Category Archives: School of Parenting

Happy Easter 2012

A couple weeks ago we pulled out last years Resurrection Eggs.  This years Easter celebration has brought some very profound conversation with our Little Man.  One day when we was going through the eggs he opened the last egg and gasped (like he does every time 😉 ), “It’s empty!”

“It is empty isn’t it?  Why is it empty?” I asked.

“Because Jesus rose from the dead!” he stated excitedly.

“That’s right! Hey Buddy, why did he rise from the dead?”

[silence] “…I dunno.”

“Well, if Jesus paid the price for our sins on the cross and he took our punishment when He died, what did he do when he rose?”

With a frown full of anticipatory questioning he waited for the answer.

“If Jesus never rose from the dead, we wouldn’t ever have the chance to be fully alive in Him.  Jesus rose from His tomb so that we would have the opportunity to have new life, eternal life, FOREVER life in Him!”

Have you ever thought about the significance of the empty tomb?  I hope you’ll join our family today in pondering the weighty truth that the resurrection of Jesus holds.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
-Jesus Christ, John 11:25, 26

Happy Easter from the Robinsons to you!

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Christmas at the Robinson Home Sweet Home

Since we spent our actual Christmas Day visiting my family, we celebrated our family Christmas before we left.

This year we are trying out a few new traditions.

Like having Jesus’ birthday cake for breakfast.

And spending very little money on each other.

Our Christmas tree with our little gifts to each other.

 

And being the most creative we can with the little we do spend.

 

A huge set of play tools and a tool bench we bought from a yard sale last summer for $8.00.

And mostly spending time with each other, laughing with our hilarious son.

Did you ‘start’ any new traditions this year?

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Potty Training: What I want to remember about what worked for us

We are at week four of  potty training!  Little Man is completely trained…dare I say that?

I mean, he tells me when he needs to go, goes both #1 and #2 in the potty, and can go on outings and stay dry and or use the potty out, as well as go through nap and night-time completely dry…scarily and completely surprisingly to say, I believe our Little Man is officially Potty Trained!

No glory to us as parents or to our son as a ‘good boy’, honestly and truly, it was and is all by the grace, mercy, and generosity of God.

Which brings us to my desire to record a top list of things that worked for us in a place that I know will not get lost…which happens to be our blog.  So if you don’t have children and this bores you, skip it.  If you do have children and you think I have no idea what I am talking about, you are right and you could skip it too.  If you want to have a good laugh, read on.

Top 13 List: What worked for us- Potty Training Little Man

1. Buy a little potty: We bought Little Man a potty around 18 months when he started showing signs that he knew when he was going in his diaper.  We bought this ‘froggy potty’.  It works great for little boys, which we found out after 1st purchasing a different one not all ‘boy’ potty’s actually do work well for actual little boys.

2. Start a small habit of sitting on the potty once a day when you think they might go.  For Little Man this was always at night before bath time.

3. Talk about the potty. Talk about what is happening as he is using it and whats expected.

4. Praise! When he did actually go in the potty we went crazy in excitement, helping him to know it was a good, big deal when he did go.

5. Pray.  No joke, I prayed about this a TON.  Prayed that God would help me to know when to try, that God would prepare Little Man to be ready and for him to be able to communicate enough to understand my expectations and be able to communicate back his thoughts/apprehensions.  Also we would pray with Little Man about this together, like at night before he went to bed, that God would prepare Mommy and Daddy and Little Man for this transition, etc.

6. Talk.  As the time got closer, I began talking to him about the potty during most diaper changes, about how soon we would “Get to!” go potty in the big potty and how we would be all done with diapers.

7.  Observe. I tried to observe when Little Man would use his diaper, especially #2.  Then I could know about when he would potentially go and could talk to him and prep him for it.

8. Plan ahead to be all in!  I wanted to be completely available for at least a week when I attempted potty training for the 1st time because a) I didn’t and still don’t have any idea what I am doing and 2) I knew that it wouldn’t happen in a day.  So I wanted to have at least a week with no separations or out of home environment outings so I could continue on with potty training for several days straight.  That is why I crazily chose the week of  Thanksgiving because there were no distractions or outings other than time at his grandparents home where I could still keep a constant eye on him.

9. Be ready.  I wanted to start first thing in the morning as soon as he woke up and go straight from there.  This meant having his potty upstairs in the bathroom ready, having all materials ready, wipes, underwear washed and ready to be worn (we went straight to underpants), any encouraging stuff, like a sticker chart or a basket of special books to read, etc.

10. Use what works.  For some reason Little Man would get so frustrated if I told him that we needed to go use the potty.  But I got the idea to set a timer to go off every 30 min. and told him that when the timer went off it was telling him to try to go potty.  It worked like a charm. When it would go off I would gasp excitedly and smile and ask him what it was saying and he would shout, “It’s time to go POTTY!”.  Whatever works…

11. Change it up if need be.  I quickly realized that some sort of reward system would potentially work well with our little guy but I didn’t want it to be food related since I knew it could too easily become a long stretching habit (like a cookie every time you potty could add up to 10 cookies a day very rapidly once he caught on).  So I made up a sticker chart during his nap time with his name and a bunch of little boxes.  Every time he went potty he got to choose a sticker and put it in a box.  He LOVED this!

BUT. After holding in his #2 for two days, I realized we might need some extra incentive in this area.  I told him that if he went #2 in his potty he could have a whole brownie and then he suggested a sucker instead.  So guess what he got the next morning after his first #2 in his potty?  A sucker.  For 5 days we did the sucker reward for #2.  Then I went to a little extra dessert instead of a sucker.  Tonight he just got a bite of brownie after a #2 and he was excited about it.  Our poor child was literally bouncing off the walls and rolling on the floor just 45 min after having his sucker so we needed to move away from this reward quickly.  🙂  See the below video for reference:

12.  Stick with it.  At the end of the first day I was so flippin’ tired.  Between exuberant joy, constant attention and cleaning up messes, potty training a toddler can be exhausting!  But I stuck with it, and day 2 was very similar to day one.  I was tempted to give in.  But I didn’t.  And you know what?  Day 3 was his first day he stayed dry all day and he’s been dry every day since then (with literally only 2 separate  mini accidents).  For any of our future little ones I realize this could take 1 day or 10 days, but I really believe that consistency was key for our Little Man.

13. Mostly, have fun.  This was such a sweet time for Little Man and I.  I told Hubby that it was so great for our  Mommy, son relationship.  I got SO many opportunities to encourage him, praise him, and tell him how thankful for him I am.  We got to spend whole days just reading together, talking, painting, drawing, and playing while we waited for ‘mother nature’ to do her thing.  I got to model grace during the many failed attempts and got to instruct with patience and love as to how to help it to go well the next time.  I really feel like we have benefited from this whole experience!

And I think that is it.  Whew…what a whirl wind that first week was.

What an unexplainable joy it is to have children!

Who would have known that potty training toddlers could be an opportunity to praise God for His goodness?

Some words of preparation for any Mommy’s who may choose to do the ‘boot-camp’  or ‘cold turkey’ style potty training (basically diapers straight to underpants) , and for me when I need to potty train any future children:

Be prepared by having a plan.

Be willing to hold that plan loosely.

Plan to be exhausted.

Plan to be patient.

Plan to have failures.

Plan for messes to be made.

Plan to spend lots of sweet uninterrupted time with my toddler, for future children this may even entail hiring a sitter for a few days…who knows!

Oh the joys of toddlerhood  🙂

Are any of you potty training?  If you have older children, what are your top tips or words of encouragement to parents who are in the midst of or are preparing to potty train?  I am ALL ears!

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Christmas Traditions

This year more than ever we are thinking about family traditions for our little family of 3.  Little Man is getting to the age where he can partake in family activities and is so teachable.  So we have been paying more purposeful attention to the things we want to embed into our family.

On a less serious note, I made an observation this year that we have started a silly tradition.  When Little Man was a baby and we were putting up our tree with him for the first time we came across this tiny hat.  Who knows where in the world it came from.  But of course we put it on his head and took a picture.  See:

(2008 Little Man 6 months)

And every year since then…

(2009 Little Man 18 months)

(2010 Little Man 2.5 years old)

I do love this little tradition!

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Little Man in a Big Boy Bed OR How to help your toddler miraculously sleep in a big bed…

A quick disclaimer:  We in no way claim to have figured out the mysteriousness that is The Toddler nor in posting this do we claim to have found the secret to success in going from crib to big bed.  The following is what worked for our son…which will be different for each and every little one.

Okay, on with the show 🙂

So Hubby has been pressing the Big Boy bed a lot lately. He was more ready than I to put Little Man in it because well…frankly…I love sleep. And Little Man is not big on change. And having Little Man in his crib, I felt, guaranteed sleep more safely than him in a ‘big bed’.  (Yes, I do realize how silly this is.)

However, wanting to follow my husbands lead…I agreed to surprising Little Man yesterday after church by putting his little toddler bed where his crib has been in his room (with his crib safely tucked in the corner of the room…just in case.)

And you know what happened? Little Man was ECSTATIC. He took a 3 hour nap in it, stayed in it and called for me to come get him when he woke up, slept all night in it last night after waking only once (although this is somewhat normal as he cries in his sleep while dreaming fairly often now), and is still sleeping, at 7:22am. (Update:  Slept until 7:30 and is now taking a nap with no issues whatsoever!)

Hooray! Hooray! Hooray for following my husbands lead. He DOES know better than me! 🙂

How we prepared our toddler for a big boy bed:

(This worked for our son, but every child is different…if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last two years…its this fact!)
1) Pray. A LOT. We prayed that God would prepare him for his bed, that in His mercy and generosity (not because we deserve it because we don’t) that He would grant our child and us a smooth transition to this next stage in life: Big Boy Bed. And pray that God would miraculously surprise you…I think He likes to do this, as He seems to do it quite often for me.

2) Talk to him about it far in advance. We talked to Little Man about his new bed months before the actual transition. Because our Little Man has not dealt with change well so far in his little life, we wanted to attempt to ‘prepare’ him for this big change. We even bought the bed and kept it, put together in our garage for 2 months +, so he could see it and we could talk about it.

3) When the time comes, make it a big, exciting, gift-kind-of surprise! On Sunday morning, Hubby told little Man that after lunch he had a big surprise for him.  They spent lunch talking about the surprise:  Was it something he could unwrap?  Was it big?  Where was it at? Could he play with it?  etc.  I even raced ahead of them on our way upstairs to cover the bed with a sheet that Little Man could pull off and ‘unwrap it’.  We let him play on the bed, and spent a good 15 min. talking about the bed before we attempted his first nap time in it.

4) Remind him of our expectations. Because we spent such a ridiculous amount of time talking about his bed with him in advance, we only needed to remind him of our expectations of him sleeping in his big boy bed.  Like for example: how he was going to “get to!” (instead of “have to…”) sleep in his bed for both naps and at nighttime, and how he still needed to call for mommy or daddy to get him when he woke up.  Our hopes for that last expectation is to attempt to remove the chance of our day starting at 4am due to Little Man coming in because ‘he’s awake’ as well as keep him safe, as his room is upstairs and we don’t allow him to go down the stairs by himself yet.  We do have a gate at the top of the stairs, but it is so loud that it wakes him up in the morning and during nap if we have to open and close it to go up and down.

To be completely honest though, I can not even pretend like we are the parents who have it figured out because frankly… we do not! Ultimately, the thing that caused Little Man’s transition to Big Boy Bed to be so smooth was the unmerited generosity of our sweet God and to Him we are incredibly thankful for this and so much more!

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The School of Parenting

In the school of parenting I feel as though I can hardly stop drawing spiritual parallels between Little Man and myself and God as our Father as well as observe in little Isaac many of the qualities that make us distinctly human.  I thought that every once in a while I could use Sunday morning to document these little spiritual lessons from God so as to remember them far into the future of motherhood, when I may not even be able to get my childrens names straight, let alone remember little lessons hidden in the minute details of the day to day mundane…  That being said, here we go!IMG_3279

I have noticed something very interesting in Little Man’s eating habits.  I see that when I provide him with just a few pieces of food on his tray, he is happy and content, eating every last piece before asking for more with his cute little baby sign.  However, when I try to make it easier for myself, putting much more than he could consume within a few bites onto his tray…he gets ‘greedy’!  He will begin asking for more way before all his little meal resources have been consumed…

How does this relate to parenting or God or me??  I see myself in this little glimpse of Little Man’s humanness. How happy and content I am and have been during those time when our resources have been sparse.  Not because I am excited necessarily to have little, but I have seen it causes me to be truly grateful for what we do have!  Oh but when materialism sneaks into my heart, theIMG 3277 2 second I am blessed with a little more than I can consume within ‘a few bites’, oh how my heart begin’s to hoard… I ask for more and more way before my resources are gone.  I can get what I call “the wants” wanting this and that, until I almost forget the only thing that will last for eternity.  Is it bad to have more than I need, no not necessarily.  Is it wrong to have material ‘wants’, surly not.  But is it wrong when my very human heart longs for these things more than it longs for God…yes.  I want to remember this lesson.

“When we come to the end of our hoarded resources,

our Fathers full giving has only begun.

For out of His infinite riches in Jesus,

He giveth and giveth and giveth again…”

~Annie J. Flint

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