Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Backson!

My kids new favorite movie is the new Winnie the Pooh movie.

Have you seen this movie? It is intensely cute and so funny! The kids just love it and they have watched it about a million times, which means I have watched it a million times. And I don't care because I love it.

It has the flavor of the old winnie the pooh movie and the characters are just so naive and playful, I can't help but love them.

My favorite part of this movie? The Backson.

What is the Backson? Well, he is a monster that Winnie the Pooh and friends have fabricated to have kidnapped Christopher Robin. And it is hilarious.

We rented the Winnie the Pooh cd from the library, so not only do I get to watch the movie in my home, but I also get to listen to the songs in my car and I'm still not sick of it yet.

If your kids haven't seen this movie, rent it, it is so cute!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Funny Nicoley

Nicole: Mom, can you help me with my puzzle?
Me: I can, but I'm folding laundry. You will have to wait until I'm done or do the puzzle by yourself.
Nicole: I'll wait.
10 minutes later...
Nicole (crying): Mommy, will you help me with my puzzle?
Me: I said I would, but I'm folding laundy, it will have to wait until I'm done.
Nicole (still crying): But I've already been waiting 20 years! (complete meltdown).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mommy Tip Tuesday

Dan and Nicole have both suffered from eczema. Nicole would get it on her arms and neck. Dan gets it on his feet, the back of his knees and the inside of his elbows. I can tell that it bothers him, but he is so little, he doesn't scratch at it because he doesn't know how.

So, I took Dan to the doctor and got a steroid for his eczema. The cream worked and the eczema cleared within a week. And then, a week later it was back. I used the cream again and again with the same result until I ran out of cream.

So, I looked online for an alternate solution and found Monkey Balm!

This is an organic balm that is made from sea buckthorn oil. The reviews were really good that it would heal the eczema within three days. So, I saw it on babysteals.com for half off and I bought it.

I started using it on Dan's skin and within 3 days, his feet were healed! Not scaly and red anymore. Yay!

So, I started using it on Nicole and her skin improved too.

I have always had a skin condition on my arms where I have little red bumps on my arms for reason's unknown. Most of my siblings also have this condition, so I assume it is something genetic. So, I started putting Monkey Balm on my arms and I started to see improvement within 2 days. The bumps are less red and there aren't as many. Yay!

So, I recommend Monkey Balm for eczema and other mild skin irritations. It is awesome! And, all natural. It is pricey, but you can find it on sale occasionally.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sleep Training Update

So, sleep training Nicole has been a nightmare! Let me just tell you all about our weekend.

Friday, Nicole did not nap until 3pm and woke up from her nap at 5pm. And then the horror ensued! The book says to watch for the first sign of sleepiness and then start the bed time ritual. Nicole started getting grumpy and tired eyes around 6:30pm, so I started the bed time ritual.

I spent a whole hour with her doing a bath, pajamas, teeth, potty, stories, and songs. Then, at 7:30pm, we told her goodnight and left the room. Even as I am retelling this now, I feel the frustration and exhaustion of that night. Nicole threw a monster fit the second we left the room. She forced herself to throw up in her room five times (yuck). At first, we didn't clean up the vomit, because we didn't want to call attention to it, but then she was panicking and trying to clean it up herself. Nicole hates messes.

We locked her in her room, but I guess this motivated Nicole to figure out how to disable our child proof knobs we put on the doors because she escaped. We even tried duct taping the child lock handle on, but she figured out how to get it off. It was a little funny to hear her get it off, open the door and say in celebration, "I did it!" We had to bring her back to her bed 42 times.

We started giving her the silent treatment so that we wouldn't react to her tantrum. I think that she hated this most of all. She started screaming at us, "TALK TO ME! WHY WON'T YOU TALK TO ME?!?" After 3.5 hours of screaming and crying and putting her back in her room and cleaning up vomit... she finally crashed and fell asleep. It was awful.

Saturday, we tried to nap Nicole, but she would not nap. She had quiet time in her room for an hour and still did not sleep, so we brought her out to play. We went about our day because she just wasn't napping. We went to the store and Nicole picked out stickers for her bedtime sticker chart. We explained that she can earn a sticker for each of the following:

1. Not crying at bedtime.
2. Not throwing up at bedtime.
3. Not coming out of her room at bedtime.

Then, at 5pm... she passed out. Fine, I thought, she will be in bed for the night. How naive I am. She woke up at 6pm.

So, I decided to wear her out as fast as I could. We went to the park for an hour and played hard. When we got home, I did our bedtime routine and put her in bed at 8pm. Oh yeah, we also brought back the pacifier. We broke her of it months ago, but in desperation, we brought it back to see if it would help calm her. It did.

Nicole laid quietly in her room for three hours before she finally fell asleep at 11pm. She was so good! No crying, no throwing up, no coming out... just awake, in her room, being good, for hours! It was weird. She kept apologizing for throwing up the night before and asking if she was a good girl. And then I forgave her for all of it because she was really sorry.

The next morning, Sunday, Nicole got stickers on her chart and she was really excited.

Sunday, Nicole napped at 11am and we were so very happy. But, she slept for 3 hours. And then we played hard the rest of the day to get her nice and tired. Dan was tired at 6pm, so I started his bedtime routine then (bath, baby massage, pajamas, bottle). But then, Nicole decided that she too needed to get ready for bed even though it was way too early for her. But, she insisted that she was tired.

So, I started bedtime routine and made it take a long time and put her to bed at 8pm. And she didn't cry, or throw up, but she came out a dozen times and was up until 11pm. Well, at least she was fairly good even though we were up late again.

She isn't trained yet... but overall, she is happier. She is a much happier girl than she was before we started this and that is worth it even if we are staying up later. But, we hope that things will continue to get better.

Friday, June 15, 2012

First Day of Sleep Training

It is kinda sad that I am sleep training my three year old, but here we are. She has already been sleep trained before: when she was 4 months old we cried it out, when she moved to her own room, we had to train again, when we moved her to her big girl bed, when we moved Dan into the room, and now... again. Will the sleep training ever end?

So, yesterday, we put into effect the things that we had learned in the book.

At 1:30pm, Matt put her in her room for quite time and she naturally took a nap. Matt said it took her a little while to fall asleep, but in true Nicoley fashion, she fell asleep with a graham cracker in her hand. She slept for 2 hours (something we never let her do in the middle of the day!)

Around 6:30pm, I noticed that she was acting lethargic and just sitting around and I thought, "This is it! She is drowsy." The book says to watch for the first sign of drowsiness and then start the bedtime routine.

So, along with this sleep training, we are moving up bedtime and increasing the time we spend getting reading for bed with soothing activities. So, I gave Nicole a lavender bubble bath, got her in her pajamas, went potty, had a night time warm milk, brushed teeth, told two stories, sang 4 songs and told her it was time for bed. To which she immediately broke down and started crying... uncontrollably.

I guess that I waited a little too long to put her down for bed because she had already reached exhaustion and was breaking down. Or, she is tantruming because that is now what she is used to at bed time.

So, we said a prayer, took Dan, kissed her goodnight and shut the door. She cried and stomped and banged on the door and screamed and pretended to throw up and fell asleep just 30 minutes after we left her.

We didn't go and try to stop her crying, we didn't react to the tantrum at all after we left the room. We just went down stairs, turned on the tv and ignored her. And it worked! She fell asleep at 8:15pm. That is the earliest she has fallen asleep in a long time. Usually, we start bedtime routine at 8pm and are lucky if she is asleep before 10pm.

So, I would say that it was successful. Matt said that yesterday, after her nap, she was much more cheerful during the day than she has been in a long time. While we are trying this new routine and training her, it restricts us to the house during her nap times and prevents us from going out later than 6pm, but I think that it will all be worth it if I get my happy child back.

We will try it again today and see how it goes.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

So, because I was so frustrated yesterday, I jumped on Amazon and bought the book "Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child." In the Kindle Edition so that I could read it right away without even needing to go to the store or wait for it to be shipped to my house. P.S. Love digital books!

I had heard of this book before and I hadn't bought it because we never had big problems with getting our babies to sleep. But, I was pushed to the point where I needed help, so I bought the book and started reading it last night.

And, it was if the book was explaining Nicole and her tantrums to a T! The book talked about over-exhausted children and how they would try to nap in the afternoon and get super grumpy and start throwing tantrums at bedtime. All because... she isn't getting enough sleep.

Now, lets back track a bit. A couple months ago, Nicole stopped going to sleep when we would put her to bed at night and be up for hours! Not falling asleep until 10pm. So, we naively decided that we would prevent her from napping during the day so that she would fall asleep earlier and sleep longer at night. Bad parents!

This book explains the difference between day sleep and night sleep. And how day sleep and night sleep are not created equal. Cutting a nap during the day does not mean that the child will sleep better at night or longer, in fact, it has the opposite effect. The child become over-exhausted, and actually has a harder time falling asleep at night and is more emotional and prone to behavior problems. Sleep deprivation like this over an extended period of time (like two months) can cause erratic behavior and be harmful to the child's ability to learn. The book says, a nap lost does not equal more sleep later, just sleep lost forever!

Bad parents. We thought we were being all logical and smart... but we were not, we were being stupid by depriving her of her nap even when she said she was tired.

So, we are giving her back her nap! And, the book helped us calculate when her optimal nap should be. Most children 3-4 years of age still take a 1.5 hour nap in the middle of the day and actually excel in learning and social situations if they are napping. Also, napping promotes better sleep at night because the child isn't driven to exhaustion and can fall asleep more easily.

I am not yet done with the book, I just read the part on naps, so we will change things with Nicole and with us when it comes to her sleep and hope that this makes for a happier child.

The book also explains that a child who is breaking down and "crashing" for bedtime will not sleep as well as a child who is put to bed at the first sign of drowsiness. Most children Nicole's age are asleep by 8pm. That is usually when we start putting her to bed and it is obviously too late because she has already started her tantrums by that time. So, we will also be instituting an earlier bedtime. I will our nighttime routine at 7pm, so they are in bed by 7:30pm. The book says that even just a 30 minute adjustment in bedtime can make all the difference in a better and calmer sleep without waking in the middle of the night.

So, I will try these things, I will hope that it helps my sweet Nicole because that i who she really is. She is a sweet little girl with a very high voice and I know that something else is causing these tantrums in her. She is tired all the time!

I'll keep recording how her progress goes on the blog so that maybe it can also help any one else who is dealing with bedtime terrors!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sleep Child!

Bedtime has become a nightmare in our house. It used to be so nice. Put Dan and Nicole down at the same time and they play for a little while and then they both fall asleep. Wahlah!

Now, it is a fight. As Jim Gaffigan puts it, it is a hostage situation in reverse. We try to do everything we can to just keep Cole in her room!

Let me tell you how last night went.

Nicole starts breaking down about everything a little after 8pm and says she is tired. Matt takes her upstairs, while she is still crying. Struggles her out of her clothes and into her pajamas. She is still in fits, and shuts the door because that is what we do when she won't stop crying. She immediately pees her pants.

Matt opens the door, takes her to the potty, puts her in the tub, washes her off, puts new pajamas on and puts her back in her room and shuts the door because she is STILL crying.

Nicole screams and cries and fake throws up. I go up and tell her to get back in bed (less than calmly... okay, yelling) and tell her if she throws up that I am going to spank her baby bum (empty threat, we don't actually spank them).

I close the door. Crying and coughing and screaming and gagging continue for an hour.

I change approaches. I go into her room, nice mommy, get her her crayons, and a coloring book and color with her and sing to her. The crying ceases for a few minutes and then, for no reason, she begins again, even though I am in there with her.

I change approaches again. I leave the door open, and say I will come and check on her if she is good and will stop crying and not come out.

She comes out three seconds after I leave the room.

I give up, let her sit in the chair in my room while I fold laundry and put both kids to bed at 9:30pm when they finally fall asleep at 10pm.

Almost every night is like this or similar to this. The crying, the screaming, the tantrums, the fake vomit, and ending in us locking her in her room, taking Dan out of the room because it all upsets him, and her eventually crashing and falling asleep... very late at night.

I don't know how to stop the cycle! I feel so frustrated and so angry at her for behaving like a demon child! It is like she is possessed. She screams and growls and coughs and throws herself on the ground all because it is time to go to bed.

You would think that she has never gone to bed before. That she is experiencing this nighttime thing for the first time. How could we be such awful parents and force her into doing something like laying in her warm and comfortable bed when she is tired and it is nighttime and forcing her to go to sleep? Worst parents ever.

And, she has decided that she is afraid of the dark. Ever since we got curtains in her room, she insists that she is afraid of the dark and that she must sleep with the light on, which we do not allow because Dan needs the dark to sleep. But, we DO allow two night lights, a projection mobile, a flashlight, two glow worms in her bed, and the hall light on. But, for some reason, all these lights do nothing to appease her supposed fear of the dark.

I am at my wits end. I hate bed time. I hate fighting with her. I'm out of ideas. I've tried ignoring her (but I usually cave with this because she does things like pee in her room or throw up), I have tried scolding her and taking privileges (which only fuel the tantrum), and I have tried rewarding her for good behavior with coming in and singing her songs or reading her books at bedtime.

I suspect that this is all to get attention because she does not want the day to end for some reason and when she is in our room with us, the tantrum ends. But, I don't want her to throw tantrums to get the things she wants and I certainly don't want Dan to think this is how you act. (He has already started crying and throwing himself on the ground when someone has something he wants.)

I don't know what to do.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Night of Horribleness

I am going to call last night the night of horribleness. But, thankfully, it was only lack of sleep horribleness... not vomit horribleness. Though there were some close calls.

Nicole was very emotional yesterday. I think that it was because she was just so tired, but who really knows. I feel like I am playing a guessing game sometimes when it comes to trying to figure out what is wrong with my crying kids.

Last night, she was breaking down, crying about everything, so I put her and Dan to bed (at their regular bedtime). Nicole immediately starts to cry and come out of her room, claiming that she is afraid. I ask her what she is afraid of and she says, "everything." Obviously, she is just trying to get attention. So, I put her back to bed, take Dan out of the room and close the door.

She freaks out screaming and yelling and crying and throwing a fit against her bedroom door. This goes on for 20 minutes until she calms down enough and I open the door. Then, she says she has to go potty, so we go to the toilet and she is sitting on the toilet and starts breaking down again. Screaming and crying right there on the toilet. AH!

I keep telling her to calm down and stop crying and she is freaking out even more and then she starts to cough and gag because she has worked herself up so much that she is on the verge of throwing up! She screams that she is going to throw up, opens the toilet and begins to gag herself.

I had had enough! She is forcing herself to freak out for reasons unknown. And, it has escalated to the point where she literally does not know how to calm down. She looks at me with a look of panic in her eyes and cries, "Mommy, I don't know how to stop crying? I can't do it!"

I put her face between my hands and say, "breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out," and I make her breath with me until she calms down enough that she is no longer gasping for breath and gagging herself. Matt then took her into her bedroom and talked to her and calmed her down some more and she finally fell asleep!

I put Dan back to bed and both kids finally fell asleep.... until 1am. Nicole comes into our room crying for unknown reasons and lays on our floor for an hour, crying, and talking and having to go potty twice. Ugh! Finally, Matt convinces her to go back to her own bed and brings Dan into our room because we both know that she is going to cry and wake him up if we don't. And she does cry, and even though he is one room away, she does wake him up!

So, now we have two kids awake. But, Matt and I calm them both down and we have Nicole in her own bed and Dan in the play pen in our room and we are just trying to fall back asleep. But, it seemed like every time that I started to drift off, one of them would start crying again.

Nicole fell asleep again, and I put Dan back in his bed and he wasn't sleeping. So I get him a bottle don't ask me what time that was, I don't remember. Dan eventually falls asleep. I drift back off to sleep and... Nicole is back, crying again. Awake... AGAIN! I have no idea what is going on with this girl! I know she was tired, but she just won't stay asleep.

A trip to the potty and back to bed and she falls back asleep again. Luckily, that is the end of this horrific tale until I heard my alarm at 6am. And then it was up and off to work for me.

Please let this be a phase. Oh please oh please. Sometimes I feel so helpless when it comes to the kids. They can't express what is really wrong with them, they are just so little and express themselves with crying and I have to try and interpret what is wrong. I hope today is better than yesterday.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Bouncing Babies

Dan and Damon were sitting together on the stairs and they just started doing this. They are so funny!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Beautiful Girl

This girl is beautiful, she is silly, and she makes me smile. My life became so full when she came into our lives and I will always be grateful for the joy she brings to my life.

Even though she lacks her mother's ability with the camera, it just makes her more endearing.

And, Daddy is getting better at doing her hair all the time. I don't know many Daddy's who know how to do much more than brush hair, but Matt is getting really good at it. He even surprised me yesterday when he did a tiered pony tail. I didn't teach it to him, he just thought that it would be a good way to keep the sides of her hair out of her eyes. He is such a good Daddy.

This brown eyed girl can melt my heart with an "I love you." And I see so much of myself in her. I marvel at procreation and how Matt and I were able to make this little person.

Plus, Nicole is an amazing big sister. Yesterday, Nicole was laying on the floor and Dan laid down right on top of her. Nicole laughed and Dan laughed and then they readjusted and snuggled on the floor together while watching Sesame Street.  And my heart melted again.

Monday, June 04, 2012

I love you Mommy

Lately, Nicole has been telling me that she loves me a lot. She will be sitting in the back of the car and say, "Mommy!" Me, "Yes?" Cole, "I love you." Just for no reason at all, she likes to tell me she loves me. And it melts my heart and makes me happy.

I think she does it to get my attention because she used to say, "Mommy, I need something," and then she wouldn't know what she needed. And that would bother me because I want her to be specific if she needs something so that I can actually help her... or concentrate on driving instead of answering non-essential questions.

So, I muchly prefer the "I love you" comments from Coley.

Some of my other favorite Coleisms:

I am always telling Nicole and Dan to "behave." Nicole, who doesn't understand this will often ask me, when I am scolding Dan, "Mommy, is Dan not being haved?" And it is hilarious!

Nicole has a recent love of shoes. She got a bag of shoes from her cousin Lucy and she went crazy over them. She started trying them on and taking them off and trying them on and taking them off. Then, every time we go to Walmart, she loves stopping at the shoes and trying on as many as she can. This is a shoe girl.

Nicole is all about our itinerary. She wants to know where we are going, what we are doing and when we are doing it. When we get dressed in the morning, she asks, "What are we going today?" And I tell her that we are going to do chores, go to the store, and then to Grandma's House. Then, when we are in the car, "Where are we going?" And I tell her the itinerary again. And then she will start to repeat it to her self, "Going to store, then to Grandma's and I play with toys." If we defer from our itinerary as we have told her, it results in a meltdown. So, we are always sure of our schedule before telling her otherwise we know we are in trouble.

I love my little girl so much! She is so funny and so kind to her brother. She is also so smart. She is trying to figure out what letter all words start with. She repeats words until she figures out the first letter. "Ball, bah, bah, ball. It starts with B!" She does it with all sorts of words and it makes me think I must be doing something right.