Archive for May, 2016

Crib Climbers

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

IMG_0593The first time my son lifted a leg over the rail of his crib, my heart panicked.  I was hoping that the day would never come and that he would want to sleep in a crib forever.  I just wasn’t ready, but is anyone ever ready?

I tried not to react, but was nervous none the less. Nervous that he would fall out in the middle of the night or even scarier, never nap again.  It was an exciting challenge to him. He couldn’t wait to get to the other side and worked so hard to find out what it would be like to get there all by himself. The first time he fell out, I’m not sure who it scared more, me or him.  I heard a loud thud and then a cry. Luckily, the only thing that got hurt was his ego. That first fall took the mystery out of the adventure for him and bought me some time before his next attempt.

Putting a sleep sack on him in bed is the other thing that prevented him from making a climb again for a few months. I often wondered if it was because he couldn’t see his feet or legs that he may have forgotten that climbing was an option. Whatever it was, that sleep sack did the trick. When he figured out how to unzip and take off the sleep sack, I took the next step and put it on him backwards before putting him in his crib. That worked for a while, too, until I couldn’t find a sleep sack large enough for my growing toddler.

The reality is that many toddlers are curious and take on the challenge of the climb, while some never take the plunge.  Some people lower the crib mattress to the floor,  some people add extra padding to the floor outside of the crib, and some people jump to transition to a toddler bed.

My son transitioned to a toddler bed very well. My 17-month-old daughter keeps us on our toes all day long, but has yet made the move to climb. I’m hoping that her short little legs will buy us time.

Sarah Cole is a writer and a stay-at-home mom of two busy toddlers who keeps her on her toes all day long.


The Benefits of Chiro Care

Monday, May 30th, 2016

chiro care for toddlersWhen my daughter was about 10 months old she had gone through so many chronic ear infections that our pediatrician suggested tubes. I decided not to do it until I had exhausted every natural option that I could think of. That’s when someone suggested taking her to see a pediatric chiropractor. I had never even heard of a pediatric chiropractor, wasn’t really familiar with what they do and was very skeptical–but I was also desperate, so I tried.

We went 3 times the first week and the ear inflection cleared up. We slowly started spacing our visits our more and more and nowadays, 5 years later, we go about once every six weeks. The ear infections went away and she never really gets sick–maybe once a year. While we do follow a healthy diet and try to keep our immune systems boosted with food and supplements, I certainly believe that regular chiropractic care has a great deal to do with keeping us healthy.

According to the Well Adjusted website, chiropractic care can help what they call “ineffective communication” in the body. The nervous system controls the body’s communication, so if it is not functioning at its highest potential it can manifest as a range of different things such as colic, digestive issues, asthma and poor sleep to name just a few. The bottom line is to give the body back its natural ability to self regulate and function at its highest capacity.

Over the years I have met several moms who take their children to get adjusted regularly for very different reasons. As I mentioned, for us it started with ear infections but for others it might have been colic, a constipated baby, trouble sleeping or just to help keep their immune system boosted!

If you decide to try chiropractic care for your child, make sure you chose someone who is trained in working with children. Take the time to search out a pediatric chiropractor in your area and remember that this is not a quick fix for anything. Chances are you won’t see the dramatic results you might like after just one visit so don’t give up. Let your chiropractor know what you want to get out of the visits and come up with a regular treatment plan together.

Jacqueline Banks is a certified Holistic Health Counselor focused on nutrition and green living strategies. She works with women in all stages of motherhood, from mothers struggling with conception, through pregnancy, lactation and beyond to ensure the best health and nutrition for both mother and baby.


Too Tired to Worry about Baby #4

Thursday, May 26th, 2016

too tired 3I joke that baby #4 is my tagalong. I call him the “sleep anywhere baby” because I’m not sure he’s ever had a proper nap. He sleeps on my back in the ergo. In the bike trailer. In the stroller. In a shopping cart. On the bathroom floor. Or snuggled up against a wall. Obviously napping when the baby naps doesn’t apply here. Although I’m so tired that most days I probably could also curl up against a wall and doze off for a bit, too.

I have a dear friend I met while pregnant with my fourth baby. She was pregnant with her first at the time. We had the same “estimated due date” which formed an almost instant connection between us. Our little ones were born a week apart and so there has been a lot of shared experiences on our motherhood journey; sometimes with elation (He’s walking!) and sometimes with tears (He’s awake all night long!). We have been meeting monthly for breakfast since about 35 weeks pregnant and now our little ones are almost two years old! I cherish our breakfast dates and look forward to them each month.

On our recent breakfast date she shared with me that she had made an outline stating her educational goals for her son. As I listened to her share, I was fascinated. But also trying to scan my brain in effort to come up with what educational goals I had for my own toddler. I wanted to feel worthy of contributing to our conversation. She sounded so wise, caring, and passionate about her son’s educational journey. I admired her. And wondered if I used to be like her when my oldest was my only? Did I ponder with great deliberation my hopes and dreams for him? too tired 1Surely I did. It just all feels like a blur and I am too tired to even remember what that was like; to have the space in my brain to ponder such thoughts. The reality is most days the goal is just to get through the day…and I don’t even necessarily to do that with intention. And if I did at one point have an outline of educational goals for my oldest son, they have now been replaced with the primary goal of not being late to school. With the secondary goal being to achieve the primary goal with as little yelling as possible. That’s the painful truth of our days.

My conversation with my friend stuck with me and I really started thinking about how differently I mothered my first.

Baby #1: Starting at just a few weeks old I would sit with him in the rocking chair and read aloud to him because that’s what all the research on literature and brain development told me to do.
Baby #4: Have I ever read him a book? Wait there was that one time I gave him a book to hold because he was fussing in his stroller. Mmmm, actually that was just a pamphlet of the metro schedule I was trying to figure out as we were dashing through the station trying not to miss the train. But I’m pretty sure it had some words and number on it. That counts as developing early literacy skills, right?

Baby #1: While bathing him I would sing little songs and play little games with him. Post-bath he would get a relaxing baby massage with organic essential oils because that’s what all the research on bonding, attachment, and language development told me to do.
Baby #4: I don’t even know the last time he had a bath. The only song he’s probably ever heard me sing is Happy Birthday the few times a year we sing it. And I’ve rubbed coconut oil on his butt a few times due to the diaper rash he got because I forgot to change his diaper. That’s kind of like a baby massage, right?

Baby #1: Introduction to foods was a deliberate and well thought-out process full of homemade organic foods presented in a way to encourage self-feeding and promote a balanced palate, because that’s what all the research on health and nutrition told me to do.
Baby #4: His first food was sprinkles that my middle son fed him when he was five months old. But I think they were the ones dyed with beetroot and carrots which is kind of like eating a vegetable, right?

You get my drift here. The capacity I had to pour attention AND intention into mothering has changed. Drastically. And I almost forgot you can do more as a mother than just survive through the day to day hustle of getting everyone where they need to be with whatever it is they need. And honestly I don’t even juggle that simple task very well

too tired 475 percent of the time.

Although talking with my friend about her goals for her son was refreshing and inspiring. Her enthusiasm was delightful and even contagious. It made me remember a part of myself I had long forgotten. And she’s still there; that attentive, loving, caring mother filled with a deep desire to nurture and guide her children. That mom exists
somewhere within me. It’s just that most days she is heavily buried under a mounting to-do list and a never ending pile of laundry.

So while I don’t have the ability to provide my toddler with the same individualized focus I did with baby #1, I remind myself that he’s still exposed to and enjoying an enriching, stimulating babyhood. It just looks slightly different.

Baby #1: Attends baby story time at the library with costumes, music, and dancing.
Baby #4: Attends brother’s school play with costumes, music and dancing.

Baby #1: Plays alongside peers during visits to children’s museum, playgrounds, and splash parks.
Baby #4: Plays alongside older brothers (and their friends) in the woods behind our house.

Baby #1: Receives a lot of attention and affection from me.
Baby #4: Receives a lot of collective attention and affection from his older brothers and myself.

It helps me to see that baby #4 is blessed with a busy family schedule and surrounded by people who love and care for him. In a way it’s simply a parallel journey between baby #1 and baby #4.

BOTH #1 and #4: Have a mom who expresses a wide range of emotions from silly/happy to frustrated/overwhelmed. And at the heart of each day knows she is doing the best she can at any given moment by approaching motherhood which humility and hopefully a little grace along the way.

May you find a glimmer of joy and assurance wherever you are in your own journey as a parent.

Sarah is a crunchy mama to four boys. Her family feels blessed to currently live abroad in the Netherlands and enjoy exploring all it has to offer.  She blogs about health, nutrition, and exercise at

My Pregnancy: Postpartum Week 2

Wednesday, May 25th, 2016

postpartum week 2Our first full week at home came went smoothly enough. I think with each child, generally speaking, the additional challenges and juggling come with more experience to help guide you. For this reason I have not found this postpartum experience to take more effort or provide more stress. Hubby took three weeks off of work and that proved essential to us easing back into our new normal. He focused mostly on our two preschoolers and me so I could focus on the challenges of breastfeeding this third time around (next week’s blog) and C-section recovery.

I camped out on our couch for about a month for each pregnancy. Lying down and getting up took extra effort and I wanted to avoid straining myself much in those first crucial weeks of healing. Hubby said his job was to defend the borders of Baby Central Station.

My central station includes a variety of essentials to make it through:

  • Blanket and pillow, big enough for sleeping but small enough to not get in the way. Also great for propping up legs, elbows, etc. for ideal comfort during feeding
  • Nursing pillow for both nursing or when we’ve had to bottle feed from time to time
  • Big insulated cup (32 ounces) with lid and straw. No sweating for cold drinks, lid for protection from other kids and random incidents
  • Remote controls
  • Phone
  • Wipes, wet bag, and diapers (I eventually moved the wet bag to the bathroom once able to walk more easily)
  • Camera and cord to connect it to my…
  • Laptop
  • Safe space for baby to sleep (co-sleeper for us)
  • A few changes of clothes for baby, extra sheet for co-sleeper, and an extra shirt for me
  • Burp cloths
  • Nipple cream, nursing pads, lip balm, lotion

I was camped out at the station most of my day during those first weeks getting up to bathe, use the restroom, and other small simple tasks. Recovery does involve moving around to help foster healing. Aside from having hubby and family around to help in key ways, I also found a few things eased my first couple of weeks at home:

  • Drop the act of independence. Take a deep breath and gracefully ask for help. Say thank you but don’t feel indebted. You are doing indispensable work “just” sitting with baby. Include children, if any, in simple tasks to assist you. My boys would grab a diaper or take my plate to the counter and enjoyed the opportunity to be included.
  • When possible (I know, you’re tired), set up your space for the next feed. Your future self will thank you. If you wait, baby will be waking and fussy, not sleepy and content. Fill up that cup of water, grab more burp cloths, or whatever else you need.
  • Get away from your spot from time to time. We packed up the kids and hubby drove us (since I couldn’t at first) just to get a drink or small treat from the drive thru. This helped ward off some cabin fever for me while staying relatively simple. It also allowed me to slowly gain confidence in my healing. Very short walks outside for a few minutes also gave me space to sustain the stresses of the first weeks.
  • Let go of expectations around dishes, clothes, clean floors, and messes in general. Sometimes I was too slow-moving to get to my toddler before he wrote on the walls with crayon. Other times I sat nursing as I watched my preschooler make a mess with play-dough or his bowl of popcorn. With most things you can always get to cleaning/fixing/asking someone else to deal with it later.

Annie is a mom of two boys, ages two and four, and now a newborn gal. She is taking in every moment of every day because, let’s be honest, she’s not getting much sleep. 

Exercising with Toddlers

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

exercising with toddlers“I exercise.  Just kidding, I chase toddlers all day.” I saw this quote on a coffee mug and it fits me perfectly. It’s true, chasing toddlers and keeping up with them can sometimes be all that I have in me, but I do strive to get formal exercise into my days a few times a week. I’m not going to claim that it is easy, but it can happen.

I have learned that putting on a workout video in my house does not work. Why? Because, the second I turn on the television for something like that, the kids start shouting out requests of their favorite television shows or characters. Maybe I need to look for workout videos that include these characters. After the kids go to sleep, I’m usually ready to do the same or at least relax. It is very rare that I get to escape by myself to hit up the gym or an exercise class. So, I’ve learned to work with what I’ve got for now.

Here are some of the things that seem to work well for me and my toddlers:

  • Dance Parties.  We dance a lot.  They love to listen to music and dance and I take advantage of that when I need to get my heart rate up, break a sweat, and have some fun.

  • Jogging.  I put the kids in the jogging stroller and head out for a run around the park near our house. They are only good for about one mile before they want to get out or start pinching each other.

  • Twist and shout.  In the middle of playtime, you can find me and my kids doing side bends, leg lifts, or other stretches while we shout out numbers or the alphabet to count our movements.

  • Walks. When I am looking to get some fresh air and take an adventure in nature, we go for walks to keep us moving.

Sarah Cole is a writer and a stay at home mom to her two busy toddlers.  The more they move the more she moves.