It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a day in the life post (you can see all my previous posts here), so I thought it was about time to write one. This time I decided to change it up and give you some general life updates. I share a lot of my day to day life on my Instagram Stories, so I feel like I’ve talked about a lot of these issues, but sometimes I forget not everyone follows me there! (But you should! Click here.)
So, I thought I’d fill the rest of you in on life lately in a couple areas and shares some takeaways:
The biggest change lately is that Squish has switched to a new preschool. You may recall that in the fall, he started going to a preschool 2 mornings a week. From the very beginning, we had some challenges and behavior issues, specifically with him hitting his peers and throwing toys. After a few months, we met with his teachers and they told us about a free Preschool Child Check offered by our school district. It was basically a free screening for kids ages 3-5 that provides information about a child’s current development in the areas of motor, language, concept, self-help and social-emotional development.
I took him to screening and to be honest, it didn’t go very well. I felt like a lot of the activities and stations were geared at more 4 and 5 year olds and it was hard for him to focus…but we did the best we could. Then, based on the results, they determine whether a child qualifies for additional screening. He did qualify, which meant we then had an in-home evaluation with a psychologist from the school district, as well as a one-on-one speech evaluation with a speech therapist at our house. They also sent someone to his school to observe him in the classroom.
After all of those evaluations, we then had a big meeting. It was determined that he did qualify for additional services, specifically in the area of speech articulation and social interaction. He does great when interacting with adults, and even older kids, but needs help learning how to interact with his peers.
Based on those results, and with the help of the team, we put together an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for him and made the decision to pull him from his current preschool and start him at the school district preschool.
It’s only been a couple of weeks but here are a few things I want to point out:
-At this school, he’s getting specific help for his speech issues from a speech therapist one day per week. They also have detailed plans in place to help him meet specific, measurable goals to help improve his behavior. As they get to know him, they’re tailoring things in the classroom to his needs – such as making a chart to help with reminders about gentle hands, creating a timeline so he can see upcoming transitions to different stations and learn the daily routine and schedule, etc.
-This school is 4 days a week (Tues-Fri) from 9:00-11:30. I was not ready to send him 4 days a week at this point, but they assured me that a lot of kids actually prefer it because it helps give them a better sense of routine. It’s only been a couple weeks and he’s definitely still adjusting to 4 days straight but I think it will be good for him. He’ll be off school in the summer and then start again in the fall going in the afternoons.
The Takeaway – Ignore the Labels
I guess technically where we are currently is that he has a diagnosis of “special needs”. I just want to encourage and remind all of you out there to ignore labels like that, especially as parents. It does not mean that there’s anything wrong with your child. It’s not weird or scary. ALL it means is that you’re taking extra steps to get them the extra help they need and deserve. As a parent, it’s your job to be their advocate and do what’s best for them. The earlier you start, the better the chances of it helping! So if you notice your child needs help in the area of speech, behavior, sensory issues, whatever it is….do your research! Find out what you can do to help them!
If you’re looking for a similar child check in your area, my suggestion would be to search something like “preschool child check + your school district”. We also have a program here in Ohio called Help Me Grow, which is what we used to get Squish evaluated for speech back at 18 months and are currently using again to get my daughter evaluated. I’ve heard it might be a national program, or at least in several states so check it out!
We have had some rough days behavior-wise with Squish lately.
This is our timeout chair. This is my three year old who today literally screamed himself to sleep in our timeout chair. It’s been a ROUGH few days over here in the parenting world, trying to navigate life with him at this age. Illness, skipped naps, changes to routine etc have all come to a head, leaving me feeling overwhelmed and questioning my parenting abilities many many times. So if you’re out there feeling the same way as a parent, know that you’re not alone. Keep your head up- you’re doing great. This is a tough age and there will be good days and bad days. Just remember that the bad days don’t make you any less of a good parent ❤
A few weeks ago he literally screamed himself to sleep in the timeout chair. It’s hard as a parent, especially when you’ve never had a toddler before (or even as you have), to navigate these waters and keep yourself from feeling like you’re totally failing every single day. Whether it’s changing routine, adjusting to no naps, general toddler defiance, pent-up energy from a long winter, etc…there’s no denying the fact that 3-year-olds are hard to parent.
This kid. Every day is a battle. At least once a week, I’m honestly not sure we’re going to make it to age 4. No matter how hard I try, I totally lose my cool with him and least once a day. The endless stream of “No. No. No.” and “Why? Why? Why?” can be overwhelming, frustrating and exhausting. So to all my fellow parents out there in the thick of the threenager stage, I SEE YOU. And I hope that you’re stashing away these fleeting sweet smiles and cuddles like I am…because some days it feels like that stash is the only thing getting me through until bedtime. Am I right?!
The Takeaway – Give Yourself A Break
Chances are, if you’re spending time worrying about whether or not you’re a good parent, then you ARE a good parent. There are going to be good days and bad days, but just keep doing the best you can. Spend time figuring out what works for your child and your family, whether it’s timeouts, loss of priveledges, redirection, behavior charts, etc. Parenting is a lot of trial and error and you may not get it right the first time, or even the second…but the important thing is you keep trying. Give yourself a little grace when you have a day (or two!) where you lack patience or lose your temper. It’s ok. Take a quick break (even if it’s just one minute hiding in the bathroom with the door shut) and reset yourself. And remember that many parents before you have survived the threenager stage and lived to tell the tale 🙂
Work From Home Mom Life
Most of you know that I work from home and also watch my kids full-time. It’s a balance I’ve struggled with ever since Squish was born and it’s not easy.
The blogging world is a tricky beast. Since the online space is constantly changing, there’s a lot of pressure on bloggers/influencers/entrepreneurs to stay on top of things and keep up. Even people like me, who have been doing this for a long time, can fall victim to the comparison trap and get overwhelmed with feeling like we constantly need to do more, create more, sell more, work more, go go go. Every once and a while I have to just take a step back and remind myself to just “do me”. Yes there are other bloggers out there doing more, working more, selling more…but maybe they’re younger, without young kids to take care of. Or maybe they have full-time childcare. Or you know what? Maybe they just want it more than I do right now. And that’s ok. I love what I do. But I also love being a mom. So here’s a reminder to myself, and those of you out there who might be in a similar position: it’s ok to take the pressure off yourself occasionally and enjoy a little more time with your kids. It’s ok to not kill yourself trying to work 100 hours week after week. It’s ok to just take a step back sometimes and enjoy where you are right now. So for me that’s raising tiny humans to be the best they can be, in a messy house, while continuing to share easy recipes and real life moments. And I’m super grateful to have all of you along for the ride! ❤
Here’s where I’m at right now: I’m cutting myself a little bit of a break. My kids are only going to be little once. I’m lucky enough to have the flexibility to spend a lot of time with them and I want to soak it up. If that means a few less blog posts, or going on a family walk instead of photographing a recipe, that’s OK!
The Takeaway – You do you.
Every blogger is different and every blogger’s life is different. I’m choosing to do what’s best for me at this stage of my life and you should too, no matter what anyone else is doing.
A Day In The Life
So there you go. Those are the big things going on lately. I also wanted to include a quick peek into our daily routine. Per usual, there’s no “normal” day, but we are trying to start settling into a routine on Squish’s school days from now until May.
Here’s how those days are shaping up:
7am – Wakeup. Squish is still using his OK to Wake clock and he always comes out of his room at 7am on the dot…so I’m not really sure when he wakes up..I’m just glad he stays in there until then. And Little Miss is a bit more unpredictable but she’s been sleeping well at night and usually wakes up between 7 & 7:30. So I get up at 7 with him and we head downstairs for breakfast.
7:30-8:30 – Breakfast is a long, drawn out ordeal for Squish…but when he finally finishes he usually either goes up to hang out with daddy while he gets ready, or watches a show downstairs while I finish up breakfast with Little Miss and usually try to cram some work in at the counter while she eats. During this hour we also change diapers, get everyone dressed, etc.
8:40 – Load the kids in the car and drop Squish off at school. It’s about a 12 minute drive from our house and they can get into their classroom at 8:55 (and not a minute sooner!).
9:15 – By the time I get home and get her and I back inside, I usually have about a 2 hour window to get things done. On a good day, she naps for about 30 minutes of that time. The rest of the time is split between entertaining her, running errands if we need to…because lord knows they’re easier with just one kid….and working. Sometimes that means writing blog posts, sometimes it’s cooking, sometimes it’s trying to cram making and photographing a recipe into 30 minutes with a one year old underfoot.
11:20 – Load her back into the car and go back to school to pick up Squish.
12:00 – Home for lunch. Hubby comes home for lunch so if he beats us home he usually helps start get their lunches ready.
12:30 – 1:30 – Variable. Most days Squish is ready to go down for a nap right after lunch. Some days we play for a while first. Some days he doesn’t nap. Little Miss usually isn’t ready to go down for a nap until 1:30 or so.
1:30 – If I’m lucky, I have 30-60 minutes when both of them are contained in their rooms. On the days Squish doesn’t nap I still make him go to his room for at least 30 minutes. This is usually when I prefer to cram in photo shoots if I can.
2:00 – 5:00 – Variable. Some days Squish naps from 1-3 or 2-4. Some days he naps from 12:30-2. Some days she naps from 1-2. Some days she doesn’t go down for a nap until he wakes up. Some days neither of them nap. In any event…these are the hours where I try to stay flexible and keep one or both of them entertained. We cook and bake, we do arts and crafts, we play games, we can not wait until it gets warm so we can go outside. We usually make dinner at some point during the afternoon as well.
5:00 – By 5pm we are all very ready for daddy to come home. We typically eat around 5:15/5:30 and then have some play time.
6:30 – Little Miss goes to bed. If she had a couple of short naps or only one nap she’s often in bed even earlier, around 6.
6:30 – 7:30 – Squish watches a couple of shows.
7:30 – Bedtime for Squish. Workout time for mommy and daddy.
8:30 – 10 – TV time, computer work etc.
10:00ish – reading and bed.
So there you have it! A little glimpse into our crazy life!