Saturday, March 22, 2014

If I Were Younger, I Would Give My Son a Sbiling

Having my child later in life has left me with little choice in having another. Personally, I am perfectly happy with it just being him and me, and our dogs, and our two fish :-) But, when I see him propping his Ninja Turtle "brothers", as he endearingly calls them, up to watch TV together...

...or sharing his sacred computer time with Leonardo...

...and being considerate enough to take the time to pour each of his "brothers" a glass of water after a training session...

...I think about what an amazing big brother he would be!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Age-Appropriate Chores for Your Toddler

Being a single mom, I have run myself completely and utterly ragged! Caring for my toddler, our two dogs, two fish, and the household, not to mention working to support all of us, has left me with very little time or energy for myself.

Waking up one morning dreading my day, I realized I wasn't enjoying life, but with all the blessings I have, I should be!

Coming from the school of thought, "if you need something done right, do it yourself", I have struggled with when and how to start giving my young son a role in the responsibilities of running our household. But, after hearing him say to me, "Mom, you're always working or cleaning", I decided it was time!

I started out small by having him choose his own clothes and dress himself. Some of you may not consider this a chore but when you've done it for the previous three years, passing this torch lightened my chore load considerably! Although, he does tend to get distracted at times:

Since my son was learning how to put his own clothes on, I decided he could start helping to put his clean clothes away. I organize his clothing into green bins, as you may have seen in my "Epic TMNT Room" post, so it was quite easy to pull those out and have him sort his clothes. To make it more fun and engaging, we made games out of this chore by shooting baskets with his rolled up socks and sorting his undies by characters.

I also taught him how to hang up his shirts! Here, he demonstrates:

We then moved on to household chores beyond his room, such as vacuuming the couch...


...and meal preparation:

 I didn't limit his responsibilities to inside the house, though, because he is more than capable of helping me with outside chores, as well.

I love to garden, so it seemed only natural to include my son in preparing, planting, and tending our vegetables:

I used to be a germophobe but now I measure the worth of our days by how dirty we get :-)

My son has also helped me with heavy duty yard work, like tree trimming:

Be careful what you teach them, though, because they can take it upon themselves to do some pruning on their own! Here, my son is teaching his little cousin how to prune my Ficus tree:

She's just knows he's going to get into trouble :-)

We've also washed the family car together:

These are just a few of the age-appropriate chores I entrust to my toddler son! I would like to say that I started this campaign to teach him the value of responsibility, service, and hard work because that's exactly what these chores do, but I really did it to save my own sanity!

Before, I was doing everything to provide my son with a clean, safe home environment but at the expense of spending time with him. Now, we enjoy chore time together, and I have a little extra time at the end of the day to indulge in my own pampering!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Sleepless Night I Cursed at My Son

We all have moments of great shame and guilt, no more so than as parents!

I have had many of these moments since my son's birth four years ago; the most recent came at two o'clock in the morning when, in a hazy half-sleep stupor, I cursed at my precious boy! This night came after a string of sleepless nights. Going to bed late, waking up early, and still co-sleeping with my little guy have left me exhausted! After months of sleeping soundly, without stir for twelve-straight hours, my son has been going through a restless phase.

Sometime between two o'clock and four o'clock every morning, his tossing and turning and thrashing around has been waking me up. So, when the blankets came flying off me one early, frigid morning, I screamed out in agitation, "Damn it! You're always fucking doing this to me!"

Yeah, my jaw dropped, too! I instantly emerged from the fog and grabbed my son in horror, apologizing profusely! I couldn't believe those words had hurled out of my mouth towards my son, the jewel of my life! I held him for a few minutes and allowed my horror to dissipate, as we both drifted off back to sleep.

Thankfully, that particular night, I was able to fall back asleep but fitfully, at best. When my son and I awoke that morning, I asked him if he remembered Mommy getting mad at him. He remembered! I again apologized, telling him how sorry Mommy felt for yelling at him. And, do you know what he said to me? He said, "It's okay, Mom. No matter how mad you get, I always love you."