Babysitting Activity Ideas

Am I stressing too much over this?

Hello, friends! Recently, two of my friends welcomed a beautiful baby boy into this world, and in 5 weeks, when mom goes back to work, I will be his new, full-time babysitter. Continue reading “Babysitting Activity Ideas”

Little Milestones 18 Months

He has a beautifully unique personality, and I absolutely treasure this little boy.

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”

Daily Prompt 7/24/2016 | Clock

Guess I can kiss productivity goodbye.

[In response to The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt 7/24/2016 | Clock]

I only have two hours
While my toddler is asleep
To bathe, and clean the apartment
And find something to eat

The dishes are piled high
And the living room is a mess
But the clock just keeps on ticking
And I’m debating getting dressed. Continue reading “Daily Prompt 7/24/2016 | Clock”

The Evolution of Toddler Scribbles

What are some fun, artistic things that you have done with your little ones?

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”

Those Sweet Moments

He has grown and changed so much, in such a short period of time, and while I absolutely love my crazy little monster, and am so proud of his loud, silly personality, I treasure these sweet moments so much.

Hello, friends. This blog has no real significance, or important message, other than to tell you a short story about something that happened to me tonight. This will be a sappy little mommy/baby story, so if you’re not into that, then feel free to click away. I won’t be upset, I promise!

Now, it may not seem like much to many of you, but tonight, my 16-month-old son let me read to him. Let me preface this by telling you that I read to him all the time, usually several times a day, but very rarely does he sit still, or pays any attention, during story time, and honestly, that’s perfectly fine. I just love reading to him. I’m usually just reading to a room full of toys, while my crazy toddler tries to empty his sippy cup into his wagon, or throws his Mega Bloks into the kitchen sink, etc. But tonight, after brushing his tiny teeth, I asked him if he wanted to read a book before bed. With a smile on his face, he ran to his bookshelf, and grabbed Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, his current favorite book, and climbed onto the couch.

I sat down and began reading, with him cuddled against my side, and was not that surprised when he jumped off the couch about 30 seconds into the story. However, I was surprised when he went back to his bookshelf, grabbed two more books (his 100 First Words book and Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo), put them on the couch next to me, grabbed his Froggy, and climbed back up, leaning into my lap. He sat perfectly still, engaged and smiling, while I read all three books to him. Twice. He didn’t run away, he didn’t try to take and throw the books, he just sat there.

You guys, I honestly nearly started crying. He has grown and changed so much, in such a short period of time, and while I absolutely love my crazy little monster, and am so proud of his loud, silly personality, I treasure these sweet moments so much. Him letting me read to him, and showing interest, and wanting to actually sit and snuggle with me, instead of destroying something in the living room, meant so much to me, and was exactly what I needed after this really hard week.

Sorry, I just wanted to share that.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Take A Walk With Jan #12 | Vlog

Hello, friends! I am sweaty, sunburnt, and cranky as hell. I am also too lazy to write about it, so here is a quick(ish) vlog telling you why! The video is unedited, obviously. Please excuse my appearance, as I really don’t give a shit about it right now, haha. Oh, and some pictures from our walk today. I forgot to mention that after Liam fell down, he decided to pick up, and throw out, all the sticks in the park.

Enjoy!

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Thanks for reading/watching!

Jan

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

Three Weeks

Three weeks.

Today marks three weeks since Liam’s cold symptoms started. Three weeks of relentless, all-day fussiness, sleepless nights, horrible congestion, and a non-stop runny nose. We have gone through thousands of tissues, several bottles of Infant’s Tylenol, constantly have his humidifier running, and we are now halfway through his Amoxicillin prescription. No signs of improvement, although the ear ache that he had developed seems to be better (probably due to the Amoxicillin). He doesn’t seem to be getting better at all, and while I have felt better for about a week now, I am completely drained from having to take care of this poor, sick kiddo.

I suppose I have had it easy up to this point. Even as a newborn, he never woke up hourly, or even every other hour, to eat. He slept in 4-5 hour spans during the night, and was sleeping entirely through the night by the time he was 4 months old, unless he was going through a developmental leap. I never really needed to rock him, not even when he had his first cold, at just a few months old. That cold was absolutely nothing compared to this beast. I’m starting to worry that his sickness is developing into something more serious, and I am keeping an eye on this cough. I thought he was getting better, until two days ago, when he started waking up every hour (or more frequently), with horrible coughing fits, and needed to be rocked to sleep. He has been so clingy, both day and night. I can’t do anything. I can’t eat, I can’t bathe, I can’t sit at my desk, without picking him up, or he throws a fit. He never did this.

Is it just a toddler thing? I believe he is also teething. So, there’s that.

Ugh. I am exhausted, completely on edge, and miserable. And I’m willing to bet he feels even worse. I try so hard not to get upset with him when it takes 2-3 hours to get him to fall asleep, or when he wakes me up every hour between 1:00 in the morning and 6:00 in the morning, and needs to be rocked back to sleep every time. I know he is sick, and just wants love and comfort, but it is wearing me out so badly. I think I am going to call his doctor tomorrow and tell her about his new cough, and his lack of improvement all around. I don’t know how much longer I can do this.

I just want some relief for the both of us.

Jan

Little Milestones 13-14 Months

I’m starting to not put much weight into what these charts say. I know that my son is a rock star, and is pretty on point in his development, but for him to be doing things that are supposedly moderately difficult for 17 and 18 month olds? I don’t know if I buy into that. It’s a nice thought, but really?

Hello, friends! It has been a looong time since I gave you an update on Liam’s milestones (5 months actually, holy crap!), so I figured, now that he is into his toddlerhood, it would be a good time to share with you where he is at with his development. Like the last few times, I will be using several development charts from the BabyCentre UK site. These charts are not set in stone, and of course all babies develop at their own pace, but I just wanted to share with you all a look at where my kiddo is at.

As of today, Liam is 13 months and 3 weeks old. He wears a size 7 shoe, 18/24m clothes, and a size 5 diaper. I am not sure of his exact height and weight currently, but at his 12 month exam, he was 33 inches tall, and weighed just under 24 pounds. He is a tall boy!  As he is constantly learning and doing new things, I will be showing you the charts for 13-18 month olds. He does at least a little bit from each chart!

13

One of the biggest things that bothers me about these charts, as well as many other charts on other sites, is that they all claim that my barely one year old should have been saying anywhere from 2-5 real words from the age of 12 months. Well, he doesn’t, and I honestly don’t know any babies his age that do. Heck, I know two year olds that still only say “mama” and “dada“. Liam has been saying “mama” to me for months, but as his daddy is hardly ever home, he doesn’t say “dada” very often. He can say it, he just doesn’t. He has also started saying “oh yeah” recently, and just yesterday, he said what sounded like “no” for the first time. I have also been trying to teach him “hello” and “bye bye” to go with his waving. He also freaking LOVES “peek-a-boo” and plays it with me all the time.

The rest of the chart he has mastered, and we are especially proud of his cup drinking abilities. At 12 months, we switched to a cup with a real straw, not a sippy cup, and he picked it up within two days, and has only used a straw ever since. He can also grip and tip a real cup, without the lid and straw, but I need to hold it so that he doesn’t spill.

14

This is where things get frustrating, as far as these charts go, because several of these same things were listed on earlier charts, from 8 or 9 months old. He has been finger feeding since he was 7 months old. Most babies definitely are at this point, right? He does everything in this list, except for pointing. He does not point. He does not point to things he wants, he just grabs them, and he doesn’t point to body parts. We have been trying to learn “tummy“, but he still hasn’t picked it up.

15

This is where we get into the supposedly advanced stuff for someone his age, which seems odd to me. I already covered the talking bit, and as I said before, he just used “no” for the first time ever yesterday. The rest? He’s done it all. Liam has been walking since 10.5 months old, running since 11.5 months, and going up and down steps, and walking backwards, for the last month. He loves running around at the park, or at the store. He also tried to “help” me sweep by carrying around the dust pan, and also knows how to put his toys away, and the laundry into the basket. We also started coloring at 12 months, and he can grip and use a crayon pretty well now, although he doesn’t snow much interest in it. I never would have thought that all of these things didn’t come until 15 months.

16

Another confusing chart. Aside from the talking bit, Liam does all of this. He can turn the pages of his board books when we read, he throws EPIC tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, he is obsessed with both his Scout and Froggy toys, and makes sure to let me know that he needs to bring them to the living room in the morning and after his naps, and he has developed fussy eating habits over the last month and a half. Some days, he takes two naps, but most days it is only one. He can also unzip and pull ff his coat or sweatshirt, pull off his shirt by himself, and drop his pants, but needs help stepping out of them. He can put a shirt on over his head as well. He’s been able to stack his blocks for months. He also climbs onto the couch, climbs at the park, and climbs onto his activity table. He has yet to get out of his crib, thankfully.

17

I only wanted to include this list because, once again, it contains two things that Liam has been doing for a little while now, and one thing that he is starting to do. He has a riding toy that he got for Christmas, and has been able to get on and off of it on his own for about a month now. He can also dance, and does it regularly. He also recently started being able to get about half of his shapes into their correct holes on his shape sorter. He also responds to the phrases “sit down” “give me kisses” and “come here“.

18
Now, this chart, he doesn’t do too much from, obviously. We started brushing his teeth twice a day when he got his first tooth at 10 months (he still only has 4), and I will often hand his toothbrush to him to “brush” them himself while I am changing him for bed. He also can take apart block towers, and put blocks together, and has one amazing throwing arm.

I’m starting to not put much weight into what these charts say. I know that my son is a rock star, and is pretty on point in his development, but for him to be doing things that are supposedly moderately difficult for 17 and 18 month olds? I don’t know if I buy into that. It’s a nice thought, but really? Am I not giving him enough credit, or are these charts catering more to parents of children who may have slower development? Who knows.

Anyway, there’s a look at where my kiddo is at in his development. 🙂 As far as feedings go, he is drinking about 20-24 ounces of whole milk every day, and water for the rest of the day (no juice for us). He also eats 3 pretty hefty meals, and two snacks, every day. This kid eats like a high school football player, I swear. We haven’t really had any issues with constipation either, though some days he only poops once, and strains a bit, but he does go 1-4 (sometimes 5) times a day, depending on what he ate. No allergies so far! He’s also had every possibly seasoning out there (no salt!), and has loved them all. He has started his fussy eating phase, and has all but stopped eating vegetables, unless I sneak them into something he really likes.

His current favorite foods:
Broccoli and cheese omelette/scrambled eggs
Toasted English muffin with cheese and garlic
Baked cinnamon brown sugar apple bites
Soft carrot chunks with brown sugar and butter
Elbow noodles with shredded cheese and garlic
Cinnamon apple/banana/cinnamon raisin wheat pancakes
Black olives
Mozzarella cheese cubes
Plain broccoli and butter
Banana slices rolled in crushed Cheerios or graham crackers

Okay, maybe he isn’t that fussy, but he no longer eats sweet potatoes, peas, green beans, or raisins on their own, and it has been a pain to sneak those particular foods into things!

Okay, I’m done now, haha. What do you guys think about these development charts? Are they just really loose guidelines? Did/do your little ones seemed further in their development as well?

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Toy Review: LeapFrog Fridge Phonics Magnetic Letter Set

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.

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!]