Sunday, April 29, 2012

Paper bags

This is really the prime of excitement, folks. Brace yourselves.

Miss Ellen has been keeping herself occupied all week making "puppets" out of brown paper lunch sacks. She colors all over them, assigns them to friends and family, and makes piles of her "favorites" and "not-so-favorites". I even had to make a special trip home to make sure the bags and markers were packed in her overnight bag for a sleepover with the grandparents.

I wish I could take credit for this creativity, but the truth is that this must be all daycare. I've had the bags sitting in my pantry for ages and it never would have occurred to me to pull together this (simple) project. I consider myself a reasonably creative person, but I just can't get it together to do crafty things with Ells. Pinterest, be damned. I think there are a lot of positives that daycare adds to her life, and certainly the crafty / artsy / outdoorsy / adventure stuff is a lot of it.

By the way, I have the paper lunch sacks not because I am packing lunch in them, but because I use them now to make microwave popcorn. It is totally the best thing ever and very cost effective. Popcorn is a favorite treat around here and I hated the thought of the weird chemicals in microwave popcorn for Ellen, plus I don't think it generally tastes all that good. I usually would make it in a pot on the stove with a little olive oil, but let's face it, that requires cleaning a pan.

Now, though, this is perfect:
- take a regular old brown lunch sack
- add some popcorn kernals to the bottom, maybe 1/4 to 1/3 cup.
- don't add any oil or anything
- fold over the top of the bag a few times tightly to keep the steam in, but keep the fold small to allow for plenty of room for the popped corn
- don't staple unless you want sparks and/or fire
- set the bag standing up in your microwave and run it 2-3 minutes, however long your popcorn usually takes. Listen for the pops to slow down.
- Warning: I think I bought the cheapest brown bags ever and sometimes the steam gets the bottom of the bag wet and it tears, spilling some popcorn / kernals. Oh well.

That's it! A perfectly popped, whole grain snack. And, then you can add melted butter and/or salt and/or maple syrup and not feel (so) bad about it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Status report

One week into Project Big Girl Bed and all is well. Ellen has slept there every night (naps / "quiet time" typically dicey) and once in bed, hasn't really gotten out. Her mornings have actually been great - sleeping until "the cow is dancing" almost every morning, and even late some days! Well, if you count late as 6:37-6:42am, which we do.

The falling asleep has been more of an issue than I anticipated. She says she "can't fall asleep very well!" and has required lots of visits to her room for reassurance and prompts to count sheep or lay quietly or some such thing that sounds non-sensical when recommended to a 3-year-old. We are trying to avoid a lot of hair scratching / back rubbing / general coddling as it is so much easier to do now that she is so close and not behind bars! :)

Our major point of enforcement has been for her to stay in her bed from the time we put her there until we come in her room in the morning to get her out. So far, so good. One morning I did wake to her little feet running down the hall, but otherwise she has been generally compliant. 

Also, I'm realizing that we are just about one year out from The Potty Party! It seemed pretty easy at the time and in retrospect, totally was. We've had so few accidents or issues since that time - hard to believe I was ever resistant to the idea. She is still in diapers at bedtime, though has been out of diapers at nap for probably 6 months. She wakes up dry several mornings a week, but not enough to contemplate undies at bedtime. I'm not pushing it and would certainly rather have diapers than wet sheets to deal with in the mornings.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How to move a toddler to a Big Kid Bed

Ok, you should totally take my advice.

It goes like this:

- Spend quite a bit of time pondering the decor of your child's Big Kid Room.
- Decide on what bed fits best aesthetically, then Google till your eyes bleed and you find a great price on said bed.
- Wait for a Groupon to get a good deal on a mattress.
- Move.
- Set up the bed in the Big Kid Room say, oh, at least 6 months before you need it.
- Be entirely wishy washy about the whole process. (Everyone says to keep your child in their crib as long as possible, but turns out, you won't know anyone who kept their kid in the crib as long as you did).
- Avoid your child when he/she asks when she gets to sleep in the Big Bed.
- Stall, stall, stall.
- Randomly, over about a 3 month time frame, try to enforce "quiet time" in the Big Kid Bed. If you are lucky, your child might fall asleep once. Or twice.
- One night, when your child is so sleepy they almost fall asleep mid-sentence, decide on a whim that it's a good night to try the Big Kid Bed. At your child's (groggy) insistence, of course.
- Cross your fingers, lament the lack of a night light and bed rails, and fall into bed yourself.

If you are EXTRA lucky, your husband will wake you up at 5:15am (not intentionally, of course), and then you won't fall asleep again until about 6:51am. You got to stay in bed until 6:51am because your child slept in late until 7:00am for the first time in, oh, 114 days. But, then you get up and praise your toddler after what feels like 9 total minutes of sleep.

Rinse and Repeat.

Acting on a whim is not in my nature, but I do have a tendency to over-think things (ahem) and sometimes you gotta just go with it. Ells woke up, so proud of herself, and asked if she could do it again every night. I told her I would think about it. :)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Pay off

You know when you're in the midst of making dinner, fighting the Easter candy battle, stepping on toy fragments and generally up to your ears in parenthood?

And then - THEN - you find yourself smack in the middle of one of those moments that makes it all worth it?

I mentioned that we were going to try reading chapter books and it has actually been a success. Ellen loves to snuggle up and listen and generally pays attention, though the reading comprehension isn't all that great. :) We started with Matilda by Roald Dahl, which is one of my all-time favorites from childhood. She likes the story (after some editing by me) and I found the old movie on TV this week and recorded it.

Ellen got to watch a bit before bed tonight ... she snuggled up in my lap, asked lots of questions about the nice people and the mean Mrs. Trunchbull, and I generally LOVED every second of it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I accept your apology

Just a brief note to say we've entered a funny developmental stage - frequent / appropriate apologies.

Ellen clearly now understands the idea of an apology and can (mostly) apologize for the offending behavior. She is quick to apologize, even for things that I'm not upset about.

Now ... if we could just get her to avoid the offending behavior in the first place, we would really be onto something.