Benefits of Babywise When Bringing Home a New Baby

newbabybabywise

By Emily Parker, Journey of Parenthood

I am a proud mother of THREE children. A 5-year-old, a 2.5-year-old, and a 14-day-old. Yes. You read that right. I have a new baby who is currently 2 weeks old and I’m able to sit here and write a blog post. :)

I started Babywise with my first child at a young age and saw the benefits of it right away. I then continued to used the techniques with my second child and am now currently implementing Babywise strategies with my newborn. I have always said that I’d rather work hard in the beginning and reap the rewards of that hard work early on with my children (hello, who doesn’t want to have a baby sleeping through the night as soon as possible?!?!) than take an easier route in the beginning and have to do a lot of re-parenting later on.

One aspect of Babywise that I never fully appreciated was how much easier it makes life when adding a new baby to the family. Since coming home from the hospital our days have flowed very smoothly. Here are some of the ways in which Babywise has benefited our family during this time of transition:

1. Sleep: My husband and I only have to be concerned with ONE child’s sleep. The newborn’s! Both of our older children go to bed easily and smoothly each night and for each nap. They take only a few minutes each to tuck in and we have no night issues or nap issues with either of them. If they wake up early they know to stay in their beds quietly until it’s time to get up. We are able to focus on helping the baby get the best sleep she needs and are able to get good rest ourselves since our older children sleep so well.

2. Flexibility: Because both of our older children have been on set routines their entire lives, they know what to expect each and every day. It makes it easier for them to be a little more flexible as needed. If bath has to be a little earlier in order to have them out and dried off for when the baby needs to nurse, they do fine with that change. If they have to stay up a little later for bedtime to allow me to finish nursing the baby before tucking them in, they also do fine and have no issues when small bumps in the schedule occur.

3. Quality Time: As a mama I naturally feel guilt that so much of my time is spent either with the new baby or trying to rest and recover from delivery. It’s a huge blessing to have my older children on a set routine so I can know when there will be time for me to spend with them. We are also able to make plans for them to spend quality time with others and know they will be at their personal best for those fun events because they will be well rested!

4.  Time for ME: It is so, so important during the early days of postpartum to take good care of yourself. I know I need to soak in the tub. I know I need to take naps. My rest and recovery is essential in order for me to be the best mom possible for my children! By having a solid routine in place for our family I’m able to have that time I need for myself. I know when my children will be sleeping, I know what activities they will have at certain times, and I can work around those times in order to have my “me time” too!

5. Setting Baby up for Success: I am a firm believer in starting as you mean to go on and I start implementing some of the Babywise strategies from birth with my children (you can read about that here). As I continue to add children to my home I have SO many people tell me that I will “throw the schedule out the window.” Instead, I have found that with each additional child, the routine of life gets easier and easier and even more consistent than the child before. My two-week-old baby is already sleeping better, nursing better, and thriving more at an earlier age than either of my older children did. I know that is because I have the confidence that Babywise has allowed me to have and that I do have such a simple routine to my day that it makes it easy to give the baby the very best!

I know my days as a mother of three are just beginning and that there will be bumps in the road along the way. But I also know that Babywise has allowed me a great start to this new phase of life!

Babywise Week: Having Babies Close Together

BFBN Graphic

 

It’s Babywise Friendly Blog Network (BFBN) week! Today, we’re featuring a post from Rachel at A Mother Far From Home. Rachel has three kids under age 2.5, and credits Babywise for bringing order and peace to what could otherwise be a stressful and chaotic situation. This week is a tribute to Babywise. We’ll all be discussing what we believe to be the (amazing) benefits of Babywise.

I cannot imagine what Rachel’s life must be like. I’m a quiet person and I enjoy my peace and quiet. My kids are three years apart, and at age 6 and 9, they’re fairly independent. They’re still incredibly noisy, but that’s beside the point.

I’ll discuss my favorite points of Babywise later in the week, but one of my absolute favorite things that Babywise gives our kids is a sense of security. They know what to expect. They know when to expect it. They know that they don’t need to walk on eggshells or live at the the whims of their parents. Here’s what Rachel says about it:

Babywise uses a disciplinary system that helps children learn to trust their parents and draw security from this. Food, sleep, other needs are met in a timely fashion before circumstances become dire. Children are held accountable for their actions and trained thoroughly on what’s expected of them.

This is so true. I honestly cannot thank the Ezzos enough for writing Babywise and being so diligent in helping well-meaning parents figure out their kids’ needs!

Tips for Starting Babywise

 By Emily Parker, Journey of Parenthood

I have had several new mommy friends come to me recently asking how to actually get started with establishing a schedule with their newborns. Babywise recommends feeding on demand until 2-3 weeks old. I totally agree with this, but I also started from birth (yes, while at the hospital!) with introducing Babywise techniques with my daughter. You can read my tips for starting from birth in this post. 

Once the baby turns that magical 2-3 weeks old…then what? 

Here is how I always recommend starting to set up the baby on a schedule:

  1. Pick a start time. It’s crucial to have a start time to each day. I like to go by the book so I chose 7 am for my children since it is what all the Babywise books use in the sample schedules. It can be any time you choose, but your entire schedule revolves around this time. If your baby wakes before the awake time then it is considered a “middle of the night” feeding. Mine would often wake at 5:30. I’d feed, put back to bed, and re-wake at 7 to start my day.
  2. Wake to eat. It is okay to let the baby sleep an extra 15 min, when needed, but if it’s time to eat then you need to wake the baby! I know how hard it is but it’s important in order to establish the routine! Same with feeding early. It’s okay to feed early if you think your baby is hungry but then adjust your schedule accordingly. I always tried to hold my babies off to eat until I was within the 15 min time window of their next scheduled feeding time. Remember that with nursing you need to have 8-10 feedings a day!
  3. Eat-Wake-Sleep cycle. When the baby wakes feed him or her then keep the baby awake for some awake time. In the early days it can often be only just a few minutes but still have some awake time before putting them back to sleep. The only time you don’t do this is in the middle of the night. After the last scheduled feeding for the day then put the baby to bed for the night and cross fingers they let you sleep! When the baby wakes for the night feeding keep it dark and quiet and try to keep them in sleepy mode as much as possible. Don’t do any awake time before putting them back to their nighttime sleep!
  4. Continue to focus on full feedings. During the first few weeks I always encourage new moms just to work hard to get the baby to take a full feeding. Do whatever you have to in order to keep him or her awake while they eat!!! It’s important to continue to do this once the schedule is in place. It will help make sure the baby will stay nice and full (and happy!) until the next feeding time! By this age most babies fall into a natural 2 1/2 – 3 hours between feedings (you calculate that time from the start of the first feeding to the start of the next one).
  5. Keep the sleep hierarchy in mind. This is a big thing for me! Reading this post from Valerie’s blog was truly a life saver. The most important goal is for the baby to SLEEP during sleep times. Ideally you want the baby to be in their crib to sleep but if you have to use the swing, help hold the baby to go back to sleep, etc. then do it at this age in order to make sure sleep happens! My goal was to always keep the baby in the crib if I could so if they woke early I’d go in and simply touch them or make a quiet sound (“shhh”). If that didn’t work then I’d pick up and comfort and put back down once they stopped crying. If that didn’t work then I’d try the swing. If that didn’t work then I’d try me holding them until they went to sleep. I tried to “interfere” as little as possible but kept the ultimate goal of sleep in mind!
  6. Know the “sleepy cues.” My daughter was a slow nurser and would, literally, only have a few brief minutes of awake time after nursing before she went back to sleep. If your baby yawns, gets fussy, rubs eyes, etc. (here is a great post on sleep cues!) then it means get them to the bed and fast! If you miss the sleepy window then you have a baby who is overtired and overstimulated and who probably won’t sleep.
  7. Have a good sleep environment. Make the place where the baby sleeps for naps as much like the night sleep conditions as you can. Get black out curtains to keep the room dark. Use a swaddle if you use one at night. Do the same routine before each nap (such as sing a short song, etc.). Have a form of white noise that you use every time the baby is sleeping. By keeping the pre-sleep ritual consistent at all sleep times the baby will learn when they get swaddled and you start singing that song then it’s time for them to sleep!
  8. Stay home. I know for many people it’s a big sacrifice not to be out and about. I tell family and friends to get their fill of our new babies during the first couple weeks because once it’s time to set up the schedule, we get strict about it! Just like with anything else in life, the more consistent you are with keeping the routine for your baby, the more successful you will be. At this stage the goal is sleeping through the night and it will happen sooner if you work hard these early days to get the schedule in place!
  9. Don’t cry it out. I think often Babywise gets a bad rap about cry it out but at this age it’s not something you need to be concerned with at all. If your baby is crying at the start of nap then 90% of the time it’s probably because the baby is overtired/overstimulated. Help the baby get to sleep (although it’s fine to let them fuss a bit and see if they will fall asleep on their own too!) and know that next nap to make sure to put them to bed earlier! I like to write down when my baby shows sleep cues and try to actually start the bedtime routine process prior to the time when they start to show signs of being tired. That way they are ready to get in the bed exactly at the right time! You also don’t need to do cry it out mid-nap yet. Again, the sleep hierarchy! If the baby wakes mid-nap then go in and soothe to get them back to sleep!
  10. Know the Wonder Weeks. If you’ve never heard of Wonder Weeks then you will be SO glad I just told you about them! It’s so, so accurate! It is times when your baby is going through developmental leaps and knowing when they occur helps to know when your baby might struggle with sleep and be fussier than normal. During Wonder Weeks I did a lot more comforting than usual and just helped my babies get through the stage, once it passed things went back to normal with no issues.
  11. Cluster feed and dream feed. I do a combo of Babywise schedule along with the scheduling recommended in the book The Baby Whisperer Solves All Your Problems. I have my feeding times in the evenings closer together. This is typically a fussy time of the day any way for little ones so why not just keep them happy and fed? Plus by “stocking up” on eating close to bedtime, it helps the baby stay full longer in the night. The sample schedule in Babywise has a “late evening” feeding. This is also known as the “dream feed.” You wake the baby to eat, but you don’t have any awake time following this scheduled feeding. While I do a dream feed when first starting to schedule, I do think at a certain point it can cause issues with solid sleep. Both of my children, so far, slept through the night at 8-9 weeks old and it happened for the first time on nights I accidentally slept through the dream feed. Therefore, I typically stop doing them around that age!

Here is a sample schedule from when my daughter was two-three weeks old:

  • 7:00: start of the day, eat
  • 8:00-8:30: awake time then down for nap
  • 10:00: eat
  • 11:00-11:30: awake time then down for nap
  • 1:00: eat
  • 2:00-2:30: awake time then down for nap
  • 4:00: eat
  • 5:00-5:30: awake time then down for nap
  • 6:00: eat (this is a cluster feed, I would feed her close together in the evenings to help her load up on food and stay full for the night time. The evenings are also THE fussiest time of the day at this age so it makes sense to feed her and keep her happy!)
  • 7:00-7:30: awake time then down for nap
  • 8:00: do bedtime ritual (massage or bath) then eat. Put her straight to bed after this feeding
  • 10:30: wake her up for her “dream feed” (this is one extra feeding before we go to bed to, again, help her stock up and hopefully sleep through the night).
  • Feed whenever wakes during the night (typically around 3:30ish)

When I first started Babywise with my first baby I had such a hard time because I felt like the book didn’t go into enough detail. I didn’t have a lot of people I knew personally who used Babywise principals to help me so I’m very thankful I found resources online. My main resources was Chronicles of a Babywise Mom. There is also a great Google Group set up where you can ask questions and a panel of fellow Babywise moms will help answer them! It’s a wonderful tool! Of course any of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network bloggers are fabulous resources as well and I know I personally love to help whenever I can!

Here are some other blog posts that may also help you get started:

Managing Toddler Behavior During the Holidays

toddler behaviorBy Claire Westbrook, My Devising

As we approach the fun Christmas season, many of us find ourselves wrapped up in the chaos of our holiday schedule. Or maybe you’re staying home. If that’s the case, you may be avoiding all of this chaos. But if you’re traveling, whether an hour or a day-long car ride or a flight, things can be crazy.

This will only be my 3rd Christmas as a mom. I have a 2-year-old and it’s amazing how quickly the relaxing holidays can become full of stress. (I talked specifically about surviving the holidays with a newborn here if that’s closer to the phase you’re in.) When it comes to toddlers, it’s all about behavior. Duke’s behavior can either make or break how much I enjoy a certain situation. In my limited experience, I’ve found a few things to be true about managing toddler behavior when it’s not a typical day-to-day scenario.

SLEEP

When it comes to behavior, in my experience, I link it mainly to sleep. Sure, there are the occasional days of teething or sickness that can send a toddler into crazy land making us moms think, “Where did my sweet angel go?” But on a normal day, sleep is the bottom line. So when it comes to the holidays, I think this is the first place to go.

Honestly, you just can’t budge on it. If Duke, my son, doesn’t get his normal 12 hours of night sleep and at least 2 hours of nap time, he is a different person. He is whiny, defiant, and needy. So if it means I have to lug all of Duke’s essential nap gear to someone’s house so he can get a decent nap, then I will. If I have to leave places early to get him to bed at a decent hour, then I will. It’s worth the extra effort. When Duke is happy and well-rested, I am happy and well-rested.

DISCIPLINE/RULES

I think it’s best to keep rules the same, whether in my house or in someone else’s. If Duke can’t sit on our coffee table, he can’t sit on his Mimi’s either. I find that the more I let go of Duke’s structure, the crazier his behavior gets and more he tests me. Keeping it consistent and normal is best.

EATING

This is one area worth budging on. During the holidays, many times our eating schedules get a bit wonky. If your toddler is like mine, we have 3 meals a day at very normal times. But once the holidays hit, we’re faced with more brunch-ish hours for breakfast, late lunches, or early dinners. So when the kid is hungry, I pretty much let him eat.  Since everything is off, I can’t really expect his appetite to be the same as it is every other day. If you’re snacking throughout the day, then your toddler will probably want to as well.

What works for you? How do you maintain structure and manage your toddler’s behavior during the holiday chaos?

Claire is a stay-at-home mom to her 2-year-old son, Duke. She enjoys teaching piano lessons, songwriting, and blogging at My Devising.

Does School Inhibit Healthy Sleep?

Source: oprah.com

Is your child in school yet? If so, you know how easily our lives change when they start school. Starting school typically means waking early, rushed mornings, a little playtime after school, and then homework that can potentially run late into the night. The older they are, the faster the pace becomes.

This is the way of the world. The issue is further compounded by all of the activities that our children participate in. I know of a couple families who have an activity every day of the week. Just the idea of it exhausts me!

One concern with this fast-paced world is that our kids simply don’t get enough sleep. More than this, their lack of sleep affects their ability to learn.

“More and more studies are confirming what our grandmothers knew intuitively just a generation ago. Preschool and school-aged children who suffer from a deficiency of healthy sleep have a pervasive fatigue that affects alertness. Such a child becomes inattentive, unable to concentrate, easily distracted, and physically hyperactive,” (On Becoming Childwise).

It’s no wonder kids are being diagnosed with ADHD in record numbers! They are simply being run ragged and aren’t getting the healthy sleep they need to stay alert and attentive.

The Ezzos go on to discuss this idea of healthy sleep:

“Researchers have found a clear relationship between poor sleep habits and misbehavior. One significant report found that children who sleep less than ten hours in a twenty-four hour period may be more likely to throw temper tantrums than those who get more sleep,” (On Becoming Childwise).

Then we parents become the lucky ones to deal with this misbehavior in the late afternoons and evenings!

So what can we do about it? Well, everyone can homeschool! I’m kidding, but in all seriousness, homeschooling has alleviated this problem for us. We get our schoolwork done in a few hours in the morning and early afternoon, so homework isn’t an issue (unless we’re having a focus and attention issue in the morning). And except for co-op day, my boys can sleep as late as they need to in the morning.

But if homeschooling isn’t for you, I think it’s wise to limit their extracurricular activities. Don’t get guilted into signing them up for every sport and musical instrument offered to you.

Another good way to ensure healthy sleep for our kids is to do our best to cut out device/TV time during the week. I know it offers us a break, but when we consider that our kids’ time is so limited, there are many other things that they can do with their time. And if it seems like they need time to zone out in front of the TV, it’s entirely possible that they’re not getting enough sleep. Let them relax for a few minutes with a book, then get homework and playtime done so you don’t run the risk of putting the kids to bed late. Better yet, put them to bed early if they “need” time to zone out.

Consider this:

“Children whose parents help them develop healthy sleep habits are optimally awake and optimally alert to interact with their environment. They are more self-assured, happier, and demonstrate longer attention spans. As a result, they are better learners,” (On Becoming Childwise).

So if you want to make sure your child learns well in school, do your best to make sleep a priority!

Help a Reader Out: Naps

It’s Spring Break time here at my house, and as we head out of town, I thought I would use the opportunity to address some of my readers’ comments. I’m painfully behind in replying to comments. So if you’ve asked a question, pay attention this week to see if other readers have ideas for you. Everyone else, please take a minute to leave a comment and let me and the commenter know what you think about the question.

Today, we’re helping a reader out with naps. This comment was posted on my post about Moving to One Nap a Day. I still have a napper in my house. Lucas is 5.5 and still does so much better when he’s had a nap. But nonetheless, it’s been a long time since I’ve had to deal with the nap transition.

Here’s the question. Please reply if you can help!

“Hi! My LO is almost a year. Will be a year in a week. She does a great first nap usually 10:30ish-12ish. But lately her second nap is all over the place, sometimes 3-4:30, or 3:30-5, or up and not napping at all. Or putting her down at 3/3:30 and she plays and is up, then finally going down at 4:30 then naps late. She may be teething though, but her first nap is always good. So I can’t figure out if it is teething or if she is needing just one nap? So looking for some advice. :)”

We all know what it’s like to have to troubleshoot nap problems. Teething can definitely get in the way, but we don’t always want to blame nap issues on teething, especially if one nap is working fine. I suppose my question is why the second nap starts at different times. I wonder if keeping consistent nap times would improve consistency with the second nap. Does anybody have any ideas?

Thanks!

Take Care of Yourself

One of the most fundamental things we can do to be the best parents we can be is to take care of ourselves. The airlines got it right when they tell us to put the air masks on ourselves before we put them on our children. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed a direct correlation with the amount of sleep I get and the amount of patience I have with my kids. So the first thing I do when I recognize that I’m frustrated with my kids is evaluate the amount of sleep I got the night before.

On that note, you’ll forgive me if I keep this short. It’s been a long week! I’m off to bed!

Back in their own beds?

Source: forbes.com

I’ve seen so many articles lately on the topic of children in the parents’ bed. This notion of the “family bed” isn’t a new one, but it is so foreign to me that I’m a little surprised to see that it is still so prevalent.

See, I thought the pendulum was swinging. When our parents were kids, they were taught to be seen and not heard. They were taught to obey at all costs. This notion of the “family bed” didn’t exist. And even when I was a kid, I can’t imagine a child sleeping in his parents’ bed.

I thought the “family bed” idea was at its peak about 10 years ago and that the pendulum had begun to swing in the other direction. I’m not sure why, but I was thinking that most kids sleep in their own beds nowadays. I guess I was wrong. The “every child gets a trophy” generation has been coddled so much by their helicopter parents that their self-esteem is being protected even while they sleep.

I know many good, caring, loving, dutiful moms who have their babies — and children — in bed with them. There’s even a small part of me that envies those snuggles. But I simply don’t think it’s worth it.

I may not win any popularity points with this post, but I will mention a few of my beliefs:

1) What good is a mom or dad who doesn’t get enough sleep? With feet or elbows in your ribs, can you be the best parent you can be without a solid night’s sleep? How patient can you be when all you’ve had is 6 hours of fully interrupted sleep?

2) Who’s to say that the child’s self-esteem is protected in the family bed? My stance has always been that my children are stronger because I prepare them for the world, not shield them from it.

3) When a child sleeps between mom and dad, how stable is the marriage upon which the family — and child — stands? I know many moms who say their marriages are stable and that it doesn’t matter where they sleep. That’s wonderful. But I also know of many marriages that thrive because of those nighttime snuggles (between husband and wife) and early morning chats. Besides, I often wonder how equitable the family bed is anyway. See my next point.

4) Do both parents usually agree to the idea? I’ve heard stories of the family bed not being so family friendly. Dad, who has to be up early in the morning and coherent at work, often sleeps in another spot in the house.

5) And finally, is this what’s truly best for the child? At what point will you send him back to his own bed? Will it really be easier to do so at 6, not 6 months? Won’t the habit be so engrained at that point? What happens when a new baby comes along? If he needs you by his side to go to sleep, does he go to bed late or do you go to bed early? Is he learning that he shouldn’t feel comfortable being alone? Is he being taught to be overly dependent on his parents when he might want to spread his wings a bit?

This reminds me of a comment I made here recently about Lucas and his lovey. It’s somewhat insignificant, but I really want him to need his lovey. The boy is almost 5, and I in denial that my baby is growing up. I need that lovey more than he does. But the fact of the matter is he doesn’t need it. He’ll hold onto it sometimes, but usually, it’s for my benefit. He knows that I want him to want it. And honestly, it bothers me a little. It’s sweet that he’s thinking of me, but at the same time, I wonder if I’m stifling his independence, his desire to grow up.

The same can be said about the family bed. Our kids want to grow up. They can’t wait to be grownups. They can’t wait to have the freedom and independence that we adults all seem to have. So why should we deny them that independence when it comes to something as simple as sleep?

There’s another article that came out recently that reflects my opinions. In My Message to Dr. Sears, the author discusses “detachment parenting.” She states:

I read a great book when I was pregnant, Suzy Giordano’s Twelve Hours Sleep by Twelve Weeks Old. (It was recommended by a well-rested friend.) She says it’s our responsibility to teach our children many things. We of course expect to teach them to eat and sit up, walk, talk, say please and wait for the green light. But she says the very first thing we have to teach them, right out of the womb, is to self-soothe. That self-reliance and self-confidence needs to be rooted in the core of their being. That thrilled me. I want a daughter who believes that she has everything inside her to meet all of life’s challenges and isn’t waiting for some invisible hand to help her do something as simple as fall asleep.

I could not agree more!

 

Lovey comes home

Have you seen this amazing video that’s been circulating the social media circles? If not, grab a tissue. Be prepared to shed a few tears.

This boy, Liam, lost his lovey on a camping trip three years ago. When on eBay, Liam’s mom decided to do a search for the lovey, named Ah Ah. This is the crazy part: she found it. It was the same exact monkey. Its tag had a jagged cut just like the one they lost three years ago. It’s hair was singed just like the one they lost three years ago. This video is of her giving Ah Ah back to Liam.

I’m a sucker for my kids’ loveys. Lucas has a blanket with a duck head that I still insist he sleep with. I’ll put it on my shoulder when I’m reading a bedtime story. I’ll lay it out on his pillow for every nap and night. He proceeds to shove it to the side of the bed as if he’s too old to have it. Many times, I think he hasn’t said anything about it because he knows I need him to use it. My baby is getting too big too fast, and I think he knows I struggle with this fact.

So you can imagine how I felt when I saw my big boy William snuggling with his old lovey. His lovey got put away much earlier than Lucas’ did, but it’s always been in the house. In the past, I’ve reminded him how much he loved this particular bear and how he used to hold it tightly around its neck. It’s interesting to me that he didn’t remember it, yet, just a few days ago, at eight years old, William was snuggling with his shaggy bear in bed. Makes a mom’s heart smile.

Do your kids have loveys? Do they carry them everywhere they go or do they stay in bed? Do they seem to sleep better with lovey in hand? I’d love to hear all your lovey stories!

Beyond reason

Source: backofthenet.wikia.com

Do you ever feel like there are times when you just can’t get through to your kids? You explain your reasoning very clearly, and they seem to understand, but it doesn’t change their actions. In your mind, your thought processes are very logical, but for some reason, you’re not getting through to them.

It’s important to realize that there are times in our kids’ lives when they are just completely beyond reason. It can be frustrating to try to figure out what to do with a child who seems completely incapable of listening to you and following your instructions. Is the child being disobedient when they are beyond reason? Maybe. But it’s more important to understand what may be causing the problem in the first place, and deal with any disobedience later.

We’ve had a few instances recently where I realized that there was just no getting through to Lucas. Just tonight, during dinner and bedtime, he was completely beyond reason. He cried. He complained. He cried about everything under the sun. He threw a bigger fit than he’s ever thrown during a timeout. And throughout all of this, I noticed that his eyes were red and he was rubbing them. The child was tired!

We had a very tiring weekend with family in town. Our routine was off. Our mealtimes were off. Roomtime didn’t happen. And they went to bed very late last night, much later than they should have. To top it off, both boys slept in our room, and Lucas kept falling off the crib mattress, was in and out of our bed, and just didn’t sleep very well. But sure enough, he was up at 6:47am, as usual.

So considering the damage was done, what was I to do with this completely inconsolable, unreasonable child?

  • I kept my chatter to a minimum. I knew I wasn’t going to get through to him, so I just kept quiet. Anything I did say just set him off.
  • I fed him his dinner. Yes, I put the food on the fork and put every bite in his mouth. I knew this was the only way he was going to eat in his current state, and my goal was to get him fed and in bed, and do it quickly.
  • I didn’t give him a shower, even though he needed it. Sleep was more important.
  • I carried him upstairs, again without a word. Yes, I carried my four-year-old. I wasn’t going to attempt to drag a tired, crying child up the stairs.
  • I shortened his bedtime routine and didn’t read to him. He was upset, as was I (we read every night without fail), but again, he just needed to go to sleep.

Even after I put him in bed, he cried and cried and came up with a bunch of excuses. After giving him water and helping him blow his nose, I said goodnight, ignored any other excuses, and waited for him to fall asleep. When it was quiet, I started to think about all that went wrong, and vowed to myself to do things differently the next time family is in town.

Good thing tomorrow is a new day!