Getting your Child to Sleep – You are NOT alone

OMG – I LOVE this story!

I am – almost – at the point I could sit outside the door, and not quite at the having to wait through the ‘sounding out’ phase (although we read FIVE books, one of them a chapter book chapter each night now).

I have, however, been through the wishing to just die, please let this child go to sleep episode over and over an over again since 2007. But there is light at the end of the tunnel – I am now sitting beside the bed, with my i-phone (in the dark), reminding her to calm down and go to sleep until she finally passes out.  Funny how that ‘forever’ can be as little as 15 and as much as 45 minutes long…

Also funny how this story does not make me depressed (there is way more yet to come), but rather relieved that others have this problem too.


Imponderables #1

You can never seem to find ALL of the monkeys from a barrel of monkeys.  I keep finding random monkeys in highly unlikely places – how do they DO that?

Why does the act of trying to cleaning a child’s room immediately trigger that child to come and drag all their toys out and play with them?

How does underwear suddenly become unacceptable overnight?  The panties she screamed to wear last night are totally shunned when getting dressed in the morning? (Good thing we have LOTS, she wears like 2-3 pairs a day.)

Why is it that the ONE thing the child wants at bedtime is always something that was left at school, or over grandma’s house?

Why does she always shut her door when she gets up in the middle of the night?  It’s handy, mind you, for waking me up/telling me she is up, but if she was quiet, she could get into all kinds of things – even rummage in the candy.  But no, she slams the door shut as she heads towards the bathroom at 2am….

Just thought I’d share. These kinds of questions keep piling up….

Random Tips I had to Learn the Hard Way – #2

So – more random tips I have gathered from hard (or embarassing) experience:

Peer Pressure WORKS – part #1:  Little kids want to be like big kids – leverage this as needed.  WST was slow to transfer from bottles to any other drinking vessel.  (seh was slow to transfer from mom’s nipple to bottle too.) We tried LOTS of different types of sippy cup lids – trying to make them as much like her bottle nipples as possible.  Then her daycare told us – “solvi drinks just fine from a sippy cup here.”  Excited – we asked what kind of cup, only to find that it was, of course, the cheapest, rigid plastic sippy cup spout around. Nothing like her bottles.  BUT, everyone in the ‘big kids room’ was using them and WST wanted to be in the big kids room – SO WST happily drink from the same type of cups as the big kids.  Whee – peer pressure works!

ALL Sippy/Lidded Cups LEAK – ALL: No matter what the manufacturer says – left on their side on the couch or upside down on the floor, a puddle, however slow, will occur (especially if you sit on them). Some kids skip the sippy cup stage and go stright to regular ‘open’ cups and don’t find this out. [Open cups in general were very exciting for all of us as WST likes to ‘talk with her hands’ while eating  regardless of what is in her hands at the time (this is getting better).]  Some parents only allow their kids to drink in certain acceptable places – the child drinks, finishes, drink/cup is put away, and child goes on to other things.  This is not US.  As WST is and has always been a “snacker” – we are constantly worried about whether or not she has had enough calories/fluids.  We  allow drinking in almost any room, the car, outside, – and while in motion between these places. So cups with lids were a MUST (and still are most of the time). In trying to get WST to give up bottles, we experimented with “leakproof” sippy cups. They were not – not a one.  If you allow roaming drinking, you must always be asking yourself (and each other), “Where is her cup?”  Especially if it it is something other than water – as it likely cannot be ‘left out’ and needs to be disposed of before she finds it again if it has been ‘forgotten’ for too long.

Physics Works with ‘Straw-Cups’:  Straw goes into lid AFTER lid goes on cup – EVERY time!  Having read that sippy cups were bad for the teeth, and that ‘straw cups’ were preferable, we patiently moved WST towards using straws.  Once she had figured out the suction process, we bought her some “lidded” straw cups (see above for why lids.) Then each of her parents, in turn, had to learn the hard way that physics works – if you put the straw in the lid and then try to snap the lid on a cup full of liquid, liquid will shoot out the straw, making a mess.  Each of her parents seems to forget this about once every 1-2 months.  Sad isn’t it?

Clothing Cautions for 2-3 Year Olds: Buy overalls, one-piece pajamas, rompers, and even button/snap pants/shorts at your own risk. Toilet training happens at some point between 2-3 years old.  It is likely a several month process (if not longer).  During that time period, you want clothes to be dead easy to get off. Soft elastic bands on stretch pants are best. Honest.  And you want LOTS of them – as accidents WILL happen, and you will go through 2-3 pairs of pants a day at random points.  Silly us, we have roughly a dozen pieces of clothing for this age that she will likely never wear – as she will be too big for them by the time she can learn to take them off in time to go potty.

Peer Pressure WORKS – part #2:  If your kid wants to be like the other kids, having them in daycare from ages 2-3 will likely ease/speed potty training.  WST evinced an interest in ‘going potty’ from an early age – likely because her daycare uses an open-door potty policy. [This is somewhat startling for parents walking in the door – presented with random naked toddler butts etc. without warning.] We got her a potty early as a place to put her when we noticed her straining in the bathtub.  She liked it, and used it randomly for about 6 months. We then started a campaign of potty as soon as you wake up. That was going well, until winter, when you have to get naked to pee if you are wearing one piece pajamas (see above cautions). Then we went back to random – although we got “potty before bath” down pretty well.  At 2 and a half, we started to try to be more methodical and consistant about “use the potty’ – taking predictable accidents in stride.  At 2 and a half, WST decided on a potty boycott at home, and eventually, at school as well. Screams and tears greeted any attempt to put her on a potty at home – she simply siad no at school and stayed with the diaper kids when the others went potty. (Our theory is that she didn’t like accidents and decided that diapers prevented accidents.)  After about 2 weeks of this, her daycare teacher said, “Send me extra clothes and panties, I’m ready to potty train her.” With some trepidation (and a star chart at home), we did. One week (ONE WEEK) later, we had only one accident a day and a kid who never protested the potty at all. Now, one month later, I haven’t had an accident in 2 weeks. Wow. Peer pressure/example works, again! Oh, and experienced day care teachers KNOW what they are doing – far more so than 1st-time helicopter parents fumbling around…

Lastly, Old Fashioned Cloth Diapers Never Seem to Become Obsolete:  In my newborn post on “basic needs” I recommended cotton cloth diapers as superior burp cloths. Ok, I don’t need them for that anymore.  They do, however, seem to come in handy all the time – for spills, faces, hands, bibs, headscarves, awnings, baby doll cothes, “just in case” pads, emergency placements, and even “bases” for playing Pussy-in-the-Corner or Fox and Chickens. I had a dozen originally. I’m down to like 8 or 9.  Buy them – you won’t regret it.

The Mom With 1000 Faces

So this morning I was 3 entities: “Mommy!” and “Wheezie?” (from Dragon Tales), and “The Man in the Yellow Hat.” Today was the first time being TMITYH – but WST wanted to be Curious George, so I got to be his color-obsessed keeper/friend.

In the past few weeks, I have been, that I can recall:

  • DaddyO, DaddyN, WST herself;
  • The Big Pig, The Big Wolf,  a princess, a ‘mommy princess,’ and a scary monster; 
  • a Dragon mommy, Astrid and Toothless (from How to Train Your Dragon); 
  • Grover (and Grover’s mommy), the Count, Elmo, Zoe, Big Bird, Snuffy, and Cookie Monster;
  • Caillou’s mommy, Rosie, Caillou, and Gilbert;
  • Zack (until it was realized I was a girl – then Wheezie), Emmy, Ord, and Cassie’s mommy;
  • and most recently – Katy’s Mommy AND Lou at the same time (from the Library book Katy Did It).

And that’s the ones I can recall off the top of my head. I have learned to answer to almost anything, and to change personas at  breakneck speed.  “You be the big pig and I’ll be the little pig, and … no, you be the big wolf and I’ll be the little wolf… and we’re BOTH nice wolfs…”

I had a very rich fantasy life as a childand I’ve always been someone who imagines “what if” even today as an adult. I find these activities fun and fascinating, if occasionally a little bewlidering or challenging…

What do parents without this kind of background do? How do they cope?  And what do you do if you are a kid without parents willing to put on a new persona every 5-10 seconds? With parents who can’t or won’t pretend…?

Random Important Tips for Expectant or New Mothers

Ok, random list of stuff that has turned out to be REALLY important/or valuable info. This is not all of them – just the ones in my head today:

1) When diapering a baby, run your finger around the leg holes to make sure all the little flappy bits are outside.  A friend told me this at my baby shower – I thought, “right – ok, thanks – whatever.”  My child had loose, breast-fed poop for most of a year. When I did not do this, we had nasty major GROSS leakages. When I did do this we had FAR fewer.  Also less irritation on her bottom.

2) Buy at least a dozen (I got 2 dozen) PLAIN, basic, thin, white cloth diapers – like you grandmother used to use (Gerber sells them, I found them at Target). Not for use as diapers, but for messes and spills of al lother kinds. They are soft and absorbant and can have the daylights bleached out of them. They have proven invaluable for spit ups and car throw ups, chocolate issues, protective padding, emergency nose wipes, etc. I can’t remember who recommended this – but I knew it before I got pregnant and it was on my shower wish list.

3) Seriously, get it done (whatever it is) before the baby is born. 

  • Major remodeling/decoration of the house – I remodeled her room for the 5 months before she was born. I did not feel done at the time she was born. I kept trying to finish it when I should have been resting, relaxing, or sleeping.
  • Sewing – Thank goodness for my mom.  I had all these plans to sew – and they simply did not happen.  She sews for me…do not buy lots of fabric planning cute clothes unless you are a seriously professional seamstress who can whip stuff out in an hour or less.  BTW – if you can’t whip it out in an hour or less, it is not worth it, she’ll grow out of it in 3-6 months.
  • Housecleaning – I cleaned the entire house, vaccuming, dusting and polishing things that had been unvacuumed/polished/dusted in over a year.  My thought was, “I have no idea when this will get done next.”  And the answer was, “In over a year or at random points or when someone outside the family does it.”

4) Go to the bathroom first.  Seriously.  When relieved of child, for any reason, go to the bathroom – even if you went only an hour ago.  Keep your bladder as empty as possible at all times.  Do not ever put it off. Because you never know when you will be trapped by a sleeping baby/toddler – that you DO NOT want to wake up –  for the next hour, or two, or four. And your husband (or other support person) cannot do it FOR you (as he has so often pointed out).  Corollary – after the bathroom, prioritize what you do next based on what someone else cannot easily do for you.  Like change your underwear, or take a shower, or eat.  Sorting laundry, reading mail, tidying a room, writing thank you notes… all can be done by someone else. Don’t get distracted by lesser stuff.  Change your underwear because it is danged awkward for someone else to do it for you.

5) Bite the bullet – spend the dough – give in to the need for convenience.  The two best things I did for my sanity, family and work were to buy a 3rd car and pay for monthly parking right next to my building at work.  [Your specific examples may differ.] Prior to my pregnancy, I proudly carpooled as much as absolutely possible – 3 adults drove to work in 2 cars and only one paid for convenient parking.  Before she was born, I admitted that I was not going to be able to continue that with daycare drop off and pick up involved, and keep my (or my husbands) sanity as well.  So I spend the money and dropped out of the “green” commuter program. Trust me.  I am MUCH saner. I still recycle ‘tho, and use green cleaning products….so I’m not like totally a bad person, right?

More like this when it comes up – but these have been banging around in my head for a while..thought I should get them ‘on paper.’

WCT is scary

Just so we’re all clear…we are beginning to be a little weirded out by our 20 month old who can sing the ABCs quite clearly and count up to eleven.  Not just recite up to eleven, but move objects from one place to another while stating a number for each object as she moves it.

Our under two year old who uses prepositional phrases like “Jump on the rug,” and idoms like “Where’d the panda bear go?”

But still won’t sleep through the night by herself, and is still clinging to her last 2 bottles per day.

Who went to the ocean for the first time ever last week and will tell you – spontaneously: “Ocean – [WST] ocean, sandbox, swimming.”  Who has grasped the concept of “home” (“Daddy home,” “Uncle [Lamont] all gone – Uncle [Lamont] his home.”)

Who can clearly say almost all the correct syllables to “Ring around the Rosey, Pocket full of (osey), Ashes, Ashes, we all fall down,”  and invites you to “dance” with her.

Who has begun rejecting the bath, and picking out her own clothes and shoes. Who in 4 short unstructured pool sessions, is able to put her mouth under water and not end up coughing and gagging at least 50% of the time, who can slip under the water and not emerge crying, or gagging (although clearly non-plussed).

Remind me again – was it just a little over a year ago that I was DESPerate for her to finally get beyond the cry, eat, poop stage?  Ye GADS we can’t keep up! 

Welcome to the roller coaster – be sure to put on your seat belts  – ALL of them!

Words update – March 2009

What we are doing now is communicating – and all that implies.  WCB is beginning to state opinions “no, mama, no!”  and hold grudges against the person who made her mad or didn’t listen to her (grudges take the form of pushing you away for an undefined amount of time, so far no more than 15 minutes, and often less than 5).

Here is a list of her expressive vocabulary at this time (to the best of my recollection):

  • Animals (14): Kitty, dog, bear, duck, hippo, bird, giraffe, frog, tiger, monkey, armadillo, mouse, moose, turtle.  (bunny, bee, chicken, dino, lion, cow, & gorilla have happened, but not reliably) Can you tell we read a lot of animal books?
  • Things(15): ball, box, star,  baby, book,  tree, bath, marker,  pillow,  wagon, car, umbrella, door, potty, stool, balloon, bubbles. (flower, blocks, moon,  blanket, & amber, have happened, but not reliably)
  • Clothes(5): sock & socks, shoe, hat, coat. (pants, shirt, diaper have happened, but not reliably)
  • Food words(12): Cheese, apple, bottle, cup, water, fish, o’s (cheerios), puffs, banana, chair (highchair only), bread, grapes,
  • Body words (13): Toe, eye, ear, nose, mouth, teeth, belly, elbow, knee, back, head, burp (used for all percussive body sounds), & “boh-boh” which is an all encompassing “diaper related body parts” word she seems to have come up with on her own – or at daycare. I think she also knows butt – as in wiggle butt.
  • Expressions (9): No, Nah, Yes, uh huh, ow, uh oh, yea, bonk, bop
  • Abstract concepts (7): Up, down, upside down, (what’s) this, (what’s) that, more, hot, cold, red, blue, and “poo poo” – meaning, generally, “something in my diaper…maybe.”
  • Verbs (2): dance, bite, eat (hand sign only)
  • Names (7+): Mama, Dada, Elmo, George (as in Curious), Pooh, Melissa, Ruth, Eva (and reportedly other kids’ names at at school). She has picked up names for Uncle L and Auntie K, and we are working on grandma and grandpa, but have nothing reliable so far.

So that’s like 90 word-sounds she makes that we can decypher, and  so many more that we cannot yet sort out.  And that is up from less than 10 in TWO MONTHS!  Somewhere, I missed that it would be this fast in the childrearing books.

Her receptive vocabulary and understanding is far more advanced. We are starting to be able to use LOGIC in in our conversations with her.  “Shoes & socks?”  “NO shoes!”  “You have to put on shoes and sock to go see grandma – shoes and socks to see grandma?”   [Big smile and nod] “Yes!”

And she can identify the letter O in her books.  Thanks Cheerios!