Another day, another toddler activity to try with Mila.
For the last week or so, I’ve seen so many Easter inspired activities. Since we’re going to be quarantined until Easter, I thought I’d tackle one activity a day. A lot of them used the little, plastic eggs that you can put things in. So I got a bag of them for a dollar at the dollar store and thought I’d give it a go.
Turns out, Mila loves the eggs as they come. She will just sit there and open and close all then over and over. We’ve played little games where I have her give me certain colors or we count them. I think an easy, independent activity to do would be a basic color sort.
Since it was so nice out yesterday, I figured we could do something with them out there. I grabbed painters tape, a tub from an organization bin, tongs and a spoon, and her basket of eggs. You’re supposed to make a crazy pattern for your toddler to maneuver around with the tongs, grab the egg, and put it in a basket or even color sort. I got the inspiration from this activity from The Ever Co’s Instagram page (@theeverco).
After I was done getting the tape on there, we went outside. Her and Max ran around for a while and played fetch. When they were over that, they ran to me, but I already had something for her to do.
At first, I just watched to see what she’d do. She stuck her hand in there and got it caught on the tape, which really surprised her. After I told her to use the tongs and put them in the basket, she was on a mission. She played independently for about forty-five minutes with it. When she realized she could put the eggs back in there, she would open them up and try to pick them up that way. To challenge her further, I’d definitely do different colored bowls for her to place the egg into. Maybe next time.
One thing I would have changed if I didn’t throw it together in five minutes… instead of painters tape, I would have used different sizes of yarn and ribbon. Sometimes the eggs or tongs got stuck on the sticky side. She worked around it, but it might have been nicer if that wasn’t in the way.
Hopefully if you get to try this activity, it works a nicely as it did for me. Today, Mila and I are going to try to make salt dough Easter eggs and paint them. Wish us luck!
Today was absolutely BEAUTIFUL outside. We had sunshine and warmish weather this morning and afternoon. Mila and I were outside for like three hours and I feel so refreshed. We try to get outside for a little bit every day, but it’s just different when it’s perfect out.
Since it was so nice outside and I needed to get some things done, I knew I had to get Mila doing an activity. We had brunch, the she free played in the yard while I started on my homework this week. It’s like she has this alarm in her head when I get my laptop out. As soon as I started typing, she ran over to me and sat in my lap. It happens and I can’t be mad at her cute face. I asked her to go rake the leaves back in the pile and I’d get a sentence or two done and she was yelling at me.
I was looking around at what I could distract her with and all I could see was her water table, which I would 100% recommend to anyone. The big thing with getting the water table is she would have water everywhere and it’s not that warm out.
But I know water works; especially with Mila.
I went inside my house and went to get a big tub from my storage container to put water in. Then, I filled it up like a quarter of the way and had her pick up all the balls in our yard. To make it fun, I put Dawn dish soap in there to make bubbles. She loves swishing water around to make them bigger so that was a hit. I also got different cups/containers, utensils, and her bath baby.
With all the parenting blogs and instagram accounts I follow, they all recommend using tongs to promote fine motor skills. I finally got Mila do use them and she was picking up all the balls. She played with just the tongs for like thirty minutes. When she was over that, I told her to give her baby a bath and to make sure all the balls were squeaky clean. She was occupied for about an hour, which gave me plenty of time to write my discussion board posts and replies. j
Water works! I think it’s so cool how interested toddlers, and kids in general, are so into playing with water. Mila will fill up a cup and empty it in the bath for such a long time. Anytime she’s grump, I’ll put her in the bath or put a towel under a tub so she can play inside when it isn’t nice out.
After playing and cleaning everything up, Mila was ready for her ‘nack’ (snack), watched Moana, and is still napping. I’d say it was a pretty successful morning and afternoon playing in the water.
Yeah, my ‘mom tip’ might be pretty weak, but being under lockdown can feel overwhelming for parents and that thirty minutes to an hour can truly make it or break it. Although we did it as an outdoor activity, don’t be afraid to bring it indoors. I’m feeling a lot less stressed today with some me time and checking items off my to do list today.
And I just love sharing how Mila’s growing with you all. If any activities help you as well, then it’s even better.
I hope you guys are keeping sane throughout this madness! As always, if you have any fun toddler activities, I’d love to hear and try them out!
One of Mila’s favorite things to do is paint… hence the paint still on her face.
She knows exactly where all the materials are and goes up to them and says, ‘I paint!’ We usually try to paint twice a week, but it can be a lot sometimes. She’s not super into coloring yet, but I’m going to keep pushing it.
Anyways, while looking for activities to do while we’re locked down, I actually got invited to a random Facebook group. It’s called 518 Rainbow Hunt – Spreading Rainbows Worldwide. If you look it up on Facebook, it’ll pop up and you can join the group.
It’s really cool actually. There’s a Google link that you can add your house or whatever to show that you are participating. You can also just post a picture too. I loved looking at everyone rainbows and really enjoy how someone created something so creative to spread hope during this time. Plus, I love rainbows. They mean so much to me and Mila will always be my rainbow personified.
Well, this morning, Mila asked if she could paint. I had already planned out to do this craft Monday night, so we jumped right into it. So, I low key feel like a weird person because I made one too, but Mila thought it was so cool that I painted with her. She hyped me up by clapping every time I painted another layer to the rainbow. Just as I did for her too.
They both turned out so good. I’m so proud of Mila and how well she did keeping the colors where they needed to be. This is one of my favorite little projects we’ve done. I had fun with it and Mila did too. She got it all over herself and face. Some age was doing that, I added clouds and a string to each so we could hang them up in the windows.
While Mila napped, which she did immediately after this, I went and hung them up. I am SO proud of how they turned out and that her painting skills are getting more consistent.
I love the symbol of rainbows and how they instill hope. Through this time of isolation, I think we all need a little hope and to know there’s an eventual end in this craziness. I also love that my rainbow made one for herself too. She has no idea how special she is and what she means to me. Here’s a closer look at Mila’s little rainbow. If you’re local and know where I live, you’re able to see it in the window.
Our next craft is going to be salt dough Easter eggs. I wanted to start a tradition with getting wooden eggs and have her decorate one every year, but I can’t go to Joann’s this year. So instead, we’re going to make a bunch of the salt dough ornaments and decorate them. I’ll make sure to share when I do that and the recipe I use too!
As always, if you have any recommendations of what Mila and I should do, let me know! I’ve been trying to look at some of The Mama Notes activities. It’s a really good blog with a ton of different things for toddlers to do. These rainbows are inspired by her posts earlier this month. There she talks about using other supplies on hand rather than just paint. Some used ribbon, paper, and other supplies that made beautiful rainbows. Mila just likes paint so, that’s what we went with. Also, if you decide to make a rainbow for the rainbow hunt, posts in the comments or in the community Facebook group. I love seeing all the rainbow pictures and knowing we’re not all alone through this.
A few weeks ago, Mila went to bed early and I finally had some time for quality self care… or so I thought.
I ran the hottest bath I could muster, poured myself a drink, and played non Disney music. It was so relaxing that I just shut my eyes and could have been there for all eternity.
Then, five minutes into the most relaxing moment I had in weeks, I hear Mila crying and yelling for me. Her little footsteps were running all over the house searching. I ended up yelling for her and she sounded to relieved to her my voice. She came in and immediately stripped her clothes off to jump in the bath with me.
While she was getting undressed, I put a face mask on and she must have not seen me do so. After getting all her clothes off, she looked up at me and it was like I had disappeared and the ‘beast’ had taken my place.
She kept saying ‘back beast!’ I don’t think she thought I was me until I said her name and let her know it was just me in the tub and I only had a face mask on.
Lets just say she didn’t get to close to me with the mask on and when I took it off, she was shocked. She wouldn’t touch the mask or anything. When it was off I told her to touch my face and see how soft it was. She said ‘niiiiice mama.’ Then pointed back at the mask and said, ‘bad beast.’
Yes, I’m totally aware that that particular mask is a tad bit creepy and although I did feel a little bad she was scared of me in it, I totally laughed at her.
So, last night, Mila and I were in the bath and I was feeling stressed. I got a mud mask to put on and was worried the same thing was going to happen. Thankfully, the complete opposite happened and now I think I made an even bigger girly girl out of her.
She definitely knows how to brighten my day, even when it feels like everything in the world is going to hell.
This week Mila began a brand new adventure: gymnastics.
This is the first class environment Mila has been in. More importantly, it gives her the opportunity to be around other kids her age; something that I worry about her missing. When I found out a local gym had a mommy and me class, I knew she had to join.
Honestly, I didn’t thinks he’d have a problem. Mila is SO active; she’s constantly running and jumping. She’s also fearless, which definitely helps for when you have to literally jump and flip your body all the way over… althoughI knew that wasn’t going to happen in a toddler class. The class setting is a little scary with a toddler though. I didn’t know if she would listen or straight up tell her teacher no. She’s already started following directions (at her own discretion) and if she knows what you’re saying, she’ll do it or at least make an attempt.
I wasn’t afraid for her at all. The ‘mommy’ part of the mommy and me class made me a little nervous. When I was young, I pretty much failed out of gymnastics class. I’m terrified to go upside down, whether that be on my own, on a rollercoaster, or really anywhere else. I didn’t expect to be doing anything out of the box, but the flashbacks of being kicked out of class from when I was younger haunted me (can I put a laughing emoji in here?). Mostly, I didn’t want to hold her back by being afraid of her doing something and she sense it. Who know there were so many thoughts before the class even started?
Anyways, the big day came. Mila was EXCITED that she got to wear her ‘cute,’ pink leotard. We got to the gym and there was a lot to take in from first impressions, the actual class, and after…
1. Mila’s going to be able to do that?
As soon as we walked in, a bunch of ‘older’ girls (upper elementary aged) were running around and flipping. Mila’s eyes lit up and she wanted to go ‘play’ with them. Instantly, I knew she wasn’t going to be afraid AND I might have a little trouble keeping her containted.
2. Please be nice. Please be nice.
Again, a big reason I wanted Mila to be in this class is to be with kids around her age. Since it’s just her and I, all the attention is on her which is great, but I feel like she needs the other type of interaction.
So before class when the kids were mingling, all I could think was for her to be nice to the little boy and girls she would be with for the next few weeks. The little boy in class and her were beside each other. It’s always a toss up with what’s going to happen, but then they gave each other a big hug. Such a sigh of relief.
3. IT’S GO TIME!
4. I have to keep her on this little square… for how long?
During the first part of the class, the kids have to stretch out and there they learn different stances and things. Well, they’re supposed to stay on this little letter square and wait for their turn or instruction. Mila was antsy and wanting to run, so it was a struggle to keep her occupied in this section. BUT we did it!
5. When did Mila get this strong?
So a lot of gymnastics is upper body strength, even in the toddler class. They had to do little pushups and learn how to push themselves up on a lot of things. I was shocked of how much strength she had. It didn’t seem to phase her… I think that’s a good thing.
6. Oops, sorry. Watch out. Mila doesn’t know how to wait for anyone.
Our class was instructed to run in a circle. Instead of jogging behind the little girl in front of us, Mila just took off and dragged me behind her. We passed the mom and girl duo as Mila kept yelling, ‘go, go, go!’
7. Jump, jump, jump.
8. I have to help her do what?
The majority of class was split in stations. I, who knows nothing about gymnastics, did my best to help Mila with all of them. We started practicing somersaults, how to jump off the spring, and getting on the bar. All I could think about was how unqualified I was to be helping her do this. I just kept thinking how I didn’t want her to get hurt with the somersault. We figured everything else out as we went along. Maybe not qualified as a professional, but as a mom I made it work.
9. Nostalgia at its finest.
Near the end, I felt most confident with one part: the parachute. We all spread apart and made it go up and down. Mila had fun thinking she was directing everyone with what to do. We then had to run under it to go to the other side… Mila didn’t make it through the first time, but got the hang of it the second time. She loved this part as much as I did!
10. Phew, that was a quick half hour!
After getting a stamp on her hand for doing such a good job, it was time to pack up and leave. It went so quick. I’m not sure who got a better work out… Mila or I? We had a blast and are so excited to go again next week!
Welcome back to another edition of Weird Things Mila Does! To be completely honest, I think all toddlers are a little weird. It would take me hours to list everything out of the ordinary Mila does… and who has time for that?
So, Mila loves dogs. She loves playing with Max and my parents’ dogs. We watch Pets, Benji, and Bolt constantly (with Beauty and the Beast and Coco too). If there’s a dog out while we walk or anywhere she can get to, she’ll dart for it. We also have an undisclosed amount of dog stuffed animals around the house too.
All of this, fairly normal. But Mila… well, she has to take it to the next level. Most days, Mila pretend she’s a dog. She’ll lay in Max’s crate and dog bed. She tries to steal his food and dog treats. When one of the cats are inside, she barks and chases them.
Honestly, it’s pretty comical. I was happy that she was using her imagination, but now she’s roped me into it.
She took off a chain from one of my purses so I can ‘walk’ her around the house…
At first I didn’t want to do it, but she insisted. Every morning she brings me her ‘leash’ to do our loop around the house. I swear if anyone looks in my windows they’d have to wonder what was going on.
I thought, as long as it makes her happy it’s okay!
The leash thing was weird, but then today, she stole Max’s collar. I’m unsure how she took it off of him, but it now is nestled around her neck and she refuses to take it off.
Notice the dog pajamas too…
I guess this is just life with Mila and all the weird things she does.
Without lots of pressure from me, Mila has finally decided to start using the potty!
After a few months of her yelling NO anytime I mentioned using the potty, she finally told me she needed to pee. Then ran to get her potty and went.
After she showed me that she went, we did a dance, high-five’d, and said yay about a thousand times! She’s so proud of herself, and I’m so proud of her! Hopefully she keeps it up and within a few weeks we’ll be done with diapers.
The last time we really tried potty training was last summer; she’d rip her diaper off and go. She had zero interest in sitting, but it did bring a lot of funny moments. Hopefully this go she’ll just keep her momentum, plus have a few laughs here and there too.
I’ll just be over here celebrating her potty journey (aka poop and pee) with her. Parenting is so weird.
One of my top priorities in raising Mila is to make sure she becomes a decent human.
I always tell her please and thank you so she can catch on and do the same. When she does something ‘wrong,’ I explain what could happen and tell her other ways to do something. If she spills something, I have her help me clean up. When she plays with Max or other kids, I encourage her to share. I do my best to try and model the behavior I want her to pick up.
Most days, I worry I’m not doing good enough. She only has me to look up to at home and I’m no where near perfect. I can lose my patience and need a minute to just sit with my thoughts. There are times I raise my voice, then go to her to give the biggest hug and tell her I’m sorry.
I’m a human and I know none of us are perfect, so I’m aiming to be decent and for her to grow up the same.
Mila is nearing TWO! Crazy, right? She’s full force in all things toddler and sometimes I wonder if anything I’m trying to teach her is sticking. Either way, I wanted to celebrate her and my love for her on Valentine’s Day. I got her all the chocolate, a book, flowers, and a HUGE unicorn. She was ecstatic and loved everything.
All she kept saying was OOOHHHH with the most amazing smile. When she realized I was going to let her eat a piece of chocolate before breakfast (gasp), she quickly asked me to unwrap one.
Instead of digging into it, she grabbed another piece.
You haven’t even ate the first piece, Mila. You don’t need two!
Then, as if she was confused why I said anything, she held out the piece of chocolate to me.
Two little words melted my heart. So, I unwrapped a piece for me and took a bite. After she saw me take a bite, she smiled and took a big one herself.
That was the moment I realized everything’s going to be okay. All my fears of not doing good enough for her or not being all she needs went away. She has no idea how much her words and actions affect me. And I don’t give myself enough credit for what mine do for her.
As much as I wanted to leave this on a heartwarming note… I had to show you Mila’s latest reaction to certain “smelly” things. She always knows how to make those around her laugh and smile.
This was my house after breakfast yesterday morning…
What’s easy to see is Mila licking an almost empty yogurt container, trying to get that last little bit out. Max is laying down on the tent that just looks like it was laying there. A dirty towel lays besides her table, crumbled from use, and the floor… is a mess.
The unseen is where the story behind this picture is way more thrilling. Before the crumbled towel was thrown on the floor, Mila had a full cup of chocolate milk. She refused to let me help her out so it all fell on the floor. While I was trying to clean it up, Mila decided Max was hungry for yogurt and decided to share. Max was napping in the tent, but is always down for getting a snack. When I came back from the laundry room, yogurt covered the floor, tent, Max, and was all through Mila’s hair. As I wiped up the floor, Max and Mila pushed the tent down and when she realized he ate the majority of the yogurt, she started scavenging.
That’s when I just sat down, took a picture, and decided to give up.
My house is never clean anymore. I’m constantly picking up after the two of them and after I think I have everything decent, there’s another mess. Mila gets dressed (with a bow) every morning, but decides she needs multiple outfit changes throughout the day. I cook food for her and I; mostly all of hers goes to him. When I try to work or do school things, I have my little shadow trying to help It feels like I can never get anything done.
But when I was sitting there watching this scene unfold, I realized I needed to give up.
Give up wishing I was the woman with the picture perfect house.
Give up wishing Mila and I always looked 100% presentable
Give up wishing I accomplished more in a day.
Give up unrealistic expectations I put on myself.
This motherhood things is HARD and we put so much on ourselves. Honestly, I’d rather have the memories of watching yogurt fly everywhere and my living room be filled with laughter, than a clean room with Mila being afraid to make a mess.
I don’t know when this season of life will end, but I know it’ll come too soon. Toddlerhood has been a gift for me. Yes, it’s challenging and has tested me, but all the joy it has brought is worth it all.
Mila ended up having to take a bath before noon and splashed ALL the water out of the tub, but she was smiling. I wouldn’t trade that smile or being her mom for the world.
Parenting after loss is full of ups and downs. There are a lot of days I think of the what if’s and wish to see Jensen and Mila playing together.
Lately, Mila’s been more explorative in how she plays. I showed her how to make a tent by putting a blanket over her little table and she thought it was the coolest thing ever. She’ll play under there for so long and evening puts her animals to bed under there. It’s the sweetest thing ever.
In the back of my mind, I’ve been thinking of Jensen’s teepee I got for him. It was supposed to go in the corner of his room for a little reading area. Since it never got to be put up, it’s been packed away in my basement. This morning, Mila was begging me to get under her little kiddie table and with her, the dog, and I, the table wasn’t cutting it. I decided to be strong and go in Jensen’s corner of the basement to get the teepee.
Honestly, it’s hard. It’s hard to see his stuff that’s never been used and is just there in boxes. Knowing that there’s a live that should have been lived in a corner in my house, truly breaks my heart. I don’t think I’ll ever have the right words to describe what it feels like. But I bet a lot of loss parents know the feeling I’m talking about.
Anyways, I got into his corner and knew right where I was looking. Mila and I brought it back upstairs and I sort of just went into mom mode. Her and I put together this huge 5 foot tall teepee in the middle of the living room. She was shocked to see it and as soon as it was up, she ran right in. Her smile was so big and it just warmed me up.
It turns out Mila, Max, a hundred stuffed animals, and me all fit in this big tent.
Any time Mila has used something of Jensen’s, I’ve never felt regret doing it. She wore some of his clothes, has his crib up, and used his car seat and stroller too. On the other hand, there hasn’t been anything super sentimental she’s used yet. We changed that today and I’m happy to have done it. I let her know this was Jensen’s tent too and he would’ve loved playing in it with her. She nodded and said Jensen’s name, then continued playing.
Jensen will always be her big brother and I’ll always be both of their moms. I don’t think being a loss mom will ever get easier, but I hope learning how to juggle both will. I don’t want Mila to ever think bringing Jensen’s name up or asking questions is a bad thing. Or I don’t want her to be afraid to look at and use his things makes me upset because it doesn’t. It’s just another part of this journey that I’ll figure out.
For now, I’m so proud of the little girl Mila is becoming. She has a brother who will always guide and protect her. Although he might not be here to physically play with her, I know Jensen’s spirit flows through our home. I’m just happy to be here through it all, learning to be the best mom I can.
Parenting after loss isn’t easy, but I’m thankful to be their mother.