Musings from the Night Shift Mommy

I started my night shift – 1pm to midnight – and I will blame that on why I haven’t gotten around to blogging lately. Though, if I’m being honest, I would say it may be that I really just forgot.

I am currently helping plan three parties that are going on at the end of August and in September. So much going on in that capacity! Not to mention orders from my Etsy Shop and changing my shift at my day job, I’ve been uber busy.

So quick Etsy shop plug, all my blogger friends in the sphere, I know you guys are having babies, getting BFP and the like, I want to extend my offer to give you half off on ALL invitations and/or party supplies for baby showers, pregnancy announcements, gender reveals, etc. Absolutely no end date on that offer. ¬†Pass it on to friends and families, I don’t mind! ūüôā

Just use: BFP50 in the coupon code section and it will ring it up for ya!

I’m just so happy for all of you and I want to help you celebrate!! (This includes custom orders, so if you got a special theme in mind that I don’t currently stock, hit me up and I will totally make it for ya!)

And back to real life stuff:

I have been trying to keep up with our two year old, she has a half birthday in September, what?! Half way to three? When the hell did that happen!!

I’m also not really sure when she got sass in her pants, but this kid is one mouthful of sassy phrases and some not too nice to her moms! Its been kind of a pain in the booty, frankly, and she’s had a few run-ins with timeout or a smack in the mouth.

She’s also extra cuddly when she wants to be and is singing and talking up a storm. She’s hilarious, a joy to be around on most occasions and still the apple of our eye. She is still the most perfect little being in the whole world and I really do love her to the moon and back!

But parenting a toddler, a two year toddler, has proven to be a bit difficult. She’s so damn sensitive. She cries at the drop of a hat, she’s offended extra easily and overall, if she doesn’t get her way, look out! They aren’t kidding when they say twos are tough, but then I hear all the time “threes are worse”. Thanks for that encouragement asshole! LOL.

0809140947c

So, with me working nights, and 10 hours at that, I work 4 days a week, 3 days I’m off, rotating 1 weekend a month. So, I’m home on Wednesday, Saturday and Sundays regularly now. Its been refreshing to be home in the middle of the week. Punky and I have had time to go out and hang together. That’s what I have been doing the most lately.

Here’s what Miss Sassafrass Punky and I have been doing to keep ourselves busy this part of the summer.

CAM00139

 

Last week, we headed to the park. Our park has this ridiculously huge rope pyramid that older kids can climb on – to the top – several feet in the air. There is a small piece of it that has a rope ladder to a smaller slide, Punky took a liking to that.

CAM00140

CAM00142

We moved onto the swings, where she just refuses to actually sit on. She prefers to “fly” – she prefers to push me in the swing. Yikes indeed. We had a run in with a little guy at the park while she was playing with the swing.

CAM00154

You see that empty swing over there right? The one no one is playing with? Yea, we had a kid approach Punky while she was contemplating her next great fly in the swing and take hold of the chains of her swing and promptly tell her “I’m going to swing now.”

Flabbergasted, I looked around for the child’s guardian. He wasn’t more than say 5 or so. When no guardian emerged I said, “There’s another swing right there if you would like to swing.”

“But I will swing on this one.” He told me matter of factly.

And this is when I really just lost all hope for the future generations. I just knew this is what justified the older generation talking about how our kids nowadays have no manners and don’t know how to respect people and other things.

I replied very quietly, very gently, “No, sir. You will not. There is a swing over there if you would like to use it.”

By this time, Miss Punky relinquished her swing without a fight and headed to the vacant swing. I was astonished, however, when it comes to sharing – for an only child with a lot of sass – she’s pretty laid back about giving up the toys that are taken from her (unless its her very special babies at home, which I hide when we have little visitors so there are no fights, she might draw blood over them!) ¬†I don’t have any concern for her manners, she’s a please and thank you kid for the most part, may have to be reminded, but she covers her mouth with she coughs (albeit sometimes later than the cough), and for the most part can say Excuse me when she burps or farts without prompting.

I took the swing chain gently and said, “No no, Punky. This is your swing. You were using it. Please come back and play with the swing you were on.”

I’m all for sharing. But, the way we share – we don’t take toys from another child. It doesn’t matter whose toy it is (hence why I hide her special babies) if another kid has it, she is not to take it from them and can’t claim it as hers to play with until they are done with it. When the toy is discarded or put down, she can then play with it. Same goes for my kid, people. When she’s playing with something, your child will not take it from her until she’s done. When she has discarded it, I don’t care if its your kid’s toy or not, I don’t tolerate taking toys from each other. Its disrespectful and it teaches kids they can have whatever they want, whenever they want. It shows instant gratification and teaches kids that they don’t have to be patient. That they can take whatever they want and there will be no real consequences.

I absolutely loved the article I read about it, because it made me feel great about my own sharing philosophies and I was so glad to know I wasn’t the only mom who taught my kid this way.

Needless to say, the young man relinquished the swing back to Punky, who went back to “flying to the moon, Mommy” until she was hungry for lunch. I’m glad the other child’s guardian was not around, because if they had reprimanded me or said something, I’m not really sure what would happen, but it would have been very sad to get banned from the best park in the city………

CAM00156

After a great afternoon at the park, we headed to McDonald’s where she had a nice chicken nugget happy meal and strawberry yogurt.

CAM00159

And for some reason, when we ordered a small snack version of an M&M McFlurry with two spoons, the cashier just thought it was adorable, as did all the passersby our table who noticed! LOL

CAM00166

And this afternoon, Miss Punky became the proud owner of her very own library card. She was so very proud of the library card that I thought perhaps she needed a purse to put it in.

0809141106a

However, before we could go purse shopping, we had to try out our shiny new library card and get some books. This week we picked out Dora and the Twin Puppies and How to Babysit A Grandpa.

0809141115c

0809141118

I haven’t read the Dora book and we only got it because she insisted on having Dora. However, the other, How to Babysit A Grandpa, is the cutest thing ever. Its even cuter when Papa reads it to her as her bedstory. (Not bedtime story, people, its a BedStory.) Which is what happened before she fell asleep tonight. Oh, the convenience of having Papas and Grammy’s on hand when a good BedStory ¬†and rocking is needed.

IMG_20140809_210725

Anyway, after the library, we went on the great purse hunt. We stopped at Dollar General first, I was just sure they should have a cute, small kid’s purse for her that would be perfect for her library card. What we ended up with instead was a packages of lipgloss for little girls and package of Minnie Mouse socks.

On to the consignment store down the strip mall, which I immediately regretted the minute we walked into. We should have went into the thrift store next door like I thought about. Instead I took her into the consignment store. She found a purse, it was a bit more than I really wanted to spend, but really only like $7, but the purse was not the highlight of her trip.

Oh no, see, this wasn’t a kid’s consignment, there was not clothes for toddlers in there. It was for adults as in the clothing were not small enough for her to ever fit in. But sparklies know no age. It doesn’t matter how old you are. Jewelry doesn’t discriminate. My little one made sure I knew that as soon as she found the glass case of glitters and this awesome table of trinkets for her to touch and hold and oh and ah!

0809141154

She went home with a purse, lip gloss, her library card, and three new bracelets. Her purse also has Mommy’s old cell phone since I just got a new one and its not active. She’s ¬†one stylish – and probably spoiled to the core – little two year old. But we had an excellent day out together!

0809141210

When we got home, she started to get a little cranky and I knew it was promptly nap time. Of course, she fought it, but eventually, now we have peace, after naptime, dinner, and a bedstory with complimentary rocking from both Grammy and Mommy, she’s had a very busy day and is now sleeping sound in her bed!

***

I know this post is getting extra long, however, I would be amiss, if I didn’t also feature the great pictures that were taken of my Punky monster recently. We got her pictures done, mostly for fun, but it was a blast and she looks so much older in these pictures!

¬†IMG_8226IMG_8218IMG_8243These were taken by a local photographer E. Carlburg Photography¬†to showcase the clothes made by Amelia Bean Clothing, another local business in the area. The outfit is not one I would have chosen for her, in most cases, we don’t really do ‘ruffles’ and things. But, I must say, she makes this outfit look great and she looks gorgeous in this shoot!

The second photoshoot was from an old high school alum. I helped design her photography business’ logo and she repaid me with a great many pictures. Andrea from Morrow Classic Photography did such an awesome job, there are too many favorites for me to choose just a few. So here they are!!

bestshots

PeytonMommy

So, that’s what we have been up to, I shouldn’t wait to update this blog for so long! Otherwise I ramble a ton!! To those of you who just got BFP, again, congratulations! And of course, those of you who are still waiting, I’m cheering for you to have days and brilliant times like these someday soon!

First Line of Defense in the Toddler Wars

So, I really appreciate all the words of encouragement from everyone; family and friends and blog friends! Today, we got things together to make her a sticker/reward chart and hopefully it will be helpful.

So, yesterday’s snack tray didn’t go too well – I think it was mostly because it was ‘slimy’ or wet fruits and she’s really touching and squishing things before she will try something.

We decided today to make one food on the snack tray her “Try New Food” sticker reward. This morning it was a banana and that didn’t go well. By the time she was up from nap, the bananas were well past their prime, so we changed the ‘new food’ to dried apricots.

Today’s tray was full of cheerios of different flavors, veggie fries, yogurt covered granola, dried blueberries, and dried apricots. All dry finger foods so that it was not wet foods this time. She’s taken to the tray more today, and hasn’t tried to pick it up and move it!

I can’t decide if it’s because it’s the second day and she’s getting used to having it around already or if it’s just she likes the food on it. She hadn’t had blueberries before and she’s been scarfing those down. So, for that – it’s a success!

I put together her sticker chart today, and let Punky pick out the colors of the foam on the board and the other things.

IMG_4738

We originally picked out 10 things we wanted to have on the chart and I figure that may be too many, but for now, I wanted her to have lots of options to earn her stickers. So, she may not get them all, but she will get little goodies in between, until we get the hang of the chart.

Like, when she finally took one bite of the apricot – I then gave her something sweet after her sticker so as to further reinforce that she did a great job trying something new.

IMG_4740

We will see what happens at dinner time – let’s hope we have a party in our tummy tonight! Which is really just three bites of her dinner. Because we’ve come to notice that if she eats from her snack tray all day, then she may not be as hungry as we would like her to be.

We have decided to give Punky the same foods we eat, we had been making her chicken nuggets or Eggo’s instead of our food to accommodate her toddler taste palette, however, that has really been part of the problem. Now, we are giving her what we eat and her snack tray in the day.

She can have a sticker for trying one ‘special’ food from her tray and a sticker for eating her dinner. Hopefully, this will help curb her eating issues that are really driving us nuts around here.

IMG_4741

I‘m pretty proud of our finished product. It’s artsy and colorful and super awesome. She also knows exactly where her stickers are – in the Cars bag (that she picked out at the store) hanging on the wall.

IMG_4742

We have a list of things side and a rewards side.

IMG_4744

She picked out all the little treats and rewards she gets – we know she won’t be able to wait until the end of the week for her reward, so these are the big ones. We will give her daily rewards to start and as she gets more used to the chart, we can move and transition into weekly treats.

I think it’s going to be good for her. I hope.

Wish us luck! We are going one NO TANTRUMS so far today, at the time that I write this. I think it’s going well so far!

7/52 – Exploring the Ever Growing Toddler Terrorist

1922406_10152645425574148_476795888_n

We have been dealing with the early stages of the terrible twos. This includes tantrums that have been known to shriek at the top of her lungs, throwing her food on the floor and the ever popular banging her head on the floor. This has been going on since she was about 18 months old, slowly escalating to where we are today.

I’ve talked about the fact that both of Punky’s moms have some sort of diagnosed mental health issues. I have a little PTSD and Anxiety and Kim is Bipolar with a heavy dose of her own PTSD. Having a toddler thrown in the mix has been hard. Not unmanageable, but hard.

We are the type of parents who want to instill respect and manners in our child, use discipline that is appropriate for her age and her understanding. But, at the end of the day, whether you like it or not – whether people talk about it or not, I’m going to say it – the TWOS suck and she’s not even officially two for another two weeks.

The situation escalated last night when I came home and found a distraught Kim sitting in a chair with Spaghetti and Meatballs at her feet. Astonished by the amount on the floor isn’t even the most telling part. The story that Kim told me – just reinforced that we need to do something different.

Punky managed to kick her high chair tray so much and so hard that it came loose and it dumped an entire child’s bowl of food on our carpet. We aren’t a family of means, we live paycheck to paycheck, period. Now we have a very large orange stain on our carpet.

All Kim could say was “Why won’t she just eat?”

And my response, probably not the most empathetic was “She’s two.” Plain and simple. We both know it. But, frankly, rationally it’s hard to think logically when the child doesn’t think with reason or logic herself.

How do you handle a two year old who is so smart and so sweet and so full of life and on the go and then can very quickly turn into a completely different person in a matter of seconds. I know this is just the developmental stage, but it’s wearing on us. It’s wearing us very thin.

When I went to my therapist appointment today, we talked about it. I cried, I broke down a lot in that hour. I’ve been having increasingly more anxiety attacks, mostly at work – but that’s another story, and I’m finding it hard to cope at home without feeling like a terrible mother.

We are trying to steer away from spanking, I was spanked as a child and I’m sure it’s not left any damaging, lasting effects on me as an adult, but it’s just something I want to use as a last resort. It’s becoming more difficult.

She gave me some tips and I think we will be putting them to use. So far, we have talked about tackling some of the behavior by praising the good behavior more. We shower the praise when Punky has ‘learned something new’ but not really when she’s doing ‘desired behavior’. It never occurred to me to praise her when she’s not screaming at me and just playing normally in her room.

So today, Punky and I went to the store and picked out some stuff for the new sticker chart we are making, I’ll post more about the construction when I come up with the design I like. We picked out stickers with Dora and Cars and stars and all her favorite things. We picked out a ‘reward bag’ that I will introduce that has little trinkets like bracelets and candy necklaces and light up rings and all sorts of goodies for her to earn.

This afternoon, when we got home, she was in a “terrorist” state, she needed a nap for sure and for a toddler, nap time and sleep time have never really been much of an issue for Punky. She tells us when she’s tired and for the most part, goes to sleep with no problems or small bouts of crying it out. So she went to take a nap and her moms, exhausted already, took a nap as well.

When I woke up, I decided to try the method of ‘grazing’. We’ve done this all along, sort of. We give her a bag of veggie fries and she can eat them whenever she wants or she doesn’t really eat breakfast at a table or in her highchair, we just give her a finger food of some sort and call it a day.

The “grazing” method, from what I have read is all about letting her be a busy and exploratory toddler while still having snacks and foods available to her. I gather it’s all about not confining her to one place to eat. I’m not sure how it will work for dinner time, but so far she’s been receptive to the ‘snack tray’.

IMG_4729

I took a muffin tin that I already had in my kitchen and let her help me fill the compartments. So, I filled it with stuff we had in the kitchen already. I know some of it, like jello and fruit snacks, may not be the most healthy, but I wanted to start with familiar foods to her, that I know she will eat and move into other foods.

I put the fruit snacks in the center, surrounded by the granola bars and diced fruit, hoping to entice her with the stuff she’s never wanted to eat before.

The Apple O’s (knock-off Apple Jacks) went first and she’s found the fruit snacks and they are also gone. But, she’s also ventured into the granola bar and I’m waiting anxiously for her to pick up a banana or a pineapple.

IMG_4734When I introduced the tray, I made a point to let her fill the compartments and then tell her she could eat as much as she wanted or as little as she wanted. This was all her food and she could put it in her belly whenever she wanted.

When she comes up to the tray, which is stationed by my seat on the couch in the living room – on a table at her height level, I have been telling her “Good job!” or commenting about how “YUMMY” new foods are and stuff. So, far she’s stuck to the familiar food and perhaps when that runs out she will try something newer. In any event, I’m excited to see if this helps create a more peaceful mealtime for us and for Punky.

So far, she’s gone back and forth between the tray and her room and dancing in the living room. We have only been implementing it for approximately an hour, so I’m not saying it is a cure all, but for the time being, we are getting some sanity.

I’d be all ears for any other suggestions or tips on how we can curb some of the tantrums and eating issues we are having with the little one. I’m all about ‘ignoring bad behaviors’ but at the end of the day, I’m afraid ignoring it reinforces her to act out to get attention.

We are slowly coming up with ways to tame our toddler terrorist and I am all open for suggestions from veteran moms or moms in the same boat! Tell me what has worked for you, seriously. I’m willing to try anything.

In other news, another way we have been talking about curbing the toddler twos is to get Punky into a preschool in the area. She’s going to be 2 in early March and the place I’m looking at have a preschool program that I really like. It’s going to be a financial stretch, having to live paycheck to paycheck already, but 2 days a week will give Kim a much needed break and Punky some social skills with other kiddos. In the end, I think it will also help me – knowing I can come home from work to a peaceful, more harmonious house and family. Here’s to hoping it helps – though I’m not looking forward to sickness and germs that come with ‘school’ and ‘daycare’ in small kids, but it comes with the territory and I’m starting to think the good effects may outweigh those flaws.

New Things on the Horizon

As a quick side note, anyone interested, I finally put up Punky’s birth story. You can find that and other interesting things that have gone on in our last almost 2 years of motherhood and toddler hood by going to “Highlights of Our Journey”

**In more current events**

IMG_4065

Our little Punky is wearing pink Dora pullups under those pjs. You wouldn’t know it, but she is! I didn’t feel it appropriate to take a picture in her undies and post it on the interwebs. I was tempted though! But after that weird search term I got before … well, that’s for another day.

Anyway, we have been tossing around the idea of potty training, but Punky isn’t yet 2 and she still can’t quite communicate with us when she is going to the bathroom. Right now, we are trying to condition her to telling us when she “poops” and when she is “wet” – neither of these has been very successful.

I’m not really interested in rushing it, but damn it would be nice to be out from under diapers. For sure. Not only are they an extra expense, with the wipes every two weeks, but they really do make the trash bags I have to carry to the dumpster super freaking heavy. A mommy can wish right?

Speaking of Mommy…. that word. That word right now, gets me every time. She’s been extra clingy and pretty darn cuddly lately. It may be because I’ve been home more than normal this last week. With sickness and utter staled out in the day job, I’ve taken more time off than usual. In fact, I’m on my third day in a row of being off, tomorrow being my last day of my impromptu vacation.

When she looks up at me with big brown eyes and just says, “Mommy.” or when she comes up on the couch and curls up on my lap and leans in real close, lips to my cheek but no kisses, and says, “Mommy?” It just melts my heart right now. Before bed, when I tuck her in and kiss her forehead, it reminds me of the reason I keep sane in moments of terrorism in this house. “Night Night Mommy.” as she curls up with her gigantic sock monkey and drinks her sippy.

IMG_4029

We had a much better day today with Miss Punky. I actually plan to get her an appointment to see her doctor tomorrow if I can get her in, just because the shrieking for no ‘apparent’ reason has become a thing. I am not sure if her diaper is irritating her or if she has something wrong down there, but she has been doing a lot of grabbing at the “no no area”. Now, we are starting to wonder if it hurts when she pees.

And she’s been peeing a lot. This morning, she woke up to a soaked through diaper and pants, and a wet spot in her bed, I had to clean the sheets. It was almost like she wasn’t wearing any diaper at all.

So, off to the doctor with our monster to see if they can find out if she is just being a terror at almost two or if there really is something we should be concerned about.

In the meantime, we had some great fun today, driving her trucks and cars around the living room, watching Mommy figure out how to make clip art like these cuties that I created ALL BY MYSELF in Photoshop!!

preview1

I’m hoping to add clip art to my shop, so that it can be more digital instant downloads, and while I still have the invitations and party planning stuff, I can let the clip art sell itself. So far, these aren’t listed, but they are pretty darn cute, right!?

We also dusted off the Giggle Bellies yesterday and it’s been a common theme the last two days. It’s almost like “Punky Whisperer” and she sits on the couch or dancing around the living room for a full two rounds of the DVD, which luckily Mommy enjoys singing too as well.

IMG_4057

IMG_4056

If you haven’t ever heard of the Giggle Bellies, I highly recommend them. Take a look at them on YouTube. It literally looks like someone created them on LSD, but every kid I’ve ever seen watch them is instantly transfixed. My kid especially.

All in all, we had less shrieking – more loving and more fun today. Thank goodness, this Mommy needed a break from her break from work there for a minute and that means it was rough. If I wanted to go BACK to work for a moment, if I even contemplated it, it means it was tough. Yesterday was tough, today was sweetness.

A Creative Mind Need An Outlet During Toddler Terrorist Attacks

I am very sure that I have more ideas in my head than I can possibly get out right now. If you have been reading for a while, you know I have a full time job as a customer service representative in a PBM Call Center. In my free time and usually in the evening and weekends, I also run an Etsy shop for printable invitations and decorations. I have been designing for the shop for almost a year with a great vision of making sure that parents-to-be like Kim and I had a resource to share our joy as much as straight couples.

I’ve always had some two mom invitations for baby showers, but for some reason I never thought about pregnancy announcements! Today, in a stroke of creativity, I came up with some pretty cute pregnancy announcements for the LGBT community. I only share this on my blog, because I know there are a lot of two mom households who are trying to conceive and it you are one of them, check out the link to my shop on the sidebar for discounts to blog readers.

PAL1000

Click to go to shop listing

I also would love to have any suggestions or extra awesome creative ideas from the readers of this blog. I’m hoping to grow my shop to be more than a hobby. Someday, maybe it can be something more of a job, since my full time day job is getting me down lately. Just in general, it’s not challenging me and I feel pretty damn stale right now. At least this shop, my second job, my second baby – allows me to get the challenges and the creative juices flowing – the goal I have been desperately trying to get out of my day.

I just wish I could make a living on it.

I find it adorable when my daughter watches me work, from my work station on the couch from my laptop in the living room.

 Image

In Punky news, she’s been what I like to lovingly refer to as a “Tiny Toddler Terrorist”. Literally, she’s been acting really weird. One minute she’s fine and the next minute she’s screeching for no reason at all. It’s messing with my sensibilities. Seriously. I can’t figure out what the problem is. Usually, I lay her down for a nap and she goes to sleep and it makes me think that she just wanted to lay down. She’s totally mobile, so I don’t know why she can’t just lay her little self down on her own. She climbs in and out of the bed all day, but she has to have Mommy lay her down in it to sleep.

It’s really the strangest thing ever.

She gets frustrated easily and when she gets mad about something she can’t do or can’t get to work right, she throws herself on the floor and bangs her head on the floor. There’s concrete under there, and I’m positive it hurts, though she looks at me LIKE I SLAMMED HER HEAD into the floor. For real?

All I can do is stare at her in disbelief sometimes.

She’s really so cute in public and for that I should be grateful, since frankly – most toddlers spend most of their energy being cranky and ridiculous in front of other people. It’s like an embarrassment factor that’s built in on toddlers. But, get her home and she’s a ball of “NO” and screams and throwing things around. She’s kicked the cat more times than I’m willing to admit and I have tried both time out and smacking her booty.

Neither seems to make a difference.

It seems like now is the time for the terrible twos and they have come 2 months early. She’s pretty much doing everything early. Teething, talking, colors, eating, weaning. Literally, she’s just doing everything early and I’d be ok with it, if she wasn’t being a royal pain in my ass.

And then there are cute moments, like this when she cuddles with the giant sock monkey her godparents got her.

Image