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My daughter recently started a mommy and me gymnastics class. We got there early, as we do for most things. As I was getting Caroline ready and setting our things down, another little girl (also in the class) came up to Caroline. As little ones do, she got right up in Caroline's face (maybe an inch or two away). This is pretty typical behavior for toddlers, as they just don't have a concept of personal space yet.

Caroline doesn't usually know what to do. She just sits there and keeps looking down, for the most part. She is obviously a bit uncomfortable when this happens. I try to explain to her that this little girl is trying to say hello. I tell Caroline that she can say hello or wave if she'd like to. I also tell her that she can backup if she'd like. The other child has good intentions, so I never choose to say anything about their proximity directly to them. I also think it is the other parents responsibility, and not mine so I like to not "correct" other children if at all possible.

Can I just say that I was so pleasantly surprised that the mom came running after her child and told her to backup!??! She reminded her about "personal space" and another persons' "bubble". She even physically moved her child if/when her child wasn't listening. This is THE FIRST TIME I have ever

My husband and I love our electric toothbrush. We will never go back to using manual toothbrushes. You just don't get nearly as good of a cleaning.

I know full well that when Caroline gets to be a little bit older, she's going to want a toothbrush like Mama and Daddy have.

So, when I saw an advertisement for an electric toothbrush for babies, I was pretty intrigued and excited to try the product. As a blogger, I have a unique advantage in that I can offer to do a review of a product on my blog (where it will reach thousands of potential new customers for the company), in exchange for a free item. I was SO excited that Foreo took me up on this offer! Below is my honest opinion of this product. 

So, there were several questions I wanted answered about this toothbrush:

1. Does it clean well?
2. Is it safe?
3. Will it make a huge mess?
4. Does my daughter like it?

My first thoughts on the product:

- Well packaged, although I couldn't get the box open without prying it open with a butter knife LOL (that might be a personal issue though...who knows!?!)

You know that stage where toddlers realize they don't have to listen? We're in that! Caroline is starting to ignore us and just keep doing whatever it is she's doing. I find myself repeating directions over and over. Sometimes she even says "no". The reality is that my daughter is not always really listening to me. Once I realized that, I started doing something that has helped.

Before I give any requests/instructions/directions/etc. to my daughter, I am saying  "Caroline, look at Mama, please". If she doesn't look, I wait. If she still doesn't look, I say it again and wait. If she still doesn't look, I touch her and say it a third time. She's gotten really good (with practice) at looking at me on the first try (with allowable wait time).

Only then am I trying to ask her to do something (come over to me, clean up her toys, etc.). This is working really well for us. Now, she's still 1.5 years old. So the whole concept of following directions is new to her and something she is currently learning. I have to remind myself of that. Just because I
Today, Caroline attended her very first day of gymnastics class! I was looking for something to enroll her in for the summer months. Since her Mother's Day Out program is only during the school year, I wanted her in a regular social setting throughout the summer as well. I looked at swimming lessons, classes at the rec center, and even classes at places like My Gym. Nothing was really appealing to me or exactly what we wanted. She's young (1.5 years old), so I didn't want anything too serious or too focused. At the same time, I wasn't just looking for an expensive playdate! I wanted some structure so she could practice not only how to interact with other adults and children, but also things like waiting your turn, staying with the group, and following basic instructions. When a fellow mom gave me the idea of doing a gymnastics class, I was immediately intrigued and started doing some research.

We found a program that was more affordable than all of the above listed options, so that made me super happy to begin with. I also really liked the idea of it being pretty action filled and movement oriented, as I think that is great for this age. The class I found is a Mommy and Me class for walkers up to 3 years. I also loved the age range. I knew Caroline would be on the young end of this, so she'd get to watch older children doing the tasks, and listening to the instructor, etc. We went to an open house that the gym had last weekend. Caroline got to try out everything (balance beams, trampolines, foam pit, obstacle courses, and more)! She had a blast! I signed her up for a class immediately!

Her first class went very well! There are 4 children in the class. I think the other three children are all
2.5/3 years of age. She was definitely the young one! She remembered where we were immediately and was thrilled to be there. 3 of us had gotten there a bit early, so we sat in the waiting area. Our children interacted with one another and the moms were very hands on, which (as you all know by now) I LOVE!

Our class got called back, and we went into the gym. They started by having scarves to play with and
Independent Play is such an important tool to teach our little ones! It can build self confidence, problem solving skills, and creativity. It also gives your child a chance to experience boredom and learn how to entertain themselves (such an important tool to have in their toolbox), and gives both the child and the parents time without one another (also very healthy to incorporate).

In my post "Independent Play Time", I discuss our progression from birth to about 16 months old, I discuss the benefits, and how we have put this into practice. I will admit that, as a SAHM, I don't always keep up with independent play as I'd like to. I'm home, so sometimes I feel guilty for not being by my daughters side for playtime. Plus, things just happen and we get busy and this takes a back burner at times. It is so important, however, so I am now making a renewed effort to reinstate independent play. We are calling it "Room Time".

Caroline is just over 18 months old. We hit the 18 month sleep regression and found what I think has been our most clingy phase yet. During the days, Caroline was simply ALL. OVER. ME. And if I didn't pick her up, she was tantruming. I was going a bit crazy and not a happy mama.

Then it hit me. I hadn't been doing much independent play. We had just gotten done potty training, so we had pretty much eliminated it for about a week. And before that, it really had just fallen off of my radar for some reason for about a month or so. I immediately knew that it would help her get through this clingy phase. She needs the time alone to see how to entertain herself, to build the confidence to

As we went through our potty training journey, I logged all of our details (minute by minute) on these daily pages:

We've learned a lot now that Caroline is officially potty trained, so I wanted to go back through and write down our full method so we remember for next time!

Since we made some tweaks along the way, I figured that putting together a nice concise list of what we learned to work best, would be a great way to summarize our journey!

Our Potty Training Method in 10 Steps

1. Introduce the toilet early

By early I mean as soon as your baby is sitting (5/6 months old). We did this and it made actual potty training at 18 months so much easier!

Plus, due to this genius idea from my husband, she ended up poop trained before we even started our official potty training!

2. Potty train between 18-20 months- 

From our experience thus far, and from reading others' accounts as well...this seems to be the sweet spot for potty training early. You'll be happy to have it out of the way!

3. Use a regular toilet with a potty seat attachment (or just hold your child on the toilet)- 

This will eliminate the need to transition to the regular toilet later, it eliminates the mess of cleaning a
separate potty, and ensures that your child's transition to using the public restroom will be MUCH easier.

This potty seat is our favorite. It stands up on the floor next to the toilet, has handles for your child to hold onto, and isn't fixed to the regular seat!

4. Wear underwear- 

I was going to use the naked baby approach at first, but quickly decided against it. I don't want to train my child to use the potty while naked. I want my child to train under "normal" circumstances.

They need to get a feel for underwear. This also gave a visual to me and my daughter to see if she'd had any accidents- no matter how small.

We did "dry underwear checks" every 15/20 minutes. She knew what that meant and by the third day she was patting her underwear to check if she was dry.

She'd say "YAY" and she'd get a treat for dry underwear (see below for information on treats)!

Pick underwear that they'll be excited about (we bought boy underwear for our daughter because they had dogs on them and she LOVES dogs).

Get them excited about it starting on day 1 and every day after! Tell your child "you get to wear underwear like a big girl/boy! Like Mama and Daddy!".

5. Place on toilet at regular intervals to begin- 

When starting out, place on toilet every 20-30 minutes. Gradually work your way up to 1 hour intervals.

This will give your child a feeling of success and will allow for a lot of positive reinforcement. I did this for about 4 days.

Then I started to place on the toilet for events only (before eating, before a nap, before an outing, and before bed)- the rest was left up to her.

More accidents will start to happen, but it will resolve quickly as they catch on to what it feels like to have to go.

6. Leave on toilet for 5-10 minutes- 

Babies are used to peeing little amounts, all of the time, whenever they'd like to. Just because your child has stopped peeing, doesn't mean they are done!

Wait it out a bit (5-10 minutes) to make sure there isn't more to come. As they get used to the toilet (hopefully you've done step 1), they will take bigger pees and be done faster.

If they aren't used to the toilet yet, consider giving a treat (see step 7) simply for sitting on the toilet!

7. Positive reinforcement- 

Click here to download this reward chart

Use lots of praise, clapping, high fives, etc. Also use treats (this made a huge difference for us)! We used our favorite treat- Cocoa Puffs!

They are small and have lots of vitamins and minerals LOL (but they actually do). Give positive reinforcement every time your child pees or poops on the toilet!

Sticker charts are also a great idea! Also use positive reinforcement for dry underwear checks! I had removed treats completely by day 6.

Also praise for saying "potty" and if your child lets you know in any way that they have to go!

8. Expect accidents- 

Your child is learning something new.

So, just like with learning how to use a fork or ride a bike, there will be accidents. It is ok. Just say "uh oh" and remind them that pee/poop only goes in the toilet.

When they do have an accident, rush them to the toilet to finish.

9. Go out on short trips- 

Day 1 stay home all day.

Day 2, put pants on and go outside at home for your outing (no car rides yet).

Day 3 take a quick car ride and have a quick outing to a store (no more than 30 minutes).

Day 4 take a slightly longer outing. Goal is by day 7 you are doing life as you usually do.

10. Always have your child pee before you leave the house- 

This is a rule in our house now. We all try to go potty before we leave the house. Again, this sets you up for success.


Stock up on essentials before starting-
Waterproof mattress pads (2)
Car seat liners (2)
Underwear (14)
Cloth diapers for clean ups (10)
Pull ups (see below for naps and bedtime)

Save naps and bedtime for later- 

For these, it is important to wait until they are ready so they have success. Wait until they are having dry diapers most of the time, or close to dry. 

Then, have them wear underwear with a pull up over it. The underwear will give them the feeling of wetness (which they won't like), and the pull ups will save you from cleaning the sheets too often. 

All of our potty training posts:

Start as you Mean to go on (5 months old)
My Daughter Refused to Poop in her Diaper (7 months old)
Caroline's First Trip
Potty Training Continued (11 months old)
Potty Training  (the plan)
Potty Training Update (17 months old)
Potty Train is Still Going (18 months old)
Potty Training Survival Tips (from a pro)
Potty Training On the Go (my guest post on another blog)
Official Potty Training Day 1 
Official Potty Training Day 2
Official Potty Training Day 3
Official Potty Training Day 4, 5, 6 and Beyond

Today is Pinterest Day for the Babywise Friendly Blog Network and the ladies in the group are discussing topics about hygiene! Be sure and check out our Pinterest Page and check out the other posts today!

Hygiene Posts:

Valerie at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom: 
Must Have Products for Doing Your Daughter's Hair

Kimberly at Team Cartwright: 
Hand washing- Time to Stop Being Lazy

Carrie at Wiley Adventures: 
Taking Care of Mama: How 15 Minutes Can Radically Change Your Day

We hear the sound of keys in the door. I don't have to say a word. Caroline yells "Daddy!" before he can even open the door, and gets the biggest smile on her face. Moose starts jumping and running towards the door. Often times, Caroline runs to the door as well. It is the best moment in our day- Daddy.

Daddy. He's one of those Daddy's that is truly amazing. I know, I know, everyone says this. But I am in awe of this man on a daily basis. 

He wakes before the sun in the early morning hours, when some are just laying their heads to rest. He works long, hard days- a minimum of 12 hours a day. He works every day. Weekends are not a part of our vocabulary. This man works 7 days a week, and still manages to get up every single morning around 3 am. It amazes me.

And it doesn't stop there. He gets home from his 12+ hour day and makes time for us. His eyes are tired and he can hardly stay awake. I often tell him to go to bed. He stays with us, though. He plays with Caroline, helps do the dishes, and takes care of us. He even tries to insist on helping grocery shop. He stays awake to tell Caroline multiple bedtime stories, help brush her teeth and take her to the potty. He brushes her hair and holds her close. He soaks up all of the time he possibly can with
Ok, WOW. So, I don't really believe in sleep regressions due to age. I think sleep regressions are due to learning new skills and other factors such as teething. Those things tend to happen around the same time frame for many babies, so we end up trying to predict sleep regressions by age. Read more about sleep regressions here.

Anyways, Caroline is suddenly having a super hard time going to sleep. Not only that, her days are being affected and she is incredibly clingy.

Here's what's happening:

1. Bedtime: The last 2 nights Caroline has been up until almost 9:30 pm! We start her bedtime routine as usual, but when we try and put her to bed she is screaming for us and trying to claw her way out of the crib and up in to Mama's arms. She's, of course,

Day 4

Day 4 is all about staying consistent and challenging her to ask for the potty. Everything is the same as day 3 with regards to my expectations. I am telling her it is time to go before events such as eating, napping, or leaving the house. Other than that, I am reminding her to try and keep her underwear dry, reminding her we only pee on the toilet, and having her practice saying the word potty. I changed from cookies to Cocoa Puffs (my dads brilliant idea). I am also trying another outing in the car today.

Other than that, the only new thing is putting on a pull-up diaper over her underwear at nap time. A friend gave me this suggestion, since Caroline is still having accidents as soon as she wakes up. She will still be able to feel the wetness on her underwear, but I won't have a huge mess to clean
Ok, so day 3 I decided to push things a little bit and challenge her to tell me when she had to go potty.

Day 3 method:

1. Place on toilet before big "events" and tell her it is time. Before sitting down to eat, before her nap, before leaving the house, and before bed all count as events. She needs to pee before we do these things. I told her it was time to go to the toilet, and we went.

2. Praise and cookies. We are still giving cookies for dry underwear checks and for peeing and pooping in the potty. We are also having her practice saying "potty" throughout the day, and she gets a cookie for trying. Caroline is doing amazing with checking to see if she is dry! She looks and even pats herself to check! I love that she is so involved in the process!

3. Encouraging her to tell me when she has to go. I am no longer looking at the clock and making
Day 2 has arrived, and I am already tweaking a couple of things!

1. Adding treats! I've decided to use positive reinforcement throughout this process. I mentioned yesterday that we are doing lots of praising...that is continuing. Lots of excited yelping, high fiving and smiles! In addition to that I've added a small treat. I am using Annies chocolate cookies and breaking them in two. She gets cookies for a few reasons:

  • Underwear checks- I do periodic underwear checks throughout the day (about every 10-20 minutes). If her underwear are dry (we are checking together), she gets a cookie!
  • Using the toilet- Any time she pees and/or poops on the toilet she gets a cookie when we are done.
  • Saying the word POTTY (or trying to)- Yesterday she finally started trying to say potty when
After about a week of fairly dry diapers in between naps and peeing on the toilet when offered or asked, and two really good days of it, I decided to just go ahead and potty train this weekend.
So, day 1 has commenced.

I have a million other potty training posts for what we've done leading up to this day. In a nut shell, Caroline is already poop trained and comfortable on the toilet due to our previous efforts. Today and the days to follow is all about pee training, learning that we ONLY pee in the toilet, and learning to identify when she has to go on her own and ask. To see previous posts click on "potty training" above, or scroll to the bottom of the post for each link.

Here's what we are doing:

1. Offering the toilet frequently- I guess I should say placing on the toilet frequently. Not only do I
Teaching our children to be responsible and helpful is something that can start at a very young age. I remember when Caroline was just a few months old- I found myself using her nap time to get things done. I vacuumed during naps only; I did the dishes during naps, etc. One day, I decided to vacuum while she was awake. She was afraid of the vacuum. It dawned on me that she needed to have exposure to these things. One, I didn't want her afraid of the vacuum or a broom, etc. Two, I wanted her (even at that young age), to see these tasks getting done. She should be aware that they happen, and eventually taught more about these tasks so she can be involved.

From that day on, I made it a point to do some of the daily household "chores" with her around. As she's gotten older, she's not only been aware of these tasks, she is now excited to help! She even does some of these tasks without my asking her to do so.

Tasks that Caroline is involved with:

- Putting laundry away
- Unloading the dishwasher

Caroline is now a little over 1.5 years old. About 2 months ago, I realized that I wasn't really taking the time to have focused learning yet with our daughter. Don't get me wrong, we talk shapes, colors, objects, and more all day long infused in our natural play and conversation. But, I wasn't taking the time to actually sit down with her and go through the alphabet, or have a focused time on just shapes, or numbers, etc. At this age, Caroline seemed to just be soaking in any and all information given to her. So, I made it a goal to try and have her sit down with me on a daily basis for 5-10 minutes and have focused learning sessions.

My first attempt, I sat down with an alphabet book and sang the ABC's. I pointed to each letter as I went through the song. I figured it was silly to ask, but I decided to see if Caroline already knew any letters. In the video below, you'll see how she
Something amazing happened yesterday. I cried and cried as a wrote the post I shared. I cried like it had just happened. I reread it countless times to make sure it was right. Each time I cried less. Writing that post brought back so many hurtful memories. 

But... then I felt stronger. And, as the day went on, I received messages and comments and people sending good thoughts (even if they didn't know what to say). Friends from middle school, high school, college, and the rest of my adult life came together to bring me strength, to support me. I woke up this morning feeling refreshed. Feeling so much stronger. Feeling like such a good mom for sharing my story. 

Today I am stronger, and I have you to thank. So thank you. Thank you for your kind words, thank you
Over the past few days my Facebook feed has been inundated with posts about the Stanford rape. I couldn't stand to read the details and tried to avoid it. His name and his face are plastered in my mind, however, just from reading the titles. So the instant I saw a post about the two heroes, I read that and shared that. Those were the faces I wanted to see. In that article I read a horrifying account of what had happened. I then intentionally searched, not for the rapist's statements, not for his father's disgusting words, but for the victim's letter. The warrior. It was her words that I wanted to read (if anything). I mustered up the courage and read those 12 pages last night.

My friend said it best today: "I hate that statistics bind us together in a way they never should". Yes, this. My stomach was in knots last night as I read this womans thoughts. I was reminded of my own feelings. Feelings that over the last 13 years I've finally managed to push out of my life (for the most part). Feelings that make me want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I felt like I was reliving my experience from 13 years ago.

It's still hard to say. I remember having to force the word out. Rape. If I had to tell the story (which I
Our morning routine has changed a lot over the course of the last year and a half.

Prior to 4 months of age, if you woke early (before our desired wake time), I'd go in and try to put you back to sleep. If you were hungry, I'd feed you, put you back down, then feed again at our desired wake time.

Once we hit the 4 month mark, we were doing sleep training. So...I had you wait until our desired wake time of 7 am before I came in and fed you.

I never fed you immediately from this point on. I wanted you to get used to getting up, getting changed, then eating. I didn't want you to associate waking up with immediate food.

As you progressed, you eventually switched from breastfeeding to whole milk (around 12 months). Since then, you've been getting whole milk very consistently right when you wake up. I now give it to you pretty immediately, because I want you hungry for solid foods in a little bit and I want to brush your teeth after you drink the milk.

At 18 months old, here is what our morning routine has turned into:

- Wake at 7 am (if you wake earlier, you quietly wait for me to come in)
I also allow you to sleep in if you choose to do so. It is rare that you sleep past 7:30, and if you do, you typically need the sleep so I allow it. For the most part, due to our hard work in the first year, you are very consistent with waking up at 7 am, however.

- Drink milk in crib (sometimes you ask for Mama to join you in the crib, which I do!) Lately, I've been making my coffee ahead of time and sitting in the glider while you enjoy your milk. We give each other cheers from time to time as we both wake up :)

- You then get out of your crib and have play time. We open the curtains and look outside for groundhogs and squirrels. You are eager to interact with your friends (stuffed animals), play with your toys and books. While you do this, I go and brush my teeth and use the bathroom.

- You eventually come into the bathroom (or I come get you at this point). Then it is your turn to try and go potty. I've learned to let you sit on the potty as long as you want. You always pee and usually poop as well in the mornings! I ask you periodically if you are all done or have more potty... you tell me your response. Usually you have "more" and we sit there for quite awhile. You read the book that came with your drum set, and a little interactive color and shapes book. You usually pee more and sit there long enough to feel the urge to poop. When you are done, you try to wipe yourself, and then I do a good wipe to clean you up.

- Then it is time to get dressed. Sometimes you pick out your own outfit, and other times you simply say no to every outfit I offer. Mama gets to choose a lot!

- Once you are dressed we go back into the bathroom and brush your teeth. Mama takes a turn brushing your teeth first. Then you get to practice.

- While you practice brushing your teeth, Mama does your hair.

- Sometimes we put your toys away at this point (sometimes we leave them), and then we head down for breakfast.

- While I make breakfast, we either put the radio on, or the Today show on so we stay in tuned to the world! You used to stand on your kitchen stool and help (when I made my coffee at this point instead of bringing it upstairs). You'd help me make the coffee every morning, and snack on a banana while I made the rest of our breakfast. Now you usually run around and play with toys while I make breakfast.

- Then we sit down together at the table and eat.

- Once breakfast is over, we have until lunch time to head out and do something for the day! This is usually when we take an outing (to the trampoline park, an event, storytime, Target, groceries, go for a walk, to the playground, fountain or pool, etc.).

Mornings are my absolute favorite time with you. You are usually refreshed from the night and are in such a great, happy mood. I love our time together an watching you do new things. We sometimes get a little alphabet practice in and read a book. We have some of our best moments in the morning. You are always so excited to see me, and love seeing Moose in the morning as well. You give kisses to Chelsea on my phone and say "gone" every morning as we walk down the stairs. Melts my heart. We keep her with us every day.

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Day! Since we are about to be full throttle ahead with potty training, I figured I'd ask a pro to give us some tips from her experience! Carrie from Wiley Adventures is sharing her Potty Training Survival Tips with us today!
My post is also on Potty Training and is over at The Moses Home blog. I'm writing about my Potty Training On the Go Essentials! I hope you enjoy both posts today!

Listen yall, after potty training three of my four scouts, I have quickly figured out that NOTHING makes me lose my sanity faster than potty training. So far, there is nothing I hate worse in the little years. It trumps teething and weaning. It’s the worst.

To make matters even *better*, each of my three were so different in how they trained (true to their personalities). I used the same method for all three (the one mentioned in “On Becoming Preschoolwise”) but how they responded was very different.

For my oldest, my girl, it took a solid two weeks. We trained for day time and night time at the same time. She was just ready for both so we did it. I thought those two weeks felt like two years. I thought I wasn’t going to survive. I thought I was going to lose my ever-loving mind. It takes NOTHING for me to draw up those miserable memories. And then, after two weeks, something clicked in her little brain and we were COMPLETELY accident free. Save for a couple middle of the night accidents the next year. I thought I had survived the apocalypse. I thought I had it bad. Ha! Little did I know….

It took my second, a boy, NINE MONTHS…. NINE EVERLOVING MONTHS to be completely trained. I’m not just talking nights (though by month nine of going at it he was ready for night training as well). It just took longer for the pieces to click in his brain than it did his older sister. We tried everything. We boot camped three times. Even though he had reached every “readiness marker” he just was not ready. The will is strong with this one.

For my third, also a boy, we were feeling the time clock with him to get him ready for the three year old class at preschool. I STRESSED about it. I didn’t not want to have to hold him back from this class since he was academically and socially ready. I mean I STRESSED (especially after the nine month nightmare I had experienced the year before).But he surprised us all. He was night trained before day trained and it only took him a week and half to really get the hang of it. The hardest part for him was pulling up and down his pants.

Throughout these experiences, I have learned a few things about how to keep your sanity *somewhat* in tact, regardless of what method you choose.

- Try your very best not to stress about it. The kids can smell fear. If you are stressed and anxious about it, they will be too, or it will trigger their strong will to defy you. Remember that it is HIGHLY unlikely that they will go college wearing a diaper.

- Rewards! I’m not talking about just for them. Find a way to reward yourself in the process just for surviving the day.

- Don’t overcommit to other things while potty training. Potty training unfortunately almost always involves staying near the potty. If you are trying to do other things at the same time, it’s not likely to work out. You have to be able to focus on it.

- Utilize your devices and stock up on good books! Download fun apps to play in the bathroom while you are “waiting”. Keep a stack of books in the bathroom for easy use. Throw a couple in there for you too!

- Know how to clean your furniture and carpets BEFORE the accidents happen. Know what products best remove stains from your rugs and find out if your couch cushions can be washed or not. Knowing how to deal with the clean-up before the accidents and mess happens can help you keep your cool in the moment. (Remember, they can smell fear.)

- Find the humor in it. My husband is SO GOOD at this! He makes the kids laugh and always has more success with the kids than I do. I really attribute a lot of that to his ability to laugh at things like the silly noises you hear in the bathroom. Humor breaks the tension and stress for everyone involved.

- Prepare several “accident bags” to carry with you. I put in a gallon ziplock: a change of undies, a change of pants or shorts, and a smaller ziplock with a few baby wipes in it. If you prepare several of these ahead of time for when you get out and about, it is FAR less stressful to deal with an accident.

If you are in the trenches right now, I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I don’t have to know the details. I get it. Hopefully these tips can help you trudge on. Remember… college! One day they will be diaper free and fleeing the nest! March on soldier, and may the odds be ever in your favor!!

Carrie is married to Kyle and has four kids: Laura Kate (8), Shepherd (5), Fischer (3), and Archer, (18 months). She blogs regularly
Oh, bedtime!

Our schedule at 1.5 years old has become a little bit more relaxed at bedtime. It is summer, meaning that daddy will be working longer hours. Your typical bedtime has been 6:30/7 pm. Lately, however, it was taking you about an hour to fall asleep. So, we decided to see what would happen if you went to bed closer to 7:30/8 pm instead. Turns out, you fall asleep pretty instantly! You also get more time with Daddy. WOOHOO! Maybe...

Our bedtime routine is pretty simple. We usually have some playtime upstairs after dinner, and occasionally go out and do something fun with daddy like go to the fountain! Once it is bedtime, however, your routine is pretty straightforward and short.

Bath has never been a part of your bedtime. You don't get baths every day, so we didn't want it to be part of the "routine". If you do get a bath, it is right before we start the bedtime routine.

When you were younger, we had more specific things that we did. (info on those routines can be found here)

Here is the bedtime routine now (at 18 months):
- Brush teeth
- Go potty
- Change clothes
- Read story
- Turn on sound machine
- Bed 

Lately, you've been doing something that is both exciting and annoying! LOL

Riiiiight before we lay you down in your crib, you ask for "wawa" or water. You are speaking and trying to talk, so we are super pumped about this! You also seem to know full well that you are delaying bedtime, however, and seem to do it on purpose. We are having to limit the number of times we give in to your request. You now get water once.

You are also asking to go potty (riiiiiight before bed, and yes you got to try and go potty during our above bedtime routine). This one is tricky. You are not yet potty trained, but we are well into our training. You are asking to go, so we want to honor that request and take you to the toilet. HOWEVER.... again, you seem to be taking advantage of the fact that you know it will buy you an extra ten minutes here and there. We allow you to try, because it is fantastic that you are asking to go! We are also starting to have to limit how many times we allow you to try, and how long we allow you to sit there! We are now letting you try once, and then telling you to call us if you have to go later, or to feel free to go in your diaper (unless you have to poop). 

When all is said and've almost pushed your bedtime to 8:30 pm the last few days! WHAAAT!?!?! You sneaky girl, you! haha

I've also noticed (and am wondering if it's correlated), that you are SUPER cranky during the day. And it's not really something to's the kind of cranky that reaches up and slaps me in the face (tantrums ALL morning long, nothing makes you happy and we both end up frustrated). With our decision to make bedtime a bit later, and your shenanigans to stay up, we have cut into your sleep a little bit more than we wanted. 

Tonight, we decided you will be going to bed earlier again to see if that helps you (and me) out in the mornings.You aren't sleeping any later by the way. I'll be interested to see if an earlier bedtime helps your crankiness. You are also getting molars (3 of them and it is dragging on). So, this could be part of the issue we are seeing with regards to your mood, extra tiredness and lack of wanting to eat much. 

So tonight, earlier bedtime, and you get water once, and you get to try and go potty ONCE. LOL It is fascinating to see how much you understand lately (even if you are taking advantage).

Caroline is not a fan of drawing. Usually her first instinct is to take the crayon, marker, pen etc and chew on it. She draws for all of 30 seconds and then moves on. She has been enjoying the times that I get the paint out, however, so I wanted to make sure I keep offering opportunities to draw as well. Just because she doesn't like it now, doesn't mean she won't LOVE it tomorrow! Just like with food... one day she can't get enough raspberries... the next she won't eat it because of the little hairs on the berries. #todddlerlife!

Yesterday I got out Caroline's magic marker set. She had SO MUCH FUN! I couldn't believe it. She drew and drew for what seemed like forever. And she only put the markers in her mouth a couple of times. YAY!

Picture of Wipe-Clean Starter Collection (7)
I was so excited, I decided to get out her wipe clean books as well. She has a beginning pen control book and an alphabet book. They both have vivid, beautiful pictures in them. Since she loves her alphabet so much right now, I decided to focus on the alphabet book. She had such a great time naming the objects on each page, and was really excited to see letters! She drew and drew! I am so glad that she finally took to this activity. This will really start to be fun now that she is learning her alphabet so well!

drawing fun!

I've been taking Caroline to a splash fountain near by for the past week. She loves it and we both have so much fun. We go at around 9/9:30 in the morning when it is nice and quiet, and the sun isn't too hot yet. It has been a wonderful way to spend our mornings!

So, I thought Caroline was having fun at the fountain. The fountain is apparently NOTHING in comparison to the POOL! Holy moly did she have fun at her first pool visit of the season!

Caroline has always liked water, so this is no surprise. She loved the pool last season when she was just 6 months old. She is such a little fish and even kicks and moves her arms. This year she knows what I mean when I say to kick her legs and move her arms. She loves the splash that it makes and has a blast listening to mamas directions.

Yesterday we tried out the small wading pool first. She was simply thrilled. She splashed with her hands and kicked her legs. She was giggling and screaming with delight the entire time. Took a face plant or two and was right back to it!

I then took her in the big pool. She had so much fun trying to swim, she was actually trying to push me away for more independence! I decided it would be fun to see if she'd jump in from the side (while I caught her in the pool). I honestly didn't think she'd do it so easily. This girl was thrilled and jumped right in. "More, more, more!" she'd exclaim every time! She did it over and over. Again,she wanted me to move and get the heck out of the way. Too bad for her I'm not going anywhere just yet! LOL

She then noticed the ladder to get out. This girl is brilliant, I swear. Why I didn't think to show her initially is beyond me, but I was glad she was interested. I took the time to show her how to get out. She climbed up and out with little assistance. Such a great idea to show her how to get out of the pool. She is WAY too young to be in the pool alone or even without someone holding her, but if something were to happen and she needed out, I love the idea that she knows how to do so. I am glad she brought this to my attention. I'll keep showing her for that just in case emergency situation!

It also got me thinking about swimming lessons. I was planning on doing it even younger than she is now (last winter). I simply didn't get around to it. Now that I am seeing how much she loves the water, however, I am excited to just jump in and do this now. I found a great swim school that has sessions starting in less than two weeks. I think we are going to take full advantage of this opportunity, because we will obviously be spending a lot of time at the pool this summer. This will be a great way for her to learn some water skills and for mama to learn how to safely give her a little more independence in the water.

UPDATE: We will not be doing swimming lessons at this age. From what I can tell, the ones for this age are simply to get them comfortable with the water (which Caroline already is)! From talking with other moms, they sound like really expensive playdates! LOL Looking into a different activity for us as a result.... 
Loves to read on the potty!
So we have been on hold with our potty training journey. Part of the reason for the hold is because I'm pretty content. Poop is the biggest obstacle, and I haven't had to deal with a diaper full of poop in forever. I can't remember the last time she pooped in her diaper. So, my motivation is simply lacking LOL! We only use about 4 diapers per day. No big deal!

The other reason for the hold up, as I've mentioned in my other potty training posts, is that Caroline is simply not saying "potty", "pee", or "poop". For poop she gets my attention, but I have felt like I need her saying the words before we pee train.

Just as a reminder, she is fully poop trained (holds it when out, asks to go, etc). She also pees on the toilet if it is offered. So she could rock this whole potty training thing any time, I think!

Yesterday afternoon I decided to try something. She woke up from her nap, I put her on the toilet and she peed. I then put underwear on her instead of a diaper. I told her to tell me if she had to go potty (which we do all of the time anyway), and explained that we'd go to the toilet. Not 10 minutes later, she stopped dead in her tracks and looked like a dear in headlights. I asked her if she needed to go. She started peeing right there in the middle of the room. So, I swooped in and grabbed her. Told her "no no, we need to pee on the toilet instead". I put her on the toilet and she finished. We use the word no at this point because she totally gets it and understands. We keep a nice friendly tone, however, because she doesn't have the means to tell us she has to go yet.

Before bed, we always have her try and go. She resisted at first, but then got on and went pee and pooped (diarrhea due to either apple juice or molars coming in). Diarrhea makes you a little more in tune to your child's every noise, and possible potty movement! She seemed to ask to go a couple more times before bed (could have also just been delaying bed time). We put her on the toilet and she peed a little.

To bed she went at 7 pm. 8 pm rolled around and she was still up. I heard her say "Mama". So, I went in. She made her potty noise. We went to the toilet again, just in case she had more diarrhea. This girl had a completely dry diaper, and smiled SO BIG as she peed in the toilet!

I know she's ready. I'm still waiting a couple of weeks I think, though. haha

Today she started trying to say potty while she was on the potty. I have a feeling that in a couple of weeks she might be saying something close to the word potty and will be able to get my attention quicker when she has to pee. Plus, school will be letting out and the crowds will be upon us. I'm going to stay in and potty train that first week so we miss out on all of the busyness of the new summer season that's upon us.

In the meantime, I am researching all of the things I need for our adventure. We already have our amazing potty seats that I have shown in this post (we love the handles). Now, I'm starting to plan for our adventures out and about. These car seat liners were brought to my attention. I have one on the way to take a look at. Britax actually makes these for our car seats, so safety is not a concern as I initially thought! If I like this bad boy, I'll be buying another. (Always need to have two of something that is going to get wet and need to be washed).

All of our potty training posts:

Start as you Mean to go on (5 months old)

My Daughter Refused to Poop in her Diaper (7 months old)

Caroline's First Trip

Potty Training Continued (11 months old)

Potty Training  (the plan)

Potty Training Update (17 months old)

Water can actually be very dangerous for babies. Babies can survive on breast milk and/or formula alone for the first 6 months without needing any supplemental food or water.

Breast milk and formula both provide all of the hydration that a baby needs. Adding water to this can lead to serious side effects.

- Your baby can fill up on water, lowering her breast milk/formula intake. This would lower the calories and nutrients that your baby is consuming and be very serious to her health.

- Too much water can also lead to a serious condition called water intoxication. Water intoxication can lead to a drastic change in sodium levels in the body which can cause seizures, brain damage, and even death.

Here are a few rules to keep in mind:

- Babies under 2 months of age should not be given any water.

- Babies 3-4 months of age can be given a few sips of water (after they've consumed breast milk/or formula). This way they are not filling up on water, but can experiment with sippy cups and tasting the flavor.

We started giving Caroline a straw sippy cup at 3 months of age, and she took right to it. So glad we started at this age getting her comfortable with the cup!

- Babies 4-6 months of age should be given no more than 2-4 oz of water in a 24 hour period.

- Babies on solid food can be given a glass of water with their meals. This will help them get used to the flavor and the act of drinking from a sippy cup.

My rule (and our doctor agreed), was that babies can be given no more ounces than their age in months. (Example: if baby is 7 months old, they should not exceed 7 ounces of water per day).

Again, water should only be given once baby is full on breastmilk/formula/solids).

-Once they reach toddlerhood at 1 year, their water consumption can increase! From 1-3 years of age, their fluid intake should be about 44 ounces.

About 20% of this will come from foods that contain moisture (fruits, vegetables, soup, etc). The rest should come from milk and plain water.

Other Posts of Interest:

Snacking with Baby On The Go

When and How to Give Solid Foods to your Baby

Summer Activity Schedule for Our Toddler