Wednesday, June 25, 2008

ups & downs

I think that any parent of a toddler would agree that the experience of raising a young child is full of ups and downs. Heck, life in general is full of ups and downs. But while the parents experience many highs and lows, the toddler probably feels them more. Olivia is just learning how to communicate what she needs and wants to us, but we occasionally hit bumps in the road filled with frustration and anger. Temper tantrums have been a more common occurrence in our house lately. Actually most of them tend to occur when we are not home. Most of the time they occur when Olivia is tired or when she is told not to do something she wants to do. The typical kicking and yelling take place, but her main defense is to hit. I have been at the receiving end of quite a few slaps which will not be tolerated in any form! So little Miss Olivia is now familiar with the consequence of a time-out.

That is Olivia's naughty stool. She must sit here for 1 minute when she has been naughty. So far the time-outs are working very well and I think that she is starting to understand that hitting Mommy and Daddy is a BIG no-no. I am hoping that after a few time-outs she will stop using her hands as a way to express her frustrations. She is fully aware of the purpose of the naughty stool and even tells me what it is. She sometimes sits on it for fun announcing that she is sitting on the naughty chair. It is quite funny! But don't let that sweet and innocent little girl fool you. She does have a bit of a nasty streak. Overall she is very well behaved but she has her moments. What toddler doesn't?

This past weekend Todd and I decided to take a little road trip. His birthday was on Sunday (Happy Birthday honey!) and we thought it would be fun to get away for one night as a family. We decided to take Olivia to the Battle Creek zoo, hearing it was nice and not very far. We like to visit different zoos, especially since Olivia loves animals so much. It was an exhausting little trip, but fun. After rain nearly ruined our day we were able to see the zoo in the afternoon. One of the biggest attractions at the Binder Park Zoo is the giraffe exhibit. You can feed the giraffes (for a hefty price), and get up close and personal with these tall creatures. What fun that was! I wasn't sure if Olivia would be scared of this activity, but just like everything else she was as brave as can be!

She stuck her little hand right out there with the biscuit, waiting for that long tongue to scoop it up. As soon as he took it from her she started giggling like crazy! She kept wanting to give them, "more, more", but we ran out. Of course that did not make her very happy so we had to deal with one of her little episodes. It was a really cool experience though and I am so glad she enjoyed it!

We tried to plan our trip so that Olivia would sleep in the car during our drive to Battle Creek. We wanted her to be rested so that she would enjoy the zoo. Things did not go as planned and she hardly slept during the trip. So by the end of our zoo trip she was wiped out! She was so tired that she was begging for her blankie and paci, which she knows she is only allowed to have at nap times. It was hard to say no to a face this tired.

We stayed in Battle Creek that night, played at the hotel pool and went out for dinner for Todd's Birthday. It was a fun day! The next day we attempted to do some shopping but Olivia had a different plan. She is not very interested in hanging out in her stroller while Mom and Dad browse the racks. I can't say that I blame her but it makes it nearly impossible to take her shopping with us. Well at least we know from now on that if we want to shop we should do it alone! It was a fun little road trip, but it is clear that Olivia is much more comfortable in her own environment. Toddlers are creatures of habit and it is so apparent how lost they are when you take them out of their environment. We will be traveling again next month and although it will be fun I know it will be exhausting!

In other news, Olivia is growing like a weed! Her weight is about the same, but her feet keep getting bigger and she seems to be getting taller. She looks more and more like a little girl each day. She came home from the sitter last week with a cute little pony tail. The sitter's granddaughter was successful in getting a ponytail in her hair without a fight. I have been trying to get cute little barrettes in her hair for months. She will have nothing to do with it. It is nearly impossible to get them in her hair, and when I finally do she pulls them right out! I had never attempted a ponytail because I figured I would be unsuccessful with that as well. It makes her look very grown up and I must admit it is stinkin' cute!

She is still very interested in her books. She loves to read with us, but also enjoys flipping though her books all by herself. I caught her in her room last week reading in her rocking chair. She was enjoying some quiet time with her sweet!

So yes, being the mother of a toddler can be challenging...but it can also be so very rewarding! I guess no one ever said this Mom thing was easy. I do think that Todd and I are handling these changes in behavior the best we know how. She is a very polite little girl who says thank you, love you and gives out tons of kisses and hugs. She has her ups and downs, but that is all a part of growing up. But for the time being she just may become quite familiar with the naughty stool!


Tiffany Leininger said...

I am going to have to get myself one of those naughty stools! Ha ha! Right now we just give her a time out on the couch. I enjoy reading about Olivia! I can't wait for the girls to get together and play. I think they will have a really good time!

Anonymous said...

The first picture is priceless, I love the attitude. The world of toddlerhood I remember it well...I think that prepares you for teenagehood when then they don't get naughty chairs even though they might need one. See you soon can't wait. Love Aunt Sue Sue

Anonymous said...

I must agree with Aunt Sue- that face in the first picture is hilarious. Of course I can say that now. Wait until my own is doing that. I may not think it is so funny. I can't believe how much she is looking like a little girl. I can't wait for her to met Taylor and see what her reaction is.

Heather and Jason

Kim and John said...

gottalove some attitude! Connor makes those faces like in the first picture. He is so moody!

Katie said...

jess, i have to tell you that tonight cami sat at the top of our stairs for nearly 45 minutes in only a tank top and her crocks, crying the whole time. apparently, she had an accident and adam said she wouldn't put on clothes afterwards or come downstairs. as i was getting out of the car, he was standing at the door saying "i need your help."

ahhh, two...