Thursday, 6 February 2014

YOU GOTTA LOVE THAT TODDLER STAGE….

Oh…Toddlers.

First time mom's, you look forward to every milestone….watching your little one grow day by day, month by month. The changes are amazing. From just sleeping, to rolling, to sitting and babbling. The  list goes on and is always so exciting.

BUT….for those of us who have been there….we know what's coming next.



Suddenly you find yourself asking, how was the first six months really that hard when all they did was sleep, eat and poop?

Three boys later and working in the field of early learning it never ceases to amaze me how these little beings grow so fast…and develop such an attitude! a self centred, ego maniac attitude! From not knowing anything to wanting to do everything themselves. It's surreal! The mood swings, the power struggles and the answering back. I swear I am dealing with a mini teen and can foresee the future.

Today my little guy insisted he could climb the stairs alone, I insisted that he hold my hand, he insisted I let go, I insisted he held the railing, he insisted that that was not necessary, I calmly explained that he could try but after his first step on his own with no support he slipped and I caught him. Up he got on his two feet and guess what? He insisted he try again. I insisted that we needed to get upstairs to get the poop out of his diaper soon because our (MY) dinner sat there getting cold and of course he insisted I was wrong by shooting me the meanest dirtiest look ever! So I picked him up, because...well….mom knows best….and sure enough we were now in full on tantrum mode.

He did not like being picked up.

30 minutes later, after much head banging (he literally bangs his head on the floor) and snots and a lot of screaming "no no no no" we were done…. I rubbed his back and sat by and watched for 30 minutes.

He got up all smiley and said "mommy diaper". Just like that, from one extreme to the other.

Needless to add, my dinner was left covered on the stove…nice and cold. Yum.

Everything is now. RIGHT NOW. I want to eat now, I want to go home now, I want to go to the park now, I want to drink now, I want to bathe now….NOW NOW NOW

But really can you blame them? who really likes to hear the words "NO". I sure don't! Especially when I am really super duper interested and intrigued by something. Toddlers are amazed and struck with awe and wonder all the time and so we need to imagine what "NO" might sound like to them. This got me thinking that maybe it's important than to really reflect on that word and to find other ways, simple ways, to make the NO a little easier. Then I got to thinking more….maybe…be more reflective….maybe I need to sit by at let him try even if I am in a rush at times, to allow the mess to just happen, to not freak out when he throws his dinner at his brother...when it's possible and all within reason, stay clam and make this a teachable - CaLm - moment….

Toddlers are learning to hold back, to control themselves and to be….

It's actually pretty amazing how much more tools and confidence we would instil in our toddlers if we were a little more open and understanding to what was going on inside them.

I will begin to share more on the child's brain development in the next few posts and I feel like this might be a strong start to understanding them better. If we can get whats going on then we can support their learning with the right approaches.

I loved this post and it's such a great share, A wonderful LIST….

THE VERY BEST THINGS ABOUT TODDLERS

ENJOY!
xx


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Separation Anxiety, it's a back to work parent thing too!

It's been a busy few months of getting organized for my return.

Returning to what? well my old and new self...After a year of Maternity Leave (yes in Canada we get a whole year off) it was officially time to let go of being the stay at home mom. This is choice I didn't struggle much with. I had always known that my career was always going to be a part of my life and my children's life. My work in early childhood development is such a passion for me that I couldn't see myself not getting back into as soon as possible.

My children are my little guinea pigs for ideas I have for front line staff, parent workshops and other children. They become my audience when I need to practice my notes for a workshop, they become my  artists when I need to test a craft idea out etc....

I simply love what I do and it totally has to do with the fact that I work for an amazing not for profit organization. A place that values it's employees. Over the years I have made my way up the ladder and every single one of those days I started off excited and driven about the possibilities the day could bring. My field is far from boring. Working with adults and children all day long  where your learning, loving, caring and growing is amazing and full of awe.

But returning to work sometimes is not just hard for the transitioning child...but also on the parents! We seem to always think about the kiddies first (which we should...) but today I thought I would share my experience and ways that helped ME with my transition!

Dec 2012...

So here I stood a few months back, gathering my things and prepping for that first day back. Anticipating all the good to come. My children were left in the tender loving care of our fabulous supportive nanny. I had everything ready to go....except my heart.

After my first month back everything was going really well at work. The staff, the children and my coworkers. It was fabulous. Getting up in the morning and ready to start my day was easy...my kids were fed, dressed and ready to start their day with the nanny. My husband got our eldest ready and off to school and on the bus....

THEN IT HAPPENED!  I would jump in my car, grab my coffee and head off to work...and cry!

all day at work I would sit there thinking...what are they doing? what are they playing? do they miss me? does the baby miss me? wonder if he took his first steps? oh no what if he did and I miss it? what if he says his first words???? more tears.

But work would happen and all these amazing things going on around me would motivate me to get through my day....and off I would go back home at 4 pm...excited to see my kids.

When I would walk through the door and my 4 year old would come screaming "Mommmmyyyyy, you're home!" and have a huge grin from ear to ear. I got hugs and kisses. Lot's of hugs and kisses. This broke my heart. melted it actually.

I would walk up to my little one year, scoop him up and say hi...and he would see right past me and wanted to go back to playing. Did he see me, did he miss me, was he mad at me? All these questions.

Questions that I ALREADY knew the answer to! I mean really? I coach parents and do workshops on this kind of stuff!

But it still upset me.

This was now the new old me I had to get to know. I was back to work but now I had three kids to come home to and to balance and share my life with. I had three bums to bathe and mouths to feed. I had to get homework done with one, help one to write his name and help the other learn to walk. I didn't want to miss out on a single moment.

I had all this juggling to do and routines to go through....that I felt like we had little time to just be and enjoy.

So I had to find some balance. I spoke to many friends in my field and mom's that I know. I shared my story and my heartache and with all their help we came up with a few wonderful ways to help with my transition back to work!  Fun ways to touch base with my kiddos and see what they are up to. To be involved even though I was away. Some ideas to save us time so we can enjoy more moments together. Some of these might work for you and some might not...but overall this list has been so helpful to me. It's given me back some time with my boys and reminds me that everything I do, I do in their best interest.

So here it is...the 6 best ways to make transitioning back to work easier on mom and dad....

1) Prep your dinners for the week on Sundays and involve your kiddos. Have your kids help prepare the meals for the week. Spending invaluable time together like this and working together will teach them so many skills. Freeze your meals and take them out as you go. Gives me back at least a good hour every weeknight before daddy gets home. Gives me the time to sit on the ground and just play with my kids.

2) Call or Skype if possible. This was a great one for me.  3 days a week at lunch we either Skype together or we touch base over the phone. My one year old gets to hear or see me and my four year old gives me an update on his day so far. With technology today and wifi everywhere this makes staying present easy for us! Now I know this might not work for everyone but like I said...these are what worked for our family.

3) have pictures and displays of family posted in the playroom or your child's room, make sure they are posted at the children's level. My nanny will talk about mama and dada. She will point us out and talk about our family. We put up special pictures of things we did together and my 4 year old will recount the stories and share the magical moments with his friends, baby brother and nanny.

4)Flex your time if possible. I spoke with my boss and explained my struggles. She was amazing and very understanding. We discussed working earlier on some days so that I can leave a little earlier. We discussed working an hour more here and there so that I can leave an hour earlier when possible. Flexing my time has helped me manage to spend more time after work with my boys.

5)Do one special thing weekly with each child. Just you and your child. Just something special and easy that they will remember. With my 4 year old we go to the coffee shop once a week in the morning, it's a 2 minute drive for us. We sit together and we chat. He has his hot chocolate and I have my coffee. He's in his Pj's still and that's ok when you are 4! it's 20 minutes together and then I drop him off at home and off I head to work....

6)Have a family night. A night that is consistent, same and special. Every second friday we have family movie night. We chose a movie, we eat pizza and popcorn and we snuggle together on the couch. My baby joins us and I set up some table top toys on the coffee table so that he can be there with us, present. Having pizza and sharing laughs. Creating memories. it's easy enough to figure out something that will work for your family and that you can all enjoy. For us this work and the boys love it and look forward to it.

All of these things have helped my family. We spend a little more time together, we are a little more aware and we reminded in little ways of just how special OUR family is.

I know I might miss out on my baby's first words....but yesterday I came home and for the first time he said "Hi Mama".....

That hello was just for me....so whether it was his first or not....it didn't matter. He looked straight at me and missed me and we both were excited for our time together.

xoxo

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Night Terrors

Did you know that 5% of children under the age of 5 will experience night terrors. I have met a ton of parents who have seen first hand what a night terror is like. I myself have a little one that often had night terrors.

Night terrors can start in babies and can last all through the preschool years. My little guy began having night terrors at around twenty months and they continued up until he was about three and a half. It has been six months and he has not had an episode since....

Anthony 18 months, At first he slept in our bed ( didn't help) until we figured out he was having night terrors....


What is a night terror? They say that when a child moves into REM sleep they will sometimes experience a night terror. The child will begin to kick, scream, cry. They often will be sitting up and have their eyes open. The first time I found Anthony like this I thought he was awake and was really traumatised by the experience when I discovered he wasn't. His first episode lasted about 45 minutes and nothing I was doing was helping. Eventually he just lay back down and fell asleep soundly. The oddest thing was that he didn't remember a thing in the morning.

They say that it can be due to genetics and if you or your husband member experience things like sleep walk, sleep talking, grinding teeth or body rocking - this can be a reason why your child is experiencing night terrors as it is from the same family of sleep issues. My husband used to sleep walk as a child and our oldest child does talk in his sleep. Slowly the pieces to the puzzle came together for us. Anthony was grinding his teeth a lot and often spoke in his sleep. When we discussed these and more with our doctor he confirmed that Anthony was having night terrors. He also said that the only person losing sleep over it was me! Apparently your child is still fully asleep during the episodes. He recommended we find a way to manage it and gave us some tips...

Most of the time children will outgrow the night terrors...and I feel like we have already turned that corner. However for those of you still dealing with these, or maybe you can relate to our story, here are some tips

Night Terrors 101


  1. Do not pick up your child or hold your child. It may be hard to do but best thing is not to touch or hold them as this can make the episode worse. Stay in the room and ensure your child does not hurt themselves. This may be hard but the night terror will end usually 20-40 minutes after they begin.
  2. Night terrors often occur around the same time at night. If they are happening every night then about 20 minutes before they would normally begin wake your child. Wake them fully, give them a something to sip on or get him out of bed. They say if you do this for 10-15 days it can break the night terror cycle.
  3. If your child can hurt themselves best thing to do is to sit by them, rub their back and repeat a couple times that you are there and everything is ok. (this also made me feel better)
  4. If you are worried your child will wake everyone in the house....there is really nothing you can do about this. We made sure Anthony had a good night light and we closed his door once he was  sleeping. This way he didn't wake any of his siblings.
xx



Friday, 29 June 2012

To Ferberize or not to Ferberize....

What is Ferberizing? well basically this was developed by Mr. Ferber and is a method of getting your little one to sleep. I have had friends talk about, at my mom group people talk about it and was given a book to read about it. Many people swear it works and some people think it's a terrible way to get your little one to transition to a crib and sleep through the night.

There are tons of methods out there and bottom line is you got to find something that will work for you and your family. Something that meets our family needs and values. Some moms prefer co-sleeping and that lasts until the child is well past their toddler years....and some mom's need to sleep and just feel that letting the child cry it out is fine....

There are tons of books and resources out there...this week I will share with you my stories, what worked with my kids and how each one was different.

We will also look at the toddler sleep stages and discuss fun stuff like the first nightmare and night terrors and what is the difference.

So stay tuned mama's as we tackle SLEEP this week!

xx
I am off to nap with my little one