3 Small Pieces of Advice for Parenting Tiny Kids

by Roo on April 2, 2014

in parenting

We see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Jack and I feel like we’ve been marathon-ing since 2008 when I gave birth to Remmy. 17 months later, we welcomed Sophie, and two years after that, Minnie made us a family of five. Next week, Minnie turns two. In a span of five and a half years, we’ve done late nights with newborns, endured baby kidney surgery (Sophie endured, really), learned to manage a host of food allergies, asthma, and eczema, sobbed on the first day of preschool (twice), and have packed so much into five and a half years that Jack and I are sort of standing here, looking at each other, going what just happened? 

I remember announcing that I was pregnant with Minnie, and several of my friends said “You realize you’re going to have three kids three and under, right?” YEAH. About that. :)

3 Small Pieces of Advice for Parenting Tiny KidsThese days are a little different. Easier in many ways, harder in some ways, but mostly just different. Remmy’s five and a half, Sophie’s four, and Minnie’s two. We’re not doing the diaper thing anymore (insert Lil Jon YEEAAA), nor am I experiencing breastfeeding woes (or joys), and we’re waking up in the middle of the night less and less. (It still happens, but mostly due to allergy/asthma/eczema flareups.)

I guess what I’m saying is, we’ve been in the thick of it, and we’re probably still in the thick of it, but I’m no longer juggling a newborn, toddler, and preschooler, you feel me? It’s different. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there. :) So now that I feel like a certified seasoned vet (sort-of), I was thinking about what advice I’d give myself two, three, four, five years ago, and what has really proven to be invaluable to me over the past few years. I could probably write a mini novella surrounding this, so for the sake of brevity, I’ll try to keep it to just a few practical things.

3 Small Pieces of Advice for Parenting Tiny Kids

1) If they’re crabby, put them in water.

I was at the library with Remmy, pregnant with Sophie, when I saw one of those obnoxiously designed posters on the wall with ideas for hanging out with kids. This line stuck out to me, by far, and I’ve used it dozens of times over the years. There’s something about sitting in warm water that soothes us (it’s why I will never turn down a dip in a hot tub). It might have been ten in the morning or four in the afternoon, but if we were getting desperate, I’d draw a bath, stick a kid (or two) in the tub, and just sit. Maybe I’d play some music or maybe I’d flip through a magazine, and even though I couldn’t (and didn’t) ever leave their side, I could spend thirty minutes with the girls contained, put in some earbuds and chill for a little bit.

3 Small Pieces of Advice for Parenting Tiny Kids
2. Make bedtime a sacred ritual.

The one thing I’ve been able to count on is knowing that my parenting hours end at 7:00pm on the nose. Illness, etc can throw a wrench in my plans, but for the most part – over the past five years or so, the girls are in bed by 7:00pm. I close the door, and the rest of the night is mine. Maybe it’s to work or do laundry or sit on my couch and eat Cheetos, but whatever the case is, I’m not in mom mode (with some exception, of course) between the hours of 7:00pm and 6:45am.

People ask me how we do it, and I sort of stare at them blankly. It’s always been. It always will be. As long as the stars shine down on this earth… okay. Actually, yes, we’ve always made it a thing. Bedtime is at 7:00pm. Did I mention all three girls share a bedroom? They’re not allowed to leave their beds after 7:00pm. If someone has to use the bathroom, she walks herself to the bathroom, then walks herself back to bed. Keys to success:

1) blackout shades (gotta get that room dark, fo sho)
2) white noise (we use this little machine because we bought it before the advent of white noise apps; if you have a spare iPod or iPhone lying around, throw an app on it)
3) this clock (HEAR ME, MY CHILDREN, I’d buy this clock at twice its cost. It has been so helpful to say “Stay in bed until the sun turns orange!” :) The girls know that even if they wake up, they have to chill in their beds until the clock changes colors.)
4) quality hug time/snug time during the day (I like knowing they go to bed feeling loved and that they received enough of what they need from their parents, you know?)

Dedicate your next bag of Cheetos to me, please.

3 Small Pieces of Advice for Parenting Tiny Kids

3. Ditch the stroller.

Sort of. Or, for shopping, anyway. I strapped a baby and a toddler in my super fancy double stroller, held the preschooler by the hand, walked around the grocery store, and then realized it was nearly impossible to actually shop for products. I tried hanging reusable bags on the stroller handles, shoving product into the bags, and then emptying it out on a conveyer belt, but a) some stores don’t like that.. I don’t know.. something about looking mad shady while I’m buying cereal, maybe? I think there’s a sign at Whole Foods and b) it’s way easier to toss things into a shopping cart than it is to maneuver some strappy bags.

3 Small Pieces of Advice for Parenting Tiny Kids

3 Small Pieces of Advice for Parenting Tiny Kids

Solution: Wear your baby. When Minnie was teeny, I’d put her in the Ergo (one of my new baby must-haves), put Sophie in the shopping cart seat, and Remmy would go in the back of the cart or walk next to me. Target’s got some cool monstrosity for seating a couple of children, but every time I see it, it always looks a little gross, SO.. we work it with the regular cart. This way, my kids are contained and I’m totally hands-free. Some moms use slings, but I’ve not found anything I liked more than the Ergo. Ergo, maybe you should try it. (Ha! Pun!)

So sorry.

Some more parenty posts:
Five New Baby Must-Haves
Surviving the Third Baby
Seven Game Changers for Parents

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Brad April 2, 2014 at 11:49 am

Cheers. Toast. Bravo… to you (and Jack). This post is a gift from Heaven, for real. I completely agree on the bedtime ritual! We’re the same way in my house. It’s lights out, see you in the morning. We don’t play when it comes to sleepy time.

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Cassie April 2, 2014 at 11:58 am

I totally know the feeling. I had my kids right out of high school exactly 2.5 years apart- a large gap considering some families, but I feel like I’m coming out of the black hole… you know the hole… where you can’t go out to eat or to the grocery store or the park alone because doing any of these things with a newborn and a toddler/young preschooler was terrible.

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Amber Schumann April 2, 2014 at 12:12 pm

Ever had those moments back in school when the teacher writes something on the board (i.e. “hints” for your next test), and you frantically dig for your notebook and pen?
[scribble scribble scribble]
[whip your head up to look again, then back down]
[scribble scribble scribble]
[repeat]
Yeah, that’s me right now…

Hubby and I feel like we can barely manage ONE child (I also have a full-time job and he runs his own biz that keeps him on the road 150% of the week–not really, but it feels like it). I really want another babes, but holy hell…HOW?! Thanks for these priceless tips…Hopefully I can reference them in the near future!

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Ashley April 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

We don’t have kids yet but they are definitely on the horizon and I LOVE that sun clock! SO smart since it doesn’t matter if the child can tell time or read numbers on a real clock yet. Totally Pinned it.

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Caitlin @ {walker whimsy} April 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

One year and nine months until #3 is two. Totally doable. *sobs*

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Missy April 2, 2014 at 12:39 pm

This comment made my day. So true, so true. And hang in the Caitlin, you got this.

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Caitlin @ {walker whimsy} April 3, 2014 at 11:58 am

Aww, thanks :) We’ll make it!

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Roo April 2, 2014 at 9:24 pm

Hahaha come here and let me hug you, Caitlin! \(._.)/

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Caitlin @ {walker whimsy} April 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I feel the love. Seriously, it is _incredibly_ encouraging to know about the light at the end of the tunnel, even if I can’t see it yet. Thanks for that.

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Sandra April 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

Good stuff. The bedtime ritual was my sanity as well. No matter how many night terrors or bed wetting episodes derailed us, we always stuck to it and it got me through. Looking back it’s some of the sweetest time I spent with my tiny girls. Now they spend their night giggling at each other just quietly enough so that I don’t come in there and tell them to be quiet. Much different than all those night they plotted ways to get me to come into their room! Ps. I still put them in water when they’re cranky.

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Desiree April 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Really, you MUST elaborate on your bedtime routine. Or do you just have amazing children who simply obey without question. If I had that clock, my child would look at it, laugh and do whatever she pleases. She’s three now and I haven’t the first clue how to get her out of our bed and into her own without WWIII. Oh yeah, I have a seven week old so we’re still in the thick of it.

I go back and forth, reasoning that she’ll go to her own bed someday and wanting someday to be TODAY.

Again, how in the world did you get your kids to stay in their own beds? Did you cry it out? Drug them? Threaten them with boiling lava if they left their rooms? Seriously, what did you do and how can I be down?!?!?

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Lindsay April 2, 2014 at 1:16 pm

I agree, HELP with the bedtime routines! 7 year old little lady of ours is AMAZING. Right to bed, falls asleep fast, sleeps 12 hours no getting up, stays in bed until reasonable wake up time, etc. 4 year old little man fights going to bed, multiple potty wake-ups at night and still wets the bed (always needs another drink, but we limit fluids to avoid the aforementioned bed-wetting), suddenly afraid of the dark, night terrors, wakes up at the CRACK OF DAWN and comes to our room asking if it is morning time yet.

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Larissa April 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm

I’m with Desiree. Please elaborate on the sleeping.

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Catherine April 2, 2014 at 5:56 pm

May I offer a small piece of advice? My two are much older now (12 and nearly 9) so the bedtime thing is different but when they were little a strict bedtime was my sanity saver. We went through a phase where our daughter wouldn’t go to bed by herself and needed one of us there until she fell asleep so I would lay her down, give her a cuddle (after bedtime stories and so on), and say ‘I will be back in 30 seconds to check on you’ (you can start at 5 or 10 seconds if you need to get back before they start getting out of bed) and then ABSOLUTELY go back in to check on them after the promised time. Keep repeating and maybe adding a little bit of time every time they have successfully stayed in their bed (start with 30 seconds and work up to 10 minutes or whatever you need) until they eventually have fallen asleep on their own. Don’t rush it and just keep promising and going back in (you can give them another kiss, or tuck the blanket around them again but don’t get into conversation – if they want to talk just say ‘ssshh, it is time for sleep, no talking’ once and don’t respond to any more conversation. This sounds extreme and laborious (and maybe even a bit silly) but you won’t have to do it for many nights and it always worked like a charm when they were having a hard time separating from us for the night (often the reason for not staying in bed). It usually worked in just a couple of nights if our routine had got out of line following an illness or something like that. Anyway, just thought I would offer up our method if it helps anyone.

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Brittany April 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm

When my youngest was born I also had a three-year-old and a two-year-old! Chaos ensued :) I love your tips, especially the one about putting them in water. It instantly lifts the mood of my munsters every.single.time. I never had a sling or Ergo, but my sister uses one with her third and swears by it. Very great advice! My oldest is about to turn seven (sniffle, sniffle) and I’m living proof that three kids three and under is survivable :) Thanks for sharing with us!

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Missy April 2, 2014 at 12:49 pm

I remember when I started to feel this way – it was like “A whole new world…a dazzling place I never knew!” My last (#4) just turned 3 this year and when I think about things like going grocery shopping I’m like … I got this. Just wait until one or two of them gets old enough to stay home alone while you run a quick errand… game changer!

My favorite ‘advice’ to give to new moms is to let them know that I was just as overwhelmed as they feel when I was in that stage … and that I still look at my life and wonder ‘How do I do this?’ It’s like straight up wonderful, horrible, amazing, insanity and then all of the sudden you realize it’s becoming manageable chaos. And then comes bed time (yeeeesssss) and a new day to do it all again. WE GOT THIS, MOMS!

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Laura April 2, 2014 at 2:28 pm

I’m totes fist bumping you, Missy. One night when my daughter was a couple months old I called my mom demanding to know how she did it all–raise kids, cook dinner, keep the house clean while always being organized and polite–when I was feeling so overwhelmed and incompetent. She said, “You were just too young to remember me when I was overwhelmed too.” It’s really stuck with me and encouraged me when I’m afraid my kids will only remember a messy house and a mom who was always tired.

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Chrissy April 2, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Yep. My kids are only 11, 8 and 5 and they already have zero memory of the Mommy that was so tired one day she just sat down on the kitchen floor and cried because she couldn’t get the maple syrup open. Or the time we wore pajamas to the store because the dryer was broken and all the clothes were damp or dirty. Or the time I forgot I was filling the kitchen sink to soak the dishes and flooded the kitchen ( uh…this has happened multiple times) because I had to run and do something for a kiddo…and ended up freaking out about the flooded kitchen…and then delighted because the floor isn’t sticky any longer. Several small children are a lot of work. It gets better and that is what they remember. My son told me the other day that I can do anything because I am his clever mommy. He thinks I am capable. Silly child…I just get to sleep through the night now!

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kyle April 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Preach, sister!
The maple syrup got me this morning too. I threw it away. We had powdered sugar on our waffles.

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Katelyn April 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm

I don’t have kiddos yet, but seriously Roo, I aspire to be you in the future. Your parenting posts always leave me so impressed. I don’t know how you do it!

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Roo April 2, 2014 at 9:23 pm

You’re the sweetest, Katelyn, thank you!

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Lauren April 2, 2014 at 1:12 pm

I LOVE this post:) I have three boys born exactly in the same age spacing as your girls, but I’m a little bit ahead with my oldest being 8.5. As I read your post, I agree 100% and clearly remember the joys (and pains) of those early years. The first time I took all three to the grocery store, I was forced to leave a cart full of groceries behind while quickly exiting the store with two crying toddlers and a baby strapped to my chest (all because of a scuffle over the shopping cart with a car in the front . . . I quickly learned to avoid those at ALL costs). But you do adapt and learn to balance whatever you’re given. I’m happy that they have more independence now and that things aren’t so overwhelming and crazy, but sometimes I miss how much they needed me.

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Emily April 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm

As a nanny of two one year olds I say amen to the baby carrier. I’ll forever love a double stroller but I spent 50% of the day yesterday with a kid on my back and while I may never stand up straight again having my hands free is the best. Ever.

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Steph Reiner April 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Okay you need to do a follow up post on the sleeping arrangements. When did you move the girls out of cribs into toddler beds or bunks or whatever? Did you have problems with a newborn waking up the toddler? We have Girl #2 coming in June and she’ll probably sleep in our room for the first few months but then share with Allie after that. I’m nervous about having a cranky toddler who didn’t sleep well because of a cranky newborn. Help me, Roo.

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Liz April 2, 2014 at 10:33 pm

My girls share a room. We moved to our house when the baby was 6 weeks and big sis was almost 3 1/2 years. There were definitely times that the baby woke her up but 99% of the time, big sister slept/sleeps through all commotion. Even now, with the youngest being (almost) 2, we can put all the kids to bed at 8 on the dot and baby sister talks, squeals, “dances” and cries from her crib and big sis snores away. ;) My mom is one of 4 girls in her family and they all shared one big common room growing up and she says she never remembered getting woken up by anything unless someone was sick. :)

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Ashley April 2, 2014 at 1:49 pm

I remembered your post ages ago about buying an Ergo and it was the top of my list when we found out we were having baby #2 a little bit sooner than anticipated :P My son will be 19 months when baby girl makes her arrival and I already know it will be the only way I can shop with both of them! I also wholeheartedly agree with bedtime, it is such a relief to be able to put him to bed and knowing I don’t have to go in until morning. Alas, middle of the night feedings are coming very soon…wish me luck baby girl will get on a schedule as soon as her brother!

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Lesley April 2, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Apparently my kids are as awesome as yours, they were good with the bed time thing too. We have the same, no getting out of bed rule, if you’re not tired just lay there and ‘rest your bones’ but by staying in bed when you do get tired, you’re all set!

Love the sun/moon light clock. We didn’t have that so we used a standard radio/CD alarm clock. Our son had to stay in bed until it turned on. On weekdays I would put in a peppy music CD and on the weekends would switch to some Curious George story CDs (this usually led to him staying in bed still for a little longer while he listened to a story or two). I don’t like the idea of alarms to get you up in the morning – if you can’t do it on your own you probably need to get to bed earlier, so neither kids use the alarm to wake them but they do turn the radio on once they get out of bed to get their groove on while they dress.

Love the ‘if they’re crabby, but them in water’ I think that would still work on my 10&11 year olds…. consider that one added to the bag of tricks.

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Natasha April 2, 2014 at 2:10 pm

These tips are gold. We’ve always been sticklers for bedtime (8:30 for the littles here, 9:30 for the 9yo) and the white noise & clock are LIFE SAVERS. The 4yo has a scared of the dark/being alone thing, so he has one of those awesome turtle nightlights with constellations and a timer. Honestly, that has been even more of a lifesaver than the clock!
Ditto on trying to shop with stroller-such a hassle. The almost 2yo rides in the cart and the 4yo walks alongside. In June, this will all change when we add a newborn, so def getting an Ergo. And will have to break down and get a monstrous double, for zoo trips etc. I see a light though….in about 2 years. Sigh.
Hubs is really, really good about making sure I get alone/out with friends/hobby time, since I’m a SAHM. Partner communication is key for surviving in the trenches.

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Natasha April 2, 2014 at 2:19 pm

Oh hey, so I clicked some links through-and do you still love the liliebaby carrier for newbies? We had a carrier for Evelyn as an infant, but it was a hand me down, didn’t have a back strap, and I always felt like she was going to fall out-so I basically ditched it and just dealt. But I KNOW the only way I’m going to be able to keep 3 older kids (9,4,2) entertained this summer while toting a newbie is a carrier. We like to be out and about a lot. So def looking for a ‘newborn’ one for summer. Slings scare me, and it looks like you’d get way to hot and sweaty in them. And advice would be awesome sauce….

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Jamie April 2, 2014 at 4:40 pm

Natasha, we had a bjorn and got an ergo about a year ago. I would totally get an ergo!! They are spendy but worth it! You can carry kids up to age 3 on your back in it (so it says.)

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Natasha April 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm

Thank you! I see they have the infant inserts for Ergo now so der on top of the list. I have no problem spending more for a higher quality, more useful product!!

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Lauren April 2, 2014 at 10:13 pm

I would *highly* recommend a Boba 3G or 4G. About the same price range and no infant insert required. Easy to get on and off. Ergonomic for you and the baby and works all the way up through toddler years! I love love love mine. I’ve got a 7 month old and we’ve been using it since she was about 2 weeks. Cannot say enough good things about it.

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Megan @ Teaching Every Day April 2, 2014 at 2:33 pm

I know what you mean. My youngest turns 3 this month and I can definitely see the light at the end of the tunnel. She just got potty trained last month and that was HUGE! The last of the baby stuff. I guess I should be sad…maybe a little…but I am mostly excited for no diaper bag, no sippy cups, no huge strollers, and the list goes on. I’m really looking forward to this summer now that she is big!! Also, I should have tried that water tip this morning…

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Adrienne April 2, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Being newly pregnant and terrified at the prospect of one child, please keep these posts coming. They are so helpful and comforting.

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Another Ashley April 2, 2014 at 3:37 pm

The clock, the clock, the clock. We use this one: http://www.amazon.com/My-Tot-Clock/dp/B00FCC5E5M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396467296&sr=8-1&keywords=my+tot+clock It has made our lives better for sure. My son stays in his room from 8:00pm to 7:00am. If he wakes up before he knows he has to play quietly. I wake up every morning to someone screeching, “It’s yellow!!!” at the top f their lungs, but it is a small price to pay.

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Nicole April 2, 2014 at 4:28 pm

Love it, Roo. My oldest is a few weeks older than Minnie, and #2 is due next month. I love your parenting posts because we are very much on the same wavelength. I was a big baby wearer with just the one, and I fully plan on wearing #2 almost exclusively while out (and a lot at home too).

Also, 100000% agree with the bedtime thing. And I will add, nap time too. Some people think I’m crazy because I am such a stickler about nap and bedtime but it legit saves my sanity. I need that break in the afternoon and I need my kid in bed asleep at 8pm every night. It is very rare that something comes up that is worth disrupting nap/bed time. Yes, that means I miss out on afternoon coffee dates, play dates, etc, but it is so worth it in my opinion.

Finally, I would a) love to read more of your parenting tips, so feel free to write that novella :), and b) would love to hear more about your bedtime routine/situation with the girls… The room sharing, etc really intrigues me!

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Chrissy April 2, 2014 at 10:56 pm

My three sons share a room. Best. Decision. Ever. They are learning cooperation, tolerance, resiliency and patience from it…and we get to have the third bedroom as a playroom. Winning all around. The oldest sometimes has trouble going to sleep because the younger two are afraid of a very dark room (ironically, this is his fault…he told the middle son at two that he “SHOULD be afraid of the dark because all little brothers are” and there ya go…then they told the youngest when he was about two. great.) so occasionally he is allowed to go to sleep in our bed and walked to his bunk when the little ones are asleep and the lights are out.
Their room is just beds, a large dresser they share and the oldest boy’s art table (he often retreats from their noise and crazy to draw in there by the sunny window). No toys. Their art is all over the walls. It is truly their space…they pick their blankets, sheets, sleeping loveys and decorate around their beds with their drawings and etc.

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Nicole April 3, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Thanks so much- that sounds like a great setup! When I was a kid I used to wish for a sister to share a room with, but as a parent it’s harder for me to picture it working with very young kids.

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Jamie April 2, 2014 at 4:34 pm

I’m totally with you on the 7pm bedtime!! We have some friends with 4 kids that are very strict with the bedtime and their oldest, 9, is still in bed around 7:30 albeit not asleep, but still!! They are also very we’ll behaved kids. Our almost 2 year old loves to sleep and goes to bed every night without question at 7!!

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Catherine April 2, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Isn’t it great when you get one that loves to sleep? We had such challenges with our eldest daughter even with a strict routine in place. She is just a natural night owl and we fought it as long as we could (she had a strict bedtime until she was about 10). What a totally different world it was when our son came along! The joy of him actually asking to go to bed when he was tired. Sleeping through from 7pm until 7am most of the time from 4 months old. Talk about night and day! With my daughter I remembered being so jealous of other Mum’s at playgroup talking about how their kids actually asked to go to bed (and secretly thinking ‘what planet did you get your baby from? and how do I find that planet??). Ah, the joys of different personalities!

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Brittney April 2, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Preach it sister! I live for the 7:00 pm bedtime at our house. The Ergo is also my #1 new mom pick. That sucker goes with us everywhere. Whenever I see a mom struggling with a stroller at the grocery store I want to be like, please, let me show you the way! ;)

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Lauren @ Faith and Macaroni April 2, 2014 at 10:23 pm

Yes yes yes to all of this. I’ve only got the one 7 month old, but it rings true! Bathtime is part of our nightly bedtime routine (and we don’t. freaking. mess. with. routine). She goes to bed within 30 minutes of 8 every night (too early and I get a too early wake up call) and we don’t deviate from our little schedule: bathtime, pjs, nurse, story. It’s nothing crazy, but we’ve been doing this for about 2 months and I wish we would have started even sooner.
I also love my Boba carrier! I love that it’s meant to be used at all ages (newborn to toddler) and makes life easier (like bonus naps!). Even when she feels like sitting in the cart, I usually keep the Boba with me for the times she wants to be held (you know, like when you’re 20 minutes in and no where close to being done).

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Doris Johnson April 2, 2014 at 10:29 pm

You can delete this after you see it, but I just thought I’d let you know because you’d care– I think you accidentally wrote “right” instead of “write a mini novella” in the fifth paragraph. :)

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Rachel Starr April 2, 2014 at 10:31 pm

Yes, yes all day long YES! While we “only” have 2 kiddos (almost 5 and 2yrs) we are also feeling like we can see that light at the end of the tunnel. We have been OCD about our kids nap/bedtimes from day 1 and that’s pretty much the only parenting advice I’ll dole out unsolicited.

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Lisa S April 3, 2014 at 11:53 am

Naptime is SACRED!!!!! Do NOT mess with naptime. Ever.

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Rachel Parker April 3, 2014 at 8:10 am

Yeeeees. I can’t wait to try the water tactic, because my daughter Ruby (who I call Roo — WEIRD) is in a “cry at all the things when mom gets home from work” phase. That’s a real phase right? I’m not making it up?

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kyle April 3, 2014 at 2:48 pm

It’s real. It’s sooooo real.

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Amelinda April 3, 2014 at 11:38 am

Do you have a bag that you love? I want a hands-free bag (I’m assuming backpack, here) that is great for organizing all of the zillion things that kids need when you’re out and about with them. Tips?

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Abby April 3, 2014 at 2:44 pm

Roo, thanks for repeatedly reminding me of the 7pm bedtime. I don’t remember when you originally talked about it but it must’ve been before my son was born because I remember sending the link to my husband saying “we’re doing this!” I implemented the 7pm bedtime as soon as my son was on a “regular” schedule and plan on sticking with it. Maybe for forever. My husband recently suggested we push baby’s bedtime back to 8pm so we have more time with it. Um…nope, not gonna happen. I love him so much but I need my sanity (or what’s left of it!).

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Leigh Ann April 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Yes on #2! I can’t believe how many people are shocked when I say that my kids go to bed between 7 and 7:30. Since the time change we’ve slipped a little later, but even then, after a few days I can tell that they need to go back to fish. When people ask, I give them the same blank stare and say, “That’s just what we’ve always done.” We don’t even use blackout shades, white noise (anymore – we used to) or anything special. They are just used to going to bed at that time and accept it. (I also forbid naps unless we have evening plans, because then the 7:30 bedtime is ruined. Ruined!) Seriously, my kids cannot function after 8pm. We had impromptu friends over last Friday, and they were begging to go to bed.

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Leighann April 3, 2014 at 8:14 pm

excellent advice. I agree 100% with the bedtime ritual. Our daughter does not go to bed easily but we always start getting her ready for bed at the same time every night.
I’m so going to try the bath trick.

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krys72599 April 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm

God bless you, Roo! Hearing a young mom with a 7pm bedtime is music to my ears! What totally gets me going is going to a movie theater or the mall or the Starbucks at 9pm, or 9:30pm or even later, and there are kids, babies galore!
It’s BEDTIME, moms!
I’m 53 and shared a room with my 2 sisters until I went to college. We just didn’t have enough bedrooms in the house.
After that I shared with 1 or 2, around their college schedule, and until I moved out into my own apartment.
Mom always had a strict bedtime for us.
You can make it work – but it takes work.

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Jessi April 4, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Number one has been a solid sleeper for a long time, Number two…is getting there. And they share a room. So it’s getting better in our house at night. We are usually kid free around 8pm.

We’re having a little trouble lately with Number one being a big boy and not falling asleep at naptime. (He’s three). The best I’ve figured out so far is to give him some books and set the timer for one hour (so he can see when quiet time is over and get out of bed), and then baby and I go into my room to get some rest. Maybe I need to do more Pilates or something, but my stress level goes way, way up if I don’t have some quiet time in the afternoon.

Also, I take baby in the shower with me sometimes, like you suggested. Makes it much easier to get in there every day. (Mama needs to be put in the water, too!)

I agree about ditching the stroller in the store! We totally utilize the under cart rack for our purchases at the grocery store. And the minute Baby was able to sit up pretty well, we started putting her straight in the cart buckle and ditching her car seat. On super cold days, I still put her AND her car seat in the cart so she doesn’t have to come out from under the blankets, but it makes it much more difficult to see where we’re going. For mall shopping I totally use my Boba carrier. (Boba can be used to carry a baby on the front or a toddler on your back!) I’ve started letting my three year old run next to us in the mall. Yes, it’s a little stressful, but he’s got to burn off the energy somehow.

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Laura April 6, 2014 at 8:48 am

Thank you for this post. As a mother of a 15 month old and a 4 month old, I am definitely in the thick of it. My dad actually gave me the mantra I live by, which is, “It gets better.” I loveee my littles and I don’t want to wish their babyhood away, but I dream of the possibility of a life less hectic! The youngest still gets up at least 3 times to nurse during the night. They both have bedtimes – oldest in bed at 8:30, youngest I try to get to sleep by 9 (husband works evenings, so we try to get the kids to sleep in a little later).

Anyways. A big thank you to you and all the commenters. It can be done!

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