Blowing Giant Bubbles – Week 5 of 52 Weeks of Experiences

Written by Elena @The Art of Making a Baby on. Posted in 52 Weeks of Experiences, BABY, Fun as a Toddler Mom, FUN TIMES, LIFE, Life as a Toddler, New Mom Experience, PHOTO, TODDLER

Seriously, guys, this is awesome! I love how this project makes me step out of the comfort of doing the same things every day and try out new things.

If you haven’t joined our 52 Weeks of Toddler/Preschooler Experiences and explored all the ways you can have fun together, check out this post and then this post.

WEEK 5 – Blowing Giant Bubbles

To see all our experiences, click here

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bubbles

This was a lot of fun for the kids!

We happened to have a giant bubble maker I bought on Zulily when Lexi was just a few months old, so I brought it to our pool playdate with E (8) and A (3) and their mom Inessa.

Lexi loves the pool so she went in right away, but then instantly everyone wanted to try the bubble maker  and boy, was it fun! After a good amount of time taking turns, making bubbles, running around popping them, they finally went to dip in the pool again. Then Lexi proceeded taking the activity and approaching it “creatively”, like she always does. Hands-on sensory style. She put her hands and feet into the soapy water and ran each time to wash the hands off. The other kids quickly followed until there was not a single drop of soapy solution left in the tray.

After that little “experience”, Inessa told me that she appreciated her kids being around  Lexi, because she exposes them to nontraditional ways of exploring play, otherwise they tend to be more rules-oriented. She keeps calling me the fun mom, which cracks me up each time. But that being said, I do think it’s crucial to give the kids full freedom in their play regardless of whether  it’s “the right way” to play or not. Some of the biggest fun is had by doing things backwards! There is no right way to play, anyways, only where  each kids’ imagination takes them.

So then we swam some more and Lexi happily passed out at home during nap and had a good 2.5 hour nap (with nursing breaks). One benefit of this whole “we are spending all our time running around outdoors” resolution is she sleeps slightly longer during naps from sheer exhaustion. lol

Some items from our activities and in the pictures:
Submarine Swimsuit
Learn to Swim Trainer
Giant Bubble Wand

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HERE IS OUR LIST (PRINTABLE VERSION OF BOTH LISTS)

  1. Backwards Day
    (Daniel Tiger episode tie in, Backwards Day book tie in)
  2. Ride a pony/horse
    (Berenstain bears book tie-in)
  3. Go to the airport and watch the planes land.
    (Curious George episode tie-in, Curious George book)
  4. Go to a music shop and explore the instruments
    (Daniel Tiger episode tie in)
  5. Go to a train museum SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  6. Jump in Puddles (Weather contingent) (Hello, Fiends book) SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  7. Feed ducks at the park (Curious George book)
  8. Dance in the rain (Weather contingent) (Olivia book )
  9. Plant something from seed and watch it grow OR plant a garden
    (Curious George episode tie in,  Little Critter bookCurious George book)
  10. Climb a tree
  11. Gather shells (Berenstain Bears book)
  12. Ride a trolley (Daniel Tiger themed)
  13. Go to the lake to look for tadpoles
    (Curious George episode tie-in, Curious George book tie in)
  14. Go on a scavenger hunt in the woods
    (Curious George episode tie in, another Curious George episode tie-in Berenstain bears: nature’s guide (this is a great book for a scavenger hunt and it rhymes)
  15. Fly a kite SEE OUR WEEK HERE
    (a great rhyming Berenstain bears book, Curious George episodeLittle Critter book)
  16. Roast marshmallows by the fire
    (OLIVIA tie in)
  17. Play in the snow (Location contingent)
  18. Go to an aquarium
    (Berenstain Bears bookLittle Critter book, Curious George book)
  19. Have a picnic – complete with basket and red checkered blanket. (Berenstain Bears book – another great funny rhyming book)
  20. Lay out and look at stars (Curious George episode tie-in)
  21. Go camping unplugged (phones turned off)
    (Daniel Tiger episode tie in, Curious George episode tie in, Little Critter book tie in, Curious George book tie-in,  OLIVIA book tie in other camping books)
  22. First movie theater movie (Curious George book)
  23. Go to a petting zoo!
  24. Listen to a thunderstorm (Weather contingent.)
    (Daniel Tiger Episode tie in, Little Critter book tie in)
  25. Have a Family Movie Night with snacks  SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  26. Run around the grass in a park, barefoot, as a family
  27. Pick fruit at a farm SEE OUR WEEK HERE
    (Daniel Tiger episode , Curious George book)
  28. Make Snow/Sand Angels
  29. Make pinecone and peanut butter bird feeders and hang them in the yard
    (Curious George tie-in)
  30. Draw with chalk on the driveway/sidewalk
  31. paddle a canoe down the river
    (Curious George episode tie-in)
  32. visit a tidepool  (Weather contingent)
  33. Egg Dying (Curious  George book)
  34. Go to see a boat show (at Christmas)
  35. Go on a sunset cruise on a boat
    (Curious George episode tie in)
  36. Make giant bubbles in the yard SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  37. go to a waterpark
  38. go to  Botanical gardens
  39. Go bowling
    (Curious George episode , Curious George book)
  40. Jump on the bed/couch/furniture together (5 Little Monkeys bookSEE OUR WEEK HERE
  41. Get long newsprint/butcher’s  paper and trace/color your hands, feet and bodies!
  42. Make cookies together
  43. Play Hide and Seek
  44. Build a fort out of blankets and pillows (The Fort that Jack Built book)  SEE OUR WEEK HERE
  45. Go to the Zoo
    (Curious George episode, Curious George book)
  46. Go on a family bike ride through the woods
  47. Make newspaper planes
  48. Get a few giant cardboard boxes play pretend with them!
  49. play tennis
  50. play miniature golf
    (Curious George book)
  51. Ride a roller coaster SEE OUR WEEK HERE
    (Curious George episode , Curious George book)
  52. Ride a train
    (Berenstain Bears book tie-in)

 

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Comments (33)

  • Pam

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    Omg, bubble day is my favorite of your experiences so far. Lexi looks so happy. Fun! Her bathing suit and prescription sunglasses= perfection. Such a cutie.

    Hate to harp on this, cause I think it’s been asked before, (maybe a few months earlier- like when lexi was 1) but are you concerned about Lexi not getting REM sleep, if she is waking up at least twice for nursing breaks during a 2.5 hour nap?

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Thanks. We had fun :)
      Re:sleep, No I’m not concerned. She wakes up when she transitions through sleep cycles. Like she has always done since day 1. Her development and energy level is above normal. She is doing what she needs which is comfort and security. Not sure why everyone is so concerned with whether she gets enough sleep.
      There are millions of wakeful and aware babies who bf through naps and night. It’s not a cause for concern.
      It’s important to remember that every baby is different. Her sleep cycles are about 60 minutes which means she wakes up after she completed her REM cycle. Each time. At night she can go 3-4 hours without waking up. The only time to be concerned about a child’s REM sleep is when they are woken up by external stimuli like noise or parents before they enter rem cycle.

      Reply

  • MrsFun

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    She’s not a baby, yes, babies nurse during the night and sometimes during nap but they are babies. She is a toddler, she should , for her health, be sleeping through the night and naps without waking to nurse. It’s not comfort at this point, it’s habit. And you as her mom need to help her break these habits so she as an adult can have healthy sleeping habits. Every kid is different but every kid should, for their health, be sleeping through the night at the age of 2.
    I have 4 kids, I was a co-sleeping, extended breastfeeder and by this age I had to break their habit of nursing in middle of night and during naps. As much for them as myself. I know it’s hard to let go of the “baby” but it’s no longer healthy to think of her as a baby, she’s two, potty trained, feeding herself, talking…she’s not a baby anymore. Heck she even makes big bubbles by herself, no baby could do that.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I am sorry for my directness, but that is absolute bullshit! Toddlers need breastfeeding as much as babies, and sometimes they need it even more, from both nutritional, emotional and developmental standpoint. You can make your own choices, that’s fine, but to tell another person that their child (whatever age) doesn’t need to nurse anymore is ignorant, at best.

      Pick up any developmental book that focuses on extended breastfeeding and you will find a million of studies that show how full term breastfeeding is just as crucial as nutrition or sleep. Her nursing at night doesn’t interfere with her sleep, because she gets what she needs. It only interferes with my sleep. I don’t think of Lexi as a baby, in fact I love how she is growing up and I welcome it, but I am also aware of all the benefits full terms breastfeeding brings and like hell, am I going to MAKE her give up the one thing she needs so much right now.

      I am sorry but this sentence “Every kid is different but every kid should, for their health, be sleeping through the night at the age of 2” riles me up!
      Adults don’t sleep through the night, they wake up to pee, get a drink of water. No kid should be dictated whether they get their nighttime needs fulfilled or not. And no kid should EVER be denied comfort, even if that slightly inconveniences their parents. Every child IS different and NO child should be told that at any point they should be doing one thing or another, especially when it comes to sleep.

      Lexi has always needed a lot of nighttime/sleep parenting, to take that away from her, would an absolutely cruel thing to do. I understand that it might be a hard thing to fathom when your own children gave up nursing without much of a struggle, but Lexi isn’t your child and for her nighttime nursing is essential.

      Also, If you actually took the time to read a few things on what makes for good sleeping habits in adults (backed up by studies, not just some dude’s opinion) and what doesn’t, then I doubt you’d be saying all this right now. I feel very strongly and passionately on the topic of breastfeeding and nighttime parenting, so let’s just agree to disagree. 😉

      Reply

      • Morgan Jenners

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        Hello, fellow AP/WIO/extended-breastfeeding mom here (Although I don’t like “labels”– I do some parenting very conservatively, and other parenting very liberally– but for the sake of introducing myself).
        I have to argue semantics here, for the sake of new moms reading this. Toddlers don’t “need breastfeeding as much or even more than babies.” We all know, babies need breastmilk (or formula) to survive. A toddler may enjoy breastfeeding, may want the closeness of mom, the comfort of the breast, the help going back to sleep, etc. but they don’t need it.

        I understand what you are saying, Elena, but I’m just trying to make it more clear to your readers. It is ok that your daughter has come to rely on the breast to put her back to sleep, to sooth her when she is sad/hurt/lonely. A commenter mentioned that maybe it is a habit now, using the breast to help her sleep. And that is ok to admit too.
        If you and your husband are ok with it, then that is what is good for your family.

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          Hey, Morgan! Welcome! :)

          I think what you’re forgetting is that for a toddler breastfeeding is still important nutritionally ( not essential for survival but helpful nonetheless), but even more so, emotionally. They have a need, a need for comfort, closeness to their caregiver, emotional support and breastfeeding fulfills that need in the best possible way ( that is if the toddler still bfing. If they weaned on their own, they obviously don’t have the need anymore or have found other ways that work for them).
          I really don’t think what she has is a habit. It feels very different from habits that she does have. Habits are much easier to break. This presents itself like an essential need. Every kid is different, so it’s not A NEED for everyone, but I know plenty of mamas out there who have said the same thing. When you attempt to take that away from them, it’s pure torture. You can see how betrayed they feel, how they are suffering.

          Oh as far as nursing to sleep being a habit, it’s her way of calming herself down to sleep. She is a very aware, energetic, engaged and active person. It’s extremely difficult for her to wind down. She never wants to stop. A bedtime routine only takes her so far, but to actually fall asleep she has always needed a lot more. A blanket won’t do. A pacifier won’t do. Calming music won’t do. Only nursing (sometimes in combination with rocking) will do. She will nurse before bed until she is tired enough to go to sleep, and then unlatch and roll away from me and go to sleep. That is a huge change from always falling asleep on breast. And one she accomplished herself without any pressure from me. When she was ready. So nursing is her tool to wind down and go to sleep. Which she does willingly.

          Reply

          • Cilla

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            Do you ever worry/wonder if Lexi will eventually be diagnosed with ADD/ADHD? My own Lexi, who is now 10, was very much like that and she was diagnosed with ADD. We tried meds at the beginning but she is not doing much better with just seeing a therapist.

            Reply

          • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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            Not for a second. It simply means that she is an energetic happy excited child. ADHD isn’t diagnosed until quite later in their lives and a toddler who is a always on the go is just being a normal toddler. Her brain hasn’t developed enough for self-control to kick in. It’s like saying a baby won’t ever walk because they are not walking at 15 months.
            Actually for a 2 year old she displayed quite a lot of patience when necessary.

            Neither of it means anything though. It’s not till later that stuff like that surfaces.

            Reply

          • Alex

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            Hi Elena, please excuse my directness, but some of the comments you need to put up with are absolute bullshit! I am an extended breastfeeding mummy and I just want to clarify to the readers out there that only YOU as mummy, know what is best for your child. If you want and can breastfeed for longer, GO FOR IT! you are blessed to be able to do this for your child, emotionally & nutritionally. There is plently of research out there that shows your breastmilk in the second year is packed full of antibodies as your body slows production down. Breastfeeding in the 2nd year and beyond is not just for comfort! Elena you are doing a wonderful job. To anyone reading this judgemental nonsense that Elena shouldnt be breastfeeding or that Lexi might have ADD. Absolute bullshit.

            Reply

    • Vee

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      I am 40 and still don’t STTN; I get up at least twice to pee. I can assure you I am in excellent health.

      Reply

  • Mel

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    I think I am more concerned if you get enough sleep!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I do just fine if evidenced by all the activities we do with Lexi and the fact that I manage to run a household, a blog, Daily Mom and have another job on the side. 😉

      Reply

  • Anya

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    I’m not sure why you get so defensive, Elena. You are putting your parenting methods out there, so you should expect to have some of your readers voice conflicting views. You don’t have to try and “disprove” anyone who offers a differing opinion – no one expects you to do that! No matter how many studies are read, in the end parenting comes down to one simple thing: one’s own personal preference. Honestly, in this day and age with the internet where it is at, you can find a “study” to support practically any side of an argument.

    I’m just saying that no matter your feelings on parenting, there will always be others who disagree. Neither side is necessarily correct all the time, as many of these things are just opinions, but as long as each side can stand by their decision, no harm done … Right? As long as kids are well loved, I think they will turn out fine in most cases.

    I read an article by the CBC on how the very most important thing to give a child as they are growing up is unwavering and unconditional parental love. It went on to say that children born in conflict zones or in areas of drought or famine, or even children who had suffered abuse or grew up in extreme poverty and couldn’t even afford shoes (much less huge numbers of toys) – all these kids equal chance of sound mental health and development as long as they had parents who loved them. Kids are resilient and can get over all sorts of hardship as long as their parents are there for them.

    In this age when parenting is becoming more and more of a competition, I like to remind myself that all my kid wants from me is love. Not necessarily new toys all the time, or all sorts of activities. Everything else is gravy. :)

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Anya, ha! That not me being defensive. I’m not justifying my parenting methods- I don’t need to. I’m arguing a general point I feel very strongly about and disagree with the poster on. If that’s being defensive than all the commenters who come here and try to push their parenting views are being defensive too. LOL
      I fully agree with you on the unconditional parenting with you. I’ve read it many many places and it is the kind of parent I’m doing my best to be. Which is why it gets me mad when someone says that a two year old should be sleeping through the night “for their health”. It’s a scientifically incorrect statement and the reason why so many women feel pressured into weaning their children early or sleep training them when they otherwise wouldn’t.
      Thousand of women with toddlers nursing through the night would love to argue wit that statement. 😉

      Reply

      • Anya

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        I think most moms can get defensive because parenting is very, very personal and taps into our strongest emotion – I can personally attest to that! Any question of our parenting method questions our character, as most moms I know would bend over backward to give their child the best upbringing possible.

        I do agree with you on the sleep front. :) My son nurses throughout the night and sometimes during his nap. No biggie – I actually don’t mind at all. Kids will sleep when they want to sleep, provided they don’t have any definable sleep issues.

        Lexi sounds happy and healthy and you are an insightful parent and don’t make choices lightly, so it’s all good. But it goes without saying that there are other insightful parents out there raising happy and healthy kids who make different choices. Raising a child is not a science, it is truly an art, so there are innumerable methods of going about it while still ending up with a well-raised child.

        I think we can all be too hard on each other, and wish moms would laugh collectively more often. Goodness knows that as a parent, there is lots to laugh about.

        Reply

        • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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          Again agreed with everything except that I don’t every feel defensive of my parenting choices, only of ignorant concepts that I know people are wrong about, like “every child should STTN at 2”. It’s fine if it’s “my child STTNs at 2”. I’d be happy for that. But do not tell me that everyone is that way or should be that way. It’s like someone saying every kid should walk by 11 months, just because Lexi did. :)

          Reply

          • Anya

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            Well, I guess in my mind, parenting ideology and parenting practice tend to be one and the same, as most people tend to practice what the preach as far as parenting goes. So in defending one, the other is inherently included in the defence. :) Especially when literal examples from true parenting experiences are used in the defence.

            Reply

  • MrsFun

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    Who said it wasn’t a struggle? Never said it was easy. And by the time we weaned, I was extremely happy about it. Also happy to have my bed back, as was my husband.
    And yes, children need to be told they should be doing one thing or other, like sleep. Ask my kids, bedtime, lights out, no electronic devices etc. Kids need structure and rules, read a parenting book, its in there.
    Just keep on doing what your doing, you are a great mom full of fun and expertise.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      Not when it comes to sleep or comfort. I completely disagree with it. But even you said it “you were happy to have your bed back” I’m more interested in lexis needs than getting my bed back.
      Structure and rules are fine, but not denying comfort.
      I mostly have an issue with anyone saying that a child should at any time STTN. It’s not up to anyone but the child to say.
      Everything else I don’t mind much at all.

      Reply

  • Mariana

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    Looks like Lexi had a fun time! I want to try one of those bubble makers now with my toddler!

    I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, but never comment due to pure laziness 😉 It always amazes me when people are so concerned about things that have NO effect on them. If you are fine waking up a few times at night to nurse and comfort Lexi, great! If others don’t want to do that, then great! To each their own! It is actually very normal for a toddler to still wake up a few times throughout the night and you shouldn’t stop being a parent just because it is nighttime. Lexi is clearly healthy, active, and very loved. You are doing a great job and never let anyone make you feel like you are doing something wrong by comforting your child.

    Reply

  • MrsFun

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    You’re right, we need to comfort our children. I agree with that. So like I said keep doing what you’re doing. When she’s 5 and in school and doesn’t want to sleep I hope you have another way to comfort her besides breastfeeding her through the night. My kids had their blankets that I would have them cuddle while we nursed and that helped them transition into self comfort roles, everyone needs to be able to comfort themselves as well.
    But what do I know, you’re the expert here. My 17 years of parenting was one mistake after the other.
    And now my crazy is showing here because Lexi is your child and you can breastfeed her until college for all I care, I just thought I was being helpful, opening your eyes to how important healthy sleeping habits really are. But you’ve read the books on sleep studies so you’re right, I’m wrong. I apologize.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not here, cuz it’s hard to tell over Internet…. Regardless though, once again there are a few misstatements (misunderstandings?) here:
      1. “When she’s 5 and in school and doesn’t want to sleep I hope you have another way to comfort her besides breastfeeding her through the night”
      You’re mixing the “want to sleep” and “the need for comfort”. We have no issues with wanting to sleep. She goes willingly to get ready for bed, even when we have to stop an exciting activity. Very little complaining happens here and if it does, it’s easily resolved. I don’t comfort her, because she doesn’t want to go to sleep, I comfort her because that’s what she needs to wind down. And to be completely honest, if she chooses to breastfeed till 5, then I guess I will be that TIME magazine lady, allowing her to do so. Though I am pretty sure it won’t get to it.
      2. “My kids had their blankets that I would have them cuddle while we nursed and that helped them transition into self comfort roles, everyone needs to be able to comfort themselves as well.”
      I would much rather my daughter seek comfort in people than inanimate objects. All “loveys” and pacis are doing is replacing their need for comfort, which ideally should be given to them by their caregiver. If that’s the choice the children themselves made, then that’s great. But if the comfort was denied to them and instead a blanket was given to seek comfort in, well then that’s just sad. I realize many women have to do what they have to do to reclaim their sleep and whatever, so there is never any judgement, because it’s their life. But once again, you cannot say that comforting yourself with a blanket is preferable comfort from a parent.

      I know you have your own opinion about this, but just keep following and watch Lexi get where she needs to be sleep-wise ON HER OWN, without any deprivation on my part. It’s a super slow road, because what kid wants to give up something they love, but it’s a sure road.

      Reply

      • Renee

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        “That Time magazine lady” is amazing and runs a wonderful blog that is about the least judgmental about parenting styles I have ever seen. Seriously, you should look her up. We could all learn a lot from her. The name of the blog is I Am Not the Babysitter.

        Reply

    • Yarrow

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      MRS FUN, as a mother who also nurses her toddler to sleep and during the night can I just say that telling someone that their child should be sleeping through the night at age two for their health is not only untrue, but it is also not helpful nor is it appreciated. If you actually research deeper than one of those sleep books by self-appointed sleep experts who are experts at telling tired moms what they want to hear, you will find what you have said to be untrue on many levels. All humans wake several times throughout the night. As adults we briefly ascertain our safety, maybe fluff our pillow a bit, and then quickly fall back to sleep, often without even remembering having been awake. Babies and toddlers do the same thing, but often they seek the breast as their way of determining that they are still safe. The problem arises when a baby has to wake fully and cry out to parents sleeping in another room down the hall. Historically and biologically, shared sleep is quite normal well into childhood, and is still practiced by many cultures. Historically and biologically, nursing until 3-7 years of age is quite normal and is still practiced today in many cultures. Nursing to sleep and during the night is not a bad habit, nor is it harmful. Actually, forced early independent sleep and sleep training are recent cultural practices with no basis in what is biologically best for babies and ignores 1000’s of years of collective parenting experience.

      Reply

      • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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        Stranger, I bow to you for this “Babies and toddlers do the same thing, but often they seek the breast as their way of determining that they are still safe.” (among other things) This almost makes me cry thinking about the bad nights when I’d get frustrated that she has woken up once again asking to nurse.

        Reply

  • Sarah

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    In reading comments on your blog, I always get the feeling that what people are most curious about is how you do child-led parenting and still set boundaries. I, for one, nursed for a year with both my girls – basically having to force my younger one to continue nursing past 9 months. It wasn’t for her! She’s now 4 and still occassionally get in bed with us. I have no desire to stop this as I know she needs comfort. So I get where you’re coming from there.

    But, in other situations, how do you let her always lead (obviously not in dangerous situations)? As for the bubbles, that would probably have been something I would have had to take away at a public pool if my girls decided to stomp in it and put their feet in the pool. I would have likely gotten a tantrum out of the younger one in the process. If we were at home, I would have let them go nuts with it. I’ve let them do tons of play using things not as intended.

    Another example, just the other day my older daughter wanted to go on a bike ride. My younger did not want to go. I was home alone. I had to wrestle my little one into clothes so we could go out (she was fine once outside). Clearly NOT child led parenting. To note, I tried reasoning with them both to see the other kids’ POV and offered other fun activities instead. How would you handle something like that and keep it child-led? Or, as an only child example, my older daughter loves bug hunting. She could sit somewhere for hours hunting. But sometimes we have to go elsewhere. How do you handle things when Lexi really wants to play somewhere but you happen to be meeting friends in an hour? It sounds like she isn’t much of a tantrum thrower so maybe this is a non-issue?

    I guess I’m not terribly familar with child-led parenting. Does she pick out all her own clothes? Tell you all the meals she wants to eat? Or do you give choices? It would probably make an interesting blog post.

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      That is a great question. And one that will take a lot more space than your huge comment (which I appreciate you taking the time to write).
      I actually have a blank draft with the name Child-led parenting. I really want to write a post, because there is so much misunderstanding surrounding this term (cuz it’s relatively new in the meanstream). So I am going to have to answer MOST of your questions there, if that’s ok.

      To give you a quick idea though…
      Child led parenting isn’t the same as permissive parenting. To an onlooker it will pretty much look like normal parenting with maybe less scolding, more soft talking, A LOT MORE patience ( the hardest part). And it’s not an exact science either. Like do this, don’t do this. it’s more about trusting your child, being respectful of their needs and wants, aware of their limitations and treating them as an individual, not a thing you own.
      Mostly the only difference is I pick and chose the battles that I fight. Like, there are non-negotiable things like washing hands after being outside, washing hands before meals, brushing teeth, etc – those necessary things that are done for her health or safety…
      A big thing is also knowing their limitations. Like I always try and get her involved into the clean up of her toys, however I understand that she is 2 and she will do her best if she can. If she is asking me to go play with another toy, I tell her that she needs to go put the first toy back and wait till she does ( usually reminding several times). Sometimes it doesn’t happen, because she is tired, or hungry or in a mood, and then I drop it because I understand that no on can be perfect all the time.
      If we need to go somewhere, and she is not co-operating, I try my best to get her ready and going. I talk to her, bargain with her, try to convince her, remind her where we are going and what she is going to be doing. In the end if I miss it, it’s not the end of the world, but most of the time I manage to get her into the car and make the appointment. There was a time where she would refuse to go and we would miss a lot: a bday party, her gym, library. But if that’s what she needed at the moment, it’s fine, because those are the things I am doing for her, and if she needs something else, then that’s what she gets.

      So I select what is really important is don’t sweat the other stuff. She wants to wear a Christmas dress to her class in july? I try to suggest something else, if she really insists, sure why not? What’s it to me?
      She wants to put each one of her fingers into a different color paint and then wash hands and do it all a million times. Sure why not? How does it hurt anyone? But she isn’t allowed to go into the house while she has wet paint on.

      So it’s stuff like that. I let her do things without limitation unless it’s something really important, and always considering her abilities as a 2 year old.
      I always talk to her gently, even if she’s freaking out over not being able to do it, repeating slowly and calmly and lovingly why she can’t do something and what she can do instead.

      It’s also called gentle parenting, so i think that’s a term that is better understood.
      You gotta have a BUTT LOAD of patience to do it, because they “test”you a million times a day. But also if you let go of “have tos” and “musts”, you realize how fewer struggles you have with your child over non-essential things.

      So the child led part primarily has to do with realizing what limits to set and which ones not to and also when it comes to self-regulation (when to sleep, how much to eat, when to go potty, etc). I offer her food throughout the day, she can eat as much or as little as she wants, the only condition is she eats what I make and offer (I try to give her a variety of foods to chose from). If she remembers about her ice pops (frozen fruit pop), and asks I give her one. But I don’t offer sweets otherwise.
      So there are plenty of no’s and limits, even with child led parenting. There have to be. I feel I have to MAKE her do things constantly, so I can’t imagine what a parent who has hang ups on doing things a certain way must go through.

      But the thing is she knows that the only times that I insist on something is when it’s non-negotiable and needs to be done, so she does it. It’s funny cuz I’ll say “Honey, I can see you’re getting tired -it’s time to sleep” and she will start whining but head upstairs to go to bed on her own. lol That always cracks me up. Or same things with washing hands.

      We do a lot of “first we do…, and then you can…”. She repeats that all the time. I try to stay away from “if you do, then”, but it’s not always possible. I prefer phrasing it the first way.

      So the thing is… I don’t know if it’s the result of this parenting that is full of trust and respect for her needs and her as an individual, or it’s her personality, but she is exceedingly sweet and kind and “compliant” (I hate that word, but I mean it in a “she will agree to do almost everything I ask her, even if it takes her some time and some talking” way). She is still a toddler, and whines when she is unhappy about something, or go lie down on the floor, and ask to breastfeed for comfort by saying “Need boobie. Upset!” but this has been surprisingly an amazing experience for me to see her grow into a person that she is.

      To answer your specific situation questions, can’t tell you on the sibling stuff, because that is one of the big reasons we don’t want a second child yet is because it will be incredibly difficult to do gentle, child led parenting with two children who have separate needs because someone always gets jipped lol And the first 5 years are crucial for their development, so we are in no rush. (not that it’s impossible, we just don’t care to complicate our lives like that right now)

      For the second question (How do you handle things when Lexi really wants to play somewhere but you happen to be meeting friends in an hour): it really depends on the situation. Has she been at the playground for a long time or did we just get there? Did she meet a new friend she wants to play with? Is she tired and hungry? Is the meeting super important or it’s just me having girls’ time?
      I put her needs first regardless. So of course I would attempt to get her to go, but if there is a good reason why she wants to stay and she won’t budge, then I would reschedule or invite friends to join me at the playground if they’d like.
      F.e.: if we just got to the playground, then it’s my fault for taking her somewhere right before my meeting and then expecting to rip her away from? There should be more foresight when it comes to that. That’s where the “knowing age limitations” comes in. Toddlers can’t switch very fast. if she has been playing at the playground for 15 minutes, I cannot expect her to be ok with leaving because we just got there and she is excited about playing. A better thing would have been not to even take her there. We don’t own them, so we can’t completely dictate every aspect of their lives. We have to give them some control of their day.

      “Does she pick out all her own clothes? Tell you all the meals she wants to eat? Or do you give choices?”
      1. she doesn’t care to, but when she does, she will be allowed to.
      2. I prepare wholesome foods and give them to you. She rarely requests a meal, but she does request snacks, like banana, avocado,pear,raisins, etc. If there is a choice, I usually say “Do you want water or almond milk?”
      3.It’s not smart to ask a toddler what they want. It’s best to give them options. They feel less overwhelmed that way. If no options given are good enough, then I usually ask her to tell me what she wants.

      Whew! So much for not wanting to write a big comment back. I guess I really like talking about gentle parenting. it’s not something that is widely discussed. I’ll have to write that post sooner or later. (not proofreading, so apologize for typos and misspellings)

      Reply

      • Sarah

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        Thanks for the very detailed response! In reading it over, it seems that child-led parenting isn’t too different than how I parent and most my friends, with some differences here and there. I think the biggest difference is that, as a work-out-of-the-house parent, I do not have the luxury to bargain and convince my children to leave the house when they don’t want to. I’ve always been a timely person and have laxed quite a bit with parenthood. But, still, when we need to leave the house, we need to leave. Same goes for sleep. We have to have a set bedtime or else they won’t get the amount of sleep they need before having to get up in the morning.

        Both my girls were “pleasers” at around 2. They joyfully helped in the kitchen, picked up toys, ran upstairs at bedtime, etc. Not to say they didn’t have fits. They did not have tiny little upsets like Lexi has. I remember a fit my oldest had at 2.5 over a t-shirt. I was in the process of buying it at her request. She didn’t like the cashier touching it and tried shoving the whole shirt in her mouth. Then she screamed ALOT. But, mostly, they didn’t really start to test their boundaries until closer to 3.

        Reply

  • Jan

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    Well on a shallow note, my favorite photo is the one of Lexi in between two of her friends, with her knees slightly bent concentrating like heck on making a huge bubble with her wand! Too cute!

    Reply

  • Kay

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    Don’t you worry about Lexi running around the poolside without waterwings – I know I would!

    Reply

    • Elena @The Art of Making a Baby

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      I used to when she was smaller. But she is so good now about following directions and listening to me that I somewhat trust her not to fall in. I am always watching her and near her, too.

      Reply

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