For all of you loyal followers, we’ve moved for (hopefully) the last time. We now have our own domain: mancubmamas.com! All of our posts have been republished there and we look forward to bringing you all more great content.
It seemed like every morning was a battle with our son. It would easily take over an hour to convince him to get ready for the day. Even getting him to eat breakfast was difficult. He just wanted to wake up and play. After a particularly difficult morning, I realized something had to change. Enter our chore chart.
I know this may have seemed like an obvious solution for some parents, but sticker charts can be hit and miss with some kids. Especially since our son is only two, I wanted to make sure that the chore chart I made wasn’t too overwhelming. I tried to find some templates online, but honestly most of them included things that I didn’t need my toddler to do yet.
So I decided to make my own. It would only include the very basic things he needed to do in the morning. This is what we narrowed it down to: a fresh diaper, eating breakfast, and changing into clothes for the day. That’s it. These were things that we argued about on a daily basis. Three things that could be completed in less than 15 minutes if our son was focused. Once he finished his chores, he could play as much as he wanted.
I started out with a hand drawn chart to make sure this idea would work, and it did! Then I upgraded and made my own printable which you can view here: My Chore Chart. It’s in Word so you can either print it or adjust it to your child’s needs!
Our mornings are so much smoother now. We still argue over getting his chores done, but because he can see the visual and physically “check off” items, it makes things so easier.
Do you use a chore chart? What chores do you expect your toddlers to complete?
Our son went through a poop playing stage a back in May and we thought we were in the clear after two months of no incidents. But this week he did it again. You may pooh-pooh our predicament, but this is a serious issue. My husband is pretty sure this was premeditated. Although our son usually goes to his room to have some privacy when he poops, this time he brought a bunch of construction vehicles and shut the door. As you can see from the picture above, he had a great time using his construction vehicles to move loads of “dirt” like they would in real life. If it weren’t so disgusting, I would be more impressed with his creativity—like how he used his “dump” truck.
It is normal and natural for a toddler to play with their poop as part of the “Anal Stage.” With all of the incidents we’ve had, I never worried about the obsession as much as the mess that I have to clean up every time. So what can you do about it in the meantime? Here are some recommendations we received and how they turned out:
- Constant Vigilance. We would carefully monitor our toddler during the day, but the times he would get us were when he was supposed to be sleeping. He would be stealthily quiet. He would wait until he had ultimate privacy and knew we wouldn’t be checking on him. Because guys, I just don’t have the time to check on my son every 10 minutes to see if he’s asleep. I have things to do during nap time. Like clean up poop.
- Time outs while we clean up his mess. This gave him yet another opportunity to poop and play with it, since he was supposed to be in solitary confinement. As you can see, there’s a reason this suggestion is Number 2.
- Making him clean it up. Our son was thrilled when he found out it was his “duty” to spray cleaning solution on his poop and wipe it up. We then tried just making him watch us, but I felt like if he was going to go to all the effort of “decorating” (his words) the windows, then he should clean it up. Now we make him clean up his messes, but we realize that he doesn’t see this as a punishment.
- Sensory play. Literally less than an hour after playing in the mud, our son pooped and played with it. I tried pulling out the play dough more often, but I’m pretty sure it just gave him more ideas of what he could do with his doodoo. We basically just increased his sensory play time.
- Reprimands. Yeah, those didn’t really
stinksink in. As much as we told him that it was “yucky to play with poop” and “we don’t play with poop,” I’m pretty sure all he heard was “blah blah play with poop, blah blah blah play with poop.”
- Potty training. If you read Mama T’s post on Potty Training, you’ll know that it may take several tries. We had already tried potty training before our son’s poop playing stage and we gave up after three weeks. Nevertheless, we made renewed efforts to invite him to poop on the potty. I even left a little potty in his room so that if he needed to pull of his diaper, he could poop there instead. The next morning we woke up and he had smeared poop everywhere…except the potty.
What recommendation did end up working for us? Duct taping his diapers shut. This gem came from my mom, who apparently had to do this with all three of her children (including me). We duct taped his diapers before every nap time and every bed time. After a month, we stopped using tape just to see if he had noticed. He didn’t.
So what led to the incident this week? He was in a pull-up. I know this sounds like I’m a dumb parent, but hear me out: Up until today, our son hasn’t figured out how to get a pull-up off. It was actually easier for him to take off a diaper than a pull-up. So after lunch today I slapped one on him since we were running low on diapers. And that, my friends, was my mistake.
If you need me, I’ll be stocking up on duct tape.
It’s never too early to teach your child the alphabet. We started when D was 1! Even though progress was slow, we kept at it. Now, over a year later, D can recognize all of the uppercase letters of the alphabet. Whatever your child’s age, here are some tips for getting started:
Read with your kids. Read all kinds of books, but alphabet books can be especially helpful. Some of our favorites are Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Hooper Humperdink..? Not Him, and My Foodie ABC. I also love Greg Paprocki’s illustrated historical ABC books.
Songs. Besides the traditional ABC song, there are a lot of other versions out there! Whether “Cookie Starts with C” or Usher’s ABC remix, you are sure to find something your kid will like to sing.
Reinforce one letter at a time. The first letter our son identified was the letter O. So we made an effort to point out all the different O’s we saw throughout the day. This was an especially easy letter, since it came up a lot through shapes.
Physical versions of letters. Help your kids learn the alphabet kinesthetically through alphabet magnets or blocks! Since it’s back to school season, I’ve noticed that letter and number magnets are a easier to find. We picked up a lowercased set at Target last week in their dollar section.
Letter games. We have a letter and number monster that can eat our plastic alphabet magnets after our son identifies each one. We also have rounded up a lot of fun letter games on our Pinterest board here.
Tracing/writing letters. Whether you’re using a plain piece of paper or a book where your child can follow the lines, it helps to learn your ABC’s by drawing them. We picked up this awesome Write-On, Wipe-Off ABC book at the Dollar Tree. Usborne also sells wipe-clean books that come with a dry erase marker.
We get a lot of junk mail. At first I would just toss these straight into the trash. Then, I realized that I had several opportunities to make use of all that extra paper before getting rid of it. Here are some of the ways we’ve used our junk mail before ultimately throwing it away:
Toy Credit Cards. Got a credit card offer? Check to see if they included a “sample” of what the card will look like. I’ve started keeping these samples and put them in a toy wallet for my son. Now he feels just like an adult with all of his credit cards. The best part is if they get lost or destroyed, you can always get another one in the mail.
Crafts. Do you get newspapers every week? After checking to see if there are any sales we are interested in, we often save some of these for craft projects. For example, use these as extra coloring pages, origami paper, and wadded up paper balls to practice your trick shots. We especially like using newspapers when we paint—it helps protect surfaces from any splatters or accidents.
Cleaning. You can also use newspapers and vinegar solution to clean your windows and mirrors.
Shredding. Does your junk mail contain sensitive information? Invest in safety scissors and let your kids do the rest. D knows that when we get junk mail, it is his to cut. We try to put the junk mail in a specific drawer so he doesn’t end up cutting the mail we want to keep—otherwise we end up with a pile of confetti.
Envelopes. You know when you get an offer in the mail and they include an envelope inside for you to send in your money? I try to keep these and reuse them. If you have white labels, you can just slap one on top of the “Business Reply Mail” message up top.
Welcome to Recommended Reads! We’ll be doing a blog post once a month of our favorite picks for picture books, chapter books, and young adult books. If you follow us on Goodreads, you’ve probably already seen these pop up.
Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney. If the author sounds familiar, it’s because she is famous for her Llama Llama series. This book was released this month, and the illustrations and story live up to the Llama llama legacy. We loved reading this book and learning about all the different construction vehicles.
One of my all-time favorite series is Deltora Quest. It’s a series of eight books, but the books are shorter so they are appropriate for as young as third grade. These books are sent in a fantasy world where the main character, Lief, has to complete a quest for all of the jewels for the belt of Deltora. The best part of this series is that in each book, Leif has to solve a logic puzzle. I love that these puzzles give kids the opportunity to solve it themselves. These books were well planned and each character or event builds to create a fabulous series.
Even though it’s a little lower reading level, I found this book listed on so many “YA” lists that I’m just going to put it here. Holes is a fabulous book that ties together three different time periods into one fascinating story. The protagonist, Stanley Yelnats, gets sent to a youth camp for a crime he didn’t commit. He has to dig a hole every day as part of his punishment. Throughout the book there will be different stories about Stanley’s ancestors and how their lives came to affect his.
Looking back at my baby shower over two years ago, there are certain items that I am so grateful I got. These were items that I didn’t register for, but wish I had. That said, ALWAYS LOOK AT THE REGISTRY. The registry is king for baby showers. It represents the true desires of the mother-to-be’s heart. Please respect that and get something off of the list (with luck, they’ll have some of the items listed below on their list!). That said, if you don’t have access to the registry or the only items left are out of your price range, here are a few ideas:
- Children’s Books. A good friend of mine got Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and Numbers Colors Shapes for my baby shower and we still read them! They have been a great gift. I feel that you can hardly ever go wrong with children’s books.
- Bow Ties. We got several bow ties at our son’s baby shower, and we have used them all (and still use them). If we ever have a girl, I’m planning on registering for lots and lots of bows to help off set all of the gender neutral baby clothes we’ve kept.
- Burp Cloths. Babies spit up a lot, and I never felt like we had too many burp clothes. We received several beautiful handmade burp cloths, and used all of them.
- Bibs. There was a several month stretch where my son wore bibs every waking hour. He drooled so much. We would go through all of our bibs within a few days. Having cute bibs (especially patterned ones that were less likely to show stains) was nice because half the time people couldn’t even see what my son was wearing underneath.
- Baby Toiletries. One of my friends gave us a basket which included infant tylenol, diaper rash ointment, gas relief drops, baby shampoo, and baby body wash. It was incredible. We went months before we had to purchase any of those items for ourselves.
The best thing about these items is that many of them are gender neutral (instead of bow ties, you can do bows). These can be great gifts especially if the mother-to-be has chosen not to reveal the baby’s gender.