08.18.2017

Motherhood Update || 19 Months

I was at the park with little miss this morning, and for some reason started thinking about where we were, at this exact time, last year. I remember TJ was back in Boston for a work training, and I was staying with my parents for the week. Harper was just starting to crawl, and taking her to the park was so different than it is now. Which was a gentle reminder to me of how fast time goes… and how quickly she changes….

(My pullover | Necklace | Harper’s Romper)

Challenges: Two words. Toddler Tantrums. Need I say more? Probably not, but I will. Holy moly. Ok, I’m done….

Just kidding. In all seriousness, while I know they could be worse, a tantrum at all feels as if I’ve run a half marathon (so, I can only imagine how tired it makes her feel). It seems as if anything can set it off…. My sister and I were out at lunch the other day and when it was time to go, she simply didn’t want to leave. She didn’t want to hold my hand or be carried to the car, so, instead, she laid down on the ground and started crying. Then flailing when I picked her up and took her to the car… at which point she became a stiff board as I tried to get her into the car seat. Thankfully, it was a cooler day, so beads of sweat didn’t start dripping down my forehead. Once she was in the carseat, buckled up, and still screaming might I add, I closed the door and my sister and I just started laughing. What the heck? I got back in the car, turned a Daniel Tiger song on, and it was as if the last five minutes didn’t happen.

Toddler Tantrums. I imagine this will be my biggest challenge for the next 1.5 years. Looking forward to it….

Something else I struggle with, constantly, is mom guilt. Probably daily. I sometimes question if I’m a good enough mom, was I present enough today, did I read to her enough today… sing and play with her enough? Was I too focused on work? Did I speak too harshly to her? Don’t get me started, because the list could go on and on…. but, it’s real and something I deal with regularly…..

Favorite Part: While toddler tantrums are a real doozy, I just love her developing language. She easily said “dadda” for the past several months, but “momma” was something she said once or twice in the early months and never said again (cue sad face). Over the past few days though, it’s rolling off her tongue and it melts my heart. The more language she develops, the more fun it becomes interacting with her (not that it isn’t fun now…. it’s much more conversational)…..

I also love seeing her social personality flourish, and realizing that she is much more like me in that area than we thought. At home, and around those she is very familiar with, she’s outgoing and wastes no time exploring. Yet, when she gets around people she’s met once or twice, or doesn’t know that well, she’s slow to warm. I took her to the park on  a playdate, where she didn’t know anyone, and she refused to let me put her down. After about two minutes of taking in her surroundings, she let me put her down, but she insisted on holding my hand. Then she wanted me to push her in the swings. After about ten minutes of feeling out her environment, she joined the crowd and had a blast. Which is pretty much how I am.

(My suit | Harper’s Suit)

Sweetest Moments: Hands down, her new love for freely giving hugs and kisses. Before, when we’d ask for a kiss, there was a 75% chance we were going to be rejected. Now, she loves giving them, and will walk around the room and give each person a hug and “kiki” as we affectionately call them. She also loves to have people sit down next to her….. so, she plops herself down wherever she feels like it, points to you, points to the spot where she wants you to sit, and waits…. not so patiently…. for you to come join her. Oh, and she has to have at least three stuffed animals in her arms when I sing to her goodnight…… She also loves posing for a photo…. she gets herself in position by standing up against a wall and just waiting until we take a photo of her (see below photo).

Eating: Well, we’re back to throwing food over here (insert rolling eye emoji here….), but it seems to only happen when she’s at the end of a meal, and no longer hungry. So, we’ve been using the methods that worked before to address the issue. She has fully moved to using silverware at this point, and does surprisingly well. At first, I was just giving it to her occasionally, but the more she saw us using a fork and spoon, the more she began to request her own. I ended up buying her this fork + spoon and have been really happy with them. Harper also prefers to drink out of a regular cup, but we’re still working on the part where you don’t pour the liquid out. Happens every time. Guaranteed.

Her Favorites: Even though I started reading this book to her since she was only a few months old, she has become quite obsessed with it as of late. It’s one of the only books that she will sit through an entire reading of, at anytime of the day. She loves this bubble machine, and this flamingo, or “go” as she calls it, stuffed animal. Daniel Tiger (she loves pretend playing on this phone) and Goldie + Bear are her favorite shows. Oh, and she is obsessed with helping us vacuum… like, cries if she can’t. I’m going to ride this wave as long as possible.

(My tee | Harper’s Tee | Harper’s Shorts)

Sleeping: I know I mentioned last month that she had some sleep issues, but they seemed to have resolved… only to resurface again around nap time. It doesn’t happen everyday, but sometimes she only naps for an hour, or sometimes will fight going down for her nap, something that hasn’t happened in the past. I think it has something to do with a growth spurt, and her canine teeth seem to be coming through, so I imagine those are bothering her as well. Oh, and for about a week she was waking up around 6am every morning… which is an hour and half earlier than usual…. We seem to be getting back into the swing of a routine again, but I’m sure that can change at any moment. I’ve also started putting a little bit of lavender essential oil on her feet before bedtime…. hoping that helps with some of the sleep issues.

(Tank | Shorts)

Q+A From Instagram: I received several questions regarding stress pertaining to kiddos, so I decided to include them in today’s post, in case it relates to you as well!

1. When Harper was 5 months old, how did you manage to clean and grocery shop? 

I had Harper on fairly routine schedule from early on. That being said, I was able to clean when she was taking a nap (which, at that point, was 3 times a day). My mom also lives very close by, and was able to help me out. When Harper would nap, either she would run to the store for me, or I would go while she stayed home with her. It was incredibly helpful. When my mom wasn’t available, I usually did the grocery shopping between her morning and afternoon naps (11-2:30). I’ve always been a fairly routined/scheduled person, so finding a way to work those “chores” into our daily lives was helpful. You can also see my 5 month motherhood update here, where I shared some of my struggles in the earlier months.

2. How do you manage to get your personal care routine done with a child (getting ready, hair, makeup, skin care, etc)? 

When Harper was younger, I did it when she was napping (see above). Yet, now that she is down to one nap, I’ve had to get creative. As it goes now, I currently only wash my hair once or twice a week. I really don’t have a ton of time to blow dry it and style it more than that. When I do wash my hair, I blow dry it in her room while she is playing… and while I’m doing that she brushes out some parts of my hair and brings me books, which I read to her in between sections of hair. If I don’t wash my hair, and just need to style it and apply make-up to get ready, I allow her to watch an episode of Daniel Tiger so I can do so…. if she’s not into it, she plays around with my make-up (taking it out and giving it to me) while I apply it. I do most of my care at night (i.e. masks) after she has gone to bed… this is sort of a self care thing for me, so I don’t like feeling rushed when I do it.

3. Do you take Harper with you when you run? I am wanting to walk and exercise more and would like to take my little guy.

I wake up super early to get my morning run done (5:30am), but on the weekends, TJ and I take her with us on our family runs. I also take her on a 20 minute walk after breakfast so we can take our little pup out. She enjoys it, and I like getting outside with her. I always make sure to have a few preferred items for her when we go…. a stuffed animal, book, or her current favorite toy. While most of the time she enjoys looking around, there are times she wants something to do and those items come in handy.

4. What are some inexpensive ways to enjoy family time with an infant? 

When Harper was under a year we did a lot of really simple things…. going to the park together as a family, we took her in the pool with a little raft, we’d go out for pressed juicery, take her to a music/reading class. I know that a lot of community centers offer low cost/free classes, and some libraries offer reading time for families as well. We also went on family hikes and runs with her in the appropriate carriers.

5. My 2 year old seems to not know how to handle anger and then hits. I don’t know if it’s a problem or just a toddler being a toddler. Any suggestions? 

Oh yes, toddlers have a difficult time expressing themselves because there are so many things they can’t express, or do, on their own. Normal feelings. When Harper gets upset, as frustrating as it can be, I try to label her feelings (“You’re really mad right now because xyz….”) and then let her know what to do with her anger (“It’s okay to be mad, but just xyz….”). When I worked with families, hitting and bitting were considered “not safe” (in the sense that we don’t want them to continue that behavior) so telling them it’s not okay to hit, telling them what to do instead (“use your words,” “tell mommy, I’m mad,” etc….), and then removing them from the situation (depending on how comfortable you feel with that) for a minute. This sequence validated the kiddo’s feelings, told them what was expected of them, and also set a limit that hitting is not okay and established a consequence for the behavior. While Harper isn’t two yet, and hasn’t started hitting, I still do the first two steps. She does scream at the top of her lungs when she gets mad, so doing the first two is important to me. I also draw on some of my training in Parent Child Interaction Training and provide Harper with “when-then” “If-then” statements, as well as choices and countdowns to minimize anger and frustration. I’ll list some examples below in case you’re interested:
When-then/If-then: When Harper gets her shoes, then we can go outside. If Harper continues to throw her food on the ground then we will have to take it away…… She knows what will happen IF/THEN xyz happens.

Choices: When we are walking to the car, we always give Harper the choice “You either hold mommy or daddy’s hand or we will carry you….” It helps her to know what the expectations are….

Countdown: I do this a lot now, since suddenly ending any event seems to shatter her entire world. So, I typically tell her something like this, “Harper, in 2 minutes we’re leaving.” Although she doesn’t know time, it at least preps her that the activity she is loving will be ending soon. Then I say “When I count to 10 we will be done/leaving/finished.” I’d say it works well most of the time.
______

Wish us luck this coming month!! Happy weekend friends! xx

Comments

  1. The Mom guilt is real, I think we all have it. On some levels I think it is good as sort of a check-in with ourselves, but it can also break us down. As of lately, by the time I get home for work- have dinner, take care of the baby, clean up the dinner- I feel like it’s time for the kids to go to bed and I’ve spent so little time with my older child. It can be hard! I look at my kids, and I know they feel loved, secure & supported; they are happy and healthy- and I have to remind myself I am doing something (or lots of things) right.