Thursday, March 31, 2011

HMP: Potty Training Mastery

We started our potty training journey in January.  Unfortunately, we had some setbacks due to antibiotics and illness but not before Peanut successfully went "pee" and "poopy" on the potty.  On two consecutive nights, I had obligations to which my attendance was important.  And, wouldn't you know, Peanut went on the potty both nights (for his father) that I was NOT home.  I received a voicemail on my cellphone from my youngest in the sweetest little voice telling me he had gone to the potty.  Bob took pictures (I decided to spare you) and I was elated.  My mother-in-law adopted the saying "He's turning a corner" for a multitude of different behaviors that Peanut has exhibited.  However, I believed that we entered a new era in Peanut's life.  My prediction proved to be totally incorrect.

Peanut decided that because he went on the potty a few times that he mastered the art of going to the bathroom.  I recently asked him if he would like to sit on the potty, to which he replied, "I already goed on the potty, Mum."  It was then that I realized he doesn't understand that it is a "lifetime commitment."  We laughed...kinda.

Continue to wish us luck.  The little stinker can do it---he just chooses not to do it.

Adventures in K: Walnut's Poor Uniform Pants

I cannot keep Walnut in uniform pants.  He wears out the reinforced knees like it is his job.  He's perfecting his craft, too.  Between pants and shoes, I fear for our financial future!

Super Moon

Chick, Mac and Mollie

The Chick-fil-A at Robinson is a wonderful place for families.  They offer different specialty nights and create a fun atmosphere for children.  My friend, Michelle, and I took our boys a few weeks ago when Macaroni Kid Robinson hosted a Superhero Fun Night.  The kiddos made capes and snacked on ice cream as Mollie the Painter worked her artistic magic on their faces.  If you're looking for an impromptu play date venue or fun for the kids or an amazing painter, you can't go wrong with Chick, Mac and Mollie.

Spring Is Springing...I HOPE

The flowers are ready...

The trees are ready...

Peanut is ready...

Walnut is ready...
Dear Spring,
The above photos were taken mid-March 2011.  It is now the last day of March and we're freezing.  Please visit Western Pennsylvania very, very soon.  We would greatly appreciate your sunshining face.
The Kocanuts

Visit to Easter Bunnylane

The boys love Kraynak's for a myriad of reasons:  toys, Thomas the Tank Engine and, of course, the displays.

Only Four?

I pick Walnut up from school every day.  We go through our daily questions about school, lunch, recess, snack time, etc.  After we exhaust the proverbial parent/child/school checklist, Walnut usually plays his DS for the rest of the trip home.  However, Walnut's analysis of our family took precedence yesterday.  I am never ready for the in-depth philosophical questions that Walnut presents.  In fact, he often catches me completely off guard.  Bringing my B-game to a conversation with Walnut creates several different problems.  I am sometimes not quick minded enough but sometimes I nail it from three point range.  It just depends...on Walnut.

Walnut:  Hey Mom, we are a family of four.

Me:  Yes.  We are a family of four:  Daddy, Peanut, you and me.

Walnut:  We should be a family of five.

Me:  umm.  Maybe someday.

Walnut:  How do you have a baby?

Panic sets in.  'Are we really having this conversation right now?'

Me:  The baby comes out near where we go to the bathroom. (not my finest explanation)

Walnut:  Your butt?!

Me:  No.

Walnut:  That would be crazy, Mommy!

I try to begin a detailed and delicate explanation.  I watch my phrasing.  I choose select words.  Walnut listens.

Me:  Do you understand?

Walnut:  Hey Mom, can I have a snack?

I simultaneously feel completely relieved and a little irritated.  Yet, I know that I dodged a bullet this time.  Thank goodness that Walnut's interests were with his stomach and not with his brain at that moment.  If he had pressed matter I may have failed miserably.

Date Night Long Overdue

For Valentine's Day, my parents bought us an Olive Garden gift card to use for a date night under the guise that they would watch the boys while Bob and I went out for an uninterrupted dinner alone.  As most parents know, it is truly difficult to go on a date when you have little ones.  More often than not, moms and dads are still responsible for prepping dinner for the babysitter or family members, homework has to be finished on weeknights and scheduling a night out isn't easy when athletic practices span days on the calendar.  It's sometimes more work to go out than the worth of the joy of the outing.  We're usually exhausted by eight o'clock, too.  However, this latest date night was as relaxing as one could imagine.

My parents visited to spoil the kids with a variety of Walnut and Peanut's favorites:  Utz's cheese balls, Eat 'N Park Smiley Cookies, M & M's, Edy's (Dad's company) and Haagen Dasz pints and a box of old VHS tapes, including An American Tail and The Land Before Time.  Hell, I was even excited. And yes, we still own a VCR.  My parents arrived bearing gifts that went straight to the stomach and to the heart.  AND, they took them to get McDonald's.  I can't compete and I am glad that I don't have to even try.

We left, the boys had no idea that we were walking out the door, got into the car and thoroughly enjoyed our night together.  I drove the server crazy at the restaurant, in hopefully a less than annoying way, and was grateful for his efforts. We laughed, we talked about things other than Lightning McQueen and Mario Bros. and we even enjoyed dessert.  A monthly recharge needs to become a priority for Bob and me.  Life is pretty simple.  It is everyday life that wears us down.  We returned to fed, bathed and happy children.  Date night was a complete success thanks to my mom and dad.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

HMP: I Am Not Ready for Three


There is something so extraordinarily sweet about a two-year old.  Peanut exhibits all of the toddler quality adjectives:  playful, ornery, precocious, adorable, stubborn and snuggly.  I keep saying to Bob, "I just want to freeze him.  I don't want him to grow up."  Bob's quick reply, "Tiffany, he has to grow up.  Who's going to mow the lawn?"  We laugh and I die a little inside--every time.

Peanut's third birthday wanders around in my mind on a daily basis.  Yes, I obsess much.  But, truly, I am just not ready for him to turn three.  Call it the need to keep my child dependent upon me.  Call it the need to stay youthful to some extent.  Call it the need for preservation of our family time and activities.  Call it what you need to call it.  I am just not ready.

Age three marks the beginning of the PRESCHOOLER demographic; one step closer to school aged.  AAAGGGHHHH! (Insert Charlie Brown's scream.)  How in the world did this happen?  How did he grow up so quickly?

Yet, I am thankful that he still gives me kisses and hugs by the dozens.  He still lets me hold his hand.  He still wants carried from time to time.  He still wants to snuggle.  He still says, "I YUV YOU."

For now, I will quietly deal with my own anxiety over something I cannot control.  But, when May hits I wonder if I will have calmed or if I will be a lunatic.

Check back and pray for me.

Adventures in K: First School Play Date

I received an email from one of Walnut's school friend's parents last week requesting a play date at their home.  


I needed a moment to digest this information.

As I have stated before, I can be *slightly* like a helicopter mom.  My boys have never actually GONE to someone's house without me.  They have never ridden in a vehicle of a non-family member.  They have never walked alone to a neighbor's house to play outside.  They have never attended a athletic practice by themselves without Bob or me.  Essentially, aside from their daycare/preschool schedule, grandparents/family visits and rare babysitter appearances, our children are with us...until today.

I called V, Walnut's friend's mom, to confer and collaborate the execution of play date planning.  She picked T and Walnut up after school, transported my child in HER vehicle and supervised our six-year old for two hours after school.  What a completely new and novel idea for me.  Peanut asked as I put him in his car seat, "Where's big brother?"  I explained.  It was weird.

Walnut was at someone else's house.

As Peanut and I rang the doorbell at T's house I heard the sing-songy, "AWWWW" in Walnut's voice.  He knew that his mother was retrieving him from his fun time away from the family.  He knew that life would be a little more boring now that he had to return home.  However, we didn't leave for another hour.  The boys played.  V offered to have Walnut over again--next week.  V and I chatted as the boys played.  What an awesome after school event not only for Walnut but also for Peanut and me.

We're planning another play date in the very near future.  Look how far I have come!  And, I didn't even need a multi-step process.   

*-Slightly is an complete understatement (litotes) for overbearing.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Adventures in K: Dance Party USA!


Walnut  really enjoyed his first dance party.   I never imagined my five year old in a conga line but he enjoyed every minute of the event and his mommy relished in his memory making, too.

Winter 2011: Season of the Ear Infection

It started in January.  Here we are at the end of March and the resident germ is still visiting the Kocanuts children.

Our pediatrician, Dr. D., always told me that our children have a high threshold for pain.  (It makes some sense to me because, as a I remember it, natural childbirth wasn't too horrible for me.  Yes, it hurt but it didn't hurt so much as to deter me from having more children.)  I remember the first, toddler, non-wellness visit to see Dr. D.  Walnut had some boogies and he was running a slight fever.  He just didn't seem like himself.  Dr. D. looked in Walnut's ears and said, "He has a pretty bad ear infection in BOTH ears."  She then asked if he had tugged on his ears or had told me that they hurt.  My quick response was, "No. never."  Replay the same scenario for the Peanut.  It seems that the dreaded ear infection never really seemed to bother my kids all that much...until Winter 2011...

We started January off with a trip to the local Urgent Care.  Diagnosis:  ear infection

We traveled, at a pretty swift rate, to the end of January.  We visited our pediatrician.  Diagnosis:  double ear infection

February visited us with great vengeance.  We visited the pediatrician--again.  Diagnosis:  common cold

March came in like the lion of germs.  March brought us back to the same trusted Urgent Care.  Diagnosis:  double ear infection

But, WAIT.  A member of the staff called two days later to inform us that Walnut had Strep.

All in all, we have visited a pediatrician or an Urgent Care facility almost ten times this winter.  For us, that is an astronomical number.  Just when we seem to be healthy, the ear infection comes back for a visit.

The second shelf of our refrigerator has been deemed Prescription Central as it is lined with different -cillins.  I am hoping and praying that warmer weather is upon us very soon and the end of prescriptions is, too.  I can't wait for Spring to actually take full force.

Wait---allergy season.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blog Hiatus

I took a much needed technology hiatus.  I wonder if there will soon be a support group for those of us obsessed with social media and technology.  For now, I will continue to update the blog but I did enjoy scaling back my connection to the almighty screen.

Stay tuned!

Adventures in K: Birthdays and More Birthdays

cake and ice cream



pin the tail on the donkey

mass chaos

treat bags

Those are the things that I remember about childhood birthday parties.  Looking back on my earliest memories of childhood birthday parties, I remember attending parties at my friends' homes.  For the most part, the events were unstructured aside from a game or two and the swinging of the pinata stick for the coveted candy.  We just played.

I need to clarify something:  I am completely guilty of creating a super structured birthday party environment.  For Walnut's 4th and Peanut's 1st birthday we had a carnival at the house with a myriad of games, etc.  For Walnut's 5th and Peanut's 2nd birthday party we decorated masks and made superhero capes.  Every year, I hire a photographer to take pictures, I hire people to help with games, etc.  I have been THAT mom.  THAT MOM.

My intern, Shermandy, from two years ago tells this story best but I will give it a shot to sum up, without the hilarious animation, my formerly insane need for "perfection" when it comes to almost any type of gathering.  Walnut and Peanut share the same birthday.  In February or March of 2009 I was preparing for the BIG birthday party.  I know...  As Shermandy administered an exam in complete silence, I began rereading the hard copies of "sure things" in the fun department and began highlighting my favorites.  Yes.  I DID just type that.  I HIGHLIGHTED.  Shermandy approached my desk under the impression that I hit pay dirt lesson plans of some type.  She inched closer and read, "carnival party ideas" aloud. Again,our students were testing.  The only sound was the hum of the radiator.  She began laughing hysterically.  And, quite frankly, I couldn't understand what was SO funny.  She looked at me and said, "You're highlighting birthday party ideas?"  Apparently, my complete and intense research of the childhood birthday party amused Shermandy.  We still talk about that episode.  She laughs and I, well, I laugh on the inside.

And, since the beginning of the school year, Walnut has been invited to about a dozen birthday parties.  As a Kindergarten parent in a new school, I had no idea what to expect as far as appropriate birthday party execution.  I figured that there would be a wide range of parties: a bowling party, a wild animal party, a Willy Wonka themed party, etc.  I also wondered if Walnut would be invited to girls' birthday parties, only one.  I believed that children don't need to invite every single person in their class to their birthday party.  Many parents and some of my friends believe that as to not exclude any of the little darlings it is crucial to invite all of the classmates.  Admittedly, I now understand the social necessities of inviting the whole class.  Walnut's classmates and their parents are truly wonderful.  We have been blessed with a great academic family for our oldest.

Walnut has been invited to three birthday parties in so many weeks at an indoor baseball facility, a dek hockey/wellness center and a recreation center.  He'll be playing baseball and playing dek hockey and swimming. Yes, these are all good, wholesome activities AND  he loves his Kindergarten friends.

So, as we approach May 7th, the boys' birthday, I also begin my own kind of March Madness:  Birthday Party Planning a la Kocanuts.  We've got some great ideas already even though I THOUGHT we had already decided on the venue.  Wish me luck! 


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