Holiday Gift Guide for Preschoolers by Preschoolers

I swear this is my last post about Christmas gifts, because DUM-DUM-DUM… I am DONE shopping for my kids! To that end, Gabby wanted to write a gift guide all her own, so here it goes.

pinkdresses

  1. If it’s a pink princess dress, I want it. Even if it is too fancy to ever be worn by a three-year old, I want it. Especially if it is a Victorian-style princess dress with what looks like a corset, I want it.
  2. Elsa’s castle. Seriously, kid? That movie came out forever ago and my kids still want all things Frozen. Sigh.

    Image from Walmart.com

    Image from Walmart.com

  3. All of the crazy expensive tents from The Land of Nod. My fault for letting her look at the catalog.
  4. More baby dolls with blinking eyes and a pacifier. Because it only took me 2 months to find the one I got her for her birthday…
  5. Books! Well, luckily I can handle this one. Remember that review I wrote for Bookroo? Well, they have a new incentive program for current subscribers so you can get one free box for every friend you refer this holiday season! If you are not currently a subscriber, you can sign up here and make sure you share Bookroo with your friends so that you can get free boxes too!

*This post contains referral links, but all thoughts and opinions belong to my three-year old.*

What’s on your kids’ wishlist this year? Let me know in the comments!

Every Day is the Same

“Yeah, I’m making a mess at 7am. Wanna fight about it?”

I am SO over the morning routine.

I think the morning is even worse than bedtime.

Add potty-training to the mix and the mornings are just 2.5 hours of arguing with a toddler and pulling an infant out of harm’s way… all before I even have to go to work. Most days, by the time I get to work, I am sweating, harried, and disgruntled from all of the running around, organizing and nagging I have to do.

I could probably reduce some stress by preparing the night before, but who has the energy to do that?!?!

In addition to all the arguing and resistance to do the same things they are required to do EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. there is the mess-making and insanity-inducing repetitive singing of a two-year old. I actually feel like I am going crazy some mornings after hearing, “ABCDEFGHIJKABC!” over and over and over…

And Lillian’s scream is something to behold. It will stop you in your tracks. One of her teachers at daycare goes out of her way to avoid known triggers for her outbursts. I can’t avoid them. Diaper changes = screaming. Putting on a coat = screaming. Getting her in the car seat = screaming, I would almost prefer hearing Gabby incorrectly sing the alphabet at maximum volume.

Serenity now. Serenity now. Serenity NOWWWWWWW!

Working Mom Blog Series: Episode 3 – in which my house is not disgusting

So, I swear, my house is totally not gross, but we don’t clean while the kids are awake. 

Let me explain… This is part of the reason I stand by early bedtimes. I feel that the better quality the time I spend with my kids, the less guilt I feel for the time they are away from me. Thus, I do not clean while my girls are in my presence. Only when they are not here do I clean. 
The details: First of all, we do a ton after they go to bed. Laundry, dishes,yardwork… It all happens after bedtime.  I feel this is not only a safety precaution with young kids, but since Gabby is a fraidy-cat, it allows us to do noisy chores without whining. 
Secondly, we trade off kids when we want to get stuff done. If there are big jobs (painting, construction, grocery shopping), we will plan ahead and have one parent on kid duty while the other does the hard job. These jobs would not get done otherwise. 
Thirdly, we let Gabby help where she is able. I’ve long ago gotten over my perfectionism and am now a pro at just letting her do chores she wants to do. Who am I to judge the quality of her help? I now just accept whatever she is willing to do and keep my expectations low. It makes for much less anxiety. 
Last, I do make an effort to do things like clean the hardwood floors, vacuum, laundry over lunch breaks when I really need to get things done. Living so close to work affords me the luxury of not living in complete squalor. 
How do you get things done with kids around?

Working Mom Blog Series – Episode 2: How I See My Kids Enough

I’ve been criticized for sending my girls to bed too early. “You never see them!” To dispel the condemnation and guilt, I thought I’d touch on this because I feel like it can be helpful to other working moms. 

Lillian starts fussing to go to bed before I even get her home. For a while, I thought she was colic (even though I am skeptical of the colic diagnosis 90% of the time). Babies cry, so I powered through her early months thinking about why she was so miserable in the evenings. I went out on a limb. Maybe she’s tired! So I started putting her to bed between 6 and 6:30pm. 
Fussiness cured. Mommy guilt exponentially increased. She is awake around 5:30 or 6am and I drop her off around 8 am. Therefore, I am currently seeing her around 2 hours in the morning and maybe 1 hour before bed. I miss my baby but I am totally seeing her enough. Here’s how:
1. I stop by daycare at lunch. I mostly stop by to drop off milk, but if she’s awake I will stay to play. She usually will sleep during this time and I can go run errands or go home, but sometimes she stays awake and I am grateful for that extra hour of Mommy-Lilly time. 
2. I take her up to bed ASAP. Even though she usually intends to fall asleep close to 7pm, I bring her up closer to 6 so we can cuddle and play a bit without Daddy and Gabby. I want that little bit of together time and it is important to both of us. 
3. She still nurses through the night plenty. We nurse on average 3 times over 12 hours in the night. I feel like this is an acceptable amount (compared to Gabby) and she typically wakes for the first time past 2am which is pretty great.  I cherish these night feedings and am not wishing them away for one second. 
So that’s how I feel like I see Lilly enough. Gabby stays up later and is more interactive so I definitely get my fill of her by her bedtime. 
How do you maximize your time with your kids?

Working Mom Blog Series – Episode 1: How We Get Out of the House in the Mornings

Dressed and playing. Not quite ready to go.

“What time do you guys wake up in the mornings?!?!” I’ve heard this question time and time again from other moms, incredulous at Facebook pictures of my children fully dressed and walking around the house sucking down yogurt pouches at 7 am. I will let you in on my secret… I’ve learned how to avoid the major morning battles by simply ambushing my kids when they first wake up.

Lillian is usually the first one up. She starts rolling over and fussing in her crib between 6 and 6:30 am. I snatch her out of the crib, grab some clothes from her dresser and plop her on the changing table. I change her diaper and clothes and set her down on the floor with some toys to play with,

By this time, Gabby usually starts stirring and whining that she lost her binky. I move the crib from the wall, retrieve it (and all of the other junk that has landed there in the night) and plop her on the changing table and proceed to change her diaper and clothes. Now, I know plenty of people with toddlers would say to me, “I just change my toddler on the floor. You’re nuts trying to wrangle her onto the changing table!” The changing table is the key to my morning success. Gabby will run and grab toys or use a million other avoidance tactics to get away from me if I don’t have her on the changing table. I don’t give her the option to run and she knows better than to try to pull any unsafe maneuvers while she is on the changing table.

This process takes less than 15 minutes. I pick up Lilly and coax Gabby downstairs with the promise of a snack or a cup of milk. She can walk herself down the stairs (albeit SLOWLY), and I carry the baby down. I get whatever I bribed Gabby with, settle Lilly down with a toy and I am free to get ready for work.

Voila!

After the shoe and hair assault

The most challenging part of the morning is Gabby’s hair. She runs when she sees the comb, so I usually have to chase and catch her and put on PBS Kids so she will sit still for me to do her hair. Once she is ready, I load the kids into the car, start the car, run in and grab my bags and coffee and we hit the road singing “Let It Go” for the short 8 minute drive. Because I work from 9-5, we try to get into the car by 8:15 so I have time to settle them into daycare and do what I need to before I start my work day.

Once I drop them off and get to the office, I usually pump while eating my breakfast and drinking my coffee.

So that’s it! Is it hectic? Yes! But this is our routine and it works for us!

Do you have any tips to make mornings easier?