Toddlers: Training vs. Discipline

It seems as though parents talk about the toddler years with great exasperation. It is pegged as years of mere survival with a baby proofed house instead of a house you live in with a baby. Part of toddlerhood gets labeled as “the terrible twos.” But it doesn't have to be labeled so "terrible." Trying yes, but terrible? No.
We have been working on paying attention to training, before the need to discipline arises, and we have found that they are helping to solve many of our son's toddler behavior issues. No, it doesn't make things perfect by any stretch. If you know us, you would know this! But we are seeing fruit of the day in and day out time spent teaching, training, and guiding our little guy. 
So what is the difference between training and discipline? Training is teaching a child what they are supposed to do, how they are to act, etc. well before the situations present themselves. Most parents have good expectations for their children, but fail to properly train them in those expectations. They often come out tired and aggravated at the behavior and/or environment that surrounds their day.
Set out and make a list of the things you want to teach your toddler and ways you expect them to behave. Don’t underestimate their abilities.
Mekonen coloring in his Cars book while I made dinner. He always wants to be in whatever room I am. 
Some examples:
1. Mom wants her toddlers to come, right away, when they are called.
2. Mom wants her children to walk near her in the store and not run away, play in clothes racks, etc.
3. Mom wants her children to honor the boundaries of a room or specific area of play, being able to say, “You need to stay here, in this area, to play.”
4. Mom wants her toddler to be able to sit in her lap content and not squirming to get down in places such as a doctor’s waiting room, and anywhere you don’t want to chase them.
Don’t try to teach your toddler these things “in the moment” (like trying to get them to sit still on your lap while at the doctor’s office), and then employ a consequence right then when they don’t obey. Teach them before! They may not fully understand what you are asking them to do because they have not practiced it and don’t know your expectation.  This is where training comes into play.
Set up training times with your toddler, a little bit every day. Many training scenarios can be fun like playing “how to act in the store” or “staying close to Mommy.” Practice consistently until you know your toddler understands your command. The discipline comes when you trained and know they understand but they fail to obey. Then you employ a consequence and it must be each and every time. If you are not consistent with consequences, your toddler will gamble for the one time you don’t discipline and you will have very inconsistent obedience and a frazzled, tired mom and dad.
Daddy and Mekonen on our little "family date" to his favorite restaurant: McDonalds. 
Example: Play Boundaries
1. Point to the floor area (like a seam in the floor between two rooms and tell your child in a normal tone, “Don’t touch here (while pointing to the floor in the next room)." Walk away out of their designated play area. As soon as they cross the boundary line, take them back to the designated area and say in a normal tone. “No, no. You play here. Mommy said no touch (while pointing to the floor where they cannot go)." Keep doing this, until your child complies with your direction and stays in the room.
2. They might not even end up playing, but just standing there crying, because they are not able to do what they want. If they are crying, but staying in the area, count it a success. Cheer for them and their obedience. Work on this every day, increasing the amount of time you want them to play in a designated area. This is the training aspect. Once you know your toddler understands what you mean give a consequence every single time they don’t obey. So you train first, before you discipline.
3. You can also do this play-time with very young toddlers on a blanket. Train the same way but use the blanket as the boundary. Touch the floor around the blanket and say “No touch.” This works great when you can’t drag around a pack n’ play to contain them. Instead throw down a blanket and with proper training your toddler will play with great contentment while you cook dinner, meet with friends where it is not a kid friendly play place, etc. We did this with our son when he was about 10 months old. We had great success with it, although it took a lot of daily training/practice. But once he got it, and knew we would always outlast him, it was wonderful and we didn’t need to keep doing training sessions. He would sit and happily play with his toys on a blanket for up to an hour! We used it at wedding receptions, class reunions, baseball games on the grass, friends’ houses where we want to chat but don’t want to keep chasing after our crawling toddler, etc.
4. Mekonen is two years old now, and out of the blanket playing stage. From there, it was very easy to transition into play boundaries, like a room. We could place him in a room and touch the floor of the adjoining room we did not want him in and say “no touch.” He was used to this, knew what it meant, and played where he was asked to play.
So those are some things we are doing in the Oren household. If you have any ideas, please comment! I'd love to hear them! :) 


35 Weeks!

Hello 35 weeks!!! 

Last week brought on some new and obvious changes. On the dot, the day I was 34 weeks, I started having low, dull, aching pain in my lower abdomen and into my back. It was constant and lasted for about two hours straight. I had such a hard time sleeping that night because I was so uncomfortable. I woke up the next morning and the achy pain was gone, but a noticeable little sharp pains in my lower abdomen when I walk. Not all the time, but often. I also noticed the so called braxton hicks contractions when your belly all of a sudden tightens up. But I can't really feel it. So all those kinds of pains have been going on this past week.

At my appointment today, I got my 35 week ultrasound! It was so fun to see the baby looking like, well, a baby!! Haha. The last ultrasound we had was 18 weeks and it was kind of "alien" looking (but cute of course...hehe). Now it's that newborn baby look. :)
  • Baby is measuring right on for 35 weeks and doctor said baby is 5 lbs. 14 oz! Whoa! Looks like my hopes of delivering a 6 pound baby are gone with him/her gaining a 1/2 a pound a week! Jon was almost 11 lbs. and I was only 6 lbs. 1 oz.
  • Another fun tidbit: our babe has hair! I didn't know they could tell if they had hair or not from an ultrasound, but there it was! :)
  • Heart rate was 148 this time. 

Here's Baby O's little face with its mouth open. Hehe.

We tried getting the 3D picture of the face but as soon as she switched it, the hands and feet were both covering its face. Ugh! I was so excited to get that 3D picture. We were trying to get him/her to move, and juggling my belly a bit, but it didn't work. Then I started feeling really weird. I had my arms back behind my head so I put them down thinking that was it. But it wasn't getting any better. Then it hit me... I was either going to pass out or throw up. So I said, "I'm feeling really dizzy." She pulled the wand off my stomach and quickly turned me to the side and started pushing the baby down, and blew a fan on me. I guess the baby was laying on that big vein because I was on my back. Then I got an instant mega headache and was nauseous well into the appointment after with my doctor. So hence my sudden wanting to pass out, we couldn't keep trying to get a 3D picture of Baby O. Oh well. The real thing will be here soon enough!


The Many Names of Mekonen

From the time Mekonen could talk I couldn't wait until I heard him say his own name. I was very curious how he would attempt to pronounce it. So, we were greatly surprised when we said to Mekonen, "What's your name?" And seriously and sweetly he replied, "Bobby." Bobby? What? We don't know anyone named Bobby and Mekonen doesn't watch anything that has a person or character named Bobby.

At first we thought maybe he was saying "Baby" because Jon will often call him "Baby Mekonen" as did several of his cousins when he came home. But when he is actually referring to a baby it is very clearly BABY and sounds nothing like Bobby. At first, we just laughed and assumed it was his strange way of saying Mekonen (like how he says, Boppy for Grandpa, again, very different sounding than Bobby).

Like many people do with kids this age they ask them, "What is your name?" Even strangers in the store and waiters and waitresses in a restaurant will ask. Without fail, my son always replies with great confidence and enthusiasm, "Bobby!" Many of them look at me slightly confused and I politely say, "No, his name is Mekonen."

First, Mekonen started referring to himself in pictures. He would point to and say our names, "Mommy, Daddy" and then point to himself and yell, "Bobby!"

Second, Mekonen started referring to his things as "Monen's." "Yes!!!" we thought. He finally figured out his name is Mekonen (and it's the cutest to hear him say). He will refer to his things as, "Monen's shoes." "Monen's juice." "Monen's car." etc. But if you say, "What's your name?" He still replies, "Bobby."

Third, Mekonen stopped saying "Monen" and has replaced the M sound for a B. He now refers to himself as "Bonen."

Fourth, Mekonen started referring to himself in pictures as Bonen. Again we thought, "This is it! He finally got it." He will point and say, "Mommy! Daddy! Bonen!" Then someone says, "What's your name?" and again, "Bobby!!!"

Fifth, as of Tuesday, Mekonen has started adding the M sound to the beginning of Bonen. It is hilarious. He is starting to say "Muh-Bonen." Too funny.

But according to him? His name is still..... Bobby.


34 Weeks!

First, a little Happy Valentines Day from my sweet boy! (He made his own Valentines this year of course. hehe). 

And the countdown continues...
 34 weeks today!
The last week has been filled with many birth/labor books and lots of sweet and funny conversations between Jon and I. He has been so excited these past few weeks. I think it's really hit him recently that I am having a baby! I mean, yes, he knew that, but maybe it's because my stomach is becoming more and more noticeably large! He bought himself a book on pregnancy and delivery for dads, and nope, I didn't even ask him to do it. He's so cute. I'll go upstairs to get ready for bed and he's sitting up there, reading his book, and has a list of questions for me. I also can't say enough about how helpful Jon has been the last several weeks as I am exhausted beyond anything I've ever felt before, and some tasks are just getting harder to do. He has been making my life quite easy these days. What a good guy! 

As is normal, I am assuming, I am getting anxious/scared of delivery day (and yes, overly excited). This morning I was telling him this and he said, "I am getting so pumped! It's amazing. Can't wait to see this boy or girl. Don't worry. We will do this together." 

At my doctor appointment last week, she confirmed that the baby has definitely dropped. The words she used were, "locked into head down." That was a relief to hear because for awhile I was having such sharp pain in my lower stomach I thought it was the baby's feet. She said it would be very rare for the baby to turn around now considering its current position. Phew! I know anything can happen I'm sure, but glad to know he/she is in the right position at this point! 

I've been increasingly uncomfortable this past week. The majority of the times I sit down, I have a good amount of pain in my ribs. The most comfortable position is laying stretched out on my side, or my back (but not that way for long), or sitting with my back ridiculously arched (to take the pressure off my ribs). I thought once baby dropped I'd get some relief in that department. But my doctor said due to my size, that might not be the case. Oh my. 

Baby's heart rate was 147 (same exact as the last time) and I have officially gained 20 lbs this pregnancy as of that appointment. Yikes! :) 

We continue to hunt for the perfect boy name. Nothing yet. As soon as we have a boys name nailed down, I will really feel ready. :) 


Prince? or Princess?

Okay friends/readers/fellow bloggers.... time to vote on Baby Oren's sex!! Usually once someone has recognized that I am pregnant, or hasn’t seen me in awhile, they almost always say, “Do you know what you’re having?” When I respond with, “No, we’re waiting until delivery to find out,” I am almost guaranteed for what comes next. A whole host of questions in the realm of heart rate, cravings, how I’m carrying, etc., in hopes that they can predict what gender our baby is. So here is where Baby Oren stands among the gender myths! You decide! :)
  • If the baby’s heart rate is high= GIRL
  • If the baby’s heart rate is low= BOY

Baby O. has been all over the map! 115 was the very first heart rate at 6 weeks. After that we've had a range from high 130's to mid 160's! Hmm... looks like he/she is covering the entire boy/girl heart rate range. 

  • Preggo weight in the hips= GIRL
  • Preggo weight in the belly= BOY
I'm not exactly sure where my weight has gone. So I guess you can decide this one!

  • Less leg hair and less frequent shaving= GIRL
  • More leg hair and more frequent shaving= BOY
I would say my leg hair has definitely been growing more slowly. Don't need to shave as often!

  • Sweet cravings, fruit, and juice = GIRL
  • Salty cravings, meat, and dairy= BOY
This one is both I think. Non-pregnant, I'm not much of a sweets craver, except for wanting my one soda a day and maybe a piece of chocolate. But I almost always prefer "real food" over dessert, and in the beginning of the pregnancy (1st and most of 2nd trimester) that was the same. However, the last couple months, I have been obsessed with orange juice, pineapple, and juice. I could drink an entire jug of juice a day, easily. Jon came home after work once, held up the empty juice container (we had just opened) and said, "Thirsty today?" Haha. 

  • Bad morning sickness= GIRL
  • Slight morning sickness= BOY
Most people know where I've been on this one! I had pretty constant "nausea" feelings through 14 weeks (but not as bad as some people I know). It was worse at night. If I threw up it was at night, although that didn't happen too often during those first weeks. Then I hit 3rd trimester, on the dot, and the nighttimes were rough. Threw up more 3rd trimester than 1st!

  • If you carry high= GIRL
  • If you carry low= BOY
I've carried high most of the pregnancy (according to others I guess!) Although I officially dropped last week. 

  • If your baby is not super active in utero= GIRL
  • If your baby is hyper crazy in utero= BOY
Hmmm... I would say this is one active babe. But usually the non-stop action comes at night. He/she is relatively calm during the day. 

  • If you ate a diet rich in dairy, nuts, beans, soy, and green leafy stuff when you conceived= GIRL
  • If you ate a diet rich in red meat, potatoes, salty foods and fizzy drinks when you conceived= BOY
We are quite into the palio type of eating (no/very few carbs and grains, lots of veggies, fruit, nuts, and meat. This is how we were eating when I got pregnant. But of course, had to have my one fizzy drink a day!  I haven't been able to keep to it as much because my body was needing more carbs and grains once I got pregnant.
  • If your belly looks like a watermelon= GIRL
    If your belly looks like a basketball= BOY
Hmm... you be the judge. I don't know what it looks like!

And probably my favorite answer to the gender question came from Jon who said, “I heard this crazy myth from those people at the hospital with the black and white television. They said that if you see a wiener on the screen, it’s a boy. i can’t believe people are so fooled by these myths.”

So after reading, scroll back to the top of the post and vote! Winners will be announced on or around March 28, 2011!


Entering the Category- HUGE!

For real? Not kidding. I woke up this morning A LOT bigger. Just check out my 32 weeks picture below this one.

When I got up today and was going about my day, I kept thinking, "Man, my belly ligaments are killing me!" This has been the most physically uncomfortable day so far by way of my ribs and stomach. Then I looked in the mirror. Oh! That must be why. I've officially entered the category HUGE.

Here I was, just 5 days ago!


Maybe It Should Be A Girl

Mekonen is still battling whatever bug this is, but is doing much better. He is pretty much back to his fun loving self, although still pooping everywhere and not eating much! (I know, too much info! So sorry!)

So today, I tried to regain some of the normalcy of our day with playtime, books, and crafts, instead of kid tv shows.

In doing that, I'm thinking maybe Baby Oren should be a girl! Why you say? Well, I thought it would be great fun to make a Valentine's craft with Mekonen with red, pink, and white paper. He kept saying, "No! Airplane! Airplane Mommy!" So I had to redeem my son's boyness by making him an airplane to color. (Although he did like tearing the paper for the heart and loves putting glue on anything).

So instead of trying to make Mekonen have a love of crafts (which honestly, he does love to do. He just wants them to include cars, airplanes, and trains, not girly Valentine's day things), maybe we need a girl to do those! Haha.


Sickness! Leave Our House!!!

Wow. Our little family has taken quite the hit the last few weeks. First with me being really sick and Mekonen having a bad cold/cough. I thought we were just getting into the clear, until Mekonen started throwing up yesterday morning. He's never thrown up before. Poor little guy was so confused. He hasn't eaten since Tuesday and now has super bad diarrhea again. We are really, really praying we don't get a repeat hospital visit for dehydration like happened in the fall. I was up half the night worrying about him. We are hoping this is just a virus and not part of what we are trying to figure out about his fall sickness. Oh my.

Then, we got hit with a huge ice/snow storm here in Indy this week. Jon was braving the elements to get Mekonen Pedialyte (our current lifesaver) and fell on the inch thick ice on our steps and wacked the back of his head really good. So he's been dealing with a bad headache. Praise the Lord Jon hasn't caught any of our sicknesses and hoping it stays that way. It was so nice to have Daddy home for two days due to the weather though! But truth be told, I think I'm close to going out of my mind! I have been stuck inside since Sunday morning after church. Only one car is useable, which Jon has at work today. Our other car is iced over. I'm not even joking. It really is. (Meko is sick anyway, so I can't really venture out), plus Jon is concerned about me even walking outside. From what we hear, all the salt is out at the stores too. Yikes!

So to try and regain some sanity, I took a shower, put on make-up, and real clothes today (not pajama pants). But I'm still not feeling it. Whoa cabin fever. I have no motivation to do anything, but really need to muster up some motivation to get the house organized. I snuggled with Mekonen for 3 1/2 hours on the couch last night and will be snuggling again today! He gets a huge treat... watching Thomas the Tank Engine, equipped with his sippy of Pedialyte, a bowl of crackers, and a cheese stick in case he wants to eat. But he sweetly and politely says, "no" and shakes his little head. Poor baby.


Free Audiobook Today Only!

Hey fellow readers/bloggers/friends! An amazing book is free on audiobook download today only called "Adopted for Life" by Russell D. Moore. This is an excellent book and not just for people who have/are adopting. It's FREE so check it out! Stick on your iPod, computer, or whatever, and listen away. You won't be disappointed!

Here's the link! http://christianaudio.com/adopted-for-life-russell-moore

Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches