Tag Archives: parenting

Plea to My People

**This is an edited version of the post I added to a Facebook group I lovingly dubbed “The Village Fountain”.**

Dear Villagers,

I need your help.

Yesterday, I accepted a job offer to become the Communications Specialist for the Diocese.  I will be working on their newsletter, subscriptions, website, web presence, and parish websites.  This job is basically my dream job; I say “basically” because I’ll be working for a non-profit, which means I won’t be making $2 million a year doing it.

As my new boss said, my skill set is vast and my education is impressive.  I also know that I am stubborn and prideful.  But beyond these things, I am intelligent.  I am smart enough to know when to shelve my pride and stubbornness to ask for help.  None of us were meant to go through life alone, so I am reaching out to each of you for assistance.

Taking this position means that I “switch” with the BHE:  he will stay home with the kids, work on the houses, start projects at the farm, and take Angel to preschool in the Fall.  We keep talking about how we can’t make it a 100% switch since our skills are different and our work around the properties is so different.  This is where you come in!  We would like to have someone watch the children on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting April 18th, and lasting until we sell both in town properties (goal:  by the end of 2018).

We would prefer that someone we know take care of Angel and Rover in our home or, if they have children of similar ages, in their home.  We will pay, of course, but may need some flexibility on pay being cash or work.  The BHE is very handy and I’ll totally do someone else’s laundry without issue.

Would you or anyone you know be interested in helping us a day or two a week?  Think on it, ask around, and get back to me, please.  I know the power of networking and the power of prayer, so I am confident that among us, we can come up with a solution.  I’m so excited about this job, but I know we need the help of our village to raise our children.

Much love and peace to each of you!

Remember: Not one of us was meant to travel the paths of life alone. 

Friday Facts: Introduction

I am going to start this series, and this new formulated long-term goal accountability, with a brief introduction of what the heck we’re doing and why.  Feel free to leave feedback in the comments.

I have our plan through to April 2022.  I know where we currently stand financially.  I believe we are generously blessed with intelligence and entrepreneurial spirits.  I know we as humans were never meant to go through life alone.  I know that more change is ahead and that my plans can be derailed at any time.  I also know to trust in God because every step off the course I foresee is actually a step on the path He’s laying out for us.

The Short Version – Housing

We now have three properties.  All three properties need some serious work.

The plan is to sell the smallest property as soon as possible (re:  flip it) because it needs the least amount of work and there’s no debt attached to it.

Then we plan to use the proceeds to do the necessary work on the house at the farm we inherited from the BHE’s father; it isn’t a farm yet but a very old house in desperate need of renovations sitting on a big ol’ chunk of beautifully wooded land.

Once that is complete, we will move our little family and our pared down possessions into the farm house so we can begin the serious work on the big house where we currently live.  So much is already complete but there’s still much to be done and much to be redone (think:  serious repainting).

Once the big house is sold and the remaining debt on it paid off, the equity, the cash in our pocket so to speak, will go back into the farm to build up our dream, to complete the house, to finish the barns, to create the pastures and paddocks, to purchase our first chickens, cattle, and goats, or whatever we plan between now and then.

Recap:
Small house– fast work on the windows, gutters, carpet, and yard- on market ASAP- sold by August 2017– proceeds to Farm house
Farm house– quality necessary renovations like gut of kitchen and upstairs, redo of wiring, addition of outdoor wood burner and a water filtration system- ready for move in April 2018, on the BHE’s birthday- completely empty the Big house
Big house– complete all major renovations like the foyer and stairwell, repaint each room, refinish downstairs wood floors, update the curb appeal- on market by June 2018– sold by the time the Angel starts kindergarten

The Short Version – Farm

My husband’s father bequeathed to him a renovated 1800s schoolhouse on an acre of yard surrounded by almost 35 acres of woods.  From before I was ever a figure in his life, the BHE had grand plans for this house and property.  All through our relationship, he has discussed ideas and dreams for what he’d do with all of it if it were to become his.  A very serious conversation over 7 years ago between my husband, his father, and his sister about estate planning included the discussion and eventual documentation of my husband becoming the heir to the property.

Now we have it. 

It needs a ton of work.  The house, the yard, the woods, everything needs some serious TLC.  Or slash-and-burn, depending on if you’re asking me or him.  But the dream, folks:  the dream is a farm.

“Deich Mile Feirme” is our name for the farm that is ten miles in any direction to the nearest anything, our home in the country, our dreams coming true.  Here we will raise our children and our livestock, plant our roots and our vegetables, and grow in our faith, love, independence, and dirt.  This farm will hopefully be off-the-grid and organic, self-sustaining and supportive of our lifestyle as well as our families and communities.  This is where we will create and cultivate.

Planning and blogging and blogging about planning


The Short Version – Career

The BHE has never wanted to work for The Man.  He is fiercely independent, and he wants to work with his mind and his own two hands to build something to honor God and family, the earth and the community, free of someone else’s yoke.

I have always looked forward to entering a workplace each day, prepared to use my considerable brain and strong initiative to make changes for the better but with the assurance of first-world niceties like bi-weekly paychecks, business attire, one hour lunches, paid time off, and the like.  I would feel much more confident in my parenting skills if I knew my children were being provided with health insurance and regular dental check-ups.  Plus, I like getting out and about, interacting with people, trying new things, and getting feedback from peers, customers, community members, and friends.

Now that the BHE has left the workforce (for good), he can focus on his “career” of Christian, husband, father, farmer, and maybe even house-flipper.

Now that I am returning to the workforce, I can focus on honing my skills and developing a broader network, or a network of networks, to help us reach our major goals regarding a village to support ourselves and our children and a financial cushion that will enable us to live free of debt, to give and give some more, to leave a legacy for our children’s futures and our church, to never again worry about making it to the next paycheck or if we can afford the necessities or even our reasonable wants.

I don’t know – can’t know – what will happen with my current job.  I can see how it is potentially a long-lasting career or even the doorway into a long term career with the Church.  I can also see how my work could one day be “done” and there be another employer on my path between comfortable income and benefits to confidently independent farmer.  I will always have a passion for libraries, I will always have a passion for the Church, I will always have a passion to do better and help others more. 

I will always be looking forward.

The 5 Best Pieces of Parenting Advice I Can Give

My last blog post was a couple months ago and on the negative side.  This will be my first blog post of the New Year; I’m going to write something positive.

In the last post, I listed off the 5 Worst Pieces of Parenting Advice I have ever received.  Now I’m going to share with you the 5 Best Pieces of Parenting Advice that I have received as well as what I’ve discovered along the way.

Take these with a grain of salt.  Or as gospel.  This whole parenting thing is different for all of us.  So here goes…

#1.  There is no such thing as the “right time” when it comes to having kids.

The BHE and I were asked when we were going to start our family before we were even married.  I know, I know: this is an acceptable thing in our society.  But for us it was not part of the plan.  We had a Grand Master Plan.  We had our goals and our priorities and we just knew when the right time would be for us to get pregnant.

Oh, boy.

First off, folks, I can tell you from experience that just because you decided you wanted to get pregnant/have a child by such-n-such a date DOES NOT MEAN your bodies will cooperate.  Seriously.  This is out of your hands.

We tried for a couple years after deciding it was the “right time” and my heart broke month after month.  We have friends who tried for much longer, some without any success, and others with the kind of success that led to great loss.

There isn’t a “perfect” time to have children.  Your house, your career, your finances, your car, your whatever will never be perfectly aligned in reality the way you think you want them to be before you have children.

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Just a few weeks before the Angel was born, here I am working in the empty nursery, painted yet not ready for a baby!

If you know you want kids, take comfort in knowing that no matter when or how they come, you’ll handle it like a champ.  No matter if your car isn’t a brand-new minivan or if the nursery never got a fresh coat of paint or you’re still at that job you hate.  Parenthood is a whole new ballgame; roll with it.

#2.  But it is all about the timing.

No, seriously, watch the clock and the calendar.  Timing is everything.

During pregnancy, you’ll be seeing an OB or midwife monthly then weekly.  You’ll be asked about when you had your last period, when you last peed, when you first felt movement, what frequency you felt movement, and on and on.

During labor, you’ll be timing contractions and counting breaths.  Make sure there is a clock in the room where you deliver your baby.  The wall clock in the delivery room during the birth of my son was broken, so I had no idea what time of day or night it was, no concept of how long I had truly been going at it, no idea until after the fact that I had been laboring for 29 ½ hours with over 3 hours of pushing.  No idea.  None.

TWENTY-NINE AND A HALF HOURS!

During early infancy, you’ll be tracking the times spent feeding, how many ounces or minutes, when was the last bowel movement, and more.

During the early days of solid foods, you will have to count the ounces as well as days since you introduced a new food.  And you’ll be counting more dirty diapers.

During toddlerhood, you will need to watch the clock to keep track of when your tot got out of bed, when was breakfast, how soon is snack, when you need to feed them lunch so you can get them into a timely nap, how long was the nap, how long after the nap until bedtime, how long between dinner and bedtime…

And you think I’m kidding.  I’m not.  Watch the clock.  It is the best way to avoid meltdowns induced by lack of food or sleep.  Because, really, the wee beasties need copious amount of both if you expect them to be angels.

A schedule helps them as well as you.  There’s advice all over the place, from your pediatrician to this lifestyle blog, about how children need a regimen to maintain equilibrium and how parents need their children to have a regimen to maintain sanity.

#3.  When in doubt, present food.

If your child is crying, check for these things:

  • Is he/she hurt?
  • Is the diaper dirty?
  • Is he/she tired?
  • Is he/she hungry?

If your darling angel isn’t hurt, has a dry diaper, just woke from a nap, and just ate, feed him or her again.  For real.  Present more food or another bottle or your breast.  Feed them.

My son cried way more than my daughter did during his first year.  It feels like he was constantly wailing about something.  He also was the size of a two year old at his 9 month check-up.  He’s a beast.  What I didn’t understand in the first 6 months or so was that he was screaming like he was hungry even when he just ate because he was already hungry again.  He never wanted to stop eating.

 

Now that he’s one, my son wants a snack cup in his hand as soon as he exits his high chair after breakfast.  For real.  Feed him.  And then feed him again.  When all else fails, feed him.

#4.  Have a canned response that you have practiced delivering without emotion to anyone who dispenses unsolicited advice.

I learned this one from a good friend who chose a very non-traditional route for becoming a mother.  We had a lunch date where I asked her the questions I felt she would receive throughout her child’s life; she told me she had a response ready to cover most of them.  For the ones she wasn’t prepared for, she just wouldn’t answer.

Boom.  Done.  Response is ready, no matter the circumstance.

So I thought this should apply to all new parents.  We all know we will hear things in our lives that upset us or irk us or get under our skin and fester.  What better way to save yourself some strife than to have a reply ready!  It doesn’t have to be snarky; in fact, it shouldn’t be.  It should be an unemotional, canned response.

Try this:  That’s interesting.  Thanks for sharing.

Or:  Great!  I bet that works for a lot of people.

Even:  You are very considerate to share that with me.

I highly suggest avoiding anything that is open-ended or could lead to further discussion.  Unless you really, really want to know/be upset/upset the other person.  Just have a one-liner ready to roll out and then walk away or change the subject.

There are a million other topics you can get into an argument about.  Try politics.  Or religion.  Walk away from parenting advice that makes you shudder.

#5:  You need a village.  If you don’t have one, start building one.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a network of people you trust and can count on for anything in your parenting adventure.  You will need a shoulder to cry on, someone to watch the kids in an emergency, a person you can count on to come over with wine but without judgement, a mother-figure for you, grandparent figures for your kids, someone whose advice you can count on, other mothers and fathers at the same stage of parenting, other mothers and fathers further along or even further behind… you need people who get you as well as get this whole parenting gig.

I don’t feel like I had a village for most of these first years of my journey as a mother.  Too many people have come and gone, for one.  Also, I live in the middle of nowhere, a good hour from any member of my family, more than a half hour from most of my friends and former coworkers, forty-odd minutes from any major place for groceries or shopping… seriously, if it weren’t for two libraries within twenty minutes of us, my weeks would crawl by.  I have church on Sundays and three story times a week to look forward to.

People need a community in which to thrive.  We cannot go it alone.  Life isn’t designed that way.  We are commune creatures, to a point.  If you want to fight off baby blues or the more sinister postpartum depression, keep your dears very near.

My advice here, to tag onto this most important piece, is to start with the free things and go from there.  Your family and friends, right now, are free.  Call them, invite them over, make plans, whatever:  keep them in the loop and keep them close.  Then look up other free things to make new friends, to meet other parents, to be around those with kids the same ages as yours; try local libraries and parks, your church, a zoo, a mall playground.  Go to places you would normally go, though, instead of forcing yourself into awkward situations that may repel you from great people.  Someday I’ll write a post about being the odd one out at a mommy group full of women who could not believe I had driven almost 3 hours to be present.

Having children will isolate you from people you never expected to lose.  It will also introduce you to people you once never noticed or maybe even looked sideways at.  Be open-minded and recognize that it takes a village not just to raise a child but to support the parents.  We are human; we are not meant to go it alone.

Parenthood is amazing and eye-opening. Your heart will be full to bursting with love and pride.  Parenthood is really freaking hard.  Your body will be drained, your eyes will be burning, you will lose your mind from time to time, and you will need support.  It can be so isolating and exhausting as well as exhilarating and network-building, what with all the story times and preschool functions.

A village gift

You really do need a village.

Won’t you be part of mine?

The 5 Worst Pieces of Parenting Advice I’ve Received

I have read a couple different blog posts recently about good and bad parenting advice.  Coupled with knowing a handful of lovely ladies with newborns or expecting, I decided to share some of the gems I have received over the past couple years.  It is hard to call it well-meaning advice when it sounds mean… or just plain stupid.

#1.

“You shouldn’t cloth diaper because you’ll never know when the diaper is wet.”

cloth-diaper-clare

The Angel, 2 weeks old, rocking a cloth nappy and matching socks

When I asked for an explanation, she said that only disposable diapers have that blue line to let me know when the baby has peed.  She insisted I would be harming my child with cloth diapers because of the higher likelihood of diaper rash.

Don’t worry; I hear the argument that just ran through your head.  Almost every time I use a disposable diaper that doesn’t have a blue line, I shake my head as I replay her words in my mind.

See, not everything said to a new parent is good or bad or misleading.  Sometimes, it is downright ridiculous.  This gem is my go-to bit of “advice” when I’m illustrating to other new parents how they’ll be inundated with well-meaning people and ought to come up with a canned response to their so-called wisdom.

#2.

“You carry your baby so much that she won’t learn how to walk.  She is too big for that baby carrier anyway.”

The baby carrier in question was designed for babies weighing between 8 and 25 pounds, and the baby being discussed weighed about 10 pounds at the time.

I love baby carriers.  I have a couple of them.  There are different designs for different activities, for all sizes and shapes, and you can easily find support groups or meet-and-swap groups on Facebook.

Also, I love holding my kids.  I wish I could always carry them always.  I like having them on me, I like hugging them, I like smelling them, I like feeling their weight in my arms, and I wish I could have them with me always.  Ok, not always:  the Angel recently grasped the concept of “privacy” and now revels in the chance to stand outside the bathroom door while I’m using the toilet and tell her little brother to leave me alone.

Our struggles to conceive, the joy I had about these new lives while they were in my womb, and the drastically different ways my children came into the world are all the more reasons why I want to hold them.  After everything, I don’t need someone telling me to put my babies down.

Believe me, they will learn to walk.  The Handsome Boy was walking independently and extensively before 10 months, and the Angel took her first steps the day before her first birthday party.

#3.

“You should hold your infant over the toilet right after she eats, starting around 6 months.  This will potty-train her by 12 months.”

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She figured it out and he will someday, too.

I cannot imagine how on earth a child who cannot walk could be potty-trained that early.  Not to mention Science Says the brain and body aren’t wired that early for that sort of knowledge.  Suspending an infant over that “swirling vortex of terror” just sounds like a terrible idea.

Kids do as they want, really, when it comes to potty training.  My experience says that while you can guide your child, she will figure it out before it actually becomes a priority for her.  Then it will be no big deal.

No matter how early or how quickly your tot learns to use the toilet, you’ll still be wiping butts for some time afterwards.

And just because the Angel proudly uses her potty Every Single Time today, including wiping herself and washing her hands, does not mean that tomorrow she won’t leak a bit in her panties or throw a fit when you outrageously demand she wipe herself.

#4.

“You should take a switch to her.  She’ll mind you then.”

Wow.  Seriously?  You want me to not just physically reprimand my daughter, not give her a quick spank on her bum, but actually whip her….

I think I’m going to be ill.

Granted, the individual who suggested this was a much older man who had never raised children.  Sadly, his generation was whipped (not using a colloquialism here, folks, but was actually whipped with a thin reed of a stick that could leave vicious welts or even split skin).  He was just spouting what he knew, from 7 or 8 decades earlier.

People, don’t ever suggest someone lay a hand on their child.  If a parent so believes that physical punishment is part of disciplining a child, let’s all hope they keep that to themselves.  It has become taboo to discuss spanking.  We talk about it behind closed doors with close friends and family.  Even then, we know we are subject to criticism no matter which way we say is best or worst.

I am not perfect, I do not always adhere to the guidelines of Positive Discipline, and I have lost my shit a time or two.  No matter how you feel about reprimanding, punishing, disciplining, or the like, I think we can all agree that a switch is just out of the question.

#5.

“Because he’s so big,” she says while holding my 9-month-sized 4 month old, “you should tell people he’s a developmentally disabled 9 month old instead of an overweight 6 month old.”

Wait.

What.

You mean to tell me it is better to lie that he is older but behind in cognitive and motor skills development than it is to have a complete stranger possibly judge me for him being fat?

Challenged is better than fat?!? 

That’s what you’re saying?

Dear me, that is what you’re saying.

He isn’t challenged any more than he is fat.  He is a big baby who actually is ahead of all the mile-markers. But that isn’t what upsets me about this.

It is that you would dare not only to THINK this about a child BUT TO SAY IT TO HIS MOTHER!!

chubby-baby

Like, I said, folks:  there are some people who cannot grasp the fact that what they believe is well-meant advice is actually just mean.  Wrong.  Unacceptable.  Or stupid.

If you can’t say something nice (or constructive), don’t say anything at all.  Do not assume you can parent other parents.  I may be new at this, but I really don’t need random advice.  I will come to you if I need some guidance.  Otherwise, everyone, butt out.

Believe me, even after more than 3 years as a stay-at-home mom, I feel there are days where I am still a newbie, still learning the ropes, still bungling through.  I also have the days where I feel like I should have a cape and tights because I’m such a bad-ass mother.

What’s the worst that has been said to you?

Quiet Morning Tea

My three-year-old isn’t understanding the concept of waiting until dawn to get out of bed.

My Struggle

I’ve never liked getting out of bed early.  I slept up to 18 hours straight most weekends in my teens and twenties.  My mother used to tell me she’d wake me a lot as an infant because I slept so soundly for so long that she would worry.  My dream job doesn’t start until 10 or 11 am.  If I could sleep 12 uninterrupted hours a day, I would.

For the longest time, the Angel would sleep 12 uninterrupted hours each night.

It was glorious.

I was stupid enough to brag about it.

All the changes our family has seen in the last year (birth of the Handsome Boy, renovating a couple rooms, family drama, toilet training, moving the Angel out of her crib, family drama, and such) has led to a change in everyone’s sleep patterns.

Now, the Angel gets up whenever she thinks she is done sleeping, whether that be at an accommodating 7:13 am or the hellacious time of 5:50 am.

I don’t function well without the sun being fully bright in the sky.

Tea Party

What we did for a bit was this:

The BHE would rise very early for work.  The Handsome Rover would wake and I’d bring him to bed to snuggle with me. Shortly after, the Angel would come in and join the snuggling.

With requests for water.  And turning on lights.  And watching YouTube on my phone.  And getting a popsicle.  Now.

 

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If you’re going to demand a popsicle, go ahead and insist it matches your shirt.

 

So I’d be cranky, rushing through dressing myself and the kids, before rushing us down the stairs to give her a popsicle for some quiet while I threw together a breakfast that the boy was screaming for (because if a tired infant isn’t getting the sleep he needs, you best be feeding him).  Somewhere in all of that, I’d probably blow a fuse or two and eventually use what the Angel calls my “angry words.”

Then things started changing even more and for the worse in her little world.  Her grandfather became grievously injured after falling off a ladder (he’s recovering well and should be leaving the rehab facility in another week).  This meant that her daddy was gone a lot, driving to the city over an hour away to visit and talk to nurses, missing dinner, going more than 48 hours without seeing her, being stressed and needing to have “important talks” with mommy instead of her, and not being the daddy she was used to having.

This was such an upset to her little world!  I didn’t see it at first, but her incessant requests for more of this and that, especially my full attention, were a direct result of her brain telling her she needed to latch onto me so she wouldn’t lose both parents.  Her mind couldn’t see the temporary situation for what it was.  Her mind didn’t want her to lose any more.

But it made me lose my mind!  I couldn’t readjust to her new demands, just assumed she was going through some new phase that was a pain in my ass.

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Check out that bedhead and how well she’s expressing she doesn’t want her picture taken.

The morning she asked to have a tea party with me, and just me, sorta rang a small bell in my head.  I got the boy back into his crib, where he slept for an extra 30 minutes, and crept downstairs to make a pot of tea.  Sipping the tepid green tea with too much sugar because I let the Angel doctor it, I was given a bleary-eyed glimpse of what my darling daughter needed.

Morning Ritual

There can be a lot said about routines and rituals in the lives of developing persons.  Here, though, I will say that my daughter needed uninterrupted time with at least one of her parents in order to feel comfortable going through her day.  We had to develop a new routine, create our own morning ritual.

Too much upheaval was causing the worst behavior I’ve seen in her.  And it was pulling the worst behavior out of me in response.

Until the small bell turned into a clanging gong.

I’m trying, folks, I am.  Parenting is hard.  I’m giving it all I got, though.

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Tea party in the library means books must be included.

What we do now is this:

The BHE rises very early for work.  When the boy wakes, I snuggle and nurse him then put his sleeping body back in the crib.  I doze until the Angel wakes and comes into our room.  Then I whisk her downstairs as quietly as possible so we can make and sip our tea, uninterrupted, just the two of us.  When the Handsome Rover wakes for the day, she helps me clean up our little tea set and we both climb the stairs to start the old routine.

Well, minus the blown fuses and angry words.

My Toddler Sleep Experiences

All things considered, my darling Angel Baby has been just that:  darling…an angel… She was an easy baby.  She was quiet, slept well (unless she was sick), and was a breast-feeding champion.  Right now as I type this, she is a month past her 2nd birthday and has been asleep for 10 hours straight.  Glorious!

Learning Along the Way

The BHE and I got into a pattern of holding Angel Baby until she fell asleep.  She was super easy to just lay down up until around 6 months, when she got her first cold.  All that snot and coughing made for terrible sleep—for all three of us.

Because I breastfed her until 20 months, it was typically my boob that put her to sleep.  We had been breastfeeding less and less so on the day I discovered I was pregnant with Sprout, I just stopped.  No more booby.  Which meant no more suckling to drift off into la-la land.

Gah!

There were nights that I would be walking and rocking and singing for up to an hour.  It started as 10-15 minutes but with her stubbornness and my refusal to let her fall asleep crying, the BHE or I would be in that nursery until way past our own bedtime!

No, no she's not. This pic from December is my gorgeous, energetic child AFTER BED TIME.

No, no she’s not. This pic from December is my gorgeous, energetic child AFTER BED TIME.

Thank God for Libraries

Not only did I scour other blogs and websites dedicated to raising children, but I utlitized my library’s lending system like no other.  You can check out my reading log on Goodreads.

I wish I had written down which book gave me this specific insight.  I wish I could tell you the genius author’s name.  I can’t even remember if I learned this tidbit from a sleep book or a more generic book on discipline.  However, I will share with you what I learned… and maybe in your readings, you’ll come across something even better.

What I Want to Share with You

Be honest with yourself.  Trust that you love and know what’s best for your children.  Take a deep breath and consider that what I say here worked for me, my child, our family.  Know that not every “solution” works for every family.

Set a timer.

Bing!  That’s it!  A timer.

What I read was that parents will do themselves a tremendous favor by taking the onus of “bad guy” off their shoulders.  To a child, an adult saying it is time to stop playing or time to go or time for bed makes that adult the bad guy.  Like I’ve arbitrarily chosen NOW as the time to make your short life miserable.  Ha!

As if I were that diabolical.

No, really.  The book I was reading suggested using a timer to give both parent and child a chance to recognize when NOW will be and to take the weight off of the parent and put it on an inanimate, third-party object.  For instance, if you need to leave the house in ten minutes, your darling is playing with her castle, and you still need to fill sippy cups and double-check the diaper bag, you set a timer for, say, 8 minutes.  You tell your darling that when this little thing buzzes or dings or beeps, that she needs to meet you at the door to get her shoes on.

The first time I did this, it worked.

I shit you not.

Putting the Timer into Play at Bedtime

The day I read this tidbit, I vowed that night to try it and just walk away.  I had to gird myself, build up my resolution to, no matter where Angel Baby was in the stages of sleep, to lay her down and walk out of the nursery once that timer went off.

We have a noise machine in the nursery that can be set to play for 15 minute increments or continuously, and loud noises trigger it to come back on.  It’s a brilliant little gadget.  The night in question (about 4 months ago, I think), I set the music to play for 15 minutes then settled into the armchair, Angel Baby on Boppy.  As I whispered how much I love her and how thankful we are for God giving us the food on our table and the roof over our heads, I also told her that once the music was done, we were done.  I reminded her a couple times during that 15 minutes that when the music stopped, she was going into her crib.

The music stopped.

She pointed at her crib.

I laid her down, walked out, and didn’t hear a peep until the next morning, roughly 12 hours later.

No.  Shit.

Comfy, cozy, in her pjs, with her

Comfy, cozy, in her pjs, with her “Fah-fee”… and peacefully sleeping

Fluke?

On the third night, it still worked.  Here we are months later and it is still working.  She may or may not be asleep when I leave the room.  Most of the time, we bid each other farewell for each step I take towards the door.

“Good night, sweetie.”  “Niiigh.”

“Mommy loves you.”  “Lovey.”

“Sleep well, angel.”  “Seeeep seep.”

“I love you.  G’night.”  “Bye.”

Last night, the little turd talked to her stuffed animals for almost a half hour before I no longer heard her little voice through the monitors.  Some nights, she is out like a light before I close her door all the way.

There have been nights, I’ll admit, where I don’t make the full 15 minutes.  I’m 6 months pregnant:  holding her 22+ lbs on my lap sometimes translates to bladder pressure I can’t withstand.  Just sayin’.

Use this Trick Everywhere

I use a red, owl-shaped timer around the house for different reasons now.  Sometimes I use the alarms feature on my phone.  Angel Baby will announce, “ALARM!” when she hears them… and then she does what I asked of her when I set the darn thing.  I’m not kidding.  It is brilliant.

  • 10 minutes until we have to put our shoes on to leave in 15!
  • Only 20 minutes of Monsters Inc before we need to turn it off and find a book
  • Just 5 minutes of puzzles then off to the bath
  • 10 minutes ‘til dinner
  • 5 minutes ‘til teeth-brushing

BONUS!

I need it, too.  I need the reminder sometimes.  Example:  I was cleaning out the drawers of my desk while Angel Baby watched Monsters Inc (again).  I knew roughly when the BHE would be home from work and that I needed to start making dinner in about 15 minutes.  I don’t like my darling watching the TV for more than 15-20 minutes anyway.  I set the timer for both of us:  only 10 minutes of movie for her and a tap on my shoulder that I needed to get dinner started.

Brilliant!

Any tips or tricks you want to share, lovely reader?