Yesterday I woke up with a headache that began to turn into a migraine while I showered. My migraines are few and far between. They are also quite manageable as long as I can take some Tylenol and lay down for a half hour. Unfortunately, a half hour of rest when Babykins is awake isn’t doable these days.
My husband promised to relieve me once he was done teaching the women’s Bible study, so I hunkered down for a couple of hours of toddler-minding. I let Babykins clamber over the couch and armchair for awhile, read her The Very Busy Spider 10 times, and gave her a snack. I thought I was feeling better and tried to start laundry, but the migraine resurfaced.
Admitting defeat, I tossed some toys on the floor for Babykins and laid down next to her. Of course, this wasn’t particularly helpful either because next thing I knew, one of our cats was trying to snuggle on me for warmth. Babykins thought this was a game a proceeded to pat my head again and again, giggling.
Next time I’m turning on the T.V.
Never fear, my husband returned soon after this and I got to rest. Fully recovered, Babykins and I spent the rest of the day doing Pinterest-worthy crafts, enriching activities that will make her into a genius, and cooking a feast. Just kidding. We went to the library where she licked the toys and then she cried when I tried to take her outside to play.
I’ve recently written a post for the Lutheran women’s blog “Sister, Daughter, Mother, Wife” about being just a wife and mother. Feel free to check it out. Or, at the very least, see what others have written for the site–they have some wiser women than me writing for them. 🙂
Babykins has recently become interested in looking at photographs. One of her favorite pastimes is pulling picture frames off our low bookshelves so she can inspect the photographs. She also loves looking at the Shutterfly photobook that sits on the end table in our living room.
Since I can’t let Babykins look at the photobook by herself since she has a tendency to rip paper, I wanted to make a toddler-friendly book that she could look at whenever she wanted. I decided to make a simple one myself since Shutterfly doesn’t have a board book option for its photobooks.
How to Make a Toddler-Friendly Photobook
1. Choose your photos. I decided to order 4×6 prints off of Shutterfly (yes, I really like Shutterfly. No, I am not getting paid to write this post. 😉 ). I order prints of Babykins’s grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and our cats. I had some leftover family photos from Christmas last year, so that print is for “Mommy” and “Daddy”.
2. Laminate your photos. You want your photos to be sturdy so they don’t get crushes in toddler hands. I have a personal laminator that I used, but you can also check with print shops to see if they laminate.
3. Punch a hole (or two) in your photos and attach together. I personally used a ribbon because that’s what I had on hand, but a snap ring would probably work better.
Viola! The end result is a sturdy little booklet of pictures that your toddler can carry around without destroying (or if they do manage to destroy it, you didn’t spend much money on the book).
Thus far Babykins isn’t as impressed by her photobook as I was hoping. But I suppose that one of the the laws of child rearing: The more excited you are to give them something, the less they care about it.
Now that Babykins is 1, we are past the sweet spot on Sundays. Our time in the pew is becoming more like a combination of a wrestling match and a rodeo. I’m pretty sure it’s because Babykins has her own rules for church. If she could talk, I think she would list them as must something like this:
1. Flail around as much as possible if Mommy tries to “wear” me. Well-meaning friends have told her that babywearing will save her sanity in church. She may think that she can keep me contained by popping me into a ring sling. Ha! I will not be contained unless there is something extremely interesting to observe! Instead, I will arch my back, flail my arms, and yell until she lets me free.
2. Try to find the most interesting place in the sanctuary to explore. To be clear, the most interesting place is anywhere that Mommy is not.
3. Talk at inopportune times. The sermon and the Prayer of the Church are the best times to practice my new vocabulary as loud as I can. How else will people know that I am there? Plus, the sanctuary has the most wonderful echos.
4. When given a clear shot of the aisle, make a break for it. I’m not really sure if I want to see Daddy in his funny outfit or if I’m just referring to rule #2, but that aisle has a siren song for me. So far I have not succeed making it down the aisle, but some day Mommy will be too slow. Just you wait.
5. Smile at all the members as they leave so they never suspect me of mischief. Nobody can think ill of a cute baby grinning at them. Even if they do think I was a bit loud during the service, my adorableness will quickly erase any supposed wrongdoings.
With these rules, I help Mommy appreciate any future moments of peace she gets in the pew. With Daddy always working Sunday mornings, I’m making sure Mommy really savors those Sundays she has help (except for the fact that I will eventually start hollering if anyone besides Mommy tries to hold me).
If I wrote a more helpful blog, now would be the time I would include why it’s important to keep children in church and tips to help. But I don’t, so now all you have are these *beautiful* pictures. At any rate, I feel that I don’t have enough experience to write about either topic, so I’ll let other people explain. Here’s a useful post on helping children in church (*Disclaimer* I don’t find that sitting up front helps at this point, but I’ve known several families that do find their children behave better in the front pews). And here’s some encouragement for keeping children in church.
After doing this SAHM gig for over a year, I would hope you could come to the realization that some weeks things don’t get done.
Now please look at the calendar. See how your husband is going to be gone at the district pastor’s conference for 2 days? Do you remember that he comes back and needs to catch up on those 2 days of missed work? And don’t forget he has a council meeting Wednesday night.
See how your daughter has a doctor’s appointment today and will get vaccinated? Do you remember how awful she feels after these shots?
It would be in everyone’s best interest if you would lower your expectation on what will get accomplished this week. Dishes will pile up. Vacuuming won’t get done. Meals will be thrown together. And that piece of writing you’ve been trying to finish won’t be completed this week.
Realize this now and perhaps you can prevent the hysterical feeling that arises when your week doesn’t operate smoothly. Oh, and feel free to buy some chocolate from the grocery store.
With much love,
Your Pragmatic Side
Now that Babykins is crawling (finally), she is enjoying exploring more of the world around her. I decided to start taking her to playgrounds after she mastered clambering over the couch.
Every time I take her to a playground, I have this ideal expectation in my head:
We’ll explore the playground equipment together, listen to leaves crunch beneath our feet, and watch squirrels scamper across the grass. I’ll take pictures of her adorably observing the new scenery. It will be educational and fun!
In reality, our trips to the playground mostly look like this:
At least I’m still exposing her to new stimuli, right? Even if she is just eating it. . .