Archive for Toddler

11 Oct 2010


5 Comments Toddler

Garrett started preschool about a month ago at a very lovely, well-respected school. His first day there, he happily waved goodbye to me as he played with some plastic dinosaurs on the floor.  It was a little too easy of a transition; a little too good to be true.

Russ and I went to pick him up that day at 2:45, and he sobbed uncontrollably when he saw us.  His red, puffy eyes were an indication that he had been crying for some time.  “He was fine all morning”, said the teacher who had just handed him a graham cracker, “Then at lunch he just broke down”.  We chalked it up to separation anxiety and took him again the next day. This time he was slightly more hesitant and cried a little when I left, but the crying was even worse when I picked him up.

Come to find out, he was only one of two kids from his class who stayed through lunch and nap.  He had watched all the other kids get picked up by their mommies and daddies and clearly thought that we had forgotten him. Oof. The rest of that week, I stayed with him from nine to noon then took him home to nap.  The following Monday I kept him home, then started the process again.   If I even left to go to the bathroom, Garrett wept until I returned.  If I left him there for an hour, he’d slowly recover, but he was never truly happy. This was not my kid. Read more

05 Oct 2010

Potty Training

5 Comments Toddler

Oh. Dear. God.

Isn’t it odd that humans have to teach baby humans how to use the bathroom?  I mean, animals just go.  They pee and poo wherever they want to from the time they’re born until they die.  But not us.  We do our business in a diaper until someone decides it’s time for us to put our business in a cold, white, porcelain receptacle so it can be flushed away into the mighty sea.  And then we end up in diapers again, but that’s another story.

We started potty training Garrett when he was two-and-a-half.  He had all the signs of being ready; holding his urine for long periods of time, waking up with a dry diaper, telling us he was peeing or pooing, and even occasionally using the potty.  We watched Elmo’s Potty Time religiously, read Once Upon a Potty about twice a day, and even watched this silly video that seemed to entertain him over and over again.   So, based on a good friend’s suggestion, we picked a weekend and decided not to leave the house for at least 48 hours.  We gave Garrett the Spiderman underwear he had recently picked out, and told him we were done with diapers.  Then the horror music started and we had one of the worst weekends ever.

Garrett was terrified to use the bathroom.  He hated the whole concept.  There seemed to be a fear of losing control, of growing up, of us no longer taking care of him… My happy boy turned into a fearful, sad mess. I cried a lot.  He cried a lot.  We held each other.  I punched a wall.  He kept asking if I was going to leave him. It was hell.  He used the potty the whole time, but I could see all of his security being flushed down the toilet with his poo-poo and pee-pee.

Although physically ready, Garrett was clearly not emotionally ready, so I made the decision (with only about 55% approval from my husband), to put him back in diapers.  As soon as we did it, I was scared I made the wrong choice.  Surely he’ll NEVER use the toilet now!  I’m the worst mom ever!  He’s going to be doing calculus with a full diaper!  Then I thought, “Who am I kidding?  Garrett’s never going to do calculus!  I failed algebra II twice!”  Seriously though, I was scared that we had emotionally scarred our son and that he was never going to be able to use the bathroom like a normal person.  I even scoured the internet and found thousands of posts from moms saying their kids were three, four and five and still terrified of using the potty.  Cue horror music again.

Okay, here comes the good part. Read more

04 Oct 2010

Juice it up, Juice-Face!

No Comments Nutrition, Toddler

Here’s a quick tip I learned from my sister-in-law many years back:

Get your kids used to watered-down juice.  I’m pretty sure Garrett gets sugar from sources I’m not even aware of. Plus sugar pops up in foods where you don’t even expect it, like milk, crackers, and even peanut butter (which is why I buy organic peanut butter with NO sugar!).  From the time my kid could say “appa ju”, I’ve been giving him 40% juice and 60% water.  I do it with everything from appa ju to lemonade to orange juice… See the pattern here?  Of course, if we’re running out the door and I only have time to grab a juice box, then I forgive myself.  But he only gets 40% of his dessert that night.

Kidding!!  I’m not THAT big of a nutrition freak.

03 Oct 2010

Final Countdown

5 Comments Toddler

This isn’t some cryptic post about the end of the World or a countdown to some awesome event I have coming up.

This is the song from 1986 by Europe which my son has become obsessed with.

It started about a year ago with this video of Spongebob set to the song.  We happened upon it accidentally while looking up random Spongebob videos to entertain Garrett.  We watched this video about 10 times a day for at least a couple months.  Garrett sang it at the top of his lungs at the grocery store.  We danced to it as a family in the living room.  Then the novelty wore off for all of us.

About a year later, Garrett’s interests had turned toward dinosaurs.  So as good 21st Century parents, we took to our laptop, got on YouTube and typed in “dinosaurs”. Randomly, this video popped up.  Are you kidding?  There’s a video with pictures of dinosaurs set to the same song???  It began again.  Only this time it’s been going on at least THREE months and we dance to the song nightly.  Garrett likes to sing the types of dinosaurs to the beat of the song.  Instead of “It’s the final countdown”, he sings, “It’s a pterodactyl!” He even enjoys the occasional viewing of the original Europe video.  He watches with his mouth agape, seemingly taking in every 80’s-Hair-Band-Rocker move. Then he mimes a guitar solo and Russ and I create pretend pyrotechnics behind him.

Long story short, we’re saving up for guitar lessons, hair gel, leather pants, and a paleontologist’s kit.

02 Oct 2010

Three-Year-Old Birthday Party

No Comments Toddler

In the decade leading up to having my son, I went to plenty of kids’ parties that I felt were way too lavish for someone who’s still pooping in their pants.  So when it came time to throw our own parties, I’ve tried to keep things within my own budget… both mentally and fiscally.  Last week was Garrett’s third birthday party.  With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few suggestions for making children’s party planning as stress-free as possible, while still giving your child a day to remember.

PICK A THEME:  Whatever they love at the moment, go with it! Once you have a theme, it’s easy to build around. Originally our theme was Iron Man, but I found there was not a whole lot of Iron Man-themed stuff readily available, so I coaxed and prodded until Garrett agreed that a dinosaur party was the way to go.  He freaking loves those extinct giants! Then you can go to a site like We were able to get the plates, cups, silverware, napkins, balloons, streamers, party favors all at one place.  It was affordable and everything had a dinosaur on it!

MAKE THE ADULTS FEEL SPECIAL: Order food for the adults, and make something to eat for the kids. We order sandwiches, empanadas, and a big salad from a local place called Portos.  If you’re local to Los Angeles, you have to try it. It’s amazing, and they also make the cake!! If you can consolidate your errands that day by getting a bunch of stuff at one place, do it!  Then, I made a giant mac and cheese for the kids. Here’s the recipe I use, and I double it.  (Yes, I realize it’s Rachael Ray.) Since Read more

01 Oct 2010

School Lunches!

4 Comments Nutrition, Toddler

Now that Garrett is in preschool, I have to make his lunch every day.  Let me rephrase that.  I ENJOY making his lunch every day!  Sometimes dinner is dictated by what I want G to have in his lunch box the next day, sometimes his lunch is dictated by the previous night’s dinner, and SOMETIMES I forget to make his lunch until we’re just about to leave for school.  These are the days when he better be happy with a turkey sandwich, whatever fruit and veggies are available, and some mini rice cakes.  I highly recommend Quaker Oats True Delights. G calls them his special treats.

If you are a mom that is just about to start the lunch-making process, or you’re just in need of some fresh ideas, please do yourself a favor and check out these two sites: is chock full of kid-friendly, earth-friendly, and mostly figure-friendly recipes.  This site will simultaneously make you love your kitchen and hate yourself.  Why will you hate yourself?  Because the site is run by Catherine McCord, a model-turned-chef who just seems to do everything right when it comes to feeding her kids.  She even gets them to Read more