Sunday, April 27, 2014

What Are We Doing Tomorrow?

Jackson Bird asks A LOT of questions, as do most kids his age. But the most annoying question is easily the one he asked 45 minutes ago, and then again just now, and will ask again in 30 minutes. Without fail, totally out of the blue, multiple times each day, Bird will ask, "What are we doing tomorrow?" 

Sometimes I think ahead and briefly list aloud our routine for the next day. Other times I'll switch it around on him and say, "Well, what do YOU think we're doing tomorrow?" But most often I feel like pulling my hair out and yelling "I've already answered this question 50 times today! And if you ask it again, you won't live long enough to see tomorrow!!"

Despite my frustration, the same question keeps coming. So I had a brilliant brainstorm. I created a "calendar" just for Bird. It has the days of the week on it, labels for YESTERDAY, TODAY, and TOMORROW, and picture cards for various activities that might come up during a normal week (like school, church, library, grocery store, bank, playground, going to grandparents' etc).

Here's What I Did:
1. Bought an oil drip pan from Wal-Mart. ($13??)
2. Covered it with burlap & ribbon using hot glue
3. Printed the label cards on the computer & mounted them on card-stock
4. Printed the picture activity cards from Mrs.Riley' (free 24-hour trial to create these)
5. Laminated all the labels and picture cards
6. Took plain magnets I had left over (from Hobby Lobby) and hot-glued plastic buttons on top
7. Hung it on the wall using 3M removable adhesive strips
8. Allowed Jackson to help me arrange the board in the correct days-of-the-week order and put the activity cards under the correct day.

Here's a closer look:

So I'm hoping this will help him learn the days of the week, recognize YESTERDAY, TODAY, and TOMORROW, and it might even reduce the number of times he asks me, "What are we doing tomorrow?"

We only spent about 5 minutes on it tonight, but so far he LOVES it. Bird enjoyed picking out the pictures and putting them under the appropriate days. And because my Bird loves logic and order, I'm guessing he will take great joy in seeing that the activity picture cards match up to the real activities of each day.
Very proud of his new calendar

Levi, on the other hand, has already discovered his favorite activity card. It's a picture of the Chick-Fil-A logo. Eating nuggets &  playing on the indoor playground at Chick-Fil-A is one of our favorite Friday activities. You can see how Levi feels about it...
Ready to dominate the Chick-Fil-A indoor playgournd

Pure excitement coursing through his 21-month-old veins. Nothing better than Friday lunches at Chick-Fil-A.

So, how do you teach your littles about calendar skills & routine? Any ideas?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mother Hood Is:

Motherhood is lots of things, and much of it really defies description. But there are a few basic elements of the motherhood experience that can be put into words.

Motherhood is missing your daily mid-naptime treadmill workout because your 20 month old is hammering on his bedroom walls instead of napping.

Motherhood is doing a 20 minute workout video in your living room while a toddler sits on your stomach during crunches or hangs onto your leg during jumping jacks.

Motherhood is listening to an opinionated 4 year old yell about his distaste for water served with his hot dog, and then giving him water anyway.

Motherhood is watching any given Disney movie no less than 20 times straight before a new movie is even considered.

Motherhood is going to the bathroom with children in tow. Every. Time. (I mean GOOD GRIEF! Little People! Can I not even put in a tampon alone?)

Motherhood is going out of your way to make a fresh-fruit smoothie for you kids and then having your oldest tell you, "This is gross!" while the youngest gulps down both servings.

Motherhood is trying not to throw up while on your hands and knees cleaning up the 2 servings of smoothie the toddler drank and then up-chucked after playing chase.

Motherhood is calmly ignoring your kicking, screaming, struggling-against-the-buggie-straps kid at the grocery store while smiling at others you pass.

Motherhood is counting down the minutes until Daddy gets home, only to have him walk in the door and ask, "Is dinner ready now, or do I have time to go work out?"

Motherhood is early-morning snuggling during Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, late-afternoon reading to lap-dwelling littles,  and just-before-bed splashes in the tub with giggling boys.

You can't beat it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Laugh or Cry?

So after many ups and downs, lots of rain clouds that seemed to take days to lift, and the general struggles that come along with staying at home with a gregarious three-year-old and an attached-at-the-hip one-year-old, I'm finally getting to the point where I can see the sunshine at the end of the tunnel. In fact, some days I even get a full-on blast of sunshiney goodness.

As Levi gets older, he and Jackson are playing together better, and they seem to genuinely like each other! At least until one steals a toy the other wanted... But my point is that after a year and a half of barely coming up for breath before the next wave hits, I finally feel like I'm treading water pretty darn well. I'm adjusting to my stay-at-home life with 2 active boys, and I'm enjoying it more than I'm surviving it. Most days. And those other days that used to threaten to send me under? I'm trying to learn to laugh, shake my head, and not worry about the furniture (or other important things that really aren't that important).

So here's one of those days that previously would have knocked me under, but instead just left me laughing and wishing I could record my boys' silliness.

The morning started with the boys sitting together in Daddy's recliner, watching Mickey Mouse. (The allegiance to the mouse is so intense at our house that "mouse" was one of Levi's 1st words.)

They were behaving so well, I decided to sit down and make a few phone calls in the office. As I was on the phone, I saw Jackson run by with Levi following close behind. Since chase is a common game at our house, I didn't think much about it. A few minutes later the boys ran by again. This time Levi was missing his shirt. A few more words on the phone... another lap made by the boys. Levi's sans pants. I decide this might warrant my intervention when Levi then streaks past the office door completely naked, clutching his private parts and squealing with delight. So much for a quiet phone conversation.

Later in the day, I didn't allow Jackson to have the snack he requested (powdered donuts and sprite - really kid? Do I look that stupid?). His response: "Fine. Then I'll just cut off your head and get another Mommy."  I just smiled at him and told him he'd better find a big sword. He responded: "Yeah, I know! You've got the biggest head I've ever seen!" Well, thank you, son.

That night after dinner, the boys played with legos. Jackson (who had experienced a bit of tummy trouble earlier in the day) decided to hide his legos from Levi by placing the blocks in the back of his underwear. Jacin noticed the bulge in Bird's rear and sternly said, "Jackson, son, get those legos out of your pants! You're gonna leak butt juice on them!" Bird stopped in his tracks, turned to Jacin with clear anxiety on his face, and asked, "What exactly is Laking Gutt Deuce?"  We couldn't help but crack up (no punn intended).

Whoever said first it was right - laughter is the best medicine. Every day I have a choice: laugh or cry? Laughing is much more fun.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Line Leader

Jackson Bird loves his stuffed animals. He calls them his "friends." He has 15 or so that he plays with - loading them in trucks, pulling them with tractors, and lining them up for concerts or parades. At night, I try to stick to the "only 6 friends in the bed" limit. Otherwise, I worry Jackson would suffocate! (Besides, starting a habit of sleeping with multiple "friends" in the bed could be a bit shady later in life, right?) His favorite friends include Clifford the Big Red Dog, Tigger, Cowboy Mickey, pillow Panda, Cow-Cow, Pickle the Dog, and a few beanie babies passed down from Great Gran & Quincy. There are several other friends, but these favorites seem to receive more snuggle time.

Here's a pic of Bird getting ready for bed, surrounded by his friends. He's kinda hard to pick-out among all the stuffing - Bird's the one with minimal facial fur.

At night, Bird picks one special friend and brings it and his tat-tat to the den. (NOTE: His tat-tat is a special mini-blanket lovey sort of thing that he's slept with since birth. Meme has made 4 different ones so we're never without, even during laundry days.) Every night, Bird, his one selected stuffed friend, and Daddy sit in the recliner, giggle, and watch TV for a few minutes before reading a book in bed and saying prayers. Recently, when it was time to select his one special friend to sit in Daddy's recliner, Bird has said, "Let me pick a line-leader for tonight." The first time I heard him say it, I was a bit confused. A line-leader? But now that it's part of the nightly routine to pick a "line-leader," I just smile while an immense appreciation for preschool swells in my heart. My 3 year old kid is teaching turn-taking skills to his stuffed animals. For real. Oh the wonders of preschool! I will never understand how pre-k teachers teach so much in so little time to such rascally little monsters kids! Thank you, God, for preschool!

Just so you're up to date, last night's line leader was Clifford (which explains why I woke up with a big stuffed red dog in my face this morning). Today's naptime line-leader was Cowboy Mickey. Tonight's line-leader: Snort ,the red beanie baby bull. And, of course, tat-tat. Tat-tat is a permanent line-leader of sorts.

Love this smart, order-loving little Bird!