Teaching How to Count to 30 and Brushing Teeth at the Same Time

The Don has been brushing his teeth without my husbands or my help for almost a year now.  Although he can hold a brush to his teeth, he hasn’t properly learned how to brush his teeth.  I realize that at The Don’s age, their dexterity of holding their hands to brush their teeth won’t be as good as an adults, but at the age of almost four years old, he should be able to steadily hold the brush to brush his teeth properly.  However, this is not the case. 

When my husband first started to help show The Don’s how to brush his teeth, he make it in a game of brushing really fast and to try to make it fun for him.  My husband would brush with him and they would make it into a contest of who can brush their teeth the fastest.  Although that must of been fun, when I get him in the mornings to brush his teeth on the weekends, he wasn’t brushing right.  I tried to show him how to brush his teeth: front, right side, left side, inside right bottom, inside left bottom, inside right top, inside right bottom.  I found myself drill sergeant him and over him to brush his teeth right.  I thought to myself, “There’s got to be a better way!”  I was going crazy standing over him, making him brush his teeth and The Don wasn’t feeling it either. 

I noticed that The Don is in playful mood when brushing his teeth instead of focusing on the task of brushing his teeth.  So, I needed a way to help him focus and make it interested to brush his teeth.  COUNTING!  I know The Don likes to count.  The Don can count up to twenty but he starting to count to thirty.  I used this as an opportunity to help him brush his teeth and learn how to count thirty at the same time. 

I started to have him count up to thirty to help him focus to brush his teeth:  30 front teeth, 30 side right, 30 side left, 30 inside bottom right, 30 inside bottom left, 30 inside right upper, 30 inside left upper.  Come to think of it, adding all of this together equals more than the recommended two minutes time to brush your teeth.  BRILLIANT! Well, not brilliant I’m sure other parents figure this out but it’s brilliant for my standards.

I think The Don is getting the hang of brushing his teeth and he’s having fun too.

So, if your child is having trouble focusing on brushing their teeth, have them count to thirty each side.  If they don’t know how to count to thirty, brushing their teeth is a good place to start.


18 Month Regression and Nap Time. I’m not liking you right now!

Bam Bam is usually a good sleeper.  He is easy to put down and about ten minutes of unwinding in his crib, he’s fast asleep.  Lately however, his nap patterns started to change.  I notice this change when Bam Bam was sixteen months.  He started to take longer to go to sleep at nap time.  Sometimes twenty minutes.  Sometimes forty five minutes.  There was a time where it took Bam Bam an hour to go to sleep for his nap. The eighteen month regression is not I’m looking forward to.  Bam Bam is seventeen months by the way.  I guess when regression happens, the average age is eighteen months, very misleading.

I remember The Don’s eighteen month regression.  His naps slowly faded away as I tried to keep this rambunctious boy busy in the winter time. He wouldn’t nap for two days then he would nap.  Then he wouldn’t sleep for three days, then nap.  It would go on like this until he was two and then the naps would be sporadic. It seems like The Don’s eighteen month regression wasn’t regression at all…just a warning that his naps were about to end.  I hope it’s different with Bam Bam.

Bam Bam pushing mama

It’s been day two of trying to put Bam Bam down for a nap.  He’s resisting big time.  He would jump in the crib, he would make noises, and he would throw his books and toys out of his crib in protest.  But its ok buddy, you don’t have to go to sleep but you will learn what quiet time is very quickly.  Bam Bam would learn that for the next hour that he will learn to: look at a book, play with a learning toy, or just lie in the bed and be quiet.  He will learn how to use his imagination for that hour and that he will be ok by himself.

I hope that Bam Bam’s eighteen months is actually a regression and not a warning that he’s naps will end soon.  If so, it might not be too bad since Bam Bam’s regression is happening in the spring and I can find something for him to do while this pass…if this passes. Please let it pass. I got through this before; I will get through this again.  I will win this…maybe.

Guilt Hugs and Kisses

My husband isn’t big on hugs and kisses.  He’s not an affectionate type of person but when he really gives hugs and kisses; it’s the best thing that I ever felt because he really means it.  Thankfully, I’m not much of an affectionate person because I would probably starve emotionally if I needed hugs and kisses all the time.  But for some people, they need hugs and kisses to emotionally sustain a relationship otherwise; they will feel that the person doesn’t love them because of the lack of affection they give.  If they don’t get that affection, they will guilt trip the person into doing what they what them to do in order to get the affection they seek.

I have seen this happen with my mother in law and my husband.  My mother in law would guilt my husband into hugging her by saying, “Oh, you’ll wish you would have hug me when I’m gone, “ or if another man my husband’s age hugs her, she would causally mentions how her own son wouldn’t hug her to the stranger in a later conversation with my husband.  Or if my husband reluctantly hugs her, she’ll say, “I must have been a terrible mother for you not to hug me.”  Total guilt tripping. 

I mention to my husband that I didn’t like that she does that to him but he doesn’t really see it as a guilt trip and she doesn’t make him hug her it’s that “I want to be a better son to my mother.”  In my mind, he’s thinking that he’s not a better son because he doesn’t hug his mother every time they see each other.  When he said that, it broke my heart.  My husband is a great son to his mother and for him to even think that he’s not because he doesn’t hug her on cue is ridiculous.  He may not think that his mother guilty him into someone that he’s not, I see that her guilt tripping worked.  I vow not to emotionally guilt trip my children.

Bam Bam is very similar to my husband in that if he doesn’t want to hug or kiss mommy or dad, he doesn’t want to.  My husband and I don’t make him either.  I do it because I seen what guilt trip done to my husband with his mother and I don’t want that type of relationship with my son.  When he doesn’t want to kiss, I say, “Its ok. You don’t feel like kissing mama.  Maybe next time.”  Sometimes I don’t say anything at all because it’s his right if he wants to give me a hug or a kiss or not.  I don’t want Bam Bam to grow up thinking that every time he comes by or comes over for an event that he has to hug and kiss me to avoid a guilt trip from mama.  I rather my son not hug me at all than to force him to hug me and kiss and not mean it.

No Hugs or Kisses for you

I stress to both my sons that you have to set emotional boundaries with people including family.  Although they don’t really understand at their young ages but with respect that my husband and I give as far as not forcing them to do something that they are emotionally uncomfortable with should set the foundation with anyone they come in contact with that they have a say on who they want to hug, kiss, or touch them and it’s their right to say no if they don’t want it. 

No doesn’t mean that Bam Bam never wants to hug or kiss me, it usually means he doesn’t want it right now…just like my husband.  When we ask for hugs, it’s usually for us, to make us feel better, to feel loved but what happens when the person we want to hug doesn’t need you to make them feel better or loved?  Making them feel guilty doesn’t help us, it hurts us in the long run because while their hugs and kisses make us feel better, they’re secretly resenting us for guilt tripping them and making them feel worse. 

So when Bam Bam pushes me away or turns his head and shake his head no to a hug and kiss, I just remember that when he actually is ready, it would mean so much more because it will the be best hug and kiss a mother can get.  It’s worth the wait.

Bam Bam and Mama

Too Big For Little Swing

The Don is growing up so fast.  Ever since he was born he was always taller than the other boys in his age group.  People usually think that The Don is a year older than he is because of his height.  Even though he is taller and some what bigger that most of the kids his age, he’s still a three and a half year old at heart and no one can tell him otherwise until yesterday.

Let’s go back a couple of days before.  I knew The Don was getting too big for the small baby/toddler swings.  I have seen some three year olds that can still fit those swings but The Don refuse to believe that he can’t despite that he is very heavy to lift in the swing, he fits tightly in the swing and getting him out is a pain in the ass because his big feet gets caught in the legging.  On this day he was on the baby swing and it was time to get him out.  It was hard because of his long lanky body, I couldn’t effectively get him out of the swing.  He tends not to bend his knees and I’m pulling him out then it happened.  His heavy bottom press on the tilted swing and the swing spilt on that side.

Split Seat on Baby Swing

I didn’t think he could split the swing seat but he did.  Although the seat could have split because of wear and tear of the swing seat, it didn’t help that The Don is too heavy and tall to be in it.  The problem was convincing The Don that he was too big for the swing because Bam Bam can use the swing.  He was upset that he couldn’t swing on the small swings that he thought that maybe the other three swings that he could fit but I told him that they are the same and he couldn’t fit. 

The next day, The Don wasn’t convinced that he wasn’t too big for the swing so he wanted to try again.  I thought that the split swing seat could have been wear and tear so we tried again.  Although the seat didn’t split, the problem of lifting a thirty eight pounder and getting him in and out was a pain so I had to put my foot down and told him he can not get in those swings anymore.  I told him those swings are for babies and little kids and he’s a big kid now.  He was upset again.  I told him it’s a good thing that he’s too big for the swings because that mean he’s growing up and he can do things big kids do.  I also told him that there are things that you are too small for that Bam Bam can do and there thing that Bam Bam will be too big to do that you can do. I had to convince The Don swing Bam Bam and then showed him how to do the big kid swings.  The Don feet can’t touch the ground; I would push him and told him how to swing his legs so he can eventually swing himself.


Now when we go pass the little kid swings, The Don says, “Those swings are for babies.  I can’t swing on those swings because I’m a big kid.”  He’s starting to like the big kid swings and a sense of pride I’m starting to see when he realize that he’s growing up and embracing it.

The Don on Big Kid Swing