Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Nature Study With Art and Music Appreciation and A Giveaway!

This is one of my favourite websites and what a perfect time to get excited about studying Nature! Spring has sprung! Check out their newest affordable products and be inspired!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Potty Training and Growing Up

Okay. I have been blessed with 5 wonderful children. Truly I feel so blessed, and yet I can't help to feel sad right now. My baby is growing up. She is two now. Two. Where did those two years go? I have watched 4 other children grow up and been in awe but yet this little dd is taking the cake. Somehow she seems more mature, less baby, so much more independent, less needy for mommy (although she is still nursing...I'll keep that going as long as I can ;). I know it is no different than the others - each of them had a baby sister or brother by the time they were her age and of course they seemed big then. It is just that she's my last. It all seems so final. Do I really have a right to feel sad?
Okay - so about potty training. This was the big leap in to twoyearoldhood and certainly part of why I feel sad - I know, I know - I brought it on to myself. I have trained all my children at this age and lots of people have asked how, so I am going to lay it out for you. I know I am considerably narrowing my audience with this introduction but hey I probably already lost them on the title - I'll catch them on the next post perhaps. ;)
A disclaimer - I use cloth diapers. I therefore HATE two year old poops. I would much rather deal with a week or two of messes on the floor than in the diapers. So - you will see this is MY motivation. It is very important for mommy (and or daddy) to have a motivation. If she is not committed to this than it is not going to be successful. So as much as I might like to think I have brilliant little children that potty train themselves at 2, I know that 80 percent of it is me getting them there. You must be committed. Think of the money, the landfills, whatever gets you moving.
Another disclaimer. We have hardwood floors. Virtually no carpeting - just in the basement. It has been the same for the last 4 kids although for my first we were in an apartment that had carpeting and I used the same method - but I didn't care as much about that carpet as I would my own.

Step one : Choose a treat. This is where friends have chosen things like smarties or other candies but I just can't use a treat like that for my baby to put in to their little body so I choose raisins or dried little fruit of some sort or whatever you can come up with. The key is to not allow the baby to get that treat any other time of the day other than when they sit on the potty or pee pee on the potty or whatever with the potty. You can't be dishing out raisins to them at snack and expect them to get excited about getting it again when they go pee pee. It MUST only be allowed in this relm.

Step two: No pants. I know that sounds so scary and risky, but this is for good reason - My experience has taught me that as soon as a child of this age has 'something' on their little bum bum, they pee in to it and drench it completely. They don't stop, they just go ahead - they figure they are in a diaper. As soon as they go 'pantless' that triggers something different in to their brains and helps them to control their bladders. As a side note I would never use pull ups. What a waste. As soon as you put that pull up diaper on them guess what happens? They pee in it - except the only difference is that it cost you a dollar instead of 30 cents - or whatever the cost difference would be - I really have no idea cause I haven't bought them recently. The only use for them would be for later when the child is already potty trained and you are going on a long trip or for overnight or what have you. By using them at this critical potty training time you waste your time and effort and will not experience success anywhere near as quickly.

Step three: Make it fun. Don't let them be afraid of the potty. You sit on the big one, get a book, invite them over, offer them their favourite treat - and when they just sit down - give them the coveted treat - make it a really big deal at first when they just sit down! That's all you want at first, just an introduction. (even the first week could be spent this way if all they are doing is sitting and not peeing) And then when they just sit down and you give them the treat, you praise them for how amazing they are and wow wow wow...who can resist such royal treatment? At our house everyone gets involved - brother, sisters, daddy - Horray for baby for sitting on the potty - of course she wants to do it again!

Step four: Set the timer. The first few days you will be figuring out your baby's bladder - unless you have already taken note (I never do). They will follow a cycle. She will go pee pee at 8 am and then suddenly again at 8:30 but then not again until 10 am. Watch her, write it down if it helps. When she does make a little pee pee on the floor, don't scold her - just say oops and bring her to sit on the potty again reminding her that that is where we go pee pee. The first few days you will have lots of messes but as you figure it out you will get ahead of that cycle and just before she is about to go pee you get her on the potty and she suddenly goes and so the fan fare begins again...if she doesn't 'go' when you think she should need to go then you put her on every 5 minutes until she does go. Most of my babies need to pee about every hour in the morning but every two or so in the afternoon.

Step five: Be consistent. You go out to the mall, you go to a friends - are you going to leave her naked? I don't. I diaper (unless she is starting to get it) But when we are at home and unless she is having a nap or sleeping at bedtime, she goes underwear free and we keep doing the same old thing. When the baby gets to the point where she starts to pee on the floor and stops herself that is when you are very close to completing this project! She recognizes how to control that bladder and there is no limit to your success now. Next thing you know she is telling you when she 'has to go'. Oh and NEVER ask a child if they need to go - instead you say "okay honey Let's go to the potty," and you just pick them up and go. If you ask them you will inevitably get a big "No- I don't need to go!" Just don't set yourself up.

My two year old learned this within two days and is now (one month later) completely trained. No, she isn't dry at night - I don't find that to be a determining factor. I put diapers on at night and soon I will start to get her up at 10 when I go to bed, put her on the potty and then put a diaper back on her just in case. Once that is dry for a week or two, then we will be done, but I find that usually takes a little longer than I expect. My babies go to bed at 6:30 so that is just too long to hold it for little ones.

So there you have it - I know it is contrary to some practices out there but that's okay - I love that I have no more muss and fuss anymore! Perhaps you would like to join me? Please let me know if you have any questions or comments!
Sarah Jane

Deja Vu anyone??

I know I had it(deja vu) - have it - am having it presently. When I wrote the post last night I had this nagging thought - hmmm something in this sounds familiar to me - and then it finally came to me today! (am I really getting that old?) I posted a similar eureka a few months back - same theme and idea but about how having a schedule gave me more freedom. This has been one of my fears about blogging - repeating myself - and now here I am doing it already! I shared my embarassment with a friend today and she said very wisely - sometimes we need to hear something more than once to really get it in to our brains - and so yes - especially me - I needed to hear it again, to explore again, and this time delving more in to God's Word for some clarity and confidence. Maybe you needed to hear it again too - but either way, I know I did.
I promise to right something a bit more fresh next time ;)
Thank you for your patience with me...
Sarah Jane - mom of five ALIVE

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rain boots and puddles

Okay. I am not one of those parents to have inspirations of spiritual object lessons every day. In fact I probably don't even have them every month. And so today, when I went for a walk with my 7 yr old boy, I was so grateful to have received this little insight that I had to share. So here's the story:
Spring has sprung - everywhere there are signs of spring!- and just after a huge dump of snow a week ago. So you can imagine therefore we are living in a beautiful sunny but wet, muddy, slushy mess. Because of that I have been encouraging my son for over a week to wear his boots - either his rubber ones or his snowboots - either ones would be fine (although he did leave his snowboots behind at curling last week and so was limited in his choice). For a week he has fought me on it - insisting on wearing his sneakers - repeatedly coming in after 5 minutes with soakers, changing his socks, putting on yet ANOTHER pair of "too large" shoes and heading out again. So stubborn. This morning he wanted to take a walk with me but I insisted he could only come if he wore his rubber boots. And so he did. We walked a good distance, sloshing in the snowy slush, splashing in the puddles, enjoying the day that the Lord had made for us to enjoy!! And then it hit me. I started to talk to him about how much fun we were having and how good it was to not get our feet wet and how if he had worn his shoes like he wanted to then he would have been soaked and cold and we wouldn't have had such a good time. But because he listened to his mom he got to enjoy the walk so much more. And then I explained how GOD gave us His word and we could look at it and say - argh - why do I have to do all those things? Those things are just silly - I'll just ignore all that God said to do and do what I want. But we have to stop and say - wait - God gave us His "plan" for our benefit. It is only when we recognize that and 'submit' to it, that we can truly be FREE - free to splash in the puddles, live life abundantly. Because he loves us so much. And this is where my son chimed in - "To keep us SAFE!" he said understanding very well. Yes, my boy, to keep us safe. To some outsiders perhaps it seems as though Christians are just a bunch of goody goodies, running around trying to follow a bunch of rules because we follow Jesus (and sadly many Christians do have it mixed up and do live out their faith that way) but really the secret is that we are truly free. He loves us so much. He just wants us to follow his plan for our lives. He knows so much more than we do about what we need. He made us. He loves us. When we follow His plan, we reap great rewards. Rewards that never pass away.
John 8:31, 32, 34"Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free... I tell you the truth everyone who sins is a slave to sin...So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." (also for further study Romans 6:1518, 8:2 and Galatians 5:1-4)
I am so grateful for the freedom I have in Him. WHAT an awesome gift!
Thanks for listening. We really need to do this more often.