today’s thrill

Despite it being Halloween, today’s thrill had nothing to do with scary costumes or silly tricks. Today was the day we said goodbye to the garden for the year. That in itself was not thrilling. We had to rip that last plants – the tomatoes, the Brussel sprouts, the okra – and harvest what was left before we mixed in compost and tilled the soil. This also was not exactly thrilling.

Bringing in the okra pods for their seeds, harvesting a large bag of swiss chard, and finding just a few more yellow tomatoes to pop in our mouths was thrilling. Elliott’s delight at finding more caterpillars camouflaged in the veggies was thrilling. Showing Elliott how to carefull use a knife to cut the okra from the plant and turning the job over to him was thrilling. Sharing the same excitement with everyone in the family when we found a small patch of forgotten carrots was thrilling. Working as a family and finding ways to have Oliver be part of it was thrilling.

Today I felt happy with the garden and with the hard work the family has done all season long. I had doubts in the garden this year, but it proved me wrong. My freezer can attest to its success. 

While sharing the day with flocking starlings and the last caterpillars, we all felt very pleased even though it was a full work day and we had to said farewell to the garden. I hope you had a thrilling day in your own way.

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Take a tour… part five

For the fifth, and final, house tour post, I will start with Elliott’s room. Once Oliver was crawling, we had to find a way to keep him safe from small toys. Elliott learned at a young age some items were not for eating, and I believe Oliver will be quick to figure this out. But right now, everything is sampled and felt with his mouth. Legos posed a real hazard. So once we determined Elliott had long enough legs (with the help of a stool), he got a gate for his room. On the other side of the gate is the stool so Elliott can step over and get in and Oliver cannot walk off with the stool. Oliver loves watching Elliott play and listening to the music from Elliott’s CD player. And I love not  running over every five minutes to supervise. In case you are wondering, we cannot just close the door and have it click shut because of Elliott’s door slamming ‘habit’. To curb that, a few months ago we put thin foam tape along the inner edge. Right now, it does not close completely and, when slammed, it slows down just right!

Elliott’s drawers in his dresser do not allow him to be independent in dressing, so I selected seasonally appropriate clothing and organized it out on his shelves. He has 10-12 long sleeves, 8-10 pairs of pants, 4-5 t-shirts, 2 pairs of shorts, 2-3 sweaters, and a variety of warmer and cooler pajamas. He is able to open his sock and underwear drawer so those remain in the dresser. Because our weather has been all over the place, we still have a mix of clothing. Once winter hits, we will remove the lighter clothing and add more warm choices. For months, this has been a wonderful solution. He has just enough items to choose from and I no longer worry the drawers will fall out on his toes.

Under Elliott’s bed are bins of trucks and cars and stuffed animals. He also has an old stereo to play CDs on, set low for ease of use on a Daddy-made table . This is another big attention grabber for Oliver. He loves buttons, even if it messes up the tune he was dancing to. Yet another reason to keep him at a distance, just watching and dancing by the gate. Elliott has one of our two fish tanks in his room to keep him company and is a very responsible feeder – with a very tiny scoop and tiny container of food. On the Daddy-made Lego table there are always new ‘special’ Lego vehicles being built so it always seems to be rather busy (messy). Next to that is a selection of books, which get changed every month or so. Of course we need a cozy space to read and the guest futon serves nicely for that.

In the laundry room, we keep the child-sized broom, dust mop, swiffer cleaner (easy to adjust to child size by removing middle snap-in section), dust wand, dust mitts, window cleaner, spill cloths, and a small vacuum. These used to be out in the living room, but as furniture was rearranged and Oliver began pulling up, we moved it behind a closed door. These supplies are fabulous… Elliott sweeps his lunch crumbs, washes windows whenever he pleases (typically when we have guests!), and occasionally dusts a few shelves. The best part is that he is completely able to clean up most messes without an adult.

 In the bathroom we have pulled out Oliver’s small potty to begin that fun-filled stage. We started about this same age with Elliott and found that while overall the process took longer, we were daytime dry earlier than typically expected. We followed a lot of the advice found in Diaper Free Before 3. And it was just right for Elliott… he was so proud of himself and eager to take part in learning this life skill. I am hoping for an even smoother transition since Oliver has such a good role model! Not visible are the baskets of underwear, spares for all the changes we will be making each day. The stool pictured is the lower one that Elliott can use now. We are saving the first stool Elliott used, the taller, two-step stool, for when Oliver can be sturdy standing at the sink.

In the corner we have a towel at Elliott and Oliver’s height and the mirror hung low, for checking a goofy grin or brushing teeth. We left one drawer without a child lock for wash cloths and toothbrushing items. Elliott is quite good at washing his own face on nights we skip a bath and is working towards flossing and brushing independence. He wants a little too much personal time though, slamming the door and practically yelling at us if we suggest he needs help. Unfortunately, when it comes to his teeth, he still does need some help flossing or brushing well.

 

Oliver’s room is by far my favorite for lighting. He has four window to see tree branches and our tall grasses swaying. But the winter is harder because it is the coldest room in the house. Aside from his dresser and cabinet (both complete with pinch-free child locks), he has a floor bed, a low book shelf, his walker wall, and his toy shelves which are just below the towering children’s ‘library’. While he is nearly beyond the use of the rail on the walker wall, he delights in himself, walking towards the mirror and laughing. The floor bed has gone as well for him as it did for Elliott. He occasionally stays up to play, but will fall asleep when he is tired. In the morning and after naps, he can easily self-entertain for at least 15 to 30 minutes since he has access to toys and books without any hazards for us to worry about.  Oh, and see that sweet little pillow? Elliott designed it after he saw the one I made for him room. It is an island with volcanos, trees, and a sun. Oliver is so lucky to have a brother like Elliott!

 

It has been fun showing you my home,  a bit of what the boys are up to, and how we try to foster their independence with our home environment. Because of the efforts put forth, I love our cozy little house and the feeling of security I have when we are all home together. I hope your home, whatever kind and wherever it is, makes you feel peaceful together.

 

take a tour… part 4

After seeing a friend’s blog of her home, mine is feeling a wee cluttered. Frankly, it always feels that way to me. Day in and day out I see the items that bug me and nag me. I have all day to fuss over the messes. On one hand you could say we have such busy, full days we have all of it out because we work with all of it. Or we have two children so we have to have so much more stuff out to meet both their needs. Or I am a crummy photographer, not taking nicer simpler pictures. But what you see is what is really there. I wish it were that easy to shift the blame. I know the real reason is because we are often too busy, or lazy, to remove what is underused or what we are completely done with. For instance, in doing this blog post, I was too lazy to take out what we were done with before pictures. I just let it go. I did manage to clear some of our nature table, though it typically has to be spilling over the tray onto the floor before I remind Elliott we should remove a few ‘treasures’. With reluctance, I will continue our house tour, trying to focus on the positives of the space!

Being able to see what my boys are up to with a quick glance is wonderful, making me feel a bit closer and more connected.  And if someone is not visible, they are almost always within ear shot, giving me time to step in if needed or listen and observe from a distance. For this reason, I love our house. From this second living room I can see many directions and hear everything. I can watch children out the back sliding doors or have a wide open area to work and play on the floor. This is where we tend to play board games with Elliott, wrestle around with Oliver, or hang out with friends during playdates.

We have Elliott’s work table and will be bringing Oliver’s smaller, shorter one back in from the garage soon. The upper shelves hold our Montessori materials – the bead materials for mathematics, number rods, geometric shapes cabinet for sensorial work and inset tracing, and the ten boards (more mathematics). On occasion Oliver has begun to notice these items, but I try to keep the more dangerous small beads and materials to the back. We also have out a few shape puzzles for either boy, plenty of plastic Mr. Potato head pieces, and many Schleich animals and dinosaurs for scenes, sorting by continents, or, lately, setting up as family sets across the whole floor. I am so happy Santa thought of these because they are so realistic and beautifully made. They are a favorite for both boys. Under the shelves, and oddly never noticed by Oliver, are boxes of the moveable alphabet and a rug for laying out words.

  

More fragile materials are up higher or pushed back from Oliver here too. I have out the binomial cube, puzzle words and phonetic reading commands, and sequencing puzzles. Sandpaper letters, sandpaper phonograms, and chalkboard had to be lower since they are so heavy, but they do attract little fingers. We have had a few close calls! Below that is a dressing book, shape sorting, container opening (small objects inside the box for Oliver to practice opening) and some wood blocks. The bottom shelves are mostly directed towards Oliver but Elliott is still interested.

While Elliott started learning print at his Montessori school last year, I was trained with showing cursive first. So I had already ordered cursive sandpaper letters and a cursive moveable alphabet while he was learning to print his name. While he is able to recognize the sounds either way for a majority of the letters, he still shows little interest in really wanting to write or read. I am trying not to push anything but only show him something when he seems interested. When interest wanes, I give up for the time being. Working with mom can frustrate him more than I think he would normally get in a classroom setting.

 

 In the hallway we have a frame from Michael Olaf with changeable Bit of Intelligence Cards from The Gentle Revolution Press. I love this frame and the pictures that perfectly fit. Quickly, any time I please, I can slide the current picture out the top and one of the nine others behind it can be the new natural picture or art for the time being. When those 10 have cycled through, I sort through my giant stack to find more. They are lovely images with 10 facts about the pictured scene or item. We have paintings by a variety of artists, leaves, insects, butterflies, musical instruments, and flowers. The boys seem to appreciate the subtle change in the environment and like having lovely images right at their eye level.

Next to the kitchenette we have a large bin of dress up clothing and a puzzle of the United States. While I love our puzzle maps, the World puzzle and North America puzzle had to be hidden in our room because Oliver was eating Asia and all small Central American countries. He has not yet acquired a taste for Rhode Island or Vermont so for the time being we can leave this puzzle out.

If any area is where the clutter is at, it is always the nature table. Elliott is a treasure hunter. Small or large, it makes it way here. Feathers, nests, nuts, leaves, seeds, rocks, shells, squished bugs, butterflies, even found trash all get displayed for a period of time. We also keep arts and crafts on this shelf because we can hide so much in the drawers and cabinets. In the open areas, we have finger knitting, bead stringing, sewing, handmade books on the natural world (life cycle of a seed, land and water forms, how a chick is born), play dough and tools, and a bead craft. Inside the cabinets are markers, pens, pencils, stickers, papers, cards with envelopes, stamps and ink pads, scissors, a stapler, a ruler, tape, glue, a pencil sharpener, any necessary supplies a four-year old needs to make anything crafty. Paper crafting is very important here. Oh, and a mat! This is quite important for the period before something has been mastered (drawing on paper, gluing only on the intended item). All of these items were gradually added to Elliott’s shelves, being introduced one at a time so he had a chance to practice and learn. Typically I even set up each activity with its own supplies. For example, for gluing, I put out a glue stick, small papers to glue, a special mat just for gluing, and large papers to glue on, all contained on a tray. Once shown how to handle the glue, he had everything he needed gathered together so he could practice and gain control, repeating as much as he wanted, but not distracted with all the other craft choices. Once he mastered that, I changed papers, tried new types of glue and then, finally, added glue to his regular crafting supplies. I did this same slow introduction process with cutting work, stickers, stapling, stamping, markers, colored pencils, and painting.

 

 

 

 

* Please note no animals were harmed in the filling of the specimen jars. All specimens collected had already perished. Elliott is just that good at finding dead things outside. Recall the squirrel?

 Next on the tour… the boy’s bedrooms and the bathroom. Oh, the excitement!

take a tour… part 3

In our house we have two rooms that for us serve a very similar purpose, but I suppose could have been very distinct. We have two living  rooms, both available for child’s work and play with only one with chairs for adults. Because our house is small, our office had to move into the space as well when Oliver was born.

While I like the idea of children having space in each room for some items of their own, part of me does wish we had a more open play space (but with a door) so adults could have some peace while imaginative (loud) play occurred. I feel I often have to hush Elliott while Oliver sleeps or try very hard to tune the boys out while I get some of my work done. I love the stories and interesting games, but it can be overwhelming in a small house.

This is our front room, with our fishbowl windows we opted not to cover with curtains. We love to see out and have lots of natural light. So what if everyone sees us at night!   

In this space we have the computer desk, piano, and adult furniture. This left less space for children’s stuff… but we still have a book basket and child’s chair for reading, two open cabinets with baskets of activities, a closed cabinet with many puzzles and games, and a large play table for playing house/farm (or trains if the mood suits us to switch it).

 

The activities on the shelves these days: a basket of small toddler mouth-friendly toys, a musical piano, musical bells, a big bin of musical instruments, and children’s CDs on a low shelf (available for Elliott only, behind a cabinet door).

We also have out a wooden animal memory game (or picture cards for Oliver), a natural items basket (with shells, household items, pinecones, rocks, various fabrics), plastic art sculpture making toy, a race car track, a musical peacock, soft blocks, play silks, and a jack in the box. Oh, and a cabinet with puzzles and games. So as you can see, there was only a little space for children’s stuff in this room!

Truthfully, this amount feels overwhelming to me some days. I have found one thing though to help keep my children’s interest in books, toys and games high, but the clutter to a minimum for me. I have a large storage closet. As Elliott out grows something, I save it for Oliver. If Oliver is bored with the alligator pull toy, I bring out the rabbit pull toy from Grandma. If Elliott mastered the 8 sets of sequencing puzzles on the shelf, I add a few new ones in to the mix. If we have too much out, some items go up. And sometimes, we donate. I have a constant rotation of items or pieces to add to make something more interesting or more challenging. For this age, having less out but in an organized manner allows them to have engaging periods of play because all the pieces of an item are there, ready to use and the amount is not overwhelming. They are also able to be successful cleaning it up because the toy has a clear space on the shelf. The biggest challenge to this system is bringing out new seasonally appropriate books and engaging toys. It takes time to change what is out on the shelves, especially when I have an eager helper. Elliott is very capable at helping by bringing items we agree to remove and selecting new ones to put out, but it does take that much longer. He needs time to mull over the choices and suggest/debate with me about what he thinks Oliver would like!

Tomorrow I will follow-up with our other living room space, an area where we keep more of the Montessori materials and nature items.

take a tour… part 2

 

Welcome to our dining room and kitchen. Since we ran out of space in our actual kitchen cabinets, we use a pantry for all dry non-perishables. Our clear glass Ikea cabinet has it good points and bad points… On one hand the boys can see the snacks they want and make a choice. On the other, the boys can see the snacks they want. This has led us to discuss healthy choices and unhealthy choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time… time and time again. It has also led the boys to throw tantrums on occasion when they cannot have whatever their eye desires. (Yes, I realize I could just not stock it with goodies, but then Mommy would not have as many goodies. And sometimes, goodies are just good!)

Our dining table is also from Ikea. The chairs for the boys are both Stokke and we love these high chairs. We opted to use only the baby rail, not the straps. But once they figured out how to pull a leg out to try to get out, we have had to spend many a meal reinforcing staying seated or leaving the chair. It has felt harsh with Oliver at only 13 months to remind him a few times and then remove him for a minute while he screams on the floor, wanting to eat. But in 2-3 weeks the issue no longer seems to be an issue. He understands in some way what has happened. Eventually, the rail is removed and they learn how to get up and down in the chair from a very young age. For the first few months when this first happened for Elliott, it was a confidence boost 4-5 times a day when I could ask him to get himself seated at the table for a bite to eat.

If you notice in the picture we have two trash cans. Here in Muncie, you have a regular trash bag and then a bag for all recyclables. While that makes it easier to explain to Elliott about sorting since there are only two choices, what exactly goes where has been harder. I finally made a sign and taped it inside the lid with web images of all of the recyclables (newspaper, foil, glass bottles, aluminum cans, yogurt cup, and the actual recycle logo). Google image searches gave so many choices. For an older child who has trouble remembering, a written note might be helpful.  

 In our kitchen we use the learning tower to allow Elliott to reach the counter top to help measure, pour, mix, or just observe. He is now able to move it on his own and, since he can reach the dog biscuit jar, is now sole supplier of treats to Addison, our dog. Needless to say, she loves him!

 Soon Oliver will be up with Elliott. It will be a little tight with both in the tower together, but Elliott could easily stand on a stool now if needed.

Our kitchen is not ultra small like our apartment in Boston was, but it is also not grand and full of cabinet space. For that reason, real estate was at a premium and only one low cabinet could be given to the boys. It appears to be a bit cluttered, but Elliott is wonderful at maintaining the order.

Having even one cabinet has been wonderful though. If you do not think you can devote a whole cabinet in your kitchen, please find a drawer or small space somewhere. With access to a plate, a bowl, a cup, napkins, and utensils, the child can set their own place at the table, preparing their own snack even, if water and snacks are available. They are also able to put away their own items when helping with clean dishes. This is an example of the water and food set up we were doing for Elliott a few months back. While we abandoned some of the snack layout, the beverage pitchers are still the same. Many, many, many times I am so busy, I send Elliott to get his own drink and foods. Relief for mommy, independence for Elliott. He has gotten so independent lately that he has taken to setting his breakfast place and selecting his cereal before my husband even makes it to the kitchen. I only wish he could reach our plates and bowls. I feel he would like to help even more without having to wait for a parent. With another inch of growth, he should be able to reach from the learning tower very soon!

Thanks for coming along tonight… I will be back shortly for a tour of our living room and some of the activities currently available on our shelves for little hands.

come with me, take a tour… part 1

I would like to invite you on a tour to show you parts of my home. It is my interpretation of the Montessori method applied to the home environment. It is my attempt to raise my children in an environment that will allow them be more independent. It is not the most ideal home or the most ideal set up, but it is what we have found suits our family and our needs at the moment. And for anyone looking to give their child or children more independence in the home, it is really about what suits your whole family. If you have toddling twins, but also older children, it is likely you will not want certain activities within the little ones reach for your sanity. More activities may be in cabinets, out of sight but hopefully not out of mind for the older children. Or if you have only one young child, you may have less on your shelves, as not to overwhelm them with choices. Additionally, as a child masters some skill, say the ability to fill water from the bathroom sink and can be trusted to do so, then a water pitcher on the shelf is no longer necessary. As Elliott grew and as he welcomed his baby brother Oliver, the houses we have lived in have shifted for their needs. And it was not just putting on potty locks or moving the cactus. New activities have come out to match their needs and interests, furniture has moved to make it easier for an adult to safely supervise without interfering, whole cabinets rearranged to make space for children’s items.

But I believe that the biggest factor to making your home more attuned to your child’s need for independence is one’s attitude towards the child’s independence. And of course, this is the biggest challenge. We all say and truly believe we want our child to be independent and capable, working to the best of their abilities. But it takes time and patience, something many of us, including me, lack enough of. When I am wrestling the boys into socks, shoes, coats and hats on these cooler fall days, I keep telling myself to give Elliott time to practice his socks, the one tricky thing for him these days. Oliver forces me to allow him to participate. He now juts his foot out when on his stool getting on socks and shoes. He wants to do what he is capable of and he is helping as much as he can.

Our children need time to be shown how to do something and time to practice that skill – without criticism, without constant ‘helpful’ comments, without actual help unless asked by the child. Once mastered, they need the opportunity to use those skills to participate in the home. Though I know this, it is a constant struggle to me every single day. I can set out new activities, I can show Elliott patiently how something works, but in the stress of being with two children under the age of five, I can lose my cool very quickly with yet another water spill or when we need to try the zipper for the 10th time. So please recognize that setting up the home environment is just one step in the process to allowing your child to grow and learn according to their needs and abilities.

Because I will just have to add my commentary to my home, I will spread the tour out over a few days. To begin, step into our backyard.

 

From the back door, I can see the boys playing in their house, in their garden/mud/construction pit, in the sandbox, or by the swings. There is hard concrete for chalk and lately, Elliott’s massive sweeping project in effort to control the leaves. In the garage, we have two large set of shelves with outdoor balls, trucks, sand toys, bug collecting containers, bubble solution, chalk, and children’s garden equipment. Elliott also has a workshop table with tools and wood for a variety of woodworking activities. As an example of adapting, we did move this to be in an adult’s eye sight after a few wild episodes with the hammer and plastic containers! Our backyard is contained on three sides by fence. Since working with Elliott from a very young age, he has learned he cannot leave the back without an adult. Oliver is now starting to explore the backyard more independently so I know soon we will be using short phrases and reminders to keep him back when we absolutely cannot go up front. In our front yard is our garden and most of our flower beds, so it is a big draw. Plus, Oliver loves to walk down the driveway, right into the road. He has places to go.

 

In order to go outside, we have set up coat hooks and a shoe rack right by the back door. With all the rain coats and winter coats and light jackets, the coat hooks were so full I could not bring myself to take a picture of the mess, so I will just tell you that we have adult height hooks and child height hooks. This allows Elliott to hang and remove his own coat and little bags whenever he needs them. Below the coats we have a few pairs of shoes per person. Additionally, each person has a bin to hold their own hats, mittens, glasses, slippers, or other odds and ends. To have everything right there has made getting out the door easier. I can observe and help Elliott gather his gear and dress himself while dressing Oliver and myself. Over the past two years, Elliott has had time to practice and master putting on his shoes, velcroing his shoes, putting on his coat, zipping his coat, putting on a hat, putting on snow pants, putting on mittens, and putting on gloves. All that remains is socks. Those darn socks! Because as adults these skills seem so basic and now innate, it can be hard to trudge through each learning period. But when you see it all click for your child and they suddenly just know, it is amazing and can be such a sweet joy for them and you. And you can hope that what they remember is that self-satisfaction. There will be no external criticism or impatience along the way for them to remember, right?

I will be back soon to continue the tour with more pictures. Our house is not large, but this post is!

give it some time

So I hate to exercise. It was quite apparent to me when just two days ago I was wondering why I was not seeing the exact results I expected. Today I looked to see when I wrote my resolutions post. Less than 2 weeks ago! I realize I had been exercising some before that post, but I really thought it had been a month, maybe two, of consistent exercise.

I guess I will cut myself some slack. I am happy with muscle tone developing, my improved mood after exercising, and the loss of a few pounds. And so far I have not changed my diet. In fact, when debating with myself to get donuts or cookies, I often opt to not alter my diet, just so I can see how far just exercising will get me.

My only complaint is my tummy flab. Any woman who has delivered a baby can probably understand this problem. I can feel the muscles under there, but that extra skin and fat! Oh, why won’t you go away. (Yeah, I am thinking back to the donuts to blame too, but forget about that…) Because I feel I have given it a good effort (2+ weeks!) and I am not seeing instant results, it is time to throw in the towel. Exercise doesn’t work! Eat another donut. Feel better. And then feel worse.

But not today! No! Today I thought of this and it helped me to fight back. I changed machines to work other muscles and added 5 more minutes to my workout. And it felt great. So I still came home from the gym with tummy flab, I will still grab a sweet treat later, but I will keep at the exercise a bit longer, give myself more time to see results. And then, when I get the taste of good results, it only gets better from there!

for my son

Today, for my son, I made the weirdest call I think I have even made. Worse yet, it was left on the answering machine so I could not possibly explain in detail why I was calling.  It went something like this:

“Um, hi Peg, this is Diana, from down the street. Elliott and I found a dead squirrel at the edge of your grass. Uh, we wanted to know if you would like us to come and remove it. Well, I mean, Elliott is interested so we could do it for you, if you wanted. Well, give us a call. Thanks.”

I am sure you can guess why Elliott was interested. He wanted to see a dead animal up close, one that Mama clearly said we could not keep in a specimen jar! But I like to imagine what my elderly neighbor Peg might think. She is not our immediate neighbor, we know her only from a few neighborhood gatherings, and I never call her for anything. Yet here we are asking to come scrape up a dead squirrel. Maybe it is just me, but it seemed like an odd call.

When Peg did call back, I joked about the weird message. She did admit it was likely the weirdest one she has gotten.

And while the internet has oodles of pictures of dead, squished squirrels, here is cute baby one, to take your mind off the task we faced tonight, shovel and bucket in hand, while pushing a half-naked Oliver in a stroller. The woman walking her dog just had to ask what we were up to. Can I blame her?

what I hate more than diapering

Can you guess what I hate more than trying to diaper my little Oliver, little squirmy, screaming, thrashing little Oliver?

Allow me to illustrate with a story, a lesson for me and anyone with wee ones.

With about 1 hour until I have guests arriving, as solo parent (this whole week!), I should be:

– finishing my supper, well actually starting my supper

– bathe my boys

– do the dishes

– bake a dessert

– clean off the table

– pick up toys

– PUT A DIAPER ON OLIVER (I just changed a poop, but a little naked freedom seemed in order)

Where am I instead? What is so pressing I am doing none of these things? I am on facebook. Still feeling that I have everything in order with plenty of time to spare, I realize Oliver is surprisingly quiet. Parents, you all know this troublesome lack of sound. I pry myself away from the computer and round the corner to the horror of not putting a diaper on.

The baby who poops about 5 loose poops a day had of course pooped and peed and was stomping and sliding in it, nearly falling over. I grabbed him and called for Elliott. Elliott was quick, getting me cloths. But in these few seconds, Oliver managed to squirm and wriggle more, spreading the mess, getting it up his legs, on my arms (don’t ask how!)…

So I explained to Elliott where not to step and scooped Oliver up. At least I was going to knock the first thing off the list since he now required a bath.

After the bath, I considered yet again a little naked time. And then I put a diaper on a screamy and thrashing little boy. Lesson learned.

And do I tackle what is next on the list? No.

I headed right back to the computer.