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.
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?
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!
It's a rare occurrence to see those gummy little fruit snacks in my pantry. All I can see are the judgey Jane eyes of nutrionists and dentists everywhere when I pass them in the snack aisle. I then imagine my college aged kids buying them by the case load to keep stashed in their dorm rooms because "mom never let us have these", so I pick up a package like 4 times a year. This same logic does not apply to pizza and ice cream apparently which I am happy to purchase with zero guilt, go figure.
I bought Lucy some My Little Pony fruit snacks and thought since it's such an exciting treat, I would throw one in Jack's bag for his snack time at school. I wondered if the My Little Ponyness was a little young so I took them out of the bright pink packaging and put them in a small container.
"Mom, I don't want to take these to school." he said.
"Why? I thought you LOVED fruit snacks!" I replied.
"My friends will make fun of me, it's okay, thanks anyway mom." he said looking a little resigned.
"Oh dear, this is a problem. But what if you like them, I say blow off your friends." said with my most brave voice. "Let's ask Josiah if he has any advice, he's been in kindergarten before."
We tell Josiah the problem and he returns with a very flat and matter of fact, "Just tell them, Stop making fun of me, I like my fruit snacks."
Jack replies, "I'll just eat them now, how about that?", the advice offered being rendered completely useless.
"I think I know how you feel Jackie, I don't want anyone to make fun of me either. I used to be so worried about it when I was a kid. I still get worried about it sometimes. I think it kept me from trying some things I wanted to do but I had to learn a little bit at a time. You'll figure it out, it's okay."
Ummm, I'm still figuring it out. I promptly called my sister to analyze this parenting pitfall and obsess over my own childhood. She, much like Josiah, made it simple.
Go light with with him. Make your house and family the safe place. Tell him: "No problem buddy, We'll keep the My Little Pony fruit snack love on the down low. How about you have them when you get home?"
Problem solved. How is it that we even attempt to parent without the village?
I ask you supersister readers, what would you have done? or what do you do when the potential of projecting your past onto your kid creeps up? Let us know, oh wise ones, in the comments.
I officially declare 2009 as the year of the nap. No seriously, we all need a nap don't you think? 2008 proved to be a challenging year for my family, hard on all levels and ways. I think more than anything, we need a rest and lots of recovery. More play, more fun, more sleep. Is it a pipe dream my friends? We are experts at lounging over here so I'm guessing it will be a returning to our roots a bit.
My friend Jen Lee has this great podcast about a cherry pie and all the lessons simple things can hold. Kissing perfectionism goodbye, letting go and being together is the thing. I can feel it.
Much peace and joy to you and all those you hold dear all as you start this new year of 2009.
I'm helping host a baby shower for a friend in her late 30's. I'm hoping one (or more) of the supersisters might have some creative ideas about baby shower themes or activities? Any great baby shower stories or things you would have appreciated?
Whenever I think about a baby shower, I always envision the movie Lady and the Tramp, with Darling's friends chatting about names and booties while Jim Dear and his friends pass around cigars. It's a rite-of-passage for every mother to be. It can be fun, meaningful, a nice gathering of support and love to welcome a new little person into the world.
Here are a few ideas for you Amber:
The Traditional shower- Tea and tiny cucumber sandwiches, pretty punch and cake served on china. Each guests can bring a baby picture and everyone can write down their guesses with the winner receiving a beautiful orchid or other enchanting potted plant. You might want to buy a leather bound journal and go around the room with each person offering their one bit of sage advice about babies and parenting. Add the amount of children and years of parenting represented in the room. Ask a crafty friend to sew that number of fabric squares together making a small baby blanket to be presented to the mother when the baby is born.
The Sweet and Sassy Onesie party- Onesies never go out of style and are always needed. Ask each guest to bring a sweet, sassy or artsy onesie as part of their baby gift. Hang the onesies on a clothes line against a wall, use bright and colorful clothespins. Vote on your favorite with the winner receiving a Starbucks card. Serve fun food that can be dipped or go all out and rent a chocolate fountain. Here is a great place to start looking for the perfect onesie. Finish the night with every guest signing a tiny white onesie with fabric markers. Messages of love and fun start before the babe is even born.
The Book Baby party- This is a great party for the mom-to-be who has everything. Ask every guest to bring a baby board book or their favorite children's literature. Take turns passing the books around. Have a short reading from a humorous parenting memoir or blog. Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott is a great start. Eat panninis, serve coffee and tea, and have decadent chocolate cake for dessert. Guess the baby's due date, weight, height with a promise of a Barnes & Noble gift card mailed to the winner in the baby announcement. Another group gift idea- Gather money for a candid photo session for the new family right after birth.
The Blessingway- A blessingway, rooted in a Native American tradition, is a way to honor the mother and encourage her before she gives birth. You can give a very pregnant woman a soothing foot bath with herbs and flowers. Ask each guest to bring a bead that can represent a blessing for the mom, string them together to make a necklace reminding her of the care and love surrounding her. Serve veggies and hummus, berries, fruit smoothies, a light cake and herbal teas. Shower the mom with gifts just for her, dark chocolate, nice pajamas, lotions, candles, etc. Light candles and make the space dreamy. It's a lovely way to invite a woman into the tribe of motherhood.
The Grandmother Shower- My mom has been invited to a few grandmother showers. The to be grandmother (usually with her first grandchild) and her friends get together to celebrate the upcoming event. The attendees give gifts of books, photo albums, some baby equipment and other memory making kind of gifts. Advice is exchanged along with funny grandparenting stories. The mother to be may or may not attend.
The Diaper and Dinner shower- This shower is for the frequent flyers, you know the ones who are on their 2nd, 3rd or even 4th baby. Everyone brings a package of diapers and a casserole that can be freezed or signs up for a date to bring a meal. I hear they are all the rage and deeply appreciated the second go around.
Well, hope that helps Amber. We need more ideas! Please share your best baby shower themes and party plans in the comments.
The big Christmas morning surprise: A Wii
The kids: excited beyond belief. Jack, in particular, was delirious
The Wii nickname: This started quite a discussion amongst our family members. We thought the Wii should be named the Wiigado after our last name Salgado. Jack disagreed.
"I think we should name it God because it IS Christmas and that's what Christmas is all about. You know, God the baby and everything." he insisted.
"Huh, that's true." I said. (actually considering the idea)
"We can NOT name the Wii GOD." Jorge said under his breath.
Wiigado won, although I think the Wii will be worshiped for a while.
It feels like everyone is cutting back this year, holding everything a little closer. Let's just say you could ask for anything, what would make your grown up Christmas list?
I'd have to say mine would be a mix of world peace with a magazine subscription thrown in just to make it interesting. How do kids always know what they want? and aren't afraid to ask. Maybe they are just better at dreaming than we are.
Do you want to try today? Here's mine.
A grown up Christmas list:
a vegetarian magazine subscription
a new start for our country where we all feel invested and can make a difference
a stellar year in my kindness work
a macro lens for my camera
guerrilla goodness moo cards
to know my neighbors better
lots of berries of every kind
the perfect pair of jeans
Okay, it's your turn to make a list in the comments. You can even be slick and leave the Supersisters page up so wandering family members and fellow gift givers can see. Do it, it's fun!
Whoever decided that the mother should be granted responsibility for all of Christmas, I would like to strangle him. If this is just a law of the universe, I would like to protest. Would any one else like to stage a rally, a sit-in perhaps?
Shopping for presents, sending packages, creating memories, crafting meaningful gifts, parades and tree lightings, packing for a trip on top of laundry, dishes, vacuuming, and the icing on the cake, perfectly timed pink eye for 3 out of 6 family members. Why is it that there is always one moment during a holiday where all of it depends on you? and for that, you rant and rave for help or cry or wish you had some other position in your family. I pick Lucy's, she seems to be having the best time and is the most age appropriate ego centric.
I would be very happy to take lots of baths, play puppy dog and watch an ungodly amount of Martha Speaks.
What's the solution to the Christmas meltdown my friends? Phone calls to fellow supersisters to trade holiday horror responsibility stories, being pissy with your safest person (which is my husband), chex mix, and hiding for a while. Reading Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree or deciding if these are my biggest problems in my life than it can't be all that bad after all.
Have you had a Christmas meltdown yet this season or better yet, how do handle the curse of all of Christmas responsibility? plan ahead? don't have a baby 12 weeks before Christmas?
"Mom, I just want to go to Gina's house and have coffee." Lucy said on the way to pick up the boys from school. "And we can do cheers with our coffee."
The plan is a repeat performance of the gathering that morning which consisted of lattes, kids vanilla creamers, scones, babies and girlfriends. I too am wishing we could go for a second round.
I've been blissfully ignoring responsibilities to prop up babies and make funny faces in hopes of capturing the shot of baby friendship in my lens. It's a friendship starting with mothers that spills over to children.The kind where soulsisters shrink each other about marriage woes and talk extensively about how to hide postpartum fat while kids make glorious messes with watering cans. We dream up kindness schemes together and delight in each other's children. We hold the space for pain, hope, light and truth. We are in it together.
I'm starting to wonder how I ever did it without them. How do we live life carrying it all, it's just too much. We all need a tribe, a crew, a supersister somewhere.
Feel free to gush about the people by your side who make life lovely in the comments. Tell us what you love best about your supersister/brother.