Sunday, November 29, 2009

Index: Baby Summary

McKenna
Brinley

Newborn Weeks are on Newborn Summary

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Blog...Reflections

I am not really one to celebrate "blogiversaries." Not that I am against it at all, it just doesn't really occur to me. I was just thinking that I started this blog in November two years ago. I looked what date my first post was, and I see it was November 20. SO...too late to celebrate on the exact day, but we are within the same month. I thought I would tell you a bit about the beginnings of this blog and take a little trip down memory lane. I know some of you have been around since the beginning, and others just found this blog today. Here is the story...

A little less than 2.5 years ago, I decided to look up information on Babywise online. I have no idea why it never occurred to me to do this before that, but it never had. Kaitlyn was two months old. It started with me searching for information about reflux since she had reflux, but I found that none of it really was applicable to me since I did Babywise. I wasn't having problems like others did out there. So I started looking around for Babywise and reflux.

Boy was I surprised! I basically only found negative information out there! I didn't understand that; I had never had issues with Babywise before. Through all of my searching, however, I did find a Yahoo! group for Babywise moms with babies born about the time of Kaitlyn. I was excited to be able to talk to other moms who did Babywise.

I quickly discovered that I was one of only a few moms who had more than one child, so rather than asking questions, I was answering them. Over the next five months, I started to answer the same questions over and over and over again. Any of you who have spent time in an online community know that is common--whether Babywise or not. I started saving some of the "stock" answers on my computer and would just paste the answers as the questions got asked again.


In the meantime, several of my friends started getting into blogging. They were just doing it to stay connected and keep each other updated on their lives. I thought that looked fun and started doing it, too. I started a family blog. About a month and a half later, it occurred to me one night that I should just create a Babywise blog and publish my "stock" answers on there. That was November 20, 2007. I started with a post about me, then over the next few days compiled and posted basic, common answers. These included information about reflux, swaddling, CIO, consistent schedules, and waketime when baby wakes early.

I put a few posts up, then the holidays came and I got busy with all that entails. About a month later, I remembered about my new little blog and came to check on it. To my surprise, I had some comments on it! As I checked out the comments, I saw most were from a gal I now know to be a Babywise dissenter. She started asking innocent questions, which I answered, and soon discovered she had much to say :). At that point, I decided I had better stick to this blog.

I didn't want all of the information online to be negative. I wanted a positive place for parents to come and find answers to their difficulties. I wanted them to know they were not alone, and that they can get through it. I wanted to help people, because people like Tulipgirl were out there putting forth much energy into bashing Babywise.

So, I started publishing like crazy! I let my Yahoo! group friends know that I had this blog. I then searched out another online community (then known as Mayas Mom) and let them know about it. I fell into a groove of publishing. At first, I tried to just publish things extremely pertinent to Babywise. Over time, the blog has grown into a one-stop location for parents who follow Babywise. I try to cover parenting in all its realms, from diapers, to gas pain, to educating children.

Before I started this blog, when you googled "babywise," you basically found nothing but negative information. Now when you google "babywise," this blog is on the first page! And here we are today, two years later. Funny to think that it really started up thanks to a major Babywise basher. How sad she will be to know that she is what really got this going :) Funny how out of adversity, great things can happen :)

Reader Thanks Yous

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought I would post some of the reader thank-yous. I really appreciate all of the thank-yous. They make all of the effort worth it.


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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Our Favorite Attitude...

Should be gratitude! I love this saying. This year as I think about Thanksgiving and being grateful, my thoughts turn not to being grateful for my many blessings and how many wonderful things I have in my life. That is all nice and good. I am grateful for my husband and for my children. I am grateful for my many family and friends who support me. I am grateful to have a nice house to live in. I am grateful to have food to feed my children. I could list on and on the many, many blessings I have in my life. Yes, I am grateful for them.

But this year, I feel a gratitude for something deeper than that. Although challenging, I feel grateful for the difficulties in life the Lord has given me to help me be a stronger person. I feel grateful that He has equipped me with the ability to feel true empathy. This is something I could not be able to do without having experienced the pain first; I am grateful that I can help in small ways to help others through their own pain. I know I can't do much, but I can do something. It is hard to be grateful for the difficulties in life, but they are what make us stronger and better people.

The Lord has taught me much in my short time on this Earth so far. It honestly makes me a little nervous for the future ahead :). But I know that He can and will help me through it all, and I am grateful for that.

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving (even if you don't celebrate it). Take the time to be grateful for all you have in your life.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Not Perfect

I had the thought to write a post stating that my family is not perfect. A recent question from a blog reader has confirmed to me that writing this post would be a good idea. So here it is! Let me state: I am not perfect. My children are not perfect. My family is not perfect.

We are people, too. We all make mistakes. I have definitely had struggles with my children. If I had never had to problem solve, I never would have been able to write this blog! All of my many posts are derived from personal experience. If I don't know about it, I don't write about it. I might write to mention something exists, but I make it clear I have no experience, and I also turn to people I know who do have experience (examples are twins and low milk supply). My posts on the various challenges of parenthood are evidence that things are not the picture of perfection here.

There are some things about me that make things overall pretty easy for me..."easy" so far as parenting can be easy. The job of mom is a hard one. It requires a lot of work, effort, creativity, energy, patience, love, time, etc. etc etc. But there are things that make the whole thing a job that I love more than any other job I have had.
  1. Patience: When it comes to my children, I am a really patient person. It is a quality that my father has, his father has, his father had...and I am fortunate enough to have inherited that in application to my children, also.
  2. Foresight: I have an ability to see the effects of something long down the line. I can see how one decision will impact life long down the line. This is beneficial in avoiding problems. It is also beneficial when things don't go well. McKenna wakes early from a nap. I don't automatically freak out and start worrying about what to do. I look at the big picture and can see that some disruptions aren't going to ruin life as we know it.
  3. Understanding: At this point, I have a good understanding of the theory behind what I am doing. I know why I am doing what I am doing and understand that how we get there doesn't matter...just that we get there.
  4. Problem Solving: At the risk of sounding immodest, I am good at problem solving. When problems arise (and they do), I quickly come up with solutions that work. I think that the fact that I can help people problem solve when I don't know the child or the entire situation shows I have an ability to problem solve. I don't, however, think this is something that I can boast of myself. I fully believe I get lots of guidance from the Lord in this. Consistent prayer and scripture study help me be closer to Him and more able to problem solve.
  5. Humility: I am fully willing to take note of what I have done to cause the problem at hand. I have written posts on this topic before; many (if not most or basically all) problems are caused by something the parents are or are not doing. When something comes up, I look to myself first. What am I doing to contribute to the problem?
  6. Perseverance: I know that it is going to take time to solve problems. They won't be fixed immediately--especially discipline problems. I am very willing to give time and effort into something.
  7. Realistic-ness: That is now a word :) I know children are not perfect any more than any other person. I don't expect my children to behave perfectly. I know there will be times they disobey. It is part of being alive. People mess up. Think of how many mistakes you make in a day. Expect your child to make much more. You have had more time to work on things.
  8. Experience: Not only do I have the experience of my own kids, but that of helping other moms with their kids. I hear about what works and what doesn't. It counts for something. Keep in mind that Brayden took 45-60 minute naps until he was 6.5 months old. He didn't sleep from bedtime to morning time until he was 6 months old. That is how it went for me as a "first-timer." If I had him today, I think things would be different because of what I know now.
  9. Understanding: I get to know my child's unique personality and take note of what that child does and does not like. Does she like socks? Does she like it warm or cool? Does she like it dark? What are her sleep cues (if she has them)?
  10. Logic: Whenever I have a problem, I take a step back and think, "What would I tell myself if I asked myself this question on my blog?" Really, I think that. When McKenna started the witching hour, at first I worried. I didn't know what was wrong and what I should do. I stepped back and thought about it from the perspective of me as "blog lady" (um...some readers told me they call me that). You know what? I had an answer. Not only that, I had answered that exact question two days earlier. At this point, I have answered just about every general question that is out there (at least it seems like it), so I have the answer in my head somewhere.

I think I have good kids, but I don't have perfect kids. And I am by no means perfect. Things always look much better from the outside looking in. Please don't ever get discouraged as you read this blog! I write it to uplift and help you, not to make you feel like you are a failure or not good enough. I think it is always good to keep working at improving yourself, but also love yourself for you. Make goals to improve what needs to be improved, and congratulate yourself for the talents you have.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

McKenna Baby Summary: Week 34

Another good week overall. There was a bit of fussiness, which coincides with Wonder Weeks for her adjusted age. This is a time when they say baby starts to realize mommy can walk out of the room and leave baby behind and might be slightly fussy. We had some of that this week, but nothing bad.

NURSING
Things are still good in the nursing department.

SLEEPING
McKenna slept well all week long. She is getting even better about moving around now that she is in footed pajamas instead of the sleep sack. When she is awake and playing, she will roll to get from point A to point B, which I find quite funny.

SOLIDS
I didn't introduce any new foods this week. I did make a bunch of prunes, though. Prunes are not as easy as I thought they would be. I first tried them in my inexpensive little mini-mixer, but it didn't do a good job of mixing it up, so I moved on to the Cuisinart. It does a great job (but is a lot more of a clean-up, so I avoid using it when I can). I also didn't add enough water, which I didn't realize until they didn't freeze solid. Despite that, she likes them, and making them is a lot cheaper than buying them.

FINGER FOODSShe is getting better and better about eating finger foods. She does a nice chewing motion. My head is telling me to let her have more real finger foods (as opposed to the kind that disolve by Gerber), but I am just cautious. I think once she is 8 months old, I will be a little more daring. 8 months just sounds older. But in my head, she is still 6 months old :).

SIPPY CUPI haven't been great about being consistent with the sippy cup with her. This week, I started giving it each day, and she got really good at it! I also used a different cup because I couldn't find the one I usually use. I used an Avent Sippy Cup. This is the kind Brayden learned on, as well. She seems to prefer it. Either that or she coincidentally started getting better at the same time she started using the Avent sippy.

OUR SCHEDULE
8:05 AM--wake, nurse, solids (prunes or peaches and oatmeal)
9:35-9:40 AM--nap
12:15 PM--wake, nurse, solids (green veggie and applesauce. Sometimes mix in blueberries)
2:00 PM--nap
4:30 PM--wake, nurse, solids (yellow veggie and bananas or pears)
6:30 PM--nap
7:45ish PM--wake, nurse, PJs, story, bed

HELPFUL BOOKS/WEBSITES
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Monday, November 23, 2009

Potty Training and Your Routine

As many parents begin the potty training process, they come to realize that certain things in the daily routine are difficult while potty training. I think the biggest concern is over independent playtime (room time). Second would be nap time. This post outlines several options for making this process easier on everyone. This post is in no way exhaustive. By that, I mean that this post has some ideas for you. They may or may not work for you. Take these ideas and modify them for your family and your situation. These ideas can get your imagination rolling.

USE DIAPERS FOR SLEEPING
I did this with both Brayden and Kaitlyn when first potty training. You can put your child in diapers or pull-ups for sleeping. A child can be daytime trained before nighttime/sleeping trained. Remember to think of potty training as a learning process, not a learning event--just like learning to walk.

As you get your child up and find the diaper clean and dry, you can switch him over to underwear. Brayden moved to underwear during naps within a week of starting potty training (age three), while Kaitlyn is over a month in for official potty training and still wears diapers during naps and sleeping. She sometimes wakes from naps clean and dry, sometimes not. She isn't consistent enough to be ready to move away from diapers yet (at least for me).

Another option is to use underwear or training pants in conjunction with the plastic cover like often used in cloth diapering.

TAKE A FEW DAYS OFF
I did this with Kaitlyn. Our first day of official potty training, we didn't do independent playtime. We just spent the day together with her by my side (except for sleeping). At first, I expected her to be able to hold it as long as Brayden. I didn't consciencely have that thought; I just realized after a couple of accidents that I was doing that. So I had her use the potty every thirty minutes. After a couple of days, she was able to hold it longer as she got used to not wearing a diaper.

We did spent the day together again for the next couple of days. After that, she was able to hold it longer and I was more aware of her individual potty needs and the times of day she really needed to use the potty to avoid accidents. We then went back to our normal routine.

KEEP POTTY BY CHILD
I like to use a small potty chair (although we will also sit on a big potty randomly). I like the small potty chair because:
  1. We can take it with us on road trips/vacations (like camping).
  2. We can haul it around the house with us so the potty is never far away.
  3. The child can get off and on by themselves.

While my child is first learning to use the potty, I like to carry the potty chair with us around the house. I put it on a towel so drips and spills land on that and not the floor (this is a necessity with a boy and a nicety with a girl). A lot of times when they are first learning, when they realize they need to use the potty, they need it immediately.

With Brayden, I put the potty chair in independent playtime with him. He would use the potty, then come tell me and we would clean it out. We did this during the initial learning phase, then we graduated to just having him come out to use the potty when needed.

USE POTTY AT REGULAR TIMES
I have my children use the potty at regular times of day whether they "need" to or not. Brayden (4.5) is old enough to regulate himself well, but I still have three times of day he must use the potty:

  1. In the morning
  2. Before rest time (previously known as nap time ;) )
  3. Before bed

He will use the potty at other times of day, but he does it as needed. I have him go before sleeping so he doesn't need to get up during the sleep time.

Kaitlyn also has regular times, but I have her go more often than Brayden. As she has gotten better about recognizing when to go, I have cut back on required times. Here are her current required times at 2.5:

  1. In the morning (I will note that for us, in the morning is before bath. It is a good idea to have your child go potty before bath no matter what time of day it is at)
  2. After bath
  3. Before independent playtime
  4. After each meal (eating fires up the digestive tract, so it is a normal time to need to use the bathroom)
  5. Before nap (after lunch and before nap is the same time)
  6. After nap
  7. Before bed
  8. Any time we leave the house

You can see that as they get older, I hand more control over to the child. I will ask Brayden if he needs to use the bathroom before we go somewhere. We never have had issues with him about needing to go in the car or in stores. If he was that way, I would require he use the bathroom before we left rather than simply asking. Sometimes he goes, sometimes he doesn't.

LEAVE DOOR OPEN DURING INDEPENDENT PLAYTIME
For Kaitlyn, rather than leaving the potty in the room with her, I leave the door open. We recently moved, so now the bathroom is right next to the room where we do independent playtime. In our old house, it was down the hall and around the corner. Since the bathroom is right there, I prefer to leave the potty in the bathroom.

I tried having her come out and tell me when she needed to go while leaving the door closed, but for some reason, with the door closed, she wouldn't come out (even though she is able to open it just fine). With the door open, she comes out, uses the bathroom, then comes and tells me. She is good about staying in the room with the door open, so be sure you have that level of obedience before trying this.

Another option is to use diapers during independent playtime.

EXPECT TESTING OF BOUNDARIES
Potty training hands a measure of control over to your child. If you want your child to wear underwear during independent playtime, then you have to allow your child the freedom to come out and use the bathroom if needed. Many children will test the boundaries of this new freedom. Don't get angry and don't stress out that all of the previous obedience training in your child's life to this point is now being washed away. It is totally normal for children to test boundaries. Just patiently help your child learn appropriate use of this new freedom. You will eventually get there.

When Brayden first started wearing underwear for naps, I just expected that he would come out of nap time to use the bathroom if needed. One day I went to wake him up and found he had an accident. He was asleep when I went in and I felt terrible that he had slept in his accident! I talked to him and told him if he needed to use the bathroom during nap, he could come out and use the potty. His eyes literally got big.

He spent several days trying this new privilege out. There were a couple of days he literally came out every 15 minutes to "use the potty." We worked through it and he was soon using the privilege responsibly.

The level of boundary testing will depend on your child. Brayden is by nature much more of a boundary tester than Kaitlyn, so he really tested it, while Kaitlyn has yet to (though I am sure now that I typed that she will start next week ;) ).

CONCLUSION
Potty training has a tendency to stress parents out. Try to just relax and take things as they come. I am much more relaxed with Kaitlyn than I was Brayden, and potty training is no longer something I dread. Remember your goals and tailor the process to your family's needs.

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Friday, November 20, 2009

Toddler Summary: 2.5

While I have done summaries for every week of McKenna's life, I haven't ever done them for Brayden or Kaitlyn. I have thought it would be nice, even for me to review as McKenna reaches those ages. So, now that Kaitlyn is 2.5, here is a summary of what is going on in her life right now.

SLEEPING
Kaitlyn is still sleeping well :) Kaitlyn has always been a good sleeper and likes to sleep. Sometimes she puts on a show that she doesn't want to sleep, but it is simply out of copying Brayden (4.5), not out of her pure desire. She goes to bed about 8 PM and then I wake her around 7:15. On the weekends, I let her sleep until about 8 AM and she is still sleeping. I have to get her up at 7:15 on week days so I can get her fed before I get McKenna up.

For naps, she goes to bed at 1 and I wake her up at 4:30.

Kaitlyn is not allowed to get out of bed on her own, still, which isn't a problem because she almost always sleeps until I wake her up.

EATING
Right now, Kaitlyn is going through a picky phase. When I was pregnant with McKenna, I didn't eat much of anything, and Kaitlyn closely watches what I eat and eats the same. So she got quite picky while I was pregnant. Since McKenna was born, she has gotten much better, but has been pickier the last couple of weeks.

TEETHING
Kaitlyn's 2 year old molars are finally coming in. They started in September. She has two in and two on the way. The poor girl has been teething for 2.5 solid months! She has been a trooper, though. It can really affect her appetite, and I suspect the teething is contributing to her pickiness in eating.

POTTY TRAININGWe have been potty training for a month and a half now. She was pee trained before McKenna was born, but unable to get on the potty by herself or pull her pants off and on, so I went back to diapers since I nursed most of the day (or so it seemed!). When we went back to panties, she did just fine. She isn't poop trained, but is pee trained. She is hit and miss with the poop. She has told me many times that she doesn't know how to poop in the potty. She tries, but hasn't got it and I haven't yet figured out what is best for her. With Brayden, it was best if I left the room. I haven't figured out how to best help Kaitlyn yet, but I am not stressed out about it. I know it will come some day.

DISCIPLINE
Kaitlyn is very obedient and obeys my voice well. For her, time outs seem to work best when punishment is needed.

SIBLINGS
Kaitlyn is great with her siblings. Now that McKenna is old enough to play with toys, I have noticed something interesting. Kaitlyn has always been great about sharing with Brayden and other children, but when it comes to McKenna, she can be quite possessive of her toys. I tell her she needs to share, and she will, but not happily. It is something we are working on, but I know that since she already has the capacity to share, she will get it soon. Brayden was a terrible sharer, and he learned, so I know she can :)

She and Bradyen are best friends. They have lots of fun together.

SOCIALIZING
I don't think 2 year olds have a great need for socializing with other children their age. It isn't bad to do every so often, but they don't have social needs like preschoolers do. They need to socialize with parents. If they have siblings, that is great. They can socialize with them, too. But I don't worry about fulfilling social needs of a two year old. She does play with other children weekly. I supervise so I can make sure she behaves appropriately and also make sure there aren't things going on I don't want her picking up on.

OUR SCHEDULE
Most times are approximate.

7:15--wake, eat breakfast. Take a bath and get ready for the day.
8:10--sibling playtime with Brayden
9:30--independent playtime
11:00--TV time
11:30--learning time
12:00--lunch. Then freetime
1:00--nap
4:30--wake. Free time. We often do table time activities during this time.
5:00-5:30--dinner followed by family time.
7:30--start getting ready for bed.
8:00--in bed

We also do a daily chore each day. The exact time varies and is based on what the chore is. For example, Mondays she helps put her laundry away. This happens in the evening since I spend the day washing the laundry. Tuesdays, we dust. We do this in the morning hours.

GOOD BOOKS

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Recommendation: How The Queen Cleans Everything

This might seem a bit off topic, but I wanted to recommend a cleaning book I love. It is called How The Queen Cleans Everything by Linda Cobb. This book is very much related to parenting! It includes tips for cleaning up lots of different things, from crayon to grape juice. She also has many recipes for making your own cleaners. There are also many tips for making cleaning easier on you.

The tips are great. I have used them a lot and reference them often when friends tell me about their latest cleaning difficulty.

The cleaning products are wonderful. There are so many benefits to making your own cleaners. One of my favorite reasons is the money you save. The best one in my mind is that they are safe for your children and pets. I appreciated this when my dog walked up and licked the window cleaner as I was washing the outside windows. I appreciated it even more when Kaitlyn walked up and licked a window I had just cleaned :). I also love that my children can help me clean because I don't worry about them touching chemicals.

Do they work? Yes! They do. I find her cleaning mixtures work just as well if not better than most chemical cleaners. Most of them use water, vinegar, and baking soda.

I also love her tips for cleaning house. She breaks things down into manageable goals. She has good ideas for what to do each month to keep everything clean and keep maintenance as low as possible.

Here is what is included in this book:

CLEANING THE HOUSE

  • Stain removers
  • Cleaning products
  • Bathrooms
  • Kitchens
  • Cleaning floors
  • Carpets
  • Upholstery
  • Lampshades
  • Wood
  • Dust Bunnies
  • Walls
  • Oder Control
  • Cleaning Kids stuff and the messes they make
  • Pets
  • Marble
  • Cleaning for guests

YEAR ROUND

  • Cleaning tips for each month of the year

LAUNDRY

  • Washing machine
  • Care labels
  • Dry cleaning
  • Laundry sorting
  • Soap
  • Spots
  • Bleach
  • Colors running
  • Water softeners
  • Fabric softeners
  • Drying
  • Folding
  • Ironing
  • Starch
  • Work clothes
  • Perspiration stains
  • Socks and panty hose
  • Hats and handbags
  • Swimming
  • Shoes
  • Ties
  • Beads and sequins
  • Preserving heirlooms
  • Furs
  • Sheepskin
  • Towels
  • Bedding
  • Window treatments
  • Table linens
  • Stain removal guide
  • Cleaning guide for fabrics
  • Commercial stain removers

OUTDOORS

  • Cement, driveways, and patios
  • Windows
  • Decks
  • Patio furniture
  • Grill
  • Pest control
  • Flowers
  • Paint

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Flags
  • Electronic equipment
  • Pictures and paintings
  • Fireplace
  • Fire damage
  • Air ducts
  • Water damage
  • mold and mildew

This is such a great resource. I recommend it so often to people at random that I thought I should tell all of you about it at once!



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