A New Pair of Shoes = Confidence at EVERY Age…(or is that just my excuse?)


Here I go AGAIN! Writing about the excitement I find in SHOES. Call me a GIRL OBSESSED! ARGH. As you who follow me know, I have written about the importance of shoes for babies in, “It’s All in a Girl’s Shoes,” and the fun of shoes for babies and toddlers in, “Bubblegum Scented Toddler Shoes,” and I’m about to share a combo about the importance, fun and my plain LOVE of shoes! Can a new pair of shoes help build confidence???I purchased my sons each crib shoes (shoes for fun to put on while they are babies and can’t crawl or walk that mainly match their outfits). Sounds like a HUGE waste of money, right? That’s what my hubby said. But I purchased them when they were 4 months old and starting to use the walker in the house and when we would go outside (I bought both pair on clearance at 50% off). I think it’s important that they get used to the feeling of wearing shoes. Like my post about my daughter’s shoes – her first fitting for shoes she was just 10 months old THAT DAY and that same evening, she walked for the first time. I think shoes give them balance and extra confidence a bare foot or sock foot with grippers don’t quite give (my opinion of course!) There are so many cute shoes for girls – (I could’ve spent a fortune but I DIDN’T!) But for my twin sons, I decided to go with Robeez which are known for having a snug fit that are more difficult for baby to kick off.

Why Robeez? “Robeez footwear mimics bare feet by flexing and bending with every step. Supporting not constricting growing feet, they promote good balance and unrestricted growth, while protecting little feet from the world. They stay on too, with elasticized ankles to ensure a perfectly snug fit.” From Why Robeez? They also have a downloadable shoe sizing chart (download Robeez Foot Sizing Chart). Love these little shoes with their orange soles for summer!  

This is my little Maxton who took to “walking” immediately in his walker just like his agile big sister. He will also soon be crawling and I am putting his Robeez on to ensure he has enough “GRIP.” So that’s my story on confidence for my boys!

You recall my post about bubblegum scented toddler shoes made by Mini Melissa? I decided against them just a few months ago because I wasn’t 100% sold on a pair of plastic shoes for a toddler (even though I grew up in the original era of “jellies” and had a ton!) The Melissa Brand shoes smell like bubblegum. Yes, bubblegum. They are a sustainable plastic shoe that is infused with a perfume that smells like bubblegum. Made of PVC recycled plastic, these “mini” versions of the adult Melissa line, are seriously “adorbs.” I must say, I was on the fence as to whether or not I wanted Mattelyn sporting a pair of bubblegum scented plastic shoes. But the sales associate assured me this is one of their biggest sellers for toddler sandals in the spring and summer season. WHO KNEW. While shopping recently for a pair of new shoes for myself POST PREGNANCY, we ran to the children’s department at Von Maur so Mattelyn could look at the train they have displayed and to “smell the Melissa’s,” now something Mattelyn likes to do. LOL. 😉 And lo and behold, the very pair of black Mary Janes with brown bows that I fell in love with were on sale 50% OFF. Yep, we bought them.

Mattelyn was thrilled, wore them out of the store, and sat in her car seat knotted like a pretzel with both feet pulled to her nose repeating, “Mmmmm! Smell, mama!” That evening (and every evening since) she runs to put on her new shoes and tells her daddy everyday when he gets home from work, “Look my new shoes.” So cute, I had to share!

And, Mama got a new pair of shoes too. My first pair of shoes for “going out” after my pregnancies. (Read, first pair of HEELS since giving birth). I LIVED in heels in my not so long ago previous life as a career woman. You couldn’t find me without heels on one, because I am 5’2″ tall (or should I say short!?) And two, I worked in a fast-paced downtown advertising agency and my title of Executive ensured I would wear heels the rest of my life! (Which was fine by me!) But even when they came out with tennis shoes with platforms, I was IN because I just couldn’t wear a pair of flat shoes. Needless to say, as with everything else – EVERYTHING CHANGED WITH BABIES. I am sure I will get back to my heels someday – but for now, none of my old heels fit (my feet grew a 1/2 inch with both pregnancies). So I have a GORGEOUS array of beautiful shoes just waiting to be donated. I can’t part with quite yet, but I did get rid of my first “round” with the birth of Mattelyn. Second round is soon! My birthday is today and my anniversary with my husband was yesterday. So this weekend, we are leaving the babes at home with my mother and father-in-law who have offered to drive up to stay the weekend to watch them – – that is two 7 month old twins and a rambunctious 2 year old. I am nervous about leaving them – the thought of not saying goodnight and giving hugs and kisses is REALLY difficult for me. Plus, I am hormonal as all get out…just ending breast feeding. I may have some post partum baby blues! They will be in loving care with their Mimi and Papa and I have no worries that way, it is just the initial leaving them all. *I am positive I will cry all the way downtown. Poor hubby.* I tried on a pair of new shoe boots with a good, sturdy, thicker heel that is only 3″ tall. They are a neutral color and I think will be a perfect complement to my attire for Saturday night’s outing on the Riverwalk along Chicago’s Riverfront that we are planning to do with a couple of close friends of ours who live downtown. I am excited and somehow, in my warped mind, I think having a new pair of shoes will give me the confidence and extra excitement I need to GET ME OUT THE DOOR Saturday night! (I will post a picture of me and my new shoes during our date night Saturday if you are interested at all in seeing them!)

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Please share your favorite shoes for baby, toddler or yourself! I always want to know what I’m missing out on!

XO ~ Your Shoe Obsessed Mama

Potty Training: It Worked. Our Process. 

I was skeptical as you all know about the whole idea of potty training my 24 month old daughter. Was she ready? Was I asking too much of her? Was it too soon since the twins were born to expect this from her? I just wanted the answer. Like I mentioned in my previous post, “To Potty Train or Not to Potty Train, that is the Question…”, my mom was staying with me helping with the twins and Mattelyn until I felt I could

 handle this situation on my own. She thought while she is here, why not help me potty train her so I would have one less baby in diapers by the time she left?? (Brave woman, she is a saint! And good idea!) Mattelyn was showing all of the signs that she is ready, so I trusted my instinct, my mom’s optimism and moved forward with potty training (with skepticism and worry).

We loosely followed the book, “Potty Train In A Weekend,” by mom of four, Becky Mansfield. (For a list of what we used, read “Potty Training: The Starting Lineup.”) We determined three days would be spent doing nothing but taking Mattelyn to the bathroom. Yep – three full days with absolutely nothing in mind from morning to bedtime except the potty. (It seemed too EASY. That right there told me it would be much more difficult. After all, we ARE dealing with a tiny person who has a spunky little feisty personality. With two year old expectations and temper tantrums daily over the fact that she didn’t want milk in her sippy cup but rather apple juice, to wear her open-toed white sandals when it’s 40 degrees outside and insists hot dogs are okay to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reasoning with her consists of us asking her to please wear her sunglasses and hat outside to which she replies, “Yes, mama! Sun and hat, mama!” wearing both proudly around the house only to walk out the door and sunglasses and hat stripped off and on the ground immediately with a huge smile on her face). We rolled up all of the carpets, blocked off two rooms where she would spend the days “camping out.” (Camping out meaning being constrained to two rooms that connect to our bathroom; eating in the room and singing and dancing as though it was a really special time to spend with her grandma like camping out. Breakfast, lunch and dinner in those two rooms not in the kitchen. Rules can be and were broken during these three days). Mattelyn ran around all day with no pants on. No pants, no undies and no diaper (my husband just shook his head and I could tell he was just a tiny bit hopeful but not expecting too much).


My mom set the timer on her iPhone that went off every 20 minutes the first day, the ENTIRE DAY.

Every time it went off to a “samba” song, she and I would encourage Mattelyn to “run” to the potty as though it was a fun game – and she loved it and began anticipating the song that accompanied my mom’s phone alarm. We filled her with juice, (apple juice mixed with prune juice) to encourage her “to have to go.” She also had a special NEW water bottle her daddy brought her home after work one day just for water that we kept filled. We fed her frozen grapes, applesauce and gave her bananas (along with her regular snacks and meals). We used a crazy fun straw to encourage her to fill up on her liquids. She ate sitting on a hand towel at her little table in her playroom or on the floor for “fun.”


Eventually, she needed to go potty. She showed signs like crossing her legs and running around anxiously on her tippy toes. We just kept putting her back on the potty chair and eventually, she (accidentally) went. She had never heard the sound of peeing; the “tinkle.” As soon as she went, we clapped and congratulated her and did a bunch of happy dancing. It was a WIN. Honestly, I believe she was potty trained that day – day number one.

SHE UNDERSTOOD IMMEDIATELY WHAT WE WANTED HER TO DO.

Nothing was lost on her. She peed and pooped both the first day. She also did both the second day. We rewarded her with washing her hands (she loves water and soap, standing on her step stool) and she got to FaceTime with one of her favorite people if she pooped on the potty. (She LOVED doing this and her first request was to call her daddy at work – so cute!) She also got to send a photo of herself after going to anyone she wanted to (mostly to her Papa).

The key is consistency and not giving up on them. This is such a hard (but exciting) time for them. The whole situation is foreign and feels weird. We tried to remain upbeat and really kept the encouragement high. When we got tired, we pushed through. We made sure to keep everything in the day fun and exciting FOR HER. We colored, sang songs, read new books, watched TONS of other kids on YouTube videos singing and doing the “Poopy Dance” and the “Potty Celebration Dance.” We practiced flash cards and we played with a ton of her toys and read books about going potty, (to the point that she had one pretty much memorized by the end of the three days).

Holding It.

Then we began to recognize she was starting to hold it in. She adamantly refused to put on a diaper and she only wanted to wear undies. But she wouldn’t go. Not in the toilet and not in a diaper. And, she wouldn’t have an accident either. She was just HOLDING IT. And it was getting worse and worse – she was beating herself up over the whole scenario – it was a true, real struggle going on within her little mind. It was really sad. She was pretty much beside herself by the weekend after the three days and and was holding it and going both one and two over night in her diaper.

“The potty training wasn’t the hard part. She was potty trained the first day – she is smart and knew exactly what we wanted her to do and she was happy to oblige. It was the idea of GOING on the potty chair that was freaking her out.”

Unfortunately, I began to doubt myself. I told myself she was too young. I told myself we pushed it when we shouldn’t have. I really had a rough time watching her cry and get frustrated because she didn’t want to go AT ALL. We tried everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. In order to get her to feel comfortable with going on the potty chair, I read that giving her a sucker or lollipop while on the potty would encourage her to sit longer and keep her mind off of WHY she is actually sitting there, taking the anxiety away, and eventually she will go – you take it away if she gets up.

Mattelyn.Potty.Training-3221Mattelyn.Potty.Training-3204

We tried having her sit on her potty chair in her playroom while she ate lunch and watched her Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the iPad to keep her mind off of the task at hand. I took a picture of her dolly “Lala” sitting on the potty chair and printed a photo of it while Mattelyn napped so when she woke up, she could see Lala potty training, too. I taped it to the lid of her little potty chair. When she woke from her nap, we told her we were potty training Lala – and she LOVED this idea!

  

I created a playlist “Potty Training Lala” on YouTube of potty songs including “The Poop Song.” This Poop Song is ridiculous but she watched it with intensity on the iPad, on my iPhone and my mom’s while sitting on the potty and I really believe it resonated with her. (Here we are three months later and she still knows the words to the song!)

Everyone wears Mattelyn’s new undies on their heads…

Three days after the three day potty training I determined I could not watch her run around upset with herself anymore. I was especially taken back by how strong headed she truly was and I learned a great deal about how she is going to handle difficult situations in the future!!! (This was when I posted the poem I wrote to her, “Potty Training: A Message to My Daughter.”) She had eaten and it was time to go number two (she “hides” behind a toy to go) so I took her into the bathroom and told her she and I weren’t coming out until she went poopies on the potty chair. She screamed and cried and threw things and hit and kicked me and three HOURS later, she went on the potty chair. Finally.

  She realized it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t going to hurt and it was okay. High fives and a phone call to her grandpa and she was celebrating. A day later however, she was holding it again and asking for her diaper. Ugh. All of that heartache, second guessing myself, feeling like maybe I was being mean and ALL of that time spent in the little bathroom watching her struggle and go through so much appeared to be for nothing. I forced her to “get over it” and to “move on.” I sat with her until she HAD TO GO and then I encouraged her to hold onto mama and push. I reminded her over and over again that it was okay and she was okay. The fear was real for her and I just knew if I could get her to go, I would be helping her get over the worry. I also knew if I let it go and dragged it out over weeks, she could develop an even stronger resistance to going and we could be doomed. (Not to mention, I have twin 4 month old boys at the time). We went to her two year wellness check up a few days after all of that and her pediatrician said not to worry about it. Every child is different and she was still very young. He said to give it a few weeks – have her wear a diaper again and act like she wasn’t potty trainned – then start over with the three day process if she begins showing interest in it and otherwise, just wait until she is ready. He said she could be trained in a week or it could take a year. She actually decided it was okay a week later and she has been going on the potty (even in public) ever since. And, she has never had an accident. I haven’t tackled the overnight yet as she is still in her crib and can’t wake and take herself in the middle of the night and I am still nursing at times in the night. But that is next for sure because she is so upset and embarrassed at times in the morning when she has had to pee or poo in her diaper.

So all-in-all, Mattelyn was actually potty trained in total, in a little less than a month and she was 25 months old.


I have shared my “key learnings” and I REALLY hope some of them if not all of them prove to be helpful for anyone in my shoes!

*Something else I realized in hind sight that may have been drawing this process out was, I think she was ENJOYING having mama’s or her grandma’s FULL ATTENTION without a baby in tow. You see, the three days that we concentrated on the actual training, we would take turns going with her to the bathroom and sitting on the potty chair everyday all day long. It was a game and it was fun! And we would accompany her to read, tell stories, play with flash cards, etc. It was 100% undivided attention to Mattelyn. For the past four months, it’s been Mattelyn sharing us for the first time in her little life with her newborn twin brothers.

 Here are some things we used that may be helpful to you:

*Flash cards for colors, shapes, numbers and alphabet, *Floor puzzles, *Books in bathroom, *Baby wipes, *Diapers, *new undies, *leg warmers, *footed socks, *Paper towels, *Disinfectant, *Lysol wipes for the small potty chair, *Coloring books, *crayons, *chalk board, *music to dance to, *iPad for YouTube videos, *iPhone for FaceTime calls at first as rewards and then as incentive, *The poop song and the potty dance, *Cheerleader pompoms, *Congratulations balloon after a successful poop day, *Frozen grapes, *GoGo Applesauce Packets, *Bananas, *Prunes, *Prune juice.


    

Things we tried not to use:

M&Ms or food for consistent incentive – we used the idea of a cookie to encourage her to go once she was having issues with going altogether. But it didn’t convert into something she thought she had to have.

Pull-ups – we used Pull-ups at nap times and overnight diapers overnight – but we didn’t use Pull-ups during the day. She didn’t want them anyway but I feared it would make her feel too protected and she would be more likely just to go rather than run to the potty.

This is what worked for us. It was a PROCESS!!! Thank GOD for my mom!! And all of her GLORIOUS PATIENCE!! (Oh yeah, mom, don’t forget – I have two boys that will be ready soon, too!!) Please know this is what worked for me – this isn’t the way it should be done or anything like that. It is just what worked for me and there are hundreds of ways to do it! Please share with me if you have had similar situation or experiences or if you have new or better ideas that worked for you! I have twin boys to train here in about a year and a half! And remember, this is HARD. It’s the hardest thing you and your baby will go through and it is a HUGE toddler milestone. Everyone gets there – have patience and show them nothing but tons of love, encouragement and patience. And remember, they are only TWO. Still babies. But they love their newfound independence daily and will welcome you treating them like the big kids they are soon to be!

Much luck and love!

XO ~ Stephanie

Our first outing in new undies the first week potty training an Easter Egg hunt in our neighborhood.

Bubblegum Scented Toddler Shoes…

Mini Melissas

Mini Melissas

I am learning so much as a new parent; the terrible twos, potty training, that the term “whiz kid” really takes on a whole new meaning now that I have twin boys at changing time, that M&Ms are like crack to a toddler…

Among the list is the fact that there is a WHOLE NEW WORLD of apparel shopping available to me now that I have these little cuties to clothe! Who knew? Is it so terrible I am passing along my love for seriously awesome shoes to my two year old daughter?? I wonder at times if I’m perhaps starting a bad habit for her early on in life? I mean, when I was younger, we had school shoes, Church shoes and play shoes. I am pretty sure more than half of mine were hand-me-downs from my older (all male) cousins. But my mom always insisted on leather shoes for our feet. I am pretty positive my bro and I had Hush Puppies and Buster Browns, and probably anything else the anchor department stores at the mall at the time sold for toddlers.

Enter shoes for toddlers now days. WOW. There are a plethora of all the same gorgeous brands that this mama loves and admires (from afar). I have partaken in my fair share of Kenneth Cole, Nine West, Coach, Jessica Simpson, Steve Madden, MARC BY MARC JACOBS, Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B., BCBGeneration and BCBG MAXAZRIA, Guess, Alfani, Sofft, Badgley Mischka, Betsey Johnson, Salvatore Ferragamo, Enzo Angiolini, SJP by Sarah Jessica Parker, Dansko, just to name a few, while working downtown in my advertising days. I left the big, lofty, gorgeous, gotta’ have a pair of seriously beautiful designer shoes, for my admiring from afar. (And I am glad I did because all of the shoes mentioned above, I can no longer wear. I have been a 6.5 my adult life and after these bambinos arrived, I am a 7.5 – a full size larger!) And that’s okay too, because my taste has changed immensely. I admit to going to Nordstrom and VonMaur, and walking down the Magnificent Mile, drooling over the latest pair of Jimmy Choos, Kate Spades, Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutins, GUCCIs, Rebecca Minkoffs, PRADAs, Burberrys (you get the picture – THOSE shoes, THOSE designers, THOSE brands…)

Now that Mattelyn has arrived, I find so much joy and pleasure shoe shopping for my tiny little darling fashionista who wears a shoe size per 3-4 months and then is out of that shoe. GAH! What is wrong with me???? I feel as though I can *splurge* on her now because her cutie little shoes don’t cost what my big girl shoes cost. But one day they will and she will come to expect them, I am sure. So does that stop me from the occasional indulgence? YOU BET IT DOES. And each time I do indulge, I temper it with an outfit from Target. Okay, okay, I just sound insane now. But really, there could be much worse, right???? Plus, I don’t resell, I donate to the needy. Beautiful clothes for beautiful children that couldn’t otherwise afford the luxury. So that makes me feel better, (although my hubby wishes I would go ahead and resell…and buy resale…).

All of that said, my latest new find are the Melissa Brand shoes. They smell like bubblegum. Yes, bubblegum. They are a sustainable plastic shoe that is infused with a perfume that smells like bubblegum. Made of PVC recycled plastic, these “mini” versions of the adult Melissa line, are seriously “adorbs.” I must say, I am on the fence as to whether or not I want Mattelyn sporting a pair of bubblegum scented plastic shoes, (essentially, the “jelly” shoe of my era). But the sales associate assured me this is one of their biggest sellers for toddler sandals in the spring and summer season. WHO KNEW.

I tried on a pair of the adult Melissa’s and rather loved them. Soft, soft, soft, pliable plastic. It was comfortable and squishy.

I wouldn’t spend the day downtown walking a mile or going to an all day festival in them. But for a casual summer day or outing close to home, you bet I’d sport them. This plastic flip flop shoe or ballet slipper isn’t new to me – I have owned several versions over the years. My latest was a pair of BCBGeneration last summer that were clear plastic and had a gold bow – “perfectly princess” enough you might think, but very much adult if you wear it the right way; (read: You have to like that style, and I do). They were very comfortable and you would think my feet would have felt sweaty and uncomfortable but they didn’t. But all toddlers’ feeties are sweaty and can be stinky after a long day of outside play. I make sure Mattelyn always has the best shoes for learning how to walk and for assuring comfort and balance, like PediPeds, Stride Rite, See Kai Run, TOMS, Kenneth Cole. But she’s moving up to a regular toddler size now. These are enclosed in the toe area, have holes throughout like mesh so are breathable and are the cutest little Mary Jane’s you’ve ever seen. So what do you think? Yay or Nay? Do they belong in Mattelyn’s closet along with the leather Mary Jane’s made by WeeSqueak that I had to have that actually squeaked when she would take a step that no longer fit her???

The Wee Squeak Flower Garden Shoe

The Wee Squeak Flower Garden Shoe

Or these adorable Baby Bog snow boots I just HAD TO HAVE because they matched her North Face winter coat perfectly??

Classic Flower Stripes Baby Bogs Snow Boots

Classic Flower Stripes Baby Bogs Snow Boots

I’m just saying, this is WAY too much fun. No, I decided not to purchase them for her, not this year at least! As for new sandals for me, well, ’tis the season for sandal shopping!

XO ~ Stephanie