Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Potty Learning

Back in June of last year I started to potty train Wyler.  Even though he was only 20 months old he seemed to be in a sensitive period for it.  I read up on doing the 3 day potty training, asked others for some advice, got rewards bought, and a progress chart all set up.

Initially it was a success.  He loved getting m&m's for going on the toilet.  It was all a fun grand game.  But after a few weeks he decided the game just wasn't that cool.  It turned into a battle of wills between us.  I finally just put the potty chair away.

Fast forward to beginning of this year.  I discovered the Montessori Method, and their way of doing toilet learning.

Toilet learning is a process of slowly introducing your child to the routine of using the toilet in a way and at a pace that allows the toddler to feel in control of their own body.  Traditional toilet/potty training usually involves a time pressure put on the toddler.  It usually has an overall attitude that the toddler has to do it because the parent says it is time.

I got the potty chair out of the closet and set it up again (I didn't say a word to Wyler, I wanted him to discover it on his own and not feel pressured), and moved all the diaper changing supplies into the bathroom, so that all diaper changes would happen there.  This way Wyler and James would associate urinating and bowel movements with the bathroom.

With Wyler I started to do standing diaper changes, which got him more involved in the process.  (However standing poopy diaper changes didn't last long, it was/is too messy.) After each diaper change I would give him an opportunity to sit on the toilet, but never forced him to.

After a couple months Wyler started to ask for his shorties (aka training pants).  He would make it to the toilet every now and then, but not often.  After several weeks of his refusing to sit on the toilet, even though I knew he needed to go, I was bout ready to hide all the training pants so I wouldn't have to deal with the accidents.

A couple days later Wyler started to make it to the toilet 95% of the time when he needed to go potty.

A week later, on Mother's Day, he decided it was time to start pooping in the toilet!

For the most part Wyler will wear shorties while he is awake and at home, and diapers when it is nap-time or we are out of the house.  Soon I am going to do short trips out of the house with out diapers and see how it goes.

I feel like if I had listened to those who said to take it slow and easy, and if I knew of this toilet learning method, we would have had success the first go around.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014


I have been looking into the Montessori Method for my boys.  What is the Montessori Method?  Well, glad you asked ;-)
  1. The Montessori Method of education, developed by Dr. Maria Montessori, is a child-centered educational approach based on scientific observations of children from birth to adulthood.  It is a view of the child as one who is naturally eager for knowledge and capable of initiating learning in a supportive, thoughtfully prepared learning environment.  It is an approach that values the human spirit and the development of the whole child - physical, social, emotional, cognitive.(
I love how hands on the Montessori Method is.  I love that it doesn't cram little kids behind a desk for hours on end.  I love that it allows the child to move on at their own pace, and not at the teacher's pace.

What first attracted me to the Montessori Method is how independent children learn to be.  I have always liked the philosophy of not doing for the child what they can do for themselves.  It would make life for me easier in the long run, but most importantly I feel my boys would be much happier, and more confident if they are able to do things for themselves, instead of waiting for me to do whatever they need.

So I have been looking into doing Montessori at home, as there are no Montessori schools where I live.

I got rid of James's crib, since he never liked it anyway, and put the mattress on the floor.  He now can get in and out of bed as he pleases.  I've set the bathroom up to help the boys with potty learning.  I ditched their dresser, and put all their laundry in baskets in the closet.  Now when it is time to get dressed Wyler can help me pick what he wants to wear.

I am looking into getting shelves for their toys so they can see what there is to play with, with out emptying the toy box across the room.  And I am planning on using a couple of shelves to set out "work" for the boys to do, (matching games, tracing, dry pouring activities, etc.) so they can work on practical life skills.

I am dreaming of buying/making the beautiful Montessori materials, such as the Pink Tower, Brown Stairs, and the cylinders.

This journey into Montessori intimidates me, because it is going to be a lot of work and patience on my part.  But I am so excited about it, because I believe it will teach the boys so much.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Homesteading Anywhere

And another of the posts of things I've been learning about and wanting to share with you all (and so I can find a way to make the scribbled notes make sense for me to read later).

Back in February I mentioned I got to listen to a few neat interviews, covering different subjects.  One of the three interview I got to listen to was "How to Homestead Anywhere" by Jill Winger of The Prairie Homestead.  She also wrote the books "Your Custom Homestead" and "Natural Homestead".

How to start homesteading anywhere (whether you live in an apartment or on hundreds of acres)

Start out in your kitchen.  Make as much as you can from scratch, such as bread and yogurt.  Source locally whenever possible.

Have a garden.  If you have very little space do a container garden, grow some plants on a window sill.  Pinterest has great ideas for container gardening.  Dig up part of your lawn for a garden.  Go as big or as little as you want.  Can/preserve what you grow.

If you have the room in your yard raise chickens.  You don't have to have that many, a small family only needs 2-3 of them.

If you have enough land get a dairy animal.  Or find one you can buy part of (if I am remembering correctly she called it something like shares of the animal) basically someone else has the animal on their land but you "own" part of it, and you get half (or what ever amount you "own") of the milk and cream it produces.

Start now, even when you have very little land.  Start doing only one or two things at a time.  Then when you do have the opportunity to homestead, (full on homestead with lots of animals and huge garden and such), on a large piece of land you won't feel so overwhelmed because you already know how to do most everything.

The skills she feels are needed to successfully homestead are:
Carpentry and welding
Home butchery
Dairy and cheese making
Bee keeping
Sewing, knitting, fiber arts
Animal husbandry
Soap making, canning, etc.

Get to know your neighbors.  If they are seasoned homesteaders they will be able to help/teach you a lot.  You may have some skills that will help them.  Think back to the pioneer days when all the neighbors would get together to help each other, whether it was a house/barn raising or helping with the harvest.

This is one I am really excited about.  Zach and I have talked a lot over the past few years of wanting to homestead.  I've been working on making our bread from scratch, I've made some butter a few times now.  We have been making plans for a garden and chickens.  We hope to someday be on a huge plot of land where we can have lots of animals, a large garden, some fruit trees, and Zach is hoping to have a couple fields (at the very least he wants to grow the hay for the animals).

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Seeing through my child's eyes

The other day I decided a walk sounded really nice.  I stuck James in the stroller, had Wyler walk by me, and we headed out the door.  I directed Wyler to our mail box, but after that I let him pick the route.  Once we were along a road with a nice wide area to walk along side I let Wyler have a little more freedom.  He loved being able to just go and explore at his own pace.

He saw a butterfly just on the other side of the fence, so he had to stop and watch it for awhile.

Because James was stuck in the stroller Wyler made sure he always had something on his try to explore too.

Wyler insisted that that isn't an irrigation canal, it is a bath tub.
I loved seeing the world through his eyes.  Normally I would have walked past so many of the things that caught his eye.  I would have been more concerned with how far I could walk in an allotted amount of time, or something else like that.  I would have missed out on the butterfly, the "bathtub", tree.  I would not have stopped to smell the roses, literally, that were growing so beautifully at the edge of a yard we passed.  I need to go on more walks like this one.  We went down to where the train tracks cross 1st Ave.  Wyler loved being able to stand on them, and look down as far as he could.  He just about set off to walk along them, but I had to be the spoil sport.  Here was a railroad worker there working on the arms that block the road when a train comes.  When he saw how obsessed Wyler was with the tracks he tried to offer Wyler a cool hat, but Wyler didn't go for it (he isn't the biggest hat fan).  I am wishing now that I went ahead and took it anyway to give him when he's older.  He did not want to leave the tracks, so I had to balance him on the handlebar of the stroller and whisk him away home so James could take his nap.

That weekend Zach and one of his friends, Scott, did some work on my pantry/laundry room.  Wyler was thrilled that he got to be out there most of the day with them.

After they carried the door out the started to do some hammering right at the door frame.  Wyler jumped right in on the action with his little plastic hammer.

Staying up late to install the sink

There is still a lot of work to be done, but we have to take a break.  Zach has been hired to weld a large set of gates and rails.  Once they are done it's back to the pantry.

Grandma Darla found an awesome double stroller at a second hand store in Tuscon for us.  I love this thing!  I don't have a picture of the exact one she gave us, but I'll share the one from the Graco website so you can see how awesome it is. (go check out the video on that link to see all the awesome things it does!)  The back seat can be removed to reveal a bench seat.  Also there is a platform for a child to stand on, if they don't want to use the bench seat.  It is light weight, and maneuvers very well.  The sun visors and cup holders are removable, so it folds down fairly small (for a double stroller).

Ok, so this is a pic of it from the Walmart website, but I couldn't get he one from the Graco website to come up here...

I put together a couple of fun activities for Wyler to do today.  I am not going to go into too much detail here, as Diedre said she might put them up on her blog Playing to Learn, I'll let you know if/when it happens.  If either one, or both, don't get posted there I'll do another post here.  But I will give you some sneak peaks!

And last thing, nothing too important, but fun for me non the less... we recently bough a rosemary plant, and though it is still pretty small I am already benefiting from it.  My house was pretty rotten smelling (old mushrooms I threw away because they were stinking up my fridge, but then I didn't think how it would affect the rest of my kitchen).  I threw a couple sprigs fresh rosemary, a sliced lemon, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a dash of vanilla into a pot of water on the stove.  I have had it on low heat all day and my house smells heavenly!