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McKenna Toddler Summary: 20 Months Old

This is a summary for McKenna 19-20 months old. I don't think I could love this age any more. Everything she does is adorable to me...well, almost. It was not adorable yesterday in church when she screamed several times at her siblings.

Okay, sidebar. My husband and I were both singing in sacrament with two other people. You don't know the exact time you will go up; it is just after the speaker is done. It could be in one minute or 20. McKenna was on one yesterday. I don't know what it was. But I couldn't promptly take her out into the hall like I usually do because I didn't know when I would be up. I was so frazzled by the time it was time to sing. Afterward, she tried to hit my husband (out of fun, not anger, but still not okay with me) and I took her out into the hall where she instantly transformed into an angel and sat on my lap as quiet and nice as could be. She knew she was in trouble. 

Let me tell you, we have one more month before church moves to 9 AM instead of 1 PM and I, along with many other mothers, could not be more excited.

Back on track. Despite the tumultuous times that come with this age range, I find this age so much fun.  

Eating is as intense as ever. By intense I mean that she eats a lot of food and loves it. She has figured out what sweet things are and where I keep them. She will stick a hand out and say "cookie" and is concentrating so hard she shakes. If she had ever read Matilda, I would swear she is trying to move the sweet item to her using her mind. She doesn't understand why she can't just have "cookie" whenever and why she can't have it first in a meal, but she is start to figure out that is just the way it is.

A big event is that she is starting to drink a good amount of milk. Once I wrote that post on sneaking milk into the day, she started drinking it. Maybe she was just holding out so I wouldn't forget about writing the post? My mom also introduced her to chocolate milk on Thanksgiving, which you can imagine was a huge hit.

This is going well. I think she is about to hit a huge language leap. As for right now, "uh-uh" currently means "yes." Speaking of chocolate milk, she finished her first cup, then held it out asking for more. My aunt took it and said, "Do you want more?" To which she replied "uh-uh." So my aunt, of course, put the cup down. McKenna then gave her a very dirty look. I had to explain that right now, no means yes. It was quite funny.

Hurray! Success! She is now officially in roomtime. Each day, I would go in and put her on the floor as I set up the playpen and got it ready. She would cling to my leg all upset. That was good because it showed me she wasn't ready without me having to officially try it.

One day when I set her down and she walked over to her toys and started handing them to me. I took them, then she came and arranged them in a circle. She then sat in the middle of the circle and said, "bye-bye." So I left. She played in her circle of toys not budging. It took her a week to move at all, but she only got up to get more books then went back to her circle. She is slowly getting more comfortable with the idea of playing in the room.

I am not sure what drove her to decide playing in the room was okay, but I am thrilled to no longer be putting up and taking down a playpen!

She is such the little mimic right now. I love having her tag along with me as I sweep and do other chores. She loves to help and is a good little worker. I can give her the placemats and she will put them on the table as best she can. It is great. 

One day early on in this month, McKenna found her screaming voice. That female intuition kicked in one day and she screamed at the top of her lungs at Brayden. He immediately backed off and she knew she had a powerful weapon at her disposal. I have been working to banish that behavior, but as you read in my opening story, that is definitely not a full success right now. 

While I have adamantly vowed to never do bangs with a little girl (I don't want to keep up on trimming bangs on a wiggly little one) I decided McKenna looks much better with bangs and had to cut them. She held quite still, which isn't surprising because she does pretty well when I do her hair. So I will be having to trim that every so often (remember my post Never Say Never?).

Nap is good. Nothing of interest to report.

Just last night, she had her first nightmare. I know that cry. It took her a minute of being held to calm down. I think it was largely to do with being tired from missing a nap at church. Somehow, Kaitlyn skipped the nightmare thing, but Brayden had them, so we know what a nightmare cry is like. 

One day, McKenna was playing a recorder (you know, the musical instrument) and fell and cut the roof of her mouth open. Scary. But she was okay. Even so, we had to do a soft diet for a couple of days and had to keep the wound rinsed well with water. She is also a thumb sucker, so I wondered if it would interfere with her nighttime sleep. Night one she did great. Night two, she woke every two hours until midnight. We would go in, rocker her for a while, then put her in bed. Both my husband and I enjoyed this immensely. But after a couple of nights of that, I could tell she was starting to enjoy it immensely and was waking just to get a visit. 

The problem with that is that interrupted sleep is not as restful as uninterrupted sleep. So we cut back to just picking her up and holding her for a minute before we put her back in bed. After one night of that, she stopped waking up.

9:00--bath/get ready
10:00--sibling playtime
10:30--independent playtime11:30--learning time
4:00/4:30: get up5:00--Dinner. Free play and family time
8:00--in bed by this time. Sometimes sooner.



Various Reader Questions/Requests

  • emily said...
    What do you think about crib mobiles? I thought it would be nice to have something for my daughter to look at when she wakes up from naps and nigh time. Do you think they're a sleep prop? I don't need it to help her fall asleep, but since it's attached to the crib, it will be there while she's trying to fall asleep.
    March 14, 2008 2:50 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    I think they are great--and I don't view them as a sleep prop at all. I think it is great for them to have something to look at that they can't interfere with. They are some little "friends" :)
    March 15, 2008 9:24 AM
  • susie said...
    Thank you. This [independent playtime] will be my goal for the week. I love reading your blogs daily as another resource and much support for our family. Our daughter is our first and I was not prepared for how much discipline needed on our (parents) end but also how REWARDING it is to watch her grow with BWise principles. My parents don't support BWise but they love to see our daughter become such a great sleeper!!! They just don't agree with the CIO part. So it has been tough. Did you experience this with your family or heard anyone with the similiar story? Anyways, I love all your blogs! They are so HELPFUL!Susie
    March 23, 2008 9:07 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    My parents have always been supportive of the way I parent, even though they didn't do CIO themselves. My husband's parents did CIO. I do know people whose parents don'g agree with the methods their children follow. Hopefully you have a relationship where you can just tell them basically to deal with it, you are the parent and are doing what you beleive to be the best for your child. You can ask them for your support. I hope you are able to have that type of conversation with them; I know I could with my parents, but my husband couldn't with his.
    March 24, 2008 9:44 PM
  • jessica babcock said...
    I left a comment about a month ago regarding babywise and foster children. Im sure its lost in space somewhere but lo and behold, I need to ask again because my husband and I just got a 1 month old premie addicted to methenfedamines and going thru withdrawls. I want to ecourage quality sleep and do many of the same "babywise" things I did with my now 5 month old. but I realise this is a tottally different ball game and he needs special care for a while. does anyone have expierience and or successs with babywise with abused, neglected or otherwise mistreated babies or children? I feel we are just getting him thru his withdrawls right now but after that I am still a little intimidated. I dont want to screw up. any ideas would be helpfull, thanks
    September 10, 2008 7:40 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    Jessica, I don't have any experience or knowledge about that, so I wouldn't feel qualified giving any advice on the topic. I would try to get in contact with some professionals (which I would assume you have access to with this situation).
    September 15, 2008 11:01 AM
  • bradysmom said...
    Hi there. I have a question. I am new to this site - just discovered it today and am so thankful! I have been following BW since birth - my son is now 15 weeks - to the best of my ability, but always have questions. The difference I have is that I only breastfed for 3 weeks, then pumped and gave it to him in a bottle, along with formula, so he's been mostly bottle-fed. 2 weeks ago I stopped pumping and now he is just getting formula. He has been doing great, since birth. Sleeps at least 9 hours at night - goes down just fine at night w/ no coaxing. I feed him, change him, then put him in his crib. He has slept in his crib since 6 weeks. Last Friday (May 16th) I switched from a 3.5 hour routine to a 4 hour routine. He now eats at 9, 1, 5, and 9. I have also started implementing structured nap time. I tried doing wake time for 2 hours, then nap time for 2 hours. Before this, he would wake at 7:30am, have wake time until 8:30/9:00 then go down for a nap until 11:00. After that I let him nap either in his bouncy seat and/or swing, but didn't really enforce napping for a set amount of time, in his crib, since he was doing fine at night (and he wasn't fussy at all during the day).Now that he's on the 4 hour schedule - (it's been 4 whole days) he has consistently been waking up 30-40 minutes into his nap crying. He never cries and has never woke up crying before. I have to go in and soothe him, can usually get him back to sleep but then he wakes up about 5-10 minutes later. It's that 30-50 minute time range into his nap that I have to get him through. After that he will usually sleep the rest of the time. If I get him up at the time he wakes, he's fine and wants to be awake. I'm thinking that he just has to get through that sleep cycle and has to get adjusted to his new routine. Is this the case? Am I doing something wrong? Is it too early to switch him to a 4 hour routine?? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated since the waking up crying is sooo unlike him! Thank you.
    May 20, 2008 12:55 PM
    Plowmanators said...
    I would guess that his waketime is now too long. On the 4 hour schedule, a 2.5 hour long nap. Try putting him down at the time he was going down before you switched and see how that goes.Be sure to visit the blog index and look under the four hour schedule section for more information on when to move over. Good luck!
    May 21, 2008 11:09 PM
  • Cristine said...
    My baby is almost 5 months and he usually goes down at 8, and wakes at 6. I used to wake him at 7, but he always ate at 5, went back to sleep and woke at 7. Now he's not waking at 5 to eat anymore, but at 6, so we start the day then. However, I really wish he would start waking at 7 again. He is still only going 8 hours, max 8 and half without eating during the night. He's also been eating for about 5 min. only every 3 hours (sometimes 10). He's always been a quick eater...but 5 seems so little. Do you think I should start trying to extend his schedule to a 4 hour schedule, to see if he eats more? I realize, though, that babywise says he should be going for at least 10 hours without eating at night to extend the feeding schedule. What do you think?
    May 30, 2008 9:16 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    My daughter was a 4-6 minute nurser at a rather young age, so if his diaper output is normal and weight gain is normal for him, I wouldn't worry about that. I wouldn't extend the schedule until nights are better. BUT some moms extend the schedule before then and baby suddenly sleeps and eats better. If you think he is ready, you could always try it and if it doesn't work, go back.See this post for ideas on how to deal with that 6 AM waketime: Early Morning Feedings Before Waketime:
    May 30, 2008 3:15 PM
    Abby's Mom said...
    Cristine - My LO (5.5 months) only eats on one breast at every feeding and for anywhere between 3 and 5 minutes (with the exception of her first feeding in the morning which is more like 8-10 minutes) I had a really hard time accepting that she was getting enough to eat that quickly. However, she is a very chubby baby and has the right amount of wet diapers so I was told not to worry about it. You would be surprised how efficient they can be! I try to look at it as a blessing because I remember how hard it was when she took 45-60 minutes to eat during the first two months. :)
    June 2, 2008 11:21 AM
  • Lindsay said...
    Did your kids get sick after thier 4 mo. immunizations? If so, how long were they sick? Jack woke up every 2-3 hours again last night! Ugh!
    January 31, 2008 11:38 AM
    Plowmanators said...
    Kaitlyn got sick after her 4 month shots. Brayden got sick after his 2 month shots and his 1 year shots. For both, it was only the next day, but I have heard of some being a few days. No fun!
    January 31, 2008 1:08 PM

Discipline is a Step-by-step Process

This post builds off of the idea behind Factors that Influence Learning -- so if you haven't read that post (or if it has been a while), it would be good for you to do so.

In that post, we discuss the idea that learning builds on itself. You first learn the sounds of letters before you learn how to combine those sounds into words. Learning comes in progressive stages. Build on what  you learned in the past.

And since learning naturally and most effectively happens that way, it stands to reason that teaching correct behavior should happen that way, also. On Becoming Babywise Book II says, "Since learning comes in progressive stages, training should take place in the same way, occurring hand-in-hand with progressions in learning" (page 19).

What does this mean? This means that no matter the age of the child, when you start to teach appropriate behaviors, you must do so bit by bit, much like building a house. You can't start your child on the rooftop when the foundation is not yet complete. 

This can be easy and natural to do if you start age-appropriate training from babyhood rather than waiting until you have a wild two year old running around. It is easy to expect less of a 7 month old than it is to expect that same "less" of a two year old, especially because by that time, you will be a bit more desperate to get behavior under control.

Let's take a simplistic, yet common, example. The dinner table. At 7 months, all of those messy habits are adorable. True true. But somehow, getting splattered by the force of a two year old raspberry is not as cute as the 7 month old raspberry.

If you allow the table manners you don't want to happen long-term, then you will have some difficult teaching of appropriate behavior ahead of you. Throwing food, smearing food, decorating self with food, spraying food, etc. Suddenly, instead of focusing on one little step in the teaching manners process, you are looking at the big picture, and that is highly overwhelming to both you and the child.

Now, you might be feeling sad for the baby--not getting to do those fun things babies do with food. You might even be feeling sad for yourself--not getting to witness those fun things babies do with food. I know this argument is out there.

You can allow the behaviors at appropriate times. Remember substitution. It is an amazing tool for you to use! No raspberries at the table, but raspberries are fine and dandy in the tub. Go wild. No smearing food around, but I will let you have finger paints to play with and playdoh'. You can get that tactile sensory fun in there at a playtime and learning time, not dinner time. These activities can still happen even if you don't allow them at mealtime, and trust me when I tell you that your child is smart enough to figure out the difference of when it is appropriate. You just have to give her the credit she deserves and also remain consistent in your rules. 

Another argument for starting early is to avoid the re-training process. I don't think this can be 100% avoided--especially with the oldest child. As first time parents, we aren't so good at seeing into the future and knowing what to avoid. As more children come along, we have been around the block a couple of times and know very well where certain allowances can lead.

But with that oldest, especially, you will have retraining you will have to do. One example of my own is ball-throwing in the house. I allowed Brayden to do that because when he first started, it dropped right in front of him. Well, fast forward a bit and he has an arm that frightens me when we play catch outside (I am a bit of a scardy cat--I value my personal safety). Suddenly, he isn't that cute little 8 month old who can't throw further than an inch nor hard enough to frighten a fly. Now he can throw farther than the walls allow him and hard enough to scare his mommy :). 

Happily, I realized my blunder around two years old or so and started re-training. But with my girls, I haven't allowed throwing ever in the house, and it has been an easier process. We throw outside. Inside, we roll to each other. Not as fun, no. Safer for everyone and everything, yes.

So, when you are teaching your children your rules and appropriate behavior, no matter their age, remember that learning comes step-by-step. If you have waited until your child is 3 to start enforcing rules, keep this in mind and use it to your advantage. He will learn faster if you take it step-by-step rather than expecting him to get it all at once. You wouldn't expect yourself to run five miles the first time you ran in...ever. No, you would start by working up to one mile. Then you would build on that. 

In the same way, you must build on learning behavior for your children. If your child is a baby, you can have a much easier time with this idea because it is the more natural progression of things. Happy training!

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

SinuCleanse Winner

The winner of the SinuCleanse KidsMist is...


You have one week to contact me with your mailing address or a new winner will be chosen. Congrats!

For the rest of you, be sure to enter the current giveaway for the dessert cookbook!

Great Deals 2010

Do you know of any great deals out there that you want to share with everyone? If so, please post a comment with the details!

I have a couple to tell you about. 

First is this bag giveaway. This started on Tuesday, November 23 and runs until Monday, December 17. 

This bag retails for $770. Nope, I didn't type that wrong. That is right. You can enter at (giveaway page here) and a separate entry at Did I mention this comes with a $50 gift certificate as well? Quite the win.

Next is a great deal from My Baby Clothes Boutique. This company has done two giveaways on this blog so far, and I know you like them! They are having a great Cyber Monday sale:

One day only sale, 25% OFF our entire catalog!  On November 29th from 12am to 12am EST shoppers can use the discount code below to get 25% OFF any order. 
* Promo only valid from 11/29/2010 12am – 12 am est.  Cannot be combined with other offers.  Shipping not included.
Discount Code: CYBERSALE2010


Your turn! Please share any great giveaways/deals you know of going on right now. Happy Black Friday (is that a holiday now?)

Happy Thanksgiving!

It is Thanksgiving again! Last year at this time, a friend had just been struck by the tragedy of losing her two month old baby. This year, another friend has just lost her baby, resulting in a stillbirth.

As I wrote last year, this year I am ever grateful for the love of our Lord. He loves us more than we love ourselves and wants what is best for us. Even better, he knows what is best for us and He can make that happen. He refines us and makes us the best we can be.

I weep as I type. The pain of losing a child is beyond description. My empathy for my friends consumes me. But I am comforted. I see the great faith of my friends as they move forward even as they are in such pain. I wish I could take their pain for them. As a woman who lost her baby to stillbirth at 39 weeks recently described, when you have experienced such a loss, you feel such pain for other families who go through the same. You know the road they have ahead of them and know how hard it will be. You weep for their pain.

But, alas, only One can remove that pain. My best efforts can be spent in prayer on behalf of these women and their families. 

And so I am grateful for prayer. I am grateful for friends. I am grateful for family and for support. 

And I am grateful for the small things in life, too. I am grateful for that teenage boy who randomly decided to shovel our driveway last night. That was very nice of him. I am grateful to be surrounded by such great parents who teach their children so well that a teenage boy would even choose to do that. 

I am grateful for giggles and kisses. I am grateful for modern technology. I am grateful for my iPod. How great is it to be able to carry your entire music collection around with you?

As a storm blows fiercely outside, I am grateful for my home and the comforts I enjoy. 

I am grateful for this time of year to spend time focusing on gratitude. Not what I want and not what I want to give others....just on gratitude. There is much to be thankful for. Let's live life accordingly.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



  28 (48%)
  10 (17%)
  14 (24%)
  3 (5%)
  0 (0%)
6 or older
  3 (5%)

Votes so far: 58 


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

Vote on the Poll!

Okay, I know that we established last time that I needed to post the reminder. I remembered that know, a day too late. So my apologies. But better late than never...right?

The current poll is on rest time, so if you have a child who has transitioned to rest time, please come vote! And if you are seeing this Wednesday instead of Tuesday, go to the post I published today (being Wednesday, not Tuesday) and comment with your vote. 


First Time Mom Reflections: In Your Face!

When Brayden was a baby, I really had no idea what I should be doing so far as face time with him. If he was awake, I literally felt guilty--pure guilt--if I was not in front of him and interacting.

I would sing songs, make faces, read books, talk, try to get him to smile, take pictures...I wouldn't do anything but focus all attention on him when he was awake. 

It is no wonder I was so tired and found it hard to get things done...

And the poor kid! He never had a moment of peace! When I think of how overly stimulated he must have been....oh boy. 

As he got older, I came around. I started to implement independent play around 6-7 months. He was not happy to suddenly not be entertained by me at all moments of the day, but he worked up to 30 minutes of playing happily (until he started standing at 8 or 9 months...that story is told in the independent play posts). 

With my girls, I was a lot more balanced. I allowed them to play while I watched and without me being in their faces or even talking to them. I let them have some peace. I knew they would not feel completely neglected if they had only the pleasure of their own company sometimes. They were always very content babies, and I am sure it is largely in part because I didn't spend all of their waking hours in their faces. 

Was anyone else an "in your facer"? 


Newborns and Waketime: A Slow Process

I know few things stress people out more than newborns and trying to get them onto the routine they are hoping to achieve. For most newborns, one of the hardest things to achieve is to establish "waketime" after each feeding during the day. I wanted to offer some encouragement to hopefully help you relax and take the process in stride.

On Becoming Babywise addresses the difficulty, "Attempts to keep awake this sweet bundle simply are not successful. That is okay." And then this important sentence: "Wakefulness is a goal to strive toward" (page 107). 

Did you catch that? It does not say that you must have waketime following every feeding or your child will be a complete failure, and of course you are then a complete failure by association. No. It says it is a goal to strive toward. 

Goals take time. Therefore, you can't expect to achieve this goal immediately. It takes work, consistency, and time.

So as you work on this goal, try to avoid the slippery slope of despair and worry. You will get there. I have this post with ideas to help you get there: Adding Waketime to Your Newborn's Day :

Also remember that eating and diaper change are "waketime." When you consider that most newborns can only be awake for 30-45 minutes at first, it takes at least 20 to eat then 5ish for the full diaper change, that doesn't leave you with much. So at first, you won't be having much time spent doing anything other than eat and change diapers. 

Some babies are a little harder. If they are like Kaitlyn, they fall asleep even through the diaper change and cannot be roused. That is okay. You can slowly add waketime like I did with her (as described in the post above). 

It will all come. I know that a two week old seems like she has been around for a long time because you aren't getting much sleep. In real-time, two weeks is not that long. It might take 6 or more weeks to get playtime really happening even a little. So just relax, do what you can, and turn off the stress.


Product Review: SinuCleanse {Giveaway}!

This post is sponsored by SinuCleanse. All opinions are my own.

It's cold season again. Cold season is no fun.

When Brayden was a baby, that was "back in the day" when infant cold medicine was still around. Let me tell you, it worked really well. But that is all ancient history. 

I honestly worried about having a baby with a cold after the medicine got taken off the market. I don't like giving medicine frequently, but if it was needed for a cold, I have no problems with it. So what was I going to do for a baby when she got sick now? I couldn't blow her nose for her. I can suck her nose, but you aren't supposed to do that more than once a day at most. We all know colds require more than one "nose-blow" a day. Luckily, people are ingenuitive and ever coming up with new ways to help us out in every way of life, including when we get colds.

Enter SinuCleanse. SinuCleanse was developed by a pediatric ENT specifically for use with infants and young children. Pictured above is the Kids Mist (they also make products for adults). 

Saline wash seems to be the winner when choosing something to fight off colds or allergies. But of course, not all saline is created equal. So what sets SinuCleanse apart?

Kids Mist features an easy-to-aim nozzle that that dispenses a fine mist of a pre-measured dose of saline solution and does not need to be inserted into the nostril. It also has an anti-backwash valve to prevent contamination and is dishwasher safe so that it can be thoroughly cleaned. Kids Mist comes with pre-measured doses of 100% natural, preservative free saline solution containing no Benzalkonium Chloride.

And how does it work?

Nasal Saline Spray used several times a day will assist in the natural function of the nose and sinuses by keeping nasal mucus THIN and FLOWING, rather than THICK and STICKY.

We received this product to test at the end of summer, and of course we had to wait a month before anyone got a cold. Then it came and I was excited! Now I could try this out! Then I remembered what a cold was like and was not excited.  

The kids handled it well. There was no gasping for air afterward like usually happens with saline drops. I decided I had better try it out myself and was really surprised that it eased my stuffy nose for several hours. That was great! 

SinuCleanse can be purchased in many locations, including Wallgreens and 

But it is always nice to try a product yourself before you become a frequent shopper right? So one lucky winner will win their own SinuCleanse Kids Mist to try out! Not the most glamorous prize ever, but definitely practical and helpful. So what are you waiting for? Start entering:

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Become a follower of this blog. Then leave a comment. If you are already a follower (the thing where your cute face pops up with all the other cute faces of people following), comment telling me so.

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Entry Rules

  • You must leave a comment in order to have an entry.
  • You must leave a separate comment for each entry. This is not so I can get lots of comments--it is because it makes it a million times easier to choose a winner. It takes less time, and less time is good.
  • You don't have to do all seven entries...for example, if you just want to follow this blog, you can just do entry one.
  • One entry per comment.
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  • You must fulfill the rules of each entry for each entry to count. If I see the entry is not valid (did not meet entry requirements), I will remove your entry. Trust me, I check.
  • Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM Friday, November 26 Mountain Standard Time.
  • The winner will be randomly selected at
  • The winner will be announced Saturday, November 27.
  • If you would like, you can add your email address to your entry. If you are the winner, I will email you to let you know. You do not need to add your email address in order to win. I understand not everyone wants to share their email addresses with the world. I will announce the winner on the blog, so you can check the blog Saturday to find out if you won.
  • Once the winner is announced, you will have one week to contact me or another winner will be chosen. Be sure to check back. The only thing worse than not winning is to win but not realize it in time!