No More Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Is your toddler picky when it comes to the foods they like to eat? I never thought that I had a picky eater on my hands because up until recently Jacob would basically eat whatever was put in front of him without protest. *Sigh* I really miss the days when we could happily sit down to eat without any sounds of discontent expelling from the mouth of my near three year old. “BUT MOMMY I DON’T LIKE MEATBALLS, NO THANK YOU” and “GET THESE CARROTS OFF MY PLATE PLEASE” are often heard resounding from our dining room during meal times and truthfully I haven’t complained much about it because at least he’s using manners right? I am not one of those “finish what’s on your plate” type of mom’s but at the same time I’m also not a short order cook and I refuse to make separate meals for all the different personalities at our table so I’ve been trying to find ways to make food more interesting and edible in the eyes of a protesting toddler….

Lately I’m growing sick and tired of asking Jacob what he wants to eat and hearing the same thing over and over again….”a peanut butter sandwich please mommy!!” There he goes again with the manners…gosh this boy really knows how to get to me. I don’t have anything against peanut butter sandwiches and I’m quite certain that if I gave into his demands for round the clock peanut butter slathered on bread that he’d eventually become not so fond of the idea and ask for something else – I hope. The thing about me though, is that I am as stubborn as I am compassionate so lately when Jacob makes his request for a peanut butter sandwich I’ve been holding my breath and cringing as the words spewed out of his cute nearly three year old mouth. This morning I woke up remembering the days when my one year old proudly chewed broccoli without complaint and easily would digest more carrots then anything else on his plate – and with this vision in my head I promised myself that I would not get frustrated when Jacob made his usual peanut butter request and instead I would get creative.

Creativity was always something that people associated with me as I grew up, but somewhere between the lack of sleep and the demands of a newborn and toddler I lost any creativity I had….today I vowed to shake the dust off my creative brain and put it to work on my toddler. I waited excitedly for the peanut butter sandwich request and then suggested to Jacob that we were going to “try something fun” for lunch and that he needed to wait at the table and Mommy would be back with a surprise! I love that word – surprise – it’s fooled Jacob on many occasions but today he would not be fooled….lunch was truly going to be a surprise! I broke out one of the holiday themed silicon cupcake trays (in this case Easter) and filled each of the 6 egg shaped cups with a different food – cheese cubes, cucumber sticks, apple slices, yogurt, goldfish crackers, and 2 mini bear paw oatmeal cookies. Just before leaving the kitchen with my “goods” I breathed in and braced myself for the plea bargain I was about to have with my son “if you eat just a few things from here….Mama will give you a peanut butter sandwich”…that was what I would have said if he had complained about what I was offering – instead I was met with excitement! I’m not kidding you when I say that Jacob cleaned that tray of everything in it and then asked for more cheese and cucumber! Mission accomplished!

Now that I’m sitting here blogging this story to all my bloggy stalkers friends, I’m wishing I had taken a picture of my masterpiece – but sadly I was too excited to remember, so tomorrow I’m going to relive today’s experiment and take a picture to share with you all.

Maybe, just maybe I’m smarter then him afterall….

New Books!

Do you have preschoolers? Heck it sounds so incredibly weird to admit that I have a child that is considered preschool age..but I do. This weekend we went out to our local book store and spent about an hour scanning for new books to get The Dictator. It was definitely time to get some new school aged literature into our house because Jacob pretty much had all of his books memorized! I’d like to highly recommend this series of books for your preschooler if you don’t have them already – If You Give a Mouse a Cookie!

I just love this story and Jacob does too! We also picked up: If You Take a Mouse to School, If You Give a Pig a Pancake, and If You Give a Moose a Muffin….hands down this is such an awesome series with many more books then we picked up! We were fortunate enough to find it in a Collection Book so we got a discounted price instead of paying the full price for all four! You know Mama…always looking for a discount when possible!

The best part about purchasing these fun books? The author donates a portion of her proceeds to “First Book” – a non profit organization that promotes children’s literacy. What could be better then than picking up a good book for your own child while helping other children in your neighborhood gain the necessary skills they need to read….I’ll tell you what’s better…..nothing.

TV Doesn’t All Suck

You hear it over and over again from all those “TV Expert People” out there – TV for TODDLERS is B-A-D!! Well, you got me! I definitely deserve the bad mommy award according to all those TV Expert People (who are they anyway) because I sometimes use TV as a tool to lure the Dictator into a trance so that I can get stuff done around the house. I’m an all things in moderation type of girl and I’m not convinced that a bit of television every day is going to lure my toddler into a life of attention span problems, bad behavior, and/or criminal activity as a teenager. I try not to pick and chose the TV shows that Jacob watches because I want him to be able to use his imagination and not be drawn into something simply because I like it or appreciate it so we’ve always set Jacob up with a variety of Childrens programs and just let him chose what he likes best. The great thing about the channels on the television that broadcast programs for children is that they are commercial free – ROCK ON! So, all on his own Jacob has come to love The Wonder Pets, Go Diego Go, Super Why, and Bo on the Go. – every now and then he could take or leave one of those shows and substitute it for another but those seem to be his current favorites. I’m totally 100% convinced that all of those shows are teaching him one thing or another of importance but lets take a closer look at each one.

The Wonder Pets

This is by far Jacob’s most favorite television show ever! At first I was a bit skeptical of this trio of school house animals but I eventually came to love them. In this show Jacob has learned that its important to “work as a team” to help yourself and to help others. Through the relationships between the characters Linny, Tuck, and Ming Ming, Jacob is starting to learn the value of friendship and that doing good for other people and the world will bring good to him in return. I can’t stress enough how much this show has helped to expand Jacob’s imagination and almost daily I can hear him or watch him make up his own Wonder Pets adventures in his bedroom with a “Fly Boat” that he’s made entirely on his own out of building blocks in his bedroom. The best thing about the Wonder Pets? They almost always have celery as a snack at the end of their show and now whenever we take Jacob into the store and let him pick out a treat – he chooses celery over anything else – that rocks right?

Go Diego Go

I have to admit that this is not my most favorite show but it is definitely one that Jacob is currently quite interested in. There are some times that I wish the show was called Go Pierre Go because french is the second language here in Canada and I’d love to boost his french language skills before he starts school next year – but I’m totally 100% cool with his learning a little bit of Spanish too – why not? So aside from the third language that Jacob is coming to learn we also know that Diego goes on missions to help friends and animals and I think that’s pretty awesome. While on his adventures Diego leads kids through activities that teach about wild life, counting, alphabet, and my most favorite is that Diego encourages kids to get active while watching the television…Jacob and I are both quite fond of the episode where Diego encourages children to “stomp like the dinosaurs” – seriously the Dictator totally digs it and if he’s happy then I am too….we often stomp together.

Super Why

This show is my most favorite of all shows and I credit this television program with teaching Jacob how to spell at the rip old age of 2. Many of you readers might not believe it but many of my friends and family will tell you that Jacob can spell and it’s not just simple words like cat or dog….he really can spell words like slow and stop. I am incredibly impressed by this show because the characters (Super Why, Alpha Pig, Wonder Red, and Princess Presto) are believable. The idea behind the show is that the four main characters are experiencing a problem in life i.e there parents don’t believe them, or they are too shy to make new friends – and they seek help from story books – real stories that you and I loved as children too. Throughout the show they collect super letters to spell out a moral, hammer out the alphabet, spell words to change the outcome of the stories, and learn to rhyme. Hands down….this is the most educational of all the shows Jacob chooses to watch and hands down he has definitely learned the most – it’s on PBS so check it out when you can and I guarantee you won’t be let down.

Bo on the Go

This what I call the Nintendo Wii of television because it is the show that encourages children to get off the couch and do some real movement and exercise. The heroine “Bo” in this show is super energetic and full of life as she goes on adventures and encourages children to join her by participating in various physical activities. While this show does not have a large amount of “educational” learning it definitely teaches your child about the importance of eating healthy to get energy, taking care of your body, and being active – check it out!

There you have it folks! Don’t beat yourself up if you need to use a 15-30 minute television program to get a few minutes around the house – chances are your child is learning something even during those times. I try to spend some time watching the programs with Jacob and interacting with him when I can – it’s a great way to open up conversation and a super great way to see how much he’s learning from 30 minutes of TV every now and again.

The Hills Are Alive…With the Sound of Music

I had an awesome day today as a childhood dream of mine came to light and it wasn’t until the orchestra was delivering the notes that it hit me just how long I’ve waited for this dream. When I was a smile child had four movies that I adored as I’m sure many little girls did – The Sound of Music, Annie, The Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins were played on our old VCR over and over again, the first two so many times that I eventually memorized every word to ever song.  I think the Sound of Music and Annie were really my most favorite of the bunch and today as I sat next to my friend Lisa watching THE movie, MY movie come to life on stage….I cried.  The songs were like sweet memories and during the intermission I watched the little girls in their pretty theatre dresses talk about the show with their Mommies and Daddies or Grammies or whomever….I want to have those memories with my children and I hope that in the years to come we are fortunate enough to be able to provide them to our children.  The Toronto production was produced and created by the world famous Andrew Llyod Weber creator of many other successful musicals and winner of several elite theatre awards.  Today the cast was spot on, the music delightful and the emotions real…I LOVED every moment of it and had waited for years to see this production come to the stage.

It was far easier this time to leave Violet for the first time then it ever was with Jacob and I think that probably has a lot to do with the knowledge of Mike’s parenting expertise…..I guess  3 years experience with a son qualifies you to be alone with both of your children while their mom goes to spend a few hours at the theatre….sure I worried and missed her but gosh I loved that show….

I hope she can forgive me.

I’m certain she won’t even remember.

Earth Hour…

Yesterday marked the second annual global Earth Hour and I’m wondering where you were at that time? I was out and about staying away from my home and away from using electricity but it was obvious that not many people were doing the same. The Dictator was off for a visit with Uncle Jimmy and his “friend” Kara who has a son that was born just two days prior to Jacob. While Mike and I were out and about in our community we received a text message from my brother who informed us that The Dictator was partaking in earth hour by hanging out in a candle lit room – Jacob was sure to tell us all about it when we picked him up later in the evening.

I hope that as my children grow up I’ll be able to share with them the importance of taking care of the universe right alongside the importance of taking care of their own bodies. I really think its important to teach your children to turn out a light as they leave the bathroom or to keep the television turned off when they are not watching it. I have a pretty bad habit of leaving my lap top running during the times when I am not using it and it’s probably time I start teaching by example and shut it down when its not in use. It only takes a few moments to educate your children about protecting the earth – it’s really as simple as showing them where the recycling box or the light switch is. Try it…I’m going to.

Still Trudging Along…

Violet is still getting breast milk at 9 weeks old….I don’t know how long we will continue because it’s just really hard for me but for now we are hanging in by taking it one day at a time. When we hit the two month mark, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment. Regardless of when we stop the breast milk….I think I’ve given her a pretty darn good start.

Yay me. Rah!

Seriously Universe?

I feel like the universe reached down and gave me a great big smack in the face today. The morning started out perfectly with Mike letting me sleep in a little as he often does but it all went down hill from there. I’m not certain about the exact minute at which the universe reached down with its frigid palm to lay the smack firmly against my blistering cheek but I know that it did. Violet had some immunizations for the first time today and even though we did not do all the “recommended” shots we still did some of them and they made her a BEAR! That little diva was not impressed about the cruelty we forced her to endure and she professed this to me throughout the day with her irritability. Score one for the universe and zero for Mama Melissa…

After lunch Jacob needed his pull up changed and I asked him if he wanted to try under wear instead (since he had already dropped his poop earlier in the day…pleasant)..and much to my surprise he said he did want to wear under wear – Score one for Mama Melissa right? Wrong…I asked him several times to tell me when he needed to go pee in the toilet and he continuously reassured me that he would and about 20 seconds after I asked him for the fifth time if he needed to go pee…..he peed all over the floor right at my feet…Oh universe how you mock me! While I was on my hands and knees cleaning urine from our parquet floors Jacob got into Violet’s diaper bag and helped himself to the infant tylenol within and with his houdini dictator magic skills he was able to release the child proof lid (that took me ten minutes to open earlier in the day I might add) and poured the tylenol all over himself and a portion of my brand new couch. Keeping score? Mama Melissa 0 – Universe 3…..I spend the next 20 minutes cleaning up urine and tylenol (thankfully it all came out of my couch)…I breathe a huge sigh of relief to finally have some peace and quiet because Jacob is quietly playing in his room AND…entire the diva stage left. I had not even sat down for a moment to enjoy a glass of water and a little internet surfing and Violet is awake needing to be fed…

Somehow, I manage to get dinner on the table….but not before shattering one of our water glasses all over the kitchen floor. Mmhmm…..at this point I’m biting my lip with much agony and it isn’t until 1030 pm that I finally get some relief from the universe….the house is disorganized and frankly…

I don’t care….

Spring/Summer Clothes Shopping…

I’ve been really trying to down size the amount of clothing that both my children (all though its really more Jacob in particular) have in their closets. I’m really super proud of myself because while I know I’ll never be the person who only buys 4 or 5 outfits for their child, I’ve really moved past the need to be all “matchy matchy”. When Jacob was younger I really loved the matching shirt, shorts, hat combo’s but I’m finding it is not practical with a child who is starting to share his own idea’s and opinions about what he wears. This week when a 30% off Old Navy and Gap coupon landed itself in my email inbox I was happy to head on out and pick up some stuff for the kids for summer. I think this summer Jacob is going to have about 8-9 pairs of shorts in total which is a far cry from the 16 pairs he had last summer. So far he’s gotten 2 pair of navy cargo shorts, 2 pair of khaki cargo shorts, 1 pair of brown cargo shorts, 1 pair of navy knit shorts, 1 pair of brown knit shorts, and 1 pair of red knit shorts and with those basic colors on the bottoms I’ve just gone ahead and purchased polo’s and shirts in different styles to compliment. At Old Navy we picked up 1 khaki bucket hat and 1 navy bucket hat and I think those will be able to get him through the summer (if we don’t lose any of course). I’ve already managed to pick up 3 swim suits for him when they were on sale so those will work for his twice weekly summer swimming lessons….all that’s left is a new pair of shoes and a new pair of sandals for the summer since his shoes/sandals from the previous year are not going to fit.

I’ve purchased a few dresses and odds and ends for Violet but I’m not really going to be able to finish her shopping until I see how she’s going to grow. I think when I take her for her 4 month appointment in May I’ll have a good idea if she’ll need 3-6 or 6-12 month clothing….heck who knows maybe she’ll surprise us all and need 12-18 month clothing! ha! Wouldn’t that be a “big” surprise! I find it REALLY super easy to dress a baby in the summer so I am not worried in the least!

While we were out we picked up a few items that Mike needed as well including 4 polo shirts, 2 dress shirts, 2 t-shirts, and 2 pair of khaki pants…all on sale plus an additional 30% off…..LOVE THAT! Thank goodness I got a bonus from work to pay for it…..next person who needs new clothes is ME! I’m saving up now to buy myself some stuff in April….maybe May…I’d like to lose another 10 pounds first.