Monday, September 27, 2010

Parental Experiment #1...The Results are In


You get to a point in your mothering career where you actually get the results of your "experiments". I can't think of a better way to put that. We are inundated with advice from our relatives, friends with kids and complete strangers. We have to decide what's right for our family. I did a lot of reading while pregnant with my first child and continue to educate myself on different ideas and parenting styles. In the end, I make the decision that I feel will work best for us. So far, so good.


There is a lot of debate on sleeping. How to put your kids to bed, the benefits and risks of co-sleeping, setting consistent routines, all pointing to which is best to avoid sleep issues and allow the best sleep for the children. It's a lot of information. I've wondered if my choices would negatively impact our children. I've found out recently that it's not as big a deal as it's made out to be...at least not in our case.


I did not consciously set out to co-sleep. We bought the crib, outfitted the nursery and waited for the arrival of our son. Once I laid eyes on him I didn't want him out of my sight. I slept with him on our couch for the first 3 months, using the excuse that it was easier to nurse in the middle of the night and didn't require getting up to retrieve the baby. When I went back to work, and worked 50 hours+ a week, having him next to me at night became even more important. We moved upstairs to the bed and he stayed there until he was 2.5. We moved him to a toddler bed to make room for the new baby that would soon be coming. He had had the toddler bed for over a year but we were slow in getting around to using it. When we did, Hubster or I would lay with him until he was sound asleep, one of those things your warned against as a new parent. "It's important for children to learn to fall asleep by themselves." I figured there was plenty of time for that.


Along came Puddin Pop and the 3 months on the couch returned. Looking back, I was keeping her (and him) all to myself. I didn't want to share that precious snuggle time. After 3 months we again bypassed the crib and took her straight to our bed. I love the feel of my children snuggled up next to me. I feel safe knowing I can check on them throughout the night and I am right there making them feel safe. When Hubster is out of town I bring both kids into bed with me and love having them there throughout the night.


Fast forward to a couple months ago.


Puddin Pop has had her own twin bed since she was 18 months old (Handsome moved to a double just before his sister was born) she just recently (at age 4) has started sleeping in it regularly.


At the beginning of summer we instructed the kids that we would try over the summer to get them to sleep on their own. We were hit and (mostly) miss on this one. Knowing you're giving up that snuggle time makes you want it even more. That's my feeling. At the end of summer we spent a week in Nags Head with another family. Handsome, PP and Sasha (not her real name) all shared a room with bunk beds. They did an excellent job going to bed on their own and we figured, once back home, it was the perfect time to put our plan into action. The kids are now 4 and 7. They have never had a structured bed time routine. They have never gone to sleep without a parent there to snuggle with them until they dosed off. They often fought over which parent was going to "go to bed" with them.


We proposed, in honor of a new school year and the fact that PP would be starting school as well, that we stagger the bed times. PP would go up at 8:00, brush her teeth and we'd read to her until 8:30. Baths are done earlier on nights they happen. 8:30. Lights out. Kiss from Mommy and Daddy and off to sleep you go. While the good night wishes are being doled out, Handsome brushes his teeth and then one of us lays with him until 9:00. We enjoy the pleasure of having him to read to us during this time. 9:00. Lights out. Kisses from Mom and Dad. Off to sleep you go. That's what we proposed.
The results are in...


It hasn't been an issue.


We didn't "break" them by laying with them all these years. They are fully capable of going to sleep on their own and stay asleep through the night even though we refused to let them "cry it out" when they were babies. It was only a theory in the beginning and it may not work for other people but we are totally happy with the outcome. Proud of our children and ourselves for trusting our judgements. Thrilled we've had all this time to snuggle and sleep with them and happy the "experiment" worked in our favor.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Are You up for a Challenge?



This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Aladdin. All opinions are 100% mine.


How about a "Reuse" challenge?


We recycle.  We could be doing more.  We are fortunate to live in a city that not only provides the recycle bin but also has twice a month pick up...right at the curb.  I believe they charge a fine if the container isn't put out 3 consecutive times (6 weeks).  With the city behind helping the environment how could we not recycle?  There's still more that can be done, though.


Aladdin, makers of reusable products, is challenging all of us to Do The Reuse Challenge.  To stop buying coffee and taking it from home in reusable, insulated cups.  To also take cold water instead of buying bottles throughout the day.  To take our lunch in reusable containers to work instead of purchasing or packaging in bags.


50 billion disposable bottles of water are consumed each year in the United States.  That's 137,000 each day.


Making coffee at home instead of purchasing it each morning could save an individual more than $500 a year, depending on where it is purchased .  It is estimated that at the current rate over 23 billion paper cups will be deposited into our landfills in 2010.


Aladdin will be following 9 families that have already accepted the challenge.  The families are blogging about the impact their reusing is having on their lives and their finances.  You can follow Aladdin on Facebook to keep up with the families and share your own stories...if you choose to accept the challenge.




Visit Sponsor's Site



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Get Me

I want someone who get's me!

I want someone who comes home at the end of the day and thinks the decisions I've made are right.

I want some one who can agree to disagree and we can learn from each others thoughts.

I am strong willed and self serving. I love my children more than life.

I want someone who acknowledges that and agrees to be my partner through it all. Kids first!

Is that too much to ask?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Doing my part, recognizing opportunities and enhancing a love for learning

Education has changed a bit since I was in school. There is a big emphasis on giving kids a head start and they jump right in...in Kindergarten. When I was in Kindergarten, it was half day, we took a nap (or at least had quiet time and a rug we laid on). We spent most of our time learning to adjust to sharing attention, toys and art supplies. Nowadays, counting, skip counting, counting money, phonics and reading are very important in advancing to the next grade. By first grade, Science and Social Studies become part of the curriculum and students are actually tested on these subjects along with Math, Spelling and Comprehension.

I was pleasantly surprised last year when Handsome's teacher told me he excelled in Science and Social Studies. He also seemed quite interested in learning different facts about different species and was often heard quoting facts about Polar bears and spiders to Puddin Pop. He has a brilliant memory. We've always gotten a good chuckle when he sees a commercial on TV for a product he's sure we need. He recites it almost verbatim and follows up with "Wouldn't that be great to have?" or "Wouldn't your life be easier if you had one of those?" He definitely could make it as a salesman, but we currently have higher aspirations for him.

With his interest in Science, we purchased several ScienceWiz kits that have all types of hands-on experiments as well as booklets explaining how things like Energy and Light work. We had a lot of fun with these over the summer. Making learning fun always generates the best results.

Know Magazine is another great tool for the Science enthusiast. Developed by the publishers of Yes magazine, Know is geared towards the 6-9 age group. They feature real scientists, new technology, interesting facts, do-it-yourself experiments and much more. With beautiful, eye-catching images and easy to read print, this magazine is sure to provide hours of fun-while-learning for any child. It may even be a good way to get a child that isn't all that interested in Science to open their mind to all that science encompasses, sparking a new interest. Know magazine is free of outside advertising so your child can stay focused on the material. I find this refreshing and comforting. I can't wait for our first issue to arrive. I look forward to learning some new facts (which I'm sure I will) and watching the excitement in Handsome as he learns more about the fascinating world of Science.

This year I decided to do my part, not only help Handsome study but, to pay particular attention to the subjects he seems most interested in and provide him the tools to excel and stay interested. Reading was a chore last year. He never wanted to read. Although he was in the top reading group in his class, he insisted we read books to him at night. Easy Readers like Dr. Seuss brought about anxiety if we asked him to read. Best I could do was to offer reading every other page with him.

At the end of last year he got interested in the Diary of a Wimpy kid series. We watched the movie as soon as it hit OnDemand and he's been asking for the Movie Diary book ever since. I did him one better. I ordered him the entire series, including the new one that will be released November 9th. Each night we go up at 8:30 to brush our teeth, he then reads to me (or Hubster) until his bedtime at 9. His gained confidence from last year is impressive and having something he is interested in reading has made all the difference in the world.

How do you inspire and promote a love of learning in your home?



"I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Mad Science and received the products necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer colds, Pre school, and extra hours. It must be Tuesday

randomtuesday

I'm ready for this summer cold to be gone. It's been lingering for far too long and I'm over it. With any cold I get, long after visible symptoms are gone I get a lingering night time cough that keeps me up for hours on end. Last night I had the genius idea to put cough drops in my tea. The cough drops did wonders, the tea kept me up past 2am. Tonight I'm going to boil water and just add the cough drops. Hopefully I'll get more sleep.

Handsome has completed his first week of 2nd grade and seems to be adjusting well. This is the year they start letter grades and he scored an A on his first spelling test on Friday. Poor kid doesn't realize how high he just set the bar for himself. We're going to do everything to keep seeing more grades like that.

Since Puddin Pop will be starting at her Montessori school soon and it's a little more than we were expecting to pay, I've offered my services at my part time job and requested extra shifts when they are available. I'm now working today and Friday (I usually just work Sundays). I have mixed feelings about this. Work is not an issue. I really like all the people I work with and since it's a place that mostly men shop at, there's rarely any drama. It just throws me off my game. Handsome will get home before I do (and wait at the neighbors) and PP will be at work with Daddy at Grandma's house. Who knows when they will be home so it'll be a crap shoot on whether I'm cooking dinner for 2, 3, or 4. I'll adjust.

If you found out your MIL was shopping around for pre-schools for your child, without ever mentioning it to you, how would that make you feel?

What's going on with American Idol? Jennifer Lopez is going to be a judge? Why did Ellen leave? Anyone who has insight should really fill me in. I know why Simon left but why the others? Anyone?

That's all I've got. Head on over to the Un Mom, read some more great posts, write your own, and link up.

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