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A Few of My Favorite Things

It is time for Spring Break for me! While I am taking a break, I thought I would share some of the most popular posts from the end of 2010 for you to enjoy. Have a great week!

Quick Cleaning: Laundry Day

Teaching Child to Come When Called

Logical Consequences: What Was Mis-Used

Mistakes: Golden Nuggets of Wisdom

Duties for Dad

Discipline: Step-by-step Process

Quick Cleaning: The Bathroom

Potty Training: More Than One Right Method

My First Baby Was Easy...

Adding Milk/Dairy to the Diet

Newborns and Waketime: A Slow Process

Healthy Sleep Habits: Sleep Cues

Sleep Hierarchy: 3-6 Months

Babies and Learning: Begin As You Mean to Go On

Dealing With Difficult Family Members

Teaching Children Fire Safety

Read 30 Minutes a Day

Pre-Toddler Months: Words To Live By

Chore Cards

Best Toys for PreToddler: 12-18 Months Update

Best Toys for Baby: 0-12 Month Update

Starting Independent Playtime Late

Hunger Patterns

Birth Order: The Youngest Child

Avoiding Selfishness

Planning Your Schedule

Babywise II: Establishing Right Patterns

Importance of the First Nap

Pre-Toddler Goal: Don't Lose Ground

First Time Mom Reflections: Easily Discouraged

Efficient Mommy: Kitchen Products

Logical Consequences: Saying "no" When Given Direction

Caring for Yourself as a Mom: Girls' Night Out

Today, we ladies of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network (BFBN) wanted to talk about ways we take care of ourselves as mothers (okay, really yesterday was the day. I totally messed up and posted this on the wrong day). I have already discussed many of the things that come to mind when thinking about taking care of yourself:
Today I wanted to talk about a way to care for yourself socially, and that is with girls' night out! 

A good group of my girlfriends and I have a standing day each month that we do girls' night. It is the same night each month and we take turns hosting or we go out. I also have other good friends I will go out with for various reasons, including celebrating our awesome play we all worked on or going out to decompress from a stressful project we are working on. 

Some of my good friends and I out at a local amusement park.
Having a girls' night out is so fun! It is energizing. It allows you to focus on yourself in the role of friend. We usually meet weekly at the park as moms with our kids, and that is very fun, but we are still balancing mom and friend in that situation, with mom naturally coming first. When you get together without kids, there is no child to take potty, change diaper, clean up after, correct, push in the swings, call back from the road, rescue from the top of the slide, etc....It is just women enjoying each other with no distractions. 
You can definitely feel guilty leaving your little family to go do something for yourself. 

Remember, you cannot draw water from a dry well. You need to be fulfilled to be at your best. Something my friends and I do is we typically start at 8:30. That way we can help get our children in bed for the night and not feel so bad. I don't think there is anything wrong with the father putting kids to bed on his own. I also don't think there is anything wrong with helping your husband out and starting your girls night after the kids are in bed. Either way works; starting later helps bring out moms who might be hesitant to leave their kids. 

Anecdotally, I know I feel re-energized after a girls night out. Nothing makes you realize how unimportant all those little things you manage to stress about are like getting out for a fun night with friends. Let's be honest, going to the grocery store alone helps you feel amazing, so how much more therapeutic is laughing the night away with friends?

These are some lovely ladies I have met through volunteering
at the school. Volunteering is a great way to make friends.
You don't have to just take my word for it, though. There have been studies on the benefits not only friendships, but of girls' nights. Findings include:
  • Good friends in a woman's life increases life expectancy.
  • Girlfriends are stress busters
  • Oxycontin is released when we are around friends
Go ahead and plan a girls night. See what happens :)

And go check out the other BFBN ladies for ideas! My Devising and The Journey of Parenthood.

March Parent/Child Date Accountability Post

We are still doing well with our dates! This month, I had McKenna and Brinley and my husband had Brayden and Kaitlyn.

Nate took Brayden to go bowling, eat pizza, and play arcade games. Brayden loved doing this. We even had a coupon for free bowling, so it was quite inexpensive overall. 

Kaitlyn has been wanting fish for years. I decided she is old enough she can be 100% responsible for them. So Nate took Kaitlyn to dinner and then they went to Walmart and bought 3 goldfish for under a dollar. We already owned a fish bowl and some rocks. It was all very inexpensive. 

McKenna and I went to the ballet Hansel and Gretel. McKenna adores the ballet. It is a perfect date for her.

Brinley and I went shopping for a new dress for her. She had a blast. I don't love this date idea, especially since we went shopping in January for our date together. She had a great time and while we were out, she told me, "Mom, you are my best friend!" When I do a date with her again in May, I hope to have something more unique than shopping again. Who knows, maybe she love to shop?

Once again, I am updating date info on this page: It will be a running list to help give you ideas if you need them.

Don't forget to check out the eBook I co-authored. Go here for more info:

Poll Discussion: Dropping Naps

Our current poll is on dropping naps. I want to cover all naps in general. Most babies start out with 4 naps when on a 3 hour schedule (bedtime is around 7-8pm, so any sleep starting around there is night sleep). So we will start under the assumption that there are four naps. It is very helpful for me when compiling answers if you at least number the answers you give. You can also copy the questions and answer them. If the question does not apply to you, simply put "N/A."
  1. What age did your baby go from 4 naps a day to 3 naps a day?
  2. What age did your baby go from 3 naps a day to 2 naps a day? 
  3. What age did your child go from 2 naps a day to 1 nap a day?
  4. What age did your child start to not always fall asleep for the 1 nap each day?
  5. What age did you move from one nap a day to rest time?
  6. What age did you stop having rest time consistently?
  7. What method worked best for dropping naps for your child (cold turkey, more of a weaning process, shortening other naps, something else?)?
  8. What signs did you follow that it was time to drop a nap?
  9. Any words of advice for dropping naps?

Organizing Tip: Remove Everything

Organizing for me is super easy. So easy that it all seems so simple and obvious that it seems absurd to even share how I do things because it seems so obvious to me. I have come to realize, however, that it isn't. I am aware of the phrase, "Those who can't do, teach." Organizing is so intuitive to me that it is hard to figure out how to teach people how to make it easier for them. But I have been brainstorming! I have been paying attention! I hope this tip will be useful to you and not just a "duh" tip.

The absolute best way to organize, de-clutter, and clean up a space is to remove everything from it. You really just take it all out and then put it all back. Do you really need to get rid of some of your clothes? Remove them all from your closet and drawers and evaluate each one as you put it back. Does your bathroom drawer need some attention? Take everything out and put it all back in.

Every time we have moved, I have commented that moving is the best way to get rid of stuff. Removing everything is the closest you can come to moving without having to actually move. 

Now, I know this is an overwhelming thing to do! You get it all out and along comes a toddler who really mixes things up. If you are doing an entire closet, that is a lot of stuff strewn about your house, and what if you have to stop in the middle? Then you have a gigantic mess on your hands.

This past weekend, I reorganized my closet in my office. Here are the steps I took:
  • Start With a Clean Room: I started off by cleaning the office. Before you have piles of stuff around the room, you want the room to start clean so you know everything out goes either back in the space, into the garbage can, into a goodwill pile, or into some other space. 
  • Start When You Don't have "Help": I waited until Brinley's independent playtime. I definitely did not want her input on the reorganizing of the closet. There are plenty of things I have her help with even though it makes it harder. Organizing with a toddler is really just setting yourself up for frustration. As soon as she started her playtime, I started my project. You might wan to wait for a nap if you need more time for your project. 
  • Take it a Bit at a Time: I organize this closet frequently. Because of that, I knew I didn't need a whole closet rehaul. I just needed to tidy up. I took it one shelf at a time. I removed everything from the bottom shelf, wiped the shelf off, and then put things back on the shelf I knew I wanted there. If you need to totally revamp the space, it is best to remove it all at once. It will give you a blank slate and allow you to be creative and innovative in how to organize your stuff. Once my bottom shelf was done, I moved up to the next shelf.
  • Throw Stuff Away/Donate: Don't be afraid to throw things away. And have the garbage can right there. I save a LOT of stuff. I come from a line of farmers. My grandparents remember the Great Depression well. I am all about reusing, saving for a rainy day, and taking good care of things. I keep more than the average person I am sure. Even still, there will be things that just are not useful to you any more and can either be thrown out or donated. 
  • Make it Kid Friendly: The reason I have to do this closet so often is that I have children. My children use this closet for a lot of things. I am constantly having to tweak the set up so that they can get things out easily and more importantly, clean the stuff up independently. I am a master at fitting things into the space provided, but my children do not yet have that skill set. Things need to be set up so a child can get it back the way it was. It can't be a 3D puzzle. If you look at my picture below, you will notice the purple chest was moved. The previous location was next to a bunch of coloring books. Every time the chest was removed, the coloring books fell over and it was hard to get the chest back in its place. This was a major problem because that chest holds Kaitlyn's art stuff. She uses it constantly (by the way, this is an excellent way for her and I to compromise; artists are by nature usually less organized. She can have her chaos in her chest and I can have my closet clean(er)). I moved the chest to a new spot so that noting will fall over when she removes it. 
  • Label Things: Label makers can be nerdy, but they are so fun! I love labeling my containers so it is easier for other people to know where things go.
  • Clean Up: You aren't done until it is all put away. Take out the trash and make sure your room is back to clean when you are done. 
  • Require Family to Be Good Citizens: You have to realize things will get messed up, and most likely no one else will be as good about putting things away nicely as you are; however, you can require that they put things where they got them from. You can require the best they can do. That is being a good citizen, kind to your mother, and being a good family member.

Related Posts/Blog Labels:

Surviving 45 Minute Naps

45 minute naps! Oh how those naps torment mothers. Every baby has short naps sometimes; every baby has growth spurts, sickness, or pain while teething...Some babies, however, have 45 minute naps for a LONG TIME. Brayden, my oldest, took 45 minute naps for 99% of his naps until he was 6 months old. I know the pain! Here is some advice on how to survive these short naps. 

Surviving 45 Minute Naps
Allow Yourself to Grieve and Accept It
Short naps can really make you question your abilities as a mother and can also make it hard to get things done around the house. 

Lindsey said: "Oh dear. I think you have to go through a whole process of grieving. "

Sheena said: "Just survived it and glad its over lol"

Erica said: "My son was a chronic 45 minute napper, to the minute. It was awful. Looking back I thought I was doing something wrong. But now I have a baby girl and she's a great napper. I don't do anything different. "

Emma said: "I think you just have to ride it out. My five month old is an erratic napper (45 minutes here, 30 minutes there, occasionally an hour and a half thrown in just to get my hopes up). Some days it drives me absolutely nuts but I try and remember that it won't last forever and as long as she's generally happy I figure she's in some bizarre way getting what she needs." 

Ashley said: "I tried CIO at first and realized it was getting me nowhere with a young baby. Being a person who loves to follow instructions, 45 minute naps where frustrating me to no end. Truthfully, I didn't survive them well. I prayed, I scoured babywisemom's blog, and I cried. Thankfully the answer to our issue was adjusting wake time. Whether at home or at the sitter's, shortening Jake's wake time was the answer. It took a little bit to adjust, but it was so worth it! So many people said "All you do is feed that baby and put him to sleep. Poor thing!" Well, let me say that those nay-sayers are struck dumb by how well Jake sleeps. We're in the process of dropping his morning nap now (he is 19 months)."

Jessica said: "With my now 3.5 month old 45 mins I'm way more laid back [than with my first] so I either enjoy the rocking snuggles (like I'm doing now) or just get her up and readjust our day by having play time before and after a feeding."

Kelly said: "My first was a chronic 45 minute napper from birth to about a year old. I tried everything to extend, and found out a lot about who she was and what she liked in order to sleep. But nothing really fixed it, including CIO. When she became more mobile, and finally able to run, she was able to burn more energy and finally take longer naps consistently. She is an excellent sleeper now (4 yo), but still has lots of energy and loves to socialize."

Jana said: "Wait it out. That's terrible advice when you're in the middle of something frustrating, but I'll just say I did "all the right things" short of letting my lo majorly cry it out (at nap time...because I was never confident which nap should be lengthened...) For almost 4 months, on average, she slept 45 x 4 times a day! I kept trying to provide the opportunities to lengthen naps and FINALLY she now skipped to 2 naps/day. 1 45 min nap in the morning, the regularly a 2.5-3 hour nap in the afternoon!! This feels miraculous to me! Just wait it out. Give them time. Give yourself time. Do the best you can with each nap each day in the meantime."

Leave Baby in Crib if Happy
Dawn said: "If my daughter woke up happy and seemed content, I would let her just hang out/rest in her crib until her next feeding. I stopped stressing that she didn't sleep the whole time and just let her be."

Cry It Out (or Don't)
Some people said CIO worked to get those longer naps. Others said it did not work at all. The trick here is that what works depends on why your child is waking at 45 minutes. 

Lindsey said: "One thing I can say with conviction is that CIO does not work to extend short naps. I let my poor baby cry and cry for months and it did not help change anything."

Amy said: "CIO did not work for naps for my chronic 45 min nappers. Twin boys didn't take a good nap until I finally dropped to 1 nap a day and then miraculously they would take 2-3 hour naps, maybe starting at 15 mo."

AnneMarie said: "CIO worked for us and now if he wakes at 45 min, he will usually put himself back to sleep but sometimes it can take up to another 45 min of just hanging out in the crib until he finally gives in. If that happens, I know he either didn't have enough wake time or enough stimulation and I extend the next day and that usually fixes it too. We've had a lot of 45 min naps, but naps isn't over until I say it's over so he will usually chill until I get him and it's time to eat!"

Emily said: "Transferred to swing for almost every nap from 12 weeks until 6 months. Then we did mid nap CIO. It worked maybe 50% of the time at first and gradually got more successful until around 12 mo, when he grew out of it. He had a twin who slept great so I couldn't "allow" short naps or I would have had two babies on two different schedules every day, and that was not an option for me!"

Angela said: "CIO was actually the solution for my son's short naps. After a couple days of crying it out he started putting himself back to sleep at the 45 min mark. For a long time he did two 1.5 hr naps a day, now that he's 2 he does one 2-3 nap every day."

Rachael said: "CIO definitely worked. She has great naps now however it took longer to get the hang of going to sleep. I found I had to hold her as she fussed until she got past the fitful part 5-10 mins after I did that she can do a couple 2.5 hour naps. She's almost 4 month now"

Help Baby Nap (or at least be soothed)
When your baby wakes up earlier than is ideal and you know the baby will not go back to sleep on his own, don't be afraid to do some baby wearing or swing sleeping. Your baby might need a pacifier or some swaddling. An overly tired baby is not a good thing. 

Alicia said: "[When my baby took a longer nap] really helped me to realize that when they wake happy they are rested but if they wake crying they need more sleep."

Erica said: "Waking up early in the afternoons was worse because of trying to make dinner etc with a grumpy baby. So I would wear him and sometimes he'd catnap in there just to make it through this time. "

Lacey said: "The ergo was our life saver for my YDS's short naps. He would usually go back to sleep for at least another sleep cycle in there."

Amy said: " I coped by never expecting more than 45 min for each nap, and dropping to 1 nap earlier than I expected to. It helped! Sometimes I would move them to their swing after they woke up so they could have an extended rest time and I could get something done."

RaVae said: "This is SO my son. He wakes up an hour after I get him down. He always hoes to sleep by himself, but only goes back to sleep when I snuggle him. When I do that and then put him back in his crib he sleeps another 1-2 hours. After about a week of doing it this way he started sleeping his whole nap. But if there is any interruptions to nap time I have to do it again for a few days."

Misty said: "I go in and rock her back to sleep as soon as she wakes the. She goes back to sleep for rest of nap! If I wait till she is crying then she will not go back to sleep"

Caroline said: "...with my second I discovered white noise (downloaded a free track to an old phone and set it on repeat). I'd creep in just before 45 mins, put the noise on and a dummy back in and he'd sleep thru for a full 2 hrs. Didn't work if I went in late so he was already awake or if he had the noise on from the start until 6 months. CIO didn't work for mine."

Keep More Naps
If your baby is taking a 45 minute nap each time he sleeps, then it stands to reason he will be taking more naps each day than a baby his same age who is sleeping for 2 hours each time. Don't get stuck thinking, "My baby is 4 months old and should be taking 3 naps" if your baby is sleeping for 45 minutes. Yes, many 4 month olds take 3 naps, but those naps are 1.5-2.5 hours long. 

If  you have an older child--older than one year, then it might be that one nap a day will go better than two, however. 

Have an Earlier Bedtime
You might also need an earlier bedtime while you are having 45 minute naps all day. An overly tired baby will not sleep well. Do not keep your short-napper up too late. 

Try to Relax About It
I know it is stressful--believe me I know! I also know it isn't ideal. But it is what it is. 

Erica said: "And just give yourself grace and be more flexible. I was so rigid wih him, not accounting whatsoever for growth spurts etc. I was too driven by schedules."

Wake to Sleep
Wake to Sleep is a method from the Baby Whisperer. I haven't tried it, but reader Amanda said:

"My son was a chronic 35 min napper from 2 to 4 months old and literally every day was torture.... I did so much research I thought my head would explode. I finally researched the "wake to sleep" method and tried it out of desperation for a straight 2 weeks and it worked!! I did have to start using a pacifier too but he's now 8 months old and he takes 2 two-hr naps (sometimes even longer)"

Kelly said: "Wake to sleep for a week at two different times was the only thing that helped. CIO did not help at all."

Other Tips
Charlene said: "Music worked for me. I played a cd that went for at least an hr so hed get past that 45min curb. That and a lot of patience"

Natalie said: "My daughter slept for about 30-45 minutes every nap until she learned how to roll over onto her tummy at just before 3 months old. She now sleeps solid. Even at nighttime."

Alyssa aid: " Getting rid of the pacifier cold turkey! CIO naps with an extended nap at end of day 1! I did this with my son at 2 months."

More Posts From Me
Like I said, I have lived in short nap land. I have some posts that might help you out:
Other Great "Surviving" Posts: