The Girly and I Had an Artsy Day

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Our art from today laid out to dry: The girly painted two boards with lots of colours, one for her Dad and one for her brother who is here for a 3 week visit and then she did a paper version meant for me. I decided just to paint colours in stripes for a beach effect on wood. I am trying to decide whether I will sand it for a rustic look, too. And then I did rainbow stripes on wood and a cat and a butterfly on paper for the girly. It is fun playing with paint without trying to do something perfectly.

I do not tolerate the heat well at all. In fact I would quite happily skip July and August every year if I could. So, on these very hot days when the temperature creeps over 30 degrees I find myself hiding away from the sun during the peak hot times in the day and planning our outings for late afternoon or even better, after dinner.

Today was one of those days so when I asked the girly what she would like to do she replied without hesitation: “paint!” My husband had cut me some wood pieces a while back that I hadn’t got to yet. And it is these particular pieces that my daughter had been begging me to help paint. So far I haven’t let her use any paint beyond the safe, washable kids paint but I am a big fan of teaching our kids how to use things properly so I thought I would give her a chance.

The first thing we needed to do was paint the pieces with my white chalk paint I use for the background. I nervously set out newspaper everywhere as I explained as clearly as I could the importance of not getting paint everywhere and how this paint did not resemble her paint in any way. It turns out I needn’t have worried because she did great. Of course, there was a little too much paint on her brush and some paint globs here and there but considering she is a beginner she did very well.

After we let the white dry I got out some tubes of watercolour paint I have and we each painted two boards. The rest I kept to do some signs I have in mind at a later date. We weren’t done with the paint yet so continued painting on paper before the girly declared we were done. It was a super fun activity and now I have a vision of having an excellent assistant in the future.

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Our Father’s Day Craft

I really didn’t know how we were going to top last year’s mug that we made with Avery’s hand print.

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For a long time my mind was blank when it came to thinking about what the girly was going to make for her Daddy for Father’s Day. And then I happened to walk down the craft aisle in Walmart for inspiration and there I saw the t-shirts and thought “that’s it! …we will make a t-shirt”. I still didn’t know what we would put on the t-shirt but I recalled coming across some t-shirt craft using Sharpies so I thought we could just wing it with all the Sharpies we had at home.

But then, once home, I began to think about my husband’s likes and I realized that camouflage is really one of his favourite prints for clothing. And suddenly a light bulb went on … we would make a camouflage inspired t-shirt with Avery’s handprints. We just need some fabric paint in camouflage colours. So, back out to Michael’s we went for the paint. Once home again we had loads of fun doing up this shirt. Who doesn’t love putting paint all over their hands?

And, I think it turned out so fabulously I want one.

And hubby loved it, too. He put it on right away.

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Camouflage Inspired Handprint Shirt

I’m a HSP … Another A-HA moment.

Sometime in my mid-30’s I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment for the very first time. I found out I was an ISFJ (Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, Judging) personality. It would be the first time I would fully understand that I was an introvert and what an introvert exactly was. The definition that stuck most with me was that introverts recharge or regain energy by having quiet, alone time and extroverts recharge or gain energy by being with people. And further that the introvert required three times the amount of alone time to the amount of people time they had. This made me realize that I really did need my down time to recharge and stay healthy. It also made me understand why I would sometimes feel so very drained if I had too much social interaction and not enough alone time to balance it out.

I really became fascinated by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment and started to read a whole lot about not only ISFJ’s but all of the different personalities. It really put a lot of pieces in place as to why people were the way they are and why some people get along better than others. Reading about the ISFJ personality also put a lot of pieces in place as to why I was the way I was and how I shouldn’t try to fit myself into a role that went against those personality traits. It was the beginning of me learning to listen to my gut.

Then, a couple of years ago, when I was 40 my sister sent me a link on my Facebook page to a self test for something called an HSP, a Highly Sensitive Person. You can find the link here. I went through the questions on the self test and holy wow, I said yes to pretty much all of them to one degree or another. This was a huge puzzle piece to helping me cope with being me.

Reading about being an HSP suddenly made a lot of things clear. It is why I have to sometimes wear sunglasses in places like Walmart or Superstore where the lights are glaring bright and there is so much for the eyes to take in …both in product and people. It is why when I worked in an office I needed to turn off the fluorescent lights in my space and bring my own lamp in for more natural lighting. It is why when I had a job meeting people all day, every day I became drained. It is why I can shut down when the vacuum is turned on. It is also why I was wearing sunglasses when I gave birth to my daughter. (I was brought in by ambulance and as soon as we got to the hospital the overhead lights glared into my eyes and the sunglasses went on). It is why I can’t tolerate violent or horror movies. It is why I despise surround sound. The examples really just go on and on.

Being an HSP isn’t all bad. Because of it I am very detailed oriented and that has been a huge asset many, many times over. However, the down side is that because I take in so many details I get overstimulated easily which can cause me to shut down. I find I am especially sensitive when my adrenal fatigue is worse. I am also definitely more sensitive in the morning. It’s like I suddenly develop Spidey senses but not for the good.

Having a child as an HSP mother is also a challenge. I am really lucky to have a pretty great girl. She is caring, considerate and mostly well-behaved. However, it is still challenging when I have too many things going on in my head. For example, when getting ready to go somewhere I seem to almost always go into meltdown mode simply from trying to prepare from the to do list in my head and constantly being interrupted by my daughter and/or husband. And they aren’t doing anything wrong. It’s like my head will just suddenly short-circuit because I have too many things spinning around my head in a short amount of time with the pressure of the deadline of trying to get out the door.

These past couple of weeks when I have been setting up my husbands Etsy shop, starting my blog and attempting to work towards setting up my own Etsy shop bring back my HSP right smack in front of me. Each day I have faced challenges as I try to focus on something so I can complete the task (because having too many loose ends left hanging gets to me, too) while still being there for my daughter and my husband. My husband can understand “give me five minutes” … my daughter, not so much (really, what can you expect from a three year old?). And I have noticed that as I try to take more time she is starting to have meltdowns. This part is going to be a work in progress. I think we will have to set up a better schedule and better communication, too. Today she had a play date with my Mom (so cute, they adore each other and have loads of fun) so I was able to get a couple hours to myself to complete some tasks. It was a huge help. I think I may need to schedule more of those, too.

I have also noticed HSP qualities in my daughter. She seems to notice a lot of details. You can’t really get much past her. She also can’t bear loud noises. If my husband turns his saw on she runs into the house with her hands over her ears. The same happens when I turn on the blender or food processor. And she was covering her ears when my Mom had her foot bath on. I know young children can be sensitive to noise as it is so I will have to keep watch. At least if she is a Highly Sensitive Person I can help her understand what it means and how to cope. Just knowing what it means to be an HSP has helped me immensely. I can identify why my energy is draining and try to either avoid those situations that trigger it or prepare as best I can when I know they are going to happen. At least I know why it’s happening.

 

Potty Training, Finally.

My daughter is 3 1/2 and in my opinion long overdue for potty training.  (But that may be because I have been the one who has changed the bulk of her diapers). I have tried on and off for well over a year.  Actually, I think it was closer 2 years ago I bought the underwear and the portable potty seats in anticipation.  However, my daughter had different ideas.  And I have learned that when it comes to my daughter if you push it will make matters worse.  So I didn’t push.  Every time I would try we would just end up with lots of pee on the floor despite being armed with all sorts of incentives.  She just wasn’t interested.  So time would pass and we would eventually try again. And in between times we would talk and read about it …lots.

Lately, she has been telling us that she would go on the potty when she was all grown up like Mommy and Daddy.  Of course, we always pointed out all the people her size that we knew who went on the potty already. I had read that kids will go potty when they are ready so I have been trying to believe in that. At the same time I couldn’t help but wonder if I was doing something wrong. I should also admit here that I haven’t been looking forward to having a newly potty trained kid on the go.  There are so many challenges to consider: what if she has to go when we are on the freeway? what if she has to go when we have walked to the store and there is no washroom? what if we are anywhere that we are not close to a potty and she has to go? (Now that we are on day 5  I have a lot more confidence it will all work out).  Were these worries allowing me to delay potty training when really I should be pushing harder?

And then last Thursday we got up and talked about potty training again.  And again, my daughter said “when I grow big like Mommy and Daddy I can go on the potty, too”.  And this time I said “if you think the toilet is too big, do you know that you can use your little potties?” And then she looked sideways at me and I suddenly knew she was intimidated by the big toilet and the potty insert that could sometimes slip. So I asked her if she wanted to give it a try and she said sure so we put big girl panties on.

Not long later she had peed in her panties and there was a big puddle on the floor.  She was also wearing her crocs at the time and they had a big puddle in them, too.  So I grabbed her, put her in the tub, and showered off her bottom half and her shoes. She then refused to put on panties and simply sat on her little potty and played the rest of the day. She was going to make sure she didn’t miss the potty again. Later she told me not to spray her again with the shower and I realized I must have traumatized her with spraying her down. It certainly seemed to give her potty motivation. She didn’t miss the potty again …until two days later when we added wearing panties to the equation.

Friday we cancelled music class and stayed home for more potty training. Now that we were on a roll I wasn’t interrupting it with outside activities. I was ready to hunker down and see this job through. Day two I let her be panty-less again as I could see she was getting more confident.  She was now playing freely and being able to know when it was time to go to the potty. And, she was getting there on time. And she was so happy and proud of herself. She danced and sang made up potty songs and declared that she loved pooping on the potty.

Saturday I decided it was time for her to practice with underwear on. At first this did not go well.  She had a hard time getting them down so she pooped in her pants. We changed them. And then she peed in them while standing there. She hadn’t even attempted to get close to the potty. I talked to her about needing to learn because we couldn’t go outside naked. She just told me that she could wear pull ups when we went out. She is such a problem solver.

I really didn’t want to go backwards so I made up a game because really she just needed to practice pulling those panties down. When I yelled “potty practice” she was to run to the potty, pull her panties down, and sit on the potty. If she did this then she would get chocolate. She doesn’t usually get chocolate but I was willing to give her most favourite treat to help boost her confidence. And when I yelled “potty practice” I went right beside her and pulled down my pants and squatted, too. It seemed to work and she was right back on track.

We did Saturday and Sunday with just underwear. Today we have added pants. And she is doing great. She even wakes up dry (I have been putting pull ups on at night at her request but we are almost completely out of those so I am happy to see she seems to be able to make it through the night ). We even went to the store today, too.

I think the answer to ‘when will you know if your child is ready for potty training?’ is the same as the answer to ‘when will you know when you are in love?’: you will just know.