Posts Tagged ‘regression’

Sleep Help for the Weary

Monday, November 7th, 2016

importance-of-early-bedtimeNews report that you probably already knew: Your kids need sleep. On the off chance that this idea of an early, consistent bedtime is news to you, let me quickly fill you in. Consistent bedtimes that allow enough sleep for children can contribute to fewer behavioral issues and even physical attributes like obesity later in life. While many often emphasize “early” bedtime, it’s possible one’s particular situation (e.g., wake up at 5 am versus 8 am) could alter what exactly “early” means for each individual family.

This study hits home especially for parents whose work schedule or family particulars don’t fit the classic kids-in-bed-by-8 routine. Early bedtime routines can also be a challenge for some families with multiple children, especially when one child is in the midst of newborn age, experiencing regression, or any number of other challenges come dusk. For some families, irregular or later bedtime routines are a necessity so evidence that early bedtime routines have a positive effect later in life can make them feel a whole bunch of negative.

Still, the most recent research says early bedtime (8 PM or earlier for preschoolers) lessens the likelihood of obesity in teenage years, even when other factors were controlled and accounted for. Researchers point out children who go to bed earlier are less likely to snack late into the night and are more likely to get a full night’s rest, allowing for more restorative sleep. Ultimately getting enough sleep, not the exact time one goes to sleep, is shown in research to be overall most critical for the mind and body.

In case your family struggles, it turns out we’ve got you covered! If you wonder still about how a routine might look, you can read from perspectives of a mom of one or another; mom of two; mom of four or another.

In trying to get that routine, you may consider want to know the ins and outs, dos and don’ts of sleep training. Perhaps you are troubleshooting challenges like crib climbing; whether or not to give up naps for the sake of bedtime routine; or sleep regression.

If you’re at your wits’ end with a sleepless or otherwise challenging night experience, perhaps my ah-ha moment on the great expectations of sleep will give you the feeling of comradery. There was also the time I spoke fondly—yes, fondly—of sleepless nights. Others also offer solidarity on the subject of children and sleep. And last, but possibly most important, two more offer the reality and encouragement to get through the sleepless periods of all mommy lives.

Lynette is a mom of three children from 6 months to age four. She has cloth diapered all three since birth and enjoys all things eco-friendly and mindful living.

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. 

That Time I Tried to Potty Train an 18-Month-Old

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-03 at 2.59.53 PMWhat you need to know is that she was my first. I was terrified of making mistakes with her. So when I stood in line for her class that Sunday at church, I was stunned to see a man in front of me hand his toddler over the door–under her dress, no big, poofy diaper cover, but instead, tiny big-girl panties. Right there in line, I panicked.

Were there other kids her age that were also potty trained? Was she the only one her age still in diapers? Why hadn’t anyone warned me this was coming? I hadn’t even thought about that yet and now we were already behind. It was official: I was a terrible, neglectful mother.

That weekend, or maybe the next, I went out and bought training pants and a tiny princess potty that played music when you flushed. I read an article online about potty training in a weekend. Fantastic! We’d check this off this weekend. I thought about what to write in her baby book. Better take some pictures, too! I scrapbooked success vignettes in my head.

I set my watch and took her to the potty every 15 minutes when we were at home after work and on the weekends. We talked about what to do on the potty. We gave her rewards. We celebrated. She had accidents everywhere. She never asked to go, and said she didn’t have to every time I asked. Honestly, I don’t even think she knew what the question meant. We finally managed a few trips out with successful trips to the potty. It looked like it was all coming together.

When my oldest was just a little over 2 years old, just when we had got potty training semi-down, I started to show with my second pregnancy. And then we learned about regression.

You see, when you’re pregnant, everyone makes a big deal how awful it would be having two kids in diapers. But when your kids are in diapers, the mess is controlled and you kinda/sorta get to choose when to deal with it. When they are not in diapers, you get a big mess everywhere that has to be dealt with NOW. And you’re pregnant. And maybe a touch sensitive to smells. Let me also add, when kids learn to go to the potty, they master number one first and then number two. When they regress, it goes backward in that order. It’s not pretty.

Then, when this child was just older than 4, I got pregnant again. The older two both regressed as soon as I started showing.

During this horrendous experience, a friend of mine who had three kids mostly older than mine reminded me of everything that goes into a trip to the potty for a child. In order to be able to go by themselves, they have to be mature enough to stop what they are doing to take a break, be tall enough to turn on the light, strong enough to lift the toilet seat, and be dexterous enough to undress themselves. That sounds much more like a 3- or 4-year-old than a 2-year-old. Yet as soon as most kids turn two, you have daycares, churches and grandmas bugging you about potty training.

What I forgot about potty training, in my rush to be an amazing mom and fulfill everyone’s expectation of me, is that it’s one of those things, just like sleeping all night and eating solid food, that will happen on it’s own no matter what you do.

All normally functioning kids—all of them!—learn to eat solid food, sleep through the night in their own bed, and use the potty. It may not be on my timetable, it may not be when I think it should happen, but you don’t ever have to sweat these milestones. They happen.

I do still run into smug moms of prodigious toddlers who WILL be potty trained by age two. Good for them. But occasionally I run into an exasperated mom who can’t understand why this totally normal thing is just not working for them and we commiserate. It’s not us, I tell her. It’s them. They have to do it on their own time, and that may mean we suck up some criticism from a few boneheads for a while, but don’t you worry about that because it’s not worth our sanity.

My 4-year-old is 100-percent potty trained now, while my oldest still wears a pull-up at night. I don’t get it, and I probably will never understand what mistakes I made if there is a secret to this thing that I completely missed, or if it’s just biology and physical development that I never could have influenced anyway.

After these last years of potty training hell, my youngest has yet to sit on a potty. I ask her every day if she wants to, and she says “Nope!” Then I ask her, “When do you think you’ll start using the potty?” and she says, “I don’t know.” I don’t know either, and that’s fine with me.

Erin Hayes Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three who doesn’t know shit about pottytraining. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City.