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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Sweet Sleep (please sleep?) #PampersSleepChat

We all know I am a sucker for a sleeping baby.  I take a ridiculous amount of pictures of the girls in their sleep.  See?

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Except here’s the thing – that tiny one there, she is not a huge fan of night sleep all of a sudden.   We have a good bedtime. And a quiet routine. And always comfy PJs.

However, we discovered a bit of a wet diaper/leakage issue.  We are pretty loyal to Pampers Swaddlers but for some reason had been using a different brand overnight.  They was weren’t fitting her well enough and we were getting pee leakage out the leg hole! and they were no where near absorbent enough.  So we did some research and decided to pull out the big guns. Enter:

BabyDry_Size_4

Pampers Baby Dry! Up to 12 hours of overnight protection! And? They make them in a small enough size for Aleesia! We put one on her before bedtime and don’t have to worry about her waking up wet. Since we switched? NO LEAKS at all (which means she is waking up at night for some OTHER reason!). 

I thought this infographic pretty much summed it up the 3 a.m. wake up scenario prettttty appropriately!

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Recently, she started only wanting to sleep on or with me. Which, is precious and awesome for a little while, but I really like to sleep myself and co-sleeping is not my thing.  She is slightly difficult to get to stay sleep and then she wants to hang out with me at 4am.  Needless to say, I am tired and she is not as well rested as we all like.  (Her pediatrician did assure me today that 9 month olds go through a change in sleep pattern/separation anxiety, so I am hoping things will get better soon.)

But now we have the other HUGE sleep-game-changer this weekend (Sunday November 3rd at 2:00 a.m. to be exact) – the end of daylight savings time.  Fall Back. AKA the time when all small children get up an hour earlier than normal.  Over half of moms (52%) feel that their baby's sleep patterns are thrown off when the clocks 'fall back' and Daylight Savings Time ends – I am most certainly in that 52%.  Gianna is old enough that it won’t really phase her, but I have been trying to prepare my sweet little non-sleeper Aleesia for the whole “fall back” situation.

Kim West, “The Sleep Lady”, has some really wonderful tips for helping with the end of daylight savings time adjustment.  These a few of my favorite tips, aside from ensuring they have a dry diaper on right before bed, are:

1. Watch your baby’s wakefulness windows. Children have a limited window of wakefulness (the time that they can be awake and alert without meltdowns) between naps and bedtimes. Make sure that you watch your baby for sleepy cues carefully. Make sure that you’re changing your baby’s diaper right before your child goes into the crib for naps or bedtime. Keeping your child dry will help to prevent unnecessary night awakenings, and help to ensure a happy, well-rested baby the next day.

2. Stick to your flexible schedule. If you always have breakfast at 8:00 a.m., then keep your schedule, but make sure that you are following it according to the time change. You can start slowly adjusting your daily schedule forward in 10-15 minute increments 4-5 days before the time change. So if you normally have lunch at 11:30, on Wednesday, have lunch at 11:40, on Thursday, move lunch to 11:50 and so on. The same goes for naps and bedtimes. The idea is that when the time change takes effect your child’s circadian rhythm, or internal clock will already be in sync with the change.

3. The end of daylight savings is a good time to make sure that your child’s bedtime is age-appropriate. Infants and babies do best with a bedtime between 7:30 and 8:00 p.m. Later bedtimes have shown to have a negative effect on children’s attitudes and their ability to focus, and can result in instances of early rising. If you find that your baby has been going to bed too early or too late, take advantage of the time change to gradually shift bedtime (back or forward in 15-30 minute increments over the next week).

I feel like I could pick The Sleep Lady’s brain for hours on how to ease into the end of daylight savings and about a 100 other sleep topics (how to help with self soothing at night. easing them through changes in sleep cycles.)  I could also go on and on about how great Pampers products are and how wonderful their customer service is check them out on Twitter (linked below) and Facebook too!  I mean, they sent me a gift when I was pregnant with Aleesia – it was the sweetest, most appropriate onesie ever:

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The good news? We can all join Kim West, The Sleep Lady, and Pampers for the  #PampersSleepChat Twitter Party on November 7th at 9pm EST.  Chat about how the end of Daylight Savings Time can affect sleep patterns & get tips on easing the transition from The Sleep Lady, Kim West.

Twitter Party prizes include:

  • $50 AMEX Gift Card, $25 Children’s Place Gift Card, Pampers product and book by Kim West.
  • $100 AMEX Gift Card, Pampers Product, series of books by Kim West
  • Grand Prize: $500 AMEX Card to purchase sleep items such as a new crib, video monitor, etc.
  • To participate, follow your hosts @DoubleDutyDivas, @BridgetteLA, @CeceliaMecca @AngieKcom @WhatMommiesNeed @RamblingChick, sleep expert @TheSleepLady and our sponsor @Pampers.

RSVP: http://twtvite.com/pamperssleepchat

I hope you tune in to the Twitter party – the Double Duty Divas put on a great show! But if you can’t make it or you aren’t loving Twitter – I have a little something special for you too!

Leave a comment with your favorite sleep tip or trick (or your favorite way to appear well-rested even if you aren’t!) And maybe YOU could win a pack of Pampers Baby Dry Diapers, and a pair of Children’s Place PJ’s! [which, I love Children’s Place PJ’s, so soft and such cute patterns!]

I can’t wait to hear all your tips!

The giveaway will be open until November 8th at 11:59pm – enter! But don’t forget to leave an email address in your comment (if I can’t reach you through your Google account) so I can tell you that you won!

Don’t forget to join me on Facebook and Twitter too!

This review was made possible by Double Duty Divas and Pampers. I was provided the featured product free of charge to facilitate my review, but all opinions are 100% mine

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sometimes, You Just Need to Let Them Play in the Cupboards

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I might not quite understand the fascination with the cupboard that holds all of our containers but it is one of the best ways to occupy these cuties while cooking or cleaning. 

Gianna was really really excited to show her little sister all the fun to be had with these magical plastic containers.

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Aleesia: so, you want me to put this bowl on my head?

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Gianna: YES! It’s fun!

Aleesia: still not buying what you are selling, big sister.

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Aleesia: Okay, Okay, you convinced me, I’ll do it….

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Gianna: Success!

Aleesia: I guess this IS pretty fun…..

Sunday, October 13, 2013

20 questions–4.5 yr old variety

I didn’t get a chance to do these with Gianna on her birthday, so we did them for her 1/2 birthday.  Some things never change, like how goofy she is, or that she needs her lovie to go to sleep…..

1. What’s your favorite color? PINK!

2. What’s your favorite toy? strawberry shortcake – the toy one

3. What’s your favorite food? chicken nuggets, french fries, fish sticks, tater tots, fruits and veggies

4. What’s your favorite TV show? lemme think of it….strawberry shortcake

5. What’s your favorite thing to do with Daddy? wrestle

6. What’s your favorite outfit? My school stuff you bought me from carters… like my heart dresses

7. What’s your favorite game? games on the ipad? – um ….puzzles

8. What’s your favorite snack? goldfish

9. What’s your favorite animal? ponies

10. What’s your favorite book? peter pan

11. Who’s your best friend? Olivia

12. What’s your favorite thing to do outside? play wif logan

13. What’s your favorite drink? “I love apple juice”

14. What’s your favorite holiday? summer

15. What’s your favorite thing to sleep with? my lovie

16. What do you want to be when you grow up? big ballet girl & a big horse rider

17. What’s your favorite movie? Sophia [the first]

18. What’s your favorite thing to do with mommy?  snuggle {melt}

19. Where is your favorite place to go? Olivia’s house

20. What’s your favorite song? justin bieber [fan girl in the making…]

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I'm not ready for this

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She's been stingy with her crawling skills - but I think she is officially over her nerves. 

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also, I have no idea if this video is going to work..I'm not good at videos..

Monday, October 7, 2013

We've Got Spirit

PhotobucketIt's not a real secret that Gianna was a pretty high need baby and toddler.  Or that she took the definition of threenager to another level last year.  Lately, I have been having a hard time finding the right description of her personality.

She is:
  • hilarious
  • sweet
  • caring
  • temperamental
  • detail oriented
  • demanding
  • polite
  • loving
  • rough
  • hard headed
  • bossy
  • schedule-driven
  • independent
  • persistent
She is the complete opposite of "easy-going" or "laid-back".  She is in fact, very particular, very detail oriented.  She takes her time on things that matter to her.

There is not any one task that I would say is "easy" or "simple". Of course, there are TIMES when things go smoother, or she is more cooperative/understanding/willing, but that's not the case the majority of the time.

We spend a lot of time on transitions throughout the day: "Gianna, you have X minutes until it's time to get ready for school"...."Gianna your lunch will be ready in X minutes"... "When the next commercial comes on your show, it's time for a bath"... you get the idea.  We can't just say "time for a bath" and expect that bath to go down without a fight.  It's always been this way, so it's sort of second nature to us now to give that warning to her. 

All of these things I have typically just chalked up to her age.  We try to manage our expectations of her.  But so often we are met with a wall of resistance, a lot of "NO!", etc.  We are also often met with a lot of "Hey, Mommy/Daddy... I love you" which will make you forget about that last battle of the wills in 0.5 seconds flat.

Her attitude and general demeanour got really defiant and somewhat aggressive right before Aleesia was born and about a month after she was here - which made perfect sense.  Gianna's world just literally got turned upside down - A) we couldn't tell her when Sister was coming.  She would ask multiple times a day and she never understood why we didn't know. She still talks about how she wasn't allowed to come to the hospital to meet sissy no less than once a week. (this clearly had a really big impact on her) and B) Once she realized that Aleesia wasn't leaving and that all the time she used to have exclusively with me and Mike now had to be allocated and shared with a screaming baby - that was SO NOT COOL. 

The past few weeks (it feels like weeks, anyway) have been particularly hard. There are epic meltdowns over EV.ER.Y.THING  - what shoes to wear, what toothpaste to use, where that one hair on her head landed, which couch cushion she wants to sit on, if she got two tissues instead of one and clothes are an entirely different VERY LARGE battle (we let her pick out her own clothes and there are STILL tantrums that would make seasoned grandmothers run out of the house).  This is not an exaggeration in any way - she will scream, cry, kick, yell, screech, whimper, etc. for 20, 30, 40 or more minutes.  And literally, she can't be calmed down.  She will even say "I can't calm down" between sobs.  As maddening as it is - it is that much more heartbreaking.  She works herself up to this level that she can't easily come down from or tell us what even started the meltdown in the first place.

Mike and I are feeling very much like we should not or cannot parent her lately.  It's pretty tough, actually.  When I have to leave for work and she is screaming and carrying on so loudly that all of our neighbors probably think someone is plucking her finger nails off one by one because the shirt she picked out is "too big on my shoulders".  It makes for a lot of tears from me too. 

I am generally a very calm person - I don't get mad or yell often. I can handle a lot of nonsense before I just can't anymore.  However the level of  patience and understanding that I have for these epically giant meltdowns that occur, on average one to four times A DAY is quickly diminishing.   We have tried several methods of "charting" her behavior most of which she loses interest in before I am done telling her what the deal is.  Right now she has 4 behaviors each day that we mark with a face (smile, sad, angry, etc.) - if she has more happy faces that anything else she gets a prize (this week is pumpkin window clings!).  She seems to like and respond to this one pretty well so far, but it's not been a full week yet....

We have a few moments/days of perfection, of course.  In fact, today she is having one of the best days she has had in a really long time and she is getting a LOT of praise (and so far, 2 smiley faces) for that.  And generally, if she is having one:one time with anyone, she is amazingly awesome and well behaved.  I don't know anyone else who has a child with such...spirit....so it makes it hard to relate and I am sure pretty much anyone who has not seen one of her meltdowns in person would think I over exaggerate.  I have been scouring the Internet for information - ideas on how to parent her better and more effectively, etc. 

To which I have learned that she fits the bill of a "spirited child" almost 100%:

INTENSITY (loud and dramatic-focused outward, quiet and intently observant - focused inward),

PERSISTENCE ("lock in" to important ideas, love to debate, goal oriented),

SENSITIVITY (easily overstimulated by their environment, low sensory thresholds to any of the five senses),

PERCEPTIVENESS (easily distracted, notice everything going on all the time),

ADAPTIBILITY (don't transition/shift from one activity to another easily),

"bonus" characteristics
REGULARITY (natural schedules for eating or sleeping),

ENERGY (physically active, busy exploring all the time),

FIRST REACTION (quick with drawl when first encountering anything new), and

MOOD (as in moody)



You can probably pick out how each of these fit her personality just from this post - but especially if you know her in real life or have read this blog for any period of time.  I might, for my own sake, take some time to explore each of these further in a separate post, but not today.

When she was a baby someone recommended the book "Raising Your Spirited Child" to me and I never read it.  And it turns out that I need to stop at the store tonight to pick that book up because we NEED IT.  I also ran across a blog post that I NEEDED to read today.  It rang so true to me and it made me feel better. 

This part, specifically, hit me like a ton of bricks - especially the underlined part:

"More than anything, our son wants to feel like he matters. He might only be four and some change, but he feels as if his opinion is just as important as the rest. Yes, occasionally being his mom is like caring for someone with a drinking problem (slurring, falling down, tantrums, moments of love and incoherence). Yes, occasionally he freaks out for no apparent reason. But he’s almost always upset about things that matter to him, things we take for granted. The more responsibility we’ve given him, the more praise he gets for his accomplishments,"

I know Gianna doesn't freak out to get back at us, or to make us mad.  She is having a VERY hard time articulating exactly what the problem is but sometimes, when she can tell me, it's something so simple or something that I would brush off as "nothing" that clearly was NOT "nothing" to her.  We need to focus on those things that matter to her - even  (and especially) if we don't understand why.

It's no secret that this girl is spirited - we all just need to keep learning the best ways to encourage and engage her so that we help her to grow. Life isn't going to get any easier for her if we don't help her understand how to effectively articulate her opinion.  I can appreciate that throwing yourself on the floor screaming "I don't want to deal with you" does seem like an appropriate solution sometimes, but it's not practical.  One thing that does give me comfort is that she always says "I'm sorry, I love you" when it's all over.  And I always tell her that I love her more.  She's always extra sweet after a meltdown blows over.

There is so much more we need to learn and understand about each other as she grows.  And we are heading into another time of transition for our family (more on this soon) so I'm buckling in tight over the next few weeks because I think it's going to get bumpier.  But if you have any advice, I'd love to hear it.

and if you read this and have felt as alone as I have trying to parent a child who tests all.the.limits.all.the.time - you ARE NOT alone.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers, maybe.

PhotobucketI feel like I have a lot of random to say today. 

  • We are part of a CSA and I really love it - it has opened me up to so many new veggies that I would have never tried before.  But right now, I am drowning in veggies and frozen chicken that I NEED to do something with soon!
  • Related: I also need to clean out the refrigerator.  I am sure something(s) is growing in there and I am afraid to find out.
  • Related Related: It's been nice having fresh fruit and veggies on hand for baby food and the like.  I can't get Gianna to eat them to save my life, but whatever I guess.
  • Have I mentioned that I started running recently? Well, in June.  I am supposed to run an official 10k next Sunday (if the national parks open back up....) possible a 15k in November and (if all goes as planned) a 1/2 marathon in May.  I don't really know what I am getting myself into here, but I do enjoy that little bit of time to be alone and clear my head a few times a week.
  • I also have a pipe dream of running the Disney marathon next January. Again, I really don't know what I am getting myself into - so who knows if this will become a reality.
  • I still can't decide if I want to get an MBA or start a PhD program....
  • I did accept an adjunct position for the spring. And I am having second thoughts - not feeling super comfortable with doing it all of a sudden (it's been 3 years!).  If this isn't going to work out, I need to make up my mind NOW!
  • I spent an embarrassing amount of time exchanging ecards and funny animal pictures with my sister the other day.
  • Don't tell me that didn't at least make you smirk.  I
  • Mega stuffed Oreos are sadly disappointing.  Double stuff or nothing, my friends.
  • We have SO MANY apples left - what to make?
  • How is it October, honestly?
  • I have tried several new beers recently - all winners. Pumpkin ale, Carmel Apple something or other. seriously, yum.
  • Clearly I had a lot leftover - so many things swirling around my mind these days.
Have any leftovers? Share!

and, visit Danifred whenever she posts hers  BWS tips button