Continuing to check off the Holiday-Good-Parent list, I took the kiddos to visit Santa Claus this past weekend. Local folks: for future reference, Brown’s Orchard has a great Santa, it’s free and you can take your own camera.
Holden was surprisingly well-behaved and GB was surprisingly non “strange” (people in this area say your kid is “strange” if they cry when someone who isn’t their mom holds them).
There was a family in front of us whose baby was crying and older son was having non of Santa. I could tell the mom was ready to just give up and call it, but I offered to take a photo of all of them so they could get in with the kids. #solidarity, mama. I know how long it must have taken you to get your kids dressed and out the door–I’m not about to let you leave here without your damn Santa photo.
In my never-ending quest to assuage my working mom guilt and spend some fun time with Holden, I bought us tickets to attend a “Frozen”-themed tea party by a local company called The Enchanted Teapot. If you’ll recall from our “Frozen” On Ice almost-misadventure, my attempts don’t always go according to plan. Remember this?
This time, however, not only did Holden actually wear the Anna dress, she let me do her hair in braided pigtails AND she wore a flower wreath on her head.
(Notice that sweet cowlick? A straight part is never going to be in this girl’s future.)
She did have a brief freak-out once the dress was on, but I soon realized it was because she also wanted to wear her “bug” wings.
(We had just gotten through a weekend of watching “Peter Pan Live” on repeat so she had a slight Tinkerbell obsession.)
Why, yes, that is a fake-braid headband. I’m straight up bald in the front from having GB so my braid situation was not working out.
The dress is one I actually owned from a funny fancy-dress party in grad school. It’s literally 12 sizes too big and I had to pin myself into it.
I think we looked pretty cute, though–ridiculous dress and all.
The tea party was adorable, with precious little “Frozen”-themed treats.
Holden was very well behaved (at the start), and was so excited.
She colored “Frozen” pictures.
She met Anna.
And Elsa. She was so starstruck.
They sang songs.
Holden, of course, had to steal the show. She even threw in a few forward rolls and twirls for good measure.
They read stories.
Notice Holden butted her way right on up to the front. At one point she even stood up, blocking the other kids’ view. Luckily, the rest of them were older and gracious to her being young and self-centered. There’s no real (quiet) way to push through a crowd to get your loud, stubborn two-year-old to sit down in this situation. I tried.
She even helped herself to Elsa’s throne.
She really was good for 95% of the event. She did have a meltdown toward the end when we had to wait in line for the official photo with the princesses. She may or may not have thrown herself on the floor and screamed, but I had already paid the $15 for the photos, so we were getting them, dammit. Her crocodile tears stopped as soon as she approached Anna and Elsa.
And then she hugged and tried to kiss them. They were both very sweet about turning their head for a cheek kiss, even though Holden was clearly going for the mouth.
Overall, we had a (surprisingly?) great time. Even if I was one of the only adults who dressed up.
I mean, look how happy she was:
I’ll make sure to show her these photos when she’s 15 and tells me she hates me on a regular basis.
So… I just realized that it’s getting to be mid-December soon and I haven’t thought about Christmas cards until this very moment.
In our Pinterest-loving, Facebook-best-parent-competition society, non-photo Christmas cards won’t do. And iPhone photos converted into cards printed out at Walgreens won’t do. So not only do I have to design, order, address and stamp my cards, I need to schedule a photo session (and hope both kids cooperate at the same time for at least 30 seconds).
So I was really psyched when Minted reached out to me to ask me to try out their Holiday Cards this year for oh, bother. Minted is a really cool community of independent designers whose work you can choose from to create your own custom stationery. I’m pretty picky when it comes to my invitations/cards/announcements, so Minted is my jam. I mean:
But… I’m thinking the odds are not good that my Christmas cards will happen in time for the 25th, so I’m considering doing a New Year’s card this year. That buys me an extra week or two, right? The entire month of January?
The New Year’s design selection is just as fantastic:
Considering that we’ve had a pretty eventful year, I thought this Family Year in Review design was adorable:
But then I remembered that I’m lazy and the thought of having to think about and write out all those milestones gave me a panic attack, so I found this super awesome card instead:
Same idea, less writing. It’s pithy and fun.
Now I just have to capture that perfect photo.
(Also, don’t expect your card in the mail, lol. I pretty much only send them to older family members and people who make me feel guilty by sending me a card first. Stamps are expensive, ya’ll!)
So last week I was all prepared to write a really positive, fun post about how well Holden’s potty training has been going and how much fun we’re having getting ready for the holidays.
And then all hell broke loose.
Why yes, that is my just-decorated Christmas tree after the stem base folded and snapped… at the exact moment that Holden had herself an accident of the “Number Two” variety and was spilling the contents onto the floor in an attempt to free herself of her soiled clothing*… all while GB was screaming at the top of his lungs. So, not a great night overall.
Thanksgiving was a bit of a struggle getting the kids ready and out the door to my parents’ house.
And then I had a slight, um, incident with the stuffing I was to bring to dinner.
In all, it did turn out to be a very nice day with family. Holden did have to have no less than three time-outs during the actual meal itself, but at least the Floor Stuffing still tasted delicious.
So since we can’t run away and hide all holiday season (though I would very much like to), I’m still trying to embrace it. Our Elf on the Shelf, Elfis, has returned. Don’t worry–you’re not going to see super-cute Pinterest-type elf situations here cuz ain’t nobody got time for that.
Holden touched him almost immediately, which did require some medical attention.
It looks like Elfis is going to survive. I hope I can say the same for us after these holidays.
*ps–In all seriousness, Holden’s potty training is going surprisingly well. She’s been relatively accident-free at school and our evenings have been somewhat low-stress in terms of accidents. I will say, however, when she has an accident, it is an Accident with a capital “A,” as evidenced by the story above. But we’re plugging away and I’m pretty proud of our progress so far.
Look at me: I’m actually posting on the date! GB is 8 months today. (and yes, that is a bite mark in his tie sticker. All will be revealed).
Weight: An 18-pound turkey, wearing size 3 diapers.
Likes: being held, eating, being “hugged” by his sister, flying in the air, being tickled, belly raspberries, grabbing his feet, “talking,” grabbing at everything, trying to steal people’s food, “petting” Sally/grabbing at her fur, jumping in his bouncer
Dislikes: GB has been going through another I-want-to-be-held-all-the-time phase. He’s recently shown the first signs of being “strange” (what they say around here when a baby cries when someone other than his mom holds him). He’s often hangry. I believe he has some teeth pushing through.
Eats: Recently he’s been doubling-down on the milk and not wanting to eat solids as much. I can’t imaging why because spinach/pea/pear sounds delicious to me.
Sleeps: Like a boss. Rarely any issues in the sleeping department.
Accomplishments: Sitting up by himself… until he falls forward into a full-on Paschimottanasana position (Google it). He’s starting to look like he wants to crawl. I swear he can mimic my hands drumming on the table (I’m talking matching rhythm and beats and using both hands). He waves hello and goodbye! I think he miiiiight be signing “milk.”
Pretty much he’s a genius.
Also, he’s super curious and wants to put his hands on everything.
I’m gonna be honest: the odds were against us this Potty Training Weekend. I woke up Saturday with absolutely no voice whatsoever. GB woke up with pinkeye. But Holden woke up ready for “no more diapers!” and to take on this potty training weekend I had been hyping up for days. So that’s all that really mattered. We soldiered through because this was the only weekend in the foreseeable future that we could dedicate solely to this purpose.
So these are the two blog posts I studied in anticipation of this weekend:
Day One was a long, pantsless day, broken up into 15-minute segments of potty going. I set the timer on my phone and we visited the potty religiously every 15 minutes (ish). Sometimes she peed. Sometimes she just sat. But then we’d wipe, flush, wash hands, and–if she went–get a stamp (“tattoo”) and a sticker.
Per the blog posts I studied, you’re supposed to ply the kid with lots of fluids and salty snacks to make them pee more. Holden doesn’t eat or drink anything unless it’s on her own terms, so that really didn’t happen. Though I will say she had an above-average day in chocolate milk consumption.
About mid-morning, she came downstairs and said the words every potty-training parent dreads: “I pooped.” We rushed to the potty, took off the panties (carefully so as to collect the… “droppings”… and then drop ‘em in the toilet), and sat her butt down. As I talked to rasped at her about having that gotta-poop feeling and coming to tell mommy… she pooped again. In the toilet.
This kid pooped all day long. I seriously wasn’t prepared for it–it’s like she saved up all week for this one day. Luckily most of it was in the toilet and not in her panties.
I did put her in Pull-Ups for her nap–judge me all you want, I’m not dealing with that mess yet. In the afternoon/evening, the every-15-minute potty visits were wearing on both of us. But we persevered and survived the first day. She was in Pull-Ups again for the overnight too.
I should mention that, despite having pinkeye and a fever, GB was a real trooper and chilled the whole day, just along for the ride.
I should also mention that it’s already not easy to communicate a point to a 2-year-old. When you have no voice, it’s damn near impossible.
I woke up Day Two with more of a voice but feeling absolutely sick as a dog. GB woke up fever-free and with somewhat brighter eyes. Holden woke up eager to start Day Two. And again, that’s all that mattered.
Our morning went along swimmingly, again in 15-minute increments. I even tried to sneak in a quick shower while Holden played quietly in her room.
And of course, that’s when the accident happened.
And of course, it was a #2 accident.
But–brightside–it was the only accident all day! So we went from six accidents on Day One to one accident on Day Two. The rest of the day went along incident-free. Holden actually seemed excited when the timer went off every 15 minutes for her bathroom trip.
I’m back to work tomorrow and Holden’s back to school. They already take Holden’s class to the potty every half an hour at her Daycare so tomorrow she’ll just be doing it in panties instead of diapers (don’t worry–I’m packing lots of extras!).
So obviously it is not ideal to potty train a child when you are sick and have no voice. Or when your other kid is sick. Or when it’s 40 degrees outside. But whatever. This was the weekend we had to do it so we sucked it up and powered through. It honestly wasn’t as bad as I was envisioning.
So now my question is: when does she start telling me she has to go? When does that start to click?
The time has come. I have stalled long enough. Potty Training Weekend is this weekend. It’s going to be a naked-toddler-butt-setting-a-timer-and-sitting-on-the-potty-every-15-minutes-getting-a-sticker-doing-a-dance pee and poop extravaganza. Hopefully we all make it out alive.
Since then, she has started daycare, where they take kids to the potty every half an hour. She will also pee “on command” for me when I put her on the potty at home (before bedtime and naps, etc.). She has definitely been displaying all of (what the Internet is telling me are) the readiness signs recently:
Language - In the past week, Holden has actually asked to use the potty, AND THEN USED IT, several times.
Staying Dry - She has periods of dryness of about two hours, which apparently illustrates developed bladder control.
An Interest in the Bathroom Habits of Others - Nothing like peeing with an audience.
Awareness of Bodily Functions - She usually sneaks off in private to go number two. But for the past couple weeks, she’s been announcing it immediately and wanting it OUT. Several times she actually stripped naked right after going.
I’ve been avoiding doing the Potty Training Bootcamp for multiple reasons, mostly not having time and having my bathrooms being renovated. But now, no more excuses. The bathrooms are completed. She’s ready. I have the time. We’re going to do this.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
FTR: I’ve been studying these blog posts to craft my approach:
As I’ve previously lamented, Halloween has turned into like a month-long holiday. Parties, parades, fall fests, trunk or treats. You name it; there are costumes required. Last year, I went the cheap and easy route and got multiple costumes for Holdy. This year, I just went with one amazing costume for Holden and made it the theme for all of us.
I found the Rockford Peach costume on Etsy (SilverThreads by Ronda). GB’s baseball player jammies came from the consignment store. For my Rosie the Riveter costume, I used a Chambray shirt I already owned and a pink bandanna that was Holdy’s that literally came from a gas station.
Given that she hated her Anna dress from Disney on Ice so much…
So I’m a little late, but on October 23, GB hit the 7 month mark.
Weight: My scale is broken and says I weigh 20 pounds less than I do (I refuse to fix it, of course), so I really don’t know. I’m guessing he’s close to 17 pounds right now. Just about into size 3 diapers.
Likes: being held, eating, being “hugged” by his sister, flying in the air, being tickled, trying to sit up, belly raspberries, grabbing his feet, “talking,” grabbing at everything, trying to steal people’s food
Dislikes: Being hangry (hey, I feel you, kid). That’s really about it. He is showing some signs of teething but generally doesn’t seem to be too upset about it yet.
Eats: This guy eats like a champ. We just moved up to level 2 foods–combination stuff–and there’s nothing he really doesn’t like. He tries to steal the spoon and feed himself and often beats on his high chair tray in approval.
Sleeps: Like a boss. 8:30 or 9pm to about 7:30am, or whenever his sister runs in his room and wakes him up (argh!)
Accomplishments: He’s allllllmost sitting up unassisted. He talks a lot and has kind of said, “Dada” (grrr!). Smiling (a lot!), chuckling, rolling over like crazy, grabbing toys, kicking like a soccer player, putting his Nuk in his mouth.
Like 95% of children in America (the world?), Holden loves Frozen (or as she calls it, “Anna”). So when Disney on Ice “Frozen” tickets became available this summer for an October show, I hesitated for maybe three minutes before I decided to grab a pair. Holden has never been to a movie or live show before, so I wasn’t sure how it would go. As you are now aware, Holden is not the easiest child to take out in public.
Last month, Target had a sale on a dress-up-Anna costume and doll, so I bought it, excitedly envisioning surprising Holden with the dress, perfectly braiding her hair and taking my eternally grateful, happy little two-year-old to her first live performance of her favorite story.
Things did not exactly go as planned.
She refused to wear the dress, insisting it was “too tight,” even though it was clearly too big. I ended up settling for a Frozen t-shirt. She was clearly hating life. Inside, my heart broke a little.
Nevertheless, we embarked on our Holdy-Mommy date, first stopping for lunch.
Don’t judge me: it’s like the only restaurant that’s acceptable to take a child of her “spirit.” She behaved. She ate. She was excited. Things were looking up.
Luckily, the tears only lasted for the first quarter of the 40-minute drive.
When we got to the arena, Holden–possibly still groggy from her nap–was super excited.
When we got to our seats, she seemed mesmerized.
She pointed out all the “Holdys”–little girls who actually wore their princess dresses. She laughed and pointed at the stage. She, of course, had to have a $26 light-up thing.
But as the lights went down, something was amiss. She seemed a little tentative. A little unsure. Then, by the time Anna and Hans sang their duet, she was downright miserable. She turned to me and said, “Holdy done now,” which has sort of become my safe word for “shit’s about to hit the fan.” So we hightailed it out of the arena and took a little break. I gave her the option of going back in or going home, and enticed her with promises of “Elsa’s Song” and Olaf, which were delivered after we settled back in.