Tag Archives: growing up

We’re Moms Too: Potty Training


It is so hard to believe that we are at the point in our lives where our baby is using the big boy potty.  This is one of those milestones I’ve worried about hitting.  I have a brother who is ten years younger than I am and he was nearly FOUR YEARS OLD before he was officially housebroken potty trained.  I remember my mom and dad having such a stressful time over this and I dreaded it.  Likely because of that experience, we never put much emphasis on using the potty.

We purchased a potty chair and a potty watch some time ago.  We introduced him to the potty and set it up in our living room (don’t judge) and we let him run around naked quite a bit (again, don’t judge).  We know that he is encouraged to sit on the potty at school twice a day.  Outside of this, we hadn’t tried to ask him if he had to go “pee pee” nor did we suggest that he sit on his potty at home.  With no fuss and muss about the potty, one can imagine the surprise we experienced when we found him tinkling in the potty on his very own back in November.

I had just arrived home from work.  Myles was running around the house with his bare butt hanging out.  I was giving my hubby a download of my day when all of the sudden we heard, “psssssst” and looked over at our son, sitting on the potty and peeing!  I literally jumped up and down like I was the next contestant on The Price is Right.  I was so excited and got weepy…over pee pee.  We gave high fives to Myles, high fives to each other, took pictures and gave him chocolate.  We made this a very big deal because it WAS a very big deal.

potty training

Those of you who have followed our journey know that many of our milestones haven’t been easy, so I feel I’ve earned the right to brag about my awesome boy who potty trained himself.  He is now working on pooing in the potty (which has been moved to the bathroom) and aside from the one accident he had on the floor (that hubby stepped in) that is going great as well.

The irony of what gets me excited now that I’m a Mom is not lost on me.  I just want to bottle up all of these amazing little moments and savor every last one in every way possible.

Tena and her best friend (and hubby) had their first child in July, 2011. Their little guy has a congenital heart defect and he is one tough little cookie; don’t ever think about calling him sick though – “his plumbing is just different.” Tena is an animal loving vegetarian and is excited to teach her son about compassion and the importance of volunteer work. She secretly hopes her son will be left handed like his momma. She is the Online Marketing Director for Step2.

We’re Grandmas Too: Times Change – And So Should We


by Maria Isabella

There comes a time when mother and daughter—or mother and daughter-in-law—will form an exciting new relationship. And that time begins at the precise moment a new grandchild is born. Suddenly, the “mom” becomes the “grandma”…and the “daughter” becomes the “mom.” Do you see where I’m going with this?

Truth of the matter is, roles change—and with that comes a whole new set of rules.

For me, it began when my middle daughter started having her babies (note: she now has three beautiful little creatures). It suddenly dawned on me that she had developed her very own way of doing things. For instance, she insisted the baby did not need an extra blanket. The baby could certainly go outdoors without a hat. And the baby had to sleep on its back. NO EXCEPTIONS.


We're Grandmas Too

My first grandchild…sleeping on his back

But back in my day (can you just hear me saying that?!), the baby always was kept extra warm. The baby always wore some type of head covering outside. And the baby always, always, always slept on its stomach. NO EXCEPTIONS.


My first child…sleeping on her tummy

I have to admit, though, today things are quite different indeed for new moms. First off, strict rules are pretty much out the window (i.e., let the baby “tell” you what it needs.) Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care (my generation’s beloved, trusty, go-to manual on parenting written by a world-renowned pediatrician) has been replaced by books with such titles as Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and Bringing Up Bébé. And everything, everything!, it seems, has to be organic—from baby’s sheets to baby’s shampoo. Sheesh.

My point is, times change. Accepted parenting practices change. And we “old folks” need to change with them. (Didn’t our own moms have different ways of raising us?) We shouldn’t be stubborn or confrontational. We shouldn’t take it personally as an affront to our own choices. And although we don’t have to necessarily think we’re suddenly hip, we do need to respect the new mom’s way of doing things.

The truth is, her way isn’t wrong. It just may be a little different than ours. But in the end, it’s all done with the greatest of all loves: a mother’s love. And how can you argue with that?

Nina and me

 Author and her first child on the day she was born in February 1979

 This post was written by Maria Isabella. Maria is a mother, grandmother, published author, and award-winning writer with over 30 years’ experience in the advertising, marketing, and publishing industries.

Empathy Revealed

A mom shares the emotional growth of her six year old

I’ve never really found the words empathetic or emotive as words that describe my six year old son Alex. Caring, kind, funny, charismatic and observant are all great descriptors of my curly-haired boy. Empathetic and emotionally expressive, well, maybe not so much.

Alex has always been very practical and logical. When he was born, he wouldn’t cry and this was concerning to the physicians as they needed him to cry to clear his lungs. He eventually did (on his own timeline). However, it was almost as if he waited because he didn’t see the point of crying when he wasn’t upset.

A couple of years ago, I asked Alex to snuggle with me as we watched television. Knowing that he would be reluctant, I told him I was cold and he could keep me warm. He considered my request, scooted down next to me on the couch, snuggled for a few minutes and then promptly stated “you’re warm enough now” and returned to his former spot.

He has never been the type of child to be overly affectionate or empathetic. For example, if I’m ill, he’s likely to say, “Mom, you should go to the doctor” and this response will only be triggered after I complain of a cough, sore throat, cold, etc. It’s not that his responses are inappropriate. They just aren’t overly empathetic. Having been around young nieces who were very expressive, I think I have a tendency to expect this from Alex. I’ve kept my fingers crossed that he would grow into his inner empath. And, I think he finally is (again, on his own timeline).

Recently, Alex and his friend were playing with their toys guns. As they prepared to go outside, I overheard his friend say, “I don’t want to take my gun outside.” I heard Alex reply, “that’s ok, I’ll cover you.” I found his response quite funny at first and then I realized that he was looking after his friend through their imaginative play.

About a month ago, we had to put our German Shepherd, Ember, down. The news of her illness was a surprise and it was less than two weeks from the time that I learned something was wrong until her final ultrasound showed that she had a very aggressive form of cancer; the kindest thing to do was put her down. I wasn’t sure how Alex would take the news.

As I explained that Em was sick and wouldn’t get better, he listened attentively. Knowing that she would likely be put down that day, I told Alex that she probably would not be home when he came home from school. I explained that she was going to die soon and I was going to take her to the vet. I suggested that he say goodbye to her and tell her what a good dog she had been. He didn’t respond and just watched me. I asked him if he understood and he said “yes” and then motioned with his hand to wave me out of the room so that he could be alone with the dog.

I’ll never know what he said to her in their moments alone. If he patted her on the head, gave her a hug or just looked at her. But, he clearly wanted a mom-free moment with her and knowing this, I didn’t ask him about the time they shared.

That afternoon when I picked Alex up from school I told him that Em was gone and that we could talk about it if he wanted. I told him that I was sad and that we would miss her. Alex was quiet and, knowing that he probably wouldn’t share his feelings, I told him that if he wanted to look at her pictures later, he could. A few hours later, he asked me to see her photos.

A couple of weeks passed without him initiating any conversation about her. One day he brought home a paper where he had to complete a thought. The sentence started with, “I wish.” Alex finished the thought by adding, “that I had a dog.” While saddened, it warmed my heart to know that he did think of her and that he had expressed that thought in writing according to his own timeline.

About Tiffany

Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet. Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.

Juice Box Buddies

A mother’s surprise at the maturity of first grade boys

“I want to learn how to shoot a gun.” Alex calmly told me as I looked through his backpack to determine how much homework he had and to sort through the miscellaneous forms and fundraising requests.

“What?” I asked. The statement had caught me off guard. I was ill prepared to discuss shooting with my six year old. “You want to do what?”

“And, I want to shoot a bow and arrow. I want you to sign me up for Cub Scouts.”

“Umm . . .I don’t think they teach you how to shoot a gun,” I laughed. “They do!” Alex said enthusiastically and pulled a flyer out of the stack of papers I was reviewing.

I scanned the flyer and sure enough, there were several pictures showing children his age in various states of revelry. The top picture showed a child carefully aiming a BB gun. Another showed a child balancing a bow and arrow. Still another showed a child preparing to race at the Pinewood Derby.

“See?” Alex said. “I want you to sign me up!”

A few days later, we attended the information meeting. As it turned out, many of the boys in Alex’s first grade class were also eager to join Cub Scouts. As I chatted with the other moms, I was amused to find that the other boys had also said they wanted to “shoot a gun” and “shoot a bow and arrow.”

As we waited outdoors for the meeting to begin, the boys ran around, jumped, shouted, climbed, pushed, pulled, tugged, fell down and laughed. Each time a new boy arrived, the kids noisily welcomed him into the fold by yelling “Jack is here!! Yeah!!” or “Look it’s Logan!” They would run over to the new arrival and offer a hug or just group around him.

The more boys that arrived, the more rambunctious the group became. Once one boy was corrected and directed to stop doing something (like jumping from the steps), we other parents felt obligated to say the same thing to our boys. We quickly grew weary of interrupting our “grown up talk” to say “stop climbing,” and “stop running” and “no, you don’t need another drink of water!” and “no, you can’t have any gum!” At some point, we seemed to agree that it was simply too tiring to stop the party boy behavior and just started to ignore it. Quite frankly, we were also outnumbered.

As the meeting began, the boys barged into the room full of energy. High spirited, they eagerly took seats in the front of the room. They moved chairs, bounced around, poked, prodded, laughed and ignored us parents. I cringed at the pure chaos of the situation as I took a seat with the rest of the parents (as far away from the juice box buddies) as we could get away with.

I know we were all thinking the same thing. Were the kids old enough to handle scouts? How could they possibly be trusted with a BB gun and bow and arrow? Just then, the Scout Master entered the room. The boys recognized the uniform and immediately settled down. They sat in their chairs attentively and did not speak. They listened as he spoke with them and told them about Cub Scouts and told them about all they would learn. After a few minutes, he dismissed the boys to go work on a craft while the parents listened to the rest of the presentation. The boys left the room quietly barely looking back at us parents.

We watched in wonder and amazement at how mature the boys had behaved. Maybe, I thought, we didn’t need to worry quite so much. Maybe the juice box buddies would be just fine.

About Tiffany

Tiffany is the mother of a curly haired six year old boy who wants to be Batman when he grows up! When she is not engaged in an intense light saber battle, watching Transformers (cartoons and movies), asking her child not to jump from the top step or being told, “you’re playing action figures the wrong way, mom” she contemplates how wonderful it would be if her child were a twin or triplet. Tiffany is the Human Resources Manager for Step2.