Monday, August 4, 2014

Berry Boy #3

Have you heard the joke about the progression of parenthood with each child?

It goes something like this...

First child eats dirt, parent calls doctor.

Second child eats dirt, parent cleans out child's mouth.

Third child eats dirt, parent wonders if she really needs to feed him lunch.

Well, there's a lot of truth to this.  My children are now 9, 6, and 3.  I have gotten less over-protective with each child--knowing the stages that are coming and understanding the importance of independence.  Let's take a look at my parenting progression specifically regarding potty training....

First, I will never forget moms of boys warning me that boys are difficult to potty train and not to expect it before their fourth  birthday.  Oh--well that was a challenge and I was going to take it head on.  Timmy was potty trained before his 3rd birthday even though his little brother was born when Tim was 35 months old (yup--no regression!).  I remember the doctor was even impressed.  SCORE!

When Josh turned 3, I was about to embark on my journey as a stay-at-home mom, so I just KNEW that he would be potty trained that summer.  Danny was born when Josh was 37 months old and if you've followed my blog, potty training Josh was beyond difficult.  I was convinced he would be in diapers in college.  He needed to be potty trained for school and he was good with peeing in the potty, but poop was a different story.  I would pray every day that he could hold it until he got home (if he had to poop).  Josh was finally FULLY potty trained by his 4th birthday.  Jen-1  Expert moms of boys-1

Well, here I am with my third and final child and it's HARD!  When you only have one child--or even two and they're fairly young, it's easy because you're AT HOME.  I'm busy running errands, playing with the boys, out and about--and it is HARD to potty train your child when you are anywhere but home!  Danny has a great babysitter and she started working with him at the end of the school year.  I've dabbled with potty training and especially the last couple of days have been working hard to get him where he should be!

Well....where SHOULD he be?!  Right where he is.  He's a stubborn boy--he knows how to use the potty.  One day, he was in the bathtub and he got out of the tub to poop on the potty.  Then, the next day, he sneaks outside and poops on the patio in our backyard.  He KNOWS what he's doing and he's CHOOSING to be difficult.

Am I worried?  No--I'm really not.  He's my youngest--my baby.  I'll keep working on it, but it boils down to the child doing it when he/she is ready.  He will get there when he's ready--and I'm sure that routine will help him!  If routine is what we're missing (sorry, but I'm not going to make my older kids suffer while I try to potty train my youngest), it looks like he will be fully potty trained after the school year.  I'm okay with that.

My last bit of advice--when expert moms give you advice, listen to them.  They aren't challenging you--they are just sharing their experiences with you.  And finally....I'm fine taking things as they come.  I'm in no hurry for my "baby" to grow up.  He's my last baby.  I want to enjoy all the stages--no matter how horrible or gross they may be!  <3

Wednesday, July 2, 2014


A couple of other interesting things happened yesterday that I forgot to share.  At the end of our dental appointment, the boys had to use the restroom.  One of the difficult things about having boys when they get to this age is the important question, "Do I take them in the restroom with me, or allow them to use the boys restroom."  Timmy is 9 and the answer is obvious--boys room.  Josh is 6 and because his older brother is using the boys room, he doesn't want to use the girls room.  He's also at that age where he understands gender difference and feels like he needs to be with the boys.  Danny is 3 and while the obvious choice is he should go with you really think he wanted to go with mommy?  HA!  So....I allowed ALL THREE boys into the boys room (we had to have a key so I felt comfortable knowing that my boys would be the only ones in there).  All three boys used the potty--Timmy helped Danny (he's an amazing, awesome, tremendous big brother) and I couldn't have been more proud.  We've graduated from having a major poopsplosion last year to using the big boy potty this year.  AND--a plus was that I got to use the bathroom ALONE!

Our final stop yesterday was to the animal shelter because Clyde had been missing about two weeks.  I called them and left a message, but hadn't gotten a response so I figured it would be best to drop in.  Sure enough, Clyde was there!  They told me that when a pet is lost, we need to go in every 3-5 days.  I explained that with three children, this is the best I can do.  That being said, ever since Kitten was lost and turned into the shelter, I've tried to keep the cats inside.  With three young children, that's nearly impossible to do.  We have lots of neighborhood friends that come in and play and our house is constantly buzzing with activity--kids going in and out and in and out.  There are LOTS of cats in our neighborhood that go outside even though the HOA stated that cats are not allowed outside (weird since they're animals and have every right to be outside).....and two of my cats have been turned into the animal shelter even though they're taken care of, fed, loved, etc.  Clyde and Kitten have both been chipped and I'll bring Bonnie in August to get a chip placed in hers so this won't happen again!

Whew--what a day.  Looking forward to seeing Grandmom today and hopefully hearing some good news.  Love to all of you!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes!!!

Those of you who have been following me for quite some time will easily remember last summers trip to the dentist and doctor.  For those of you who can't remember or have no clue, read "The Worst Day Ever."

Well, as if I didn't learn my lesson last year.....  Ha!  I really did, but alas, I had already made the boys their dental appointments and the doctors appointments HAD to be squeezed in.  When I called the pediatrician, they only had September available.  Yes--I called in MAY and they were making appointments for SEPTEMBER.  Luckily, the receptionist was extremely nice and she was able to squeeze in three separate appointments for the boys.  Timmy's appointment was today after all three boys had their dental appointments.

Last year, I made the same schedule (minus Danny since he was only 2).  Danny had a poopsposion at the Dentist office that was quite embarrassing (read above blog post) and the doctors were giving me a hard time saying that Danny should be seen by a Dentist (when all along with me and my two other children....3 was the recommended age).  I was irritated about that and then Danny's poopsplosion put me over the edge.

Well, today was COMPLETELY different.  First, Danny was very interested in what was going on--he got to watch Timmy and Josh both get their teeth cleaned.  Danny wanted to be just like his big brothers and he couldn't wait for his turn in the chair!  The hygenist said that Danny was the best patient of the day!!!
All three of the boys have nice, clean teeth and NO cavities (YES--DOCTORS.....YOU HEARD ME RIGHT.  DID DANNY NEED TO BE SEEN BEFORE HE WAS 3??   NO!).
After the dentist, we were off to the doctor for Timmy's 9 year old well child visit.  Tim is as healthy as a horse--falling in the 75th percentile for weight and height as he always has.  He also has 20/20 vision and his hearing is perfect (so next time he doesn't hear me when I ask him to clean his room, I know that he just wasn't paying attention!).
That brings me to the title of this blog post.....what a difference a year makes!  While I love babies and I would have a million of them if I could, it is SO MUCH EASIER with a 9, 6, and 3 year old.  I am getting excited thinking about Danny being fully potty trained and all the fun excursions we can go on.  It's like a load off my chest!  Last year, I was chasing Danny around the dentist office and this year, he was sitting watching his brothers get their teeth cleaned.  WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES!  I am going to relish in this wonderful moment!!!!
Look at my BIG boy!!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Potty training is Berry fun (NOT!) we "baby" is now 3 and it's time to get down and dirty with the potty training.  With Timmy, it was so easy.  We had him potty trained by his 3rd birthday--even with Josh being an infant.

Josh was more difficult.  My plan was to have him potty trained by 3 as well, but that wasn't what Josh had planned.  Danny arrived when Josh was 37 months old and Josh was NOT ready to use the potty.  This is about the time that I started this blog.  I was worried sick that he was going to be kicked out of preschool, but he wasn't and we managed to have him fully potty trained by the time he was about 3 1/2 years old.

So, Danny.....
We have a WONDERFUL child care provider.  She grew up with several brothers and has two grown daughters of her own.  She is loving and hardworking and she has started helping Danny use the bathroom.  Danny was doing really great at Miss Paula's and we've continued to work on it at home.

One day, Dan was taking a bath and I went to go fold clothes.  I heard him pushing in the bathroom and immediately thought he was pooping in the tub.  When I went in there, I saw him on the toilet going to the bathroom.  I couldn't believe it!!!!

This past weekend, Danny was in his pull up and he was starting to poop.  I grabbed him and said, "Let's poop on the potty!"  He said, "yes--poop on potty!"  This was very unusual because both Tim and Josh would have screamed "NO!"

So--we went to the bathroom and he proceeded to poop on the potty and he looked at me with anticipation.  I cheered and clapped and started singing "Yay!  Poopy Dance!  Yay!  Poopy Dance!"  While I did a silly little dance.  He was highly amused and proceeded to squeeze out yet another turd, so again....I had to do my silly poopy dance.  Well, he continued to squeeze out turds--I swear he was so amused by my poopy dance and song that he was savoring every moment--really making the poop last as long as possible so he could get his mom to look super silly as much as possible.

When that ended (about 30 minutes later)....we had an exhausted "poopy-danced-out" mommy and a very proud, happy little boy....who proceeded to run around the house asking me to pinch his butt.  :-)

Monday, January 13, 2014

Teaching College Level Music Theory's hard to get kids excited about Music Theory.  I have difficulty understanding this because theory was one of my all time favorite classes.  To have the ability to take a piece of music apart piece by piece....I just think it's incredible!

I was excited to see that TJ uses the Theory book we used at Elon (Benward's "Music in Theory and Practice" for those of you theory nerds).  I've seen quite a few theory books and I think this one is top notch.  It starts with basic notation, intervals, chords, and then cadences/non-harmonic tones.  For me, the class really starts to take shape when you get to cadences and non-harmonic tones.

So, after introducing different cadences and non-harmonic tones to my students, I walked them through an example.  It was most likely an excerpt from a Bach Chorale that we analyzed and had to name the non-harmonic tones and cadences.  I'm getting really excited because it is so cool that we are able to take Bach's music apart piece by piece by piece!  As I'm explaining this excitement, it's obvious that my students are not sharing in my special moment.

What do you do when your students are giving you the "deer in headlights" stare?  Well, I always try to make an analogy to help them understand how something could be so amazing.  I find that food works best and I usually go with the first thing that comes to mind (it's usually odd and catches the kids by surprise).  I decide to compare music theory to steak fajitas.  See....steak fajitas are amazing...they taste wonderful and they're oh so flavorful....but how cool is it when you open up that tortilla and you see what goes in to making that perfect flavor?  You have the tortilla, the steak, the guacamole (which is made up of avocado, onion, and lime juice), red bell pepper, and green bell pepper.  Perhaps steak is okay on its own, but add it with the tortilla, guac, red bell pepper, and green bell pepper and you have something very special.

After that analogy, they think I'm completely nuts.  It's okay, though.  I hope that one day they'll realize how cool music theory is.  It just might take them a little more time.  ;-)

The Only Thing Worse Than Puke...

As many of you know, we have always had difficulty with Danny when it comes to bed time.  No matter what, he always ends up in bed with us--usually around 1 a.m.  Well, since Scot has been gone, I've been really lenient with Dan's sleeping arrangement and I just allow him to sleep in my bed (whatever--don't judge).  Well, all has been going fine until this morning.  At 4:00 a.m., I hear a strange noise and wake up to find Danny throwing up all over himself and the bed.  I quickly sit him up and put a bowl in front of him and catch the remaining puke.  Phew.  Then, I throw him in the tub because he's covered in barf.  After he's clean, I sit him on the floor in a pull-up and a towel while I strip the bed and remake it.

What could be worse than having this surprise wake-up call?

...Looking over to see your cat licking up the remaining puke from the puke bowl.  My stomach has been turning ALL DAY with the image.

Again--I couldn't make up these stories if I tried.  What next adventure will the Berry Boys have?  Hopefully the next one is less gross....

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Working Mom's Lament

Once upon a time, I wanted to stay-at-home with the boys to have more quality time with them, allow them the opportunity to sleep past 5:30 a.m., and allow myself the opportunity to volunteer at their school.  These were things my mom did with me and I hoped to one day be able to do them with my children.  While I was able to stay at home with the boys for a year, I feel as though it was not enough.  Now that we are back in the swing of school/work, Tim and Josh are both in elementary school and some days I feel as though my head is going to explode.  I miss waking up with my boys and making them lunch.  I miss walking them to school.  I miss being put together.

The grass is always greener on the other side.  It ALWAYS is.  When I was home with the boys, I missed teaching and completely lost myself.  I've always been "Sassy Berry," the teacher.  Being a stay-at-home mom was a new role--one that I'm not sure I adapted to very well.  That being said, it's overwhelming being a working mom and while I KNOW that being a stay-at-home mom is NEVER easy, some days I just wish that I was home with my boys.

I feel like I'm letting my children down--like I'm not the best mom that I can be.  Why?  Because I come home from work and I'm exhausted.  It's all I can do to get them to do their homework and get dinner on the table.  Yesterday, I made myself take them to the park--they biked and I pushed Danny in the stroller.  I had cleaning and laundry I needed to do, but I knew it was more important to spend good, quality time with my boys.

I'm trying to let things go--like the cleanliness of the house, but it's hard.  I want to spend time with my boys, but I also have a house to run.  It is what it is.  I am thankful that I have a job with the shortage of music jobs/programs in the county and state....I am thankful to have three beautiful boys.  I must keep swimming.  You do what you have to do to keep the family going.  We need a house, food, clothes....and I must provide for my family.  The glass is half full...  Just keep swimming...  I think I can, I think I can.....