Friday, October 24, 2008

Picking Perfect Pumpkins

Halloween is fast approaching, which could only mean one thing: It's time to visit the pumpkin patch at one of our local farms.
Since we took Molly to the same pumpkin patch last year, I thought it would be fun to take a little walk down memory lane. Wow! How she has changed!
First stop: See how much we measure up.
It appears that I have not grown any taller, but look at Molly!

2007 Just a little peanut.

2008 Growing like a weed.

Hmmmm...what is up with this picture? I think that it must be an optical illusion. I am the same height in both photographs, but it appears that Molly has grown almost a foot in the past year. In actuality, she's only grown 4 1/2 inches. 2007: 31 inches 2008: 35 1/2 inches.

Next stop on our journey down memory lane: Molly's adventurous spirit.
My, oh my has she changed a lot in this department.

2007 Hated doing anything new.

2008 Ready to explore the herself (remember the "No, IIIIIIIII do it" post?)

Final stop on Memory Lane Tour: Finger sucking.

2007 Molly is sucking on her fingers.

2008 Hey wait a minute. Molly is still sucking on her fingers. I guess not everything about our girl has changed!
Here are some other favorite pictures from the day:

Molly the Kitty with Mommy.

Molly the Little Pumpkin with Daddy.

Molly getting the Princess treatment from her Daddy.

Trying to decide on just the right pumpkin to select.

I think I want this one!

Hauling our pumpkins out to the truck.

Here is the most perfect pumpkin in the whole patch! Oh my goodness, she has a way of taking my breath away.

Molly's favorite part of the day...eating rock candy on the drive home.
t y
And finally, for all of those wondering about the Great Pumpkin that grew out of our compost heap during the summer. He is still alive and kickin'. He is on a shelf in the basement, perched in between a bottle of fabric softener and a container of antibacterial wipes.

He has a few blemishes (but don't we all), but he just might make it to Halloween. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tales from the Toilet Side: A Potty Training Adventure

Disclaimer: Bodily functions are discussed and semi-graphic photographs are contained in this post. Reader's discretion is advised.
The resistance to potty training in our household did not come from Molly; She has successfully used the potty on several occasions. She was ready months ago. No, the resistance came from me. I like diapers.

  • They are easy--no training involved.
  • They are convenient--you never have to search for a toilet with only a split second notice.
  • They are tidy--unless your kid ate prunes for breakfast, diapers contain the mess.

Yep, I like diapers.

I had a lot of excuses to delay potty training.

  • We were going to the beach. Who wants to hassle with finding facilities on a 14 hour road trip?
  • Hey, I just bought a big box of diapers. We don't want to waste them do we?
  • And then it was the trip to Colorado. Who wants to deal with a newly potty trained 2 year old on a total of 4 flights?
    I had finally run out of excuses, so last weekend we began potty training in earnest. I've got to tell you, my procrastination paid off! Molly was pretty well potty trained by the middle of day two. See, the guy who said, "Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today," was a fool.
    Here's how the whole P-T thing played out day-by-day:
    Day One:
    On Saturday afternoon, I headed to Kohl's to pick up some underwear. Let me pause right here and tell you that I HATE the word panties. It sounds dirty to me. Not dirty-eeeeeewwwww, but dirty-nasty. I have never use the word for my own undergarments so I don't use it with my daughter. The term in this household is underwear (or skivvies, on occasion). So anyhoo, I'm in Kohl's and score big time, getting 7 pair of underwear for $2.17, including tax. Things are looking good so far!
    Once home I show Molly the new purchase and tell her that she is going to start using the big girl potty and start wearing underwear instead of diapers. Into the bathroom she runs, shedding clothes along the way. Yea, she was excited. She got right down to business and screamed with delight as soon as she was successful. So proud, she was! "Hey, this is going to be easy," I though to myself.
    We did the potty every 30 minutes thing and that worked pretty well. Later that evening, she returned to the potty and got down to some serious business, if you know what I mean. Success! More screams of delight! First day of P-T down and no accidents.
    Now for the photographic evidence:

    Sitting pretty

    Showing off the new skivvies

    So proud!

    Hygiene is important, but Molly likes any excuse to play in the water.
    Day Two:
    Started out the morning by switching from diapers to underwear. Continued on with the potty every 30 minutes routine. Molly decides that she is much too grown up for the potty chair. She is going to use the big potty, just like Mom and Dad. She's never looked back. But....Uh oh! Two accidents before lunch. Maybe this won't be so easy.
    The accidents didn't bother Molly but they seemed to help her hone her skills, so to speak. The rest of the day went off without a hitch. And it has been smooth sailing (i.e. no accidents) ever since.

    Day Three:
    Molly decides that she liked her Hello Kitty underwear so much that they should be worn on the outside of her clothes. Although it was quite a fashion statement, a little coaching from me helped to convince her to wear them under her clothing. Nothing else of note to report. Still not brave enough to take her out of the house sans diapers.

    This fall's fashion statement?

    Or fashion faux pas?

    You be the judge.

Day Four:
Molly wakes up and states, "No underwear! Diapers!" Uh oh.

I don't give her much choice and whip off the Pampers and replace them with adorable Elmo skivvies. She refuses to go to the bathroom. I guess that shows me. Later that morning, I'm in the garage when I hear Molly yelling "Mommy". I go running in to find her standing on the toilet seat, buck naked, pointing to the bowl. Gosh darn it if she didn't take care of business (serious business) all by herself. That was the last time I was allowed into the bathroom while she was doing her thing. Can you say independent? Geesh!

Day Five:
I sneak inside the bathroom to see just how Molly gets up on the toilet. I mean she's pretty tiny and the toilet is pretty big. Let's just say it was an act of shear athleticism. All that playing on the jungle gym paid off in the bathroom! Here's the play by play:

Scale Mt. Pah-tay

Get comfy

Get down to business

Cheer for myself

Feet in (makes you think twice about using our stairs in the future, doesn't it?)

Pull up

Pants on...all done!
Success for today: We left the house for a walk and a trip to the park. Gone an hour and a half ...without diapers. No accidents! My kid is a P-T genius.
The best part about this whole experience was that the act of using the bathroom like a big girl was the only reward that Molly has needed. No stickers or M&Ms. She just goes and then cheers for herself with a big hand clap and laughter.
So to some things up, here's my suggestion for all those still needing to potty train. Once your child is ready, regardless of age, wait until they beg to be trained. Once they start begging, wait another 3 or 4 months. Procrastination will pay off. Really.
One final note. I still miss diapers. If I had a penny for each time that I have asked Molly if she needed to pee or told her to go to the bathroom, I'd be rich. Don't have to do that with diapers. Also, do you know how long it takes a 2 year old to squeeze out just a few ounces of pee? Answer: an eternity. Here's a rundown of the events.
  • completely undress
  • scale the toilet
  • fidget
  • do the job at hand--multiple times in one sitting
  • celebrate each victory
  • fidget some more
  • wipe
  • wipe some more
  • flush
  • flush some more
  • get dressed
  • wash hands
  • wash hands some more
Yea, an eternity. Diapers rock.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's All About Me

At least I am sure that is what Molly was thinking after 10 days in Colorado. She was the center of attention for the entire time, and loved every minute of it.

I really wasn't planning a trip back home so soon after our summer vacation, but found some super cheap fares that I couldn't pass up...especially since Molly now requires a seat of her own. With some of the difficulties that we had on our beach vacation etched into my memory, I was a bit leery about the whole trip. I was alone this time, too; No husband to help me play defense when things went awry. Turns out that our Little Miss Molly was a perfect angel. Well, as perfect as you can be when you are 2 year old.

A few weeks before the trip, Molly seemed to turn the corner on the terrible two behavior that we have been experiencing for the last six months. Almost overnight I got my sweet, lovable, agreeable, fun-loving daughter back. Just in the nick of time.

I have learned that Molly really needs to be well prepared for what lies ahead. It makes her life (and mine!) much easier. A full month before we left for Colorado, I started talking about our trip: who was going, where we were going, who we would see, and most importantly, how we would get there. I have been on a few flights with Molly where, if it were socially acceptable, I would have cried and thrown a tantrum right along with her. I didn't want to relive that experience. So, I came up with the Big 3 Rules for the Plane:
  1. Sit down
  2. Be quiet
  3. No crying

My goal was to make sure that she did not commit on of the unwritten cardinal sins of airplane flight for children. (Side note: When Molly gets a little taller, I am going to add "No kicking the seat in front of you" as rule #4!) You know, the things that kids do that really tick off travelers who obviously have never parented or have forgotten how difficult it is to travel with children. I hoped that if said rules were followed, I wouldn't get any of those disapproving glares from the other passengers.

Molly knew the rules inside and out. She could recite them on demand and model the appropriate behavior. The real test came the day of the flight. Low and behold, the rules worked! Stop the presses! Contact the mother-of-the-year committee! Holy cow, I finally did something right. I guess even the blind squirrel gets a nut once in a while.

My little baby sat quietly in her seat, played with her toys, ate her snack and napped like a seasoned traveler. I was so proud. And I didn't have to slink off the plane, avoiding eye contact with all of the other passengers.

Enough of the journey and on to the All About Me section of the post. Here are just a few of the hundreds of pictures that I took on the trip. As you can see, it was truly all about Molly....

Outside of the Downtown Aquarium. I lived most of my life in Denver and never visited this place. Funny, now that I am a mom, all sorts of things appeal to me know that never did before.

Molly's favorite part of the aquarium: the alligator.
I know, I know, it's an eel. I tried to explain that over and over to Molly, but to her it was an alligator.

Checking out the jellyfish.

Molly's first trip to the mountains: a weekend trip to Vail...rough life this kid has, huh? Here she is with cousin Stephie.

And here she is all alone, but looking adorable in her new purple outfit. (Oh yea, baby! I did some shopping for fall. Maybe I need to do a post on the new wardrobe. It's big, it's bold and surprisingly, it's not all pink.)

A view of the blue skies, mountains and changing aspen. Toto, I don't think we are in Kansas anymore!

Checking out the statue outside of the hotel. (If you know who this is a statue of, would you please leave me a note in the comments? I know he is a famous artist, but who the heck is he?)

After checking him out, this is about as close as Molly wanted to get.

Dinner with my dear friends from college.
I met these wonderful girls on the first day of my freshman year of college and we are all still just as close 25 years later. How often does that happen? I know that it looks like it might be about me and not about Molly in this picture. Trust me, it was all about her. Becky's (bottom left) two daughters adored Molly and played whatever Molly wanted the ENTIRE evening. When we left for the evening, Molly was asleep in the car seat before we got out of the neighborhood.

Molly and Luke horsing around at the Historic Museum.
Luke and Molly are pals from way back in China. They slept in cribs that were side-by-side for the first year of their lives. Luke's parents live about 2 blocks away from my sister. Talk about fate. Luke's mom and I are now bonded by these two amazing children. I so enjoy spending time with this special family. They are truly some of the world's best people. I am blessed that they are now a part of our lives. Adoption comes with so many miraculous gifts.

Here's Luke trying to sneak a little smooch. Boys! It is astounding to watch these two at play. They seem to know each other on some deeper level. I know it sounds crazy, or that I am just looking for some connection to bond them together, but they really do seem to share something with each other that Molly doesn't have with other kids. She is totally at ease with Luke.

Gratuitous cute picture to show off our kids.

Oh Yea, Double Trouble!

And the trip would not have been complete if Molly were not totally spoiled by....

Aunt Shell....


and Grandpa.

Yep, after all of this, Molly was surely thinking, "This trip is so totally all about me!"