Tag Archives: TODDLER

When you feel like a horrible parent

Am I a terrible parent?

I had one of those days recently.

You know the ones where from early in the morning you just KNOW nothing will go right. Where the tension and irritability kept rising, where every response out of my mouth had to be measured and held short to refrain from yelling at my son, or at the poor unsuspecting adults around me.

The day started out with my son screaming bloody murder because of a diaper change, and I usually get the first few ones of the day changed with no fuss. Not that day, right off the bat it was a fight.

Then I had to choose if I wanted to cook breakfast while carrying him or hearing him cry and tugging at my pants.

Another fight for said breakfast.

And another diaper change fiasco.

And all of that was before 8 am!

By the end of the day, I was in tears, my son finally asleep beside me, because he would not sleep anywhere else. I was in the middle of one of my biggest pitty parties ever. My husband was deployed, my son was losing his mind, causing me to lose mine.

Then it started, the part where I began to think of what a horrible mother I was. I let my kid watch tv all day sometimes, or allow him to survive the day eating nothing but puffs. Kept him in diapers longer than I should have, didn’t bathe him for two days straight. Heck, I didn’t even take a bath for two days straight!

I went to sleep like that, feeling like the biggest failure, the worst mother on the planet. But then, the next morning the storm had passed, and some reality began to seep in.

I remember, before having kids, I swore I would limit my children’s electronic usage time, I would make sure they ate a healthy variety of food each day, they would play outside and interact with children, bathe daily, read daily. Well, this was all planned pre-child.

There are days I can achieve all of that, but there is nothing wrong when you cant do all of the “planned” things.

TV all day, well I get tired. So if my son is content watching Peppa Pig all day, then go for it! It’s not like its happening every day. So if you need a down day, there is nothing wrong with making the TV your nanny.

A healthy variety of food, haha, yeah! I have a kid that if I let him survive off of breastfeeding at his age now (17 months), he would. So while MOST days I offer a nice mix of foods in hopes that he will nibble on a few of the things before him, there is nothing wrong with the days he just eats puffs. Toddlers are weird little creatures, and some days it may just be red foods, or green, or puffs for breakfast lunch and dinner. As long as it doesn’t become an everyday thing, have at the puffs kids!

Daily baths, well ideally yes, right before bed. But after fighting eight diaper changes in the day, sometimes I just want him to go down to sleep without a fight. So he stays in the same clothes he’s had on all day sans bath. It’s not like he was playing in the mud. A quick wipedown of the face hands and feet and off to bed he goes.

Going outside for sunshine, yeah see above about tired mommy and TV days.

Sleeping on his own and quietly, not my kid. We co-sleep, he won’t sleep for long if he is by himself. Lay him in bed with me, and he sleeps like a rock all night no problem. By himself, a whole different story. So one day he’ll sleep in his bed, hopefully before he goes off to college.

Cant clean, because he wants you sitting beside him watching, said Peppa Pig, sit beside him. No one will die over a little dust and mess. Odds are it will all be there tomorrow for you to clean.

So amongst this brilliant realization that just maybe, I am not the worst mother in the world, also came the knowledge that everything will be ok.

In an ideal world, things would go about differently, but that would also mean that your baby wouldn’t be how they are now. My kid wouldn’t be the spunky, hyper, animal loving pain in the ass he is, and the truth is I love him just like that. I would not want him to change.

So along with learning that everything is not in my control and that everything is ok, I learned that it is also ok to feel. I am allowed a pity party.

It’s ok not to be perfect. I promise while someone’s house may be cleaner than yours, but not everyone else is. Mine is probably messier!

Don’t compare yourself to other moms. Each has their battle they fight with, from the outside looking in it may seem like they have it together, but you just never know.

Leave with this.

You are enough! You are not the worse mother in the world, and your house isn’t the messiest, your child isn’t going to ruin a day of TV.

Here is to hoping for a better tomorrow.

Cheers

Deployment and Toddlers

The toddler years can be hard for any parent, but add a deployment in there, and it may feel like your life has been wholly tossed upside down.

If as an adult, you find deployments hard and stressful, imagine on those little ones that cannot fully comprehend why their parent is gone. It is a perfect recipe for stress.

I know what it is like, I currently have a two-year-old and a deployed spouse.

Knowing that you are the only one there to change diapers, to cook and clean all the while watching the kid/s. The fact that no one is coming home later tonight to give you those ten blissful moments in the shower.

That feeling of how am I going to survive this, or even more simply how will I survive today? Normal. Don’t worry. You will survive simply because you have to. That toddler that is driving you nuts, that doesn’t understand why mommy or daddy is gone needs you. That is the driving force behind the best motivation to keep going.

As hard as all of this is on us, we must stay grounded. I learned that one of the most important things for me this deployment other than keeping my sanity was to keep somehow my son connected to my husband.

Here are some things that have worked for us:

1. Facetime/Skype- There is nothing more satisfying and heartwrenching as seeing your child’s face light up when they see their parent on the screen. It takes all of me to not sob uncontrollably. The joy they get out of those few and treasured ‘face to face’ calls are amazing. Some have more chances of these than others, but be sure to stress to your spouse how important and significant this is for your child’s emotional connection to them.

2. Videos – Afraid they are missing something amazing in your child’s life? Record it and send it via email. It may not be the same as having them there, but they will at least not miss those precious moments.

3. Making countdown boards – Sure dates can change, as we know, nothing is ever set in stone with the military. But having a form of a countdown for your child can get them to grasp the fact that the parent is indeed coming back home. Using a jar with marbles is a great visual for them to use and understand.

4. Books – There are many books out there for kids on deployments. There are also many books out there for spouses to read. I love ” I love you near and far.”

5. Recordable books – If your spouse is usually the one to read your child books, then this is a great thing to have. They can record themselves reading the book, and your toddler can still have mommy/daddy reading to them every night. This is one of my favorites.

6. Recordable bears – This is kind of like the book, but this has a more personal aspect to it. A cute message for your child, or a simple I love you recorded in their voice. Great way for the toddler to feel connected to their parent. This is the one we have.

At the end of the day, the goal is simple, keep your sanity as much as possible and help your child feel connected to their parent as much as possible during such a difficult time.

If you have any more tips, please comment below. I love to hear what everyone else does!

Cheers!

How I survived a 12 hour flight with a toddler

Flying anywhere can be difficult when you have a child, even more so when your flight is over 12 hours long. That is what I dealt with this weekend.

You may have read in our last post that we are now living in Japan. And while our adventure has just only begun, I am looking back to our flight and giving you all the dirt on how we survived.

First off let me say that we had three flights within 24 hours. Our first leg of the trip was 3 hourslong. Since we had to be up and out the door by 4 am, my little slept almost the entire first flight. So that was easy peasy.

I should also mention that he had his own seat on the flight which was a lifesaver since I got to lay him out.

Then came the layover, which was not bad. I let him run around the waiting area a bit in hopes that he would tire out and sleep more on the plane. I also hoped that having my parents over three days before our flight keeping him up during naps would make him extra tired for the flight. Well, it didn’t help.

The first hour of the flight went by pretty quick, and between being newly on the plane, wanting to discover the personal TVs and trying to look at the people around him he tired himself out quickly and fell asleep.

That only lasted about a good hour.

After that began the battle to keep him entertained, TV only caught his attention by spurs of moments. He’d see an episode here or there throughout the flight, but nothing continuous. However, it did give me a small 30-minute reprieve every so often.

Toys, overall this was the most prominent lifesaver. My son is very into animals and dinosaurs right now. To make the toys even better I made sure they were new toys he had never seen before. The awe and excitement of not only having toys, but new toys was terrific. I want to say he spent a good hour with each one when first opened.

I would say, for future flights, I will probably buy about ten small new toys, wrap it and give it to him every hour or so. Like this, he is always busy with a new toy. For us, this was where the biggest form of entertainment was.

Towards the end of the flight, he became extremely exhausted. He had bearly slept, and back “home” it was about 3 am. At this point, he began crying and very irritable. I got up and took him to the bathroom and let him walk in there. Yes, the bathroom was small, but he seemed content in walking those three paces over and over again. I could have let him walk the aisle, but my kid is way too friendly, and I was afraid he’d wake someone up to “talk” to them. For us, the bathroom was the best option. We were in there for maybe 5 minutes, enough to calm him and the crying. Then once back in the seat, I managed to get him to go back to sleep. He slept for the duration of the flight … 45 minutes. Oy!

Once again, in the airport, he was awake and walked about until it was time to board the plane once again. Once back on the plane for our short and final 1.5 hr flight he fell asleep before we even took off. At this point, the local time was 6 pm. He slept through the flight, through the luggage claim ordeal, through the car drive, and even putting him in bed. He did not wake up until 5 am in the morning, poor thing was exhausted and more than likely very Jetlag.

I cant say flying with a toddler is easy, but it is not as difficult as you’d think. As long as you have snacks they like, some tv, and toys, things will go ok.

For me, the stress before the flight was much worse than the actual flight.

I hope this in some way helps you, whether it be to prepare or ease your mind. Just remember at the end of the day they are kids, and people will more than understand. Even with his crying at the end, I kept getting told by the surrounding passengers how amazing he behaved. Maybe people just expect kids to cry the whole time, who knows.

So deep breath, all will go ok.

Safe Travels!

We’re going to the zoo!

What happens when your husband is Military, and you get placed temporarily (read fourĀ months) in a hotel, in a city that is not going to be your final destination, and you have a 1-year-old?

You get a zoo membership of course!

Reality is, being a military spouse is hard, but you have to learn very early on to make due with what you have and what you are given. Otherwise, the results can be devasting as not only a person but a family as well.

So about a week into our stay in our temporary “home” (read standard hotel room), I realized the walls were very quickly closing in on my very active, then 14-month-old, son. Toys, books, and cartoons were just not cutting it anymore. I needed to find another outlet for his energy that would be entertaining for him and save my sanity at the same time. So that weekend we all went to the zoo.

As we were going to go and get our admission passes, I saw the military tickets were $14 per adult and my son would be free as a child under two. My eyes then went a little south and saw the member section, and Military annual was $89 for two adults and unlimited children of members. My brain quickly turned into a calculator. Each visit to the zoo would cost us in admission fees $28. So if we could come just four times in the four months that we were going to be here, it would more than pay for itself. After very little convincing, my husband agreed and got us the membership.

In the past four months, we have been to the zoo a total of 17 times. So that means we have saved $387. You cant do better than that!

I know some of you are wondering how the hell do you not get tired of going to the zoo so much! Well one, I have a toddler who LOVES animals. I am pretty sure I could take him there daily, and he would never tire of it. Secondly, we don’t do the whole zoo every time. Sure there are some days we walk it all, but mostly we’ll do a loop or segment per visit. Making each visit on its own a new adventure since we didn’t see those animals ‘last time’.

Of course, there are certain parts we see all the time. Tigers and the monkey sections are always a must. He just loves screaming ‘ooo-ah-ah-ah’ at the poor orangutangs that have no idea why the little imp in front of them is screaming and bouncing around so much.

Even though for me as a mother and wife, it has been difficult living in a hotel room for the past four months, these zoo adventures are something I will cherish forever.

I have learned to take the bad with the good and make the most out of any situation.

So if you are unsure of what to do, just go to the zoo!

Until Next Time

15 Dairy-Free Snacks for Toddlers

While there are many options out there, here are some of my overall favorites, not to mention one’s toddlers will love.

1. Fresh cut veggies with dip – This one is pretty easy. Bring out the carrots and hummus, or mashed avocado. Quick easy and not to mention healthy.

2. Celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins – You know what I’m talking about. Good ole fashioned ants on a log. You cut the celery in half long way, fill with peanut butter and drop a couple of raisins on top. Tada, a fun, healthy dairy free snack for your little one.

3. Sweet potato fries – Forget snack for the toddler, this mama loves these. Just slice up that sweet potato, add a little salt and pepper and pop into the oven.

4. Apple sauce – Whether bought or purchased this is a traditional favorite for kids all ages.

5. Raisins – Just like apple sauce, a typical favorite for kids.

6. Banana Pops – All you have to do is peel the banana, cut in half, add a popsicle stick and dip the banana in melted dark chocolate. Freeze, and that’s it. Your kiddo can have a delicious frozen treat without the worry of dairy in there.

7. Grapes – These are great as is, or even frozen. Great anytime snack.

8. Apple sauce oatmeal muffins – There are a couple of recipes out there floating around the internet. The apple sauce will replace all the dairy, leaving you with a delicious dairy free muffin the whole family will love.

9. Granola bar – Great alone or you can dress it up for picky eaters with a smear of peanut butter or dairy-free chocolate spread.

10. Pretzel sticks – alone or with hummus dip

11. Oreos – Nuff said!

12. Hard Boiled eggs – These puppies aren’t just good for breakfast, boil one or two for a good healthy snack that will hold them over until dinner.

13. Cheerios – a Good family staple. They can eat it alone, or in a bowl with some almond milk (or milk of choice).

14. Popcorn – Just be sure to get the one with no butter!

15. – Oatmeal – Any type works as long as it is made with water or whatever dairy-free milk of your choice.

Do you have a dairy free kid? Have you made your very own recipe? Have a picture of it? We’d love to hear from you! Message me, and I will feature you and your recipe on one of our posts.

Cheers!