Everything’s Coming Up Rosie

Her chubby baby rolls have transformed into solid toddler limbs, but she will always be my roly-poly Rosa bear. The child is only 2, and she is wearing size 5T. And yet, it seems like she is constantly turning her nose up at meals. She is the most stubborn little big girl. I dedicate this post to my Rosie girl.

  
That is her favorite dress. She requests the “anchor dress” every day. And when I tell her it is dirty, she informs me that I need to go ahead and clean it. The dress is only a size 3T, so it is a little snug on her. But it seems to bring her so much joy, I cannot bring myself to telling her she can’t wear it any more. Here is the famous anchor dress on her a year ago:

  
Time, you are a cruel mistress. Also, I swear I am not feeding her growth hormones for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Or feeding her the portions of her tiny sisters.  I find it fascinating that all four girls have such totally different body types. And each is so beautiful in her own way. 

Rosie must wear a dress every day (and preferably at night). Her anchor dress is her favorite, but if she must wear a different dress, then she will settle for her pink striped dress, navy striped dress, ruffle dress, 3/4 sleeve dress, and it must be in that order.  Every time. 

  
Contemplating the epic tragedy that flowers have to lose their petals.

She just finished potty training, and it was a completely different ball game than when I first tried to train her back in February. The first time was a total failure, this time was a walk in the park. Rosie was simply ready when she was ready. There is no forcing her to do something she doesn’t want to do. She will give you her mischievous smile and proceed on doing precisely what she was going to do regardless.

  The face she makes when she is doing you a big favor by tolerating the situation, but it is far from her ideal.

She has just recently started climbing in and out of her crib at night. She will take every stuffed animal, every book, and the entire mug full of pacis, dump them all in her crib, and climb back in.  Naturally, this is not conducive to sleeping since there is no longer any room for her in the crib. This sort of jail breaking is uncharted territory for us.  Ruthie NEVER climbed out of her crib, and we finally just put her in a bed as it was beginning to look ridiculous pulling a 3 and a half year old in and out of a crib. So, we are going to have to discuss putting Rosie in a big girl bed a little sooner than planned.

  
She is very patient with Wren, and won’t lift a finger if Wren takes her toys or gnaws on her arm in a fit of pique. She sweetly sobs and calls for me instead. Her reaction to hostilities with Ruth is entirely different. It is usually your typical younger sibling ear splitting shriek of dismay. I love how sweet she is to baby Wren. I like to call them Snow White and Rose Red. 

  

  . . . one was called Snow-white and the other Rose-red. They were as good and happy, as busy and cheerful, as ever two children in the world were, only Snow-white was more quiet and gentle than Rose-red. Rose-red liked better to run about in the meadows and fields seeking flowers and catching butterflies; but Snow-white sat at home with her mother, and helped her with her house-work, or read to her when there was nothing to do.

“Snow White and Rose Red” By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

Seeing as Wren in typical toddler fashion looks on with glee as Ruth loses it after Wren messes something up that Ruth had devoted a lot of time meticulously setting up, their relationship is more like the Princess and the Goblin.  You know, if the Princess had no patience whatsoever. But I digress.

Rosie is so precocious, she talked really early and looks like a 5 year old, so it is easy to forget she is only 2.  Then she has a typical toddler meltdown and you abruptly remember. She is still so snuggly and always wants me to carry her up and down the stairs. Wren and Rhea NEED me to carry them up and down the stairs, so this lengthens our morning routine a bit. But I can’t complain. They won’t be little forever.

  
Today she told me she doesn’t love me any more and instead loves Ahway (my mom). I know she was just mad because I didn’t carry her down the stairs, but her words cut me to the quick anyway. I felt like snapping back, but then remembered myself and told her I was sorry she felt that way. She is even precocious in emotional warfare!

I would like to end this anecdote by saying we tearfully reunited soon after, but the truth is, she continued to be a little grump until I finally was able to put her down for her nap. We all have our off days. Rosie just has fewer of them than most.

I love you, Rosa-Pose. Sometimes, when I look at you, you look so beautiful it hurts.  

  

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But what about the children’s souls?

If you had to pick the single most important duty as a parent, what would it be? Your children’s health and well being? Your children’s education and cultivating their natural talents? 

In the midst of the secularization of our society, much time and energy has been spent obsessing over how we can send our children out into this world as paragons of human health and superior scholastic achievement. But the question must be asked: are they good people? 

This mentality pervades our thinking as parents from the moment we realize we are pregnant. How many times have we said, “as long as the baby is healthy?” When our children our older, we tend to brag about their good grades or athletic abilities with no mention of whether we are raising people of integrity or not.

As we wage these Mommy Wars, bickering over the minutia of raising children, we put the health and well-being of our children on a pedestal and ignore all else. We think of our children as our extremely fragile and valuable property as opposed to eternal souls, and human beings.  Because if our only duty to our children is their health and well being, then formula feeding when you could be breastfeeding is a crime against motherhood, and no leeway can be permitted.  If our only concern is that this fragile property cannot be exposed to even the slightest risk of SIDS, then we should place them on pallets made of rock, with not a comfort item to be found. Under this strict parenting philosophy, there is no room for treating them like human beings who would like to sleep in at least a modicum of comfort just like anyone else, and weigh the risks of benefits of their sleeping arrangements starting with that basic principle. 

Ask yourself if you would be more concerned if you found out your babysitter were feeding your children McDonald’s every day or if you found out your child was falsely accusing other children of hitting her every day in order to watch with glee as they got in trouble. As your children grow older, if they were asked which of their accomplishments they thought their parents were most proud, would their response have anything to do with their spiritual triumphs? 

We should express our love for our children by providing for their physical and spiritual needs. We should begin by living out our faith ourselves and make their very first role models good ones. We should not only attend to their basic physical needs (which is simple) but also respect them as human beings with eternal souls (which is more difficult). The greatest gift we can give our children isn’t the gift of health or education (although don’t get me wrong, those things are obviously important). We could release them into the wild perfectly healthy and erudite but also an unrepentant mass murderer. The greatest gift we can give to our children is the gift of faith.  And incidentally, raising a saintly person is also the greatest gift you can give the world. Just ask the countless orphans in India Mother Teresa cared for or the prisoner from Auschwitz whose life was spared because Father Maximilian Kolbe offered his own life in exchange for the prisoner’s. 

Photo Cred: William-Adolphe Bouguereau, Piet√†, Wikimedia Commons 

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Snapchat for Old Fogies

I noticed a rash of my favorite bloggers lately started using an app called “Snapchat.” I had heard of it, of course. It seemed to be all the rage with the young-ins a while ago. I didn’t pay much attention to it because between Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, I really felt like there wasn’t any more room left for time wasters in my life. Because at some point the kids get really whiny when I don’t feed them. So needy.

But then yet another mommy blogger confessed that she was now addicted to it, so I decided to check it out. Maybe I could just buy some of those automatic food dispensers for the kids and leave some Cheerios and water in it.

I know all the young, hip kids reading this post are going to roll their eyes at me (because young hip kids are my usual demographic for this blog), but I kind of love it! It is unassuming, it offers quick glimpses into the ordinary lives of my fellow moms and friends, and the pressure of pandering for likes and followers is nonexistent. It is spontaneous, so you get to see people’s “stories” in their most raw and honest forms. No taking 20 billion pictures with a fancy camera, editing the heck out of it, and then finally placing it on social media wiped clean of all the imperfections that makes life humorous and relatable. It is so refreshing. Not to mention, being the only adult in a sea of babies and young children all day can feel so isolating sometimes, and it brightens my day to see glimpses of my fellow moms doing the same thing I’m doing. Almost like we’re toiling away side by side, encouraging each other.

I am going to try and simplify Snapchat for you so that you don’t have to feel like you are wasting time trying to figure out an app that you might not even use. Because we need that extra time for going to the bathroom. Or sleeping. 

I am not going to walk you through signing up for the app, as that is pretty self explanatory. After you sign up, there are pretty much four main screens:

1. The Camera Screen

  

This is the default screen that shows up when you open the app. The grey circle at the bottom takes a picture or a video. If you want to take a picture, you tap it. If you want to take a video, you hold it down. If you don’t like the picture or video you just took, you can click the “X” on the top left and try again. You hit the camera icon on the top right to make the camera face out or face in (like on your camera phone), and the top left is flash or no flash. You still with me? Alrighty then. On to the next. So you take your pic or video.

  
Ruthie very kindly agreed to get out of bed and be my guinea pig. Which wasn’t as generous as it sounds as she was playing with her horsey instead of going to sleep anyway.

Alright, then. In order to add a caption to this photo/video, you simply tap in the middle of the screen and start typing. You can do different things to the font in the top right, but don’t get stressed out by that. Stay with me now. You see that pencil on the top right? I will compare it to something that only old fogies like us will remember and recognize. Think Microsoft Paint. Except with your finger instead of those things that also only old fogies like us will remember called cursors manipulated by that ancient tool called a mouse. Good times. Anyway, you can doodle to your heart’s content all over the picture, if you so desire. The “T” in the top right customizes your caption, and the thing that looks like a post-it pad up top adds an emoji. The little circle with the number 3 in it on the bottom left controls the amount of time your viewer will be looking at this picture, and the arrow with the line beneath it next to that saves the picture/video to your camera roll.

Now, I will address the square with the plus sign in it at the bottom. This saves the pciture/video to your “Story.” Your Story is what you share with all the people you follow (or everyone who follows you, depending on your privacy settings). It combines all of your pictures/videos (hereafter referred to as “snaps”) into one long narrative. This narrative lasts for 24 hours on your followers’ screens and then disappears forever. The grey arrow on the bottom right sends the snap directly to a person. It is Snapchat’s version of the DM. The person you send it to can only view it a couple times and then it too disappears. 

2. The Stories Screen

To get to this screen, you simply swipe left from the camera screen. It shows your Story up top, some random but cool ones in the middle (like from cities like Madrid or Buenos Aires, or from colleges across the country, etc.), and the Stories of the people you are following at the bottom. If your camera screen has a little number showing in the bottom right, that means some of the people you are following have updated their stories. You can re-watch you own Story and see who has seen your snaps by tapping the arrow at the bottom. You can also see who has taken a screen shot of your snap (it looks like two arrows intersecting and has a number beneath it). Not sure why you would want to know whether someone is taking a screen shot of your snap, but there it is. Don’t go posting compromising pictures and expecting no one to ever see them again after 24 hours, moms! (I kid).

3. The DM Screen

If your camera screen has a little number on it in the bottom left, that means you have a DM. To get to all of your DMs or send a DM, swipe right from the camera screen. Swipe right on one of the names listed to send a DM snap, and if the camera icon by your message turns blue, then you can actually chat with them in real time! Or so I have heard, I have never been able to put this into practice.

4. The Ghost Screen

If you tap the ghost icon on the top of the camera screen, it shows who has added you to follow, and you can use it to add people that you would like to follow. But you can’t see how many people total follow you are how many followers other people have.

Well, there you have it. Just like in our days when we whined that Facebook was not cool any more because they are letting everyone use it and Grandma has an account, today’s young whippersnappers are going to have to leave Snapchat because old people like us are using it now.  What goes around comes around.

Any Snapchat tips I missed? Oh, and if you care to follow along the Bass girls’ crazy daily adventures, my handle is: sylcell

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Potty Training from the Trenches

Why yes, I am going to bore you with a post about potty training since I have potty trained a grand total of two kids now.  There is so much advice out there on potty training already, I figured I’d add to the noise. Because you can never have too much advice on potty training, am I right? 

Right. So, I do have to disclose that this will probably only pertain to girls, as little girls are the only thing I have experienced. I’m like that song from Annie. “Some women are drippin in diamonds. Some women are drippin in pearls. Lucky me, lucky me, look at what I’m drippin in, little girls!” 

I promise I’ll get to the point some day.

Anyway, here is our potty training routine:

Day 1: 

  1. Run around in thin panties only. I don’t do naked because I am too afraid of them getting urinary tract infections.
  2. Watch them closely and every time they start to have an accident, you take them to the potty and tell them they need to pee pee or poo poo on the potty.
  3. They get a chocolate chip (or marshmallow, or M&M, or whatever) for sitting on the potty. They get a chocolate chip for pee, if any makes it into the toilet at all, they get two chocolate chips for poop in the toilet.
  4. Around the time they usually have their daily poop, I sit them on the potty with the iPad on their laps playing their favorite 20 minute show to see if anything happens. If anything does, cheers and treats abound.

I’ve tried using a timer and having them go sit on the potty every 20 minutes or so with both girls, and both times it was an unmitigated disaster. They seemed to only be going pee when they weren’t on the toilet, and it was an epic battle to get them to sit on the toilet Every. Time. And then once I wrestled them onto the toilet nothing would happen except both of us panting and glaring at each other. Day 1 is all about them realizing they can no longer count on a diaper to catch all of their pee and poo. So I pretty much just wait for an accident to start happening and then rush them into the bathroom. 

Day 2 and all days after:

  1. Good luck.
  2. Just kidding. I will try and have them sit on the potty every hour or so, then push it back to two hours or whenever I think of it after a few weeks. If they are running to the potty as they start peeing, you are making progress. 
  3. I usually introduce the potty chart. They get to put stars on it for when they sit on the potty, pee in the potty, and poop on the potty. I have just bought them on Amazon as I am craft challenged. I still use the chocolate chips too and eventually phase both of them out.
  4. Siblings come in and cheer for potty success and everybody gets chocolate chips.
  5. There will be accidents. For several weeks afterward. But they will eventually diminish to no accidents. Just keep your patience and reiterate that pee and poop goes in the potty. I usually make them clean up their own pee accidents to reinforce that it is something that we should avoid doing because it makes a mess. I’ll hand them a rag and have them mop it up. (And then I clean it for reals after.) And if they poop on their underwear, I tell them I have to throw the [character on the] underwear away because they pooped on them and to tell them goodbye.
  6. Try and avoid going on a long trip too soon afterward. It will slow down the process.
  7. If we have to leave the house, I use training pants. They can still feel that they have had an accident, but I don’t have to worry about them getting pee all over a public space.
  8. They always sit on the potty when they wake up in the mornings, after they get up from naps and before bed.
  9. If they have peed but are seeming to linger on the potty, just wait. Usually that means they have to poo also. 
  10. If they are playing outside, be on the lookout for a child hiding somewhere more private. They are probably going to the bathroom.

I know it is real trendy these days to train children as young as possible, but my advice would be to wait until they are older and more ready. Taking a toddler to a public restroom is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I do not believe that there is a magical window that if you miss it they will definitely be going to college in diapers. And also wait until you are ready as well. It is a time commitment, and it will just be unduly stressful if you are training just because you feel pressured into it but it isn’t really necessary. Give it a try, and if weeks go by and the accidents seem to be increasing in volume and both you and the child are frustrated and burned out, put them back in diapers and don’t sweat it. You can try again later.

Some moms have told me that their children have trouble pooping on the potty, either getting constipated from holding it in, or just waiting until naps and night time so that they can just use their diaper.  I personally haven’t experienced this, but the best I could advise is the fave show on the iPad while sitting on the potty treatment before naps and bed. Have any of you experienced this and were able to conquer it?

I use potty seats because I shudder at the thought of cleaning out those little potties. You are cleaning up plenty of raw sewage anyway. No need to add to it. Try and pick out a nicer seat because the cheap ones move around too much and can slide sideways, propelling your child into the toilet bowl and scarring them into thinking the toilet is going to suck them down if they sit on it. Not that I am speaking from experience or anything. When you are away from the house, have them sit sideways toward the front of the toilet if you are sans seat. If your mercurial toddler will allow it, of course. You know how well they adjust to changes in the routine. (HA!)

I have no advice to offer as to night training because none of my girls have been waking up dry yet from naps or bed time. I’m hoping that will happen soon?

Welp, that is about it. Any tricks that I have missed?

  

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Rhea is 3 months!

It kind of stinks having a baby at the beginning of the summer because come August when everyone else is talking about how they are so ready for boots and sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes, you’re all: Wait, what? Where did the whole summer go? I thought it had just started! 

But I can’t really complain. Spending a summer inside snuggling with a newborn has its advantages. We love our happy Rhea-baby.

  
Milestones: Rhea coos and babbles up a storm. She will take any excuse to flash you a toothless grin and start “talking” to you. She is sleeping for longer stretches at night, mostly between 9 pm and 2 am. After that, it is pretty much a crap shoot as to how much she is going to wake up to nurse or not. Some nights, she only wakes up once. Some nights, it seems like she is waking up every hour. She holds her head up really well, and I am able to hold her on my hip in the typical baby hold. I remember it took Wren forever to have that much back strength. She hates tummy time and will not hold her head up while she is doing that, however. Stubborn baby. She isn’t rolling over yet, but all of my girls have been late doing that. (Must be something I am doing wrong.)

  
Are you going to feed me, or take stupid selfies?!

Likes: Nursing, being held by anybody really, talking and smiling, she is finally ok with her car seat THANK GOD, her swing (although she is starting to get pretty big for it), her rock n play, and pacis (although she can shoot it across the room the second you take your eyes off her).

Dislikes: being hungry (shocker), when Wren yanks her arms or legs or tries to lay on her (another shocker).

  
Blurry, but shows off the incredible CHUB this girl has. I think she has outstripped even Rose and Wren (who was chubby before she started crawling). The size 2 diapers are starting to get really tight and she is starting to blow out of them a lot. The 6 month clothing is already almost too small and the 9 month size works better, but I just changed her entire wardrobe over to 6 month size a few weeks ago and refuse to do that all over again so soon. Mommy denial.

She is just a really easy, happy baby (unless you want to get any sleeping done between the hours of 2 am and 7 am.) She loves being worn, and I do that as often as I can, but how do you babywearing ladies get anything done? Every household chore I need to do seems to involve leaning over or having hot things or wet things directly in front of me. (Unloading/loading the dishwasher, unloading/loading the dryer, cooking on the stove, putting away laundry in drawers, changing diapers, etc.) She will fall asleep in the carrier, but then wake up and get mad every time her head falls backward whenever I’m leaning over everywhere. 

I can’t believe the newborn stage is over already! She is a full fledged baby now. Thankfully, the top of her head still smells like heaven. I could breathe it in all day. I have been able to slow down and appreciate the little things this time around.

   
 
Not to be left out, here are pictures of the other girls at 3 months.

  
Ruth

  

Rose

  

Wren

I like to think my camera work is improving over the years. In other news, Rose hasn’t had an accident all week! Going from 3 in diapers to 2 in diapers is so wonderful. Can I get an Amen?!

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