Monday, December 29, 2014

Fall Festivities and Liquefying Bones. 'Tis The Season!

This year's annual Fall festivities took a turn in a much more difficult direction than I truly expected. Mind you, before I even explain what that means, keep in mind that in no way does that first sentence imply that a good time was not had by all.  However, I will say that cavorting about with an infant in tow was way easier last year.  Trying to keep up with not only a toddler's new found freedom in that they can run at full speed at all times, but also a toddler's unpredictable temperament from second to second; that you cannot in any way, shape, or form know what's going to occur from one moment to the next, well let's just say patience needs to become one of my virtues, and very quickly! Seriously, It's easier to predict the weather than a toddler, and we all know how lousy and off kilter weather predictions tend to be, well at least up until the point that the actual weather starts predicting it's going to rain the moment the first raindrop hits your head. By that time the weather is quite obvious, just like a liquefying toddler is unpredictable until the exact moment their body becomes devoid of all bones and turns into a mass the equivalent of poorly set Jell-O.  This my friends, is how the festivities of this season differ from last years.

First Fall festivity: The Pumpkin Patch.

Piper patiently awaiting our departure!
Last year Piper was a mere 5-months-old and squealed with delight at everything they had to offer...petting zoo, pig races, hayrides, the pumpkin patch itself.  She was new to crawling so basically was stroller bound the entire time, unless being held on my lap.  She was all around the best behaved, happiest baby at the patch that day.  Well let me tell you, things took a total 180 this year! This year she tried running away at any given moment of freedom, liquefied the moment she was not allowed her way, and broke down into tears after every "activity."  These activities included the hay ride, the pig races, swinging in the car swing, and the cattle-car train ride.  It's not that she wasn't in pure delight while these events took place, she just wanted them to last forever.  And not getting her way made her melt down with tears, pleading for more.  We rode the train ride twice because of this. And during the pig races, whilst waiting for them to begin, I had to several times get up and carry her to the back of the seating area to calm her down.

Pics from the actual patch:
Piper with her awesome cousins!
Us in the Patch!
Possibly my fav pic of the day!
Love this pic of us!
Wait, this is my fav pic!
Best cousins ever!
We were sitting up front on the benches before the races began, and Piper wanted to get down and just go wherever she pleased.  That would have been fine if that meant staying within arms length of me in such a large crowd and not bugging other patrons, but this was not the case.  Every time I tried to get her to stay near me she completely collapsed onto the ground, once again in liquid form, and wailed like I was abusing her mercilessly.  Let me tell you, as a new and first time mother. there is nothing more embarrassing than thinking people are judging your parenting skills.  I'm sure they weren't, as most of them had children of various ages and surely had gone through this stage themselves at one point, but it still doesn't make it feel any better.  I was totally paranoid that all eyes were on me!  Luckily, I took these fits in stride, manged to peel Piper off the ground and remove her from the immediate situation by taking her out behind the crowds until she settled down.  In the end, the only way she behaved was by sitting on my hip.

Pics from the train ride:
Look at those baby blues!
She loved the train!
Although I still got some grump face shots!
I loved the ride, too!
Just like the lighting on this pic!
Haven loved the ride!
I swear she is having fun!
Our second trip around!
Mom and Larkin loved it, too!
I decided to film the ride, enjoy!

In the end, it really was a great day and I owe my nieces for coming along and helping out.  I don't think my mom and I were quite prepared to handle Piper on our own this year.  Thank goodness for small favors!

Pics of us being silly at the patch:

Normal smiles!
Everyone make a duck face!
Make a pig nose!
Everyone be goofy!
Now play dead!
Aren't they a cute bunch?
Second Fall festivity: Halloween.

This year Piper went as her favorite cartoon pig, Olivia.  The costume was adorable, we went early enough to get in some daylight trick-or-treating, but yet I only managed to get two shots of her due to basic non-cooperation and once again her liquefying whenever she didn't get her way.  Basic problem with the costume, there was a headband with ears to wear.  I managed to snap a quick pic the day the costume arrived.  I wanted to try on her ears while she was busy pottying and of all things, watching Olivia.  I figured it would be the prefect opportunity.   Well, as you can see from the pic, Piper thought otherwise...grump face!
Grump face!!!
On Halloween itself, it was very cold and she had to wear her ears with a red hat underneath.  We also added some red bows to the tips and ribbon to tie the ears under her neck so they were less easily thrown to the curb.  Even so, I still managed to only get one very blurry pic after her initial liquefying in the street while trying to get her to stand still for a photo.  In this pic, one of my brothers is holding her as we took off on our adventure.
Blurry, but it's all I have!
Soon after, it was dark and no more shots were to be had.  She had a great time trick-or treating and was so polite.  She told everyone "thank you" and "good-bye" as we left their houses.  Her politeness even garnered her additional candy at a couple of houses.  By the time we finished up, she was worn out and needed to get home for dinner, so I managed no after treating pics this year...really is a shame as she was so cute in that costume!  

On another Halloween note, Piper did get to enjoy her first pumpkin carving.  By enjoy I mean she was totally grossed out!
It's sideways but it's cute!

And we ended up with the most jacked-up jack-o-lantern you've ever seen...looks like he did too much meth!

Our Jacked-up Jack-o-lantern!
Third Fall festivity: Thanksgiving.

I will be the first to admit that Thanksgiving is all a blur in my head.  I meant to write and publish this post a long time ago, but life has been nuts!  But as far as I can remember, Piper would hardly eat a bite of anything, had a few liquefying moments, wouldn't leave her pigtails in, and I stayed pretty stressed most of the day.  It was probably a lack of relaxation due to all the cooking and cleaning and preparing for house guests, but toddlers will be toddlers no matter how tired a parent might be, they just don't comprehend our need to just chill sometimes.  Plus, it's always noisy as hell at all of our holiday events, and this Thanksgiving was no exception.  I will say that she did remarkably well out shopping for all the groceries.  It took us about four hours to complete the shopping trip and she had no accidents and was in a good mood the entire time.  Speaking of accidents, I almost forgot to mention this was during the time of potty boot camp, which you can read about in my previous post. I was off work a total of nine days, including weekends during Thanksgiving,  Hence why I chose to host potty boot camp during this time.
After Thanksgiving grocery shopping!
Piper was looking adorable Thanksgiving.
Wish she would have let me take some more pics!
Piper pushing her ball around the kitchen during Thanksgiving!

To tell you all the truth, I really just want to get this post finished and start on the Christmas post. Fall is past us and I'm tired of this one hanging over my head.  I think it best just to post the pictures and get in over with without too many more words.  The lowdown is that I'm now dealing with a lot of pressure at my job, a toddler with a mind of her own who is too smart for her age, (she's in the terrible 2's phase right now and is only 20 months), I've recently started dating again, and my writing time has been cut to a minimum.  I hate that for my fans and for myself in the terms of keeping this blog as a memory album for Piper later on in life to look back upon.  If I don't get this thing finished, I might just give up and that is something that would break my heart.  So, I'm just going to cut myself some slack and just post the damned thing already!  Forgive me for my lack of enthusiasm, but I think the pictures are quite enjoyable...that is when I could get an actual non-blurry pic of my constantly moving child.

I will end this post with a brief update of where Piper is now in life.  She runs, dances, and tries to jump all the time.  She had some setbacks recently on her pottying, so I dropped the issue for a couple of days during Christmas, and now she is back on track.  She is prettier than ever but with the worst bedhead you've ever seen in the morning.  She still liquefies when not getting her way, but will eventually give up...or I will (shameful, I know).  She is a typical toddler and "no" is her favorite word.  She says "no" for everything, even when she means "yes," especially when she's in a bad mood.  You will get to hear more about all of this in the next post about Christmas, but just wanted to get that out there now to give you an idea of the holy terror I am at times dealing with.  I so hope this early terrible twos means and early terrific threes!  Crossing my fingers daily and patiently waiting on a miracle!

See what I mean about the bedhead?
This is what happens when she doesn't want to sit in her high chair!
Then she complains that she's stuck!
This is what happens when she steals lipstick out of mommy's purse!
Quite the scary Joker face!
She thinks she looks beautiful!
This is what happens when left unattended
around the baby wipes!
Yes, she like to table dance!  I hope this doesn't
speak to her future occupation in life!
Yes, that was a joke!

I'm going to go ahead and wrap this puppy up and send it out into the Nets for all to enjoy.  Sorry it took so long to get out there, but better late than never, right?  I've got a few more pics on the fancy cam from the Pumpkin Patch and maybe a couple from Thanksgiving as well.  As soon as I have those retrieved, I will add them to the post, so don't forget to stop back by and take another look here in a day or two.  But for now, I'm going with what I have before this post sits in the draft section of my blog for yet another month.  So much more has happened since all of this and I need to get caught up to the present before next year begins...I have set my goal!  Let's hope I can actually accomplish it. For now, enjoy and don't forget to vote and swing by my other social media sites!

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And for those who actually scroll to the bottom, here's one last video of Piper trying to "fly" down the street!  She is always running and has many different styles.  My personal favorite is the arms behind her like she is flying my little munchkin!

She loves to run!

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Potty Boot Camp Success!

She has always loved her potty...notice the stickers!
As many of you probably already know, Piper has been using the potty since she was 11 months old. Lucky for me she took right to it the very first time she sat on it, and that may be because she picked it out herself.  Even though she uses the potty daily and consistently, she still has not been quite ready to make the transition from diapers to big girl panties.  I tried several times over the past several months to do so, but every time I'd put her in panties she would immediately wet herself, even though she could keep a diaper dry all day most of the time.  Mostly, I think this was due to lack of communication skills and no real understanding on her part of the difference between panties and diapers, besides maybe the material they were made of.  In the past month or so, however, her conversational skills have grown by leaps and bounds.  She can actually carry on a full conversation now.  While it may not be up to Shakespearean prose quite yet, it's still a conversation with meaningful dialogue and very expressive speech with immense understanding.  Once she reached this point, and we were able to discuss things on a deeper level with her understanding all that I was saying, and vice-versa, I knew she was finally ready to make that oh-so-exciting transition to panties once and for all.

Wearing her big-girl panties!
Since I took an extra three days of vacation around the Thanksgiving holiday here at work, which means I had nine days total to accomplish my goal, I decided to host a potty training boot camp for her to help with this trnasition.  I knew Piper was going to need her mommy during this time and that it would take a lot of work, but guess what?  It did work!

I started off by sitting her down and discussing what exactly the potty boot camp was all about, then we went and she picked out some new panties at the store, and she immediately took to wearing them with no accidents.  I also began giving her two stickers on her potty board for every potty she took while keeping her panties dry.  By the second day, she was insulted when I tried to put diapers on her for naps and bedtime.  So to overcome that little bump, as I was not about to let her sleep in panties just yet, I told her the pull-ups that had been sitting around forever were her special nighttime/naptime panties.  I don't believe in the use of pull-ups as a potty training method.  They absorb too much, don't let the child feel the wetness, and in my experience back when I taught preschool, they always seemed to immensely slow down the training process.  I actually did try them with Piper at one point, to see if I was by chance wrong about my ideas on them, but she actually wet them more than diapers...hence why I had old pull-ups lying around not being used.  Piper completely understood this idea and she immediately stopped fighting about wearing more protective panties for sleeping, yay for quick mom thinking!!!

Notice the outfit...shirt, leg warmers, socks, and panties!
Since she started boot camp, we've had only seven accidents, one of which was due to too much tickling and rough-housing with one of her cousins, so I don't count that one.  The others occurred when trying to put regular clothes over her panties.  Right now we are still in the warm shirt, leg warmers, panties, and socks mode.  For some reason, Piper is more aware of her need to pee and staying dry when there are no other clothes covering her panties up.  I'm not exactly sure why, but we're sticking to this method for a bit longer.  I will say that while out Thanksgiving grocery shopping, which was on the third day of boot camp, that although I put her in a diaper to be on the safe side, she was dry when we took a mid-shopping potty break and dry when we got home...we were out for over four hours!  I was amazed that she had no accidents during this time, but she's always been pretty good about keeping her diaper dry most of the time.

I guess at this point I should mention poop.  Piper took to pooping in the potty at ll months, too.  She has since only had a handful of poop accidents that were her fault, and a few others that were due to not reading her signals correctly.  I'm proud to say that she has had no poop accidents in her panties at all!

Seems panties give her the freedom to play in her curtains!
And of course I had to get an "artistic" shot!
She really does love "hiding" in the sheers
and looking out her big picture window!
So you may be wondering about my methods during this process.  The #1 thing was setting a 30-minute timer to remind me to take her to the potty on a regular basis (I've since expanded the length of this timer to 40-45 minutes depending on time of day and her intake of liquids).  Plus, she could hear the timer go off and know it was potty time.  Also, during potty breaks, she got to watch Olivia, her favorite TV show ever.  It's about all she wants to watch, which is fine by me.  Thank goodness for DVRs! Plus, the extra incentive of additional stickers on her potty board helped a ton.  She had been getting potty stickers, first on her actual potty and now on potty boards, since the first time she used the potty. They are a great bribery treat, and I'm not against bribery.  Every once in awhile I'll also allow her to have a piece of candy, such as a Dum-Dum sucker or a couple of pieces out of a Smarties package, but the stickers work best and are way more healthy for her, obviously.  She loves being able to pick out which stickers to put on her board, and she is quite meticulous about which ones she wants and where she wants to put them.  At times she has drawn this task out to 20 minutes or so while contemplating the perfect position for each sticker.  She's very much into grouping things right now, and now also does not like to overlap stickers.  It's a funny thing to watch her thought process during sticker placement time.  She knows exactly what she's doing and I so wish I could read her mind and know what she's thinking, because sticker choosing and placing is some serious business with a definite artistic quality about it.

Piper picking out stickers for her potty board on Thanksgiving...
She stayed dry the entire day in her new outfit!
Proper placement is oh so important!
So is picking out the proper sticker!
Remember the potty from earlier?  It ran out of room for more stickers.
Now she has one full potty board and another one getting there very quickly!
Since I have returned to work, I am proud to announce Piper has continued to keep her panties dry for her Nana and Papa during the day.  I was so afraid she would protest me returning to work and backslide, but she's been awesome!  She WANTS to wear panties now, and that is the greatest feeling of accomplishment you could possibly imagine from my end...and I'm sure from her end as well..  In the end, I didn't meet my 17-month goal of fully potty trained into panties, but I'll take 19 months any day.  I'm so glad Piper is not in a preschool and has full-time care with my parents during the day.  I know no preschool would bother taking a 19-month-old to the potty nor take the time to keep a consistent schedule at this beginning stage, so here's to being at home where she can accomplish goals that typically take other children longer to achieve.  I'm very lucky that way, we all are.

Playing in her new crib converted toddler bed!
And as an added bonus to her getting stickers, I almost forgot to mention this although you probably noticed the bed in the pics, I turned her crib into a toddler bed to celebrate her new big-girl self.  She is so excited about her big girl bed that she actually took a nap in it, something she would never do in her crib.  An extra bonus for me is that it makes her room look bigger and even prettier than before. When she first climbed into it she kept saying "I happy."  Nothing makes a mama more proud than seeing her little ones facing glowing with glee.  And now maybe I'll finally get some use out of that $2500 crib that's just been sitting there with the cats using it as a very expensive kitty bed!  Don't judge me on that price tag, I know it's excessive but I waited a long time for Piper and knew I would never have another child, so she was and still is well worth every penny spent on her nursery.  And now she finally loves it like I do!

I just love the in-the-middle crawl space!
And she sleeps!  That's a tiny miracle right there!
Well, once again that about wraps things up for the time being.  I do have another post that I'm working on that expands from Halloween on through Thanksgiving, but it's been a slow process on that one.  It was so much easier to get writing accomplished when Piper was non-mobile and my workload was a lot less.  But hey, I do what I can when I can and sometimes it's more and sometimes it's less.  I'm sure all you mothers out there know exactly what I mean!

Last but not least, the cutest laugh ever in her new bed!

As always, I thank you all for being patient between posts and dropping by to visit my little space on the Internet.  Piper thanks you, too.  Speaking of Piper, don't forget to vote for us over at Top Mommy and Top Baby blogs and visit our other social media sites.  Have a great week and I'll be back hopefully sooner than later!

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