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Nursery Thoughts

I’ve been wanting to spruce up Leo’s nursery for a while now. Currently his room consists of his sister’s hand-me-down white Ikea furniture (2 malm dressers, a billy bookcase, and a crib), a rocking chair, and two Isak prints, which I still love (you can see them in Chloe’s old nursery from a few years ago). The only things I’ve bought specifically for him were a grey minky changing pad cover, a colored bin set we found at a yard sale, and a set of shelves that we just installed.

It looks nice enough, but now that he’s a year and a half, his room is transitioning from a baby’s room to a toddler room – a comfortable and safe play area and toy storage are necessities. There is also the concern that Leo’s room is the coldest in the house, while Chloe’s gets the hottest. When we turn the heat up for Leo, Chloe’s room turns into an oven. Also, Leo’s room cools off quickly, especially at night. Room heaters seem to be either too hot or too loud, or a safety hazard.

Eventually we’ll put in replacement windows, which should cut the draft, but until then, David suggested an area rug as a layer of insulation. As long as it wasn’t white or light colored (which would just get dirty from the kids and dog) I could pretty much choose. I scoured the internet, including Ikea and Target, but nothing in the right size or for under $100. Finally, I saw a decent one on Craigslist, but it had sold. She told me it was purchased from rugsusa. I saw it on sale for the same price, including shipping, so I decided to go for it. I really hope it looks good.

The other thing I’ve been considering is a wall decal. I had one of David’s canvas paintings hanging above the changing pad, but Leo thinks its great fun to knock it down. A decal would solve this problem. I particularly love this one from LittleMooseDecals. I imagined it including Leo’s name and a slight tweak of the moon and asked if a customization was possible. Then Michelle sent me the image above as a sample. Awesome! Have I mentioned Leo’s walls are the same pale blue? And that I like clouds?

So, the question is, will these things go together, do you think? One thing I’ve learned about myself is that being a graphic designer doesn’t always translate well to home decor for me. However, I notice I gravitate to the same kind of nursery images on Pinterest, so maybe I should just go with my gut on this?


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Haircut!

I finally gave Chloe her first “real” haircut. “Real” meaning all the way around and not just a bang trim. It was a little bittersweet. At almost 3 years-old she’s hardly grown enough hair to cut, but it was getting a bit too ragged around the edges (see photo from previous post). She’d also get knots and tangles in the back from going to bed with her hair still damp. Afterward I gave her a princess tiara. Naturally she responded “Can I have a haircut again? Now?” I wish I would have gotten a better photo, but she’s on to me, and when she saw the camera come out the little stinker started running away. I’m happy that at least she sat still for the cut!


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Toilet Training the Toddler

Its potty training time for Chloe. For real this time. I’ve enrolled her into a swim class for late fall that doesn’t allow swim diapers. Yikes!

Chloe has been able to pee in the potty off and on since she was 18 months old, but she’s not consistent. That is my fault, because I haven’t been consistent. Honestly, it was easier to have her in diapers, especially while I was pregnant and then had a brand new baby in the house. Now I’m doing constant reminders to get her to go. Once in the bathroom, she goes almost every single time. It is getting her in there that is tricky. We’re doing a sticker chart and “something special” (m&ms, jelly beans, a marshmallow, whatever) every two successful attempts. We’re reading books like “Big Girls Use the Potty!” and “Once Upon a Potty (girl),” and “Time to Pee!,” but I just can’t motivate her to want to be completely diaper-free. Even worse, sometimes she stalls bedtime by sitting on the chair for so long saying she is going to go, or wants to go in the wee hours of the morning. OMG. I already get so little sleep.

Recently I found this site that says to “transfer all responsibility to your child” and “stop all reminders about using the toilet” because “she needs to gain the feeling of success that comes from doing it her way.” That has a ring of truth about it, but if I don’t remind her she ends up having an accident. Sigh. So I think this weekend I’ll phase out the reminders and just see what happens. Fingers crossed.

Note: Yesterday we were out all morning so there aren’t as many green dots because I let her wear a pull-up. Today (pink dots) it is still morning. Half a day yet to go. We’re using dots because they are cheap and I don’t have to wait while she decides which one she wants. Sometimes she’ll ask for one and we’ll put it on the back of her hand as a visual reminder. The Paul Frank Stickers are for going #2 in the potty.

I made the chart we’re using, but you can find a whole bunch to try for girls, for boys and here.


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Lazy Weekend

I hope you had a nice weekend! Ours was pretty relaxing. I think the most effort I put into anything this weekend was dyeing my hair. I had to fix a botched lightening job from a few weeks ago that I did without David here to help me with the kids. Big mistake. It turned out patchy and strangely reddish. If I had done my research, too, I would have realized that they discontinued that line of products. Last night I dyed it back to my normal color. Much better. Makes me wonder why I wanted to lighten it in the first place.

When we woke up Saturday morning, we noticed two of our Painted Lady Butterflies had emerged from their chrysalides. Two more emerged this morning. It is nice to see Chloe curious about them, since she is NOT into bugs. Sometimes she’ll be playing outside and I’ll hear a blood-curdling scream because she saw a bee or some such insect get too close without warning. She usually shies away from butterflies, too, since their flight pattern is so drunken-looking and unpredictable. We released them this morning, and Chloe did great. Now we are just waiting for the remaining one to hatch.

Otherwise, besides getting groceries, and taking Chloe swimming, David and Chloe spent most of both weekend days playing Legos. Leo watched them from his play pad for a while. Will he like Legos as much as his father and sister?
Only time will tell, but as a mama, I’m not looking forward to keeping all those little pieces out of his reach, and out of his mouth!


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Live Butterfly Garden

My go-to gift for kids this summer has been Insect Lore’s Live Butterfly Garden. After about the third gift, and hearing rave reviews, I finally ordered one for myself Chloe. Basically, the kit comes with a mesh “habitat” container in which to place the caterpillars once they become chrysalides. Before that happens, you have to order the caterpillars online or by mail using the code from the kit. Ours came in about a week. It included 5 tiny caterpillars in a clear plastic cup, complete with food. We’ve been watching them grow daily, and now they are huge! Just this morning we found the first one attached to the roof, within its chrysalis. How exciting!

When I looked at them again around lunch time, I noticed the chrysalide was shaking like a leaf. I took a video of it below. According to the pamplet the shaking was “a natural instinct to ward of predators.” Huh. The other caterpillar attached to the roof looks like it’s praying, utterly still with its head reverently bent. If I become fanciful, I can imagine it in a medatative state, gathering its focus and praying for strength for the miraculous metamorphosis to come.

5 Crazy Painted Lady Butterfly Facts:

  • She tastes with her feet.
  • She has 10,000 eyes.
  • She breathes through her abdomen.
  • She can lay up to 500 eggs.
  • She may travel 1,000 miles in her lifetime.

Anyway, it has been interesting, and I really hope to see them transform. When I was in grade school we did a similar project, except almost all of the class insects failed. Majorly disappointing. It is nice to have this opportunity again, and to share it as a family. Hopefully this time it will be a success and we’ll have beautiful butterflies to release in a couple weeks!

Update: See photos of our emerged butterflies here!


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The neglected toddler

These photos were taken at Rainbow Trout Farm a few weeks ago where Chloe got her first “real” fishing experience. David insists that Chloe will be a champion fly-fisher one day, so he is starting her down the path to success. Leo was only 2 weeks old then. He mostly slept through the whole experience.

***

In the case of a toddler versus newborn scenario, it is almost certain to be the toddler who gets shafted. I feel like I’m always asking Chloe to “hold on” while I see to Leo’s needs first (feeding, diaper changing, whatever) before I can get Chloe what she wants (anything from setting her up with a project, getting her a snack or putting on a video). Very rarely do I let Leo really cry while I see to Chloe’s needs, although sometimes there has been no choice in the matter.

One of the reasons I am grateful for David’s paternity leave is the time he’s been able to devote to Chloe. Yes, I’ve needed a little help with the newborn, but at this point I have the skills to take care of him on my own. Knowing Chloe is getting attention from Daddy (and grandma while she was here) really helps assuage the guilt I feel for not spending more quality time with her. It also leaves me more free time to focus on Leo. This newborn period flies by, and I am trying to savor it the best I can, knowing it will be gone all too soon.


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Memorial Day Weekend

We spent a lot of time outside this weekend, although it rained off and on. On Saturday, Chloe and I went to the Farmer’s Market and David took the day to go fishing. This time we stopped to enjoy a marimba and drum performance, which brought back memories of high school, playing marimba in the drum corp. We also munched  on a lot of freshly popped kettle corn. Afterwards, despite the cool weather, I let Chloe gleefully play in the park fountains along with some other adventuresome kids. She seems to have caught a little cold, though, so maybe that wasn’t the best idea.

Other highlights from our weekend include working in the garden/playing in the dirt, blowing lots of bubbles, a little last minute baby shopping and going with Chloe and David to the pool on Sunday. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Chloe so excited to be somewhere, but she LOVES the pool. It was so good to see her laughing and splashing with such confidence. The smile hardly left her face for a moment. Luckily it is something that she and her daddy can do together, because once the baby comes I’m thinking I won’t be able to join them for a while.

Besides all the good stuff, I also had two noteable not-so-pleasant moments. One included this surprise crawling up my leg in the car, the day after David went fishing. While I know that stoneflies are harmless, they are ugly and very big. Not something you want to look down and see while you are driving. The second included someone’s poor parking job next to my car at Babies R Us. Even if I wasn’t hugely pregnant I wouldn’t have been able to fit between the cars to get to the driver’s door. Instead I had to awkwardly lumber in through the passenger door. Either this person was simply oblivious, or downright thoughtless, neither things I appreciate.

What about you? Did you have a nice weekend?


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Chloe, Two-and-a-half

Chloe turned 2-and-a-half yesterday. Since our OMSI membership has expired, and I am no longer up for all the walking required to visit the zoo (at least until after the baby is born), I decided the Children’s Museum might be fun and manageable for the both of us. It had been a while since we visited the museum (here’s the last time, over a year ago. So crazy for me to see how much she’s changed!), and luckily the free pass was still available at our local library.

Of course Chloe had a grand time. She didn’t spend as long in the water section as I thought she would, maybe because she is still too short to have full access to everything. Not surprisingly, she really enjoyed the dig pit, which is so much better than her current obsession of digging in the fill-dirt pile on the side of our house. She almost always heads straight for it when outside, and of course she comes away head-to-toe filthy. We’re hoping to plant some grass seed there soon, but meanwhile I’ve ordered her a Step2 Naturally Playful Sand & Water Center for the summer.

The only downside to our morning was Chloe’s mini tantrum when it came time to leave. I was tired, too, just trying to keep up with her and watch that the older kids didn’t take her tools or toys, or accidentally knock her down (which nearly happened countless times). I know I didn’t handle her breakdown as well as I could have, but we eventually made it home in time for only a slightly delayed nap.

I can hardly believe Chloe is already two-and-a-half. She’s still slender and petite for her age, but wears a normal 24-month/2T in clothes (although she’s only in a size 3 diaper/pull-up and barely in a size 5 shoe). Her size is in wild contrast to her vocabulary. It surprises people all the time to hear how well she talks. Just one of the examples from the Children’s Museum was when we were sitting in the clay studio – Chloe made some remark and I overheard the older boy next to her turn to his mother and say “Mom! That baby can talk!”

As for Chloe’s baby brother, Chloe does have at least a vague idea of his existence. She knows his (still tentative) name, where he is (in my belly) and which drawer contains his clothes. What she doesn’t know is that he will be here in a matter of weeks, and how that is going to rock all our worlds.

(And just for the record, Chloe calls that dress her “Princess Dancing Dress.” She puts it on herself and insists on wearing it. And she knows the difference between Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, etc. without ever having seen one of those movies. I admit that I just recently learned all their names myself. I guess the “princess” phase is in full swing.)


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Better

I think Chloe has survived the worst of her symptoms, although she is still somewhat snotty and has a (slightly less severe) cough. We’ve even gotten her to ingest something other than Children’s Advil and PediaSure Shakes. Whew. This was the worst sickness she’s had so far, which all-in-all is manageable, since we know others who have had extreme emergency room visits with their sick toddlers. Meanwhile, no classes or activities, probably for the rest of the week, which is a shame, since Chloe loves her dance class.

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