Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Living in Disarray

This is my house right now. It is not pretty.

If you've knocked on my door in the last few days and heard me hush everyone inside to pretend we are not home, I apologize.

I'm not sure how I let it get this way. It was clean last weekend when I arrived back home from a wonderful weekend away with my college friends. Mamie Moss and Big Philip made sure of it.

I post this on the blog to motivate me and hold me accountable to restore order to our humble abode. Instead of looking at larger homes for sale every day I need to take that time and put it to good use trying to keep the house in order. I think like most moms, I get terribly deflated after cleaning all day on a beautiful Saturday or Sunday afternoon, only to return to work on Monday and find the house looks just like it did before the cleaning spree. It's not anyone's fault. It's just what life looks like when actively living in a small space.

I don't remember it looking this bad when I worked full-time and since I'm returning to full-time work again mid June, maybe it will improve with the kids in day school and both adults working mostly outside of the home.

In the meantime, I've got about four weeks to get a better cleaning routine down in the house before returning to full-time work. And before anyone suggests I visit the flylady.com I ditched her long ago after she nearly gave me a nervous breakdown with all of her email reminders those first few weeks I tried to implement her system.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Potty Training Victory

We are claiming potty training victory with Helen after only about two weeks! Please recall the year long saga with Little Philip to share in our joy that this process was virtually painless. Things we did differently that produced a more positive result:

1. We had a girl.

Pretty much, that's it.

Kidding, of course. We attribute our success to the fact that this is a second child, and yes, that Helen is a girl. Also, we did not use any pull-up diapers. We went straight to big girl panties, and LOTS of them. Disney princesses, Dora, Elmo, stripes, dots, you name it. Whatever it took. And it did take. She favors the princess look. No surprise there.

Helen turned two March 18th. We potty trained in one three day weekend, toward the end of April. While her tiny bout with diarrhea during this ordeal was a challenge, we also think that this lent a helping hand in Helen learning to potty....a lot.

We still wear a diaper for naps and nighttime but already, the family budget is breathing a tiny sigh of relief from the burden of diapers and wet wipes being lifted.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Taking the Fear Out of Swimming

Little Philip has always had a fear of water. It is the typical stuff, water in his eyes is frightening, the thought of putting his head under water is terrifying, and so forth. We had him in water babies when he was about 18 months old but by the next summer, all comfort and skill was lost.

And then the unthinkable happened. Last summer, while playing in a hotel pool, Little Philip did what every parent fears. He was crouching on the side of the deep end, reaching for a pool toy that was just out of reach. I was holding Helen (15 months) in the shallow end of the pool watching the entire event unfold. The event, mind you, was all ten seconds at most. It still seems like an eternity now. Little Philip reached, and slipped in, silently, no splashing, no kicking, no screaming, just the nauseating silence as I screamed for Big Philip or any of the other adults in the pool to get him. He simply froze, straight up in the water, head just below the surface. It could not have been more than five second before and adult quickly pulled him up to safety. By then I was traumatized, trying to conceal my tears and fear from Little Philip who, himself, was a basket case. We quietly talked about it after the event with him, consoling him, trying not to seem alarmed but also trying to make him forget the event. We never brought it up again.

Fast forward to this past month. Pool toys are everywhere. Commercials on TV show kids playing in the pools and beaches. Our matching cousin bathing suits arrived for the Moss Beach Week. Little Philip regularly recalls the incident at the hotel pool with a whimper in his voice. It's real fear and I can't blame him. All the more reason that I am bound and determined to help him overcome this fear and see swimming as a fun and safe activity.

As a full-time working mother, there are no swimming lessons offered at a time that is feasible for our family. All of our local swimming pool lessons are offered for a typical two week session, at approximately 9:30 0r 10:30 each morning. As I prepare to re-enter the full-time work force in my return to work at Birmingham-Southern College in June, again, I wonder, how can we bring our son to the point of comfort and safety with water? Individual lessons may be our only hope, but I think the lack of peer pressure he would receive in a group setting may add another obstacle to his swimming training.

I'm on a quest. Since he loves to read anything and everything (seriously, he spent 30 minutes with a book describing the history of flag making), we just returned from the library with about eight non-fiction books about swimming, lifeguards, water safety, and pool games. I am crossing my fingers that these books might entice him to take a few healthy risks, knowing mom and dad are right there beside him as he learns to swim. With any luck, he'll be in the middle of the pool at the condo for Moss Beach Week swimming along with the rest of his cousins. We do not want another repeat of him hugging the concrete pool steps while Helen jumped from the side of the pool into our arms the entire week.

Are there any working moms in the Birmingham area that know of swimming lessons that are offered outside of the typical 8-5 work day?

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Philip Reading

Little Philip may have taken forever to potty train but eventually, he mastered it. One thing he has mastered is reading. He loves reading, anything and everything. We cannot spell out words anymore to each other as parents because he will quickly tell you just what you spelled. It is a wonderful thing to see him at the library, picking out books because of the topic rather than just the brightly colored cover. There are other children that read by age four like Philip, we know this, so please do not think we are bragging on our parental skills. We did nothing to teach him to read other than read bedtime stories to him beginning early in his life. His desire to learn to read rather than be read to, we solely attribute to his sweet spirit and incredible hunger to learn anything and everything!

At preschool when it is free play time, he will often go to the book shelf and sit down and read aloud to his classmates. It was a proud moment when I overheard a friend say to him "Philip, how did you learn to read so 'good'?" A huge smile spread over his face and he looked across the room at me to be sure I heard what was said. I silently signed my "proud face" sign to him to let him know that I was, indeed, a proud mama.

Here is a typical bedtime for us. He is reading The Wish Fish for the first time (an Usbourne first reader - I highly recommend Usbourne books!). This is one of about twenty books he chose at the library this week and he is ready to go back and exchange them for new ones already. In this video he gets tripped up on several words that begin or end in consonant digraphs (th, sh, tch, ch, etc) or those that have multiple syllables. Still, not a bad start to reading!