Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hannah and Atticus

My neighbor, Dawn, took these pics of Hannah and Atticus coming home from picking flowers with Neslin last week. They're so cute I thought I'd share.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A load in the drawers and a semi-functional sticker chart

You know how Hannah has been potty trained since a few weeks before she turned 2? Well, she's not anymore. When the "accidents" first started a few weeks ago, it was because she was engrossed in playing or, more often, watching TV, and couldn't be bothered with taking a potty break. This seemed relatively normal to me so I didn't worry about it too much, just told her that it was okay, but that she really needed to listen to her body and get to the potty in time. After a few accidents in front of the TV, I gently let her know that we weren't going to be able to keep watching TV if she kept peeing on the couch. (I'm always looking for a reason to not let her watch TV anyway.)

Then it stopped being a matter of being engrossed in something and turned into and all-out, straight-up aversion to using the potty. Example: one morning about 20 minutes after a cup of juice, I asked if she had to pee. She took off running down the hallway screaming "noooooooooo." I didn't push it; I brushed my teeth and and went about getting myself ready. When she came out of her hiding place in my closet a few minutes later, her pants were soaked. She obviously had to pee. She was not in the middle of an activity. She was reminded to pee. She refused. What's the deal with that??

Later that day she peed on the booth seats we have at our table while eating lunch. Just hauled off and peed. We were talking and hanging out and eating, and I heard a water-like sound and looked over in time to see a puddle spreading out around her. 

When the accidents first started happening, we were calm and gentle and careful not to be negative.  When the accidents got more intentional, calm turned to flabbergasted, and it showed in our reactions. We were both guilty of exclaiming, "Hannah! What are you doing? Why did you pee in your pants?" As soon as I heard it come out of Eric's mouth I realized how negative and accusatory it sounded and decided we needed to curb that and opt for some positive reinforcement. Enter the sticker chart.

Hannah's friend, Kylie, has a sticker chart and gets stickers for getting herself ready in the morning. Since Hannah LOVES stickers, and since toddlers across the country seem to be trained by these seemingly easy contraptions, I decided to give it a go. I got out some construction paper and created this less-than-artistic-but-totally-functional chart, then I called my mom to ask if she knew where I could find a sweet selection of stickers. She said she was heading to Target that night and would look there and report back. In the interim, I dug out the stickers left over from the egg dying kit Shannon brought over.

Our first day went pretty well. I decided that Hannah could have a little sticker every time she peed in the potty, and at the end of the day, if her pants were still dry, she could have a big sticker. She made it until dinner time with dry pants. No big sticker, but not a bad day.

The next day, sticker reinforcement arrived via USPS. Grammy had found a huge arsenal of stickers at Target and instead of just reporting back, she bought them. All of them I think.

Within the arsenal of stickers is a highly coveted pack of princess stickers. These became the new end-of-day prize. So far, she has received one princess sticker, and really, I cheated that day. She did pee in her pants, but it was first thing in the morning and during an INSANE temper tantrum. I decided to "forget" about that at the end of the day because it was the only day she didn't pee right around dinner time, and I figured she forgot about it too, and I wanted to give her a little incentive, so she she got a princess sticker that day.

The chart mostly worked for most of the week (except for the daily evening accident), then this morning she peed in her bear cave (a fort her and Eric made out of couch cushions and blankets), and then during quiet time she dropped a giant load in her pants. That's the first time she's pooped in her pants in a really, really, really long time, and it was really, really, really uncool. We put her in a diaper after that, and she's still in it now.

When we ask her what's going on and why she's peeing in her pants, she just says she doesn't feel like going to the potty.  I called the doctor about it at the beginning of last week and they suggested I bring her in and have them run a quick UTI test, just to rule that out, but that based on what I'm saying, it doesn't sound like that's an issue. Since the sticker chart was working until today, I didn't prioritize the doctor visit, but I suppose I should.

From what I'm reading online, a potty-training regression is pretty normal, but this one just seems crazy. Has anybody experienced one this HUGE?? Any advice? How long will this last? I don't want to go back to diapers!! I'm trying to stay positive with her, but it's really getting frustrating. Of all the times that we have regressed into a behavior that I thought we had moved beyond (sleeping, tantrums, whatever), this has got to be the worst.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Climbing trees at Sherwood Gardens and other nature tales

For not having any kind of a yard, we managed to spend a great deal of last weekend communing with nature. On Saturday we met Brody and Addison (and parents) at Sherwood Gardens to climb trees, run around on the soft, green grass, and not traipse through the pretty tulip patches. There were a few casualties (two of which are in a vase on the table), but most of the tulips were still standing when we left. The kids were far more interested in tree-climbing than tulip-picking anyway.

Addison is a big fan of Hannah's binoculars (a free gift with her subscription to Wild Animal Baby, courtesy of Grammy). She practiced looking cute while strolling in circles around the tree while Brody and Hannah engaged in some pretty aggressive tackle football that had the grown-ups cracking up. Unfortunately, I didn't get a pic of Hannah taking Brody down, which she did repeatedly, much to Brody's delight.

At some point, one of them spotted a "trail." Really, one of them just got smart and decided to dub the mulch a "trail" in a successful effort to gain permission to traipse through it. They're smart little buggers. Within the trail was a young girl (maybe 10?) perched on a tree with her journal. Hannah and Addison were obsessed. They stood there and stared at the girl for eons while Erin and I tried to coax them away. They asked a few questions too, like "what are you doing?" and "why aren't you wearing pants?" (She was wearing short white shorts which I guess confused the questioner.)

Quiet time was a wash that day--we were at the gardens until after 2:00. Time flies! As a result, when we packed up and picked her up to go, over-exhaustion kicked in and she screamed bloody murder from one end of the park to the other as we made our way back to the car. She finally calmed down a few feet from the street where we'd parked, and Brody summed it up for all of us when he said something along the lines of, "I had enough of Hannah crying," in his very cute voice.

We spent most of the rest of that day crashed out on the couch, but then the next day, after a morning at the farmer's market and planting flowers, we drove out to to the Ellicott City area to visit Jess and Todd. I'm really bummed that I didn't take my camera with me there because if I had been going mamarazzi, I'd have a picture of Eric holding up a crayfish, a salamander, and a frog for Hannah to investigate. Awesome, right?? Their house backs up to Patapsco State Park, so we hopped on the access trail from their backyard and followed it down to the train tracks and the river on the other side. On the way down, Eric found a stream off the trail that was teaming with life--a crayfish and salamander were in hand within a span of a few minutes. The frog they found at the river, and Hannah got to hold that one, at least until he hopped out of her hands and swam away. They also found a snake curled up on the bottom of the river, but they left him where he was.  It was a seriously awesome visit: not only did we get to hang out with two of our favorite friends, but we got to do so outside in a beautiful park on a super gorgeous day. And then they fed us dinner with some delicious vegan carrot cake muffins for dessert. How lucky are we!!!

We all smiled ourselves to sleep on Sunday night, taking turns exclaiming what a great weekend it was.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Let's go fly a kite (I'm singing that, you know, like the song??)

This Easter we canceled the family egg hunt (for good reason, which I will get to later) and instead went to the farmer's market, yoga (just me), Fort McHenry to fly a kite, and then Matsuri in Federal Hill for a sushi dinner.

It was the perfect end to a very un-perfect and insane weekend. On Friday afternoon, Hannah passed out on the hallway floor. Since she has never been one to pass out easily even under ideal situations, this was shocking. Her friend Kylie was asleep in our room so I assumed she laid down there to wait for Ky to wake up and then just accidentally fell asleep. In hindsight, I realize it was a pretty strong indicator that she wasn't feeling well.

She got increasingly clingy and tired and whiney as the day went on, and I eventually smartened up and took her temperature. I have no idea how high it was because when it hit 103.1 I tossed the thing aside and raced her to the tub where I tortured her with a lukewarm bath and a dose of children's Ibuprofin. Of course Eric chose that day to not come home from work and not call and not answer his phone and that coupled with my crazy nerves in a stressful situation made for a completely frazzled mama. After a few hours her temperature was down to 100, and I put her to bed, but we were up and torturing her with another lukewarm bath at 2:00 in the morning...

We slept in the next day, and her fever was gone when she woke up. She seemed in good spirits and wanted to go to the zoo as we had originally planned so we did, but that was probably a bad idea...We stopped off at the Bunny BonanZOO event first hoping to participate in an egg hunt, but it was no egg hunt. There were tons of eggs scattered in this open area of grass and the kids just picked them up. Where's the fun in that?? I mean, Hannah still loved collecting eggs (and NOT trading them in for candy), but in my opinion, it was kinda lame. Amy was with us and Hannah was eager to show her some of our favorite spots so we rode the tram in to the main area and the two of them rode the carousel before grooming a few goats and then peeking in on the giraffes. After that we hightailed it home and Amy and Hannah passed out within minutes, all curled up cutely in Hannah's bed.

Hannah's fever returned that afternoon, and I got hit with a major sinus headache and watery eyes (allergies???) so we spent the rest of the day watching movies on the couch. We had plans to head to Hagerstown on Sunday to do an egg hunt at my dad's, but we were hurting and my brother already had other plans too so we rescheduled for the 21st and enjoyed a day of kite flying and sushi eating.

We didn't totally forgo Easter though; in addition to the zoo event, we dyed eggs. We had Amy, Shannon, Demetrios, and Atticus over for dinner last weekend and after filling our bellies, Shannon led the kids in egg dying. Atticus' favorite part was cracking and smashing the eggs, and really, I can't blame him. If I weren't conditioned to think of how wasteful that was, I think I'd really enjoy it too. I tried to take pics but my camera battery died as soon as I turned on the camera.

I'm super behind on my blogging so you'll have to forgive me, but I'm going to keep regurgitating our various insignificant activities all over this computer screen, and I'm warning you: there are very few pictures because I have been sucking at carrying around my camera.

The day before our egg dying extravaganza we met Kylie and her mom at the library for the kickoff party to the month-long Fairy Tale Festival. Hannah wore her belly dancing costume, and Ky dressed up as Snow White. The festival was cute with a few really fun activities including a huge arsenal of dress-up clothes that could be tried on and worn around the library and a great activity centering on The Little Red Hen book in which kids get to act out each part of the book from buying the groceries to mixing the ingredients to decorating the cake. The dogs that help people were also there and one was dressed as a princess which Hannah loved! We hung out with that dog for a long time...

Earlier that morning Grannah and Granpah hopped in their car and headed back to Michigan after visiting for the week. They were here Monday through Friday, and both Eric and I had to work most of the days so we didn't get in a lot of quality family time, but I think they got a lot of quality Hannah time. Every afternoon after quiet time, Grannah and Granpah took Hannah out for an adventure while I stayed home and worked. They went to the mall and the American Visionary Art Museum (which Hannah pointed out on Sunday when we passed it on the way to Fort McHenry).

Just before they arrived was the event that kicked off this blogging hiatus of mine: the circus! Eric and I are big fans of the circus and will probably take Hannah every year. This year we took Grammy too, mostly because they were running a special where if you bought four tickets, you got them all half price, but enjoying her company was also a factor! Apparently this was her first circus since I was Hannah's age so that made it more fun.  We arrived late, which Grammy will tell you is the usual for us, but I assure you that we are early on some rare occasions and that in general, we are right on time. This year's circus was not as amazingly awesome as last year's (last year's was their 140th anniversary so it was a bigger deal), but it was still a lot of fun, and our seats were right in front of the high wire which, in addition to the trapeze acts, was the coolest part. We kept telling Hannah that it was just like the balance beam in gymnastics; I'm not sure she believed us. I didn't bother bringing my camera since I didn't manage to get any good pics last year, but my mom took a few and although they turned out even worse than mine probably would have, I'll share them anyway.

Why are there doubles of us in this one??
That's it. Now you're all caught up in the none-daily activities of the Kellogg's, if you happen to care about being caught up. It's been a fun month, though we're getting to the point now where there are fewer and fewer first times, and as such, I'm carrying my camera around a lot less...

I've got another belated post brewing pertaining to Montessori which is where Hannah will be going in the fall, but I'll save it for another day. This is enough of a data dump for one day!