Baby Prep

Clearly this isn’t my first time on the “baby train”. With an 8 year old and 2 year old, I’ve been a frequent passenger. As I get closer to my due date in March, I want to plan and prepare for this baby like no other. I know that my other kids will be understanding when the new baby comes, but there will still need to be a lot of adjustments that need to be made so the transition isn’t too rough.

For starters, the first couple months are usually the roughest. I always tell myself to sleep when the baby sleeps and that almost never happens. To prepare for this mentally, I’m already practicing staying up late and operating on a few hours of sleep. Okay this “practicing” hasn’t actually been intentional, but the way my back feels on top of y mind racing, I don’t have much of a choice.

I’ve been proactively preparing freezer meals that I can thaw and serve for dinner. I’m not concerned about breakfast because my family can eat cereal like it’s nothing and everyone’s pretty much a fan of French toast sticks. Lunch is also easy because all I’ll want is a sandwich; if they don’t want it too bad! Nine months without lunch meat is almost as bad as nine months without wine, but that I can handle the latter a little easier.

Thank goodness that it’s almost winter. Clothes and like have been sprinkled in the mix over these past couple months, but I really plan to stock up on more things in January during those lovely midwinter sales. Long sleeve onesies, pants, and more. That also includes a few more blankets and towels to add to the collection.

Furniture, diapers, and bottles are on reserve. We’ll probably get a new mattress for the crib, clean it out, and raise the height. I was looking into bassinets, but I didn’t find anything too appealing via Amazon, Target, or Walmart. If you have any suggestions, please share in the comments.

I’m probably missing a few things, but don’t worry I’ll make a list in the coming weeks to make sure everything’s accounted for.

-Jay

Mary- Ann #momsonthemove

A mother that is inspired by her own mother is a success- that’s what I think. Mary-Ann’s mother inspired her to speak from within. “…character speaks volumes, work ethics, and balancing a family.” These are words for Mary-Ann and others to live by. It’s not what you do, but how you do it.

Mary-Ann is a mother of two children, a healthcare professional, and spends her time making a difference in other’s lives. As a graduate of John Bartram Motivational High School, she plans on pushing herself even further. Mary-Ann hopes to become a hospital administrator, get married and explore entrepreneurship in the next five years and then move onto operations management in 10 years. With so many goals on her list, Mary-Ann lives by the quote: “Don’t Quit” by Edgar A. Guest.

Outside of work, Mary-Ann spends free time with family, shops, eats, attends church and makes sure to get in some “mommy time”.

“My children are my priority- a job can come and go, family is always there. I set aside time to do things with them…”

Well said because the time that we get to spend with our children is precious, we can’t get it back. It can be difficult to find balance, but there’s always a silver lining. If a job is forcing you to choose it over your children and/or family it may not be a good fit.

 

Thank you for sharing your story, Mary-Ann.

Instagram: @glamourgirlma

 

Consistency

I’ve learned that my job as a mother is to be the glue that holds this little crazy family together. On the days when I “sleep in” or have errands to “run”, I can understand how vital my role is to my family’s survivial. My husband is a great father and enjoys devoting his time to both of our children (fur babies too). He is so wonderful that he often has to encourage me to go out and do those things that normal adults do like buying something for themselves or engaging socially with each other. 

However, that moment when I stop pretending to be sleep (by covering my face with a pillow), I see my phone ringing before I’ve even started the car, or tiptoeing back through the front door during nap time, I’m bombarded with conversations, questions, hugs, shouts, etc.- I know they can’t survive without me. 

I do my best to make their lives easier by staying one step ahead of them (mostly). 

Daughter: “Mom, have you seen my…” 

Me: *Gives her what she’s looking for before she finishes her sentence.*

Son: *Walks into room behind husband. * “Morning, Mommy. Morning!”

Me: “Hey son, let’s go get you a snack.”

Husband: “Hey, you remember when we were talking last night…”

Me: “Your pants are in the dryer, here’s your water, lunch is in the fridge.”  

I would rather stay ahead of their needs than trying to catch up, which means more planning and preparation for me (yayyy). This reminds me of when the kids were younger, I would try to prep bottles and boobs before they even realized they were hungry (they both were SUPER greedy, but I  really tried). I can’t take all the credit for having a relatively peaceful and well run home (thanx honey 💜), but I must give some credit to planning, preparation, and a consistent routine

We have (had) a great morning routine until we welcomed our puppy to our home a few weeks ago. We’re still working to get back on track! Anyway, let’s start with our morning. I usually get up with the puppy at 5:30am to cuddle, walk, and feed. By the time I get back, my son is usually in my bed with my husband or calling out for me from his crib. Depending on his mood, we get back in bed or go downstairs for a snack because I need to take a few deep breaths and wake myself up before indulging in such whole body moving. 

If the kids are home during the midday (eek), I keep a few fruits, crackers, and chips available for them to nibble on. I’ve noticed that they are more snackers than full meal eaters. Most kids right? Once they filled most of their nutritional needs on snacks they have a little room for lunch. Chicken fingers, hotdogs, sandwiches, etc. 

Once late afternoon arrives I am usually all tuckered out from house training the puppy, changing/potty training my son, and all the other things in between. Making sure we get in some time outside is important or we atleast do some type of physical activity. (My son might be the next Usher or Bruno Mars because he requests and watches their movies daily, lookout!) Luckily, my dinners are usually quick and simple! I’ve mastered the art of 30 minute or less meals. A few of my favorites are fajitas, turkey burgers, or spaghetti. 

After dinner is mandatory digestion! We usually sit and read or watch television for a few minutes before heading up for bath time. Some days are long baths where we sing songs and play, but most days we are in and out to ensure we don’t exhaust ourselves! Believe me, exhaustion is the devil (seriously). When my son gets exhausted he gets super whiney and cranky, my daughter gets sluggish and delirious. Either way, I don’t want any parts of either- so bed time it is. 

The key here is sticking to a schedule that works for you. Some days will definitely be easier than others, but the more you consciously think about how you want your day to go, the more likely you are to stay on the schedule. This is especially true when you have children because deviating from your schedule can cause major melt downs for you and your child(ren)

May the force be with you! 

-Jay

Toddler negotiations 

My son is is a year and a half….My son is 18 months….My son will be two this year! Where did the time go?? He was just this tiny thing, couldn’t hold his head up or sleep through the night. Now….

My son wakes up around the same time each day, 6am. As soon as he wakes up he yells out, “Mommmmmm!!!” He keeps going until he hears my footsteps across the floor. I guess you could call him my personal alarm clock, but what about those days when I want a few extra minutes to lie in bed? Well, I don’t have a choice, I have to do something! I get him out the crib, change him, and then he gets right in the bed with us. Thanks to his new found sense of independence, he will lie there relatively quiet while profusely sucking his thumb or bothering his dad (oops). Once we finally get out of the bed (okay, it’s like 10-15mins tops) our day will be quiet no more (maybe a short time during his so called “nap”). 

We get downstairs and he asks me, “(s)nack,  (s)nack” while he points to the cabinet where the snacks are. It’s so funny to see how I pull out and show him each snack and he will shake his head yes or no until we reach thee snack of the day. Thank God I try to make healthy choices for our snacks or I’d be screwed. But yes, you heard that right- I negotiate with my toddler. 

Trust me there’s a constant raging war on the inside when we go through these complex situations. The teacher in me says: “You get what you get and you don’t get upset”. However, the mother in me says, “Give him a choice so can enjoy himself”. Which is right? BOTH

You don’t have to be perfect with your kids. Always agreeing or disagreeing with them will teach them nothing, but teaching them to problem solve and regulate their emotions will last them a lifetime. How do you know when your toddler is ready to begin negotiations? Well, if they’re saying “snack” and ready to tell you what they like or don’t like, yes, they’re ready. So what’s the next step? 

1. Provide them with the vocabulary to do so. My day care parents used to get so worried and upset when I would give them a report that their child bit another child or they were bit by a child. I would always assure them that this behavior is developmentally appropriate because children at this age lack the language to effiectively communicate. Therefore, to combat this challenging behavior, we must teach them relevant vocabulary that will reduce these less positive emotions and actions. Grow their vocabulary from: “mine (age 1) to I’m using that (age 2) to let’s take turns (age 3)

2. Reinforce good behavior by providing them with compliments for positive actions.  Tell them you like the way they cleaned up when you asked or how they were so quiet while you were on the phone. Please note, the best reinforcements come from the heart. Your words and actions are the best tools to use because this gives them intrinsic motivation which builds them up on the inside and helps them grow. Relying solely on toys, treats, or food will actually hurt your child. 

3. Give them choice(s) when appropriate so that they understand they have a voice. If you’re painting, let them choose the paint color or surface to paint on. Allow them to tell you when they are finished an activity or task and move on from there. Will there always be choices available? No. But if there is, let them on own it. 
There’s a time and place for everything”. 
Happy parenting, 

Jay 🖖🏾

World’s Purest

When it comes to taking care of your baby’s bottom there are a lot of factors to take in account. If it’s your first child you really have to try different products out for yourself to know what works and what doesn’t. Don’t worry, it gets easier after the first, but I wanted to share a little information with you that I took the time to research on my own. 

One of the most used items that you will buy are wipes-you can never have enough! When my daughter was born I remember the hospital gave us Pampers diapers and wipes to use and that was our go to at home as well. What they don’t tell you about when they give you multitudes of free samples are all the harsh chemicals in the wipes. My daughter was left with multiple diaper rashes and yeast infections using those very wipes. Therefore, when it came time to prepare for my son’s arrival I knew that I had to search for wipes with less harmful ingredients.

To get to the point, I found Water wipes. The ingredients are short and easy to read: 99.9% water and 0.1% fruit extract. Do I miss the wonderful sterile smell of those Pampers wipes? Yes. Would I rather avoid diaper rash and know that my baby’s bottom is nice and clean? Well of course. 

If you want to try them for yourself go to Target or order them on Amazon. Babies R Us sells them, but they’re always sold out because they only order them in small quantities. In my mind sold out means somebody is buying them so they should order more, but my local store still hasn’t gotten the memo so you would have better luck at the other places mentioned. 

Cheers to rashless bottoms!

Was that a no?

As I’ve mentioned previously I’m an educator. I currently work with older toddlers at a day care. A lot of times you will hear myself or another teacher in the classroom redirecting a child to another activity. Redirection allows the child to change their focus to something else when they are: a) harming another child b) no longer engaged in activity c) not following directions. Those are a few reasons for redirection and there are definitely many other reasons for redirection. 

In addition to redirection, there is also the opportunity to tell your child no. When you tell your child no it doesn’t have to mean the end of the world. No is a simple word in the English language that children can understand. What you should do is also accompany that no with an explanation. I tell my parents that they must expose their children to language, even if they think that they do not understand because eventually they will. 

Language is a cool tool that we as adults abuse and take for granted, especially when it comes to communicating with our children. When using the word no an explanation should always follow and you must back up that no. Don’t ask your child to do something and get upset when they don’t want to comply because you asked them a question. “Do you want to wash your hands?” “Would you like to clean up?” If at the time you are saying this to your child and you know it is not a question, do not pose it to them as a question. Again, explain to them, You  must wash your hands before you eat lunch so that you don’t get yucky germs on your food, germs will make you sick. 

As you reiterate rules to your child, you will find yourself having to offer less explanations and offer simple reminders. Reminders or asking your child why or why not to see how they are processing a situation. When it seems that your child is understanding the information you are presenting them, I’m sure another challenge will be thrown your way. This is what parenting is all about, learning and growing with your child. 

More than “just friends”

The other day after doing homework, my daughter and husband had a conversation about what was going on at school- the usual what did you learn, what happened at recess, etc. Apparently she told her father that one of her friends liked her, more than just friends…More than just friends, WHAT COULD THAT POSSIBLY MEAN at six years old? I had so many questions, but I told myself to calm down because most of the time children confuse the meaning of words at this age. Of course I had to get the facts directly from the source.

All my husband simply told me was, “You need to talk to her about liking boys and that type of stuff.” Liking boys was a subject my daughter and I had touched on a few months prior and she seemed to have no desire to continue on the subject. We were in the car and saw two very handsome little boys waiting at the bus stop. As our car came to a stop I saw her staring at the little boys. “What are you looking at?”She smiled ever so eagerly and said, “Nothing…”. “Umhmm, you’re looking at those little boys,” I replied. Seemingly embarrassed she replied, “Noo I’m not. I’m just looking at his shirt!”. Yeah right, who was she fooling? I could see her clear as day looking right into his face smiling, but I digressed. We continued our conversation to which I casually began to ask questions about her affinity to the opposite sex. She basically said that she didn’t like boys, but some of her friends did. 

Fast forward to the day’s conversation and my mind is blown. Does she like boys now?  Do her and her friends get together and make a list of all the boys they like? Who likes her? Again with all the questions. (Calm down, Jamie!) I decided to let the subject marinate a few days so I could come up with a plan of action and she wouldn’t feel overly pressured. Once again our conversation took place in the car, obviously a great place to have conversations with your children.

“Soo…your dad tells me your friend likes you?” As I look in the mirror I can see her begin to twiddle her thumbs and she seems to be coordinating a meticulous response (yes, I have a future lawyer on my hands). “Well yea…its my friend _____. He told me the other day when we were playing that he liked me.” “Oh yea?” I asked cool as a cucumber, “What made him say that? Were you guys playing a game?”. She then took the world’s longest pause and took a deep breathe before speaking. “We were playing a game and ____ said she liked _____. So then my friend _____ said he liked me, but I don’t like him he’s just my friend.”  

What a relief! I didn’t know how deep this conversation would get, but she said enough to let me know: a) her friends are beginning to get curious b) she may be curious for the sake of being curious, but doesn’t really care much c) a more in depth conversation will need to follow. 

My baby’s growing up!