Unconditional Love

One thing that’s great about our pets is that they shower us with unconditional love. Dogs are super happy to see us when we get home every day, drowning us in slobbery kisses and cats will rub against your legs and purr (especially if you’re near the food bowl to show us they at least tolerate our presence in their house). A child’s response to us is even more heartwarming. Their little eyes light up when we pick them up from daycare and they run uncontrollably around the room screaming and expressing their joy at our return. They throw their little arms around us and smile and laugh. It is in those little smiles and laughs and the almost bursting fullness you feel in your heart that will lead you to realize that this is a love that your pets never even came close to preparing you for.

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All Hail, Another Round of Babies is Coming Forth!

It seems like babies come forth in little swarms and another round of babies are about to make their presence known in this world.  To celebrate I’m passing on a few healthful hints to new mommies (or reminders to veterans if it’s been a while.)

In General

If you are not part of some type of online mommy support network, join one! (This is where I give a shout out to all my NHCM’s!  I love you all!) You make tons of new friends and there is always someone up at 2am, or 3am or 4am when you are in desperate need of some help or a pick me up that will respond to your desperate plea for help.

About Sleeping

-They say to sleep when baby sleeps… YES, do this! Don’t clean or organize or do anything else! SLEEP. (I am still a big fan of this rule and love taking weekend naps with my toddler.)

-Cry it Out is not for everyone.  A lot of people will tell you to let your baby cry themselves to sleep or “self-soothe”.  I am NOT a fan of this method. I just cannot do it and you don’t have to either.  Sarah Ockwell-Smith has a great article about it Here: Self Settling-What really happens when you teach a baby to self soothe to sleep. –

About Breastfeeding and Pumping

-Breastfeeding isn’t easy, try not to get frustrated (which can be so very hard).  Keep Trying and Ask for Help if you need it!  Lactation consultants are great! Also Le Leche League International- is a great resource

-Breastfeeding is messy keep a burp rag nearby.

-There are many different tools that can help make nursing easier, like nipple shields and fenugreek. . . try them if you’re having trouble.  Using tools to help you achieve your breastfeeding goals does not make you defective.

-Pumping sucks, but you should do it if you can, build a stock before you go back to work, it’s amazing how quickly it can deplete.

-Watch the video that comes with your pump. Sometimes it takes two or three or four or five times to figure it out. (Like,oh duh, the dial turns up higher than the stupid little picture above it.)

-Pumping can be messy, keep a burp rag nearby.

-Use your friends who have or do Breastfeed and pump as a resource. They are an invaluable resource!

About Diapers

-They say you will change 8-12 diapers a day in the beginning. I swear it was more and I think sometimes I’m still changing 8 a day.

-Diapers are labeled all sorts of different fancy ways: swaddlers, snug and dry, cruisers etc… I haven’t found much of a difference except the color change indicator is way cool! Most brands seem to be about the same quality. (I didn’t choose to cloth diaper, but to all the moms who do I just want to let you know I think you’re awesome)

-For kicks and giggles put a diaper through the washing machine to see how much they can really hold (Oops, did I really do that? Why Yes. . . Yes, I did).

Cheers and Congratulations!

A Letter to my Mother on Mother’s Day.

Dear Mom,

It was not until I was older that I realized just how lucky I am to have you as a mother.  Not all mothers are created equal.  I want you to know that.  I want you to know that you did a superub job in raising us kids, even though we didn’t always make it easy.  You have always been there for us.  You picked us up when we stumbled, you held our hands and guided us on this journey of life and you raised us to think for ourselves and to be independent.

Over the years I have come to see that there are so many mothers out there that do not mother their children.  So many that are not there for their children when their children desperately need them.  There are so many who do not give their love freely, expecting nothing in return.  I have watched children in pain who want nothing but their mothers to reach out to them and say “I am here, let me help you.” . . . but their mothers never do.  I have heard from friends how their mother left them on the side of the road while pregnant because they had an argument in the car and I am angry and heartbroken for them.

I don’t understand how mothers can do those things to their children and I am glad you do not fall into any of those categories.  I realize I was blessed with you as my mother.  I am glad you were such a good example for us. I am thankful that you loved us unconditionally.  I am glad you let us make mistakes and learn from them, while watching in the background ready to take our hand and lead us back to the right path if we strayed to far.  And I hope that one day my child will be able to say the same thing to me because of what I have learned from you.

Thank you.  I love you.

-L

Happy Mother’s Day

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“Motherhood is a choice you make everyday, to put someone else’s happiness and well-being ahead of your own, to teach the hard lessons, to do the right thing even when you’re not sure what the right thing is…and to forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.”
– Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm