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Tag Archives: child development

potty training


I am so lost.  First of all, I feel like summer has killed my blog.  Like it just snuck up on me like a vicious predator and zapped the life out of my writing abilities.  All that aside however, I am stuck in potty training purgatory.  When it has come to every other milestone, I feel like it just came naturally to me– I didn’t really need to read any books or manuals, I just knew how to proceed.  But this, well this is so much different.  I just have no idea what to do.    I do, however have all the supplies.

Potty seat-check.



Pull Ups-check.


I have googled until my eyes are about to pop out of my head.  Some days Astaire is really willing to sit on the potty, other days she acts like there is a monster hiding in the thing.  I’m not really wanting to clean up another mess like I had to on my carpet the other day (long and gross story…) and so here we are.  I’m thinking, maybe she is not ready- but more like maybe I am not ready.  I’ve heard the younger you start, the easier it is. And of course I’ve heard that they will just do it when they are ready (like 4?) who knows!!! No really, who of you know?

So I’m asking you…please comment.  Give me your input, tell me your ways wise readers.



great expectations

I know I have mentioned (several times) my new found struggles with Astaire and her tantrums….but I have a happy update today!  We are making some progress.  I have found over the past several days and trips out, that if I set her up for what we are about to do, and clearly state my expectations, we are all much happier and she does so well!

An example of what I might say would go something like this as we are walking in to the store, church, or even a playdate:

“Astaire, we are going to go in to __________ now.  Mama expects you to be a good girl, be obedient and (sit in the cart/go to your class and play with your friends/share your toys) without getting upset.   If you don’t, you will get a time-out, do you understand? (she will say yes) You are such a  big girl, and you are going to a great job!”

We go in, and sometimes she needs a little reminding—but a reminder is usually all she needs.  We have had several successful trips this week, including one to the zoo! She did absolutely wonderful all day, with zero meltdowns and she even got to feed a giraffe right out of her hand….TWICE!

graceful parenting

I feel guilty that I haven’t really blogged in quite a few days, but to be honest I’m a little overwhelmed with all that is going on in real life lately.  Astaire seems to be “maturing” at a rapid rate and has gone full throttle this week into what I can only assume is the terrible twos.  Granted she is only 20 months this week, but even as I’m typing now, she is refusing to go down for a nap and singing loudly over the monitor while banging on the walls of her room.   She isn’t throwing a tantrum by any means…right now… but that has not been the case for the past few weeks.  It seems like every day, something I do or don’t do throws her into a full blown rage of what can only be observed as frustration.  She bangs her head off of walls, furniture and even the tile floor.  If I try to console her or calm her down, it only makes matters worse.

I can only imagine what it must be like for her, constantly being told she’s a big girl, given choices, and then choices being taken away.  Being told no 500 times a day.  It has to be confusing.  I’m sure that I am not always clear and concise and I know that I probably give her one direction and then change that direction mid thought half of the time.  That would be frustrating to anyone- especially a toddler, who can’t verbalize everything yet.  So I’m trying to be patient. trying, trying, trying.

At home we do well.  It’s in public that I just cannot deal with a tantrum- It sends me spinning into frazzle mode, because I can feel all the other mother’s women’s eyes piercing me in the back with judgment.  I can tell that people judge me for trying to console her, and then judge me for sitting her on the floor of the garbage bag aisle for time-out: Right in the middle of Target.  I can hear their thoughts “If that were my child, I’d……”

The truth is, that’s fine…because I’ve probably thought the same thing.  But once you become a parent, you realize— you can parent them,  and teach them and discipline them…and sometimes they just do things that are beyond your control.  Sometimes, your son is just gonna bite that kid on the playground even though he knows better.  One day, your daughter may scream and tell you off right in the middle of a dinner party because you told her she can’t go out with those friends….even though you have taught her to respect her parents.

The truth is, they are our children…not puppets.  We can train them and teach them, but they are still human– they will still make mistakes.  It’s how we respond to them when they make mistakes that matters, and will teach them even more.

I just pray I can continue to respond with love and patience, all the while remaining firm and setting my expectations.  Children need boundaries, but they also need grace…. don’t we all?

Don’t let sin keep ruling your lives. You are ruled by God’s grace and not by the Law. “- Romans 6:14

rock a crying baby, or let ‘sleeping’ babies cry?

When I was growing up, my mom had this wall hanging that (i think) my grandma had crocheted for her.  I think of it a lot as I’m doing the daily chores and Astaire is tugging at me because it said:

Cleaning and Scrubbing can wait til tomorrow,

for children grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow.

So quiet down cobwebs and dust go to sleep,

I’m rocking my baby- and babies don’t keep. 

That little poem could not be more true.  Our babies don’t stay babies forever.  They grow up so fast all by themselves, and yet it seems that parents are forever trying to push them to do it even faster.  Why is it that we want them to be grown so fast?  Why is it that we fret so much when they aren’t sleeping through the night by 6 or 8 weeks old? I personally think it’s because we need them to fit into our ever changing fast paced schedules, and so we need them to hurry up and adjust to being a part of the family, instead of the family adjusting to having a new baby.

Lately my heart has just been breaking as I see and hear from so many new moms about how their babies aren’t sleeping as well as society they thinks they should be, and how they just had to do something.  Mostly because I know what something means.  I know that something means that they have resorted to reading a book, and taking instructions rather than going with their natural instincts as a mother, and they have let their babies sit alone in a room and cry until they have given up all hope on being comforted and they’ve just stopped crying.   Because that’s what happens.  It’s not that they finally wear out and fall asleep, it’s that they realize that the only form of communication they have with their caregiver…is no longer effective.  So they give up.

Let me stop here and say, that I have tried the Cry it Out method only one night.  After about 11 months of Astaire doing a cycle of a few weeks of sleeping through the night and then a month or two of waking a few  times a night and needing to either be nursed or rocked back to sleep, I was tired and feeling pressured to find a solution.  One night I just felt as if she was “being defiant!” but in reality, I was just fed up and exhausted.  I put her to bed and she cried…I left her in there for 2-3 minutes to see if she would settle and she did I went back and comforted her and tried again, this time telling Josh that she was just going to “have to cry” and that  I just could not take it anymore.  I went about, trying to busy myself to shield my ears from her cries.  Because, let’s face it parents- that is what you have to do.  If you are doing the Cry it Out method, you must turn the nurturing side of you to off.  Her cries went on and turned desperate and scared after only about 6 minutes.  Something snapped on the inside of me and I realized-

I am not doing this! I don’t believe in this…this goes against everything I stand for as a parent.  I love my daughter more than to allow her to be left in a dark room by herself thinking I am not going to come when she cries for me.

When I went and picked Astaire up she clung to me like a little baby monkey with her arms wrapped tightly around my neck.  She was crying so hard that even after I had rocked her to sleep, she was still unable to catch her breath.  In case you didn’t read that right…While sleeping, she was still unable to catch her breath!  I could do nothing but apologize to her over and over again…and repent to God.   I felt horrible for even allowing myself to be influenced by my exhaustion, by friends, by society’s standards for my child.

Recent studies have shown how prolonged crying in infants causes increased blood pressure in the brain, elevates stress hormones, obstructs blood from draining out of the brain,  decreases oxygenation to the brain, unstable temperatures, and even heart arrhythmia’s.  We want to put our children through this all for a good night’s sleep??    Source

Astaire did not begin sleeping through the night until around 16 months.  When she did I welcomed that full night’s sleep with wide open arms! But she did it all on her own, when she was able to do it.  Even this week, she has been having some night wakings, and some strange patterns, but I have to remember that she is still small, and most like having a growth spurt.  The difference now is that she can talk and not just cry.  In fact a few nights ago she woke at 2 am and asked for a snack!

Still the fact remains  Her world is constantly changing and scary….her dad and I are the only things that remain constant and safe.  If she needs me during the day or during the night, how I respond should remain the same.  If she cries in the day, I immediately respond to her.  So if she cries for me in the night, I will continue to do the same.

If you are struggling with sleep issues and looking for answers, I would recommend starting with the following links:

Attachment Parenting International

Ask Dr. Sears

No-Cry Sleep Solution by Dr. Elizabeth Pantley