Posts Tagged ‘milestones’

Going Back to the Crib

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

going back to the cribOnce a child hits a milestone, the world of parenting seems to look down upon regression. It’s often seen as a moving back instead of a part of living.  With each child we’ve “stepped away” from something. In the case of our first, it was the transition to the toddler bed.

Our oldest was 19 months old. We were ready to transition his infant brother to the crib. By ready to transition I mean, boy howdy, it’d be convenient if we didn’t have to invest in another crib. Older brother hiked his leg atop the crib in my presence and I took that as the catalyst, or rather the excuse, to transition him to a toddler bed. We talked it up. He helped us put the bed together.

The first week in his “big boy” toddler bed was a success. Then came the reality underneath the illusion of success. Each night endless tears began when he used go to sleep with just a book and a song. By the time he fell asleep he lost two hours of his typical sleep pattern. We were up multiple times in the night walking him back to his bed. Again, more tears. We stayed firm. We were consistent. We tried offering incentives. We tried ignoring. We tried comforting. We tried… everything. Believe me, we got plenty of advice from those who knew of our struggle. With every passing day I was more determined that our efforts not be in vain.

Six weeks after the transition to the toddler bed we moved him back to the crib. Sanity instantly returned to our home. He went to sleep and stayed asleep all night. We all looked forward to evenings again instead of dreading them. He was comfortable. He still needed the secure confines of the crib for whatever reason. I spent all of those nights trying to force something when it served all of us better had I tried to listen.

Back to the Crib 3Of course, some were highly critical. “He’s manipulating you,” they said. “Way to let him win,” they said. We were all cranky and sleep deprived and uncomfortable–I’m sure no one was winning.  One night I set the critics aside and listened to the heart of my child as he softly asked to sleep in the crib again. Up until that point he mostly had tears and excuses. Had I opened space for him to communicate, perhaps I’d have heard his underlying fears earlier.

Wouldn’t you know it, three months later we tried again with great success. We didn’t do anything different really. One day he asked about the big boy bed we temporarily placed in the corner of our bedroom. That day, he initiated the interest. No one called that manipulating, as they did when he tried to express his interest of staying in the crib, but I digress. That night he transitioned easily to the toddler bed. We all won.

Lynette is a mom of three children from newborn to age four. She appreciates the idea of staying connected but also that some seasons of life, like this one, leave her sleep-deprived and some days without shower. 

Organizing Your Kid Photos

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

organizing kid photosAt some point in everyone’s life computer technology does them wrong. We’ve all been there—middle of the night finishing a term paper or some other less than ideal circumstance—and the screen goes blank. Now that children are in our picture I know I have far more documents, photos, and videos that are priceless and irreplaceable.

First, know who you don’t necessarily want to count on. These days with social media there’s likely some trail of your existence. Relying on a site like Facebook is not ideal as they compress your photos (though it is possible to upload higher resolution photos and HD videos by following their suggestions). Furthermore, you miss out on those photos you choose not to upload for privacy’s sake, like that naked one of your naked son holding a sword, sitting on the white porcelain throne as he learns to potty train. If you store your photos on a site like Shutterfly, you can also download what you previously uploaded but the quality is not necessarily the same as your original file. So social media and photo websites are better than nothing, but there are superior options for long-term, quality storage.

Get organized. Pull all your photos together and figure out a system that works for you. I personally have a folder for each year. In that I have twelve folders by month (labeled, for example, 2016-01, 2016-02, etc.). I also have a folder for videos which has in it twelve folders by month. I prefer chronological, but you might want to save folders of photos by theme (graduation, silly outtakes, etc.) or family member (little Jake, Grandma Rose,  etc.).

Consider tangible backup. We have a portable hard drive that I update monthly. You can purchase a hard drive online or at most electronics stores. For $50 to $100 you can find portable hard drives with one to several terabytes of space.  I know others who still print out all their photos and store them in-house.

Consider off-site storage. This is the language of “cloud” or Dropbox that you may have heard floating around, and you may already (knowingly or unknowingly) have a cloud associated with your phone, pad, or email. Google Drive and iCloud are two of the most well-known.  Amazon Prime membership includes a cloud for unlimited photo storage. Microsoft has OneDrive and, including additional services, Office 365.

Some small businesses offer electronic storage but the larger brands can offer more space and reputable brand with sale/sign-up incentives. All of these offer 2-15 gigabytes free and some offer a trial membership of a month or more so you can try out their interface. Most offer both monthly and annual plans though some also offer options of charging by the amount of space you use or other features). Most can sync to your phone and computer to automatically back up your files and allow you to access said files anywhere you have internet access.

How to choose the best fit for you may depend on a number of factors. You may already have brand loyalty. Consider your current email or subscriptions. For example if you’re still an Outlook or Hotmail user, you have OneDrive; If you already have a Google email/account, you have access to 15GB of storage; if you have an iPad you have an iCloud accessible to you. Consider your device brands and if you want to sync your computer and phone together. For example, if you’re an Android user, iCloud won’t be the most effective option.

Last, sit back and enjoy. Next project, scan in all those old photos from back in the day when phones were connected to the wall and cameras had rolls of film. You know, in your spare time.

Lynette is a mom of three children from newborn to age four. She’s a dumbphone girl living in a smartphone world. 

Is My Baby Talking Enough?

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

is my baby talking enough?After my first son was born, I voraciously followed his milestones and progress with several books, including What to Expect: The First Year, Dr. Sears’ book, and the AAP book. (Full disclosure: with my second child … I maybe didn’t pay quite so much attention to these things). I also compared notes with the other moms in my online due date club.

As a first-time parent, I had tons of anxiety about milestones: Was my baby progressing adequately, was I doing enough as his parent to ensure he did? Guess what…these thoughts are totally normal. For me (and the parents of many toddlers, particularly boys), his speech development was my largest concern. My baby was shy, yes, but he also didn’t seem to have nearly the language development going on as his peers. The pediatrician that saw him at his first birthday well baby checkup commented that, “If he were a girl, she would be concerned.”

So when is it time to take action with a possible speech delay? Honestly, if you think there may be a delay, I would consult your pediatrician. Babies often make language gains rather sporadically, and chances are your child is developing normally. If she is not, however, early intervention is really important.

If you think your child may have a delay, or perhaps a family member or childcare provider has suggested something similar, the first step is talking to your pediatrician. Your provider will have you fill out a developmental questionnaire (you probably have done several of these already). If she feels it’s necessary, she will refer your child to a specialist. In the state I lived in, there was an early intervention office run by the state for children under three years old, and after the third birthday, the school district was responsible for screening. It’s important to trust your gut on this one—if your doctor thinks your child is developing normally and you really feel otherwise, speak up.

The testing is pretty fun for many kids (my son thought it was fantastic); it’s geared to be mostly playing with a speech and occupational therapist, and you stay in the room the whole time. If they find delays to a significant enough degree, they will refer you to ST or OT (in the state I lived in, the wait list to get into speech therapy was very long). Preschoolers may be able to do therapy sessions through a local elementary school or even qualify for a special education preschool, depending on where you live.

Just remember though, the milestones are just averages. Try not to get overly concerned about any one part, but if you feel your child may be falling behind, don’t hesitate to voice your concerns.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two young boys and a foster mom to a variety of rescue dogs and cats.

My Pregnancy: Week 24

Monday, February 1st, 2016

week 24I have a bent toward minimalism. I previously shared my inclination toward being low-key and keeping minimalism or just plain practicality in mind when it comes to babies. I, of course, must admit my deep love of Target with its perky red walls, coupon apps, and tidy surroundings. My preschooler knows when we pull into the “bullseye store” an icee may soon arrive in his hands, a special treat. Walking its aisles on Saturday morning while hubby is hanging out with the kids at home brings deep, indescribable satisfaction to my soul.

Let’s get back to minimalism though. With the first pregnancy the excitement of it all is quite overwhelming. I am, to clear the air, very excited about this third pregnancy. It’s different though. The newness of everything isn’t dampened but rather more relaxed. Like my doctor said about this pregnancy so many weeks ago, it’s not my first rodeo. When asked what we “need,” I can say essentially nothing. Maybe some patience if you have some to spare. In general people are looking for more tangible things. At family’s request I put together a registry at the bullseye store for treats.

While my heart beats strongest for simplicity, I also like giving others the opportunity to celebrate in this pregnancy. I think celebrating in pregnancy does not require gifts, and many of them agree. But gifts are fun, and I don’t want to take away from their chance to give in the way they enjoy. Plus we don’t have many pink or purple things that the boys wore. Adding a few of those to our collection is useful to replace the “little buck” and other gender-specific clothing we paid forward to another family.

This minimalist bent also comes out in my excitement of it all. I don’t do big sex or gender reveals, intricate pregnancy announcements, or overly creative portraiture to capture my growing belly bump. Again, I’ve nothing against people who invest their time in these endeavors if they bring satisfaction and enjoyment to their hearts. All those things make me feel very tired. Hubby and I announced our first pregnancy to Facebook friends by changing our profile pictures to a snapshot of a bottle of Preggo brand spaghetti sauce. Most of them knew anyway. Done.

This also speaks on the subject of milestones. Maybe I’m now speaking not so much of minimalism as familiarity. As we’ve been pregnant before we already know most of the ins and outs of it. My pregnancies have all been typical or “normal,” so I refresh my mind each week by scanning an article on baby’s development this week. Otherwise though, I find my thoughts pretty chill. I remember staying up late with the previous pregnancies research single strollers, then double strollers, car seats, cloth diapers, carriers, and more. In part, I don’t have to do that now as I’ve already done that legwork in previous pregnancies. Now the word that comes to mind is abide. I am soaking in the presence of this baby in all the most wonderful ways I can, biding my time until this last little one arrives.

Annie is a mom of two toddlers finding joy in the simple kick in her belly, the tightening of her waistband. 

First Haircut

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

First Haircut

Babies have all the luck. They’re so cute that they make baldness, receding hairlines, mullets, and being chubby all look amazingly adorable. It’s a little unfair that we adults can’t enjoy the same benefits, but I guess it’s all part of being a grown-up.

At some point in your baby’s life, you will probably have to consider orchestrating a real tear jerker (hopefully just for you): the first haircut. Even if your baby is bald and you fear he will never have hair (been there), I promise that he will.

When you decide this is necessary is totally personal preference. I know mothers of both girls and boys that say they still haven’t cut their preschooler’s hair yet, and others whose follically blessed offspring needed bangs or their entire head cut to get the hair out of their eyes before they reached their first birthday.

It can be a little nerve wracking to cut your baby’s hair. Some people opt to do it at home, other parents choose to take their baby to a salon or barber. It can be frightening to imagine an active child around sharp scissors, so a professional can be a good choice if this is something that worries you. Many cities now have children’s salons with fun seats to sit in, brightly colored walls, and sometimes even children’s’ programming on TVs. If your area doesn’t have one, or you aren’t interested in that sort of thing, most salons and barbers have padded boosters for the chair and cute kid-sized smocks for them to wear.

If you have an older child going in for their first cut, prepping them mentally beforehand is a really good idea. Letting them know what to expect and explaining what’s going to happen can help keep the experience a positive one. My own son had his first cut when he was still very young–we were pretty much just trimming his mullet (party in the back) as the business in the front didn’t have a whole lot going on yet. I don’t think he would have gotten a lot out of prepping him beforehand, so I went armed with bribes (Dum-dums) and everybody complimented his handsomeness repeatedly during the process and right after. He ate it up, admiring his little baby self in the mirror while the stylist cut.

The first cut can be a fun milestone for your family. If you can, invite family or a couple friends, who can also be enlisted to take a few photos if you like (so you can enjoy being in the moment). Many salons issue a ‘First Haircut’ certificate that usually has a small ziploc for keeping a lock of hair in. If this is something you would like, you might consider calling ahead to make sure it’s available. Otherwise, if you choose to keep a lock of hair from the cut, don’t forget a small bag. And maybe some tissues.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, who still demand bribes and compliments with each haircut.