Parenting 2.0

Archive for October 2011


As of late, like let’s say, oh the last 7 months, I have become progressively more limited in what I can do in a day. A high-risk pregnancy means lots of ultrasounds, lots of appointments and lots of rules, and my husband is one the biggest proponents in supporting/enforcing these rules. And I get it. It’s his baby too. And naturally we both want what’s best for the little body growing inside me. I’m all for adhering to the rules of this inactive lifestyle, but that’s not to say that it’s not a challenge. I am a naturally active and busy person. I think of myself as an accomplisher, and being off work and limited in my daily allowances of movement has not been without it’s challenges.

Especially challenging during these last few months has been my decreased ability to interact with Niko. Not that I can’t see him and love him on a daily basis. But there’s no more lifting of the little tyke, which makes it hard to comfort him in his two-year old times of need. Like when he has a boo-boo or just isn’t feeling 100%. Anyway, we have adapted, and time is marching on.

In talking with my friend Sue a few weeks back, she said not to worry, my main job now is incubating. Ha. I liked that. I’ve adopted that as my mantra, and I have somewhat grown to accept that dust bunnies will take longer residence under my bed during this time of incubation.


To put potty training into perspective, my friend Alison created this lovely visual while we chatted on the phone. She’s got a 3 year old and an almost one year old, so that means a year’s-worth more of experience than I have. And while that doesn’t necessarily make her a potty training expert, I do trust and welcome her somewhat humourous advice. Well, humourous as long as her vision doesn’t come to fruition in my life…

Alison: So just picture this. It’s winter. You’ve just had a baby. Maybe you’ve had a c-section, maybe you haven’t but regardless you will be recovering, tired, and have two little tag-a-longs as your newest accessory. You’ve got some errands to run and are venturing out into the cold. You’ve finally gotten both kids and yourself, adequately bundled for the elements and buckled into their carseats when Niko says: “Mama I have to go pee”. But not only does he have to go pee, he does go pee. Right there. In his carseat and in his snowsuit. Now, you’re stuck with a peepee snowsuit and the prospect of trekking the kiddos back into the house, to fix this mess. Because accidents do happen.

And even once the mess is adequately cleaned, you’re still stuck with a peepee snowsuit and some errands to run. Did I mention that it’s -20 outside? Is this what you want for yourself? Seriously? Really? Don’t train him in the winter or before the baby comes. Because you know what? Once he sees that little baby getting her diaper changed, he’s going to regress and want the same attention for himself. Do you hear what I’m saying?

Me: Uh huh…

Alison: Geesh. I’m opinionated hey?

Me: …

***

Ok, so point taken again. No I do not want a winter of peepee snowsuits. Maybe waiting until the Spring for serious potty training will be more doable. Afterall no groom ever walked down the aisle in a diaper, right?


My little guy’s two, which naturally brings the topic of potty training into any parent’s mind. It seems two years old and potty training are synonymous. In other words they go together. They shall be born as one. It is time. But is it time really?

We had a plan for our little guy’s potty (mis)adventures. When he was one we bought him a potty, and once in a while he’d have success. It wasn’t forced, but if we thought we detected some potty-deserving action we’d pop him on there. Then around one and a half I bought him a potty-book, all about how it’s done, complete with pictures and words describing the desired actions. Those were back in the days when a lackadaisical approach was ours – afterall we didn’t want to pressure the little guy, nor did we want to stress ourselves out by force-pottying him.

But now that he’s two this potty business has been more active in the forefronts of our minds. And as anyone knows who’s ever looked into it, there is (too) much information out there about how to do it right: they say bribe them with rewards (stickers, chocolate chips, praise, etc.) But as my friend Ali pointed out, couldn’t that just force the little guy to expel a bladder that does not really need expelling, just for the sake of a mini-chocolate? Point taken. So Borys and I came up with another plan: let’s get this potty business done before her royal highness is born this winter. But again, Alison was my voice of reason. She’s a proponent of the waiting til their ready technique as well as the don’t put undue stress on yourselves when it’s not going to work anyway technique

Tune in tomorrow for Part Deux of this tantalizing tale…

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1) Cashing in on my 28 week Pregnancy Treat: Doctors orders! In pregnancy medical terms, 28 weeks is a milestone. So according to my doctor’s orders I  deserved some sort of treat. The form and nature of this treat being up to me. I told Borys. He guessed I wanted a massage, and bammo he was right. 30 minutes of bliss. Next pregnancy milestone – 32 weeks. Maybe we can up the ante to an hour… Bor?

2) 30 weeks pregnant! Due date: January 1

3) Still Got a Lot of Dance Left: Recalling a conversation between my sister Carolyn and me. A few weeks ago, when she was visiting, we were getting ready to feed the kiddos, while the radio played in the background. A song we both liked came on, and a mini-dance party ensued.

Carolyn: I still’ve got a lot of dance left in me. You know what I mean? (A short reflection on how life changes when you welcome a tiny family member…)

Me: Oh I hear you sister. I hear you. I still got a lot left in me too!

Our parents met a dance. Enough said.

Formal Bust a Move Date? TBA…

Informal Bust a Move Date? Anytime!

4) My winter boots came in from E-bay. I have Shoe Love!

5) The prospects of Extreme Couponing: Am I ready for this?

Book to hold coupons? Check!

Coupons? Not yet…


Our morning routine involves getting Niko settled at the table, usually with cereal or toast, some fruit and some milk, and accompanied by some form of YouTube video: Caillou, Smurfs or Thomas the Tank Engine. In general Niko doesn’t watch a lot of TV, but during breakfast he’s allowed to enjoy his shows while Mommy and Daddy get the morning started – showers, cleaning the kitchen, coffee!, etc.

We know it’s user beware when it comes to the internet, but after months of watching Caillou episodes Borys may have let his guard down this weekend. It seems some people like to tamper with children’s shows, and then post them on YouTube. On this particular morning, Niko was happily settled in for an episode of Caillou and Daddy had stepped into the kitchen to prepare some Cheerios, only vaguely tuned in to what was going on in the dining room, but his senses sharpening when he heard the voice of Caillou let out an very loud and exaggerated “F**k You”!!!. This is how it went…

Caillou (in his regular whiny voice): Mommy…blah blah blah (or whatever he was saying…). Yadda yadda yadda…(you get the idea..).

Then… dun dun dun… F**k You!!!

At this point Daddy’s ears were alerted and he rushed in to change the video. At which point Niko looked up at him and said quite seriously, “Daddy, Niko no like it.” (Note: Yes, he officially started referring to himself as Niko, instead of Kiko.)

Good boy Niko. Good boy.

Note to self: Must pay closer attention to what is being shown on YouTube.


Mama’s crafty.

Daddy’s artistic.

So can we blame Niko for embracing his creativity? No.

Can we be ticked off that his pursuits pulled him to colour on our walls? Absolutely.

But where did he get the red crayon from? At least that’s what it looked like had been used on our walls. It wasn’t until I saw him with his wooden block in hand and poised by the wall, that I made the connection. Don’t get me wrong, I love wooden toys! But when they double as crayons on freshly painted walls – walls that we repainted three times, before I was happy with the colour (Love you Borys!), my adoration wains.

The only solution I found to simultaneously encourage little Niko’s creativity, and put an end to his wall-canvas antics, was to buy him his own set of real markers and crayons, use a plastic sheet to cover the table, supply lots of blank paper and let him have at ‘er. Turns out he loves to colour and create and has even been so inclined to decorate a few home-made birthday cards for his pals.

I tried to show him that colouring on the walls on the walls was not acceptable. I held up the wooden culprit and feigned doing it myself, and then told him that’s not where we colour. We colour on paper. And it seems to have done the trick. Well that and the fact that all 24 of those coloured blocks are now out of reach and only used under direct supervision.

So for now, we live with his Picasso-like work. It greets me every time I sit down at our dinner table, and even now as I type this entry I can see the writing on the wall, literally. But I have to say, Niko does have a sense of humour about it, even though I can tell he knows he’s wrong to have done it. The other day, and even a few times after that I heard him saying “Colour Mama. Colour”. and when I escaped the kitchen to see his latest escapades, he was standing at his mural, holding up one of those tricky block/crayons, poised and ready to go. But he had a smile one his face and a twinkle in his eye, clearly indicating he knew the error in his way, and yet getting ready to make mayhem despite it. What a kid.

I figured it best to respond by simply asking him if he wanted to colour, reminding him that we don’t colour on walls, and offering him the plastic sheet, his crayons and markers, and some paper. He gladly accepted and away he went. After that I scoured the house in an attempt to collect any additional renegade blocks. Mission accomplished. I think.

On the wall…

On the paper…

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1) Sleeping Niko: I know he’s not got long left in this prison bed (aka crib), and when I check on him each night I can’t help but smile at this uber-peaceful side of my usually full-of-energy-toddler-man. Update: Since I first penned this draft, Niko has moved into a big-boy bed.

2) Dziadzio started walking Frasier: As I continue down my pregnancy path (29 weeks and counting- woot woot), I continue to refrain from what used to be daily activities. Seeing as Dziadzio is here every day to help pick up Niko from daycare, I approached him about walking the dog too. His first attempt resulted in heavy panting and lots of water drinking – from the pooch, not Dziadzio! Perfect!

3) A Finished Malkovich Room: There’s a room in our house that used to be a garage. Upon moving in last year we discovered it was 4 degrees colder than the rest of the house, in the winter. We hired a contractor, got it re-insulated and presto it’s done! At least the contractor’s part. Now on with the painting… Note: We “affectionately” call this space “the Malkovich room” because of its low ceiling. It seems its transformation from garage to indoor space, resulted in a lift in the floor, which ultimately dwarfed the room. If you’ve seen the movie, Being John Malkovich, you’ll get the reference…

4) Lena‘s 2nd Birthday Party: lion ears and face paint included.

5) I found a side table for our living room! Bye bye tipping-hazard-table, hello stable table!


Borys was surprised to overhear the following conversation between Niko and me when he got home from work the other day.

Niko: Mama Bi-dtch. You bi-dtch! Bi-dtch mama. You bi-dtch.

Borys: What’s going on down there?

Niko and I were in the basement playroom.

Me: We’re just playing with Niko’s cars and blocks.

Borys: But what’s Niko saying?

Me: He wants me to build a bridge.

Borys: Oh, well it sounds like he’s saying something else.

Me (finally cluing in): Hahahhahaa. Niko what do you want Mama to do?

Niko: Bi-dtch Mama. You bi-dtch.

Seems his toddler-speak only allows for two or three word sentences. And in this case, the missing “build a” between the “you” and the “bridge” made for an interesting play on words. Anyway, seeing as he’s got a love-on for bridges these days we only thought it was fair to forewarn his daycare provider of his newfound, or maybe better described as lack of, vocabulary skills, just in case he decided he wanted a bridge at daycare.

We could just see him: “Sherri bi-dtch. You bi-dtch!” and the ensuing look of puzzlement and concern on her face. Not to mentions the questions to follow once we picked him up…


Ever since Niko received a basketball net from Santa last year, it has become one of his prized possessions. We have it set up in our basement, which really has no other furnture in it, leaving lots of room for a makeshift court. Every day Niko can be heard asking begging pleading to go down there and shoot some hoops.

“Bass-be-ball! Bass-be-ball! Bass-be-ball!

Peas Mama! Bass-be- ball!”

Bass-be-ball: That’s his version of “basketball”.

Peas: Please


One thing about a toddler is that they like hanging around with their parents. Whatever the task, however meaningful or menial, these little tykes can be found lingering underfoot, just looking for ways to get involved. In these situations there are two options: include them or don’t. But whatever you decide – to include or not to include – their little hands will find things to occupy them, and if it’s guided by you, you might appreciate the outcome a little more than if they’d gone off and say just decided to colour on the wall or something (but I’ll leave that particular story for another post).

Anyway, Thanksgiving was upon us last weekend, and the cooking escapades started around 9:30 am, with just enough time to enjoy a couple cups of coffee before the labour began. Of course little Niko was lurking, literally squeezing his way in between me and the counter and doing his best to see what was being chopped and diced on the area just above his eye level. (See pic in top right corner: Innovative Niko standing on a makeshift stool – a.k.a. ice cream container – just trying to get a glimpse of the action.)

At first I sort of let him do his own thing, which involved rummaging through his favourite kitchen cupboard, and pulling out whatever caught his eye. Which on this particular day was the empty ice cream container. Oh the fun a toddler can have with an empty, ice cream container. He carried it around with him, doing laps, banging a spoon on it and eventually ended up putting it on his head in an attempt to sing Happy Birthday (see video clip 0:17). How does he think of these things? It was then, when I saw him donned his make-believe birthday hat, that I decided to get him involved in helping, and didn’t he turn out to be a willing set of extra hands. Mind you the tasks did take a little longer, but having him there and focused with me, just enjoying his company and still getting the stuff done that needed to be, was all worth it.

That day I was thankful. Thankful for those little hands that just wanted to help – or colour on the wall, whatever the case may be. Love you big guy!

HOW MY TODDLER HELPED WITH THE THANKSGIVING PREP…

He blended,

picked up the squash rinds,

and put them all in the compost! What an environmentally conscious little guy.

Break time: Snacks replete with complimentary dance moves and giggles (see video clip 0:22).

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