Friday, February 28, 2014

Pinteresting Fridays: St. Patrick's Day

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I am not the type to do all of the extra St. Patrick's Day activities. You know the ones. The leprechauns creating mischief. The "green pee" in the toilet. The green footprints around the house. My feet dyed green. Every bite of food for the day being green...it isn't my thing. Last year, I remember feeling guilty that I didn't do all of those things until I came across a post by some wonderful woman commenting that things had been blown way out of proportion for this holiday. And of course I don't know where it is--but thank you. It made me step back and evaluate how I want to do St. Patrick's Day at our house.

Sometimes Pinterest has a way of making you feel like the worlds lamest mom because you don't do all of the amazing things you see. But nobody does every amazing thing you see--lots of people do lots of things and then you look at all of them at once and feel like a failure.

I don't want to do that to you today.

In my day, we celebrated St. Patrick's Day by wearing green so we wouldn't get pinched by those children just waiting for March 17 so they could freely cause pain to the people around them. As a parent, I wanted to take things up a notch and thought it would be fun to have some green milk with breakfast and maybe some other green food. I like to do learning activities with my kids so we do St. Patrick's themed activities leading up to it. That's what we do.

Maybe you like leaving it to wearing green.

Or maybe you like getting pinched. 

Or maybe you love to make it a huge holiday to bring some excitement to your life--it has been almost three months since the last major holiday after all! And if you like to go all out and want to, I don't see anything wrong with it! 

My point here is to figure out what you want your traditions to be for your family based on what you want to do--not based on what you feel like you should be doing because you found some great ideas on Pinterest. Take what you want, admire the rest, and let the billion ideas you don't use slip into a category of "that looks fun" and not "I am a terrible mom."

Here are some various ideas to suit your possible different avenues. See all of my St. Patrick's Day pins here.

For the Foodies by Modern Parents Messy Kids
I love food. I love to have fun food to celebrate things. If you are a foodie, you will enjoy this roundup of a variety of foods to go along with St. Patrick's Day. 

For the Decorators by Printable Decor
I love to decorate for Holidays. This is something I do even for the "small" holidays. A simple way to decorate is to find a fun printable online, put it in a frame, and change out the printables each season.

 For the Inner Teachers by Crunchy Frugalista
This post has 17 different learning activity type crafts to do with your children.

For the Party People by Premeditated Leftovers
You want an excuse for some party games? Here are some St. Patrick games for you.


For the Mischief Makers by the Fickle Pickle
If you want to go all out, this is the post for you. If not, only visit if you can be okay with seeing a mom who does go all out.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Marriage, Technology, Social Media, and Loyalty

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I always find technology changes to be fascinating in our modern world. The technology available to us each day is completely new and hasn't been faced in the past. We are the pioneers forging the way and figuring out what is appropriate and what isn't with social media and technology.

It used to be suggested that the computer be put in a high traffic area in the home so that whatever was being done or viewed by the user could easily be seen by the family. The idea was to keep honest people honest. 

Then our personal devices came along. We now have handheld devices and can carry the Internet around in our pockets. That means that we can easily access sites, images, and people that we frankly shouldn't and we can do so privately and without anyone ever finding out. 

Loyalty.

We must make the character trait of loyalty be who we are. We must be "fiercely loyal" to our spouse. If we are loyal, we will be worthy in our social media and technology uses. We need to be transparent in our uses of our technological devices. I read an article on what makes marriages happy, and the topic of being transparent and loyal was discussed as one of the ingredients to a happy marriage. Here are some modern ways to keep the honest honest. 
  • Keep your internet use transparent. Don't do anything on the Internet that you would feel the need to hide it. 
  • Know each other's passwords. If your spouse knows your password, you will be less likely to be doing anything you shouldn't be doing. Some spouses even share things Facebook accounts and email addresses. 
  • Share information. Share with your spouse what you talk about, who you talk to, and what is going on with those you interact with virtually.
  • Leave the past alone. It isn't a good idea to go looking into all of the info on past boyfriends or girlfriends--even if you think all you are doing is seeing how good you have it now. Don't do anything that you would not do in front of your spouse. Some people make rules to not be friends with exes.
  • Keep trust. Don't share things your spouse wouldn't want shared. Don't air your dirty laundry to the public. Don't share things your spouse doesn't want shared. 
  • Don't flirt with anyone other than your spouse. Flirting virtually is not any better than flirting face to face. 
  • Don't look at things you shouldn't look at. 
These are some ways you can use maintain loyalty while still using technology and social media. Discuss with your spouse what rules you two want to have in place. What do you do to keep yourself loyal to your spouse while using technology and social media?


Today, the BFBN is blogging about Marriage. Follow us on Pinterest and check out what the others are saying. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Brinley Toddler Summary {18.5 Months Old}

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This is a summary for Brinley from 18-18.5 months old.

SLEEPING
Sleeping started out rough for naps during this period. She was teething and she had a cold. At first I thought maybe the 'cold' was just her sinuses being inflamed from teeth pressure, but then a cough started up so I knew it was actually a cold. 

One day, she woke up after a 1.5 hour nap, which just isn't long enough for her. I checked her video monitor and saw her pants were off and were on the floor along with her blanket and everything else. 

I went in, put her bed back together, and put her pants back on her. I put her back in bed and told her to go back to sleep and left. She got very mad and cried for about a few minutes, but then she fell back asleep and slept for another two hours. 

Once I was sure she had a cold, I started using Baby Vics on her feet and chest at sleep times and she went back to sleeping well. That is the best thing for her when she has a cold.

EATING
Eating is continuing on as usual. She is still improving her food dropping, but if it is too close to nap or if she is done eating, she will start sliding her food to the ground. She doesn't like food in front of her once she is done. When she doesn't drop it, she will hold it out to us for us to take it away. 

PLAYING
During the same period when she wasn't sleeping as well, she wouldn't do Independent Playtime as well. 

NEW TOOTH
She cut a molar during this period and is close on a second one. 

"NO"
Last time, I told her how she loved to say no to every question. She started to use "no" when she meant no and "yes" when she meant yes. 

GETTING OLDER
There is something about turning 18 months old--they just suddenly act so much older! And the personality just starts to ooze out. They have a personality before 18 months of course, but it really starts to shine in big ways and you see all of their quirks and get to know who they really are a lot better once they turn 18 months. 

SENTENCES
Brinley said her first sentences during this period! One day, we were playing ball (she loves to play with balls). We were passing a basketball back and forth. Then she got tired of it and said, "No the ball!" How exciting! 

After that, I noticed her saying lots of sentences. A classic was "Ha ha! Oh I so cute!" (only she pronounces it "coot").

DOCTOR
Brinley went to the doctor during this period. She is pretty much 50 percent on both height and weight. She is doing well in all areas.

One thing that came up is that our state now allows at 18 months children getting all of their boosters required for Kindergarten. It has previously been done at age 5 (or almost 5 if the child isn't quite 5 at Kindergarten registration time). Brayden and Kaitlyn got them at almost 5 and McKenna hasn't quite had hers yet. 

I vacillated for a moment. It isn't fun to take an almost-five-year-old to get vaccinations. They are always scared. I thought it would be nice to have it done now so we don't have to worry about it in the future. But I also remember Kaitlyn having a strong reaction to the vaccinations and I thought that seemed like it would be too much for a little 18 month old body. 

I didn't get them for her. I don't know exactly what I will do in the future. I might consider getting one at age 2, then one at 3, then one at 4. Or maybe 3, 4, and 5. But I don't really want her thinking every time we go to the doctor will equal vaccinations either. I could just wait and get them all at 4. Like a friend pointed out, my children don't go to daycare and aren't in a situation where they are exposed to a lot of things so it isn't like she is at high risk. 

SCHEDULE
8:15--wake up. Eat breakfast (fruit, cereal, and milk)
Get ready. Clean with mom.
10:00 Independent Playtime.
11:30 Play
12:00 Lunch.
Play with McKenna.
1:00--Nap starts
4:00-4:30--wake up. Snack. Play.
5:15--Dinner
7:30--Sippy of milk, then bedtime. In bed by 8:00.


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Monday, February 24, 2014

Balancing Baby's Needs With Family's Needs

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One of the hardest things about bringing home your second, third, fourth, etc. baby is figuring out how to balance attending to the needs of the baby and the needs of the rest of your family. People range from hunkering down and shutting down all family activities to expecting baby to hit the ground running. Some mammals can walk shortly after birth and some can run the same day they are born--but this is done for them to literally be able to survive. They need to keep up with the herd.

As humans, we are lucky I guess. Our babies don't need to be able to keep up in order to survive--and we shouldn't expect them to. But other members of the family want to get out and continue life. Just as we aren't made to walk from birth, we aren't made to hibernate (though some winters it sounds nice!). So how do we balance these needs of everyone? It is important to make things work for the whole family (see Baby Joins a Family {AND} Family Adds a Baby).

1-Write Down Baby's Needs
I think it is wise to take a step back and first look at this situation logically. Start with a list. What are the real needs of baby? What does baby need to survive day in and day out? Let me give you some ideas. Baby needs to eat. Baby needs to sleep. Baby needs shelter. 

Take a step further--what are things that you believe a baby needs in life. What do you consider a need that isn't necessary a literal need? Something I believe a baby needs is to have most naps in her crib--that is a belief I have. That belief stems from me wanting my child to develop good sleep habits. 

2-Write Down Needs of Family Members
First, I want you to evaluate real needs. Don't confuse needs with wants. I think we often let ourselves think things are needs when really they are just wants. What does each family member need?

I believe social interaction can go in a "need" category. But I also don't think there must be social interaction every day. That pushes things into "want" in my mind.

3-Write Down Wants of Family Members
Once you have a list of real needs, make a list of the wants of each family member. Johnny NEEDS to get out twice a week to play with friends. Now, what does he WANT? Does he want daily? Just three times a week?

4-Write Down Goals for Baby
Have a list of goals you want for your baby. I touched on this with number one. What needs to happen for these goals to be met?

5-Write Down Goals for Family Members
What are some things the members of the family want to be able to accomplish in the next three months? What about six months? What about year?

6-Combine All Lists and Compromise
Now look at all lists at the same time. What can go? What needs to stay? Where can each person compromise?

As you look at these lists, be creative. When I had Brinley, I didn't want us to have to give up our activities but I also wanted her to be able to sleep in her own bed. I did lots of carpooling. I did my best to get lessons at times that wouldn't interfere with naps. I got help. For more on what we did, see Managing Baby Plus Older Kids' Activities

7-Keep Timeline in Perspective
As people are making sacrifices, keep the timeline in perspective. As baby gets older, baby is a lot more flexible. I find that once baby hits around 9 months, things get a lot easier and just continue to do so. It sounds like a long time, but it goes by in a flash. Soon, your baby will be old enough to "keep up with the herd." But for now, she needs protecting and needs to be given her time to build her strength. There will be plenty of time for running around later.

See also:

Friday, February 21, 2014

Time Change Warning Spring 2014

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source

It crept up on me! In the United States (not talking to you Hawaii, Arizona, and parts of Alaska), we will "Spring Forward" March 9. That means that if bedtime is now at 7 PM, it will feel like 6 PM when your child is going to bed. And if waketime is 7 AM, it will feel like 6 AM to your child.

Springing ahead is usually easier than falling back for young children. If you want to be more prepared, you might want to start shifting your schedule now. At our house, we have been staying up late each night watching the Olympics, so our first step will be going to bed at the right time!

Here is a post to help you:

Shifting your schedule

And you can find info on your region of the world here: http://www.timeanddate.com/time/dst/2014.html 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Surviving Bed Rest

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Bed rest is one of those things that sounds nice in theory (maybe even heavenly!), and can be nice...for a couple of hours. Then it becomes pretty much torturous--especially if you have children to take care of. There are ways to survive this period. Here are my ideas, your ideas, and ideas of my friends.


1-Entertainment
Whether you have children or not, you will likely get bored sitting in bed all day every day for however long it lasts. My friend Serra pointed out that it is a great time to work on those things you never seem to have time for. A trick I find is remembering all of those things when the opportunity arises. Here are some ideas on what you can do for entertainment while in bed.
  • Books to read
  • Crafts (like knitting, crochet, jewelry making, needlepoint...Hey even coloring can work)
  • Movies to watch
  • My friend Melissa chose to watch all movies nominated for Best Picture in the previous Academy Awards
  • My cousin-in-law Shelly suggested choosing a new series to watch on Netflix--what a great idea!
  • Entertain yourself with your smart phone or tablet
  • Write in your journal
  • Scrapbook
  • Family history
  • Laptop
  • Games--My friend Garity said she had her children bring a table over by her and they would play games. 
  • Organize files on your computer--pictures, documents, videos, iTunes, etc.
  • Blogging
  • Work on a degree online (this was really done!)
  • My friend Bree said she chose a new skill to learn and work on, so don't think things like, "I can't crochet so that is out!" You can learn how! It is easy to find tutorials to do things on Pinterest and on YouTube.
  • Carla (author of Mom's Notes) had great advice (not surprisingly so). She said she scheduled her time and had a plan. So she broke it up into TV time, kid time, hubby time, rest time, phone time with friends and scrapbook time.
  • Stay with the family. If you are able to move around at all, stay with your family when you can. With me being an extrovert, being locked in my room alone was pretty much torture. I would crawl down the stairs (literally) so I could join the family in the evenings and be part of what was going on.
2-Entertainment for Children
One of the hardest parts of bed rest when you have children is keeping them entertained and occupied while you are stuck in bed. It will be easier to "couch parent" (parent while sitting on your behind) if you have worked to have your child respect and obey your voice. I wrote more on this here. Here are some ideas to keep them occupied.
  • TV/Movies for children. I am not a huge fan of the television, but sometimes we have to do things to survive what we are going through. When you are stuck in bed all day is an excellent time if I ever saw one to allow for some extra television. Just be prepared for the detox session that is sure to come once you are back to yourself. I allowed McKenna more screen time than I normally would while I was laid up with my foot last month. She had a rough few days coming off of that, but we both survived :)
  • Books. Read books with your children! Children love to be read to. When else will you have all day long to sit and read books to your kids? McKenna loved sitting in bed next to me and getting all snuggly while we read books.
  • Fashion shows. My cousin Stephanie said she had her children do fashion shows for her when she was on bed rest. What a fun idea!
  • Play with toys. Your children can bring all sorts of toys to you to play with while you sit in bed or on the couch. How about dolls, cars, or picnic?
  • Maintain your schedule. You will be so glad you have things like nap time, rest time, and independent playtime. Don't let things become a free for all. Stick to a schedule. Have older children help get younger children where they need to be. Have help come when naptime starts or ends to get kids in and out of bed. Have Independent Play be a bit longer than normal if your child will do so. Even if you add more TV time than normal, still have it scheduled into the rest of the day. 
3-Your Comfort
Another hard facet of bed rest is getting uncomfortable. Bed sores are a real thing. Here are some ideas to keep you comfortable.
  • Nice smells (like wax melTing)
  • doTerra oils
  • Nice blanket
  • Comfortable PJs
  • Warm showers
  • Massages--my friend Garity said many massage technicians will come to your house
  • Pedicure
4-Help from Others
When people offer help, accept it. My friend Garity said, "Rule #1 that took forever for me to learn was to accept help when it was offered!!! Don't be afraid to ask for company just to come over and talk and don't worry about what the house looks like when they do come over to visit." If you know someone on bed rest, here are some ideas of ways you can help:
  • Take meals to the family. There are websites you can use to organize meals. You can take a meal and organize a system to help get meals to the family from other friends and family.
  • Take the children. Have the children come over for a play date.
  • Go over and help. 
  • Do some light cleaning.
  • Get a group of friends together and pitch in to have a cleaning lady go do a good cleaning. 
  • Visit. Call or go in and visit. My friend Lynette said that when she was on bed rest, one visitor a day made the time fly. And she was on bed rest for 6 months, so if she thinks so, I have to believe her!
Words of Encouragement/Advice
People shared lots of words of encouragement. Bed rest, plain and simple, sucks. It is very hard to be a woman who is accustomed to managing her home and watch it all come apart around her. No matter how awesome your husband is, your kids are, and your help is, they are all volunteers who are trying to step in when they can and fill a role you put all of your effort into all day long. No one is super-human enough to cover what they already do plus what you do. So things will slide. 

In other words, let it go. Let the cleaning go, let the "ideal" go...just realize things will not be how you want them for a while and that is okay.

Here are some encouraging words people shared:

"I remember being down because I wanted to take care of my kids and I got to the point I just wanted the baby to get here....I was so tempted to stop the meds and get up then I felt guilty for thinking it. I think everyone should know it's normal to go through this."Stephanie


Geneva said, "For me the hardest part was feeling like I was bothering people who had to help with my other child. Since Tyler is self employed he doesn't really have the option to take off a lot of work, so I had to rely on others for help.I felt very guilty about not being able to take care of my family. I think it's hard for women to be taken care of instead of being the ones taking care of others."

"You give up, no really. You have to let go what your think should be happening around you and just realize for a short time you have a new normal. Play dates for kids, take out meals and asking people to help bring dinners. I was on bedrest with my last pregnancy and had a 3 year old and 1 year old." Tiffany



Do you have advice for surviving bed rest?


If you liked this, you might also like:

Surviving Colds

Surviving Diaper Rash

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Poll Results: Evolving Approaches to Babywise

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Here are the results to the Evolving Approaches to Babywise poll. This poll was requested by Facebook readers. You can see my own story here: Evolution of Babywise at our House

If you read nothing else, this was my favorite comment from reader kmdhart. Many said something similarly and it summarizes how I feel also:
Practically, nothing really changed in how we implemented Babywise. What did change was my attitude. I had been through it before, and I knew all the hard days would come to an end, and the hard phases would disappear until the next one came around. I knew that we would all be okay if something was a little off. I didn't expect perfection from DS, and then get upset when I didn't get it. It was a much more pleasant experience because I was able to shrug things off and let them go.


1-How did your sleep policies change from child to child, if at all?

  • Great question. I have three children and lots of changes were made from 1st (baby Sears baby) to 2nd ( strictly scheduled, but started BW when he was 1yr) to 3rd ( BW from birth).
  • I became more realistic in my expectations. With my oldest, I tried napping him out in the open for the first seven weeks or so to "get him used to sleeping in noise". I think that was really naive. It didn't help him learn to sleep through anything. By the time he turned 8 weeks, he wasn't sleeping during the day hardly at all. It was way too stimulating for him. With YDS I started his naps in a dark quiet room much earlier, and I also paid more attention to his individual needs rather than setting lofty "I'm going to teach him to x y z" goals. Sleep was the priority. 
  • I am still pretty set on sleep time.
  • They didn't change much at all; we stayed very firm on sleep times for both kids. It helped that they were 14 months apart, so DD was still taking 2 naps. 
  • We did babywise from the beginning with both children, so we are big on good sleep and consistent sleep and nap times.
  • I have gotten more particular and "on target" with my methods with each progressive child.

2-How did your playtime policies change from child to child, if at all?

  • I've become more directive with all my children, but also less strict. When my first started room time it was a shock for her and rather upsetting. With my 3rd it's a natural part of her day. She can handle IPT, even after a long travel break, much easier than her sister could with consist
  • I don't think they changed much. 
  • I wish I would have started my first with IP from day #1 and also been consistent, trying to do that now, with DS #2.
  • Also didn't change much. We implemented IP for our son, while keeping it the same for DD.
  • With child 1 we had a lot more one on one playtime and went more with the flow. Adding a second child required getting the 1st child to play more independently. My second child plays more independently than my first did. Now we try to have individual playtime and together playtime built into the day.
  • Kept it the same if not more strict. 

3-How did your nursing/bottlefeeding policies change from child to child, if at all?

  • I was more aware of how feeding needs would change during growth spurts, wonder weeks, etc. with my second and learned to anticipate them and roll with them rather than just react to them. With ODS I also followed his lead for when he needed to extend his schedule. With YDS I had to nudge him along a bit more or he would never have changed anything. Their personalities are quite different.
  • I am a little more relaxed in feeding DS #2 with more formula or food at feeding times if he wants it.
  • I was a lot more relaxed this time around. I didn't get worried if DS didn't seem to eat much, or if he spit it all back up. I also didn't get quite as upset when my milk supply dropped and I had to switch to formula.
  • They did not change. I breastfed and had both children take a bottle occasionally since I work PRN.
  • I breastfed with all, but with my third was more willing to feed immediately upon thinking they were hungry to make sure my milk supply was up. 

4-How did your solid foods policies change from child to child, if at all?

  • I'm stricter at meals with my 3rd than I was with my 1st and 2nd re: manners, cleanliness and trying every food (a bite at each meal).
  • I did BLW with both boys but will not use it for our next child. 
  • Both of my boys were hearty eaters as babies so I am trying to encourage DS #2 with more finger foods and different types of foods instead of just baby foods.
  • We did BLW with DS. It sounded like a fun and easy way to do things, and it was. We all had a very messy blast. It also allowed me to have my hands free to help DD with her meals. 
  • Similar solid food policies. My second has food allergies and difficulty gaining weight, so have to be much more particular about what is offered.
  • Same. 

5-How did your policies vary on consistency from child to child, if at all?
  • It was very easy to be consistent with just one child. Having two was harder. I'll leave it at that. 
  • With 1 child it was a lot easier, but I am finding I need to be very consistent now with 2.
  • Not much. We've always been very consistent.
  • Haven't changed.
  • Same of heart, but perhaps a tad less consistent in discipline with the second as he wasn't the only thing I was doing
6-How did your policies vary on flexibility from child to child, if at all?
  • I refined my definition of flexibility with my second child, who falls in the "spirited" end of the personality spectrum and did not handle changes in the routine well. I had to learn where our "flexible" became just "random" and how to keep that balance for his sake. That meant allowing for disruptions one day but then being extra vigilant the next to make sure he was on his routine. It was a sort of planned spontaneity. 
  • I am more flexible with DS #2. It is not the end of the world if we are late on a nap or off schedule a bit.
  • I was able to be more flexible with DS. He's also an amazing sleeper, so that makes it easier. There were times when we were late with a nap, and we all survived just fine!
  • My flexibility has increased! My second child is also very easy going so that helps.
  • I was more committed to adhering to the schedule, but was more mentally able to relax if things didn't go to plan. 
7-Is there a general summary on how your approach changed to Babywise from child to child (if at all)?

  • Though my first two werent baby wise babies they were BW toddlers. Biggest changes I e seen are how confident I feel, how happy my kids are (the change with stressful at first as I was trying to get control) and how my youngest asks for things like TT and PNP which my other kids never did. They love the structure. The older ones will now ask what their options are when it comes to playing. Hehe.
  • I became a lot more confident with my second child. With ODS (who is now almost 3) I was more fretful, trying to follow the right formula, trying to teach as many good habits as I could (as misguided as some were--see #1), worrying when we were off our routine due to illness or holidays or unexpected plans, and being baffled by things like growth spurts and witching hour and how they wrecked havoc on our schedule.

    With YDS I was much more relaxed but also more strict. I didn't re-read the book but relied on my past experience with ODS and the wisdom of the moms on the BW forum. I started the schedule earlier than I had with ODS. I felt more confident in how my hard work would pay off in the long run, and so was able to roll with the punches in setbacks like a 8-9 week long witching hour run or a bout of pneumonia at 3 months that caused me to have to wake him to feed him in the night so I could give him antibiotics (when he was already STTN.) 
  • I want to implement IP time and more structure with the kids when we are at home together.
  • Practically, nothing really changed in how we implemented Babywise. What did change was my attitude. I had been through it before, and I knew all the hard days would come to an end, and the hard phases would disappear until the next one came around. I knew that we would all be okay if something was a little off. I didn't expect perfection from DS, and then get upset when I didn't get it. It was a much more pleasant experience because I was able to shrug things off and let them go.
  • Overall it has remained similar. I think my flexibility for our schedule has increased. I still try to schedule activities around naptime. Implementing it was more of a challenge in terms of helping the second child get back to sleep or down for a nap without interruptions. It also took longer to get to know my second child's cues.
  • I think I actually began to do Babywise as it was intended. A parent-directed feeding model. The first had me so tied up in knots that we'd all die if a nap was missed. I'd lose sleep and get grey hairs if I had to troubleshoot. With each subsequent child (on 3 currently) I have managed to adhere to the schedule in a way that I view as better with each child, and yet I have been able to be flexible when needed, loosen up mentally when I had to, and just not based my sanity on whether or not the day had great naps. They usually do, but when they don't, I'm okay now.
Feel free to add your own story on this post!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Commanding Obedience within Reason

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Kaitlyn and I recently read The Little Prince together. As we were reading along, there were a lot of gems of wisdom throughout that I saw differently now that I am a parent. At one point, the little prince was talking to a king who boasted of being obeyed perfectly. 

The little prince requested the king command the sun to set right then. The king replied,

"If I commanded a general to fly from one flower to the next like a butterfly, or to write a tragedy, or to turn into a seagull, and if the general did not carry out my command, which of us would be in the wrong, the general or me?"
"You would be," said the little prince, quite firmly.
"Exactly. One must command from each what each can perform," the king went on. "Authority is based first of all upon reason...I am entitled to command obedience because my orders are reasonable." pages 30-31

This is precisely how we must look at our own authority as parents. We can not require obedience beyond the ability of our children. If we want obedience from our children, our orders need to be reasonable. 

This is definitely easier said than done. We don't always know what is reasonable. We don't always have the correct level of expectations for our children. We often expect too much from some and too little from others. You also have the fact that children can rise to our expectations, so we should have high standards for them. So how do you know if your orders are reasonable or not? 

If your child is constantly having issues being obedient, then your orders are not reasonable in some way. It might mean you have too high of expectations so your child is constantly failing to meet them (and will eventually stop trying to meet them). It can also mean your expectations are too low, resulting in your child having freedoms beyond her years to handle them. Either extreme will lead to behavior problems. For more on this, see Constantly Needing to Correct the Child.

Behavior problems are not the only sign that your commands might be off. Some children will bend over backwards trying to please their parents, no matter how monumental the task. If your child seems stressed or on edge, then you are likely giving commands that are not reasonable. If your child breaks down at the slightest hing of failure, evaluate your expectations. At some point, there will be some form of rebellion from these unreasonable commands, even if it is as minuscule as your adult child avoiding being around you (likely subconsciously). 

Keep this quote in mind as you parent and make demands of your children. Remember to request what they can give you. Always be willing to evaluate and adjust what you are requesting, how that is being received, and what you might need to change. You will likely often get it wrong--that is a normal part of parenting. Do the best you can and stay humble about it all and it will work out.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Breastfeeding in Front of Older Siblings

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Many expectant moms wonder about what to do about breastfeeding in front of their other children. Is it okay to breastfeed in front of older children? What about really older children? Is there an age where you will want to cover up?

The short answer here is that you do what you are comfortable with for your family.

My opinion here is that no matter the age or gender of your child, it is absolutely okay to breastfeed your baby in front of your other children without covering up. Here is why.

For one thing, breastfeeding a baby is a natural thing and not something that needs to be hidden nor treated as shameful. Let me add here, I am a very modest person. I believe our bodies are sacred and should be treated with respect. I am not a proponent of women baring all in public. I think you can breastfeed in public without showing everyone around your bare breast. Women are talented at it (some more than others--even after spending over four years of my life breastfeeding, it is not really a strong talent of mine--or a weak talent). I think you can feed your baby and still have consideration for others around you.

Among your own children, however, I don't even think you need to worry about not showing your bare breast as you breastfeed. I have never had issue breastfeeding in front of my kids. Remember how I said I wasn't talented at being discrete? My kids saw all when I was breastfeeding. 

Initially, the children will be very cognitively aware of what is going on and naturally very curious. Initially, reactions will vary from concerned to fascinated. Your reaction is key to how your children will take it. Don't be embarrassed. Answer their questions. Explain what is happening. If you see your child feels uncomfortable, talk to your child at a time when you aren't breastfeeding. Talk to your child about his/her feelings, validate those feelings, and explain what you are doing. Let's be real here, our children routinely interact with us while we are going to the bathroom (whether we like it or not). If they can do that without physiological damage, I think the risk is low for problems coming from feeding a sibling in the manner that our bodies were designed to feed a baby. 

Your children will quickly get used to you feeding the baby and it will be of not interest to them. They won't take more notice of it than they do their pair of shoes sitting in the middle of the entry way. 

Another reason to breastfeed in front of your children is that you are breastfeeding a baby all day long and yet still need to be a parent to the other children. Logistically as a mom, you can't be alone in a room at every feeding. You have to be able to take care of your children--even if it is just "couch parenting." Hey, I had to do a lot of couch parenting during Brinley's first year--especially in mornings as my kids were getting ready for school.

Some might argue to cover up with a blanket or nursing cover. I will use those around anyone not in my immediate family (because again, I am not talented at nursing without baring all), but at home I don't. I have never had a baby who liked being under those--even at church in the mother's lounge I always end up stopping using that thing despite my lack of talent. I don't use covers long.

Now, I am a big fan of trying to have children occupied during nursing sessions--especially little children. I never worried about my older kids' schedules in conjunction with my feeding baby schedule, but any two year old I had, I wanted occupied. This is just because a two year old is smart enough to realize you are tied down and not obedient enough to consistently listen to voice commands. 

I also enjoy having quiet nursing sessions with my babies. It is rare to have time alone with a baby when you have older children. Because of this, I would sometimes go in a room and tell my children to not come in while I was feeding the baby. I find the first month to typically need all of my focus so I can keep baby awake to eat. Then you have a few months of "baby will eat anywhere." Then you start to enter, "baby is far more interested in watching siblings goof around than eat" age range (which continues on until the baby is weaned). The good news is that by the time baby reaches that stage, there are fewer feedings in a day so you have fewer times to worry about it.

I will also want to be alone if it is the last feeding of the day because I need baby to be eating in a quiet, calm environment and my children are not quiet nor calming at the end of the day while they are getting ready for bed. I always nursed Brinley in her room and just me and her for her last feeding of the day.

To sum up, I have no problem nursing in front of my children for modesty reasons. I will try to have them occupied so I can have peaceful bonding time with the baby or be able to focus on the baby. I also will have them occupied if the child can't handle the freedom of mom being "tied down." I will also want to nurse without older kids around if the baby won't eat with them in the room or if I need it to be a quiet environment. 

Ultimately, it is up to you to decide. Let me assure you that children quickly lose interest in the novelty of it and don't think twice about it. I will say...pumping was a whole different experience for me. I didn't do it in front of them often enough for it to lose novelty and I didn't enjoy them gathering around and watching me like I was some museum exhibit (an interesting one). 

What is your practice? Do you breastfeed in front of your children?

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Thursday, February 13, 2014

Parent vs. Friend {Guest Post}

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by Emily Parker

Often in our society today the lines between parent and friend become blurred. On social media I often see "My daughter is my best friend!" While there is nothing wrong with saying that, is it really our goal as parents? For me, my goal as a parent is to raise my children in the Lord and to raise them to make good choices in their lives. To be examples to others and to be positive members of society as adults. 

It is a struggle as a mom to not give in and become the friend. I love my children so much and it's not easy to tell them no. It's hard not to buy them every toy they could ever want! Sure I'd love to stay up late giggling with them. It'd be so relaxing to let them watch tv all the time! It would be far, far easier to let my children rule the roost. Keep them happy by giving them everything they desire. Be their friend by letting them have everything they want, whenever they want it.

I have been through times of personal struggle in my life that has made it even more difficult not to look at my children as a source of love for me. But that is not their role. They are not the parent, I am. And it's important to always keep that perspective. They need my love. They need my protection. They need my wisdom and guidance. Always!

Having Babywise in our lives has helped my husband and I to keep that line clear between friend and parent. We have structure and order to our day, everyday. Our children do not decide when they eat or when they sleep, we do. Babywise is family centered, not child centered. So much of the "friendship parenting" that takes place today is due to child centeredness. That is something we want to avoid in our home so we have focused on establishing Babywise principles from day one. 

Many aspects of Babywise help us to keep that balance of parent over friend. From the scheduling, to the eat-wake-sleep cycle we put in place, even to independent playtime. While my husband and I are always the leaders of our home, that doesn't mean that we don't still have fun in our family! 

Using Babywise and having that structure in our day actually allows us more freedoms and more ability to be that fun Mommy and Daddy we want to be! Yes, structure and discipline are so, so important. But so are creating loving, fun, lasting memories with our children. Since our children have structure in their lives, we know they will be happy when they are awake! They will be well rested and have full bellies and better be able to have those exciting memorable times with us! 

We travel a lot as a family and even when traveling we maintain our structure and routine and our expectations for behavior (you can read my post on Babywise travel tips here!) We spend a lot of time at home building forts, playing pretend, and even watching movies together. Even while doing those fun things, it is always clear that Mommy and Daddy are the decision makers while having fun together too! Sure, occasionally we let our children stay up a little late. Or let our older child skip nap. But it is not the norm in our home and is always because the parents discussed and decided it, not the children.

While I do not consider myself to be my children's friend, and I do not think others view me as a "cool mom," I am okay with that. I know that years from now my children will respect me for putting these boundaries in place for them and for raising them to follow the Lord's path. I know as they get older we will have plenty of time to be friends. My days of having to discipline, of needing to structure their days, of having to make their decisions will fade and then we will be able to be truly wonderful friends. I am looking so forward to that phase of life! Our hard work will pay off and we will get to enjoy our children as adults!!! What bigger blessing could life bring?

As the product of a more relaxed parenting environment myself, I know I look back and wish my parents had provided more structure for me in many ways. Sure we had plenty of fun, but there wasn't a clear parent/child relationship. Those friendship vs parenting lines were very blurry and I personally would have benefited from a more clear distinction between the two. As an adult I am not friends with my parents and I fully believe that if they had a more clear line as I was younger, then we would have a better relationship now that I'm older. 

I know as my children get older, it will be more difficult to not give in to the temptation of being that friend. I am thankful we are laying the groundwork now, when they are young, so we can hopefully survive the tougher years as easily as possible. I'm also thankful that there is a On Becoming Teen Wise book too :) 

Emily blogs at The Journey of Parenthood.

You can see my post today on A Mother Far From Home. I am talking about siblings fighting.






Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tips for Traveling with Baby/Toddler: Naps on the Go {Guest Post}

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Bedtime routine in the hotel!  Charlotte in her sleep sack, having a bottle, and reading stories with dad!

Allison shared her hotel tips with us last week. This is the second in her two-part post on traveling with a little one. 

Hello, fellow Babywise moms!  My name is Allison and I am the mom of a 16-month-old girl named Charlotte.  On the advice of a friend (and the Internet), we read Secrets of the Baby Whisperer and Babywise when I was pregnant and decided that they represented a great strategy for parenting.

Issue #2: Napping at the Grandparents’ House

We planned to spend Saturday at my husband’s grandparents’ house with his whole side of the family, so obviously Charlotte would have to nap there.  After we arrived, we set up their guest room with Charlotte’s napping stuff.

We did the following:
·         Draped two room darkening curtains (from home) over their existing curtain rods.
·         Set up the Pack and Play with her usual blankets and sleep sack.
·         Plugged in the white noise machine.

When naptime came, I did our usual nap routine (bottle, diaper change, books, and bed) in the guest room.  There was even a rocking chair, which was nice and cozy for reading.  This room was not nearly as dark as her room at home because the curtain rods extended from the wall a bit, leaving big gaps for the sunlight.  This made me nervous: would she think it was play time?  However, with her usual nap items and the white noise running, she got the nap message.  I wasn’t paying careful attention, but I think she played for about 15 minutes before going to sleep.

Her normal nap is from about noon until 2:30.  On this trip, I put her down at 12:30 and had to wake her at 3:30!  Granted, she was probably tired from playing with family all morning, but I was very impressed that even napping in a different place, we were able to plan and create a scenario in which we didn’t have to accept poor sleep.

Issue #3: Napping in the Car

On Sunday, we planned to leave at Charlotte’s nap time and have her nap in the car.  We have done this before with success, and we were successful again.  Here’s how we did it.

First, we did the bottle-diaper-books part of the routine still at the grandparents’ house.  Then in the car, we stretched a dark blanket between the front and back seat headrests over her car seat.  It darkens the area but is open on the bottom for air circulation.  Then we placed the white noise machine (cranked all the way up!) on the seat next to her and gave her one of her usual blankets.

She was asleep before we got out of town!  This is a tiny Wisconsin farm town that takes approximately three minutes to travel through, so that was really record time.  She slept for just over two hours, which is pretty perfect, and then I hung out in the back seat to play with her for the rest of the trip.

Summary

If you, like me, have been hesitant to travel with baby or toddler because you value sleep and won’t take “no naps” for an answer, maybe my posts have given you hope!  I think we were successful for the following reasons:

  • 1.       We stayed on schedule and prioritized sleep.  No nap skipping or late bedtimes here!
  • 2.       We know what sleep conditions are important for our daughter and we made every effort to re-create those conditions using her usual blankets, room darkening curtains, and white noise machine.
  • 3.       We prepared by packing the essentials for creating good sleep spaces.


If you’re planning a trip, I definitely recommend that you consider how to create good sleep conditions and pack the necessary items.  Maybe my pictures can even help you devise a room set-up strategy.  Good luck, and happy trails to you!

What are your tips for sleeping at other's homes and for sleeping in the car?

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