Layman’s Guide to Our Toddler

With impending labour and a soon-to-be out of commission mumma, nana brought up a good point as one of Logan’s potential lined up caregivers on standby: what do we do with him? So I decided to write this all out, as I have no idea how long I will be gone and what sort of timeframes people will need reference to. This has actually turned into a fun post, no doubt a nostalgic memory of Logan hitting 20-months, for me to look back upon. :)

I think the best place for him to stay is at home, rather than going from house to house while all these changes are going on. Plus, he’s a rascally little devil who can and WILL get into everything. Yet he has pretty much free range of *our* entire home, because we’ve managed to get it Logan-proofed to a satisfactory level.

Basement: There is no point in Logan going down there, unless daddy’s down there too and *currently NOT working*. So we generally keep the gate to the stairs from the main floor down to the basement closed. Keeps Logan from going down there on his own, playing with all the electronics & fine wiring, daddy’s multiple workstations, and eating the dog food (which he seems to enjoy ever so much..)

Main level: Logan is generally free to roam the kitchen/living room/foyer to his heart’s content. Though one thing to note is that he is able to crawl up onto the dining table, which he could then use to crawl onto the countertop and stove, if left unattended. (I have yet to see him try to crawl towards the stove – he seems to know it’s “tsss, hot!” *wavy hand* – but he has gotten onto the counter and messed around with the toaster – which can also get very hot if recently used.) He also cannot get down once he climbs up, silly boy. So obviously don’t leave him completely unattended; though you don’t have to watch him like a hawk and follow him around either. He’ll cry if he gets himself into trouble, which differs ever-so-slightly from his “my toy isn’t doing what I want it to!” whimper. ;)

All lower cabinets in the kitchen have a little clip inside that you have to push down on to open. And most doors (like our bedroom, linen closet, and the pantry) have a safety knob that Logan for the most part hasn’t managed to crack. We didn’t have a ton of these safety knobs, so doors like the bathrooms can be locked from the outside with a penny in the slot if need be. (We find that he ignores the downstairs bathroom if we keep the door simply closed. Though occasionally he has snuck in to dismantle a roll of toilet paper or throw his shoes into the toilet bowl. It’s the upstairs bathroom – his bathroom – that he will try to get into and do terrible things to! So we lock that from the outside at all times, definitely!)

Keep the vertical blinds to the backyard open and pushed all the way aside, otherwise Logan will frolic in them and rip them out of their sockets. :P

Also make sure that the front door and door to the garage are locked at all times, as they have a tendency to blow open otherwise!!

Logan generally just plays happily in the living room with his many toys there. He loves his puzzles, various noisy toys with buttons, Legos, and he loves writing on his Aquadoodle. He loves to watch people write too! Specifically, his name. He has literally spent over an hour sitting next to his nana learning how to spell and write his name in all caps- with no signs of ever wanting to stop! So feel free to sit down with him and fill his eager young brain with learnings. :) If you want to leave him to colour, keep him in his high chair with just a few crayons. Make sure he doesn’t ‘accidentally’ drop any crayons when you’re not looking, or expand his artwork past the paper. :P

We have a handful of his favourite shows on the PVR (‘Super Why’ and ‘In the Midnight Garden’), with new ones being recorded each day. In the mornings he loves channel 8, and noon onwards it’s over to Treehouse TV (channel 221). He understands that grownups like to watch TV too, so feel free to take over at any time. ;)

Upstairs: We keep our master bedroom doors closed with a safety knob. We lock Logan out of his own bathroom (using the penny trick), until it’s bathtime and then he’s off to bed. We have also closed the linen closet across from Logan’s bathroom, as he has gotten up to no good in there too.

Logan is free to access the spare room and his bedroom as he likes, however. He will often go off on his own for some time, and is generally quiet and well-behaved upstairs as he’ll find his pacifier and blankets from his crib and cuddle up with them. :) Sometimes he likes to dump his box of toys, and shuffle around his book collection. It’s still a good idea to keep checking in on him, though.

Make sure to keep his bedroom blinds up while he is awake, cord out of reach, so that he can crawl up onto the chair and look out of the window at all the “gogos” driving by when he wants. :) Otherwise you may find the blinds torn out of the wall completely, and that wouldn’t be good. :P Also make sure that the window itself stays closed while he’s free, as he could easily remove the screen and crawl out onto the roof. *hyperventilates at the thought*

In his bedroom you can use the suction cup thingie on top of the dresser to open the drawers if you need access to his clothes, as we have removed all of the knobs! I often apply pressure underneath the drawer until I get a bit of lip, which I can then use to pull open the drawers that way. Everyone has their own technique! :) From the bottom up are jeans, pants, t-shirts, and long-sleeved tops. The little drawers have onesies, socks, shoes, hats, and other such miscellany. He’s got a few items in his closet too- hoodies, coats, a few PJs and the like.

Logan’s Sleep Schedule:
Logan is generally ready to start his day after 9:30AM. He has been a little off of his usual hours since the time change.

He used to nap at noon, but now I’ll have him in bed anywhere from 1:15-2PM until around 4-4:30PM. If he doesn’t end up actually sleeping, just leave him quiet in there until he starts bouncing and chanting loudly. We ALLLL benefit from Logan at least having some quiet time during his regularly scheduled nap period! :) That being said, don’t wake him up either, no matter how long he sleeps! Even if he gets up at 6PM! It just means he needed the extra hours, and to postpone his bedtime routine until maybe 9 if that is the case.

These days I will typically have Logan in bed just after 8PM.

Logan & Food:
Generally we feed Logan in the living room in front of the TV. (Tsk, I know, terrible parents.) With food that isn’t terribly messy I’ll set a bowl/plate on the glass table in the middle of the living room and let him eat there. Messier items I’ll usually feed to him from the sofa as he comes up to me. Though sometimes I will also pop him into his high chair and let him feed himself, with rolled sleeves and bib on.

Paul and I have always had this ‘tradition’ of eating a meal accompanied by our favourite show and chatting about that together, and that seems to have expanded now to include Logan. If we are eating at the same time as Logan, we are always sure to include his food on our own plates (which is the same as what we’re having, only in bite-sized portions) as he has absolutely NO interest in eating his own food if mum and dad have plates in front of them! He will come up to our plates and grab those bits meant for him.

Yet if no one else is eating, Logan will quite happily eat whatever is on his plate! In addition, he will also eat from his high chair if he is to be eating on his own.

If you want him to eat in his high chair, you will need to be sure he is strapped in around the waist (not shoulders) so he doesn’t wiggle or kamikaze his way out. He is often happy in there with a good meal, kid’s show on, and possibly even some crayons and paper on the side (just make sure he’s not too close to the wall as he likes to expand his artistic territory…) Just say “Let’s go eat in your chair!” and he will already be there trying to climb into the seat. ;)

We do occasionally aim to be civilized and attempt a meal at the dining table. However Logan tends to get fussy when we bring him over in his high chair, is completely disinterested in his food, and wants to be at the table with us. Unfortunately, this usually results in him standing and bouncing on the chairs, crawling all over us and onto the table, and lolling his body about in our food. Quite frankly, meals are easier in the living room if all parties are hoping to leave the scenario with full tummies in the end.

Logan’s Daily Routine: A Typical Quiet Day at Home
10AM – get up
bottle of milk & diaper change
first and second breakfasts
playtime
1:15PM – nap
4:30PM – lunch
playtime
7PM – dinner
winding down playtime/quiet tv
8PM – bottle of milk, bathtime, and teeth-brushing
story in bed, followed by lights-out & bedtime music

When you hear Logan bouncing and chanting in his crib, you know he’s ready to start his day! Make sure the doors to the master bedroom, Logan’s bathroom, and linen closet are all closed/locked before setting free the caged toddler. Then open up the blinds in his room, stowing the cord out of his reach.

First thing we need to do is change his diaper, which has usually ballooned out to its maximum dimensions, oftentimes overflowing onto his clothes. He doesn’t care, but obviously needs to be changed immediately! What I tend to do, however, because Logan has a low tolerance for being changed is the following:

– Take Logan out of his crib (if he hasn’t already, he will probably get really excited, spit out his pacifier, and start spelling his name frantically).
– Plop him onto the floor where he is free, at last!, to walk around. ;)
– Go downstairs (you don’t have to carry him, he will follow; he is a master of stairs) and heat up a full bottle of milk, pronto! These will be the longest 55 seconds of his life. Distract him by letting him play with the nipple. He will hand it back to you when it is time. ;)
– Set him up on the sofa, propped up on a pillow, laid back in front of the TV with his milk. While he chugs that back, this is your window to change his diaper – yes, right there! It’s just pee – and apply a new pair of pants (if need be). Quickly! I said he CHUGS! ;) You can change his shirt afterwards, because he doesn’t need to be lying down for that – Tell him “arms up!” which makes it all the more exciting and he’ll be more cooperative.

He will play and follow you around while you work on getting him something to eat. I usually start with something quick to tide him over (like a small bowl of dry cereal, or peanut butter & jam sandwich) while I then work on making him something more lasting (like scrambled eggs with hashbrowns, or porridge).

After second breakfasts my little hobbit will usually then go off to play for a bit. Often he will disappear to his bedroom only to re-emerge downstairs 20 minutes later smelling of poo. There’s a changing pad on the chair in the living room, along with diapers and wipes. :P You may have to distract him with a really good toy, something interesting to hold.. employ creativity! He really hates being made to lie down, though he usually has more tolerance with people who aren’t me. :P The diapers can all go in the Diaper Genie in the pantry, by the way.

Around 1:15PM it’s time for Logan’s nap. Tell him “It’s time for bed! Let’s go upstairs!” He gets the idea and will eventually follow (can you tell I’m enormously pregnant, no longer able to lift a 30-pound toddler? heh). He will often wave and say “bye bye” to his invisible audience and blow kisses on his way up. Make sure his bunny blanket and soft blue blanket are in his crib, along with a stash of pacifiers under his pillow. Draw the blinds and make the room nice and dark, too.

If you end up having to carry him upstairs, he may flail around and squeal a bit. But as soon as he sees you reaching for one of his books, he switches to pure excitement. (That’s the great thing about Logan- he never stays upset for long, and is easily redirected.) He loves his “Hello New Baby” book, “Dinosaur’s Binkit”, and having you sing along with “The Wheels on the Bus”. You don’t have to read all three! (Though he will love you more if you do.) Then turn on his Scout puppy by pressing his left foot for some soothing bedtime music. Press it twice for the music to play for 10 minutes. Then I say “Night night, Logan!” while blowing him loud kisses as I leave the room. Sometimes he acknowledges me as I go… :P Close his bedroom door completely.

Living in ConstructionVille, and having a daddy who enjoys such features as 5.1 surround sound & subwoofers, Logan has quickly built up a tolerance to sleeping through most noise. Though I always try to keep the volume of things at a decent level until he has at least dropped off, first. Then you are free to vacuum the house and build bird houses and whatever else people do during the afternoons. ;)

I am generally a perfect housewife and use Logan’s downtime to clean up, get lunch all set up and ready for when he wakes, do a few chores, and run some errands while hubby stays home and keeps his ear open for Logan to wake up again as he works.

…Ok, this is all lies. Logan goes to bed, I go to bed. The house is filthy and we have no food.

A couple hours later when Logan gets up again, I will follow the same routine as our mornings. Logan doesn’t seem to be bothered about the state of his diapers, so change him as you see fit. Usually nothing is as bad or as urgent as that first morning diaper and that first poopy diaper!

Again, I’ll have Logan follow me downstairs to the main level of the house. The TV can be turned on for background entertainment, and I’ll pass him a fresh bottle of juice before setting about making him lunch! He is usually ravenous and tries to get all up in my grill while I prepare, so I’ll pass him little bits of cheese etc. if I were, for example, trying to make him a sandwich.

After lunch he is free to play. Sometimes he’ll go off to his room, other times he wants to be where all the action is. Some days he has a favourite toy that can occupy him for hours. Other days he is restless, unfocused, and tired.

It’s not long before Logan is hungry again, and so dinner is next, usually after 7PM.

Again, you will find that he will magically be all up in your grill *just* when you start working on something. It’s never while you’re sitting quietly awaiting some pint-sized company.. Often he’ll go off to his room and so you’ll think it’s safe to start a cleaning project, or head to the computer.. only to have him crawl out of the woodwork and completely assault whatever it was you were about to get started on, until it’s damn near unrecognizable. That’s why I have learned to save most projects/hobbies/chores for when Logan is in bed. Usually I can do the dishes without him trying to involve himself/take over, but that’s about it.

Usually Logan and I will sit together quietly in front of the TV to watch one of his favourite shows while he eats/I feed him. He is usually quite mellow at this point. Then around 8PM I like to start getting him ready for bed. Sometimes Logan will even be the one to initiate this by getting up and saying “bye bye” while he starts making moves towards the stairs. This is definitely a good time to start his bedtime routine! Warm a bottle of milk and bring it with you upstairs. Unlock his bathroom door and let Logan have his milk in there while you run the bath. Never leave him alone in the bathroom – especially with the tub filling with water, as he might try to jump in! Also don’t let him catch a glimpse of his toothbrush or toothpaste, or that is allll he will focus on getting his little hands on!

Get the water nice and warm and sleepy-making-like. :) I like to run in an inch of pure hot before I begin cooling it down. Then strip that little monkey down and plop him in. :) Soap up his bath sponge and clean his stinky little body all over. You can use a face cloth to wet down his hair, and to help get all the soap bubbles off afterwards (Logan is not a fan of having jugs of water poured over him, which *would* be the faster way…. He acts like a drowned cat!)

After he is all washed, Logan enjoys playing with his toys in the tub for a bit, and also involving you in any way that he can. When bathtime is deemed over, pull him out and wrap him in the big towel. I usually try to get that diaper on first – the big ol’ size 6s for overnight! I sit on the floor and lie him in between my legs, resting his head on my feet. If he really protests lying down I will use this opportunity to whip out his trusty toothbrush. He loves brushing his teeth, specifically for the toothpaste he gets to eat, and that will entertain him long enough to keep him on his back while you dry him off, apply zinc to his bottom if necessary, and put on his diaper and pants. Generally for bed we just pop him into some comfortable day clothes (soft pants, long-sleeved shirt) and that’s it. (Socks seem to have been a winter thing, as he never keeps them on his feet anymore!)

The mere action of opening the bathroom door seems to distract Logan from the copious amounts of toothpaste he wants you to keep applying to his toothbrush, and he will clamber over you to get out. Just make sure he’s heading to his room and NOT for the stairs to go back down and play, haha! Scoop him up and into his crib, make sure his blinds are pulled to seal out that burning morning sunlight, that he has a stash of pacifiers under his pillow, and that his Scout puppy, glow worm, and blankies are all in the crib with him. Then it’s time to read him a couple of his favourite books again before bed. Then, if you yawn loudly, Logan knows what that means and will go to his green Scout puppy and press the foot to make it play bedtime music. This is a good time to turn out the bedroom light, turn on his little glowworm (even if the overlapping music clashes) and say goodnight. Blow him more loud kisses. :) Then close his door completely on the way out.

Sometimes it takes Logan an hour to fall asleep, but he will play very quietly until he does. It is best to leave him alone as he settles himself down.

Logan very rarely cries after he is put down to the point that he would need somebody to come in. If he is exceptionally upset though, I will try making him another half-bottle of milk to see if that helps settle him down. Usually the only reasons Logan is kept awake are due to hunger or having to poo. Yes, sometimes if there’s nothing Paul or I can do to settle him down, I’ll bring him back downstairs with me and let him play quietly for up to an hour. Usually during this time the movement helps him go to the bathroom, and once relieved and changed he is very ready to go to sleep!

In the wee hours of the night you may hear him wake up suddenly and let out a sad wail of a cry, too. Often he is back asleep within 30 seconds to 5 minutes again, though. Maybe he had a bad dream, or briefly lost his pacifier. Again, don’t go in unless it seems that he is truly distressed and not settling down on his own.

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