March 14, 2013
Milo: “The wind is not moving today”.
Milo copies Lilia and says: “Watch this, Lincoln.”
Linc: “Who is Lincoln?”
Milo points at me (Nicola) and says “him”
Milo is trying to pump air in the tires of his bicycle: “I need to put punk in my motorcycle.”
I take Felix’s rectal temperature. Milo says: “I want fever in my butt too.”
Milo: “Stop squishing me, Felix. Mami, Felix is squishy. Like Ava. Ava is ssss … smart.”
Nicola: “You are smart, too.”
Milo: “No, I’m not smart, I’m a big boy.
Milo: “Mami, you are Superman.”
Nicola: “And what is Felix?”
Milo: “Felix is a real small Superman.”
January 23, 2013
Location, location, location – Milo’s main concern these days, seems to be about where things are. Here are some of his recent outtakes:
- I’m offering Milo to carry him piggy backed to his room. Accidentally I walk into Felix’s room instead of his. Milo totally concerned: “Where did my room go?”
- After not having gone potty for 4 hours and before getting into the car for our ride home I am trying really hard to get Milo to pee at the mall. So we go into the ladies room together and I go potty first in the hopes that he will want to copy me. Milo: “Mommy, where did your penis go?”
- This morning Milo walked into my closet that is currently undergoing renovation, then runs to me in the bathroom to announce: “Mommy, my house is broken.”
January 18, 2013
That’s Milo’s favorite sentence these days and he can’t seem to stress it enough. Notice how he is not only big, but bigger? What he is trying to say is that he is a big boy and trust me, we are holding him up to this statement as often as needed. I think he got it from preschool, where the older class is allowed certain things that the little ones can’t do.
In some aspects Milo is really becoming a big boy. He goes to preschool 5 mornings a week and is learning so much. His speech is exploding and now 80% English and in full sentences. He is holding conversations with his friends and they can play totally self sufficiently together. Also, just like a big boy, Milo has a girlfriend. Actually, one in school (her name is Veda. They show each other their lunch boxes if you know what I mean ;-) and a different one in his free time (Lilia). He is definitely into older, dark haired girls. And they love him too.
Milo is now also using the toilet big boy style. About three months ago he started to become interested in the potty and voluntarily used it every time before bath or bed time. Sometimes also in the morning. Since he showed interest, knows how to pull pants down, and can say what he needs, I figured we’d give official potty training a shot. For Thanksgiving I had 4 days off and with united efforts Linc and I started mission potty training:
- Day 1: Put Milo in underwear or without pants and sit him on the potty every half hour to get him into the routine of going potty and avoid accidents. Successfully even through the Thanksgiving party. We still put on a diaper for his nap and at night.
- Day 2: Spacing potty visits out to every 1 hour. One accident. Milo had been holding his poop for two days because he doesn’t want to do it in the potty, then it plopped just out on the floor when he was without pants.
- Day 3: Milo is tarting to say when he needs to go potty, but you gotta be fast because it comes out the same minute. So, we still put him on the potty eery hour. Another poop accident. This time in the pants.
- Day 4: Discouraged by the poop accidents and the fact that Milo doesn’t seem to be able to hold stuff in, I put a diaper on him in the morning. But he doesn’t want it, so I explained to him how he needs to hold the pee in when he feels it coming and that he can use his hands to hold his junk if needed. He totally got it! (Sometimes I still underestimate this child’s brain growth and tend to give up instead of explaining things. Gotta get rid if that habit. He’s a smartie after all.) From then on we only put Milo on the potty before leaving the house or sleepy time and relied on him to let us know when he needed to go. No accidents! He’s successfully holding everything in until we get to a potty. even when out and about.
- Day 5: First preschool day without diapers. I deposit 3 extra pants and underwear, but he doesn’t need them.
- Day 7: After one week with diapers only for sleeping, the nap diaper is now staying dry. So we skip it and only keep the night diaper.
- Day 30: Night diapers have been dry for two weeks, so we ditch them as well and never looked back.
That’s how Milo became completely dry within only a month. Much easier than anticipated.
He IS my big boy.
December 6, 2012
You ask – we answer.
So, how are we doing as a family of four?
- Milo is still great with Felix. He sings him songs, makes him smile, and generally just cares for his wellbeing. When we are driving in the car and Felix starts to cry, Milo tells him ” No weinen, Felix. Gleich da” (“Don’t cry Felix, almost there”) He even said it the other day without Felix in the car when we were approaching our house and then got all concerned when he noticed that Felix wasn’t with us.
- Milo is good with us now too. Right after Felix’s birth he had a major power struggle / tantrum phase. Whether it was related to Felix’s birth or just coincidence (Hello terrible twos!), we will never know. There were weeks when he would do only the opposite of what we said, not follow the simplest request, and throw things on purpose just to provoke us. All day long. Every single chore like a diaper change, getting him to eat, or change his shirt became a power struggle. But somehow we got through it. With lots of patience and persistance. I guess Milo understood that some things in life are non-negotiable and the only place his tantrums will get him is his room.
- We, the parents are close to a burn out. We are basically just functioning. Taking care of babies, work, taking care of errands, sleep for a few hours. Repeat. At the end of the week we really miss spending quality time with each other and somehow manage to squeeze in an hour long in-house date night. But with Felix becoming less needy and Milo being pretty cooperative these days, things are definitely starting to look up.
July 12, 2012
This is Milo’s idea of a modern and somewhat functional art installation. Whenever he helps me put clothes away in our closet he asks for a good amount of hangers and makes sure to hang them all the same way on our dresser. Hopefully this is a sign of his sense for organization.
Now that Milo has sufficient words to tell us stories all day long, but not quite enough language to always be coherent or precise, there is some pretty funny stuff coming out of his mouth sometimes. It kind of gives you an idea what an almost two-year old’s logic looks like. I will collect those random outbursts of genius and share them here with you.
#1: These Milo says “this” or “this one” to anything that he does not know the word for. So, the other day at the park we ran into some friends that we don’t see too often. Their kid is called Alex and Milo played with him for about an hour. Apparently that was not enough time for Milo to learn the kid’s name, so when we left Milo waved at Alex and said to him: “Bye, this one!”
#2: When in Germany Milo started digging the typical Marmeladenbrot or Butterbrot – a slice of bread with butter and or jam spread on it. After we got back home, I was talking to Milo about his brother and asked him what we should name his brother. Milo said “Brot” (=bread). Apparently Bruder / brother sounded similar enough to Butter / butter, so that he immediately connected it with Brot / bread.
June 23, 2012
Remember this post from a while back when Milo’s room got cleared of the baby crib and other nick nacks? Well, of course I didn’t leave it all empty like this.
I’m loving me some blank canvas for more home decorations! The way Milo’s bedroom theme has been evolving it is now clear that it is all about the outdoors. It started with some baby froggy gifts, then came the tree, the tent, and now we are all about camping outdoors. So, here is where we went with some more upgrades to his big boy room.
First, we went to IKEA, bought the cheapo Fjellse bed frame for $40, hacked it and stained it.
I wanted the thing to have a footboard as well as a headboard for symmetry, plus the headboard didn’t need to be quite that high. So Linc built a footboard out of some 2x2s, shortened the headboard and attached them both to the bed. Then it got stained brown to match Milo’s bench.
Since the temporary play tent solution worked so well to transition Milo from crib to bed, I decided to make him a new big tent. This version is really easy to build:
1. Find a straight branch and attach it to the ceiling with string and loop hooks.
2. Wrap a dragonfly light string around the branch
3. Throw a couple of yards of cheap fabric (got these 6 yards for $18 at Joanns, but really only needed 5) over the branch.
I also ordered some of these bed bumpers (for some reason their price went up quite a bit, I got them for under $20) that are placed under the bedding and prevent any active movers to fall out of bed while they are still learning to sleep like a big boy.
Milo loves hanging out under the dragonfly lights in the evening. They make for a really cozy atmosphere in his room.
The next step was to build a night stand to go with the new bed that could hold some of Milo’s essentials like his favorite good night books, a drink, his frogs, and his Gro-Clock. This sleep training clock is the best on the market in my opinion and also acts as a night light. See my more detailed review on this purchase here.
So I got two wooden crates for half price ($15 for both) and stained them the same brown as the bed. Afterwards I just stacked them on top of each other, which is more stable than expected and leaves the opportunity to use them separately again in the future.
Then Milo helped me paint this little bird house yellow that now adds some dimension to his painted tree:
The biggest improvement, however, is almost invisible in all the pictures, yet makes such a big difference to the room: Milo finally has a real ceiling light. One that turns on when you hit the switch at the door. Nothing special you might think, but somehow the previous homeowners had never installed it. Instead in both kid’s rooms (as well as the master and the living room) the light switch controls a wall outlet. But since we are not a big fan of having floor lamps standing around and they really aren’t an option in kid’s rooms where the plug can be pulled and the whole thing can topple over, we have been sort of living in the dark for a bit.
Until one warm day my handy hubby climbed up into the attic a.k.a sauna, ran some wires, and then installed this light fixture in Milo’s room that we had taken out of the guest bedroom in the basement:
Yeah, it does not look crazy cool, but it was free, and it makes light. Which is really a big help in reading books and getting the boy ready for bed. It is not said and done that I might not upgrade it to a DIYed lamp shade at some point in the future, but right now we are all happy with the way Milo’s room works and how it offers him a cozy comfort zone. Believe it or not, the other day Milo went up to his room and put himself down for a nap all by himself.
June 20, 2012
We haven’t done any product reviews on here for a while, but this one I really wanted to share with you. Even though I am not sure if our recent toddler sleep success is directly related to using this sleep trainer (it might just be a coincidence or a phase like so many others), I definitely think that it is a great product and could help some desperate parents with early bird kids.
Here is our sleep story: Milo has always been an early riser. Just like his mom he gets tired when the sun goes down and is wide awake at sunrise. As opposed to me his inner clock is stronger than any blackout curtain or blind. In the first 20 months of his life he has probably slept longer than until 7 AM only a handful of times. His usual wake up time used to be anywhere from 5:30 to 6:30 AM and he would announce it with a loud yell for MAMAAAA! So no sleeping in for me either.
When we got back from our trip to Germany in May I feared for the worst jet lag considering that his inner clock would be set even earlier. So, while we were in Germany I ordered this sleep trainer. At that point it seemed to be the best product on the market and after using it I can confirm that it has some major advantages over other similar products.
Here’s the big idea: You set the desired wake-up time. For the beginning of the training set the time to the current wake-up time and then move gradually later each time after the kid has adjusted. At wake-up time the display will change from a blue star to a yellow sun. Explain to your child that it is time to get up only when the sun is up. In the evening you can activate night time mode at any time – the sun will set and turn into a blue star. Explain to your kid that the star is now asleep and he has to sleep as well until the sun rises again. Little stars go out one by one and show the progress of the night.
- Big display with big and easy to understand symbols
- Works as a night light with 10 different settings of brightness
- Works as a digital clock during the day
- Also has a separate timer for a day time nap
- Can be used as an alarm as well
- Has a key lock that prevents kid from turning on day-time mode himself
- Comes with a story book that explains how it works to the kid
- Currently not available in the US. Therefore higher shipping costs, longer delivery, and has to be used with a plug converter.
- Key lock only available for locking night time mode, but not to lock in day-time mode
Other things to consider: I think this clock works best for kids that are old enough to understand consequences and connections like “if … , then …”. I also communicated to Milo that not only does he have to stay in bed until the sun comes up, but he also has to be quiet so that he won’t wake up the star. I ordered the clock from Langtoninfo and had no problems with shipping and everything arrived in good order within the time frame that was promised.
Recently Milo has been staying in his bed/room quietly until I go get him. I set his wake-up time to 7 and that is usually when I go in. Most of the times he is already awake, but overall there are way more days now that he sleeps closer to 7 than to 6:30 AM. On some days I accidentally slept in until 8 and still didn’t hear a word. Only his diaper was overflowing by that time. So, he doesn’t even wake me up anymore once the sun is up and he is allowed to. Therefore I am not sure if it is really the clock’s contribution that makes him stay quiet in the morning or he just enjoys his alone time in his room. Either way I think that this sleep timer can really help getting into the right sleep mood. Ask me any questions you might have.