Little Milestones 18 Months

My little Liam is 18 months old now, as of July 23rd… a whole year and a half. How crazy is that? By this point in our lives, we’ve done away with all those silly apps and charts, and I’ve just been going with the flow, enjoying his toddlerhood, and trying not to worry too much about his development as much as I have in the past. I know he is perfect, even ahead in many areas, and I am done comparing him to all these super babies I see online. So, let’s look at Liam at 18 months! Continue reading Little Milestones 18 Months

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The Evolution of Toddler Scribbles

Hello, friends! I haven’t written about Liam’s developmental milestones for now, I have been planning a post about it, but since he is creeping up on his 18 month mark (what?!), I figured I’ll just wait until then! Today, I wanted to share with you all something that I have been having a lot of fun doing with him lately… coloring! Well, drawing. Doodling? Whatever. Toddler scribbles, yay! Continue reading The Evolution of Toddler Scribbles

Alone

I’ll never understand just how single parents do it. They are honestly superheroes. I’m not even a single mother, but I feel like I am more often than not. Since day one, I have changed every poopy diaper (yes, every poopy diaper), and most of the wet ones. I have cooked and fed every meal. I have executed every bath, and read every story. Given every dose of medicine. I have put him down for every nap, and every bed time. I have woken up with him night after night, and rocked him back to sleep. I am the one who wakes up with him every morning. Just last night, he woke up at 1:30, and would not go back to sleep, not matter what I did. We spent hours rocking, and got nowhere. My back was on fire from the crappy, old rocking chair, and I was so exhausted that I was fighting the urge to throw up all over his sweet face. I ended up lying down uncomfortably on the couch in the living room around 3:00 in the morning, and he fell asleep on top of me from 5:00-7:30. All I could do was try to cry silently, like I’ve been doing most nights lately, and try not to wake him up. I got no sleep. None.

His separation anxiety is so extreme this time. It has never been this bad. He screams and screams and screams when I try to put him in his crib, if I even lean over it. He wakes up the second I put him in there, even if I’ve been rocking him for an hour, and he was passed out. He open his eyes, stand up, and scream.

This morning, he refused to nap, just like every day for the last week. This sleep regression/cold/ear infection/teething/separation anxiety has hit him like a ton of bricks, and it is wearing me thin. He has been so fussy during the day, and it has been so hard to get anything done, whether at home or in town, because he is just so clingy and upset. I tried to leave him with his father today, so I could try and get a few moments of sleep, but honestly, I don’t trust him with him. I know he would probably never hurt him, but he has a very short fuse, and a very bad temper, and often raises his voice at him, or cusses at him, and it makes me so angry. Sure, I get angry sometimes, and I’ve raised my voice more often than I’d like to admit in just the last week, but he just gets ridiculous. Nevermind the fact that our son is barely over a year old, and doesn’t even understand what is going on, but what reason does HE have to be upset? He doesn’t DO anything. He has never spent a night, getting zero sleep, rocking in a creaky rocking chair for 3 hours. He got 10 hours of sleep last night! So, I do everything. I sacrifice sleep to make sure his diaper is always clean, or that he gets his meals on time, because Kyle always seems to “forget” or “lose track of time” when I leave him alone with him, even for an hour, so I can sleep, even though he is just sitting on his ass playing a game, or watching TV. I hate it.

I made a comment out loud to my son today, a bit passive aggressively, about how I was too exhausted to make lunch, but that I had to, because no one else would, and Kyle stormed off to the bedroom, slamming the door behind him, to play his Gameboy (yep, talking about a grown man here). He gets so upset when I voice my frustration about doing 90% of the work when it comes to our son and our household, yet he throws these tantrums, and shuts himself in the bedroom for hours, leaving me even more alone. Proving my point. I’ve been asking him to get out to the laundromat for the last three days to do some laundry, since we are completely out of clean clothes, and he just keeps forgetting. A few days ago, I asked him if he would help me with the dishes, not DO the dishes, just help me, since I had already done nearly half of them, and our son was clinging to me, whining to be picked up. He just ignored me.

Last night was trash night, one of the only chores he will partake in, if I don’t do it, and he always waits until we are going to bed to do it. I was already under the covers, with the lights off, and with my glasses on the end table, when he came in and asked me to get the kitchen garbage out, and empty Liam’s diaper bin for him, which is something I always seem to end up doing for him. I stood my ground, and told him to just do it. He made sure to make as much noise as possible, sighing and gagging dramatically, cussing at the garbage bin when he dropped it and made noise. Then he came to bed, in a huff, and rolled over angrily. Absolutely unnecessary. And I get bitchy, and I get passive aggressive, and he brings out the worst in me. I don’t mean to, but I just get so upset. He doesn’t fight, we never fight. And that is a problem. He doesn’t talk back, because he doesn’t talk at all. He just shuts off, often storming off to the bedroom. And nothing gets done. I am so tired of it.

I love him, I really do, and I know he loves me and his son, but this is frustrating, and it is destroying me. I am exhausted, my blood pressure is through the roof, and I have been so, so depressed. I am tired of the bullshit excuses, and the immaturity. I want him to grow up, but he just won’t. I want him to listen to me, and understand how hard this has been for me, and what I am going through. The only reason I keep going is because I know that my son needs me, and no one else will take care of him.

But I’ve been having days lately, where the prospect of simply disappearing, leaving everything behind, seems more and more tempting.

I shouldn’t feel like this. I shouldn’t feel this overwhelmed, and this alone, when his father is RIGHT THERE. He doesn’t even work this week. He has been home for days, and will be home for the rest of the week, but… nothing. He won’t help me. It honestly feels like he doesn’t care.

I am at the end of my rope. I just want a break. A nap. Some quiet. I need help, and I have no one. Some days, I feel like it would be better if I actually were alone, then I would only have one toddler to deal with. Only one person’s messes to constantly clean up.

Anyway, thanks for reading, friends. Thank you for letting me vent. I’m off to feed my overly exhausted kiddo a snack, and try to get him to take a nap, even though I know it won’t happen.

Jan

Toy Review: LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set

Hello, friends! Today, I wanted to tell you guys about a newer toy that Liam got for his birthday from his grandmother, that has quickly become one of our favorites of all time, for several reasons. It is seriously such a great toy, and Liam has found that it has multiple uses.

I present to you, the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set. It is a mouthful, I know, but it is totally worth it.

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The toy is pretty self-explanatory. The bus and the letters are magnets, which you just stick on your fridge, and have a fun time. When you put a letter into the slot on the bus, you get to hear two cute jingles about the specific letter.

Example:
“H says [H sound], H says [H sound]. Every letter makes a sound, H says [H sound].” 
Also:
“H – Horn! Honk the horn! [Honking sound].”

If a letter has more than one sound, like any of the vowels, and a few other consonants, it will tie in both letter sounds into the jingle, which is a great learning tool. There is also a little music button, which plays the ABC’s, as well as The Wheels On the Bus! This is Liam’s favorite button, and he presses it every time he runs by the fridge.

We have an older fridge, which is not stainless steel, complete with a long, deep indent on the side, but I haven’t had any problems with getting the bus or the letters to stick. The magnets are strong, and don’t slide around too much, or fall off, yet are easy enough for tiny, toddler hands to pick up. I have seen one review complaining about the toy leaving scratches on her fridge, which I assume was stainless steel or something similar, but I haven’t had any issues with scratches.

At the start, Liam had a hard time putting the magnetic letters into the slot on the bus, but he mastered that skill in about a month, and is now a total pro.

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The first day we got our LeapFrog Letter Set!

Like I mentioned before, Liam uses this toy for more than just its intended learning purpose. He uses it to let me know when he wants to go to his room to get a toy, or when I’m taking too long in the bathroom, both of which are on the other side of his baby gate. He will wiggle his gate, making all sorts of noise, then will repeatedly press the music button on the bus until I come out. He’s a brilliantly impatient little boy. We’ve had this toy since January, and it gets use every single day, which is more than I can say for the majority of his other toys!

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Taken today! He loves his letters!

I have absolutely nothing negative to say about the LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set. It also boasts a volume control button, which is huge for mommys like me, who are sensitive to overly loud toys. I hope this persuaded some of you to run out and buy this awesome (and inexpensive!) learning toy. It is seriously awesome.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

[You can check out some of my other baby stuff reviews by clicking here, here, here, here, or here!]

Liam’s First (Bad) Haircut

Hello, friends! Today, I have a story to tell you. The story of Liam’s first haircut. My son will be 14 months old in 10 days, and up until just a few days ago, he had never had a haircut. As much as I loved his silly, soft baby hair, it was time. I would usually sweep his bangs off to the side, and that kept them from getting into his eyes, but the back… the back was just ridiculous. Half the time, his hair would swoosh out to the sides, creating adorable wings, which I loved. But sometimes… it was a mullet. An awful, awful mullet. My kid is cute as heck, but even he couldn’t pull that look off.

12814438_10205890933651979_5600999972659997671_nAn example of his bangs and wings, pre-haircut. So cute.

I don’t have access to a car, or to money, so I figured I would just cut his hair on my own, without any prior experience in cutting hair, other than my own. Yeah, great idea, Jan. I looked up a resounding total of ONE video on YouTube about cutting a toddler’s hair, and figured that was enough. It actually was. Kind of.

I sat Liam down on the kitchen floor, and armed him with a snack, a cup of water, and a wide away of toys and other distractions, and was actually amazed at how still and content he stayed for almost the full duration of the haircut. In fact, right up until we were almost finished, the haircut was coming along nicely, and I was feeling really proud of myself.

And then, he loved.

HE. MOVED.

TWICE.

I ended up taking a chunk out of his bangs, and was forced to cut it much shorter than I wanted… and it didn’t look good. It didn’t look awful, but I was still so sad. He also turned his head while I was trimming around his ears, and luckily, all I cut was his hair. So one side of his head looks good, the other… well, it is behind his ear, so it’s not that noticeable.

Ugh. He didn’t care, of course. I don’t even think he’s noticed the difference. Several people, including his daddy, have commented on how cute and grown up his haircut makes him look. I definitely agree, he does look adorable, and like a real, little boy.

Ahhh, the feels, you guys!

Here are the final results of our adventure into the world of baby haircuts. I will admit that it really isn’t that awful, especially for a first-time haircut on a wiggly 13 month old. I’m still kind of proud.

CdT5aDIWoAAMRVIHe doesn’t seem to mind the short bangs! It is no salon cut, but he is just a baby, right? The haircut serves it’s purpose, and his hair no longer pokes him in the eyes, and the days of the mullet are behind us. For now. I might be too traumatized to attempt this again, unless it involves an electric razor.

So, to my sweet, little boy… I apologize. You will look a little goofy for a few weeks until your bangs grow back in, but you are still undeniably adorable, and I hope you forgive me for doing this to you.

Thanks for reading, friends! How many of you cut your little ones’ hair? Did you ever hair a haircut fail?

Jan

[Today is also my 3 year anniversary! I’m still sick, and Kyle is working all day and all evening, and it is raining… so, happy anniversary to me!]

Take A Walk With Jan #7

Hello, friends! Yesterday was a bonus day, and Kyle got off of work 7 hours early, thanks to a conveyor belt breaking on his line, so we decided to enjoy the beautiful weather, and have a family day. After Liam woke up from his nap, and ate a yummy lunch of brown sugar squash pancakes (I’ve been slipping extra vegetables into damn near everything he eats lately), we decided to walk to the park. The weather has been in the high 50’s/low 60’s off and on this week, and yesterday was going to be the last beautiful day for a while, so we wanted to make the most of it.

We stopped at Subway to get some lunch, then walked to the park. A block away from the Subway, I saw Liam’s black and gray, striped beanie, which he lost three days ago while we were out walking, lying on the ground! I was super excited that we found it, as it is my favorite hat of his. When we got to the park, I was happy to see that there was another woman there, with two small little girls. After chatting with her for a bit, I discovered that she was their “grandmother” (long story involving the death of her son, I didn’t quite understand it all), and that the little girls were 20 months old, and 5 years old. Liam immediately adored the little girl, whose name is Jersey, and followed her all around the playground. She was a bit better on her feet than he was, since she is 7 months older than him, so he couldn’t follow her up onto the play area, or down the big slide, but he was so smitten. I found it funny that despite her being 7 months his senior, Liam was a head taller than her, and his feet were easily double the size of hers. She had the cutest little Puma sneakers on! He doesn’t very often get to see babies his age, but when he does, he comes out of his shell beautifully.

We talked to the woman and watched the kids play for a long time. She was very friendly, and introduced us to a very nice man named Big Al, who lives by the park, and was out walking his golden retriever, Dante. Liam LOVED Dante (he loves dogs), and Big Al let all the kids pat him. He was a very well-behaved dog! Liam was so talkative, and wanted to talk to everyone, including the adults, which he never does. He would run excitedly up to baby Jersey, waving his arms around, babbling up a storm. And his smile. It was so nice to see him making a friend.

Unfortunately, the older of the two girls put a bit of a damper on our playtime, as she kept pushing her baby sister away from Liam, and demanding that he not play with them, because he was a stranger. Their grandmother tried to reason with her, and I would smile and re-introduce Liam, telling her that everyone starts out as strangers, but she had some serious attitude, and was a bit mean. She actually tried to trip Liam when he was running by her on the slide, and later slid down and almost hit him when he was standing at the bottom. She glared at him the entire time, and tried to steer her sister away. I was a bit annoyed, because the grandmother was fine with them playing, and Liam and Jersey were having fun, but it wasn’t my place to correct her behavior.

After a while, we said our goodbyes, and continued our walk to the store, where we picked up some charcoal for our grill, and some yummy treats. It was starting to cut into Liam’s nap time, so we reluctantly headed home. It was so beautiful out, and sunny, and I wanted to stay outside all day! Despite being sleepy on the walk, Liam refused to take his afternoon nap, and was a fussy little dude all night, resulting in an early bedtime. I think he is finally teething again (he is 13 months, and still only has 4 teeth!), because he has been fussy, drooly, and has been biting me every chance he gets.

Overall, it was a perfect day. Kyle works a 12-hour shift today, but has the next THREE days off, which has never happened. Ever. I’m looking forward to getting out of the house some more, even though it will be really cold, and we won’t get to take our walks to the park.

Hope you’re all having a great day today! How did you all spend your extra day yesterday?!

Thanks for reading!

Jan

Daily Prompt 2/15/2016 | Working For Free

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 2/15/2016 | Money for Nothing

If you’re like most of us, you need to earn money by working for a living. Describe your ultimate job. If you’re in your dream job, tell us all about it — what is it that you love? What fulfills you? If you’re not in your dream job, describe for us what your ultimate job would be.”

My current job title is Super Mom… you may have also heard of the titles Stay-at-Home Mom, or SAHM. Those are the same thing. It’s a pretty demanding job, and includes early mornings, late nights, mandatory overtime, bio-hazardous waste cleanup, and being Chef de Cuisine, mastering the crafts of mac ‘n cheese, broccoli and cheese omelettes, and oatmeal. Did I mention that I perform these various tasks with absolutely no pay? It’s true. My bank account is about as empty as it comes. And I’m okay with that.

I always knew that I wanted to be a mother, and I even knew that I wanted to have my first child when I was 24 years old, which I did. However, I always thought that I would have had my degree, a house, and decent income by 24 years old as well… and that didn’t happen.

I went to school to study Psychology, something that I have been passionate about since elementary school. I planned to work with children and teenagers in a school setting, or even as a social worker for the state, but specifically for lower income families. Maybe even start my own practice, where people pay only what they can afford. Growing up, I had a hard life. Sure, it could have been worse, but it was hard for me. I dealt with divorce, abuse, poverty, and witnessing my mom’s abuse. It took it’s toll on me, and I ended up developing some severe self-esteem issues by the time I was in elementary school, which carried into middle school, where my grades started suffering, and I developed some self-abusive habits, which worsened as I entered high school. In high school, I made some choices that I wish I hadn’t, and let people take advantage of me. I also came very close to losing someone very close to me to suicide, who ended up making it through, but blamed me for it, and turned my friends against me.

The reason I am telling you all of this is because I want to share with you how helpless and alone I felt. My school did not have any qualified counselors that I could speak to, and I wasn’t close enough with any of my teachers to let them into my life. My mom did not have any sort of insurance, and even though she knew about my issues, she couldn’t afford to get me the help that I needed. I suffered in silence, and my relationships with everyone around me crumbled. I first attempted suicide at 15 years old, then again at 16. I survived, but what if I hadn’t?

I don’t know how my life would be different if I had gotten the help that I needed, and still need, but I feel like I would be more comfortable in my own skin, and would know a bit more about why I am the way I am, and feel the way I feel. Being a teenager is hard, and there is a lot more going on than most would lead you to know. It is important to talk about issues, otherwise they can eat you away from the inside. I needed someone to talk to during those years, and I had no one, and it damaged me. Lower income families, and the children within them, are especially susceptible to bullying, self-esteem issues, and abuse, and help for these kids is not always available, or affordable. I want to change that.

I’ve had a lot of setbacks with school, mostly financial, but I still hold onto that dream. I want to make a difference, to help people, and I truly believe that I will someday.

Thank you for reading, friends.

Jan