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Archive for the ‘Sleeping’ Category

Paulo is wearing a zip hoodie and cargo pants set from rabbitmoon's Imagination collection.

I’m guilty! I am so guilty of not indulging my second child to the same enjoyable things as I did with my first. Miranda had playgroups, play dates, Mommy and Me classes, anything and everything that I could expose her to that would be fun, educational, and give us extra bonding/play time.

I remember someone telling me that having two kids is like having 10. I didn’t believe it! How can one little person make life complicated to the 10th degree? Well, let me tell you… Now that I have two kids, I AM A BELIEVER! I am so busy with the demands of motherhood, Miranda’s school, my freelance work, the housework, the grocery shopping (I have to go every week now because boys eat so much more than girls!) and all the voluntary roles I thought I would have time for (Classroom Mom, Yearbook Committee, Faith Formation Teacher, helping my parents). I’m lucky if I can keep my head above water. Poor Paulo! He gets whatever is left of my hectic schedule.

I jotted down my little guy’s schedule each day of the week:

  • Monday: take Miranda to school, eat, very short nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Tuesday: take Miranda to school, eat, very short nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Wednesday : take Miranda to school, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Thursday: take Miranda to school, SWIM CLASS!!!, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play
  • Friday: take Miranda to school, eat, longer nap, pick up Miranda, play

Pretty boring, huh? At least he has weekly swim classes. But any free time I get, I’m either working, doing chores or running errands just so I can survive the day and actually get to bed at a decent time (midnight would be early for me!) But never mind about me. This is precious Paulo time I’m wasting. So… I’ve decided that I NEED take charge of my schedule and plan recreational activities for my little guy. He shouldn’t be penalized for being Child No. 2. He needs to have his own schedule, his own friends, and make his own memories. This sad little dude rarely sees a playground that when he does see one, he pees his pants in excitement! So I’m bringing back weekly playgroups.

His first play date was with my friend’s daughter. This little girl’s big brother was Miranda’s first playgroup friend and they have been very good friends ever since. (Coincidentally, my friend and I had our two kids roughly at the same time so each of our two kids are about the same age.) We met at a nearby playground to enjoy the fresh air and some outdoor fun, but it started to drizzle. Luckily, there was Toddler Storytime at the museum across the way that was just about to start. PERFECT!

The kids had a good time, AND the moms did as well. We both reminisced about our lives five years ago when we were both new mothers and only had one child each. We talked about how much more relaxed we were back then, how busy our lives have become, and how we missed connecting with each other just to talk about life in general (husbands, in-laws, school, broken appliances, the laundry…). We vowed to have our play dates each week for the sake of our second children AND for the sake of our sanity! What a revelation… I NEED PLAYGROUP, TOO!!! This is going to be a good thing.

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It came up in conversation with a few parents this past weekend when it would be best to make the big switch from a crib to a “big kid bed.”  Many parents feel that a crib is great because their child has slept in one for months (sometimes years) and they are safe and contained at night (so why move right?), but at some point, it’s time to have your little one move into a “big kid bed.”

Commonly, kids make the move anywhere from 18 to 30 months, but as many parents know, every child develops differently and the adjustment can take more than one night or week. Even if your child still seems content in his crib, he or she may have outgrown it.  Generally, if your child is 35 inches tall or the railing reaches mid-chest level, he or she could scale the crib railing at any time, and probably needs more room to sleep comfortably too.  On another note – some parents make the switch to a bed impending the arrival of another baby. If this is your situation, make the switch at least six to eight weeks before you’re due. You want your toddler well settled in his new bed before he sees the baby taking over “his” crib.

I looked into some tips to make the change a little easier on you (and catching your “Zzz’s” at night!). By planning ahead and anticipating the trouble spots, you can make the transition trauma-free!

Talk about a bed while your child is still in the crib.
Start the conversation casually. Say something along the lines of, “You’re getting so big. Pretty soon, we’re going to have to get you a big-boy bed, like the one Mommy and Daddy sleep in.” By making the bed a symbol of growing up, you can turn the move into a celebration, and not a loss.

Make the decision.
Whether it be moving your child from a crib or your bedroom to a bed depends on a few variables, including determining if your child is ready to sleep alone. In many instances, the crib or co-sleeping is a nurturing, comfortable place, and you may need to sell your child on the idea.

Safety first!
Children who can pull themselves over a guardrail or shake the railings is a sure sign that the crib is no longer a secure place. Another signs of a toddler outgrowing the crib is when they wake up and wiggle around and hit the crib railings.

Choosing a bed.
During the changeover, take your child’s age into consideration when it comes to selecting a bed and determining its placement. To ease the transition, put your toddler’s new bed in the same place his crib used to be. Get your toddler excited about having a “big-kid bed” by taking your child with you to pick it out, if you’re buying it new, or by emphasizing its previous owner if that person is someone your child knows. For example: “This was Cousin Josh’s bed and now it’s yours! You’re almost as big as him now!” Let your toddler shop with you for new sheets featuring his favorite characters, and encourage him to show his “big-kid bed” to visiting friends and family. 



Moving rooms.
If your child will be sleeping in his own room, a low-to-the-ground toddler bed, which uses the child’s crib mattress and similar bedding is a good option. Adding railings to a toddler bed can also allow an extra element of safety between the bed and the floor.

Be firm about staying in bed.
When it’s bedtime, keep your nightly routine the same, but get your child accustomed to sleeping alone by sitting down or snuggling in the new bed with him or her and perhaps reading a few books as he or she drifts to sleep. If he seems anxious the first night, promise that you’ll check on him in a few minutes — and return when you said you would. If he gets out of bed to come find you, Dr. Shaw recommends saying calmly, “It’s time to go back to bed” and walking him back to his room. If you give your child lots of extra attention or cave in to his demands for a story or glass of water, you’re setting yourself up for weeks of bedtime chaos.

Reflect and celebrate.
Finally, remember that the switch from a crib to a bed is a milestone in your and your child’s life. It’s one more sign that your baby is growing up. It is nice to reflect on when you first set up the crib for your little one, and then go have a private celebration of your own (maybe a glass of vino!). However, stay patient throughout the transition process, and recognize that independent sleep might at first seem scary to your child. Be compassionate to your child’s needs and go with whatever works best for him or her.

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No, I did not say that!

My husband gave our daughter his old alarm clock radio so that she can wake up early and start to get ready for school, while he got ready for work. She was very excited!

The first morning, he had to wake her up. Apparently, he set the wrong clock time. He had the AM and PM switched so the radio came on at 7:30 PM that night.

The next morning, he had to wake her up again. Apparently, he forgot to turn ON the alarm clock.

The following morning he had to wake her up AGAIN (for the third time)!

“Did your alarm clock work today?”

“Yes.”

“What happened?”

The radio woke me up so I got up and turned it off. Then I went back to sleep.”

– Miranda, age 5

Editor’s Note:
Please spread the giggles by sharing your funny quotes with us!

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Haven Bella looking like a Sweet little Flower

Our family finally has its first baby girl!  My niece, Haven Bella, was born on July 8th of this year – a great birthday date to remember – 7-8-9!  We are excited to have a girl join the ‘boys club’ we had going.

Four months have now passed since the glorious date that we all ooo’d and awww’d over little Haven.  She is growing bigger by the day, and although still a ‘little baby’ her mom and dad were ready to take the big step and go out for some much needed time together – without children!

Friday was the first night that Mike and Joslyn took a breather from the kiddos and headed out for a nice relaxing dinner for two.  My nephew Justice was spending some quality time with Grandpa – and little Haven came to spend the evening in Aunt KK’s arms (that’s me!!!)  I have to admit that Aunt KK is not 100% confident with tiny babies.  Maybe I am just not completely comfortable, but at 4 months old…I thought I could handle it!  The evening (to say the least) had its ups and downs – here is how it unfolded:

6:30
Bye Bye Mommy and Daddy – Hello child that is (supposedly) about to fall asleep…

7:10
40 minutes later – after walking around the house, rocking and singing lullabies to Little Miss Haven, she FINALLY falls asleep

7:11
Carefully laying her on the couch next to me I pop in a movie – ready for an hour and half of quiet bliss

7:53
Haven is awake….Cry….Cry….Cry….

7:53:30
Aunt KK picks up Haven and tries to sooth her – more walking, rocking and singing (did I mention that I am NOT a singer?)

8:00
Dinner Time (Haven is a ‘Baby Wise Baby’ and she knows when it’s time to eat!) I pull out the Dr. Brown’s Bottle and warm the milk… 

8:05
Haven is NOT having it!  Try as I might this little girl does not love her bottle – go back to walking…

8:12
Haven is still clearly upset and not eating – I am at my wit’s end and praying for Joslyn to walk through that door…

8:13
Haven and Aunt KK say in unison:  HELLOOO MOMMY!  THANK GOD YOU ARE HERE!

Of course we all survived…and I am sure every parent (and every babysitter!) has experienced nights like this.  What are some of the tips you give your sitters – I could really use some!!!!

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le top babyThere is one similarity with all recessions – when it is over a baby boom hits!  I have 8 friends expecting and Jamee is waiting for 14…so I would say “It’s beginning to look a lot like …the end of a recession!”

This new ‘generation’ of post-recession parents has their own set of ideas.  We have a legion of moms that want to do the right thing, and to achieve that goal they are diving into a pool of information that is limitless.  It is easy to get lost in a sea of books that tell you everything you ever needed to know about child rearing.  I decided to narrow down this vast list of books on parenthood because it seems overwhelming to a new mom-to-be (I’m not there quite yet, but it pays to plan ahead!)  I sat down with a group of my “mommy” friends to quiz them about the books they have read, and which ones ended up on their ‘recommended reading’ list.  Here is the list and their reasons why they are their top choices.

belly-laughsBelly Laughs, by Jenny McCarthy: All the mommy readers of this fabulously funny book agreed on three things:

1. It will make you laugh

2. It presents the ‘real life’ details of pregnancy

3. AND…NOT TO READ THIS BOOK UNLESS YOU ARE ALREADY PREGNANT OR YOU MAY NEVER WANT TO HAVE CHILDREN!

yourpregnancy

Two books tied as a weekly guide to pregnancy:  What to Expect when you are Expecting (Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff, Sandee Eisenberg Hathaway) and Your Pregnancy – Week-by-Week (Glade B. Curtis, Judith Schuler).   Both of these books feature the week-by-week detailing of pregnancy and are written with short chapters for the mom in a hurry.what to expect

Rachael (expectant mom to Amara) says about “What to Expect…”: “My favorite part is once a week I read what stage the baby is at with my husband, to see how much she has grown, along with what symptoms I may look forward to for the month”

On Becoming Baby Wise (Gary Ezzo, Robert Bucknam) has become a very important tool for a couple of my closest mommy friends; they ALL swear by its teachings, and go “by the book”.  Baby Wise teaches parents to schedule their new baby’s routine around the parent’s daily schedule as much as possible.  This book points out that the baby is coming into your life, not the other way around.  Regarding Baby Wise Erin (mommy to Emma) has this to say:

“BabyBaby Wise Wise is great for getting your baby to sleep through the night within 8 weeks.  It is very important to stick with it and to be consistent with the scheduling.  It provides a method of feeding on a schedule, but also lets you be in control.  It creates an “eat, play sleep” routine and helps your baby to thrive.  It has worked wonders for me as a new and first time mom and I love the structure it has instilled in my daughter.  She doesn’t need to be rocked to sleep for naps or at night, all I do is lay her in her crib and she is asleep with in 5 minutes- no screaming or crying. I love it- but you have to stick with it!!!”

Val (mommy to Spencer and Grace) said this about “Baby Wise”:

“One book I swear by, Baby Wise (and all the books in the series,) is truly a routine we followed to get both kids to sleep, on their own, at a VERY early age. Most people who come over to our house are stunned and amazed at how our kids take naps and go to sleep with little or no fussing.  We literally lay them down when it’s time (this is key), and they fall asleep on their own.”

Things have changed from the days of Dr. Spock, but one thing seems to ring true throughout all of these books- scheduling is your key to a quiet first year and beyond.  What books have helped you survive this wonderful, but challenging first year?  I am sure all those expectant moms out there would love to have feedback from you ‘pros’ – after all…it IS the end of the recession!

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summercampSchool’s out and it’s almost summer. You imagine sleeping in, having a leisurely, stress-free breakfast with your loving children, then taking them to the park on a beautiful, sunny day. Or, perhaps a trip to the beach or the zoo or the local museum. But then, the first school-free Monday morning arrives. The kids wake up earlier than usual. They’re cranky. They’re fighting. They’re yelling. And the first words you hear are, “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do.” Are your kids signed up for summer camp?

Last summer, I signed up my daughter for every camp possible (or as much as I could afford anyway) to give myself some relief from the “I’m bored” syndrome. Luckily for me, the community center where most of the preschool day camps were held was just around the corner from home! So I signed her up for Dinosaur camp, Cooking camp, Cheerleading camp, Circus camp, Space camp, etc. etc. etc. She had a blast, and I had me some “Me Time” – even if it was only in the morning.

In my town, the summer camp catalog is mailed out in the spring so that parents can sign up their children early for summertime activities. These day camps are usually half a day (either morning or afternoon) for a week or even for the whole summer. There are various activities and sports, such as soccer, cheerleading, theater, bowling, art, music, dance, basketball, gymnastics, science, math… the list goes on. Our church and our preschool also offer Vacation Bible School (VBS) which is a half day, week-long summer program where the kids participate in fun and educational activities while learning about Jesus.

If you don’t know where to go to find out about summer day camps, the first stop is your local library. They will usually have a catalog or a flyer that will give you information about what’s going on in your community. You can also try your child’s preschool or your local church.

So give yourself a little break and sign up your children for summer day camps. It’s a win-win situation.

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Looks like Grandma also took a little nap!

Looks like Grandma also took a little nap!

Every year my uncle throws a start-of-summer party in Paso Robles, CA, and it’s always a good time. The week leading up to it, my husband was very sick and just didn’t have the energy to make the three hour trip. Instead of us completely canceling, my parents offered to take Lilah with them. It’s always hard for me to be away from her, but she was so excited to see her grandparents, great grandparents, and other extended family that I couldn’t say no, so I dressed her up in le•top’s Butterfly Wishes top and striped capri pants (party festive!), packed her up and met up with my parents.

Once I dropped her off I realized that my husband and I had the weekend to ourselves. We immediately made plans to go see the new Star Trek movie since we’ve only seen about two in an actual movie theater since her birth (2 ½ yrs ago). On Saturday we did the regular chores but they went so much quicker without our little one around that I had a chance to mop the entire house! I know, the exciting life of a mom, huh? We got in some cat naps, worked in the garden, saw a great movie, and zzzzz slept in zzzzz Sunday morning until 9am. I don’t think we’ve gotten so much sleep since the last time she went out of town which was close to a year ago. Sunday was pretty similar except we managed to watch two videos too. It was heavenly.

Lilah gets doggie kisses

Lilah gets doggie kisses

Don’t get me wrong, I thought about her the entire time and every time we did something that she would have normally made a funny comment about or done something crazy, we talked about it and her. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to have the time to appreciate her instead of just being in the thick of it.

I was soooooo happy for Lilah to come home on Monday. I heard all about her adventures with her grandparents, and I’m still hearing about how her grandma painted her toenails and put flowers on them. I guess she partied so hard that she slept in the middle of the party for five hours. Part of me wishes that I had been there for those fun times, but most of me is happy to have caught up on some sleep.

The five hour beauty nap, painted toenails and all!

The five hour beauty nap, painted toenails and all!

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Paulo in Popsicle Buddies from le•top's 2009 Spring Collection

Wearing Popsicle Buddies from le•top's 2009 Spring Collection

I forgot to mention…as Big Sister was graduating from Preschool, Little Brother was so elated that the only way he could show his excitement was by sleeping through the entire program! Is that the sweetest? He’s the best little brother EVER! 😉

Here is Little Brother wearing the cutest shorts and shirt set from le•top’s 2009 Spring Collection: Popsicle Buddies. I absolutely adore this line! The moment I saw it, I really, really hoped I would have a boy (I didn’t know the gender of my baby while I was pregnant). I love the subtle candy color palette and the embroidered zoo animals. And the best part of this shorts set is the monkey on the tush! (There is also a matching girls line, Ice Cream Kitty, which comes in pink.)

Don’t miss out! Check our store locator to find these sweet collections at a store near you, or click on either collection to shop!

PopsicleBuddiesIcecreamKitty

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sleeptoysStuffed animals! How many can one child get?! I used to “collect” stuffed animals as I child until I was in high school, then I had to “send them away to a farm.” Who am I kidding? I either sold them at a garage sale or donated them to the Goodwill. Of course, my daughter has TONS of stuffed animals. In this picture (when she was 3 years old), she took all her stuffed animals and lined them up. Then she asked me to take a picture of her with her “friends.” Haha! How could I resist? It was too cute to pass up.

So as much as I would love to “send one animal to the farm” each month without her knowing, I just couldn’t. She LOVES them all and named them all. In fact, she also sleeps with a different “friend” each night.

Here is this week’s line up (as far as I know):

lineup

When we go on vacation somewhere, she carefully selects one to take along on the trip. “Hmm… Mommy, which sleep toy should I bring to San Diego? Can I bring two sleep toys so that Mr. Green Bear doesn’t get lonely in case I forget him in the car?” (Adorable, right?)

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Baby's day time activity

Baby's daytime activity

A week and a half ago, at our pediatrician’s appointment, the doctor said, “Try to get your baby on a regular schedule. During the day, do daytime activities. At night, do nighttime activities, like sleeping.” Well, duh! Everyone knows that. But what really makes this statement funny is that the pediatrician has the same monotonous voice as the teacher from “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” (Bueller… Bueller…)

Baby's night time activity

Baby's nighttime activity

We really didn’t think much about what the doctor said, until around 2AM each morning (day/night?), and our son’s eyes are wide open. He sleeps pretty much all day – and I do mean ALL DAY. Right after he eats, his eyes just go on “lockdown”, and they won’t open up until the next feed. But in the middle of the night, he has chosen to explore the room in quiet wonder after being fed. Meanwhile, my husband and I just want to pass out and try to get more sleep before the sun (and our 4-year old) rises and start the busy day. Every morning at 2AM, we sit and stare at our son’s open eyes and say in monotone, “During the day, do daytime activities. At night, do nighttime activities, like sleeping,” then we crack up. Fun ritual.

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