Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Toy Organization

I am struggling with organizing my house, all areas of my house, but I really want to get the kids' toys organized and reduced down to what they need and waht they actually play with.  I have started organizing some things, but I still have a lot to do.  My goal is to really look at what they play with, what I would like to have to offer them to play with for educational purposes, and also what they never play with and why.  Right mow, my house is a disaster of all sorts.  I really need to get my act together and get my stuff organized as well as the kids, but I think the kids' things will be easier and really most beneficial at this point in time.

Right now the big thing that the kids play with are cars.  I actually, for the most part, have things organized in this area.  I have thier kitchen stuff in a bin that hasa place in a cubby.  I want to get a bin and cubby for the following: art supplies, dolls, tools, puzzles, blocks.  Any other suggestions for bins or categories of toys?

Any other suggestions for organizing toys?


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Barbie Dolls Part II

Thank you Tanya for you comment.  It makes me feel better to know that not everyone is against Barbie dolls, though I am having a hard time realizing that the first doll my daughter seems interested in is Barbie.  I guess I am not so against her having barbie dolls, I just hate the idea of the body image issues behind Barbie.

I guess the there are a multitude of things in our society that we have to protect or at least educate our kids about.  It's too bad that we have to worry about body image in our children at a young age.  I loved Barbie dolls as a kid as well as my baby dolls.  I definitely have body image problems, but I'm sure that playing with Barbie dolls was not the issue.  I was well aware that Barbie was not only an unattainable body to desire, but that it was also just not physically possible to have that big of a chest, that small of a waist, those hips, and those legs at least not without surgery.  Not only did I love playing with Barbie's, I loved playing with my baby dolls.  I was pretty much always a girly girl.  Did this make me into a meek superficial female ?  Not at all!  I have a masters degree and I have had a career as a nursing home social worker for 10 years before I had my kids.  Do I think as parents we need to be positive role models and talk about toys and goals and other life lessons?  Absolutely!  If I were honest, do I really think that toys by themselves are the devil incarnate?  No!  Do I sometimes have a problem with listening to others and following everything they say? Yes!  Should I start thinking a little more critically and start listening to myself?  Yes!  Can I let my kids play with Barbie dolls, baby dolls and other very gender specific toys and have them grow up to be balanced adults? Yes!  Actually, I think that it is positive for kids to be exposed to toys of both genders versus either only providing gender neutral toys or gender specific toys based on their gender.  I have never thought that providing toys that are marketed for the opposite sex would cause any gender confusion.  I have actually always thought that it would make a child into a more balanced adult, by letting them chose things that they are interested in.

There are many things in our society that we as parents have to talk to our kids about.  There are all sorts of images that make both sexes have issues with body image.  There are all sorts of things that we need to teach and be open with our kids about.  I guess, after writing this, I am leaning more to getting an age appropriate Barbie doll for my daughter as well as dolls and doll accessories.  That being said, I will certainly be offering these toys to the boys so that they can play with things other than cars and trucks and other traditional boy toys and I will certainly allow and encourage my daughter to play with the boys' toys if she chooses!

Ok, enough for my soapbox talk!  Thanks for letting me spill my thoughts out and for any comments that people have.


Monday, July 25, 2011

Toys for Girls

Lately, I've been thinking that poor Eva Rose doesn't really play with dolls.  She is much more of a tomboy playing with her brothers.  We have a couple of baby dolls, but none of the kids seem to want to play with them.  We have the little people doll house and they play with that a little, but they all seem to prefer running and jumping and other active things.  Or the other big toy are CARS.  My Thomas is totally into planes and trains and cars.  I started wondering if we needed to get more stereotypical female toys and start offering them to both the boys and Eva Rose.  I fully admit that when I found out I was having a daughter, I was thrilled that there would be dolls and barbies and hair things and dresses and all sorts of girly things to play with.  Now I also fully admit that if the boys wanted to play with these toys and any other "girly toys", I would have no problem with it.  My issues is, are we only really providing more of the male stereotyped toys since we have 2 boys and 1 girl who are pretty much the same age?

We went to York this weekend to a cousins house.  She has a couple of granddaughters and there were a bunch of barbie dolls around and Eva Rose started carrying them around the house, not wanting to out them down.  I started thinking that we should get her a barbie doll.  Then I started thinking about whether or not I really wanted to introduce her to the whole barbie idea with the warped body frame, the clothes that barbie wears, and just the whole barbie stereotype in general.  I decided to ask my twins group about getting a barbie doll for Eva Rose, hoping that there may be some alternative to barbie, but something that would be just as interesting as barbie.  Unfortunately, the only ideas I got were really just don't expose her to barbie at all, which is where I was leaning and instead just get a baby doll.  There were a couple of people who suggested more gender neutral toys in general, but I wouldn't mind having a more balanced approach to the type of toys we have in the house not just gender neutral.  Like I said, I have no problem with the boys wanting to play with dolls and since they love cars, I don't want to take that away from them either.  One mom did mention that she thought that barbies were good for little ones because they are easy to carry around.  They have a small waist and are easier for little hands.  This actually made a lot of sense to me.  She decided to get a barbie at a yard sale and just let her daughter have fun versus buying a new one with all the gadgets to go along with the dolls.

I am still on the search for more girly toys to expose all the kids to both male and female oriented toys.  we actually have a fair number of gender neutral items that are more on the educational side of things, but we really don't have a ton of female oriented toys.  Maybe I just need to see if anyone on freecycle has anything they are looking to get rid of so that thee kids can be exposed to more dolls and doll type toys.

Any thoughts on getting toys by gender?  Do you go more gender neutral or do you just expose your kids to both male and female oriented toys without making a judgement on which is better for which sex?  Is that even possible or do we innately try to swing girls towards dolls and other female oriented toys and boys to more masculine type toys?

It's all very interesting being a parent.  I don't want to sway my kids one way or the other based on what I liked growing up or what I didn't like!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Potty Training Update

After having wirtten my last post and after getting a couple of answers to my potty training questions via my twins group, I have decided that we we muster on.  We are not at the point of the kids telling us that they have to go to the potty, but they will and want to use the potty.  They still ahve accident, but some days are better than otehrs and some moments are better than others! 

My husband and I are on the same page.  We have decided that they will be in underwear pretty much eery day.  We are going to stop giving rewards for going on the potty, because they pretty much have no problem sitting on the potty and actually going.  Where they have the issues is not always staying dry.  I started thinking that we needed to start rewarding for the behavior we wanted not the behavior that we already had.  I wasn't sure if it would work, but I thought about rewarding for actual dry diapers.  I got some positive feedback on this and we are starting this process.  We are also stepping up how often we offer the potty.  Michael's teacher said that he is on the cusp of being ready.  He will always go on the potty, but will not tell them that he needs to go.  I needed to get more diapers for school so I decided to buy pull ups.  They're much more expensive and I know some people disagree with their use, but I think in this instance, it is worth it.  Michael will go to school in either a diaper (since I still have some left) or in pull ups which I am hoping will help make it easier for him to be trained while at school.  The one comment I got also suggested to put them in underwear and if they have an accident to put them in a diaper and continue to bring them to the potty.  They will also be going to be in a diaper at this point.  I have a feeling this is not going to be a quick and easy process like for some kids, but they are definitely interested in going on the potty and I really want to encourage that as much as I can!  I am totally in this for the long haul and feel much more comfortable continuing moving forward after getting some advice from other moms.

On another note, we have had the twins re-evaluated for early intervention.  Thomas was not screened in, but Eva Rose was.  What is so interesting about this is that I always thought that Thomas was going to be the one who was behind, but it seems like Eva Rose and Michael are the ones behind.  Michael is doing well in school.  He is able to sing the tune of twinkle twinkle with some words thrown in, and also able to go through the book Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See, and you can actually understand him reading the book.  At this point, I'm sure it is more him memorizing the words, but he is right about the colors and the animals.  My goal is to record him singing the book.  Once I have it recorded, I will make sure to post to this blog!


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Potty Training

God I hate this part of parenting!  I never realized just how much I would hate this part of development!  We decided to potty train all 3 at the same time.  I don't know if I am a glutton for punishment or what, but all 3 seemed to be interested in going to the potty at the same time.  At first we were doing great, just a for accidents, but now it seems like all they want to do is pee every where except the potty!  I am totally beside myself with where to go from here.  Do I put them back in diapers?  Do I keep pushing forward?  Do I play it all by ear? 

Please tell me this gets better!?  I am hating potty training and am thinking that I would much more enjoy having my 3 in diapers rather than this whole potty training crap!  Part of me wants to keep pushing forward, but part of me says just go back to diapers!  I don't want to do what's best for me, I want to do what's best for them.  Right now I'll just be playing it all by ear!


Next time, I'll post pictures and something more fun than potty training!

Monday, July 18, 2011

How Time Flies!

I can't believe that I haven't posted a single thing for over a month.  This blog was going to be my version of a scrapbook and yet, I can't seem to get motivated to write.  I read all these other blogs that have such great writers behind their posts and I can't seem to feel like there is anything big enough to write down as well as just not finding the time to actually write!

I don't have anything profound to share, but summer is here and we are on a different mode.  Tom is home for the summer, which has been awesome.  It is so nice to parent with another person and not be the only adult in a house of a 3 year old and 2 1/2 year old twins.  It is also so nice to be able to take the kids places and feel comfortable letting them be a little more independent than if I were doing it alone.

So far, we have started a garden, gone swimming in a pool (large in ground pool), gone on a picnic in the park at the lake, saw fireworks, gone to the beach, gone to the Franklin Park Zoo, gone walking and then to the park, and probably more.  We have started potty training all 3 kids, which has had it's ups and downs, but I don't think that I would change anything I am doing.  All 3 kids are totally interested in using the potty and overall have been doing great, but there are still lots of accidents and they don't always tell us that they have to go.

Michael has been in summer school and has been doing great!  I am really amazed at how he has been progressing.  We still have a ways to go and Tom and I both have our concerns that there is something more going on with him than just a speech delay.  Though I have to say, I have a gut feeling that he is just taking in so much information that he is just taking time to process it and all of a sudden he is going to just come out and have a conversation with us.

Eva Rose is still not really talking either, but is doing better.  She is going to be eval'ed for speech through Earl Intervention, but I'm not sure that she is going to qualify.  She is behind, but I am not sure that she is behind enough. 

Thomas was just eval'ed for EI and did not qualify for speech.  I am absolutely amazed at his speech over the last couple of months.  His vocabulary has just exploded.  He is doing way more than just naming objects.  He is actually using action words and descriptive words.  He is definitely the most advanced with his communication skills.

All 3 kids continue to amaze me with their gross and fine motor skills.  They are running and climbing and actually even starting to jump.  They are able to string beads and scribble on paper.  Eva Rose and Michael tend to scribble on the whole sheet and Eva Rose is able to hold a crayon appropriately.  Thomas on the other hand tends to use a small area of the paper when he has crayons.  They are starting to do more pretend play and play with each other and even sometimes interact with other children.  They have so much fun at the park and all the climbing structures!  We have taken down their baby swings and put up the big kids swings.  Michael will now say "Mommy/Daddy push me!". 

Michael is my water boy.  I can't wait to take him in the water again and do more swimming type activities with him.  He was having fun in both the pool and the ocean.  He even has fun in the new sprinkler pool we bought.  All 3 kids are totally into container play.  It absolutely blows my mind how much they love to put things in a cup, pail, watering can, and then pour it out only to go and do it all over again.

As sad as it is to see them getting bigger, I am so happy to watch them grow and change and develop each and every day!  I am glad that I am finally writing a post and writing down all the newest changes that have been happening.  I do wish more people commented on my blog, but I keep telling myself that this is for me and I don't need to have people comment to enjoy blogging.  This is my way of keeping track of things and it is just a plus to have people comment.  I wish I had more time to be an active blogger.  I have one fellow twin mom who always seems to comment on the things I write and I am so grateful for her comments and any other comments that I get.  I am going to try to find time to make sure that I am commenting appropriately on other blogger's posts so that I can hopefully network with others!