16.2.15

3 to a room adventures continue...

It seems like just yesterday we were wondering how we would fit three kids, age 3 and under in the same room. After some secondhand furniture hunting, we found a great solution: the trundle bed! We were able to find a twin bed with a trundle underneath, and two mattresses with mattress covers for $150 on Craigslist. We painted the bed white and have been so happy with the solution. Chloe took over the Jenny Lind crib and the kids had the trundle and all was well.


But Chloe is getting heavy (almost 30 lbs!) and is probably our most rambunctious baby to date, which has us wondering how long a crib will be safe for her. Trust me, I would keep that wild girl in the crib for another two years if I could - I know how much of a handful she'll be unconstrained at bedtime! But I imagine by summertime, we'll be saying goodbye to our faithful crib and looking for another way to sleep our three littles.


We are completely sold on the wonders of the trundle bed, so I think we'll keep it and instead of having it under a twin bed, we'll get bunk beds and have it under that. Trundles are great for sleeping two kids when one or both are too young for bunk beds. Lily was only three when we had Chloe so we didn't think the top bunk would work for her, but now I know she'll love it and it will be safe enough for her. And no more crib actually means we'll have MORE room for the kids. Freaking. Out.

We already have the trundle, but we will need to sell our current twin bed and crib and buy bunk beds and a third twin mattress. I'm hoping the cost of bunk beds and a third mattress will be around even after selling the crib and current bed, but imagining that we'll have to spend some money. I'm hoping to keep bed costs low because I have my eye on some pricier (but incredibly utilitarian and helpful!) bedding. Because making a trundle bed, a top bunk, and a bed that's against a wall? All very hard, even for an adult. Have you heard of Beddy's? Swoon. One of my favourite blogs recently mentioned the all-in-one bedding solution and I have been looking into them ever since.

My "decor for the littles" board on pinterest has long been filled with Scandinavian black and white kid's rooms and I think that's the direction I'd go in. I can't decide if we'd want a white bunk bed or a natural wood one that we could stain any shade of wood. I'd get the light grey Beddy's for Oli's bunk and the girl's who would be on the top and trundle, would get white ruffle. In a perfect world, the extra space would be filled with a tee pee, and I might look into making one since they can be pretty costly if you buy them!

I can't believe we're about to have MORE space in our kid's shared room. This whole room sharing thing has been wonderful, and not nearly as difficult as we had thought it would be. Plus when it's all your kids have ever known, everyone's happy!


*sources for all pictures available on pinterest

15.2.15

cultivating love in our kid's hearts

Happy Valentines Day weekend everyone! Easier to say since this post wasn't written on time :) I always have so many thoughts swirling in my head and ideas I'd love to write about, but alas, TIME. And ENERGY. And all the excuses. Anyway, Love.


I don't think there are any parents out there who don't want their children to love each other. To claim their sibling as their favourite and for them to continue in lifelong friendship. Beyond that I would imagine we all want that in broader relationships too. For our children to love their family, their neighbours, to act in love towards society at large. But how do we cultivate it? What can we do to encourage it? I don't have the answer. I have ideas, but no proof of them working, since my kids are still ages 4 and under. And all kids are different, so what we try on one may not work for another, or in another family, or another context. I'd love to hear your experiences and ways you're helping your littles love others (especially siblings) , so please feel free to mention them in the comments below or on instagram. For us, here are a few things we've tried and are doing:

Assuming and teaching love.
I remember the first time Brad told me he loved me. We were adults (just barely!) and it was something to proclaim once it was felt. A milestone in our relationship. Sibling love isn't that way. We have told the kids that they love each other from the first ultrasound of a sibling in utero. It's all they've been taught and they assume it. When we're disciplining one of them for hitting a sibling, for example, part of the speech given involves some sort of reminder that, "you love your brother/sister".

Siblings before friends.
This is easy when the kids are younger. Especially in a Montreal winter. We aren't prioritizing play dates and park visits because it's WAY TOO COLD, but also I like one of the results: the kids play together, almost exclusively. They are each others number one play mate, and for the most part, have learned to play well together.

But I'd like to keep this going as the kids grow. I don't think we ever had friends over on weekends or in the summers until I was in grade 3. We had cousins and the kids of our parent's friends around but mostly, my sister and I played together. Now I see parents frantically trying to coordinate play dates for their kids in kindergarten, grade 1, etc. and worrying if their children don't have lots of school friends to play with outside of school. I think I'd feel that way if I had only one child, but with siblings, I actually try to limit our social calendar so the kids time with each other.

Likewise, when we were growing up my parents never let us invite friends along to family trips or dinners out, even though many of our friend's families did that. I'm glad they did this. We were forced to get along and enjoy each others company AND WE DID. My sister and I were together very often growing up and I think that contributed to our close relationship now.

Sharing... everything.
In a perfect world, I don't think I'd have chosen a medium/small bedroom for my three children. I always imagined a boy room and a girl room, but really, the norm is every child gets their own room. I'm so grateful that circumstances forced us to have our kids all together though! They share everything as a result and I think it brings them together. We don't have a lot of space for toys so they share all of their toys except their lovies which are just theirs. We have a lot of gender neutral things to facilitate this. When something is too small for Lily or Oli they say "one day I'll share it with Chloe!" (though mostly it's Lily's clothes that get passed down there are some things like outerwear and pjs that Oli has handed down to her).

I'd love my kid's to always share a room for as long as possible. I've always hoped for 2 boys and 2 girls so each child could have a roommate well into adulthood. If they go off to university, they'll likely have a roommate in residence, and hopefully one day they'll share their room with a husband/wife, so I don't really see why as children our society is so set on letting them have their own rooms. I think room sharing is great for conflict resolution, community, and even accountability as the kids grow.

Giving opportunities for them to bless each other.
For birthdays and Christmas I know a lot of families who make sure the children, no matter how old, give gifts to one another. I love this idea! We did it for Valentines day this year. A couple weeks ago I took Oli to Dollarama and gave him $5. His job was to look for gifts for each sister to show them he loves them. He was so intense as he was looking for the perfect gift! He wanted to get Lily "a tiny clock" (???) but when we couldn't find one, he chose hair clips. And baby markers and a colouring book for Chloe. He was so excited to be buying something for them that only he chose and paid for (he handed the cashier the money). Or if Lily and I are out for a bagel, I'll ask her if there's anyone we should buy one for too and let her think of Oli and Chloe and then go buy them a bagel too. It's silly little things but I think they are learning to think more of each other and want to bless them.


What do you do in your family? 
What did your parents do with you? 
How have you seen love cultivated in the hearts of babes?

28.1.15

positive parenting tip

Our kids are our little disciples, aren't they? Except they're so young and inexperienced in the world that we basically teach them e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Not just sanctification or helping them through an area of growth. ALL THE THINGS. The tough thing I'm finding with really young kids is that a lot of that requires frustratingly redundant repetition. Saying the same thing every day for months and months and eventually it yields fruit. We hope!


Well with really young kids it's often a lot of "don't do that!" and "no no no!" as they're about to smack their sibling or touch something hot or run towards an open staircase. It can all feel really negative and discouraging. A few years ago I observed a friend of mine with a baby the same age as Lily (who at the time was under 2 years old) correcting her daughter in a neat way. Instead of saying "don't touch" or "no" every time her daughter grabbed something she wasn't allowed to have (which of course is every twenty seconds give or take), she'd say "not for babies" as she took the object away.

Not for babies. 

I like it. Simple, direct, corrective. But not NO.

26.1.15

commercials make me cry.

Like, a lot of commercials. I'm well aware that I'm being manipulated but those ad men are just too good. This is one reason I love Netflix... not being sold anything (at least not as directly as in a commercial) is a huge plus. We don't have any other means of watching TV except the commercial-free glorious Netflix account, so I miss a lot of commercials. My parents recently told me about a NyQuil commercial about how Moms don't get to call in sick. It was my life a couple weeks back when we all had a terrible flu, and both my mom and dad on separate occasions mentioned this hilariously true commercial. Anyway, I haven't still haven't seen it but I appreciate the idea behind it, because hello, we can't. But anyway, commercials.

Have you seen the Similac one? I just saw it via Facebook and I can't stop welling up when I think about it, now 48 hours later. It hits a nerve because it is deeply true and many of us mamas have been deeply wounded in these Mommy Wars. Watch. Cry. Enjoy.


23.1.15

mélange

It's been a while since I've done a mélange of posts that have recently inspired me, so here we go!