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Brinley Summary: 37 Weeks Old

This post is sponsored by  www.chapters.indigo.ca--go to their website to check out their Lego Store

This is a summary for Brinley's 37th week; she was 36 weeks old.

HAIR CUT
First big news--Brinley had her first hair cut this week! Kind of crazy--my other girls were 2.5 and 3 when
they had their first hair cut. Brinley's baby hair hadn't all fallen out, so she had some massively long hair mixed with some short new hair growing in and she kind of looked like a guy who was trying to pull of a comb over. So my friend Cassie trimmed it up for her so it can grow in more even and she can look like a little lady ;). Her hair looks so much fuller and thicker!

NURSING
I got the final feeding of the day figured out. Finally! I usually nurse her in this one spot for her first three feedings. This is a spot in the house that doesn't have a lot of traffic and I have fed her there since she was about two months old. But for her final feeding, I have been feeding her in her room with her door close and lights dim.

That obviously wasn't working so well. She kept trying to play with stuff, so I thought I should try her at her usual spot. 

It has worked! She knows what to do in that spot and she does it.

SOLIDS
She tried zucchini this week. It was mixed with green beans so I don't know if she did or didn't like it, but she had it.

SLEEP
Sleep was normal. Two naps. Night sleep good.

ANIMAL LOVER
Brinley super loves animals. She shakes with excitement when she sees an animal. She especially loves cats, and whenever she sees one, she says, "Ke-hee!"

FAVORITE BOOK
Brinley's favorite book right now is Moo Baa La La Laby Sandra Boynton. She seems to love anything by Boynton; this one is her favorite.

ECZEMA
Brinley is getting some eczema on her back. I don't always remember to lotion her back after baths since she is laying on her back. The rest of her skin is totally fine--it is just her back.

SCHEDULE
8:45--nurse with solids (fruit, cereal, yogurt). Indepenedent Playtime happens in this block.
10:15--nap
12:45--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal)
2:30--nap
5:00--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal, finger foods) 
7:30--feed, then bedtime. In bed by 8:00.


Three to Four Child Transition

The business that three children bring to life can often make people a little leery of going for that fourth child. Maybe you have three and are wondering if you could handle four. Maybe you are having that fourth, ready or not, and want to get real and know what you are in for. Hopefully I can address both of those groups of people (plus you "rubberneckers" who are just curious).




I have shared in the this in the past, but I will share it gain. Remember that I am an LDS gal who lives in Utah, so if  you know anything about LDS culture, you likely know we tend to have a lot of kids ("a lot" but the standards of the US at large). That means I know a lot of moms who have a fair number of children. Almost every one of those moms who have four or more kids I know say that three was the hardest number of children. So many people get to three and wonder if they could possible handle another child. If you are one mulling that question over, keep in mind that you are not alone and that most people find anything more than three easier than three was. 

CAN I DO IT?
Yes you can! That isn't to say that I think everyone out there should have at least four children or that everyone out there can. But I do think if you can do three, you can do four. Four is more similar to three than three is to two. If you feel good about it and you desire to have a fourth child, I am confident you will be equal to the challenge.

One reason I think this is true is that for most of us, that fourth child comes when the oldest is decently old and self-sufficient. I know some of you get number four when your oldest is four, and I imagine that makes it much, much harder. If your oldest is Kindergarten age or older, I think you will find it to be a pretty smooth transition. 

Another reason you can do it is that you have already had three babies so you have so much experience. Having your fourth baby is nothing like having your first. You question so much with your first and you have to think so much about baby stuff with your first.

With your fourth, you don't need to do all of that thinking because it is more of a second nature to you. And it is a good thing because your brain will have plenty of things to think about with four different children to manage. You also really realize that a baby waking early from a nap is not even close to the end of the world--you don't have time to stress about it so it just isn't stressful.

KEEPING SCHEDULES STRAIGHT
One of the biggest challenges is organizing yourself to keep schedules straight. I think it is a big enough issue I want to devote an entire post to it, but I will quickly address it here. 

First, you need to find a way that works for you for keeping track of schedules. My favorite way is with my iPhone and with an app called "Cozi"--it is free. As soon as I know someone has something going on, I put it in Cozi. My brain can only store so much information, so I need to get things out of my head and somewhere else if possible. You could also do a "family command center" or some sort of day planner/calendar. Do whatever works for you.

Along those lines, I set reminders in my phone. Even for something like piano lessons, which are at the same time every week, I set a reminder that goes off 15 minutes before we need to leave because one time last year I totally forgot about piano (I was pregnant so maybe I can blame that). 

I also work to have my children be as independent as they can be expected to be. This is good for them and good for me. Let your children be responsible for things they can manage.


TIME FOR MOM?
There are only so many hours in a day, and each child needs time for you. Time for myself is definitely one of the biggest hits with each child I have. Something has to give, and I don't want that something to be a person.  That does include me, though. I need to be able to have hobbies and time for me. So I work it in, but definitely at a much smaller scale than ever before. 

READER QUESTIONS
Do you get to nap?
Um, no. No I do not. But napping is not even something I want, much less need, so I don't put effort into getting a nap. When I was pregnant with Brinley and trying to nap in the day, I found it challenging with Kaitlyn and McKenna around. So to add a baby in there would really add to the challenge. If a nap was super important to me, I might be able to work things out to make that happen some days, but to be perfectly honest, I think this would be a challenge. It is something that would probably be easier to pull off if all of the children were younger, or if at least two were gone in the day at school.

How do you keep kids on the same schedule?
On a literal interpretation of this question, you don't. Even if you have four under four, you will not have the same schedule. A baby is WAY different than a child four or older. You can get somewhat harmonious schedules, however. Work rest time and/or independent play time into the same times as baby's nap(s). Try to line up baby's meals as closely as you want with the family meals. Leave time during baby's naps to have one-on-one time with your older children.


What do your kids do while breastfeeding?
With my other babies, if you read my posts on those, you will see I arrange for younger children to be occupied during baby's feedings. So I arrange naps, independent play, TV time, etc. to be during baby's feedings.

In my case, with a 7, 5, and 3 year old, I could do some of that, but I also can have sibling play or free play going on. When Brinley was young, I would at times read books to my children while I nursed. When she got older and wanted to play instead of eat, I designated a spot that is not a typical child-traffic spot as my nursing place. I then would send the children away to go play when I was nursing if they decided to come around (which they often did/do). They are all old enough I can send them to go play for ten minutes while I nurse Brinley.


Is it hard having a 7 year old and a baby?
Most of the answer to this is not at all! A 7 year old is so independent and helpful that it is super easy. This is also true for the 5 (now 6) year old. I can count on them to help with so much and do so much. Both can get a simple lunch prepared if I am nursing the baby at lunch time (and both of them have several times in Brinley's life). They are truly helpful.

The only difficulty I encounter with the older children and a baby is balancing keeping them involved in things without running the baby ragged. With all of my other babies, it was easy to just be at home and go out when baby was awake. Brayden was not even four yet when McKenna was born. It is easy to stay entertained at home. But older kids have more activities and have things like school. This is what required the most organization and help from others.

Do you use babysitters/family helpers more or less with more kids?
The person who asked this was wondering with more children, do you use babysitters less because it is harder for people to take care of more children?

I do find I use babysitters/helpers less for all four of my kids at once than I did when it was two kids at once. I think the biggest reason for this, though, is not that it is too hard to manage all four--I don't think that is necessarily the case since they are usually well behaved and the older kids are more helpful and more indpeendent. 

It is because I actually use them a lot more, but for keeping Brinley's naps in tact. One example is my mom drove McKenna to dance class almost every week this year. I just found myself asking for more help for the random babysitting here and there and then not wanting to overextend my welcome, so to speak, but then constantly asking for helping for all four kids. Hopefully as Brinley sleeps less, we can use our favors for all four kids at once and not for the one or two here and there.

How do you keep up your energy?
If you find yourself tired, you first need to address the age old things we know helps with that.
  • Get enough sleep for you at night
  • Eat healthy food
  • Drink enough water
  • Take a multi-vitamin if needed
  • Find time to exercise
If those things don't help, look into other possible reasons, like thyroid issues. You can also check your iron levels.

Now, that list is easier said than done. And it takes effort. It can be hard to make yourself go to bed at night because I think most of us want to have some time without kids before we go to sleep. If this is you, try go make sure you get your kids in bed at a good time so you can have unwind time before you go to bed. And set a bedtime for yourself if you need to.

Exercise is one that is hard to fit in. You basically have to choose a time that works for you and just stick to it. Even just taking your kids on a daily walk will be helpful to you. For more on how I fit in exercise, see How I Do It: Exercise.

How do you prevent younger kids from getting "too big for britches" with older siblings?
This was asked several times, and I actually have posts that address this:
CONCLUSION
Life with four can definitely be crazy and it definitely takes a lot more of your time and effort, but on the whole, it is very fun to have the hustle and bustle and see the children have so much fun together. 

On Facebook, readers gave me some great questions that really warrant their own posts, so I will be answering those in posts in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more!

Do you have questions? List them here!


Not Less Painful--Just Better At Handling It

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine was speaking in church about the death of her father. She said that over time, the pain hadn't lessened, but she had gotten better at handling it. I clung to her statement so tightly in my mind that I basically didn't hear another word she spoke that day. It struck me as so true!

As many of you know, between Brayden and Kaitlyn, we lost a baby boy, Braxston, when I was 20 weeks pregnant (for more about this, see Miscarriage and Stillbirth). It was on this day, in the early morning hours, that I delivered him. He was a tiny little baby who looked absolutely perfect to my eyes. It has now been seven years! And it still hurts. But I am better at handling that pain. 

Last year, we started a new tradition of planting a plant in Braxston's honor. This is what we planted:


The terribly sad thing is that this beautiful plant is struggling to live right now. I guess it is fitting. Last summer was unusually harsh and hot and it really reduced this plant to a tiny thing fighting to live, despite my constant effort to keep it alive. I guess maybe my efforts kept it alive? I don't even really have a point to that--just that it is bitterly sad. I am hoping it will pull through and grow to be the beautiful plant I want it to be to remind me of my lost son--something that brings a smile to my face rather than a wrench to my stomach. I guess in a way I enjoy nurturing it and trying to will it to live. Braxston died inside of me and I don't want his plant to die under my care! 

These are the kinds of of things you cling to when you lose a child. Anything tangible. And these are the kinds of things you get irrationally upset about. 

I do have a sweet, tender mercy given to me this year. Kaitlyn is in the same grade Braxston would have been--Kindergarten. In Kaitlyn's Kindergarten class, there is a sweet boy named Braxton. He was born really close to my Braxston's due date. I think some people would encounter this situation and it would be hard for them to face. For me, it is a strength. I love this little Braxton. He is such a sweet and polite boy and I just look at him and know my Braxston would have been, too. He is good friends with Kaitlyn, and they are even in the same assigned group at school, so when I go to help in class, he is there the whole time. I have come to know his mom and his grandma actually lives on my street! I am so grateful to have him to look to in my life. 

I seem to always have a song that makes me think of Braxston, and a very likely song this year is "I Will See You Again" by Carrie Underwood. I love the message of this song.




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Kaitlyn Summary {Six Years Old}

For the last couple of years, Kaitlyn has had some fear creep up for no apparent reason. At age four, it was the wind. At age five, it was fear of me leaving her sight. I wondered what might happen at age six...

So far nothing huge! I hope that continues.

HAND PINCHING
The thing that did creep up, however, is hand pinching. This is something she did from a baby on up to about age five for self-soothing. We noticed at her first soccer practice, she started doing it again. 

SOCCER
Kaitlyn is playing soccer and enjoying it. She is good at anticipating where the ball will go to rather than just chasing where it is going. She is not aggressive at all nor is she a hard kicker--she sometimes looks more like she is extending her leg to do a ballet toe point than kicking. EDIT--after I wrote this, Kaitlyn really took off and started kicking quite hard. She really enjoys it and she gets to run around with her friends. It is a fun age to watch. They are young enough they still make the cute little mistakes but old enough they do some real playing.

EATING
Eating is another thing that changed at her birthday...she got picky again. She is my only child to be picky with food, luckily, because food issues can really be stressful. I have gotten over the stress aspect--I don't let it worry me. But every so often we have to face the battle. My husband and I have to be really careful about how we battle it because if she is required to eat more of one food than she can handle, she will throw it back up. It isn't that she is too full, it is that she will have reached her point of no return on the gag reflux. And it isn't just taste--I think very little of it is taste at this point. She has texture issues. She used to love pears, but now gags when she eats them because of the "strings." 

This has always been and continues to be our biggest difficulty with her. We just do our best to make sure she eats a balanced diet. If it were left to her, she would eat saltines, cheese, pepperoni, peas, apples, and white bread. 

SLEEPING
Sleeping is going really well. Having Kaitlyn and Brayden share is super easy. So easy I forget I even have room sharers. 

I have to wonder if part of the ease is that they are in bunk beds. I have to imagine that makes it easier. They can't look at each other once they are in bed. I am sure there are children who would not let that deter them (like, um, McKenna), but I think it is helpful. I do think no matter the bed situation, Brayden and Kaitlyn would be fine.

PLAYING
Kaitlyn still loves art best of all. We had an Evening of the Arts at school (the PTO version of Reflections). She just loved doing art projects and turning them in, and she even got grand prize in the categories she entered.

KINDERTUDE
The Kindertude is gone! Hurray!

SCHOOL
School is going really well! Her teacher is great and gives her some extra things to do so she can be a bit more challenged. 

PIANO
Kaitlyn is still taking piano and really enjoys it. 

DANCE
She is also in dance and loves to dance. She and McKenna put on their dance shoes and put on shows for me all of the time. Girls are so different from boys!

SCHEDULE
Here is our typical school day schedule

7:00--wake up. Eat breakfast. Get Ready. Free Play until school.
Go to school.
Come home from school.
12:00--Lunch
1:00--Learning Activities Time
1:30--Play with McKenna
2:00--Independent Playtime
3:00--Practice piano and homework if she has it. Time with Mommy.
4:00--TV time
5-5:30--dinner. Family time
7:00--start getting ready for bed 
8:00--in bed

GOOD BOOKS


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  • child summary 

Summer Swimming Goals

Summer is coming up! As I mentioned earlier, I am participating in a program hosted by Swimways.com. Swimways has products that are designed to help you teach your child to swim. They like to start with floatation devices so your child can feel comfortable in the water (which is a controversial method--see this article for more on it). Swimways asked that I share our swimming goals for this summer.

Brayden and Kaitlyn are well past the swimming ability that would make Swimways products useful in their learning, so they are not part of the program. A little background--we do private swimming lessons twice a month with our three older children. Which is awesome, by the way. If you are doing public swimming lessons, you should really price out private. We spend somewhere around .50 TOTAL more per lesson with private than public.

McKenna has recently decided she is scared of being required to swim certain distances. It all happened when she got some high quality goggles that didn't steam up when she was wearing them. Her teacher and I hypothesize that she didn't realize how deep things were and it scared her. She is genuinely terrified, and we are working on simply getting her willing to accept lessons again. She isn't scared of the water or even swimming in the water. She can swim "McKenna style" in the pool. It isn't pretty, but it works. But she shakes like a leaf if you try to get her to do a streamline. So our goal is comfort with real swimming. They sent these for McKenna:


I have to be honest and say I worry that if I put these on her, it will take us backward in the swimming process. I guess I have heard from too many people who are in the "no floatation devices" camp. I don't think I would worry so much for a two year old, but a four year old, yes. Time will tell!


Brinley has yet to be in a pool. We are saving that for when warm weather brings with it warm pools. All of the indoor pools around here are exercise/swim team pools, so they are way to frigid for a baby. They sent me this for Brinley:

I think this will be great for letting her get used to the water. This one doesn't concern me at all--especially not for a baby.

Not Pinterest Worthy, but Child Worthy


A few weeks ago as I was finishing up McKenna's birthday cake, I shook my head and laughed at myself and thought, "This is definitely not 'Pinterest worthy.'" I am no cake decorator. It is something I think would be fun to learn, but at this point in life, I have not. Kids like fun cakes, though, so I do my best. As I finished up my thought, McKenna came into the room and gasped with excitement. She loved it! I then thought, "It might not be 'Pinterest worthy,' but it is certainly child worthy." 


Child worthy!

And isn't that really what matters? What was I making the cake for? My child. Definitely not Pinterest. And I think as you look at the pictures of cakes I have made, you will likely think, "Those aren't so bad!" And they aren't. They aren't so bad. But they definitely wouldn't shine on Pinterest! Ha! And that is okay. You know what else? If the Internet didn't exist, I would probably be pretty proud of my cakes (though a couple of them wouldn't exist because I found inspiration on the Internet).

There are so many different ways we can compare ourselves to other parents. We can compare how clean their house is to ours, how balanced their meals are compared to ours, how patient they are compared to us, how many fun projects they do compared to us, how many cookies they bake compared to us...and as if simply looking to other homes and moms and imagining what is going on behind those doors wasn't enough to make women feel inferior, we now have the Internet and sites like Pinterest to remind us in our moments of triumph that once someone did it better.

But who really cares how good mine was compared to someone else? Definitely not McKenna. My cake was child worthy. So in my final moments of cake decorating, I should think, "McKenna will love this. This is McKenna worthy." 

The next time you find yourself in a self-deprecating moment, take a step back and think look at your child. Was it child worthy? If so, then no matter how you did it, you did it perfectly.

Brinley Baby Summary: Week 36

This is a summary for Brinley's 36th week; she was 35 weeks old. This is really just a great age for me. Pretty ideal. The baby is predictable and easy to take care of. They are pretty content and happy.




NURSING
This was the same as last week. Supply was good, but she was still distracted at the final feeding.

SLEEP
This week, she had a few days where she needed her third nap. That was strange! After a couple of weeks of no third nap, I wondered why she needed it again?

SICK
She was sick! That was why. She got a fever. Then my dad noticed she was pulling on her ear a lot the Friday night of this week. Of course it was Friday night right? I don't trust our Instacare (and I am not alone in this! I have many horror stories of that place). She was still sleeping well and eating okay so it wasn't an emergency situation. She didn't sleep well for her second nap Sunday afternoon so I rocked her mid-nap until she was ready to go back to sleep. She slept well that night, though.

Monday, we went in to the doctor. I was pretty sure she had an ear infection, and so was her doctor...until he checked her ears and they were clear! Crazy! He couldn't find anything wrong with her, so we figured it must be viral and decided to wait a couple more days and see what happened. She ended up getting over it in a couple of days.

It is really ironic because I had McKenna who never showed a single physical sign of having an ear infection. Now I have Brinley who appears to have one, but doesn't. Our pedi was laughing about that.

PLAYTIME
Brinley will sit for a long time and play without falling. I had always caught her to this point, but decided she wasn't learning to not fall by doing that. So we were sitting on the nice soft carpet one day and I let her topple over when she reached for a toy. She controlled her fall well, but was definitely surprised by what happened. After that, however, she kept her balance and didn't fall over and she can now sit and play really well.

WONDER WEEK
She was pretty grumpy this week (you know, grumpy according to mom. I still got tons of comments on what a happy baby she is). I looked it up on the wonder week chart and she is at wonder week time! But she was also sick, and I think the sickness had more to do with it than wonder week.

SOLIDS
This week, I tried to give her asparagus. Um...no. She was totally grossed out. I didn't even make her finish it because she was so grossed out. I think it might have been the texture? Perhaps she would like to gnaw on a whole asparagus? Any feeding asparagus to baby experts out there?

I also gave her black beans this week. Oh she loved them! She super loves them. They were a bit slippery at first, but she quickly figured it out and can pick them up with her little pincer grasp and eat them quite well. 

SCHEDULE
8:45--nurse with solids (fruit, cereal, yogurt). Indepenedent Playtime happens in this block.
10:15--nap
12:45--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal)
2:30--nap
5:00--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal, finger foods) 
7:30--feed, then bedtime. In bed by 8:00.

Set Naps

"Set Naps" describes when you have your child's nap time be at the same time every day no matter what time the child woke in the morning or woke from the last nap. I have often been asked about set naps over the years. I am a bit leery of the idea of telling you what age to do them. I think having the idea of "set naps" in your mind can set you up for failing to recognize when the child needs more sleep for some reason, needs nap time moved back, or needs you for some reason.

WHY HAVE SET NAPS?
When your body sleeps at the same times every day, it gets tired at those times. It is definitely preferable to be pretty consistent from day to day. 

Some moms do find that set naps can fix chronic short nappers. I think a big reason for this is just training the body to be tired at certain times and awake at certain times. At the very least, it makes your life a little easier and a little less concerned about what time nap needs to start. The analyzing is put behind you.

A great thing about the time when baby comes to be more consistent is it is easier for you to plan your days around baby's naps.


WHAT AGE?
I find babies are typically ready for "set naps" around 6-7 months old. You will want your child taking 2-3 naps and on a consistent feeding schedule (usually the four hour schedule is happening when baby is ready for this). 

Now, I don't want you to have your baby reach 6 months old and you decide naps are at 10 and 2 and never stray from it until baby grows into a toddler and drops to one nap. I would prefer you think of "set naps" as naps start at the optimal time for baby until it needs to change. If you follow my baby summaries, you will see that waketime length slowly increases over time. So if you decided that baby will be up for 1.5 hours in the morning and just stick with that, you will miss as baby needs to be up for 1 hour 40 minutes, then 1 hour 45 minutes, etc. So nap time can be set UNTIL it needs to change.

Nap time can be set until it needs to change.

And it will need to change. And it will need to change often. 

There will come a point when your child reaches a pretty consistent nap schedule...until you get into the pre-dropping phase.

WHAT TIMES?
Nap times with range from child to child. By the time your child is old enough and consistent enough for "set naps," she is likely up for 1.5-2 hours at a time before the nap starts. If your child does not have a third nap, it can be longer--usually 2.5-4 hours. You will have to go through the steps of figuring out optimal waketime length. 

FLEXIBILITY
You need to be watchful of the set nap and not just slip into a state of complacency and miss signs that things need to change.

Watch for signs that your child needs her "set nap" time moved back. The biggest sign for this is that your baby will play in the crib for a long time before falling asleep.

Watch for signs that your child needs her nap time length to be longer. This often follows the dropping of the third nap. It can also come because of a sleep disruption earlier in the day or week, because of sickness, or because of a growth spurt. Allow extra sleep when your child needs it.

Don't freak out when your child veers from this "set nap." Again, sleep disruptions, sickness, or growth spurts can mean your child needs to go down for a nap earlier than usual. I find that when my baby needs to go down for a nap earlier than normal, she still sleeps until her normal wake up time. If I try to keep her up until the time she is "supposed" to nap, she often won't sleep as well because she is overly tired by that point.

There might be times your baby wakes early for various reasons. Again, make adjustments. Sometimes, you might still start the next naptime and the normal "set naptime." But you also might need to start the next nap earlier than usual. 

CONCLUSION
As your baby gets older, your "set naps" will get more set. A 19 month old (who is down to one nap) is a lot more consistent day to day and week to week than the 9 month old. Let me know if you have questions about set naps. For me, it was never a day I woke up and said, "From this day forward, naps will be at the same time each day!" It was more of a realization that the baby was so consistent and the schedule was so in place that we pretty much were on a set nap routine. 

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Winners!

We have winners for three different things today...

First, Moshi Monsters book:

Suzie Williams said...
I am a follower.

AND

MeganRuth said...
Free entry


Janice said...
Free entry!

Finally, a new Lego winner:

Michael and Yvonne said...
I like Chronicles of a BW MOm on FB



Please email me at [email protected] with your mailing address. You have one week or another winner will be chosen. Congrats!


McKenna Summary: 4 Years Old

McKenna is now four! This is a summary for the last month before she turned four. Question--should I continue her summaries monthly, or take them to quarterly?

EATING
McKenna caught some virus this month that killed her appetite. Absolutely killed it. She didn't want to eat much of anything for a long time.

SLEEPING
We are straight rest time these days...and honestly, we often don't even do that! I will when summer starts, but right now she is so excited for Kaitlyn to be home from kindergarten and they just have so much fun playing together that I don't do it a lot. I will do it when Kaitlyn isn't home, it is the weekend, or if it is a day she just needs a break. 

At night she is sleeping about 12-13 hours. She was doing 11-12 before we stopped napping each day.

PLAYTIME
I had to teach McKenna about the hand clock for independent play. We do it for one hour, and she was getting out about every 10-15 minutes asking if it was time yet. So I now show her on the clock each day, "This is where the big hand is. It needs to get all the way around and back here again, then it is time." And that works for her. She stays put. 

That also worked well for Brayden. 

COPYCAT
She wants to do everything just like Kaitlyn right now. Eat what she eats. Wear what she wears. Play what she plays...whatever Kaitlyn does is the absolutely best to McKenna. And Kaitlyn is highly flattered by it right now. 

SIBLINGS
Beyond being a copycat, she is still completely obsessed with Brinley. She LOVES that baby. She always tells me how lucky we are that we got her instead of someone else. She has been afraid of swimming all of a sudden--at least afraid of swimming the way she is supposed to. She will still swim McKenna style, but is afraid of doing things in the proper technique. We are talking real fear--body shaking with fear. With Brinley there, she would face her fear and do it if I told her Brinley wanted to see how it was done. The power of Brinley with McKenna is amazing :)

MAMAS GIRL
I have noticed lately that McKenna is quite the mama's girl or daddy's girl. It wasn't so noticeable because she is fine with siblings around. But she doesn't like to be gone with friends for very long (which is good because I still find she can't handle more than two hours with friends and still be a nice person) and she doesn't like me to walk out of her sight without her knowing where I am going (like, one day we were at the park with friends. It is right across the street from elementary and I needed to pick something up. So I ran in fast while my friend watched her. She got upset that I left without telling her where I was going).

TALL
McKenna is TALL. I am talking maybe half an inch shorter than Kaitlyn. And Kaitlyn isn't a little shorty--she is average. This brings in an interesting dynamic. People assume she is at least a year older than she is. Even her doctor initially was thinking she was going go kindergarten next year, then realized she was barely four and he commented he was messed up because she is so tall. I haven't seen negative effects from this, but I do remember when I was pregnant that I had a friend with a tall son and she commented it was hard because people expected him to act much older than he was. I am guessing it is easier because McKenna is older--she is a four year old who looks five or six, not a two year old who looks four. Two year olds are a lot more different from four year olds than six year olds are from four year olds. At least in discipline functions. 

WHY?
Oh the questions! She is the most questioning child ever (I think my mom would interject and say I was the most questioning child ever). She asks why. And she asks how. And she asks what. And she asks where. And she asks who. And she asks if someone is a boy or girl. And she asks what people's names are (even Brinley's). And she asks the questions over, and over, and over again. In a row. And she has certain questions for certain times of day. For example, at each breakfast we talk about nutrients and why we don't have a stomach in our toes and how our toes get nutrients so far from our tummy. Every. Day. "What did I say yesterday (or five seconds ago) when you asked that question." She repeats verbatim  Then she asks the question again. (yes mom, I hear you laughing from here).

OUR SCHEDULE

8:30--Wake up and eat breakfast. Get ready. She then can play with siblings. 
9:30-- Chores then play with Brinley.
10:30--Independent Playtime
11:30--Time with Mommy
12:00--Lunch
1:00--Play with Kaitlyn. Learning activities.
4:30---TV Time/Computer time 
5:30--Dinner
6:00--Family Activities
7:00--Get ready for bed
8:00--Bedtime 

Toddlers: You're Being Too Easy if He's Not Throwing Tantrums

I cannot remember where I read this, but I recently was looking up some random thing on the Internet (I can't even remember what) and read something talking about toddlers. It said, "You are being too easy on your toddler if he isn't throwing tantrums sometimes."


What does that mean?

That means that if your toddler is always so happy there are no tantrums going on, it means you are giving in to your toddler rather than setting limits. Toddlers will have tantrums when they are met with limitations. They will not happily accept being told no or being told they must obey. Tantrums are normal. If you are not experiencing tantrums with your toddler, it means you are letting your toddler call the shots.

Now this doesn't mean we embrace tantrums or ignore the tantrums. We work with the toddler to teach him to obey and to say "yes mommy." We teach them that tantrums are not the way we respond when we are upset. Toddlers respond naturally with tantrums. We can help them learn to control that temper. So when your toddler throws that tantrum (yes, WHEN), take it as a sign that you are doing the right thing and then help your child move toward being able to not throw tantrums in the future.

Here are my posts on tantrums:

Brinley Baby Summary: 35 Weeks {8 Months Old}

This is a summary for Brinley's 35th week. She was 34 weeks old. She also turned 8 months old this week! She was super happy this week.
Easter egg hunt

NURSING
Supply was good and she ate for all four feedings this week. It is still hard to get her to focus and eat at the fourth feeding, though. She does it, but she is super distracted.

SLEEP
Her second nap extended this week, which is a result of dropping the third nap. For babies this age, they might drop a nap but don't usually drop time they sleep. They will move it to another nap or to longer night sleep. An older baby who drops the third nap might stay with the same sleep times (but most often they rearrange sleep, too), but young babies definitely need it rearranged.

PLAYTIME
Brinley also started staying awake longer for her waketimes this week. This is another thing that often happens when a baby is ready to drop the third nap.

ROLL "CRAWLING" 
When Brinley wants to get from point A to point B, she just rolls there. I think it is so funny to watch a baby do this!

MOTOR SKILL DIFFERENCES
I have noticed that babies this age can really vary in what skills they are developing. I have noticed in general boys tend to be focusing more on the gross motor skills at this age (though girls will, too) and girls tend to be more focused on verbal skills and/or fine motor skills (and boys can do this, too). So while one 8 month old might be crawling, another might be saying a couple of words and another might be super good at picking up those finger foods.

Beyond baby's individual natural progression, parents can have a big impact on what baby learns in what order. If you rarely put your baby down, gross motor practice will be more difficult. If you don't feed finger foods, fine motor skills won't be as developed as the baby who feeds herself throughout each day. 

SOLIDS
This week, we started blueberries. This was a success. No surprise since she has loved every fruit she has encountered so far. I also gave her Cherrios. She likes the name-brand Cheerios and not the Malt-O-Meal. 

Brinley has a really good pincer grasp. She can pick up those finger foods very well.

SCHEDULE
8:30--nurse with solids (fruit, cereal, yogurt)
10:15--nap
12:30--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal)
2:30--nap
5:00--nurse with solids (veggie, fruit, cereal, finger foods) 
7:30--feed, then bedtime. In bed by 8:00.