Tuesday, January 31, 2012

McKenna Summary: 2.75 Years

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McKenna is now 2.5 plus four months old--that is 2.75 years old! Crazy!

This month was a crazy one that revolved around her medically. Let's start there.

EAR INFECTIONS
I took her in for her routine every three week check to see if her ears were clear or not after the super strong antibiotics we used and nope--they were still not clear. Her doctor referred me to an ENT, and the next day there I was. She looked at McKenna's ears and strongly suggested tubes. She said she honestly thought McKenna would end up there anyway. We could try steriods, but the side effects of steroids were not desirable especially considering that my husband and I were going out of town to Hawaii (yay!) for a week. I didn't want her turning into a terror while we were gone. I felt good about the tubes, so that is where we went.

The next morning, bright and early, my husband and I were at the hospital with McKenna. She must have been in pain because the night before, my husband told her the next morning we were going to take her to get her ears fixed. When we woke her up at 6:45 the next morning, she jumped out of bed excited to fix her ears. 

At the hospital, we changed her into her gown. The procedure was simple, but you are always nervous. Brayden had surgery as a 3.5 year old (trigger finger), and I was glad I knew what to expect since things were moving so quickly. She was good. When the anesthesiologist came to get her, she walked right out with him and into the OR with no fear or tears. 

While she was in the operating room, the ENT called from the OR, which about scared me to death. He said her tonsils were very swollen, full of bacteria, and full of food. He suggested he remove them while he was in there. My husband and I thought that was the best option because we figured she wouldn't be so willing to march into the OR in a few weeks. 

So our simple procedure moved to basically one of the most painful recovery-wise procedures you can get. She had to be stabbed several times in an attempt to do an IV (ear tubes only requires a mask anesthesia)--luckily she was under for that. We had to stop at the store on the way home to get a whole new menu of foods for her.

Then came the recovery. Happily, she is good about taking medicine. She took even the very nasty stuff. She had several meds a day for several days, and a couple for over a week. It was very tiring. She and I sat and watched PBS basically all day every day for a week. She ate only soft foods, then meals, then back to soft foods, then settled on meals again. When she was on soft foods, she was hungry all day long. The soft foods don't have much sustenance. Her first night after surgery, we sat down to dinner and she had her soft foods before her and we all had our food. She cried and wanted "lots and lots of food"--McKenna loves to eat so having food limitations was hard for her. 

The ENT said she likely was having so many ear infections because of her tonsils. He also said when he put her tubes in, a volcano of puss came out. Poor little thing!

Since the surgery, she has done really well. Once she recovered, she has been so happy. She is back to her sweet, happy self. She also has improved her speech clarity a whole lot. She spoke fine before, but she is even clearer now. She is probably so happy to not be dizzy, in pain, sick, and have all sounds muffled anymore! She also hasn't fallen once since recovery, where she used to fall multiple times a day.

A funny thing about meds is that one she had to be on for the tonsils was steroids. Ironic! It was only five days, and by the end, she was an angry toddler.

EATING
Outside of her surgery, her eating has been normal this month. Once surgery recovery was over, she went back to eating regular meals at regular times with no problem. 

PLAYING
Playing is also normal and good. 

SLEEPING
She had some rough nights while recovering. A really good humidifier was key. Other than those couple of bad nights, sleep is normal and good.

POTTY TRAINING
Potty training is fabulous! I am so glad I had the random urge to do it the day I did. We had everything done in time for me to be sick and tired with pregnancy. No diapers to worry about while pregnant. I thought she might not do well with the potty while recovering from surgery, but she did as great as ever! While my husband and I were in Hawaii, she had no accidents while at her different grandparents houses, so that is fabulous! She is very self-sufficient in that area now.

AWAY FROM PARENTS
Another big event for McKenna this month was that my husband and I went to Hawaii for a week and left her and the kids with our parents. She did great! She was good, slept well, ate well, and had fun. She did miss us, but also had lots of fun while we were gone. She was super happy to see us when we got home. Modern technology is great--we were able to face time with the kids and that helped them to not miss us so much. 

OUR SCHEDULE

8:00--Wake up and eat breakfast
9:15--Get ready
9:30--Chores
10:00--Learning Poster and read stories with Mommy
10:30--Independent Play
11:30--TV time possibly
12:00--Lunch
12:30--Learning activity and free play with sibling
1:30--Nap
4:00 or 4:30--Get up--or free play. 
5:30--Dinner
6:00--Family Activities
7:30--Get ready for bed
8:00--Bedtime 

Monday, January 30, 2012

Nobody Knows Baby Like You Do

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I am fortunate enough to have always had fabulous doctors who truly value my opinion on things. This is especially true of my children's doctor. I could sing his praises all day long. I don't think he is that way just with me--I think he is a doctor who has a real value of mother's "intuition" and listens to it.

And doesn't that make sense? A mom knows if something is really wrong with her child. Once when Brayden was 9 months old, he got really sick. He would not move and just wanted me to hold him, which was and continues to be odd for him. He is a mover. I figured something was wrong, called the doctor, and the nurse told me the standard "wait until the fever has been there for three days" thing. I listened (shouldn't have). Day three came on the weekend and I found myself with a doctor who barely got a glance in his ear and called it an ear infection. I didn't think she was right, so Monday I was with his doctor who said it was not an ear infection. 

After that experience, I was resolved to stick to my guns and when I knew something was wrong to just make an appointment. 

That is kind of the easier side of the whole thing. It is easy to call and say you would like to make an appointment. That is the trick. You don't call and ask if they think the child needs to be seen. If you think something is wrong, you call and tell them you want an appointment with the doctor. Now, I am not one of those people who is at the doctor for every sniffle. I go when I know the child needs to go.

The harder side of the situation is when a doctor thinks something is wrong against what you think. When Kaitlyn was 6 weeks old, she started pooping black poop. This is of course alarming and I took her to the doctor. But her doctor was out of town. The doctor we got was reasonable and was taking simple steps to monitor her. He even told me what he would do if she were his child versus what he has to recommend I do so he doesn't get sued. I liked his honesty. We had some blood work, tested her stool for various things, and were watching the situation. I didn't feel like anything was wrong, so I wasn't worried.

Well, that doctor went out of town after a few days and a new doctor got the case. He called me at home and told me to take her to the ER immediately where they put an IV in her and did some test where she was required to lay perfectly still for an entire hour (which she did). In the end, they found nothing wrong. All tests were inconclusive. All along I had been telling doctors I thought it was because I was bleeding from my nipples (you might recall in the end I had thrush or yeast in my nipples, though I didn't know it at that moment). I figured she was pooping black poop because it had my blood in it (gross). Only my first doctor entertained the idea. And her doctor when he got back in town. 

In the end, when I stopped bleeding, she stopped pooping black poop. 

Here is my point. Trust yourself. You know your baby very well--better than anyone else. You know what is normal and what isn't for your baby. When Kaitlyn was a baby, a certain someone I will leave nameless (but not my husband) tried to tell me what she did and didn't want. It was irritating to me because I knew that in 24 hours of her life, I had spent more waking hours with her one-on-one than this person would in years. 

I know my children. Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom could just look at you and know if you were sick or not? Moms just know. Call it intuition, call it common sense (time with person=knowing person), call it help from on high, call it whatever you want, nobody knows your child like you do.

Trust that. If you think your child needs to be seen by a doctor. If you don't think your child needs a certain medical test, get a second opinion. Doctors are fabulous and have gone through years of training we haven't, but they do not know the intricacies of each patient's personality. A great doctor will get to know those things and will listen to the parents when they explain what is normal and what isn't.

Now a story to illustrate where I have come to. McKenna had no fever and no symptoms of being sick other than that she was cranky. She was eating well and sleeping well. She was just disobedient and otherwise irritable. Knowing my child, I knew something was wrong. She had all of her teeth in so I knew it wasn't that. I called and made an appointment. I just told the nurse I needed an appointment. Why? Because she is cranky and something is wrong. No questions asked. I was confident and they knew it. I wondered if the nurse rolled her eyes behind the phone because I realize it sounds crazy, but I knew something was wrong. After a visit to the doctor we found double ear infections. 

On Becoming Baby Wise says, "No one knows a baby like his parents, and if you sense something is not right, for your own peace of mind and for your baby's health, pursue medical advice until you are satisfied your baby's condition is understood" (page 159).

Trust yourself and what you think is up with your child. This can be applied to sickness, eating issues, sleep issues, and behavior issues. Listen to yourself and remember, nobody knows your child like you do.

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Two More Winners!

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A Facebook reader reminded me that there were supposed to be three winners of 52 Small Changes (thanks!), not just one, so here are two more! Pregnant brain!

So we have...

Emily!

and

Jessica!

Please email me at valplowman@gmail.com with your mailing address to claim your prize. You have one week or another winner will be chosen. Congrats!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Colief Drops {Winner}

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The winner of the Colief Drops ( http://www.babywisemom.com/2012/01/colief-drops-giveaway.html) is...

julieb!

Congrats! Please email me at valplowman@gmail.com with your email address. You have one week or another winner will be chosen.

52 Small Changes {Winner!}

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The winner of the book 52 Small Changes ( http://www.babywisemom.com/2012/01/52-small-changes-giveaway.html) is...


Please email me at valplowman@gmail.com with your mailing address. You have one week or another winner will be chosen. Congrats!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pinteresting Fridays: Chore Charts

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Here are some great ideas for Chore Charts! I think mixing it up and having lots of different ways to manage chores makes the whole process more fun for all.

by Contented Homemaker



by Chorecharts.com

Chore Door Hanger
by ??? (Link to no where)


by I Can Teach My Child

by Brought to You by the Letter B


And here are chore ideas from me:








Thursday, January 26, 2012

The "D" Word

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The D word. It gets a bad wrap these days. You say the word discipline and people seem to immediately imagine beatings with a metal rod. Discipline means nothing more than "to train." There are a lot of training methods out there--there are more variances than  probably any other point in the history of humanity.

Let me tell you something.  Whether you  like it or not, it is your job to train your child--or in other words--to discipline your child. Even a baby needs discipline. A baby can get herself into a lot of precarious situations. A baby does not know what is safe and what is not safe. You need to teach her--train her---discipline her to know what is and is not okay. 

Not only is discipline your job, it expresses love to your child. In  The 5 Love Languages of Children , we read, "Love looks out for the interests of another; so does discipline. so discipline is certainly an act of love. And the more a child feels loved, the easier it is to discipline that child" (page 121). I like that quote because it shows both that discipline is an act of love and that we need to show love as we provide discipline. Discipline doesn't need to mean that we are angry--it just means we are teaching and training. 

So don't be afraid of the D word. You do nothing wrong in providing discipline for your children. Semantics are of little consequence, so if the D word gets you dirty looks and angry comments, call it teaching or call it training. It doesn't matter--the methods and end results are the same. 





Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Poll Results: What was baby's independent playtime length at 6-7 months old?

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5-10 minutes once a day
  2 (2%)
 
5-10 minutes twice a day
  15 (16%)
 
10-20 minutes once a day
  10 (11%)
 
10-20 minutes twice a day
  39 (43%)
 
30-40 minutes
  16 (17%)
 
40-50 minutes
  1 (1%)
 
50-60 minutes
  6 (6%)
 

Votes so far: 89 

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Reminder: You can leave comments on poll results posts if you would like to add to the poll after it has closed. This would be helpful for those who have more than one child, those whose children have reached certain ages after a poll closed, and those who didn't visit the blog while that poll was open. To find closed polls, click on the poll results link above

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Won't Stay in Independent Playtime

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I think just about every child goes through a time period when he or she tests the waters of getting out of independent playtime over and over again. Reasons can vary from not wanting to play to testing the boundaries when something new like potty training comes along. The question parents have is, what do you do about it?

Make Sure Time is Right
There are times of day that are better for independent play than others. Right before a meal is not good. Right before a nap is not good. Some children are fussy in the evenings, making evening not a good time.

Make Sure Length is Right
If independent play is longer than is appropriate for your child, your child will get restless toward the end of independent play and want to get out. See Independent Playtime Lengths for more.

Make Sure Toys are Age Appropriate
A toy that is too young for your child (not stimulating) will not be of interest to your child. Your child will then not want to stay in independent playtime. Conversely, if the toys are beyond your child's ability, your child will become frustrated and seek help to use the toy. 

Along the same lines, keep toys rotated. Even an age appropriate toy can get boring after too long.

Teach Acceptable Behavior
Once you are sure the timing is right and the toys are right, explain to your child what is and is not okay. Explain that your child is not allowed to get out without permission. Do explain when it is okay to get out. I would suggest you have a monitor in with your child so you can hear (and see if you have a video monitor) if your child needs you. 

Return Child Immediately
When your child gets out, return the child to independent playtime even if it is time to get out. If it is time to get out, return your child, reminding her that she needs to wait for Mommy to get her out. Then wait a minute or two and get her out. You want the precedent to be that the child gets out when you get her.

Use the Clock
You can tell your child the time on the clock when she can get out or you can use an "okay to wake" clock.

Work on Obedience
If your child obeys you, your child will stay in independent play until you come and get him. If you find your child is not listening to you well throughout the day, then you will not fix independent play issues by changing toys or time of day will not fix the issue.

Praise Obedience
When your child starts to stay in independent play until you come get her or until it is time, be sure to tell her she did a great job and thank her for obeying you. 

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Dropping 3rd Nap Impact

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Dropping the third nap (the evening nap) will impact the rest of your child's day. Dropping the third nap usually happens around 8 months of age, though the range is 6-11 months.

On Becoming Babywise says, "Once the third nap is dropped, both waketime and often the other remaining naptimes will increase in duration" (page 133). This would mean that baby will likely be awake for other times of day and will likely take a longer nap for the other naps.

For my children, however, they were up for two hours, slept for two hours, up for two hours, slept for two hours. They didn't really increase waketime or naptime length. I found that they instead moved bedtime up by about 30 minutes. 

You could let your child sleep for 2.5 hours and also stay up longer if that didn't interfere with the nap. If your child can't stay up longer than two hours and won't sleep longer than two hours, try moving bedtime up by 30 minutes--at least for a little while. As your child gets older, you can move bedtime back.

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Friday, January 20, 2012

Surprise Announcement!

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Elmo Surprise


I have some exciting news to announce. I am pregnant! I am 8 weeks along and due in August.

We have always planned on having (3-4) children if you are my husband and (4-5) if you are me. For a long time after McKenna was born, we wondered if we were done having children. Almost two years ago (so right before McKenna turned one), I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). It was something that came on for whatever reason after McKenna was born. 

PCOS is a syndrome that typically means you do not ovulate and comes along with it many undesirable side effects.  For a long time, I did not ovulate. During the whole course of the years, we prayed and prayed wanting to know if we were done having children or not and never felt fully confident in an answer in any direction. I tried to remain patient (it was very hard).

This last Fall, I started to feel anxious to settle this. My husband and I continued to fervently ponder and pray on the topic. We finally came to the decision to just try for a baby--but through natural means. My OB had already offered Clomid if I ever wanted it. We felt like drugs were not the right choice for us. We thought we would try to get pregnant for several months and if we didn't get pregnant, we would call it done.

Much to our surprise, we got pregnant on our very first try. We were (and I am for sure still) shocked. The odds of me being able to get pregnant seemed rather slim. We know this was a miracle and feel fully confident the Lord wanted us to have another child. 

It will be a whole different experience than we have ever had. McKenna will be close to the age Brayden was when she was born. We have never had a baby while having any other activities to take children to. Two of our children will share a room. We have always had spring babies, and this will be a summer baby. 

Pregnancy is always very difficult for me. So far, I have felt pretty good. Very tired, and some queasiness, but no throwing up yet. I am hoping for an easy pregnancy--just one? Just one sounds reasonable to me :). We shall see. 

This summer, we will welcome another child into our home (just one; I have confirmed through ultrasound :) ). 

I plan to do a series of posts on pregnancy--if you have any specific requests, please let me know and I will add them to my list! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Baby Whisperer Personality Types: Touchy Baby

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The third personality type described by Tracy Hogg in her Baby Whisperer books is the touchy baby. None of my children have been touchy, so I can't offer personal insight, but here are the bits of information. This info is found in The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems on page 59.

EATING
These babies tend to get easily frustrated and don't like change in their eating environment. They also often do not like solids at first. You have to be persistent.

ACTIVITIES
These babies are cautious. They are cautious about new toys, situations, people, etc. They need lots of support from those they are comfortable with. They also do not do well with transitions (when activities change). The usually need to be encouraged to participate. Hogg says to avoid afternoon playdates.

SLEEP
These babies need to be swaddled. They also need to be put down at the exact right moment or it can take at least twice as long for them to fall asleep. They often only catnap after noon.

MOOD
Highly irritable and easily upset by external stimulation.

DESCRIBED
Crybaby. Easily set off. Often clinging to parent's leg or in parents' laps.

CONCLUSION
If you have a touchy baby, you have your work cut out for you to be sure! But you can do it. Knowing is half of the battle, so with the knowledge of your child's disposition, you can go forward and work to improve. Remember, Brayden was Spirited, but with Babywise, acted like Textbook, so you can help your baby to have a calmer disposition. 

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Positive Attitude Makes All the Difference

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I have been pondering lately why a second, third, fourth, etc. child seems to often be easier to the parent even if in reality the child is not easier. Of course a the reason we all go to is "experience." The parent is more experienced and knows better what to do. There is some truth to that, however, when I think of my children, they have all been very different. I can only think of a handful of things in the lives of Kaitlyn and McKenna that were made easier because I had already done that with Brayden.

No, I think what it is is my changed perspective. I have talked about perspective in this post: It's All About Perspective :http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/05/its-all-about-perspective.html. I have shared in the past about a tantrum from one of my girls not phasing me like it did Brayden. With Brayden, I thought my sweet child was gone forever. With my girls, I understood tantrums were a normal part of life and didn't let it phase me.

So my experiences have taught me to have the proper perspective, and with the proper perspective, I can have a positive attitude about life. A positive attitude is really a powerful thing. Psychologist and philosopher William James wrote, "The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspect of their minds" (A Toolbox for Humanity page 127--quoted in Living the Abundant Life). 

We get to choose our attitude each day. Yes, circumstances can make that harder or to do, but despite what is going on around us, we can choose to look on the positive side and have a positive outlook in our situations. 

We can't control the wind, but we can adjust our sails. How true it is. All the grumbling in the world about the direction, force, or temperature of the wind won't get us anywhere, but adjusting our sails to work with the wind will get us to where we want to go. 


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Preschooler Summary: 4.75 Years Old

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This is a summary for Kaitlyn from 4.5-4.75 years old.

EATING
At the moment, and for most of this period, eating was just fine. She went through a two week period, however, where she didn't want to eat just about anything, even her reliable go-to favorites. She just didn't want to eat. This would normally be concerning, but I didn't feel like something was wrong. It seemed more like a toddler who eats one tablespoon of food per meal. I am glad she is past that. 

Since coming out of that, she has added an orange to her list of foods she likes. She has never liked oranges, but decided to try it and loved it. She now eats one every day.

SLEEPING
Kaitlyn's sleep is the same. She sleeps about 11-12 hours at night and has 60 minutes of rest time each day. For this age, I find one hour to be long enough that they will fall asleep if needed and not so long they go stir crazy.

SCHOOL
School is still going well. She loves it.

DISCIPLINE
Kaitlyn loves to draw and seems to ocassionally be unable to control her urge to draw on something, anything. She has drawn on things she shouldn't a couple of times in this period--or on a couple of things in one sitting. We are unsure at this point if it is going to be a further problem or if the talk we had fixed it. We shall see.

SIBLINGS
Since starting school, Kaitlyn has become less of a follower to Brayden and they often now have stand-offs over who is in charge of their imaginative play. It can be frustrating, but overall I think it is good for them. I am able to teach them about cooperation and taking turns and how to solve conflicts. 

ANGEL GIRL
Kaitlyn is overall the angel she has always been. She is quite the peacemaker. One day while at a children's play place, there were two children being mean to McKenna. Their grandmother kept getting after them, but they were not listening to her. Kaitlyn went to them and talked everything out. McKenna and those two children played happily together for the rest of the time we were there. It was quite impressive. She is an excellent negotiator. 

I do think age four tends to be a rather easy age. They are rather self-sufficient and still very interested in pleasing their parents and other authority figures. 

SCHEDULE

7:15--wake up. Get ready for school. Eat breakfast. Play with Brayden.
9:15--leave for school (she has school 3 days a week. One day, she has dance instead)
12-:10--home from school
12:15--lunch. Then play with McKenna
1:30--rest time
2:30--up from rest time. Independent play.
3:30--free time. Some days video games.
4:00--play with Brayden and sibling play until dinner.
5:30--dinner. Chores. Family time
7:00--start getting ready for bed 
8:00--in bed

GOOD BOOKS

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