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Super Sisters

About the Supersisters

Jen, Kristen, and Patience

Three real-life sisters sharing their kids' antics, milestones and adventures through this crazy journey called motherhood. Find out more »

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January 2009 Archives

Patience

The Peace Sculpture

Posted by Patience on January 20, 2009 at 7:00 AM in Patience
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"So what do you guys want to do to celebrate Martin Luther King day guys?" I asked.

"How about we paint stuff and write words on it like peace and dream, yeah dream, because Dr. King had A LOT of dreams." Jack said.

"You mean like make a sculpture?" I said.

"Yeah, and it has to say 'treat everyone the same'. " and with that he was off to gather supplies for our peace sculpture.

Lucy insisted the felt tiger be added, maybe he is the protector of peace, I do not know.
Josiah wanted flowers, I added the dove, everything about it was pure and lovely. Each person making their own contribution. All I could think about was how much I wanted to see Dr. King's dreams come true, in the flesh, the next day.The idea seemed almost impossible, like my very own dream.

We left to eat lunch with Jorge and by the time we got there I knew we had to go. 3 hours and 4 train tickets later, I gathered my crew and we were off to Washington D.C..It was completely crazy, so spontaneous, the perfect way to end a day held to honor a man who believed anything is possible.

Where are you watching the events today? and with who? Tell us in the comments.

Kristen

Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by Kristen on January 19, 2009 at 9:47 AM in HolidaysKristen
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Life's most urgent question is: what are you doing for others?

May this day remind us the importance of teaching our children what is right and good and kind.

Jen

Supersisters Weekend Roundup

Posted by Jen on January 17, 2009 at 7:00 AM in JenSupersister Weekend Roundup
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It's a feel-good Saturday at Supersisters Weekend Roundup. From artists to musicians to the best love letters ever, here are four delicious links you won't want to miss plus a bonus click back to Supersister secrets revealed.

For any parent who's ever had to do battle with monsters under the bed, this whimsical video will warm your heart and maybe calm your little one, too. Artist Mati Rose teams up with her illustrator husband Hugh D'Andrade and songwriter friends The Church Animals to create a creative art space for parents, kids and yes--even the monsters that live under the bed at your house.

Poet and new mom Sage Cohen writes about the loveliness of new baby love and the absurd and sweet nature of belonging. In a time where ranting and raving about the inconveniences of babies seems to saturate the blogosphere, this kind ode is a welcome relief.

This week President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in as the forty-fourth President of the United States. As someone who lives inside the beltway and where Michelle sightings are the talk of the town, the fact that this President will bring little children into the White House is big news. Read the soon-to-be President's letter to his daughters as they make the biggest transition of their lives.

Horribly nostalgic for you own days of childhood when PBS programming was the only thing allowed on the tube? You'll be thrilled to discover The Electric Company is back and it's better than ever.

And if you were waiting with baited breath for the secrets about the Supersisters to be revealed, don't miss this post here.

Patience

Supersister Secrets Revealed

Posted by Patience on January 16, 2009 at 7:00 AM in Patience
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As I promised from this post:

Who has a deep love for 80's rock ballads? Kris
Bad English, Warrant, Bon Jovi anyone? If you share this love, tell us your favorite in the comments.

Who is the mysterious 4th sister? Our sister Katie is a nursing student and aunt extraordinaire. She also happens to be a brilliant writer, so yes (to our reader Becky), we will try to convince her to guest post sometime.

Who was the homecoming queen? Patience, it's so embarassing.

Which sister has changed her entire outfit while driving in an old green Chevy Nova at 85mph? 2 sisters actually, Jen and Kris have switched entire outfits (even shoes) while one of them drove. It was impressive.

Who is the queen of "tips"? Jen, for sure. It's an older sister thing.

Danyelle, you were 3 for 3. Thanks for all your questions and look for answers in the weeks to come. Feel free to share any embarassing stories about your sisters in the comments, along with your favorite 80's rock ballad.

Kristen

Potty Training Success

Posted by Kristen on January 15, 2009 at 6:37 AM in KristenPotty TrainingRaising Boys
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My firstborn trained himself at 6 months.

Kidding. I'm kidding. Oh, laugh already. You guys need to lighten up. I like to think that without my potty training failures the other mothers in preschool would have to complain about my inability to control my children at drop off every day of school. And my excessive use of the word "FOCUS" as we try to navigate all those mothers with carefully coifed little girls who appear to always walk nicely beside their mothers.

Potty training is craziness. Some start it later, some start it sooner and there is not a person in the world who won't tell you EXACTLY how they did it successfully with their children. Which will, under all circumstances, NEVER work with your child.

Nathan has decided to potty train himself at just under two but I ask you, who is actually potty trained? Me or him? If I don't ask him, he can either stay dry or fill his diaper. If I ask him, he wants to go to the potty. He woke up in the middle of the night and if I had been able to understand him, I would have realized he was saying he had to go the bathroom. He ended up going in his diaper and then he was mad at me. Really, really mad.

Then we had the incident at the mall where I am positive he was wearing a diaper when we arrived but when he peed down the front of his father who was carrying him, we discovered no diaper. Nathan likes to take it off when it bugs him now. No, I don't know what happened to that diaper. Every once in a while I tell myself that I am sure I just forgot to put one on him but I know in my heart of hearts that is not true. Someone somewhere in a mall found a slightly used diaper under a rack. I just know it.

Me? I'm not so great at the remembering to remind. I'm all about remembering around that stinky time of the day because never have you known such a foul odor as the one that comes out of this child. Last week I timed it perfectly 5 days in a row. Then I got caught up one day at 8:55 a.m. with something important like Twitter or a rediscovered stash of chocolate or "look, something shiny!" and we were back to square one.

I mentioned at preschool that Nathan had expressed an interest in going to the potty and Miss J questioned me on my methods. A mother of 4 grown children and a toddler preschool teacher for 24 years, I knew my answer to this bastion of childhood development was going to be wrong.

K: Um, I sit him on the toilet and he goes.
J: Does he ASK to go or do you ASK him?
K: I don't know (wondering how I can't possible know the answer to this question. It's not complicated).
J: You don't allow him to stand.
K: Heck, no. I make him sit.
J: OH.
K: (realizing I just answered incorrectly and now I am NOT getting that rose that says I am still in the running). Isn't that what you do?
J: NO. We teach them from the beginning how to pee.
K: Miss J. You are more than welcome to teach him how to pee that way. Me? I'm too lazy and too fat to be cleaning the bathroom all the time while he is hosing it down. Knock yourself out.

The trouble is, I'm not even trying with this potty training thing. I'm sure this is a window and I should take it, but I have bigger fish to fry like heartburn and "look, something shiny." The whole stay at home for a couple of days in your birthday suit worked like a charm with Ethan. Maybe I just need a timer for Nathan. I mean for me. Well, you know what I mean.

Jen

Confessions of a Non-Potty Trainer: Another Perspective

Posted by Jen on January 14, 2009 at 7:29 AM in JenPotty Training
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I've always been a beats-to-a-different-drummer kind of girl, so it makes sense I suppose that I'm never quite dialed in on conventional parenting wisdom--especially when it comes to things like when's the best time to potty train or learn to swim or learn how to clean up after yourself. I usually need a little nudge before I realize I better get on this thing or that, and most of the time it comes from my kids or society at large begging me to get with the program.

I don't remember buying big girl panties for Madeleine or deciding We Are Potty-training Now or any of that. We did buy a potty when she was two and we did make a big deal whenever she decided to sit on her thrown and squeeze out two drops of pee or the tiniest little poo. But she wasn't that into it and neither were we. She seemed so little to me, and I was still new enough as a parent to feel insecure about setting up structure when I was so unstructured myself.

My big wake-up call came when she was three and a half and talking about going to school. School? Do you mean nursery school? She had no idea, of course, other than that she was bored out of her mind at home. That much I knew was true. So I checked out the nursery school scene and quickly discovered to my horror that potty-training was required. Yikes! It was only then that I did a little inventory of her peeing and pooing habits. She absolutely was dry at night. Check. She absolutely could go for a few hours and stay dry in a pull-up. Check. She adored public restrooms. Check. And she almost always saved her big dumps for the potty--at least ever since the one time I gently suggested she not unload that full pull-up under the desk on the living room floor.

I told Madeleine the deal which wasn't hard since she was halfway to FOUR. You can go to school, but they really, really want you to do your business in the potty. Can you do that? It's just a few hours, I begged. So wise at three and a half, she nodded solemnly and got her ticket out of the nut house with mom and the new baby and spent many blissful mornings making incredible messes at finger paint center. Her pull-up stayed as dry as the Sahara Desert. It wasn't too much longer before she was ready for big girl panties like the other big girls at school and was dry all day long.

I was ecstatic.

When I reported this parenting triumph to my friends, they nodded subdued congratulations and then graciously pointed out, "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JEN, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT???? THE CHILD IS ALMOST FOUR YEARS OLD?" And it was only then, in true oldest child I-had-no-idea-what-the-rest-of-you-people-were-doing-all-this-time-fashion, I was truly shocked that anyone thought I was delinquent or that Madeleine was late.

It seemed to me we got there right on time.

My toileting crisis came much later when Madeleine decided in a fit of misdirected girl power that she could pee in the yard like any of those "stupid neighborhood boys". But I'll save that for another post.

Any other non-toilet trainers out there? Leave me your success stories in the comments below, so I'll know I'm not alone. Sage warnings also welcomed if your hands-off approach totally backfired. We'll take it all.

Patience

Potty Training Failure

Posted by Patience on January 13, 2009 at 7:00 AM in PatiencePotty Training
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This is a magic potty. It will make all your parenting potty training dreams come true. It's pink, it looks like a royal throne, it will even play music for you if you fill it. Lucy picked it out and promptly decided it will never work after we got home from the store.

To say I'm the world's worst potty trainer would be an understatement. I should also add that the potty training gods haven't exactly been kind to me. Here's my report card:

1. Josiah- trained at almost 4 years old, you read that right, 4. years. old. He showed no interest whatsoever. I played it cool until a hair past 3 and when I finally asked him if he was ready he said, "No mom, but I'll try." We did (after consuming about 20 dum dum lollipops) and he wasn't. Fast foward 8 months and he trained in one day.

2. Jack- Oh Jackie-boy...he trained around 3 years 8 months after many tears and much drama. He showed interest much earlier but I either "missed the window" because I wasn't ready for the hassle of potty training, or he wasn't as ready as I thought when we started trying.
Now I'm a pretty gentle parent but potty training brings out the absolute worst in me. Jack would act happy to sit on the potty to try and as soon as he got up he would run to another room and pee on the floor. My favorite was when he would hold it until we got to the park, climb to the top of the jungle gym and and look at me while he pooped.

I did everything horrible to try to get him to train and made every mistake in the book- I made him clean up his messes, I shamed him, I even punished him by sending him to his room. It was clearly about control. When I gave up, he trained in about 3 days. For the life of me, I still can't figure out how it became such a big deal.

3. Lucy- 3 years, 3 months- in process. I was determined to not repeat the Jack debacle (especially with this stronger personality) so I acted very cool and laidback. I brought up the idea 6 months ago and was met with resistance so I immediately back off. We had a baby shortly after so I decided I would try again in January. So here we are on day 5. The pullups had to disappear. She wasn't crazy about the idea and did a tiny bit of testing to see if it was really true and has done well since. She still will not #2 in the potty but other than that she's training very quickly. An ideas on solving this problem?

So when potty training was one of the top contenders on the question list, I was nervous. What can I possibly tell you? I'm hoping my other sisters will come to my rescue, especially the one who is currently successfully training her almost 2 year old boy.
This is what I know so far:

1. Our reader Becky was so wise (she's trained 3 boys)- get rid of the pullups, stay home and let them run around without clothes on. Pump them full of drinks and let the practice begin. Be willing to stay home for a few days until you can get into a good routine.

2. Training is easier in the summer. You can wait until then. Follow the "so what" advice of this smart lady with those around you who are giving you the Judgey Joanna eyes. The preschool teachers reminded me of this very thing last week when I was stressing about Lucy. There is no required time or age, it is just some crazy expectation we like to put on ourselves as parents.

3. Look for signs of readiness. No BM's at night. Routines are developing and shows signs of awareness (hiding, squatting, etc.). Longer periods of dry diapers. Can begin to dress him/herself. Shows interest in the toilet and can follow simple directions.
If your child isn't showing signs quite yet, wait. Emotional readiness is just as important as physical. I'm pretty sure no one will be heading to college in diapers so don't worry too much. You can always consult your pediatrician if the questions are multiplying in your parent mind.

4. Being consistent in a casual way is the key. No judgement or frustration can be looming in the air. Keep creating opportunities for success yet still leaving room for your child to guide.

5. Candy rewards are a toss up. They never seemed to work for us but it might be the particular personalities we are working with. I know other families where a Rolo went a longway so the jury is still out on this one.
General celebration, potty dances and high fives seemed to do the trick. Picking out special underwear and a bottle of kid's smelly handwashing soap also created some potty buzz.

5. Books, books, books. Buy books about the potty, read books to your kids while they try, save special books for kids to look at during potty times. It's a great time to promote some literature love.

So there are the lessons learned by a potty trainer still very much in training. Now we need you to weigh in, share with us your best potty training tips in the comments. Help a sister out, will ya?


Kristen

Communication: brother-style

Posted by Kristen on January 12, 2009 at 7:10 AM
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One of the things I looked forward to when having my second was having a translator to help us navigate the tough times when language development makes you crazy because your nearly two year old is screaming in the bathtub, clearly trying to express something, and no matter of miming and charades is helping you cross the language barrier.

I remember when Jack was first starting to speak and we would look to Josiah for translation. "Oh, Jackie Boy would like a drink." Who knew? Jack would nod affirmatively and all was right with the world.

That's the funniest thing about Ethan and Nathan. Never in my entire life have I met an older sibling who is less adept in translation for a younger brother or sister.

Nathan: aggaba!
K: Nate, I don't understand. What do you need?
Nathan: AGGABA!!!
K: I'm sorry, Nate. I can't understand. Can you show me?
Nathan: (louder) AAAAGGGGGAAAAABBBBAAAA!!
K: Ethan, do you know what Nate wants?
Ethan: (matter of factly) Mom, he wants aggaba.
K: Huh? What is that?
Ethan: I don't know but he's saying "aggaba."
Nathan: (nodding affirmatively) AGGABA!

Seriously?

K: Ethan, there is no such thing as "aggaba." Do you KNOW what he wants because I can't figure it out.
Nathan: AAAAAGGGGGAAAABBBBAAAA!!!!
Ethan: He just wants "aggaba," Mom.
K: What IS "aggaba," Ethan?
Ethan: I don't know. I'm just telling you what he wants.

I feel like I just need Josiah, the Great Communicator, to live with us until we can get beyond this hump of being unable to understand. Because listening to gibberish from TWO children is enough to drive you insane.

Jen

Supersisters Weekend Roundup

Posted by Jen on January 10, 2009 at 7:00 AM in JenSupersister Weekend Roundup
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How's your new year treating you, supersister? Here's our raves and faves from this week in January. Enjoy.

Okay, wondering whether you should drink the koolaid and give in to the High School Musical frenzy? Check in with PBS Parenting Expert Diane Levin and get a take on how to handle the pressure on little girls to grow up way too fast.

Need a little guidance on how to help your kids handle the inevitable embarrassment of trying hard and coming up short? Meg Casey writes about taking her son Max to see a hero who happens to fall down on the job--as a professional hockey player. The experience is just the Rx for teaching your kids that we're all human and we all can be winners when we learn that failing is part of the game.

Missed the rush of New Year excitement? Having a hard time jump starting your goals for 2009? Check out this lovely essay by Superhero Andrea Scher and remember one of your tried and true secrets for gettting unstuck and motivated for the year to come.

Wondering what simple thing you can do to move our lovely green earth towards an even lovelier future? Take one night off from lights and electricity with Cecilia and her two little girls. This experiment in conservation and mindfulness makes for a smooth bedtime and a better world. Check it out.

Patience

Questions for the Supersisters

Posted by Patience on January 9, 2009 at 7:00 AM in Patience
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Do you have any questions? You have to have some. I'm sure you are dying to know which sister has a deep love of Bon Jovi and all 80's rock ballads. And who is the mysterious 4th sister? Who has changed her entire oufit while driving the boat that was the avocado green Chevy Nova at 85mph? Who was the Homecoming Queen? Can you guess which supersister loves to share her various and many "tips"?

But seriously, do you have a parenting question keeping you up at night? or are you wondering about how to get better photographs of your kids? Are you in need of advice from a supersister or the community at large?

We'd love to hear your questions, ideas, thoughts. Here's your chance to take the reins of this blog. Let us know in the comments. Ask anything, we're dying to hear what interests you.

For every 10 comments, I will reveal one embarrassing fact about one of my sisters, come on, it'll be fun. I SO wanna tell!

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