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Dear Caroline,

Last night you called out for me. It was not even a couple of hours after you'd gone to bed and fallen asleep. You are a bit under the weather with a runny nose and not much of a voice for the past couple of days. I know how hard it is to get comfortable sleeping when you nose is going back and forth from stuffy to runny. You always handle it so well. Tonight you were having a hard time, and my heart broke for you. You told me the usual "I need to poop" line to get out of bed and get time with Mama. I took you, and then, when I saw you didn't have to go, I asked if you wanted to go back to bed and have Mama hold you. You said yes and just melted into my arms so thankful that I'd asked.

How To Prepare For Potty Training As Early As 5 months Old- Plus a 10 Step Potty Training Method

You know those moments when your husband has a genius parenting idea, and you’re like…”OMG why didn’t I think of this!?!” You’ve spent every waking hour with your child, yet somehow the idea never crossed your mind. You tell him how genius it is, and then somewhat regret not figuring out a way to take credit for this genius idea yourself. Well, this scenario played through when our daughter was 5 months old.

She was one of those babies that had the very obvious poop face. Red faced, grunting…OBVIOUS

Husband’s genius idea: 

"A 2011 Florida State University study found that just 7.5 percent of nearly 6,000 picture books published between 1900 and 2000 depict female animal protagonists; male animals were the central characters in more than 23 percent each year. (For books in which characters were not assigned a gender, researchers noted, parents reading to their children tended to assign one: male.) No more than 33 percent of children’s books in any given year featured an adult woman or female animal, but adult men and male animals appeared in 100 percent of the books." See full article here.

Do these statistics surprise me? No. And, as a mother with a daughter, it has become very obvious to me that these statistics are very representative of 2017 as well. Yes there are books that feature main female characters, but they are still the exception, not the rule. And the classics that we love and still enjoy certainly haven't been rewritten with female characters! Dora the Explorer books are a phenomenal addition to our home...not only is the book starring a female character- she is problem solving! She is figuring things out, using scientific evidence, and she is NOT a princess! There is always a need for more books like this!

I am that mom that is fascinated with developmental milestones and reading the science of what's happening to our babies as they learn. The Wonder Weeks book is such a great read (see my book review here), and I was astounded by the predictability of it. Unfortunately, the Wonder Weeks book stops it's known age predictable developmental milestones at the age of 20 months. Obviously, developmental leaps still occur after this point. And, it should come as no surprise to us that, these developmental leaps cause some behavioral shifts in our children when they are happening. Toddlers are learning so much all at once, and their worlds simply keep expanding and surprising them. As they take in new knowledge and learn new skills, their behaviors and sleep can be impacted. I always like to take note of when shifts like this happen, what skills are currently being learned, and what the regression is presenting itself as (sleep or behavioral changes).

This blog allows me to kind of create my own book about our personal experiences. It is so helpful to look back on them. The regressions typically last for about 1-2 weeks (similar in length to the leaps that are listed in the Wonder Weeks book). Just about the time I start getting worried about how long this is going to go on, and I finally break down and write a blog about our "regression", the behavior stops and our little Caroline goes back to her usual self. I am secretly hoping that the act of me writing this snaps her back to normal! LOL

When: Caroline turned 28 months old yesterday. It has been about a week of this behavior.

Easter baskets are a huge tradition in my family. This is my second year getting to fill and hide an Easter basket for our daughter, and I am so excited! Yes, you read that right...we hide the entire basket, not just some plastic eggs. My dad did this for my entire childhood, and it was so much fun.

I am starting to plan what I'm going to be putting in Caroline's basket this year, and I like to make sure that I am not just wasting money. I want to get things that she'll actually enjoy using, and that are useful. Really my goal is to buy things that I need to buy anyway, and have them turn into fun Easter basket goodies!

Here are some Easter basket ideas that I've come up with:

Hair accessories: With a little girl, it is inevitable that we need more and more hair accessories. Tiny little hair bands just get lost. I am not even one to buy bows and girl it up, and this is on our list of things to buy every few months! We are finally moving into normal hair ties (instead of the plastic ones that break), so it is coming up less and less, but still always a fun idea that we'll get use out of!

Today is Babywise Friendly Network Day! We are all writing on the topic of routine. Please see below for a full list of links!

If you've read this blog, you know that I am a huge advocate of using schedules with babies. I have written posts on the benefits of scheduling, and talked about how to identify when it is time to adjust the schedule, and how to go about adjusting the schedule, once you realize it's time. The basic premise of these schedules is based on Babywise techniques, and the idea is that at each age, there is an optimal amount of time for babies to be awake. The average time that a baby can handle staying awake without being overtired, can be applied to all babies and can really help with a baby's temperament, ability to sleep well, and engagement when awake. Making a schedule isn't easy, however. It isn't as simple as reading the Babywise book, or looking at my sample schedules, and then applying the schedule to your life. Schedules need to be optimized for each individual. This takes a lot of time and effort, and can be overwhelming.

One of the perks of being a parenting blogger, is getting to connect with other moms. I've had the honor of getting to know this amazingly strong mama, and hearing her story. This woman has strength beyond what I can even fathom. She is sharing her story with us today. She is sharing her sadness, her heartache, her strength, and her happiness. This is a story worth your time.

Kelly writes:

"Chore"- it's not really a word that I grew up with or intend on using in my household. It gets the point across in the title however, as to what I'm writing about. Today I want to talk about the expectations we've set with our daughter. The tasks that she is responsible for taking care of. I want to talk about what she's capable of handling, and how she contributes to household tasks.

I don't view these items as chores, because I want her to learn that she is expected to help out whenever possible. I don't want her growing up learning to just check off her list. Being a family is a team effort, and we all have to pitch in to get things done. We have responsibilities as a family, and we all help out the best way we can. As Daniel Tiger says, "Everyone is big enough to do something".

Caroline is now almost 2.5 years old! I can't believe it. The time is simply flying by. Here are some things that we expect her to do around the house:

This post originally appeared at Wiley Adventures. It was a part of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network swap day! Original post was published on 1/12/16.

Do you have a 2 year old? This post is for you! My daughter is a young 2 (25 months). This is a challenging age when it comes to independent play (for us anyways). My once amazing independent player, is now losing it when I leave the room. Needless to say, independent play (or room time) has become a challenge in our house at the moment. While we continue to work on establishing independent play again, we've decided to introduce another type of play- "table play". Table play is my chance to get some hands free time while she's awake.

Table play is still independent play. It is a confined independent play, however, which is much different from the independent play that our daughter currently does in her room. Table play is much more focused. I will provide her with choices of a focused activity that she can engage in. With room time, she had access to everything in her room and got to choose the items that she played with. At table time, she is sitting in her booster seat at the table.

The National Girls Collaborative Project invited me to share my story as a woman that pursued a career in STEM! I am so honored to be sharing!

"It was my freshman year in college. I was taking the "weed out" courses of the premed (biomedical science) major that I'd signed up for. I found myself spending countless hours at the library studying, reading, and practicing- chemistry. Chem 101 was a tough class, but I was feeling inspired by the content. I wanted to read about it. I wanted to practice the problems. I wanted to learn as much as I could. It seemed to be the perfect mix of science and math to satisfy my brain, and, simply put, I was fascinated. I knew right then and there that I'd be changing my major to chemistry. 

The #BoyMom hashtag is used quite liberally in today's culture to describe activities and behaviors that girls enjoy and engage in all the time. So let's take a look at the #BoyMom topics that are so often talked about:

1. Being obsessed with their penis and peeing everywhere. Ok I'll give this one to all the #boymoms. I don't have to deal with my daughter pulling at a penis, peeing everywhere, etc. Feel free to use the hashtag on this topic whenever you please!

As for the rest of this list, it's just a #kidthing and a #mom experience. 

Last night, we had a little family outing... the outing? To get Mama a tattoo! Yes, I'm that mom that brings her 2 year old to watch me get a tattoo! We pretty much do everything as a family, and I wasn't about to go by myself. So, we all went!

I'm turning 33 tomorrow, and this is my first tattoo. I've always liked tattoos, but never had something that I wanted to actually be permanently stuck to my body. I also had a self proclaimed rule that I had to wait until I was 30 before getting one. In my younger days, I was notorious for changing my tastes on a whim! I knew better than to tattoo something then, but now I'm feeling content, rooted, secure, and stable in my likes and dislikes, my beliefs and views. There's nothing I'm more certain of than my love for my family.

I wrote a blog post awhile back called "strong as a mother". (see below for full post) I came up with this design back when I wrote the post, and never got around to actually putting it out there. Then I saw the new Target shirt! So similar! I realized that the message is strong, and something that women want to say. As moms, we often are made to feel inferior if we choose to stay home and be "just a mom". But the reality is that we've taken on the hardest job of our lives, and we are anything but just a mom. 

I am a woman that celebrates science. I celebrate independence and having a strong career. I also celebrate being a mom and love my new job of staying home to raise my daughter. 

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today, Emily, from The Journey of Parenthood, is talking about the 6 times that she finds ignoring to be a beneficial tool in her parenting toolbox! She writes:

"It's important as parents to have a parenting toolbox. A toolbox filled with a variety of parenting tools to pull from when certain situations arise. No two children are exactly like. Each child will respond differently to different discipline methods and a variety of circumstances will occur with children where just having ONE method of discipline simply won't work." 

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.
Today, Cole from Twinning Babywise, is writing about some common discipline tactics. I love that she labels these as "delay tactics". They are, in fact, delay tactics... but they are often thought of as useful discipline methods. The problem, is that they are merely delaying the inevitable... the discipline part. These tactics are often open ended and parents often don't follow through on the "threats". She writes:

"I'm going to count to three! One....two....three....four..."

"If you don't come here right now, you're going to get a spanking!"

"You don't want to come? Okay, I'm leaving without you... here we go....I'm walking out the door..."

These, among many others, are discipline delay tactics. On the surface, the purpose of these statements is to offer the child a second chance to obey, but in actuality the point is release the parent from the responsibility of disciplining. Discipline isn't fun for the child or the parent, so they are hoping to avoid it by giving the child more opportunities to obey.

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today, Carrie from Wiley Adventures is talking about how they view discipline through the lens of the bible. She's put together some great thinking points!

"Rules can punish disobedience, and there is a need for that, but they cannot MAKE someone more loving, joyful, etc.. They can make people compliant but they are not what produces transformation. I don’t want to teach my kids that they can behave their way into joy.  I want to teach them to connect to the source of joy, and the joy will take care of itself."

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today, Kimberly at Team Cartwright is discussing how they deal with tantrums. I have to say, I absolutely LOVE this post! We deal with tantrums in a very similar way, and I think it is so important to realize that toddlers are still learning how to deal with their emotions. I fully believe that we have to help them learn how to do so, and that ignoring a tantrum (while sometimes appropriate when all else fails) is not helping them to learn how to cope with emotions in the long run. Kimberly gives some great advice in this post on how to handle the tantrum and get to the bottom of the emotion, together. This post also ties in so well to my post on expectations yesterday and focusing on the end goal and desired behavior.

"When my son has a tantrum, I try not to punish him.  Oh, I don't want him acting out like that. Tantrums are absolutely something to avoid and unacceptable behavior. But I think tantrums in toddlers and preschoolers aren't telling us that our children need more discipline or are out of control. I think they are telling us our children are having some big feelings they don't know how to deal with." 

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Discipline. What does that word mean to you?

Webster defines discipline as "The practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience."

I'd like to alter this definition slightly- "The practice of training people desired behaviors based on expectations, using a proactive approach and consequences when necessary". 

I probably wouldn't have phrased it the way Webster did to begin with, but with some simple alterations, I think my idea comes across. To me, discipline is the big picture, not just the response. It incorporates who, what, when, why, and how. In order to discipline effectively, all of these questions need to be thought through, a plan devised, and consistency provided.

In my journey to find our "discipline" method, and what works well for our family, I find myself coming back to the root of the idea: expectations. Without expectations, there would be no disciplinary action.

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today we are hearing from Natasha at Let's Be Brave. Natasha is writing on her experience with discipline and foster children. She talks about the challenges that come with disciplining children that have been in foster care (from the rules to just the fact that you haven't known the child their whole life and don't know what works with them yet), and offers 8 ideas that can be effective tools to use. I LOVE the suggestion to use physical activity! She touches on some fabulous ideas that we use here in our house as well. Head on over to Let's Be Brave to read more!

It's Babywise Friendly Blog Network Week! Our group will be writing on the topic of "discipline" all week long. Please see below for the full schedule.

Today Valerie from Chronicles of a Babywise Mom is discussing how she does discipline in her house without spanking. She discusses her toolbox of ideas and has a very proactive approach, which I very much appreciate. Her approach is well thought out and includes a discussion of consequences, expectations, consistency, praise, and many other great tips.

I love her honesty:

"One day when Brayden was a young toddler, he did something he shouldn't and I though I would try spanking. He immediately slapped me back. I kind of laughed and said, "Let's not hit each other again." 

My husband and I talked about spanking for the first time that evening. We decided to keep spanking out of our parenting toolbox."