I think our main job as parent’s is to teach life skills.  We start small (eating, sleeping, kindness/gentle) and gradually move up to bigger things (decision making, money smarts, future planning).  The goal is that when it’s time to send our dear sweet little children into the big scary world, we’ve successfully taught them the necessary life skills needed to join society as useful and productive members.

Now, let me add my little disclaimer!  Regarding what follows, I’m going to write in the absolute; I did A and then B every time.  It would be more honest to say I would strive for A and then strive for B.  But that manner of writing would lead to a very long and ever so slightly confusing entry.  So just know; some days we met our goals and some days we didn’t.  I never once got mad at myself or little baby J for our off days.  We would just start fresh tomorrow and hope for the best!

About the time J was 3 months old I began to think and give serious thought to how I wanted naptimes, bedtimes and middle of the night awakenings to work.  I wanted to teach J to become fully self sufficient when it came to sleeping.  I did not want him to physically rely on us for the security and comfort needed to rest.  I wanted him to know he was safe and be able to self comfort.  After all, I do not plan to sleep beneath his bunk bed in his college dorm room!

After some thinking, I developed a modified cry it out method.  J was young, so I didn’t feel comfortable plunking the kid down and effectively saying “best of luck to ya”.  I didn’t feel that would teach him anything besides “Momma and Papa have abandoned me, OMG!!!”.  Not *quite* the message I’m trying to get across.

Here is my modified cry it out method.  Once I established my pattern I (strived to) followed it religiously. This is 100% my philosophy and not substantiated by any medical research.  It’s just what I came up with from the knowledge I had and what I thought would work for my family.

Bedtime routine.  The main point here is to DEVELOP ONE.  Get a pattern going that will condition the baby to know that sleep time is coming.

Our pattern:

  • Change the baby’s diaper
  • PJ’s on (be it nap or bedtime, those PJ’s went on)
  • Lights off
  • Snuggle and rock for 5 minutes, eye contact but no voice.  If he was quiet, I would look at him, but no talking.  I would just stare and make sweet eyes at him.  (Boy would he try to engage me though!)  If he was crying and hollering, I would turn my head far away.  As soon as he stopped crying, I would look back.
  • After my 5 minutes were up, baby would go into the crib and I would walk calmly out without saying anything

(Aside: Still totally useful today!  If he’s playing and crying for *no reason* (he’s fed, changed, napped…fussing for the sake of hearing his own voice), I’ll either turn my head or walk away from him.  He almost instantly stops!)

Walk your butt over to the microwave and set it for three minutes.  This is very important.  It will allow your mind to be free.  You know crying for three minutes won’t scar your sweet baby and it won’t be a minute more because you have an alert when time is up.  This step is FOR YOU!

Parent Comfort
If baby is still crying (aka: screaming his fool head off) you go back into the room.   If there’s minor fussing or the cries are spacing out, give it a little more time.  Rushing in there just because the timer went off may not be the best response.

KEY (OMG PAY ATTENTION OR EVERYTHING WILL FALL APART…or something similar but not so drastic)
Do not speak to baby at all.  It doesn’t help.  It goes against everything you will be feeling at that moment and it may actually cause you physical pain.  BUT DON’T DO IT.  Your closeness, your warmth, your embrace, that’s what is comforting to your baby.  Your voice is stimulating.  Opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

Additional Key
No eye contact either.  That’s engaging and you don’t want to engage.  You want rest.  Remember, your ARMS are doing the work.

Rock and cuddle baby again.  I did it for two minutes, I put a light up clock in the nursery and I timed myself vigilantly.

Back to the microwave.  Timer goes for 4 minutes.

Parent Comfort
If baby is still crying (aka: screaming his fool head off) when timer goes off, back in for another 2 minute cuddle with no eye contact or voice.

Timer for 5 minutes.

Parent Comfort
If the baby is still crying (aka: screaming his fool head off) cuddle for 2 minutes

Lather, rinse, repeat.

I wouldn’t go much past 5 minutes when J was this age.  It was a “go by feel” process, but the time between parent comforting gradually increased with his age.  Now, at almost a year, if he pulls a “I don’t want to sleep!!” stunt, I have my process to fall back on and we *start* at five minutes.  If J wakes up now (thunderstorm) I rarely have to do two cuddles before he’s back down.  Shoot, the kid barely makes it through 30 seconds before he falls back asleep.  But on that occasion that there’s some serious fussing going on, that pick up and cuddle seems to solidify the “I’m fine” for him and he can rest.

The overall gist I feel baby gets: “Mommy will always be there to comfort you and make you feel secure (the repeated coming in for cuddles) but she’s going to let you try to sort yourself out first.

My baby has inherited my nails.  This wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have weird nails.

Know how nails are nice and curved and oblong?  Ya, mine are flat and square.

And so are baby’s.

Sorry baby!

Having two eruption teething blisters and a flu shot might make your infant just a *touch* cranky.

A *touch*.

Also, I have no dish soap in the entire house.  None.

This really has nothing to do with a cranky infant, but it is irritating.

The Dear Sweet Fair Skinned Child can WALK!!!!

He maxes out around 3 feet right now and it’s kind of a onetime event. After that initial distance he can only make it about a foot and a half.

Hey, walking is tough work.

DSFSC and I found a Mommy and Me class.  I have been looking for one for several months but they all met Monday through Thursday and I needed it to be held on a Friday.  I received an email from my church that they were starting up a Mommy and Me group and I jumped right on in.

The first class was…odd.  I’m not really sure what I was expecting.  I think I had anticipated a bunch of children hanging out and running around and every once and a while a little baby skirmish breaking out.  Come on now, you know pre-toddlers can be a little WWF.

And there was some of that, but it was towards the end.  For the first 45 minutes it was just like you see on TV.  A bunch of Mom’s sitting in a circle, singing songs and bouncing around their baby’s.

I’m okay with this.  It threw me for a little, but I’m okay with it.  The kid LOVES music so he was basically just rocking out and having a blast.

But then they did something I couldn’t get behind.  They had a “Mommy/Baby cuddle time”.  They put on soft, soothing music and your are supposed to cradle your precious little baby close to your chest, curl in over them and stare and coo and ooo and aaahhh.

Ya right.

I tried that with my sweet little baby and he looked at me like “Really?  Momma, seriously? We’re *really* going to do this?”

I have to admit, he was echoing my thoughts to the letter.  So we exchanged a knowing look and I let him just stand in front of me and dance to the music in his head.

Why cuddle when you can MOVE?!?!

Here’s a picture of the little one at the meeting.  I have a bunch more, but other little kids are in them and I’m not about to go post someone else’s kid on the big wide interweb.

That ain’t right.

“Momma?  What’s that, Momma?  …It’s a little bit scary.”

Our recent purchase of  new baby footwear has opened the door for new baby adventures.  This weekend we ventured into the dun dun DUUUN: Back yard!

There were a great many things to observe and wonder at.

Like grass.

“Sweet Baby?  Momma doesn’t want you to eat the grass.”

“Sweet baby!!  That is NOT appropriate! I’m shocked by your behavior.”

“Yes, you had better run you little cheeky monster.”

This past weekend baby boy finally got some big boy shoes!!

BIG is the operative word here.  In the end we had to purchase a size 5 EXTRA wide.  Not just wide, EXTRA wide.

I’m raising the next big foot.

Where we live is surrounded by water.  We live on a creek.  We have a pool.  There are also many large bodies of water in the surrounding areas.

Knowing how to swim isn’t just a clever idea, it’s a survival tactic.

Keeping all this in mind I have enrolled the DSFSC in swimming lessons!

He has been doing great and his teacher is fabulous.  The first class she just shoved him under the water.  He came up sputter a little and she simply said “You didn’t drown, you’re fine.”  LOVE. HER!

He was enthralled watching the class before him.  He kept looking over at SH to make sure Daddy was seeing all this excitement too!

This is right before he tips into the water and the instructor pushes him along under water to me.

He made it!  He always looks a little shocked when he gets to me.  It’s either because he’s shocked that he can swim so well or shocked that he didn’t drown.  It’s one of the two.

Everyone is all smiles after class is done.

Until DSFSC realizes how tired swimming has made him.  Then he’s just all “Hey, where’s my sippy cup and crib?”

I got a call from SH: “Hey, were there always indents on the top rail of DSFSC’s crib?”


Someone small and still learning to accomplish minor life skills has taught himself how to stand up in his crib.  Let me help you out, it’s not me and it’s not SH.

Here’s where things become tricky.  My baby is an intense baby.  He’s a very focused and determined baby.  The products marketed to protect crib rails from little teething chipmunks are NOT made with my baby in mind.

You can buy a product that simply snaps 12 inch sections of plastic around the rail.  That wouldn’t last 5 minutes before the kid would push it off.  Then, once he’s dislodged the product, he’ll use it to play drums on the crib rails.  That would make a lot more dents.  Counter-productive.  No thanks.

You can buy a product that is a soft rubber that adheres to the crib rail.  Mr. Fingers would peel that baby off in a heartbeat…a hummingbird’s heart beat.  And then he would play with the sticky strip and effectively mummify himself in it.  I would like to sleep at night and worrying that my baby will become a sticky rubber mummy isn’t going to allow sleep to happen.


Or you can get a thick fabric that Velcro’s around the rail.


This is what we are going to try first.  I’m hoping that the large cloth surface area will keep him preoccupied with sucking over biting and he will be less likely to want to fiddle with the fastenings.  And on this particular product you can even attached toys to play with.  I hope to avoid this if I can; cribs are for sleeping.  The top is also padded, so if he does gnaw, hopefully there will be enough protection.

Please be advised: I fully expect to be back here in a week bemoaning this as an asinine and useless product.  It’s at this point that I will declare the crib a lost cause and teach the baby to sleep in a big boy bed.

(…kidding on that last part.  I think.)