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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Jack's Potty Training Adventure // Part 4 // Big Sister Helper

Layla has been asking to potty train Jack since we bright him home from the hospital. I don't know what it was about potty training but she was just SO excited to help. We the day finally came she was all about helping but I felt like I also needed to prepare her for what was to come. Obviously this was a much bigger transition for baby brother, but there were a few things she needed to know: 

#1- Mommy was going to be pretty busy running around soaked in pee. 
#2- She was going to have to start sharing her bathroom (gasp). 
#3- She might hear a few naughty words slip out of Mommy's mouth but we aren't going to share those things with Daddy.
#4- Her brother probably won't be wearing pants for awhile (or ever again). 

After having a chat about what potty training wasn't all M&Ms and cheerful voices, I told her I had a few very important jobs for her. I figured this would help her feel some sort of ownership of helping train Jack and also keep her busy while I spent 90% of my day in the bathroom with him. Before someone comments or thinks that giving my 5 year old potty training duty is inappropriate- Layla LOVES chores. She's not human...girlfriend will CRY if I don't let her help me scrub toilets, dust, cook or sometimes fold laundry. You better believe I take full advantage. 

So Layla was in on "operation potty train" and her jobs were as follows-

* Manage the potty timer- when it went off she was to blow the "potty whistle" and let us know it was time for Jack to sit on the potty.

* Keep the apple juice coming. I would pour the juice but she would go around and shake his cup to let me know it was empty at any given time. She would then make sure to serve her little bro a full cup.

* Fold clean underwear. I think this was one of her favorites lol.

* Portion rewards- 1 M&M for Jack, 1 M&M for her when he had a success (you better believe she was cheering him on lol). 

* The most important job- potty coach and cheerleader! She helped sit with him and encouraged him to "go Jack go!". And helped me keep an eye on him while I needed to make lunch or dinner. When he made his potty sound, she'd whistle for me. 

Layla was a huge help getting Jack trained. I would really encourage those of you with older kids to get them involved. It can be fun for them AND it really helps keep things positive for your little potty trainer. 

Did you get your big kids involved? 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Melting Your Own Crayons

Since we have SO MUCH free time during 'nap time' and after the kids go to bed, we like to make a little pocket change off our blog posts afford lip gloss, wine, and boots=)  So FYI there are some affiliate links in this post.

Our basement is a 70s era disaster but we've been working over the last year or so to get it picked up. We painted over Christmas break to lighten up the dark (gross) paneling and put some old furniture and toys down there to give the kids something to do while we worked on organizing. The kids get so excited to play down there even though our carpet is a horrifying shade of brown mixed with orange and creme "specs".

A few weeks ago I told my daughter she could go down there and play with/color on a cardboard playhouse we have down there. (If you do not have one of these, you are TOTALLY missing out!) She took all our crayons down there and decided to break every. single. crayon we own instead of coloring nicely.

#1- What makes a kid decide to do this?!

#2- What was I going to do with all these broken crayons (I HATE wasting things likes this)?

#3- What was she going to color with now because I am NOT buying new crayons.

Where does a Mom turn when she has questions like these? Pinterest DUH! And, as usual, Pinterest did not disappoint. We will make NEW crayons!

The first step to making our "new" crayons was to peel all the paper off the broken ones and weed out the "cheaper" crayons. Using Crayola brand only was a great suggestion from a friend - apparently the off brands don't mix well and will cause your finished product to chip and break. We did have one of our new crayons break after cooling and I think it was because a knock off crayon made it in the batch.

Next preheat your oven to 275 and start loading your molds. Use silicone molds that are approved for baking, your finished crayons will come out of these MUCH easier than a traditional pan. We lucked out and borrowed a neighbor's heart mold, then found a cute bunny one at a local craft store. Our options were pretty limited but if you plan ahead, Amazon has some absolutely ADORABLE molds. Here are a few of my favorites: 

I would highly recommend loading each cavity with different shades of the SAME color (see our picture above). If you are looking for a "filler" color, use white. If you mix too many colors together you will get a nasty looking black/brown crayon whose only use will be a stocking stuffer threat when your kids are naughty. But I wouldn't know anything about that. Another color tip- glitter crayons are the BOMB. They make your finished crayons look amazing so, if you have some, try and distribute them to as many of your cavities as you can (don't load them up for one big glitter crayon).

Also - try not to overload the molds. Mainly so the crayons melt down into the mold and not across the top making a huge mess!

Pop your molds onto a cookie sheet and put in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. Make sure they look like liquid before pulling them out. If there are a few little clumps, use a tooth pick to stir that mold until the clump melts. Getting all the clumps out will make your finished crayons nice and smooth. 

When time is up, take your molds out of the oven and use a tooth pick to swirl the color. You don't have to do this step but we did it for our second batch and they turned out super cool! 

Give the crayons plenty of time to cool so they don't crack when you take them out. We left them alone for about an hour then popped them out of their molds.

And now your kids can enjoy their "new" crayons! How easy is that?! These would make great party favors, stocking or Easter egg stuffers or Valentines as well! Best part- your kids won't even want to break them! :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Jack's Potty Training Adventure // Part 3 // The scoop

It's time for me to share Jack's potty training story! He was 2 years and 2 months when we decided it was time for underwear. I spent a lot of time preparing myself and him for our little adventure. I also had to get big sister prepped and involved because #1- it can be super helpful for little brothers/sisters to see their siblings use the potty and #2- I knew I would be spending a lot of time running around on potty duty and I didn't want her to feel left out.

Supplies were gathered, kids were warned and, before I knew what was happening, it was potty training day.  The plan: 100% underwear at home during the day, Pulls Ups for car rides and trips, diapers at nap and bedtime (exactly what we did for my daughter). Load up on apple juice and set a potty time timer for every 10-15 minutes. Simple enough, right?

My son woke up that morning and we walked around the house to see where all HIS potties (one in the kitchen, one in the living room and then the "big" potties in all the bathrooms) were. I told him simply that our pee and poop needs to start going in the potties. Then I let him pick out a clean pair of undies and away we went. This is how Jack felt about potty training-

His face stayed like that for days. LOL. Big sister on the other hand, she was THRILLED. I'll talk more about her "job" in another post but she was a HUGE help and I'm very thankful for her. Here is the proudest she has ever been of her baby brother- he's sporting undies!

About 3 seconds after that picture was taken he peed in his underwear. I took a deep breath knowing that this was my life for the next week or so. And that's how my day went- he peed in his underwear every 5 seconds. I swore Layla didn't have that many accidents in one day. I can't remember how many times I had to change his clothes, let alone mine. I used half a bottle of carpet cleaner and Layla, who was SO excited for this milestone in the beginning, decided that he could go back to diapers so we "don't have to worry about it anymore". But my sweet boy was still smiling so I knew we couldn't give up!

But maybe that smile was just an effect of the sugar high from all the suckers he was given so he'd sit STILL on the potty. 

Day 1 accomplishments - Jack sat on the potty every 15 minutes for at least 1 second at a time. Towards the end of the day he was more comfortable sitting for longer periods. He had 10 million accidents and a couple small successes (basically I was able to get him on a potty mid pee and a few drops got in). Potty training sucks. 

Something that people don't warn you about is the sleep regression that takes place when you potty train. My daughter completely dropped her nap a few weeks after we potty trained (at barely 2). I was scared about Jack because he has NEVER been a good sleeper. He still wakes up 2-3 times a night and is a holy terror to put down for nap and bedtime (I will not sugar coat it...even Grandmas can't tackle this job). Night one went a little something like this- 

That's Jack under his bed fighting sleep. Awesome. But he woke up refreshed and ready to tackle day 2- 

The second day was a little harder than the first day. He had a few small successes but still lots of accidents. One difference between training Layla and training Jack- his accidents were much smaller. A lot of times I didn't even know he'd had one until our potty timer went off and I got a good look at his underwear. It's like he would just leak pee all day long.

Day 2 accomplishments - Accidents were not as big and he was figuring out that he could hold it. He was more comfortable spending longer periods of time on the potty. 

Oh day 3...If you can make it past day 3 without giving up, you are golden. This is the day that makes you wonder why you even started potty training in the first place. You realize you have just spent 2 days cleaning up pee and washing load after load of laundry. You've asked the question "do you have to go potty?" at least 100,000 times and you regret buying a new couch a few years ago.

Your child is tired too. It's a big change for everyone! I had to stop and take LOTS of deep breaths during day 3. Towards the end of the day I realized we had made better progress than I thought!

Day 3 accomplishments - Accidents were much farther apart and we had a lot more success on the potty! He didn't mind sitting on the potty anymore and actually enjoyed having juice and snack while he hung out and waited for the magic to happen. He pooped in his diaper at nap but woke up and pointed to his dirty diaper when I walked in. 

I woke up the next morning tired and discouraged and wishing there was someone I could pay to hypnotize this child into using the toilet. But we calmly started our day by setting the potty timer, drinking our apple juice and waiting for an accident to happen. 

But no accidents happened that morning! Jack had a few successes and not a SINGLE accident before nap! I was so proud of him and, more importantly, he was proud of himself!

He had one small accident that evening but he was holding it until he knew it was time to use the potty! 

Day 4 accomplishments - Only 1 accident! Holding it until it was time to sit on the potty! 

I decided that we would use day 5 to work on having HIM tell us he needed to go potty. We put the potty timer up and watched his queues. For Jack this meant when he grabbed himself and grunted. I even trusted him on the furniture again!

We needed groceries the next morning and I didn't put diapers on my was an amazing feeling. 

Day 5 accomplishments - No accidents and he was "telling" us when he needed to go!

Fast forward to 8 or 9 days out and Jack was a potty champion! He was letting us know when he had to go and was peeing AND pooping on the potty. He was also more comfortable going on the big boy potty so we were able to put all the smaller ones away.

We are now almost 2 months out and still have a bit of work to do. He is still in a diaper for nap/nighttime which won't go away for awhile (and that's OK!). There are three potty training goals Jack still needs to meet: #1- not peeing in the car, #2- not using his Pull Up like a diaper when we are out (we are getting there) and #3- saying the words "I have to go potty".

I feel like #3 will never happen. Do you know how embarrassing it is to have to explain to a nursery worker at church that "if Jack grabs himself and growls, that means he has to potty". When he grabs his front he has to pee, when he grabs his booty that means he has to poop. He will not use his words until AFTER he has gone...then he will run around and tell everyone "I went POTTY!!!". He can obviously say the words and knows what they mean, but he has his own way of doing things.

One more goal that we are working on is wearing underwear with pants. He gets confused if we try to put pants on him at home and he has accidents. I don't really get it but for now it's easier to just let him run around in underwear and not worry about it. I'm not kidding when I say this was 1 of 3 pictures I could find when he was wearing underwear with pants in the last 2 months. Ha!

I'd say being overall potty trained in 4-5 days isn't bad! And that's not the only positive thing that happens when you potty train! Both of my kids started to become more independent and communicate more after they realized they could do big kid stuff. Now if we could just get this wild child to SLEEP....

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