Yesterday, since we were “trapped” in the house by sickness, I decided to tidy up a little. I saw Meg’s closet and how there was no more room on the rack for any hanging clothes. I decided to put some of her 18 month summer clothes away. It got me thinking about a blog entry that I have wanted to write… about the dream deferred. I have been thinking a lot about this, given our latest happenings with Meg. Putting away the dresses and the slightly too-big tanks and tees reminded me of the visions that I had had of Meg when I first bought them all last year.
If you know me, you know that I buy clothes well in advance. Maybe sometimes too far in advance. The strategy always served me well with my son. He has been pretty easy to predict in the growth area, staying constant and consistent throughout his three and a half years.
Meg on the other hand, has been super little from the beginning. I brought her home in a newborn outfit that was waaaay too big for her. The outfit that fit her best for the first month was a sleeper for preemies. Trying to predict seasons for her pre-bought outfits is like trying to predict which way the wind will be blowing five years from today in some far-removed, remote village.
Well, when I see a sale, I try my best in the prediction department. At the end of summer last year at my favorite Target, I found a rack of dresses that were just fit for a princess (I had a little girl! I could buy these beautiful dresses now!) at the bargain price of one dollar, two dollars and three dollars. What a deal! I started getting these visions of Meggie as a toddler, taking her steps slowly and awkwardly, getting her bearings as new walkers tend to do, her sweet little dresses bobbing up and down with her as she walked across the room to offer a toy to me with a smile. Or her in this pretty striped dress, toddling across the beach that we were almost certain to visit before we moved back to Ohio. Or her in the pretty purple dress, walking across the lawn on a beautiful summer day, her mom searching for that perfect photo op with the expanse of green lawn behind her and the sun high in the blue sky. I imagined her going to Sunday school in dresses. Maybe there would be a heat wave at Easter, and the possibility of a strappy dress for the kids’ Easter egg hunt. Imagine 18 month pictures in a beautiful dress! The possibilities for putting my perfect princess in dresses seemed endless.
Endless, that is, until reality comes crashing down, in my case. If I am being 100% honest, we will find that I have secretly been putting off my disappointments. It is not just dresses that were ultimately never worn. It’s the milestones hit a little too late… late enough to evoke a feeling of suspicion in me. It’s those moments where Meggie just doesn’t seem interested in something. Or the baby dolls we got her for her first Christmas, and the little accessories to go with them that have yet to be used or examined. Or that my two year old has yet to walk independently or eat solid foods. The dresses were ultimately never worn, because my daughter is still just crawling.
It’s that I have been hoping that, like in so many stories, the magical age of two was when things were just going to somehow align and work out, and she would start growing and fitting into the clothes that she was supposed to fit in two or three seasons ago, or she’d find some interest in the dolls, or she’d even magically start running around the coffee table in the same fashion her brother used to cruise, and by birthday number two, she’d take those steps across the room from Mommy’s arms to Daddy’s arms. That would save me the dreaded calls to the pediatrician, seeking services for a delay that I didn’t want my daughter to have… didn’t even want to believe that it was possible for her to have. Two was going to be my magic number… a glorious time. A truly, truly thankful Thanksgiving time.
Instead, we are now on our way to a destination into an unknown land. My tentative arrival there is marked with much anticipation. I feel ill-equipped to be traveling here. I don’t speak the language; I am not sure where I am going. I have never imagined myself sitting on these beaches or even in the homey little cafes. I am not sure which road connects with what… have no idea if a shortcut even exists. There is no map, and that makes me uncomfortable.
All road analogies aside, I say all this in hopes that the dresses are just a dream deferred. You know, just thoughts that came to my head…well, hopes really. Thoughts and hopes that may not have happened yet, but eventually will. We’ve had some moments…some really great things…they’ve just not been what or when I was expecting them.
And you’ll never believe what happened to me the other day: I found some dresses on sale and I bought them. Now if I could just find some fancy walking shoes to match…
About the Blogger:
Jen P. lives in Ohio, with her husband, son, and daughter. Being a parent of a child with special needs is an incredible blessing, and she is glad that she was chosen to be Meg’s mom.
When I had my second child, I wanted to make sure that they would become best friends. I wanted to avoid sibling rivalry as much as possible.
The first thing I did was whenever I talked about the baby it was “our baby” or “her baby sister”. We casually talked about how she was going to be a big sister and she would get to teach the baby lots of new stuff. After my second daughter was born, Princess G, we had her big sister come right away. Princess A was 28 months at the time. She remembers coming to the hospital and meeting her little sister.
When I got home I followed some great advice: don’t always go to the baby first. If I was doing something for my oldest I would say out loud “Princess G, I will be there in a minute I am helping your sister.” Of course the baby did not understand me but my oldest did. I think it really helped that I did not always rush to the baby. My oldest felt as though she was just as important. I also used one of the baby’s naps to take the time and play with Princess A. Her favorite memories of that time were when we would play in the snow and then have hot cocoa to warm up. We were never outside more than 15 minutes (dressing took longer, lol) but to her it was an eternity with just mommy. She also got to go on a few dates with Daddy too!
I made sure that things were pretty even or at least appeared even to them. As they got older I emphasized that we share in our house. They have their special stuffed animal and a doll or two that they don’t have to share but everything else they share. I point out to them that if they share toys then they have a bigger variety. For example, instead of buying them both the same doll, I buy one in blue and the other in pink. They now have different dolls. I knew I was getting through to them when at my oldest birthday she received a present with two Barbie ballerinas in the package and she turned to ask me which one was hers. I told her since it was her birthday she could pick.
They do argue with each other on occasion but it does not last long. First, they know I won’t be happy and they also won’t like my solution. If they do argue, which is about once a week, it is over a toy or that my oldest wants to read instead of playing. In our house sharing and kindness is how we are as a family. My girls see my husband and me being kind and sharing. My husband and I rarely argue, about twice a year, and we always talk softly and very respectfully.
The best way to avoid sibling rivalry is to treat your kids fair and with love. Things are not always perfectly even but when things are not I ask them what I can do to even things up, and usually they come up with a great idea and everyone is happy!
*Post by Noreen, a BabyLegs Mom.
When I found out I was pregnant, my husband and I started talking and thinking about daycare for our new baby. Would we send our child to a home daycare, daycare facility, or find a personal nanny? We looked into several facilities, interviewed a few licensed home day-cares, and spoke to some friends about using nannies.
One day we were talking to a neighbor. She mentioned another neighbor who was staying at home with her daughter and was looking for a way to make a little extra money. We spoke to her and for the first six months our neighbor watched our daughter. I enjoyed knowing my daughter was staying with someone that had children of her own and treated my daughter as her own daughter. Unfortunately, our neighbor’s husband was relocated and they moved. We were considering a daycare facility near our house, but we wanted to make sure our daughter was getting the attention we felt she deserved. I felt like a larger facility wouldn’t be able to focus on my daughter as well as a home daycare provider. I had also heard a few “bad” stories from a good friend of mine about her facility.
Luckily, a lady we went to church with had an opening in her home daycare around the same time our neighbor had to stop watching our daughter. We decided to send our daughter to her. Our daughter has been going there for over a year and half. The lady is licensed by the state and has random visits from DHR just like a larger facility. She has a meal plan she has to follow. She also has a school curriculum she has to follow when the children are old enough. She only keeps 6 children and none are over the age of 5 or 6 (most leave when going to school). When she accepts a new baby she likes to try to keep the ages spread out so that she doesn’t have too many little babies. She has an open door policy. This means we can drop by anytime, unannounced, to check on our kids. She has been a licensed home daycare provider for 30 years and she kept several of my church friends’ children.
I’m not saying I would NEVER send my child to a facility or that I think that home day-cares are “safer” or “better” than a facility. There have been home daycare providers (as well as facilities) that fall short of the expectations the parents have, but I believe that as a parent you have to look into each option and see which one feels right to you.
About the blogger:
My name is Stephanie. My husband and I have been married 3 years. We have a two year old daughter, McKenna, and a little boy due in January.
We are expecting baby number 2 and decided that it is time to convert our daughter’s bed to a toddler bed (mainly because my growing stomach is making it harder to get her in and out of the crib). We wanted the transition to be as easy as possible for us and for her. We decided to keep her crib and transition it. She was used to the crib and we were worried that a new bed would make the process harder. Her crib was able to be transitioned to a toddler bed by removing the front panel and adding a bed rail. The bed rail was placed in the middle of the mattress so she could not climb in and out of the bed. We also decided for the first few weeks we would still put her in the bed and get her out as if the bed was still a crib. We hoped this way she did not know she could get in or out by herself. We thought that would make the transition easier and she wouldn’t be trying to play when it was bedtime.
On the first night of the toddler bed we read her a book, put her to bed and kissed her goodnight (just like we always did). She noticed the railing was different, but never tried to climb out. We thought it was too easy and expected her to be climbing over the rail soon! We watched on the video monitor and before we knew it she was asleep! The next morning we went into her room and she was still in her bed! We had one successful night in a toddler bed! Whoo-hoo! We continued the same routine every night for about 2 months and never once did she get out of her bed.
Recently, we let her discover that she could get in and out of the bed by herself and she still has not gotten out in the middle of the night. In fact, she LOVES bedtime now because she can crawl into the bed and cover herself up like a big girl! We put a stool by the bed and moved the rail closer to the head of the bed so she could get in and out easier. We don’t let her play in the bed during the day and the only time she gets in the bed is naptime or bedtime—in hopes of preventing her getting up in the middle of the night and playing. The transition was easy and very successful and I believe it was because we slowly changed her routine to get her used to it.
(Here is a picture of her bed the first night we converted it–actually it was the morning after converting it!
How did you transition your child to a toddler bed? Was it an easy or difficult transition? What were some of the things that you did to make the transition easier?
About the blogger:
My name is Stephanie. My husband and I have bern married 3 years. We have a two year old daughter, McKenna, and a little boy due in January.