Tuesday, May 27, 2008

last-minute fun

Lately I've been trying to get better about doing more spur-of-the-moment activities with the fam. I'm usually one to have every weekend planned out by the minute for weeks in advance (which really feeds my obsessiveness and is much easier to coordinate with a toddler in tow) but any sense of spontenaety is completely lost in my life! So, I'm really working on my flexibility especially now that the weather is getting nicer, the days are a little longer, and we can take advantage of all the great things there are to do during the summer in NYC.

After Noah's nap on Saturday we decided to pack up a picnic dinner and head to Central Park. It was too nice of a day not to take advantage of a stroll through the park. I love people-watching on a nice day in the park... it's oh-so entertaining! It was also "Fleet Week" and the Marine Band was playing a free concert at the Central Park Bandshell. So, we headed down to 72nd street and wandered through Strawberry Fields (and the over-protective hippies), past the disco-roller-bladers, saw a wedding by the boathouse and then finally made it to the concert. (Confession: I'm a band-nerd at heart and I even once had ambitions of being in a military band... I also grew up minutes away from West Point where we would see the Army band perform every week during the summer.) So, I was pretty excited about the concert -- and I was excited to see Noah's reaction to the band. He had a great time trying to run up to the stage and was fascinated with the drums and the tuba (yes!). Then we wandered down to the boathouse and watched the rowboats while Noah tried his darndest to sneak past us and jump into the lake.

It was just really fun to not have a nice lazy Saturday evening out of our 'hood and to spend some relaxed time together. I definitely need to plan more spontaneous trips like this one :)

enjoying some John Philip Sousa...

saluting the troops

making a run for it!

"but I want to go swimming!"

this is literally the best show we got... (Noah was being super uncooperative with the picture taking!) His finger has made a peramanent home up his nose for the past 2 weeks.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Noah turns 2!

Noah celebrated his 2nd birthday on Friday and the week was full of all kinds of celebrations! Last Saturday, we had a double b-day party with his BBF (best-bud-forever), Ayden who turned 4, we spent Friday morning at Chuck E. Cheese with his playgroup buds, and then we had dinner and cake with gma, gpa, and uncle C. on Sunday. Quite the festive week! (I'm pretty sure he thinks that he's going to get "pwesents" every day now and he's been singing "happy burt-day" to himself every morning.)

I really can't believe he's 2 now. I mean, I can and I can't. It feels weird to actually say I have a 2-year-old, but definitely acts like one these days, so there's no denying it! It really has been an amazing 2 years. I've learned so much about myself and the kind of mom I want to strive to be everyday. I love my little noodle so much! He's such a special little kid and I'm so glad he's mine :)

Here are some pics from the festivities:

our double-dump-truck party with Ayden

(a playground party forced indoors by the NYC parks dept. worker who slept in and didn't open the playround gates in time!)

Noah and Ayden opening up their sandbox Tonka trucks!

the boys at Chuck E. Cheese

(they were perfectly content to sit in and/or touch the rides... we didn't even need tokens!)

Noah and Christian's mom have the same b-day so we had cupcakes at C.E.C to celebrate!

cake time

(served in his new Tonka dump truck!)

Mr. Potato Head

(a must-have for any 2-year-old, in my opinion)

and... the best present ever!

(who knew I could be this excited about a potty?)

check out the new wheels!

Happy Birthday, Noah!

we love you.

Monday, May 12, 2008

"Parenting Your Toddler"

I came across this book while browsing through the parenting book aisle at the library and checked it out along with a few other books that looked interesting. And after Noah's recent 2-year-old antics I've been grasping at any kind of advice I can get... but this book has been life-changing!

It's written by Patricia Henderson Shimm, an associate director of the Barnard Toddler Center who has observed most likely thousands of 1-3 year-olds and has some amazing advice for their parents. I loved this book because it gives practical, concise, non-extreme advice on every aspect of your toddler's development without being completely overwhelming. You can come away from every chapter with some great new phrases to use and tips for dealing with a variety of different situations that will most likely come up in your toddler's near future.

The biggest eye-opener for me was how separation is the root of almost every issue a toddler faces from potty training, to sleep issues, to even those insistent "No's! that I hear so frequently these days! And once you recognize that and even how that has affected your own up-bringing you'll be more equipped to handle a tantrum or the defiance that you'll most likely be faced with! (one of my favorite lines was, "Did you basically feel miserable when you had to separate from your own parents for school, camp, or sleep-over dates? HA! HA! Mom -- you can get back up on your chair now!)

I was also really surprised to read about how much what seem like little changes in their daily routine affect them (i.e. daddy not being around for nightly story time, having a rough day at the playground, or even mommy talking on the phone too much during what should be some one-on-one time.) And even how much dramatic play can teach them after a stressful situation has taken place (it looks like Mickey and Diego will be getting into some real doosies soon!).

It's also helped me to be WAY more upbeat and optimistic with Noah as he works through a new struggle, because I have a better understanding of WHY it's happening. And now I know what to do in a situation like I encountered last Sunday evening as Noah gathered up his shoes and socks (after we had already been outside for an hour and a half!) and started screaming and crying at the top of his lungs while banging on the door saying, "shoes, socks, go outside!" OVER and OVER again for 20 minutes. I learned that it's best to move anything harmful from around him, sit patiently by him and let the the tantrum run it's course (don't reward, don't punish, don't have a tantrum yourself -- oops, oops, and oops!). I was slightly disappointed that the "Temper Tantrum" chapter was only 7 pages long, however.

Finally, I really just felt like my kid is just going through some completely normal phases and now I have some practical ways to deal with them!

here are a few of my favorite lines:

1. "I see you want to make Laura cry. I can't let you hurt anyone and nobody will hurt you. It's okay to be angry because Mommy and Daddy are leaving."

2. "I wish I could let you throw all the sand out of the sandbox. But how about pouring it in this bucket?"

3. Don't ask questions that can be answered with a "No!" (seems simple, but I find myself doing it ALL the time!) Say, "Let's clean up! rather than "Do you want to clean up?"

4. "I see you want it all. I wish you could have every toy in this room!"

5. And my favorite: "I have great faith in your ablility to go to sleep." (HA! HA!)

To all you mom's of toddlers or soon-to-be-toddlers... this is a guilt-free/easy-read/one-stop toddler development book that you must read!

Friday, May 9, 2008

"that's SO 7th grade!"

I recently discovered some great new workout music to accompany my morning run -- and replace my "Greenday" obsession.

The band is:


and these are a few of my favorite tracks from their "Ocean Avenue" album.

According to my little bro (now a JR. in high school -- and my personal "latest music" consultant), they're "SO 7th grade"... but they totally rock! My personal favorite... "Way Away". I've got it timed so that it comes on as soon as I run into the park... so perfect..."Way Away" from the 'hood and into a nice green park with trees and a view of the river!

Seriously, though, I've kicked up my run-distance 2 more miles 'cuz of these tunes!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

the terrible 2's

myth: the terrible 2's aren't real.

fact: the terrible 2's are VERY real.

Either someone has been slipping my kid crazy pills this past week, or he'll be 2 in 12 days and it couldn't be more apparent.

some recent observations:

1. I will be asking his Dr. for a hearing test because it seems that his hearing is rapidly deteriorating (i.e. that whole selective hearing thing is alive and well).

2. The answer to any of mommy's questions or suggestions is an automatic "NO!" (even if I told him we were going to eat ice cream while watching Mickey on a bus going to the sandbox!)

3. I've given more time-outs in the last week than I care to count.

4. It's suddenly cool to kick and scream at every diaper change and meal.

5. I've witnessed more manipulative moves from my soon-to-be-2-year-old in this past week than I did in the 2 years that I taught middle school!

I'd really just like to sneak a peek into that little brain of his and see what in the world is going on. If I could just understand what makes him tick, maybe I could come up with some better ways of handling it.

Help! I need some toddler parenting advice... how do you make it through the 2's???