Monday, April 20, 2009

The hardest thing for me

Okay so this weekend we had this crazy schedule: we were to go to Waco and have lessons, then go to McKinney and spend time with old friends and go to our old church there and then go to Southlake where our niece was celebrating her 2nd birthday--all great things...but by the end--the kids were SPENT! So, on the last leg of the trip, we stopped at McDonald's to let Elle go to the restroom, get a drink, and allow her to get dinner and both kids to get to play and just get out of the car for a few minutes. We had been to Whole Foods while we were in the metroplex. so we had lots of things for Easton to eat while we were there...

Well, here is the hard part...Easton was HORRIBLE!!!! He cried about everything from the minute we got there to the minute we left. He threw his napkins on the floor and refused to pick them up, he didn't even want to go to the table--and when we got close, he would scream...I HATE being embarassed of my children! AND, Elle needed to eat a little something and eating in the car with a child with severe food allergies is just not in the cards! SO...first, Jason took him to the restroom and counseled him---but then he knew Jason was upset with him, so that upset him the rest of the time was me taking him back and forth to the restroom, sitting in time out and then him getting it together, saying he was sorry, and trying to come back to civilization...only to have to leave again a few minutes later. I felt like everyone in the place was looking at us and thinking, "look at that awful kid!" And, I knew that if I would only let him go play in the playground, he would be fine, but I would be reinforcing the behavior--so we fought the battle and hurried through Elle's nuggets, let her play again for a few minutes while we got him buckeled in and another sippy poured...and then were back in the car.

I think my struggle in those situations has to be like everyone else--if I just give in--they will be quiet and people will think I have a well behaved kid...

BUT..I have to think about next week--will they still just want to play on the playground or will they up the anty and want to dance on the tables--or something that is just one step farther than I am willing to let them go--then we are going to have a WAR! So, I need to just fight the little battles and then we can live in peace, right? Man, this is hard!!

Friday, April 10, 2009


I think it is important to always have a toooblox at your fingertips when your children act up...yes, I probably use the same ones most of the time once I find the ones that are most effective with each child—but then I also know when to “kick it up to the next level of tools” when the behaviors do not appear to be getting any better...
*redirection-just explaining to the child that the choices they are making are not good and what they can do instead…
(I ask my daughter to pick up her room and she whines, I say, “ Thank you for respecting our house enough to do your chores without complaining.” Then I walk away. Don’t engage her--just walk away. Check back with her a few minutes later to see if another tool needs to be used.--9 times out of 10 my child doesn’t need anything else…she knows that this means “get ‘er done!”
*timeout--this needs to be trained. You need to practice it with your child when the child is not in trouble. For example: Let’s pretend-we are not in real trouble…pretend that you made a bad choice--what choice could it have been? (let them tell you one--it is always good for a laugh) okay, well if you make a bad choice and mommy tells you to sit down--I want you to sit down until I tell you to get up. Okay--let’s practice. Now let’s pretend that you are very upset because you are in trouble--you can pretend like you are throwing a fit, etc… (ha ha) Okay, now mommy is telling you to sit down and you can’t get up
until I tell you to get up or you have to stay there longer. **The key is for them to sit down until they are calm and can talk about the choice. Once they are calm--they get up, apologize and explain what they should have done. Then it is over. If they get up, the time starts over. If a timer would work better--have a timer handy--but you will need to have a timer with you all the time--because the behaviors are going to happen everywhere--at Walmart, out to eat, etc--and you will need to use this tool--if they are used to a timer and you don’t have one--or a time out chair--you will be up a creek.
*privileges taken away--this works very well when your child gets to be about 3 years of age and older--when they really start caring about certain things…just by saying, “I’m not sure if I can trust you to play with this toy right now, and removing it--for an hour or for a week---they start to want to earn your trust back. Trust is earned. I cannot trust a child that acts up every time we go out in public--so why do I bring them home to a carnival??
*earn rewards--try making these intrinsic motivators--having a friend over…things that don’t cost any money
The things with stickers, candy, etc…is that children will always want more. I truly believe that children should behave well because they are asked to--I know it seems crazy--but they should.
When we implemented chores for our 3 year old--she had 5 must do’s everyday. They were posted in her room--she helped me make the poster. But, there was no reward. No sticker chart, etc. My husband asked if we were going to pay her--I said no…that our house functions because we have active members within it. So, we all have to do our part. When we added chores for our 15 month old--one basket in the living room and a bucket in a pantry--those were his ways of helping our house room smoothly.
Elle is rewarded all the time with a thank you and a lot of appreciation and she is allowed to do things that I feel that she earns with hard work--but I don’t post those things up anywhere--that is Mommy and Daddy decided.
*planned ignoring--sometimes just taking away their reward of the attention--the behavior will get worse--but then sometimes it will stop…just be careful that you don’t say that you are using this tool when you are really just trying to avoid the confrontation of addressing the behavior

How to make naps happen

I think this one goes back to the letting them cry. Once you have found the schedule that will work for your baby, once it is naptime…they go in their crib. For the amount of time you have set up. They can sleep, cry, lay there…regardless, it is naptime. They will sleep. They may not every time, but if you honestly make it a routine, their bodies will begin to get tired before that time and they will be able to go to sleep anywhere. (Now, this isn’t all children—I have friends that their kids HAD to be in their beds, but both of mine would fall asleep at 10:30 wherever we were in whatever position they were in up to about 2 years of age. It just has to be a consistent time and you have to leave them in there the whole time. Don’t put them in there for 20 minutes and if they don’t sleep, you go get them—maybe they take 30 minutes to cool down to even be able to sleep and then you come in and take them back out.

When do you start Potty Training and how?

Well--let me say when they are ready is the best answer...but here is my second answer:

I just read this really good book on potty training and here are all of the notes that I took while I was reading it: I think what is so important as far as age to know about potty training is that not only does your child need to be ready—but you need to be ready to give up your flexibility of the diaper at all times when they need to go potty...Because once you commit to do the training, you cannot go back...I think I am also taking some of my cue this time around with the boy from Easton because he will sit all day long on the potty and he will go every time I want him to go without any sort of a fuss—he loves it! But, nothing ever comes out—so I consider it still playing until something comes out...
Elle said she wanted to use the big girl potty and she went in there and went—at 15 months...then we just supported her from there...Easton is going on 27 months and he won't go on the potty—so I am in a holding pattern until something happens on that potty—then we are full speed ahead...BUT—I loved everything this lady had to say about potty training—feel free to find her book: Potty Training Made Easy, Fast & Simple
Powerful Secrets, Tips, and Shortcuts
From My Work With More Than 317 Children (Including
My Own!)
By Johanne Cesar
Again, here are all of my notes from the book....
If it was nothing to get upset about when you changed your child’s diaper,
try to avoid being upset now that you’re potty training. Try to stay matter-offact,
pleasant, and calm while you change your child or help your child change
Now take out a sheet of paper and write down your expectations. What do
you hope will happen during potty training? How can you, as a parent, make it
easier on your child? Here’s an exercise that will help you:
Picture yourself at your job. You have just made a mistake and your boss is
screaming at you. What is your reaction? You are probably saying to yourself,
“Dude, screaming at me is just not helping me make this situation any better
Decide now –will you say pee-pee or poo-poo? If you tell your son or
daughter, “Let’s go potty,” what does that mean? Are you doing No.1 or are
you doing No. 2? Be very specific! You don’t want to just pick a general word
like “potty.” Children need clarity because without it, they will make more
mistakes. So you might use “tinkle” for going No. 1, and “poop” for going No. 2.
Your child is a lot smarter than you think, and will quickly learn the difference
between No. 1 and No. 2, or the difference between “tinkle” and “pooping
First, desensitize your child. Go to the library and get some videos and
books on potty training. Start showing your child these videos and read the
books with him or her. You want to get your child accustomed to seeing other
children in the potty training process. Yes, you can start showing the videos or
even the books to your child as early as you wish. The books and the videos
help desensitize the child to the potty
The most important factor is getting your child used to being in the
bathroom. Here is an excellent trick for accomplishing this: 3 to 8 weeks
before formal potty training starts, hold story times in the bathroom. This will
help you not to be afraid of being in the bathroom.
You can also use this time to get your child used to the toilet. At first, let
your child sit on the potty chair as you’re reading the story. Then for a few
days, have your child sit on the potty chair with the chair open as you’re
reading the story. Finally, maybe you have the child sitting on the potty chair
with their pants down as they’re being told their story.
This would be a good time to get yourself a potty training chart and or
journal to familiarize yourself with the times your child usually goes potty
So really create some excitement. Make it a big celebration. Tell your child
how wonderful today is Remember the goal here is also to train you, the parent, to be vigilant –
just as much as we want to train your child to be potty trained. The easiest
way to do this is to get rid of the diapers.
Underwear can motivate children in another way. If they do have an
accident, explain that they have only 2 or 3 clean underwear left for the day.
That means if they make all their underwear dirty, they will have to wear a
diaper. Such a simple and excellent motivator for a child –most of them
simply don’t want to make their special underwear dirty
When the bell went off, it was almost like the 4th of July! Every 20
minutes it would sound, and everyone in the house would chant, “It’s potty
time!” That included not just mommy, but my older son who was 4 ½ years
old, my second son who was 3, and my husband. We would all start to sing the
“It’s potty time!” chant. Even though we want to get rid of diapers altogether, in the first week or so you want to make sure you put a diaper on your child when he or she is
sleeping, especially during nap time. It may take a few months before your
child can sleep without a diaper, so don’t be disappointed. I’ll cover nighttime
potty training more completely later in this book, but for now, keep some
diapers around for nap time and sleep time.

What happens when you get off schedule?

From the very beginning, I was pretty strict about staying on the schedule, and with Elle, I was told to wake her up every 3 hours for the first 3 months of her life, so we really stayed on the schedule perfectly—because even if she was still sleeping when it was time to eat—I woke her up. BUT…when Easton came along, he was never awake for the 3 hour feeding, so we adjusted him (while he was still in the hospital) to a 4 hour schedule. Then I did NOT wake him up when it was time to eat—I let him wake up—up to 30 minutes past—never beyond that. He always woke up before 4 ½ hours, I think I may have woken him up once or twice—but I did not have to make a habit of it. I think if consistently you are getting off of your 3 hour schedule due to the baby staying asleep—you might want to relook at the 3 hour schedule. Maybe they would eat better, stay awake better, and wake happier on a 4 hour schedule.
To adjust the schedule—like when you drop a middle of the night feeding, but they are not able to go all the way to the next scheduled time… I just “inched” my way there at each feeding. For example: Say I was feeding on a 3, 6, 9, 12 schedule and then I need to adjust to accommodate the 12 o’clock feeding at night being gone, but the afternoon 12 o’clock feeding is still there… Say my baby goes down at 9:30 after feeding at 9, and sleeps until 8 o’clock in the morning—a pretty good night obviously, but I am an hour behind schedule—so what I would do is feed the baby at 8…but then try to not feed the baby again until 11:30…either the wake time is a little longer, or the naptime for that one is a little longer…then I would feed at 11:30 and then try to feed again at 3 and would be back on my schedule for the evening routine. Sometimes that would happen weekly once a week—but it was just a little inching…You could also skip a feeding and then “inch” on the next one—I was just always anxious until I got back to my schedule…

How old can I let the baby cry it out and how can I be okay with it?

I did not do this with either of my kids until they were sleeping through the night…
Then once I knew they could sleep past a certain point, I was okay letting them cry. For example, when they would slept through the night (12 hours or it could be 10 hours) for 4 or 5 days in a row and then they woke up one night at 5 hours, I would let them cry it out for a period of time—with confidence that they could sleep through the night—and knowing how much better off they were on the days when they had slept longer. If they cried past my designated time period (I always started with something very reasonable like 15 minutes) I would go in, calm them down and then lay them back down and go back to bed. Then if they still cried, I would double the time—next time would be 30 minutes...I was okay with it because I know (based on Babywise) that a rested baby wakes up happy and I don’t want to get in the way of that…
As far as naps, I started from the same period laying them down awake and if it was “naptime” on my schedule, I would let them cry—because again, I knew they full—because we had fed right before wake time and they were dry because I had changed them right before I put them down…Now, again, the occasional dirty diaper does happen right after they fall asleep, and so that is why I had the time period on the cry and when I would go in—I would calm them down and do a little smell check at the same time.

How can you insure the baby is getting a full feeding--so you can put them down and leave them down?

At the very beginning, this is the hardest thing to know. Especially if you are breastfeeding…but if you will pump each time after you feed the baby, you can document whether or not the baby is draining you at each feeding…then you would at least know that they are getting everything they are asking your body for…
I was not ever the best person about solely doing breastfeeding—I was a little too anal retentive about KNOWING they were full before I put them down so that I could check that off the list of things to worry about…but I did breastfeed and pump and could tell a difference in myself and my baby when they had drained me and were full and when they weren’t. When you are not breastfeeding—I have always been told the baby will spit up once they are too full, so if they want more—give it to them. BUT, I had a friend when Easton was little that would say that her daughter could drink a 10 oz bottle at 1 month old and still cry for more…that is crazy! So, my answer would be to feed them based on "TTOB" (their time on breast) and then have your playtime and then let them sleep—if you do that for a week and the baby does not appear to sleep, they may need more food…

Okay, I'm back...

Well, I was really enjoying this whole thing, but I kept feeling like I was just typing this stuff to myself, ya know? So, one evening, I just pulled the Blog off and thought that I would keep praying about where God wanted me. Anyway, seriously, that night I received an email asking about the blog. I just laughed. I just answered the question in an email and thought that really that is what I had been doing anyway, so it wouldn't change anything. But, since then I keep getting asked about I am just going to put it back up--'cause at least I know that people were reading it enough to notice it was gone! ;) So, it is back!

Please post questions if you have keeps me from having to make them up all the time!!