So...I was looking on line and was in search for a project to do for my son. Some kind of activity that sparked his interest which fluctuates often but includes bugs and insects. I stumbled across an insect sensory bin that seemed rather simple and easy to do. It turned out to be a huge hit and is one of his favorites.
The first step is sorting out the bugs. There are 3 different types of bugs. I wanted each bug type to be a different color so that is why I separated them. You can dye them all one color or section them into three or more piles and have a mix of each insect with different color choices.
Next I dyed the bugs using thee Food Coloring and Alcohol and Zip lock bag. I put approximately 1/4 cup of rubbing alcohol into the zip lock bag with a few drops of the food color of my choice. I then dumped in my insect pasta and shook them up. ***This is a step that you can share with your toddler provided they do not know how to open a ziplock bag. Jeremy enjoyed shaking the bag and dancing around.*** I then let the baggie sit for approximately 30 minutes turning it every 5 minutes or so to make sure that insects were coated as evenly as possible.
After the insects were colored I laid them out in a thin layer on the foil lined pan to dry. For me I forgot about the insects so they dried overnight and then I scooped them up.
In my storage bin I poured the black beans and then put in my insects and put the lid on and shook them up. Insect sensory bin complete!
Tiny Town Picnic Fun
The second book is about picnic day with the animal friends. At night this becomes a great time for us to discuss friends and games to play with friends. We talk about foods and we also talk about some of the things that he would like to do with his school friends when the pandemic is over. I always love the part when the friends get back on the bus to go home; it’s always interesting based on the stories he creates to see who gets on the bus and in what order.
Sharks Sticker Activity Book
The third book is for shark lovers! It is not a felt book but a sticker book. From National Geographic for Kids. This book has become a favorite bedtime read; over and over and over and over...🥴. Jeremy has shown love for the ocean animal from an early age and this book while a bit advanced for his age was a great way to not only educate him but also myself about things shark. He has been enamored with the shark sticks and loves to put them all over the house. If your little one loves sharks this is a must! 🦈
With the holidays in full swing I have begun the search and collection of toys that I think will be a hit for him for my little one. There is one toy that I got two years ago that he is still enjoying after 2 years. The Little Tikes Trampoline.
I will say proudly that I think this is one of my best purchases as a mom! He has used it repeatedly and enjoys it till this day. I was a little hesitant when I purchased it because I of course was worried about safety but intuitively he started jumping and holding on to the bar. As he has gotten older and gained more confidence in his balance and skills her has stopped relying on the bar. Bouncing and jumping is one of his favorite things to do. This has saved me and my parents couches from breaking with his exuberant and boundless energy. Whenever he starts jumping on the couch I remind him that it’s okay to jump off of the furniture but not to jump on and direct him to his indoor trampoline.
If you have a little one who loves to jump whose weight is <55lbs and you are looking for an indoor trampoline this is thee best!
When I began taking my dating life seriously I read a book “The 5 Love Languages”. It was very eye opening to me this concept that there were ways that I can be manifesting my love to others but because I am not speaking their “language” the manifestations have no meaning.
As I have been watching my son grow I am learning that he himself has a love language. Truly he expresses and needs all 5:
Words of Affirmation:
I’ve been learning that Words of Affirmation are more than “I love you” it’s applauding him when he does something correct. It is learning to acknowledge his correct behavior and positive attitude more than correcting and reminding him about things such as “don’t forget to flush the potty”
So often in the day to day functioning of raising him its so easy to point out mistakes and errors. However, instead I'm choosing to focus more on the things that he accomplishes on his own. Behavior and actions that show he is growing up and taking responsibility. There are times that I slip into old patterns and I find myself feeling like I'm doing more correction and reminding but as I always state I'm a work in progress and so is he.
Over time as I’ve struggled I’ve realized that quality time has different meanings for him. It’s a closeness—it’s being involved in my activities. During this quarantine time he had enjoyed popping into my office during my patient visits to say “Hi”. Putting him in my desk to watch his movies while I work at the computer, cooking together, sometimes just sitting in a chair answering emails while he sits on the floor playing with his trains are the times he needs. There are times when he does want my undivided attention and he communicates that very well. I have learned to also communicate when I'm unable to give him my undivided attention and why. I have also learned to set limits and honoring those limits. For example--when I'm working on my last 1-2 patients at the end of the work day and he comes into my office I explain that I have to finish and that when I'm done I'll be all his until he gets bored with me and I honor that time. I leave my phone in with my computer after my last visit and I'm all his. We talk about his day. We play trains. We play baby shark (don't ask 😉). We enjoy each other until he has his fill and is ready to move on to something else. Sometimes it's 5 min and other times it's 60 min. Whatever his love tank needs to be topped off and full ⛽️ .
Spoiling my son is something that is so hard not to do. Every time I see a toy that I think he would enjoy playing with I want to get it for him. However, my money being funny and my change being strange coupled with memories of him enjoying playing with a toilet paper roll keep my wallet happy. But I’ve learned to make a big fuss about the most mundane and necessary things. Underwear, toothbrushes, toothpaste. Things should be appreciated and respected. Everything and every moment is a gift. I find that by elevating the “mundane” my son appreciates all things in life. I hope this trend stays. I love that he is appreciative of items but I also know that as he begins to desire and express himself it will be more vital to ensure that even the smallest gestures are appreciated as the big gifts.
Act of Service:
Kids learn by example. They parrot what they hear quickly becoming little mynah birds; intelligently selecting the naughty words we may utter in an unguarded moment. I have grown up watching my mother do for others; not only in her role as a nurse practitioner but also as a sister and daughter in her family. I treat my parents based on how they treated their parents. I treat others how my parents treated others. I expect and hope that my son will learn by my example.
Finding acts of service for my son has caused us to grow closer together. I am always finding the balance between encouraging him and pushing him to do for himself and learning to overcome frustrations when things to quite go as smoothly and easily as he feels they should. On the other hand I enjoy doing things for him such as getting him juice before he asks for it sometimes. Taking his plate into the kitchen for him. Little things that I know he sees. Displaying this behavior to my own parents so that it is a normal occurrence that is an expectation rather than an exception.
Moments of "cuddle time" is one of my favorite times of the day. Even when I'm running behind in the morning in getting dressed when he asks for "cuddle time" I'm happy to oblige. Of course I set a timer for a few minutes and let him know that we can only cuddle for a few minutes because otherwise we both would loose track of time. I find that it gives up both a moment to connect with each other when we feel disconnected and fills up my love tank 🥰.
On this journey of discovery that he and I are on. I am learning that there are certain times and instances when I have to tap into which particular language he needs. For example, when he is trying to over-talk whomever I’m talking to of course it’s a sign that he needs attention but why and what language is not being met. Sometimes if it’s something he’s proud of and he is looking for words of affirmation; then there are times when he is looking for quality time. Time for me to stop and provide him with my undivided attention—watching him play for instance. Other times just my mere presence soothes and helps fill his love tank up.
As he changes his love language needs will change and I must adapt. It’s challenging and fun to learn the ways to speak to and fill up his love tank.
During this pandemic and self-quarantine I craved and searched for ideas to help me keep Jeremy entertained and active. I thought that I would share with you my top 4 favorite Mom Blogs.
I can’t say enough about this website. Really and truly if there is a favorite among my list this is one. I highly encourage you to sign up for her emails because not only does it get your access to a myriad of free printables; it also give you updates when she comes up with new content. Which helped me when Jeremy got bored by some of the activities that we had done.
The Magic Milk STEM Experiment that she featured on her bog is by far my favorite activity to do with Jeremy. I used expired milk so I had to make sure he didn’t try to drink it before we started the experiment. Jeremy loves colors and stirring so the Magic Milk STEM project was a perfect fit.
his website was so helpful for me in developing ideas for sensory activities for Jeremy. I loved doing her Spring Scavenger Hunt printable. It even gave me the idea to do a fall scavenger hunt recently where we hunted for different colored leaves.
Jeremy loves music (I think it comes form all the singing I did while he was in utero)! Her Brain Breaks for Kids post gave us some great songs for us to sing together.
This website has a great printables that I found helpful. My favorite one is this color Bingo! So creative and fun to play. She has a lot of great printables too that I have used.
These blogs have been a lifesaver during the pandemic and while trying to home school my child in between working. Hope you find them helpful.
Of course I’m talking about my little one! It is so much fun to share “coffee time” with him. I will say before the pandemic it was the highlight of my weekend but now that I’m off one day during the week and working virtually 2 days it’s like 5 days of morning bliss. I have learned 3 things from him that I endeavor to never let go.
Be prepared for the unexpected. Early on in his barista career, he loved to put surprise items in the coffee, ostensibly for added flavor or just to see what happened but luckily he grew out of that phase. But definitely being on my toes and aware of his quick movements save many a great cup of coffee from having an added bonus. Being prepared of the unexpected.
Coffee time is a fun time in our household and a time to take a moment in the rush of life to stretch and grow.
A few weeks ago I decided to take the little one to feed the ducks. Geechi in her true nature of wanting to minister to the ducks suggested that I feed them the stale raisin break that we had left. Remembering that raisins are toxic to dogs I hopped onto Google to make sure that raisins wouldn’t be toxic to ducks and geese. Well to my surprise I learned something—DON’T FEED BREAD TO DUCKS!
WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT! Had all the movies showing people feeding bread to ducks lied to me?!? YES. Apparently bread provides no nutritional value to ducks the same as soda water (it’s the southern in me) to humans. If you were lied to like I was here is a list of things you can feed to ducks and geese.
The movies lied but the internet never will ???. Leave the ? at home and bring some ???????
As with anything that centers around children trial an error is essential. I hope these tools help. If you have any other tools or suggestions please share them in the comments below 👇🏾 to help others.
Step 1: Naked Baby—I let my little one run around and play naked while I intently and purposefully played with him and watched him for his signs and tells that he needed to potty. This was the hardest part for me because messes will happen. He pooped on the floor; he peed on the floor. He did it over and over again until I learned his signs and began to anticipate his pattern.
Step 2: Commando Baby—Then I had to put him in pants with not diaper and no underwear. The washing machine became my best friend. I contemplated buying more clothes for him because I felt like I couldn’t keep up, but I remained strong and focused that this time would pass. We stayed at home initially most of the time because I was afraid of what would happen outside. But I learned that we couldn’t stay locked in the house forever. I learned to pack extra clothes, and to monitor and time his fluids if we had a planned outing. I learned how to pull over on the side of the road and help him pee outside.
Step 3: Emerging Independence—it was so cute how after he started getting the hang of things he started wanting to help empty his own potty and wanted to flush the big commode. I eventually learned to let go while he carried the bowl to the bathroom. I learned to move the potty further away from me and allow him dignity and privacy (though he often calls me into the bathroom and often sits in the bathroom with me ??♀️)
Step 4: Growing in Steps—we tried moving his step stool to the big commode however with no handles I got worried about his turns and transitioning so I went to Amazon and bought Potty Toilet Trainer Seat with Step Stool Ladder. This has him using the adult commode like a champ!
I know that eventually I will need to teach him how to potty standing up and will need to work on night time potty training but as this process has taught me. Everything in its season! ?
As I go through the process of trying to rid my life of things that I no longer need I am surrounded by lots of things that I purchased in anticipation of my newborn that looking back almost 3 years later I never used or hardly used.
Here are my 5 top purchase regrets:
Hope this list is helpful on saving you from traveling down the road I did but if you are anything like me you might just do what I did. Read them, chuckle, and say…”I’ll be different she just didn’t know what she was doing” LOL! 😂🤦🏾♀️😂
Embracing my imperfection and striving for perfection through grace.