Archive for the ‘Phinehas’ Category

Potty Training Woes

I hate potty training!  Believe me, I’ve read all the books.  Twice.  All the magazine articles.  All the blogs.  It has not gone well.

We first started training Finn at 18 months.  Within a day, it was clear that he wasn’t ready and didn’t get it.  (It was also really clear that apple juice gives Finn diarrhea.  Naked + diarrhea + 18 month old = no fun!)  So we stopped.

Several months later when he was over 2 1/2, we did it again.  It went well initially, but not for long.  Lots of accidents and he just didn’t care.  He knew how to go potty.  He could tell that he had to go potty.  He’d go potty if you took him there.  He just didn’t care if he had an accident.  The promise of being a big boy didn’t matter.  Promise of preschool and going to the beach didn’t faze him.  Getting M&Ms or smarties wasn’t enough to make him go.  Having him go to the bathroom every hour didn’t help.  Accidents would still happen 10 minutes later.

Then this past summer, we really focused on it.  Helped, but didn’t get much more progress.  In addition to potty training not going well, Finn was not very obedient.  He’d be mean (in ways that 3 year olds are mean).  He’d disobey.  He’d ignore.  Sometimes because he just had a different idea than you did.  But sometimes, he’d disobey just for the sake of disobeying.

Enough we said.  Jeff & I started seeing a counselor with Finn.  She gave us some things to try and they seem to be working!  We focused on some things that I had been doing.  Some different things that Jeff had been doing.  Things that our babysitter had been doing.  But we weren’t all consistent.  I did things just a little differently than Jeff did who did things just a little differently than our babysitter did.

Nothing new we’ve done is rocket science.  We’re focusing on the positive. We’re being very verbal with our praise so that he knows when he’s done well. We’re downplaying the misbehavior as much as possible (addressing it without giving it lots of attention).  We’re spending concentrated one on one time with him.  We’ve made sure that all of us are consistent.

And it’s working!  Accidents are now few and far between.  In fact, he went 7 days without an accident and earned a trip to the Ferris Wheel at Scheels (he had seen a picture on Grammy’s phone).  This was from the kid who would have multiple accidents each day.  We only met with the counselor 3 times over the course of 2 months, but it was time and money well spent!


Potty Chart

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In preparation for our 3rd child, Finn and Stephen started sharing a room.  Finn in a bed and Stephen in a crib.  A whopping 3 weeks later, Stephen learned to get out of that crib!  Thus entered the bedtime battle blues.

Jim Gaffigan says:

“Bedtime makes you realize how completely incapable you are of being in charge of another human being. My children act like they’ve never been to sleep before. ‘Bed? What’s that? No, I’m not doing that.’ They never want to go to bed. This is another thing that I will never have in common with my children. Every morning when I wake up, my first thought is, ‘When can I come back here?’ It’s the carrot that keeps me motivated. Sometimes going to bed feels like the highlight of my day. Ironically, to my children, bedtime is a punishment that violates their basic rights as human beings. Once the lights are out, you can expect at least an hour of inmates clanging their tin cups on the cell bars.”

This became my world.  Hands down, it was the worst part of my day.  I DREADED it.  I tried to get out of it and make Jeff responsible for all bedtimes for the next 18 years.  No dice.  We tried just letting the boys play, figuring they’d eventually get tired.  Nope.  Instead, they removed all the clothes from every drawer and pulled out every wet wipe from every container.  (They don’t even have toys in their room – can you imagine what they’d do if they had toys to strew about!?)  What tipped the scale is that they discovered that they could get the mattress of Stephen’s toddler bed and jump on the rails!  Which, of course, broke.

For the next 3 months, I cowered in fear of bedtime. My blood pressure shot up to 220/150.  (Not really.  Didn’t measure it.)  Even at the new house, the battles continued.  We tried to exhaust them before bed.  We tried putting 1 to bed before the other.  We tried everything.  It was always, always a fight.  And it always took hours.  (Or it seemed that way.)  And it exhausted me.

Finally, last week, we separated them. The toddler bed finally completely broke.  So we headed to the furniture store, and bought a bunk bed for the boys.  The kind that can separate into 2 twin beds.  We put Finn in with Sammy.  We left Stephen in his room alone.

It has been WONDERFUL!!!  So wonderful.  Without an audience, Stephen no longer tries to entertain someone at bedtime.  Without a playmate, Finn falls right to sleep.  Sammy sleeps through the night most of the time and the couple of times that he has cried, Finn sleeps right through it.

I no longer fear bedtime.  And it’s so incredibly freeing.  I have my life and sanity back.


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Phinehas is such a blessing and a handful to us.  In the last 6 months, especially, it’s been so fun to watch his vocabulary and logic skills just skyrocket!  He can communicate so much more clearly.  He’s capable of increasingly complex thoughts.  It’s just fun to see him and to hear him process his world.

He is a very strong willed little boy. It’s hard to talk him into anything.  It’s even hard to expect little things from him – like potty training.  He knows to use the potty.  He doesn’t forget to use the potty.  It’s just that accidents don’t bother him.  Until you notice the accident, then he’s bothered by it.  The other day he didn’t want to go to the playground with the other kids in his Sunday School class, so he ran off.

He can be so kind and affectionate.  Sometimes, I’ll give him a cup of water and you would’ve thought I’d given him the moon.  “Thank you mommy!” he’ll exclaim. And he’ll randomly give me a hug or blow me a kiss.  If Sammy starts crying, Finn’s the first to go over there and talk to him saying that he’ll (Finn) make him happy.  Not get him to stop crying, but to make him happy.

He can also let his anger take over.  If he gets mad enough, he’ll just throw whatever is in his hands.  Just chuck it.  Or reach out and kick (usually Stephen) if someone is nearby.

We’re still learning how to parent him.  I suspect we will be for the next 16 years.  And that’s okay.  We’ve prayed.  We’ve read the books.  We’ve taken the parenting classes.  We’ve sought out opinions from wise people.  And from people on facebook.  We’ll continue to do all those things.

He’s just so precious to us.  Here are some of the things that I want to remember about 3-year-old Finn:

  • How he wants to make Sammy happy when he cries.
  • The other day he couldn’t find his shoes right away. “Mama, I’m disappointed.  Disappointed means sad.”  His tone said that he didn’t think I knew that.
  • He just started sharing a room with Sammy instead of Stephen.  Sammy woke up in the middle of the night one time and it work up Finn when I went in there.  I got Sammy out of his crib, but Finn tried to stop me: “No mama, he’s MY Sammy.”  Sorry Finn…gotta feed him.

And some great conversations:

Finn: Mama, I built a house (showing me his ‘house’ he built out of blankets.)
Me: How many kitchen tables does your house have?
Finn: ALOT! 3 of them.
Me: That’s good. How many bedrooms?

Finn: 2!
Me: How many bathrooms does your house have?
Finn: None. We’ll just wear diapers.


Finn: “Mama, sometimes I wanna be big. But sometimes I wanna be little too.”
Me: “Me too, Finn, me too.”


Finn: “Mama, Jesus gave me lots of pennies.”
Me: “He did?”
Finn: “Yeah. But He said that I just have to go find them.”
Me: “Interesting.”
Finn: “Mama, do you have any pennies?”


Capri: Hi Finn.
Finn: Wanna play Hide N Seek?
Capri: No. Wanna play House?
Finn: Okay.
Capri: I’ll be the mom. You be the dad.
Finn: Okay! I’ll be the dad that plays Hide N Seek.
Capri: Okay.



We had a guy come and mow the lawn.

Finn: He’s half nakkie mom!
Me: What?
Finn: Yeah, he has pants. And shoes. And a shirt, but I can see his arms.
Me: Oh…well, that’s not really half nakkie Finn. That’s just him wearing a tank top. That’s okay.


Overheard when he was playing with Little People:
“Do you hear that plane? It’s in the sky.”
“We went on a walk last night.”
“Mama and me made a cake. We get to eat it tomorrow.”
“I have to listen to my body.” (For when it’s time to go potty.)
“When the house is on fire, I have to shut the fire down.” (He likes to pretend he’s a fireman.)
“Sometimes, we have to go to bed even if we aren’t tired.”
“When Sammy wakes up, we’ll give him a bottle.”


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I’ll post the birth story later, but here’s a picture of our 3 sons!

Samuel Aaron was born last night at 9:04 p.m.!


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In this edition of “Things I want to remember”…

How cute 17-month-old Stephen is at the dinner table when he starts dancing.  Then he looks at you like “Why aren’t you dancing?”  Then we all start dancing.  You know, as well as you can when you’re sitting in a chair….

How cute 17-month-old Stephen is when he’s making kissing noises.

How alike my kids look even though they are 18 months apart:


Kids sure can be fun!

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We rarely take the boys out to eat.  Now, one of us might run out and grab fast food and bring it home, but the boys rarely go into restaurants.  It isn’t a money thing; it’s just stressful for me.  You don’t enjoy the food.  It’s hard to enjoy the company you’re with.  (Some might ask how we plan on training the boys to be in restaurants if we never take them there.  But I believe that they will be just fine should they never dine out until they’re 8.  Somehow, they’ll still learn to be still. We have time for them to learn this life lesson.  Later.)

But a couple of weeks ago, my mom invited us out and it was great timing — it was getting late and I didn’t have dinner plans.  The boys had taken long afternoon naps.  It was to a place that I love (Olive Garden.) There would be more adults there than children.  And with a 3rd on the way, I knew it was almost a “now or never” kind of moment. So I gave an enthusiastic yes!

Dinner was great.  The service was slow as the restaurant was really busy, but the boys did really well.  (Of course, my expectations were low.)  As we were getting ready to leave and pay our bill, Finn said “Mama, I got sickies in my tummy.”

So I scooted him over to me and we cuddled while Jeff dealt with the check.  Well, we cuddled as much as you can squeezed into a booth.

Then I stood him up to put his coat on him.  He leaned over into me and puked.  A few times.  He hadn’t eaten too much, but whatever was in there, all came out.  Mostly on me, but some on the bench seat.  Some on the floor.  Some on the table.  Some even flew and hit Jeff’s shoe.

He instantly felt better of course.  At nearly the same time, Stephen started crying cause he was D.O.N.E.  He had had enough and was ready to go.

My mother laughed (kindly, in a “I remember those days” kind of way) and took a picture.  Me, 30-some weeks pregnant in a restaurant booth with a crying 1-year-old and a puking 2-year-old.  It was one of those “I’m just gonna laugh about this because there isn’t much else I can do anyway” kind of moments.


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In this latest edition of “Things I want to Remember”…

Stephen had his 15-month check up at the pediatrician’s office last week.  Went great.  They didn’t write down his numbers for me (I thought they would, so I didn’t bother writing them down), but if memory serves, he’s:

  • 90th percentile for height
  • 20th percentile for weight (which surprised me a little bit cause that boy can eat!  And he’s got a little baby belly on him.  But I guess that’s why it’s called a baby belly — babies have them!)
  • 70th percentile for head size

None of those are radically off from where he’s been in the past, so he’s growing!  He isn’t saying as many words as they’d like.  He pretty much only says Dada and Daddy.  (Yes, no mama yet).  But he does ‘talk’ all the time.  We’ll just keep watching it.

Finn recently took the “child lock” off his bedroom door.  For about a year since Finn’s been tall enough to open bedroom doors himself, we’ve “locked him” in his room at night with one of those child safety locks.  I just had visions of him escaping at night, running down to the kitchen and practicing a knife throwing routine for the circus.  Last night, I was working in my room and he came in twice and handed me the lock. He hadn’t figured out how to open the door with the lock, but rather to take the lock off!  Oh well…we had been thinking that it was time to do so anyway since we’ll eventually want to night potty train him and we’ll want him to be able to leave his room to go to the bathroom. This is as good a time as any before he and Stephen share a room soon.

We’re eating through our freezer!  I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on here, but I blog occasionally for Mom Saves Money and I’ve been posting how my deep freeze has gotten out of control.  So, we’ve been intentionally eating from the freezer this month instead of adding to it.  Lessons learned: we don’t really eat frozen pizza, but we do eat cheese!  This week’s goal is to organize, organize, organize!  Week One, Week Two, Week Three, Week Four.

Home improvements – but not the fun kind.  Our house has a toy room.  I mean, I’m sure it was intended to be a family room, but for us, it’s a toy room.  But man, it gets cold!  We suspect the fireplace is leaking and maybe the door to the back deck, so we had a home inspector come in who has an infrared camera.  Diagnosis: the fireplace is leaking, the door is fine, but your attic doesn’t have adequate insulation and your furnace is old.  Really old.  Like 28 years old.  Like “How are you all not dead yet?” kind of old.  And same with the water heater.  So, last week, we got a new water heater.  And a new furnace.  Next week is more attic insulation.  I need to price out getting the fireplace converted to gas.  It’s wood burning, but it’s been stuffed full of styrofoam from the previous owners and I’m afraid to look in it!

And man, my kids are cute!


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