2

I might have given in, but with good reason!

Turner IpadTurner

I was always “that” mother. The one who swore that her child would never, and I mean ever ever play with a cell phone. I always said that I would never be the absent minded mom who so selfishly handed my kid my phone in public just to keep him quiet. No way. That is lazy. It is basically neglect. I was never going to do that.

I even had a house-wide ban on toy cell phones. My reasoning being that Turner just has baby brains and if I don’t want him playing with my real phone, then I shouldn’t give him a toy phone because he cannot distinguish the difference and it would be confusing for him.

Well, never say never.

By the time Turner was just a couple of months old our phones had become a toy for him. Moreso Andrew’s than mine, because I pay for my phone while Andrew’s is part of his job, so if Turner broke mine, it came out of pocket, and Andrew’s, well he had other options. It isn’t like we handed him our phones one day and told him to go to town. But he begged for it, grabbed it while we weren’t looking, and was just drawn to the screen’s light. He has the perfect finger motion too. Using the pointer finger to perfectly slide icons around. He was a pro before he could walk.

I can’t say that I didn’t try, because really, I did, honest.

Well, I did the unthinkable. You know “that” mom I talked about earlier, well if she knew what I did this weekend, she would have me thrown in jail! I bought Turner, my nearly 20 month old son, his own tablet. I had no other choice.

Before you report me to the authorities, hear me out.

The last few weeks, going out to eat with Turner has been a nightmare. While the easy solution might be, don’t go out to eat, it is really hard to give it up, because it is something Andrew and I really enjoy. Plus, I am no Martha Stewart, so I am never going to pass up a chance for someone to cook for me AND clean it up afterwards.

Turner has boycotted high chairs. I am assuming it is because we have never really used one at home, because when he was 9 months old my mom got him his own table and chair and he has eaten there ever since. Then, when we went out to dinner one night, instead of putting him in the high chair, we put him in the booth with us. It was easy, it worked, and it was way better than wrestling him in the high chair. Well, then he got used to it, and now screams bloody murder at the very sight of a high chair. So he gets free reign in a booth, or even a big boy chair. He does pretty well, except he has tons of access and room to cause trouble, which he did last week.

Before I could even process what was about to happen, Turner grabbed the bread off of the table and tossed it to the table behind us. The bread landed in the lady’s lap, she was less than amused. The couple were obviously on a date. You know, the type of date where they were sitting on the same side of the table (can you say awkward?!). So as she rolled her eyes and picked her jaw up off the table, she removed the bread from her lap and brushed me away with her hand. They were obviously not kid people, which is ok, not everyone is.

So we went through dinner, Turner letting out the average amount of screams, while Andrew and I played keep away with everything in sight. Despite being mortified that Turner decided his dinner would consist of nothing but ketchup, which he so artistically spread on the walls, it got worse.

Andrew and I had removed virtually everything from the table, the waitress has even removed our dishes, and once again, before I could even blink, Turner had jacked a red crayon from the table and tossed it to the same table behind us. Not only did the crayon land directly in the lady’s salad, Turner was so proud of himself, he threw both hands up in the air and yelled, ‘TOUCHDOWN.” Speechless, I just said I was sorry, grabbed Turner up and went to the car to let Andrew handle the check.

That is just the latest example of our restaurant battles. So, I broke down and bought Turner a tablet. One of those that are specifically built for kids, so hopefully, they don’t break easily. We have yet to try it out at dinner because we are still recovering from the most recent catastrophes, but soon we will give it a go. Turner did get to play with it at home the other night. He did well. There are TV clips pre-loaded, and I can add any android apps to it. I think it could be the greatest investment we have ever made.

Don’t worry, I don’t plan to let him have it all the time. Just when we are out and he needs something to keep him occupied. I know, I know, those tech toys will rot a kids brain… well, I guess we will see.

Don’t judge me.

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7

I need some advice from the parents out there.

First off, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and anything else we have celebrated recently.

So I am looking for some words of wisdom.

Our family had an incredibly blessed holiday. Turner was showered with gifts and love and it was a memorable second Christmas for sure. But it was his second Christmas. And our home is officially overloaded with toys. I am incredibly thankful for all of our friends and family who wanted to spoil Turner. Admittedly, Andrew and I also went on a Toys R’ Us shopping spree for the little guy. But as I try to get my life and my house back into order, I don’t know what to do with everything.

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This is just from one of the 5 Christmas celebrations we had with family.

1) I am incredibly sentimental, so I tend to hold on to things. I have his “first” toys that his cousin, aunt, grandma, uncle, great grandma, neighbor, and anyone else has given him. I am real big on “firsts.” Then I have kept his “favorite” toys. So if he loved it for more than a day when he was 2 months old, I probably have stored it somewhere and refuse to get rid of it. Then there is the fact, that Turner legitimately still plays with most of the things he got last Christmas and at anything since. So although he got bigger and better toys this year, I don’t want to do away with the ones that still get great use, even if they are a bit older.

So you can understand why my house is overflowing. We live in a pretty fair sized house with plenty of storage space, but somehow, Turner’s 2 Christmas and 1 birthday, and my online shopping obsession, have started to overtake us.

So here is where I need advice. Turner’s 2nd birthday is in May. While we want to celebrate our pride and joy with family and friends, we can’t take much more clutter at home. At Turner’s first birthday, we were already anticipating this happening, so we asked our guests to not bring a toy for Turner, but instead make a donation to a charity. And while we plan to continue to teach Turner this value on his birthday, that effort didn’t really work out last year. Some people brought toys for Turner and a donation, some just brought toys for Turner. And don’t get me wrong, we appreciate it beyond words. We value and love everything our friends and family have done for Turner. I don’t want this to come off as ungrateful, especially to all you wonderful family members who take time out of your day to read my blog.

I have no problem picking on my mom. For one, she doesn’t read my blog, and two, this is something I am not afraid to say directly to her, and have for that matter. My mom donated to the charity last year for Turner’s birthday. Then got him the traditional big yellow and red car. That car will be used for a solid 3 more years, and Turner loves it. In fact, I am fairly certain it is in our living room right now. But you see what I mean? My own mother wouldn’t listen to the no gift rule. She said, “I am getting my grand baby something for his birthday.” She is one stubborn lady.

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So Andrew and I were talking last night, and we suggested maybe asking for a no toy, charity thing again this year. Although it wasn’t completely effective on the gift end, our family did support the charity. And it did cut down on some gifts. But then, those who listened and didn’t bring a gift, felt awkward and out of place by those who did.

Another option we discussed was not having a party at all. Turner is only 2, so while we can get him a cake and just our little family celebrate, I think that would be sufficient. But I can hear my mother’s voice in my head. She would be furious that I was depriving her of the chance to celebrate Turner. So then we could have a small party with just family… but the only problem is, we have a rather large family. And that isn’t really a problem. We are blessed to have so many people who love us and care for Turner. Turner is very fortunate and one rich little boy in that aspect. But he is only 2. Do we need to rent a building and make it a production? It is 6 months out and I am already stressed about it.  Oh, and if you think I am crazy for worrying about a party that is 6 months from now, you must understand that in our very small town, spaces to have birthday parties are very limited, and are usually already booked by the first week of the new year, so I have to get moving.

The third option we disused was asking people to donate to Turner’s college fund. At least for another year or two until Turner could really ask for gifts. Turner has his own bank account and realistically probably already has more money than I do. We want him to have a college fund so when he graduates high school, if he wants to go to college, it will already be paid for. So we started saving the very day we found out we were pregnant with him. And it isn’t just spare change, it gets routinely contributed to. So we thought, we could get a huge piggy bank and have it has a centerpiece at the party and write, “16 years until college” on it. (Can we please talk about how I will only have 16 years with my baby before he abandons me? Talk about depressing!)

Is that tacky? Is it offensive? I just don’t know.

Any and all advice would be great.

We got Turner a motorcycle. Although he loves it... what 19 month old needs a motorcycle? He doesn't even weigh enough to make it move.

We got Turner a motorcycle. Although he loves it… what 19 month old needs a motorcycle? He doesn’t even weigh enough to make it move.

0

Elf on the Shelf and Santa… to partake or not to partake…

For as long as I can remember, I am talking early teens, I have always vowed that I was going to be the parent who didn’t go with the whole “Santa” thing. When I was younger, I would joke that it was because I wanted my future child to be the kid in kindergarten who tells all the other kids that Santa isn’t real. The thought of that always amused me.

As I got older, I realized what a jerk my younger self was, but despite the change in my reasoning, I still debate about the whole Santa thing. Not to sound righteous or pretentious or anything like that, but I think Santa is an excuse to bribe kids into being good for the last month of the year. I think it complete takes away from the spirit and meaning behind the holidays, and I am just not real cool with that.

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I get this might be the naivety of being a new mom, but I feel like I can instill in Turner the meaning of Christmas, the true meaning and purpose behind the holiday, while still showering him with gifts. I don’t feel like I need a big jolly stranger to help me get the point across. I understand that a lot of parents do the whole Santa thing because they want to experience the excitement and awestruck wander the myth brings around the holidays. That is magical and special, and I love that as well. So I am torn. Of course Andrew has different views, and he tends to be the boss, so any hesitation I have will be defeated by whatever the boss says, but still, I can’t help but think that buying into the whole Santa thing, without a healthy balance and education of Christ’s birth, is doing my child a disservice.

I am sure Santa will be a prominent name in our house as Turner grows up, I just hope that he grows up with the understanding that it is for fun, a game, and doesn’t carry any weight.

I also am confident, that as we introduce Santa, we will introduce the Elf on the Shelf. Turner actually already has one, and I am pretty excited about it. We haven’t opened it yet, Turner is only a year and half and would have no concept of what it means yet. But maybe next year. Regardless, I think it is fun. I want to introduce the little guy, but once again, I want it to be about fun and a family tradition, kind of like baking cookies or watching a Charlie Brown Christmas.

Also, I get that the Elf on the Shelf is a new thing, can we please take a second to think about how much money the creators have made?? But anyway, so the Elf is new, and Facebook is the first thing everyone thinks about… but I am not the biggest fan of parents sharing what their elf is up to every single night. Ain’t nobody got time for that. If you come up with a super cute, creative, activity for your elf… then I get it… please share so other parents can get inspiration, but each morning my newsfeed is filled with pictures of Elves taking Hersey Kiss or peppermint poops.

Maybe I am just a bad person. But I just don’t love that. Even typing this makes me feel like the Grinch.

I think my main concern with Christmas is that I am afraid that I won’t be able to teach Turner the significance of it, when there are so many other things like presents, elves, Santa, reindeer and other nonsense that dilute the real meaning. Sure I can tell him the story of Christ until I am blue in the face… but can that compete with a magically pooping elf who causes cute little trouble and a big jolly guy who magically flies around the world and brings presents to all the good little boys and girls? I really hope so, but unfortunately, I am not convinced.

0

We have officially introduced the time out.

Turner is almost 17 months old. He is very stubborn and very strong-willed. He fully knows right from wrong. He completely understands when he isn’t supposed to be doing something, and most of the time, he does it anyway. So last night, after taking one too many swipes across the face, I put him in time out.

He hates it. He knows it is not a good place to be. I put his little nose in the corner and stand behind him while explaining what he did wrong and how he shouldn’t do it. He fights it with every ounce of his being. He tries to wiggle free and tries to reach for me with a river of tears streaming down his face. It is tough. When he is reaching for me, and just wants to nuggle his little head up against my chest, it is hard not to resist. But I know I have to. After all, he is my child, and I was hell as a child. So I know what he has in him, and I know that if karma has anything to do with it, I am in for a real treat these next few years.

My little nightly terror.

My little nightly terror.

It is tough. I don’t plan to put him in time out for everything, just things I truly think he understands he shouldn’t be doing, like hitting. I want to call adult protective services… he is the worst momma-abuser. He doesn’t just hit me. He leans back and puts force into it before he slams his five little sticky, slobbered covered fingers across my check. And he isn’t afraid to use a weapon. Before I even had time to brace for it, he full-force slammed a golf ball into my nose. I wouldn’t mind some cosmetic work, but I would prefer to avoid it being because my toddler started the process.

In addition to time out,  I think I am about to get a lot more stubborn when it comes to Turner’s sleeping… or the lack of. Last night, like most nights, he woke up shortly after 3 a.m. for his nightly romper room. It is exhausting. I am constantly tired, and grumpy, and resentful, and it is about time he gets used to sleeping all night, alone, in his own bed. While it is far easier to rescue him from his crib (if he will even sleep there to begin with) and put him in bed with mommy and daddy, I know we just can’t keep doing it. I can’t take many more nights on the couch, because that is his choice location for his slumber. It doesn’t mesh well for me.

We are about to have one disappointed toddler. But I think it is time that mommy and daddy establish who is boss!

0

Catching up while just trying to keep up!

I desperately miss writing on here. I will 100% make more of an effort. Sometimes, life just gets in the way.

We just survived our first fight with pink eye. It started in Turner’s right eye, then moved to the left. It didn’t really impact him too much. I have always said that Turner is the least sick sick kid I have ever met. Nigh time was rough. When he would wake up with his eyes matted he was understandably afraid and confused, but other than that, it was business as usual.

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Turner’s eight tooth has broken through, and that caused more tears and fuss than the ear infection/pink eye. I hadn’t even realized the new tooth until he started gnawing on the coffee table, that is his go-to teething toy despite our best efforts to prevent it. It is so crazy to see all those teeth. He is 16 months now, just hit that milestone on the 30th. Just a couple of months ago when we had his 1 year pics taken he had half the teeth and looked so much younger. I just want to freeze him.

photography

My amazing sister, Ruby Peoples Photography, took incredible 1 year pics of Turner!

Last night when I was snuggling him to sleep, it hit me. One day, he is going to be too big for this. I dread the day that when he gets sleepy he no longer wants to crawl up on the couch with me and let me love him to sleep. It is heartbreaking. I don’t ever want that day to come. Just the thought is borderline paralyzing.

We can scratch off every item on the 12-24 developmental check list. He is such a little person. It is mind blowing at times. Sometimes I let him run around the house barefoot and in nothing but a diaper because it is the only time he still seems like my baby.

Whenever he does anything, I just want to freeze it for a second so I will never forget. Like how his face lights up when a dog or ball comes on TV. How when I walk out to the mailbox he climbs on the couch and watches me from the window. How he takes his toy golf club and swipe hopelessly at balls in the living room. How he finds his spoon and attempts to eat blueberries on his own. How he never passes an opportunity to splash in a puddle even though just a few months ago he was petrified of water. How he pulls out the drawers in the kitchen and plays in them. How he grabs both of my cheeks and plants the sweetest kiss i have ever had right on my lips. All of these things. I never want to forget them. I want to always remember them.

3

Getting settled into the new house is much harder than expected

We have been in the new house for a little over a week and Turner has yet to sleep through the night. I am barely functioning. His schedule is every way but right, going to bed a different times,  waking up hella early, and let’s not forget his constant middle of the night party sessions. 

Turner's new room

Turner’s new room

It used to be simple. He would wake up in the middle of the night, in a sleeping stupor I would go to his room, get him, bring him to bed and he and I would quickly fall back to sleep. All was right with the world. Well, has decided that that is no longer good enough. I can no longer just go get him and bring him to bed before slipping back off into dream land. It doesn’t work anymore. He tosses and turns and cries. My poor boy just cries all night. 

At first I thought it was teething, after all, he was cutting three teeth at the same time. But they are all grown and where they need to be, so that is out the window. Then I thought it was just the new house, and that it would take some time to get used to. Well it has been one week and two days and last night was one of the most challenging yet. 

Then I thought it could be an ear infection. We took him to the doctor Wednesday and the doc said that his ears looked like there may have been something, but it was better. So cross that one off the table. Then I thought it was itching because he got ate up with bug bites playing in the new backyard with the family on Labor Day, but I lather him up with itch cream and give him the doctor ordered Benadryl before bed… something that is supposed to make him sleepy anyway! But I got nothing. No sleep relief. 

Playing in the new yard

Playing in the new yard

Even when I put him down around 9, which has been about the time he has gone to bed pretty much his hole 15 months and 5 days of life, by 11 he is crying and awake. 

I don’t know if it is the move, growing pains, nightmares, or anything else I can possible guess, but whatever it is, I need it to stop. Andrew starts traveling for work again soon so I go into single parent mode and I am just telling you right now, I don’t know if I can manage. 

If Turner’s nighttime discomfort is related to the new house, I don’t blame him. I have had some frustrations associated with the move too. Like for instance, it never crossed my mind how difficult it would be to just function in a new house. All of our kitchen appliances and washer and dryer are new and different and fancy. The house didn’t come with an instructional manuel. So I don’t even know how to put detergent into my new washer because it is not like I went to washer school. As far as starting the dishwasher… Turner probably has better luck. There are so many buttons and settings and then how do you start it? No one ever mentioned that when going down this road. 

Turner helping get the new house organized

Turner helping get the new house organized

Oh and the worst thing so far, is what happened when we went to cook the other night. Andrew had a big nice deal planned, he was going to cook for me, it was going to be sweet and exciting. He went to turn the stove on to boil the water… and bam, nothing. We have a gas stove, and we knew that when buying the house. But what we never thought to ask, and the sellers never mentioned, is that the gas tank for the house was BONE dry. And the process to get it checked and filled and ready is not a quick and easy one. 

It is hard enough to figure out how the faucets work and which light switches turn on what and how to wiggle the key just right to get the front door open, but al this other stuff… its been tough!

0

Children exist… get with the program!

Last night, Andrew and I walked into a restaurant in a neighboring town. It is the town I am from, a very small North Carolina town with little to choose from when it comes to restaurants and outings.

The parking lot was about full, but the type of food it had was exactly what we were craving, so we stopped in. It is a small place. With an outdoor covered area/patio area and a small inside dinning room with an even smaller bar.

They weren’t full, there were tables opened, both inside and outside.

We told the hostess there were two adults and one high chair, and she scurried away to make accommodations. Less than a minute later, the manager came up to us and informed us that the only two high chairs owned by the restaurants were taken. He then continued by saying that since he didn’t have a high chair for us, it would be best and easier if we sat outside at one of the larger picnic style tables because we could just put Turner on the table.
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I guess it goes without saying, we left the restaurant. Time and time again I get frustrated when public places are not accommodating to babies. Like when a bathroom doesn’t have a changing table. I mean, I don’t expect every small mom and pop to be fully-equipped to handle what a child needs, but I really think it should just be part of the basics. Kind of like handicapped accessible. There should be rules and regulations for being baby-accessible. This is not the first time I have encountered such problems. When Turner was first born we had a similar incident.

I admit, I was frustrated. I was hungry, ill, it was raining, and the nerve of such a business, to be basically one of maybe 5 options in the whole entire town, and to not have a stinking high chair?! Unacceptable.

We left and went to another restaurant. Lulu’s on Main Street, which according to reviews is not very baby friendly. Well, we found quite the opposite to be true. Although the restaurant is a bit fancier than the first we stopped into, not only did the have a stack of high chairs, they were playfully painted. The kids menu was pleasingly priced, and the food and service was divine.

So the little high chair mishap ended up taking Andrew and I to a new favorite spot, so no harm no foul.

But dang it, if it isn’t frustrating to have public places, for no seemingly good reason, just not accommodate children and families. It is just bad business!

, SiteDart Author