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Dear Caroline,

You are two years old! I have to say, I loved a lot about the baby stage. I loved the never ending cuddles, I loved holding you while you slept in my arms, I loved all of your firsts- your first smile, first laugh, etc. There is something about the toddler phase that I can't get enough of, however. I have loved getting to watch you learn, I love hearing you talk, and I love the activities that we do together. So far, this is my favorite age. I have a feeling I'm going to say that next year as well, and probably the year after that. It is just fascinating watching you turn into a sweet, beautiful, smart little girl.

Lately, we take our time in the mornings (unless we are going somewhere). You wait patiently for me once you wake up-  you wait for your clock to turn yellow. I then come in. You always request to stay in bed. Sometimes we stay in your bed, and sometimes we hurry over to Mama and Daddy's bed. We bring books, your blankets, and sometimes a friend (Pete the dog, Elmo, etc.). We read books, and sometimes we watch a show (Dinosaur Train is your latest favorite). I eventually tell you it's time to get up and get ready so we can go downstairs and eat breakfast. You beg for "more more more", and ask to stay in bed longer. I love these mornings and so do you. We wake up at 7, and often aren't eating until 9. It's a perfect lazy morning.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I'll be taking the rest of this week off of blogging to enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, and to celebrate Caroline's 2nd birthday. Time really does fly by. It seems like just yesterday I was in the hospital being induced (the Wednesday before Thanksgiving), and looking out the window to see the first snow of the year.

I'll be writing Caroline's 2 year update soon, and of course, posting lot of Thanksgiving and birthday pictures!

Enjoy your family time, whether just at home with your little ones, or traveling to see extended family! Stay safe!

If you need some reading materials over the long weekend, check out these pages with TONS of links to TONS of posts about TONS of topics! LOL!




Sleep (naps)

Sleep (night)

Sample Schedules

Realities of Potty Training

Note: Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! We are all posting on the topic of potty training! See below for all of the links. Enjoy!

Poop Talk

"Mama poop!" shouts my almost 2 year old. Let me just note that I don't particularly like this broadcast, and not only that...but it didn't just happen! It shouldn't be on my toddler's mind. It happened hours ago, yet we are still talking about it!

"Yes, Mama pooped this morning".
"Daddy poop!", she replies.
"Probably, yes. I'm sure Daddy pooped this morning, too". I answer, wondering why we are still talking about this.
"Caroline poop", she says.
"Do you need to go poop, Caroline?", I ask.
[Blank stare]...... (Me wondering yet again WHY we are discussing this if no one is pooping and no one has to poop) haha!

This is my reality all day every day LOL! We potty trained Caroline this summer and she's done fantastic with it! When we potty trained her, she wasn't talking. She'd make a grunting noise to let me know that she had to go pee or poop. She got her point across. That's slowly progressed to her saying potty, and now describing things at random times. Now she's talking up a storm, and she's got potty on her mind... a lot!

bath ring

Bath time has a lot of different stages as your baby grows. Of course, it starts nice and "simple" using a little baby tub in a sink or on the counter. As your baby starts to outgrow that tub, however, things can get a bit more challenging.

Kneeling next to the bathtub, trying to hold your baby up while washing them, isn't the easiest task in the world- especially if they are moving around! Once they start sitting, it honestly doesn't get any easier... they aren't stable enough for you to really take your hands off of them for even small moments. It's doable, but it's back-breaking quite literally! I quite often found myself just getting in the tub with my daughter to make things easier.

Our Pediatrician's office sends out surveys for us to answer prior to some of the big well checks. I just recently got the 24 month surveys to fill out. These surveys are just that- questions. There is no indication on them as to what milestones your child should have reached, but one can only assume they are asking these questions for good reason- and hence, interested in these particular milestones.

As I was reading the survey, I realized that, while I have a lot of fine motor skill activity ideas on my list of things to do, we just haven't done many of them at this point. Honestly, the weather has been so nice, and we've been going outside so often, that we've not had moments to do these.

I decided to give one of my activities a shot to see how she'd do. The activity was simple: place a spaghetti noodle in play-doh so it stands up vertically. I then had Caroline stack Cheerios on the noodle. This activity requires steady hands and good focus. It also will give you an idea of their depth perception and eyesight. She did great, and also really enjoyed breaking the noodles as a second activity! We then rolled the play-doh as a third activity. Lots of fun to be had with this activity!

Here are some of the survey questions that dealt with fine motor skills:

We were so happy with the Mother's Day Out program that we did last year, that we decided to do it again. I have to say, I am even happier to have Caroline in it at the age she is now! She's getting a chance to try new things, interact with other children, and new adults. I've been amazed at how well she's doing! We are using a new place this year, but she still goes 1 day a week for about 4 hours. It's the perfect amount of time!

We had ups and downs last year, but it was overall a fantastic experience. For the most part Caroline was a happy camper when I dropped her off, and eager to stay and play. At the very beginning of the year, and again towards the end, she was crying for about 5 minutes when I'd leave her, and then would cheer up and still have a good time. I was really hoping that this year there would be no tears!

Holiday cards. The holiday cards now are so personalized, yet so standard and unpersonal at the same time. Instead of a cute dog with a santa hat on and nice personalized message handwritten inside, we personalize them with our photos. We send them out just to check off a list. We no longer write a message. The person on the receiving end loves to look at the photos and "catch up". Maybe it stays on the fridge for the holiday season, but then it quickly finds the trash in most homes! Let's be honest, even if it had a handwritten message, it would probably find the trash at some point.

Everyone has an opinion on this topic:
1 child? No need to schedule! or Scheduling is a must!
More than 1 child? Throw the schedule out the window! or It is essential to have a schedule now!

We learned a lot this week about how Babywise needs to work for us, and how the schedules actually allow more flexibility and stability in the home. Today, Emily is talking about the concept of using Babywise with multiple children- and how it is very possible to do so!

Emily writes:

The first Babywise book is very much about eating and sleeping. After all, it is focused on babies' needs- and guess what? Babies needs are pretty centered around eating and sleeping! There are some bigger picture concepts that are put forth in book 1 as well, however, and by the time you get to Childwise, Teenwise, etc., the books are hardly focused on eating and sleeping at all. Today Cole is discussing the bigger picture of Babywise and explaining that it is more than just sleep.

Cole writes:

To go along with the idea of making Babywise work for you, that we've been discussing over the last few days, I'd like to bring your attention to breastfeeding. The myth that you can't breastfeed your baby while doing Babywise because it will diminish your supply. The Babywise book clearly supports breastfeeding (I plan to write a post on this and quote the book soon), and I know so many moms that have done both and been successful- me included! Check out my Real Moms, Real Stories series on "Breastfeeding on a Schedule", for more personal accounts. Today, Kimberly is giving her perspective on this Babywise myth...

Kimberly writes:

"My son was a hungry little newborn.  I knew this and the interval between feedings was sometimes only ninety minutes.  That interval grew with time.  Scheduling does not mean you ignore the demand to eat, it means you meet that demand and plan ahead to keep meeting it. "

Read the full post here!

Don't forget to come back this week for more Babywise Myth Busters! We have a five days with 8 fabulous myth busting posts for you to read!

Here is the schedule along with the topics for each day:

Links will go live on the day specified below...

- Monday: Valerie at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom- Myths Versus Realities of Babywise

- Tuesday: Katrina at Mama's Organized Chaos- Babywise Isn't Imposing a Schedule, It's Learning the Ideal Schedule

- Wednesday: Shea at The Moses Home- How Schedules Keep Us Flexible, Not Rigid

- Wednesday: Natasha at Let's Be Brave- Babywise Works For YOU, Not The Other Way Around

- Thursday: Carrie at Wiley Adventures- Babywise and Cry it Out (how they do/don't go together)

- Thursday: Kimberly at Team Cartwright- Babywise and Breastfeeding (does not diminish milk supply)

-  Friday: Cole at Twinning Babywise- The Misconception that Babywise is just Sleep Training

-  Friday: Emily at The Journey of Parenthood- Using Babywise Isn't Impossible with Multiple Children

Somewhere along the way, Babywise got intertwined with cry it out methods. When people hear Babywise they often think of sleep training. The reality, however, is that Babywise does NOT advocate for or against cry it out methods. Babywise is a parenting tool that is focused on prioritizing full feeds, and promoting healthy sleep. Does it recommend teaching your baby how to self soothe? Yes. Does it say how you need to go about doing that? No. Natasha spoke yesterday about how Babywise needs to "work for you". This is a classic example of how you need to choose a method that is right for your needs and your family. Today, Carrie is not only discussing what the Babywise book does and does not say about cry it out methods, she is also providing some insight into the self soothing recommendations, and different CIO methods and options that you have at your disposal!

Carrie writes:

One of the things I LOVE LOVE LOVE about Babywise mamas, is that they are open-minded and generally not judgmental of other parenting styles! Every encounter that I've had with EVERY Babywise mom has been the same in this aspect. They are loving their schedules, but are supportive of parents that want to use feed on demand strategies. Most are very aware of the fact that Babywise isn't for everyone, and are ok with that. Some Babywise parents use cry it out, others do not. Some breastfeed, others do not. We all have a common link, however- Babywise. We all help each other succeed by helping other moms figure out how Babywise can work for them! Today, Natasha is talking about just that!

Natasha writes:

Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week is continuing strong as we delve into the myths of Babywise! Today we are hearing from Shea at The Moses Home blog on the myth that Babywise makes our lives rigid and hyper-scheduled with little flexibility. She's building on what we discussed yesterday and givings us a lot of insight as to the amount of flexibility Babywise has allowed her to have in her home...with 4 Babywise babies! She knows what she's talking about first hand!

Shea writes:
"Today, I am talking specifically about having a consistent schedule (a tried and true babywise philosophy) will actually make your child more flexible when the routine must be interrupted. You don't have to hyper schedule to make Babywise work for your home. In fact, you begin slowly and build. This helps you to know what will work for your family's lifestyle and needs. "

I mentioned yesterday, that I was quite shocked to read some of the Babywise "myths" when I first started researching the idea. I first found the concept of Babywise on Pinterest, and I didn't yet know it was called Babywise! I found a pin that was focused on scheduling feedings. I had been researching how often I should expect to feed my baby throughout the day and night. I am one of those Type A people that love to be as prepared as possible for things. While I knew I couldn't possibly know anything exact, I wanted a ballpark number to keep in mind- a goal. When I saw the idea of scheduled feedings, I was fascinated. I know that I personally thrive on schedules and knowing what is expected of me, and that my students also did the same, when I was teaching high school. I had a feeling that babies would also love the idea, and I really wanted to give it a shot. As I researched more and more, I finally found the term Babywise. That's when the research turned negative. Once Babywise is mentioned, there are a lot of myths to sift through. I turned to the book, and to the BabywiseMom blog. I also joined the Babywise Mamas group on Facebook so I could have a support system with other mamas that were using the same concepts.

Today I'd like to address something that I'm very passionate about: Babywise Isn't Imposing a Schedule, it's Learning the Ideal Schedule. This is a very important idea that often gets lost (unless you've read the book).

The myths:
Using Babywise will starve your baby and cause failure to thrive
Babywise requires you to hyper-schedule

It's not really until you join the motherhood club, that you realize just how judgmental the "club" has become. Maybe it's always been this way, but certainly with the surge in online media, the judgement seems like it's all around us. Unfortunately, in an age with information readily at our hands online, many rarely turn to books to do their research. As a result, we research online. Often we are reading a blog (like this one)- someone's opinion or recap of an idea. As teachers we try and teach students how to validate their sources, but the reality is it's a difficult task, and one that often gets lost on many (including adults). Reading someone's ideas and thoughts about a topic as a summary, can be very one sided and biased- and even incorrect. Just because it's typed up, does not mean it is fact.

Caroline: "Mama, boots"
Mama: "Yes, Mama is wearing boots"
Caroline: "Caroline boots, too"
Mama: "Yes, you are wearing boots, too"

Caroline: "Caroline, up"
Caroline looks at a little boy: "Up, too"
Mama: "Yes, he's climbing up the ladder, too"

Caroline: "Dark blue" as she points to my dark blue t-shirt
Mama: "It is dark blue, isn't it!? Great job!"
Caroline pointing at her shirt: "blue, too"

These scenarios kept happening over and over on Halloween day. I kept thinking, did she just say too and use it correctly? I mean, I don't have any experience with 24 month old children to relate this to, but to me this concept seems TOO difficult for a not quite yet 2 year old. It is one thing to simply repeat the word when I say it, but she is actively using it on her own!

If you visit a Babywise discussion group around daylight savings time, you'll see all sorts of questions surrounding how to make the change smoothly. You've finally set up the perfect schedule with your child, and them BOOM- time change to mess it all up. I get it, it's frustrating. On the other hand, some moms are welcoming the change, hoping it will fix the schedule issues they've been having LOL!

There is definitely a way to gradually make the transition and ease your little one into making this change. Check out this post for recommendations on how to make the time change happen gradually so your baby will hardly even notice!

Here's my reality though, and the one trick you can use to make the transition fast and easily:

The trick: roll with it - go with the flow- don't stress! That's it, that's the big trick. If you are stressed about it, your baby will sense it and be stressed, too. And, odds are, your little one will go with the flow!

I've pretty much always just done things cold turkey with my little one. And you know what? She does just fine! Children are capable of being so flexible and adaptable, if we allow them the chance. 

Fall back: 7 am becomes the new 6 am. We want our little ones sleeping in an extra hour. This often naturally starts to happen as it stays darker in the morning. If your child starts trying to sleep in a bit the week before, let them! If not, don't worry about it. The night before, keep your little one up 30-60 minutes extra. Don't go in the next morning until 7 am. Check out this amazing clock to help give your little one some consistency and comfort (it is on the top  list of my favorite items ever purchased).
Spring Forward: 7 am becomes the new 8 am. This one is easy! Your child will want to be sleeping in- just wake them up when it is 7 am on the clock. They might be a little extra tired and want to go to bed a bit early or take an extra long nap. No worries. By the next day, they'll have caught up and will be fine, just like you! :)

Good luck with the time change!

Posts that may be of interest to you:

I honestly didn't know what to expect on Halloween. Caroline is really shy around strangers, so I wasn't sure she'd enjoy anything about knocking on someone's door, and having to talk to them. I'd been getting her excited about her costume, and made it her favorite character from Daniel Tiger, but also envisioned that it was quite possible she'd want nothing to do with wearing it! 2 year olds aren't going to do anything they don't want to do LOL!

The day before Halloween, I started talking to Caroline about what was going to happen. I told her she was going to get to wear her O the Owl costume, and explained the process of knocking on someone's door, saying "trick or treat" and getting candy. We practiced saying trick or treat a lot!

"Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" "Read please, Mama" 

So my daughter can talk now. LOL!

I gave a speech development update when Caroline was 22 months old. Suddenly her speech was just taking off. Now, she's 24 months, and she talks all day long. She names objects, she says sentences, and she gets her point across very well! Her grandparents were just here for a visit last week, and she's already saying new words this week that they are surprised to hear! She is trying to say her name, now, and sentences like "Read please, Mama" are second nature to her!