27 February 2010

more about potty training

Yesterday, I just wanted to share my excitement.... we went Number 1 again this morning, now I just have to watch out for the big one....

But I wanted to share some helpful tips that really worked well for me and us. Our neighbor started the training very early on with her little daughter. CDing is once again a big plus there (at least I think). But what she did was putting a small potty in the back of her truck, so when they were out and about, she could go on the potty at any time. Because I think one of the big things during the training time is going out and have a toddler that is not fully trained use a public bathroom (ugh!). It is pure horror to me - as I try to avoid using one for myself whenever possible. What a germ bank - and definitely not a place to bring your kiddos....

That was a huge help to us! Whenever we went out, I would put him on the potty BEFORE entering a store..... Or when we were driving, I would hear a 'scream' from the back: "Mami, potty." That was my clue to pull over as quick as possible and stop the car and take him out. It worked very well, he never went into the seat.... I am sure another horror picture for some parents out there.

Also, I bought these public toilet covers, big size, that go over the edge of the big potty, so when your toddler sits on it and has his (or her) legs hanging over, it doesn't get all the germs on the clothes....

So I hope it will help some of you. Diapers are expensive and they are big landfill fillers! So for your sake and the environmental one.... go ahead, it's not that hard.... And of course, I am praying that my little girl will be a big cooperator for this as well....

26 February 2010

Potty Training

I grew up in an environment where everybody (?) potty trained very early on - at least that is what I constantly heard. Today, I am not that sure anymore how true that is...
Then I came to America where this subject is handled quite differently. One approach is 'don't push the child' and the other, well I am not so sure. I can only speak for the things that I have seen. So I knew I wanted to get my first child out of diapers rather sooner than later, but with lots of encouragement rather than the push of having-to-do-so. So I started to put him on the potty at around 11 months, and he responded very well to it. Two months later, I got my diagnosis and my surgery, so there was no more potty training. Once I was able, again, to take care of him by myself, he had totally forgot everything and even refused to cooperate....

Well, finally by the age of 2 1/2 years, he got the Number 1 down - just a few accidents during the day, very seldom a full blown one in his pants. But he refused to go Number 2 on the potty. He would hold it for days if I did not put a diaper on him, and once I did, he went right away.... so I knew he knows how to control himself. When we came to Jersey to await the birth of our blessing, grandma helped with getting rid of that 'control' and he finally was potty trained - no more diapers during the day! He is still to this day wearing one at night - which I hate so much!!! It totally irritates me. But what can I do? It seems he waits all day to pi in his diaper all night long - it is so heavy in the morning, it practically hangs between his knees.

So having lived with this for the past three and a half years, I knew I did not want to make those same mistakes. CDing is helping most definitely, as Peanut does not like the feeling of that wet cloth on her skin. I am telling you, those Huggies can hold tons of stuff, it's amazing. Recently, I have the thought of just putting her on the potty and see what happens.... and it worked the first try!

Here is a picture from the very first time:

What an encouragement! She went Number 2. Yeah. She is a little more predictable than Coqui ever was because she only goes once a day. You can see how she pushes, so that is my clue to run her to the potty. She did it again two days later. (May I add that she is not even sitting on her own yet.) I am so proud of myself. Yesterday, we only got Number 1 but today we caught both again! I am so excited....

24 February 2010

Homeschooling Coqui

Last week, I started to home-school Coqui. I just figured that it wouldn't hurt to start.... and we only do 'school' for about 30 minutes max. every day. I have a German alphabet book and I am teaching in German only. I figured that it might not be too late to learn some German. I will add more English over the years. So this book, in German called a Fibel, is the first letter book a German student will hold in his hands. It is THE most important school book because:
- it has the whole ABC in it
- and all the Umlaut (vowel mutation (I looked this one up in the dictionary))
- and once you know all the letters and Umlaute in the German language, you are able to read every single word!!!
(Not like in the English language that students need to have Spelling for many years.) So he will have some English spelling later, after we start with more English.

So we learn a letter a day. He learns the capital and the lowercase one, and how to write it. We have the Fibel and a block of papers with the entire ABC. First he writes it with the dotted line, eventually he is suppose to write it on his own. He can do that, but he has a real hard time staying in between those lines.... So for now, we just write with the help of those dots. We had the A and the Ae, the B and the C and the D, also the au, aeu and ch and ck.

At the same time, we learn a number a day. So we had the 0, the 1 and the 2. He can count from 1 to 12 in German and I am so proud of him.

His pronunciation is still a little off, but that is MY fault for not speaking more German to him. I realize that now.... and hopefully, I will remind myself to speak more German throughout our days - also to facilitate things for Peanut.

Next to all those writing exercise, we also learn the colors and shapes, in German of course, because he knows all that in English - yes, even the diamond, we just have to work on the trapezoid and the parallelogram.
(And next year, we can do percentages and probability - just kidding!!!)

I am not trying to make a prodigy of him. But I think early learning can't hurt. He is just sooooo interested in writing. At the same time, he can be such a silly goose, a wild child, and a 'Hampelmann' (fidget and jumping jack in one person!). So he is also learning to jump and do summer salts and arts and crafts. He loves painting and play-dough. He loves to help around the house like cooking, definitely baking, and washing my floors. Also he loves to have stories read to him. Sometimes, Daddy is too tired to read, so he tells him to read to Daddy. Maybe that's how he got interested in learning the letters?

So he is just a typical three year old! Oh, excuse me, I forgot, he is three and a half - he insists on that.....

Random Thoughts

Hey there,
I sometimes forget to blog..... life can be so crazy with two little ones that I just crash at night in front of the TV and computer. So thinking of something smart to write that others would enjoy to read is kind of too much effort.

So today I am not writing about something specific, but just kind of in general. Coqui is sick, he had a pretty rough night, so he is allowed to watch TV even in the morning today. Usually I make him earn his TV time during the morning and rest time, I guess, it is kind of a bribe.... So I have some time now while Peanut is still taking her first nap - it seems after two days of not sleeping at all, she is taking a pretty long morning nap.... Fine by me, I just wish she would sleep like this in the afternoon.... But I think to remember that Coqui was easy to put to sleep in the morning, and that it was much harder in the afternoon. Wonder why that is???

Peanut is not sick, but had a couple of rough days with sleeping. Like I mentioned, she did NOT take a single nap on Sunday, only one in the morning on Monday, and three yesterday, one of them 2 hours long. So yesterday, she was much happier in the evening. And as they say: Kid happy, Mami happy!
Whatever it was, I hope it is over.

So now she woke up and wants her bottle - so let me go.... okay, I am back. It is so nice that she can feed herself - the only advantage of bottle feeding!!! It is amazing that she knows her bottle and gets all antsy when she sees it. Now we even got to the point that she is lifting her head on her own for me to put the bib on.... amazing!

Also she is eating solids and really likes it. I mean she is sooooo interested in table food! It's real exciting. She has her cereal every day, and then we tried different vegetables and fruits - where she definitely prefers the fruits. Coqui was opposite, he really enjoyed his veggies! So yes, she has a sweet tooth, I guess. She likes more sweet potatoes and squash than any of the other veggies that I tried so far. She likes soy milk and soy yogurt. She also had homemade smoothie already.

So yes, that is our life.

17 February 2010

I shared a testimony today

Every Wednesday morning, we are going to the Women's Bible Study at our church. We are doing a Beth Moore study about Esther. Before we turn on the DVD, we have a discussion about homework and what is going on in our lives. So today, one woman started with a testimony, and then another, and then I just felt I needed to share something that has recently brought us to tears....

It is about our carrier. She was brought up as a Catholic but eventually had left that church. And then was, I guess, in limbo and a little thrown off by the church in general. Well, looking back at this entire process, it was ALL God. I can even go back and say that this cancer had to happen in order for me to be soooo blessed but also to bless ours. But from the day I sent out that letter, and her receiving it, it was God's calling through and through. And yes, it was not always easy - but hey, who said that walking with the Lord means that things are easier, just because we can hand our problems over to Him. But it was soooo worth it! Without knowing that she did, she answered God's calling to become our gestational carrier for our second child. They had tried for a third child themselves, but did not get pregnant - well, yes, because her 'oven' was needed for something else... it worked the first time without a problem and she went through the entire nine months, she delivered that child and gave it to us - what a blessing right there!!! We are thankful for that every day.
But back to the testimony: there was a lady in her immediate circle of friends that was Christian and she was just such an encouragement for her. Apparently, she invited our carrier to her church and she followed that invitation. To make a long story short, she has been going to church ever since, has been truly blessed by it and finding God. Her entire family is going every Sunday..... that is amazing.

She says that she finally found what she was looking for.... yeah!

15 February 2010

peanut's new diapers - REVISED

Most of the time, I am doing CD which stands for Cloth diapering. I got a bunch of diapers from my neighbor: mostly the old fashioned prefold diapers, you know the ones that are rectangles and you have to fold them on the baby and use a snappi fasteners to secure them...

I say most of the time because sometimes it is just pure convenience of not doing it. And the other thing is night time. I tried it once and my baby girl woke up screaming because she was completely drenched in her diaper and (!)her clothes. So never again I said, as she is sleeping through the night and I just don't feel like changing diapers at night!!! So disposable it is....

Over the holidays, with all those people in my house, I did not always get to do it either. (also because I already had to wash for ... too many people!)
But I did take advantage of having them here to go to the Austin Baby Store to get some more supplies.... I had bought a couple of my own before. Like the Fuzzi Bunz which are pocket diapers, or fitted diapers that look like a Huggies out of fabric. In the last three months, I have to come to like those the most. So I wanted more...

Well, recently, they must have added a couple of rags with used stuff... yeah I know that doesn't sound right when it comes to diapers that touches your baby's private areas.... BUT I have to say that even though it stroke me odd, I looked into it. And of course, if the diaper is so soiled that I would throw it out at home, I wouldn't take it. But there were a few once that looks great, white as snow and I took them. Just to try different brands, shapes and such.... so I found those Kushies diapers that have become a big fan of.

So the last couple of nights I have spend searching the internet for all the options that are out there, and I am shocked at how many they are.... plenty of moms even have gone to sewing their own diapers - wow! Okay, I am experimenting with my new sewing machine as well, but I am not sure if I can do that.... There are also plenty of little businesses out there, one can order from. Still I like going there physically and look around the store - one never knows what one can find.... (and spend more money on!?!).

So I am still experimenting, researching, and looking around what I like the most. Because with sloth diapers, it has become much more convenient than what our parents had to deal with!!! I am very happy going this way, because I love protecting the environment... and hope to potty train this child a little earlier than the last one... let's hope it'll work.

09 February 2010

My heros

Today I want to put the kids to the side and write about my heroes. I was thinking about it last night doing the dishes. I am not talking about the super heroes like Spiderman or Wonderwoman. More like about those that surround us and those that don't get enough credit for what they have done. People that think of others first and those among us that give their last shirt away in order to help someone else.

I am talking about that man that recently gave one of his kidneys away to help our pastor's wife survive! That wonderful father-in-law that always gives others money when they ask him. My mother-in-law that is always glad to help out whenever needed - like when we needed someone to watch Coqui when I had to go through my surgery and recovery for seven long weeks. This husband of mine who always helped me survive when I needed back in the day when we were just friends. And of course that special person that gave up nine months of her life in order for us to have another child! She lend us her 'oven' and that was so selfless of her.

Then they are so many other people that helped me survive when I needed it most, nine, eight and seven years ago. Without all those people I would not have survived here and able to stay and continue studying. I am still talking about people that constantly are helping others and don't get any credit for it. I am also talking about people that want or still should stay anonymous but are soooo eager to do something for us.

I want to think of you all today! And thank you, and say how appreciative I am!

08 February 2010

Something to think about

I recently had discussions with different people about the same thing: how do you teach your toddler / kiddo to make good decisions? Or do you do it at all?

I told you that Coqui is not taking any naps anymore... yes so sad - more for me than for him, I reckon. But I still have him take some quiet time by himself in his room. Since we did sleep training a long time ago, he falls asleep with a door that is only leaning, not closed. It was just quieter to check on him, or to leave his room after he had fallen asleep. When we go to bed at night, we always open the kids' doors all the way. So for Coqui, who is sleeping in a toddler bed, can leave his room at any time and come see us, like when having a bad dream or when it is thundering outside and he is afraid.

Now for quiet time, the door is leaning as well.... so my toddler can come out... which, of course, he does quite frequently, like for questions or for potty time.... I don't mind but I tell him how many more minutes he has.... Well, it has gone so far that he came out every five minutes to check the time.... AND that was enough for Mami! So I told him that he needs to stay put for thirty minutes! And if he comes out, he will lose privileges! The very first thing that goes is the TV, of course! And then other things, like favorite toys and such....

We feel that it is very important to teach him to make GOOD decisions on his own. And when, and if, he decides not to obey that there will be consequences. Just like in real life.

Now my discussions were with parents that rather lock their kids in their room, not given them the chance to make their own decisions. What do you think? What do you do with your own children (if you have any)?

05 February 2010

Peanut in the car - part 2

I wrote earlier that Peanut did not like the car seat.... sometimes she would start crying when I only put her in it....
Then we had my parents here for four weeks, so somebody was always sitting in the back between the two kids.... AND that might have been the trick....

Since then.... she does not cry anymore. Furthermore, she is falling asleep in the car, taking her naps and such... I am flabbergasted... She talks to herself, she talks to Coqui, they are blowing raspberries together - it's hilarious. But I am still just loving the fact that I can leave the house again without having to fear an outbreak from the back row.... I am totally loving it! Yeah....

And Coqui is still doing his car bingo, so he is always occupied!!! There is so much to see, an a five minute ride or on a 45 minutes ride to our friends' house.

Thank God!