The Biggest Lesson One Mom Learned From Her Daughter's Toddler Years
Samantha Wennerstrom lives in Santa Barbara with her husband, Todd, and her daughter, Elin. Starting out with a career in publishing, Samantha created Could I Have That? as a creative outlet to house all the things she was coveting and loving. What started out as a hobby in 2009 has since organically grown into a business featured in The Wall Street Journal, C Magazine, Who What Wear, Lucky Magazine, The Zoe Report, Santa Barbara Magazine, and more. Could I Have That? is a destination for all who love upping the ante in their everyday lives. Let Wennerstrom give you a peek into what it's really like having a toddler.
Two thousand seventeen, also known as the fastest year in my life. Where did all the time go? I’ve been in denial lately that it’s practically fall—scratch that, practically the holidays! I watched Elin walk into school the other day—not her first rodeo; she started preschool in January—and she hardly looked back at me. My baby is growing up way too quickly! It’s been a while since I’ve touched on my Tiny Talk series—all things Elin and motherhood uncensored—so I wanted to give you all an update on what’s really going on in our world over here.
Always the first question people ask me. We’ve been pretty lucky with Elin since the start—we had some help from our friend Tiffany, who I highly recommend if you’re needing guidance! She would sleep 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. pretty regularly… until around 2 1/2. All of a sudden she started waking up at 5:30, the latest being 6:30, which was brutal for me—I’m not a morning person. It lasted about three to four months, and then we were back to normal. I have to say part of it was us getting too lax with her bedtime hour—too many fun late nights! The more consistently she went to bed at 7/7:30, the longer she slept in the mornings. We have yet to switch her to a “big girl” bed since she isn’t climbing out of her crib (we have a Marcelle one, and it’s pretty deep), but she’s been asking for one, so it’s definitely in our near future. Another phase on the horizon!
Back to School
As I mentioned, Elin started school back in January, and she took to it seamlessly. I think I had a harder time than her! I’m also convinced that it was such an easy transition partly because she already had two friends in the class, so she was excited to see them every morning. Watching her march into that classroom with her lunchbox crushes me every time.
The Terrible Twos
I hate that phrase, but I never quite understood it until we hit a few months of tantrums after tantrums. Out of the blue, she started resisting us on everything: brushing her teeth, getting ready for bed, and eating. I felt completely lost in how to manage the situation and found it impossible at times not to lose my cool—especially when we’re trying to leave the house to be somewhere on time. I asked some fellow moms for advice and found some amazing wisdom via Janet Lansbury—her podcasts especially helped us out. We’ve definitely turned a corner, and there are fewer tantrums and more ways I now know how to help her through the tough days.
We’re currently a work in progress on this subject. While she wears underwear and uses the toilet for #1, #2 is a whole different deal if you ask her. She waits until nap time and bedtime to go in her pull up. I’m at a loss on this one—any suggestions would be amazing! We read books (Everybody Poops!), talk about it, and encourage her, but every time we push too much, it seems to backfire. I keep reminding myself everything is a phase. This one just seems really long.
My Biggest Lesson
The most trying part of toddlerhood for me is her immediate need for attention sometimes. It’s hard for her to understand when I can’t stop everything I’m doing to play or read with her. I started noticing, though, that it was more of a cry for me. I get pretty caught up with work, being on my phone (my worst habit) or computer, and when I get busy, she gets needier. Now I try to make a conscious effort to be fully present when I’m spending time with her—no phone or computer. It’s hard because inevitably work will pull me away, but if I’m organized, it happens less.
For Mama and Baby
Now for the fun stuff. Our latest obsessions and findings for mama and baby…
Tutu du monde tutus, all day every day. She would sleep in one if she could! Undies from Soor Ploom, Stella McCartney bomber jackets, watercolor painting on her art table, listening to her favorite tunes on this radio, the play kitchen that isn’t an eyesore, organic cotton pajamas from Pink Elephant, anything and everything from Mabo Kids, Wunderkin bows, and this farmers market basket that she puts everything in and walks around the house.
Also, we’re getting started on our next Could I Have That? Mini Magazine Holiday and would love to hear what you want to see in this issue. Leave a comment below!