Tuesday, February 26, 2013

One problem down

So we figured out how to get Clara to sleep with her light off - a nightlight that projects fish onto her ceiling. I want to kiss the person who came up with it.

It was just luck that I even found it. We were buying a microwave online and needed to add a couple small purchases to reach a certain limit in order to get a certain deal. It was right around the time I posted about her fear-of-the-dark-or-whatever-it-is problem (thank you for all your amazingly awesome advice, by the way!) and so I decided to get Clara a nightlight. And there it was. Completely cheesy and tacky and perfect. Or so I hoped.

Her first night with her fishies (and according to her, one of them is "Home Nemo") was her first night without her light on. And it's been that way ever since.

If you come to our home, you will inevitably be dragged into her room to see her fish. She's fascinated that they are only visible when the light is off. Ahh.. the beauty of the fishy nightlight! The lights must be off!

Tonight we did have a small crisis when the fishy nightlight went missing, and I wondered if she'd need her light on again or if, perhaps, she could now handle the dark. But I found it so we didn't have to find out. And there's really no need to. I'm good with her having her fishies on the ceiling all the way through college, if that's what she wants.

My other problem - the one concerning disciplining the two crazy toddler twins while I'm nursing - hasn't gone as well. We have lots of good days, but today was a reminder that when things get bad, they get real bad.

The thing is, there is no solution that works. LeapPads? They fight over them (even though they each have their own) and Luke wound up clunking Clara's head with his today. Coloring? Again, fighting over paper, stickers, crayons, you name it, and eventually hitting and/or biting ensues. TV? Well it turns them into crazed lunatics for the remainder of the day and is just not worth them being comatose while I'm nursing Essie. And they still find a way to fight while it's on.

They fight over special toys brought out only for nursing. They fight over new toys bought just for nursing. Reading is tough because they both want to sit on Essie and me. And Essie - who happens to be a perfect baby in every way, shape and form - has one thing she doesn't like, and that's being sat on or pushed while she's eating. I can't really say I blame her.

Today was a naughty spot (i.e. time out) day. You know those days. In our house, at least, it's usually all or nothing. And today it was all. Luke was in naughty spot continuously from the time he woke up from his nap until he went to bed. He got out of naughty spot over and over, he eventually was put in his room, he stripped naked in his room, I resorted to naughty spot being on my lap and he proceeded to head-bang my chest. Oh, man. I think I will hear, "Lukie's hitting me, Mama!" in my sleep.

So how do you put and keep a child in naughty spot while you're feeding a baby? I'm beginning to think Luke likes seeing me play this game of nursing and disclipining. I wouldn't put it past him.

And that leads me to another question that I pondered throughout the day: How on Earth does anyone play the naughty-spot game all day long AND clean their house? And by "clean their house" I don't mean actually clean their house. I mean the basics, like empty the dishwasher, sweep the floor, clear the kitchen table from lunch, pick up the couch cushions off the floor, fold clothes.

Okay, I shouldn't pretend that I would have actually folded clothes today if not for my poorly behaved children.

But seriously, I'm beginning to think I just don't get it. So please, let me know your tips. And please tell me it's hard to have two toddlers and a new baby (and ignore the fact that the baby is perfect... let's pretend she's a handful just for this) and keep up around your home.

And just because I feel bad I was a little down on my older two in this post, I'll leave you with this exchange...

Clara (after I briefly explained marriage to her, while watching the Bachelor [don't ask] [and, no, I didn't tell her that marriage is something that comes after you date thirty women and pick from the final two] [and, no, I don't actually let my kids watch that garbage]): I'm going to get married.

Me: You are? What boy are you going to marry?

Clara: Lukie.

Me: You want to be married to Lukie? Even though he bites you all the time? (It had been a biting sorta day)

Clara: He doesn't bite me all the time.

Me: I know. That's sweet, honey. But you can't marry your brother.

Clara: But I can marry him because he's a good brother.

My sweet babies. They really are great kids. And best friends. And partners in crime. Their relationship is like no other I've ever seen. They love each other with all their little hearts and forgive at the drop of a hat.

Now if I could just get them to sit quietly with their hands folded in their laps while I'm feeding their baby sister, we'll be all set.


  1. I could have written this post. Seriously.

    But make that 3 toddlers (the 3 year old I babysit, 2 year old Bella and 1 year old Isaiah) while I feed the 6 month old twins. They take advantage. Someone is always crying (either the babies because their feeding has been interrupted or one of the "big kids" because they are fighting NON STOP during each and every feeding...which is a million times a day with twins that drink bottles AND now eat baby food 2 times a day. Crazy life.

    My only advice...Just hide the knives and pray for the best!!

  2. I don't know how you do it honestly. I have an 11 year old, a 7 year old and a 16 month old (I think she's actually a human tornado). I think no matter the ages there's always going to be days where chaos seems to be the theme of the day/week/month. I can't figure out how to do basic stuff around the house with just one toddler running around. She's very busy and determined to create messes for me to clean up while she rushes to make more. And as for getting Clara and Luke to behave while you're nursing Essie, I can tell you even older children will mysteriously act up as soon as the baby starts to eat. It must be a sibling rivalry/drive mom insane type of thing.

  3. Oh man, I can't even get some of those things done and I only have one.

    How do they respond to your DH with regard to discipline? Is it something he can help with once he's home?

    1. Funny you should mention that, because we used Skype last night to have him "disclipine" Luke while at work. Big mistake! Haha. It just turned into a fun time, talking with his co-workers, etc. So much for that! ;) He does talk to them about being naughty when he's home on his dinner break, but they are so young that they are more in-the-moment right now.

  4. I don't have any advice, but I love, love, love that last picture of the two of them, they are so adorable!! And the pink bow - you are killing me with all the cuteness!!!

  5. I only have one baby and you know I don't do naughty spot but how about making naughty spot right next to you? So you can keep him there and unable to get up? Just a thought.

  6. Mikey and Philly are in the fighting stage as well and it makes me nervous when he new baby is born. I'm sorry I don't have any advice because both of them stay in the naughty spot. Anne however is a different story.

    What about closing off a room with a few toy options and you nursing in the same room? It is hard but I'm sure it gets better and luckily they play well the majority of the time it seems.

  7. Could you do a sticker chart? Do they get into that sort of thing? If so, they could get a sticker for everytime they were good while you were nursing and a small reward for x amount of stickers at the end of the day, and then a bigger reward for x amount of good days.

    Or could you set Clara up in her room with a big girl activity? It sounds like it's best if Luke is near you, but you could still seperate the two of them. Pinterest has lots of good activities for toddlers (pipe cleaners and a collander, or pom pom balls, tongs, and a cupcake pan for a sorting activity, a small sponges and a bowl of water that you transfer to an empty bowl). Clara and Luke could even do the same activity, just in seperate spaces! Praying for you!

    1. A sticker chart is just about the only thing I haven't tried, and have been meaning to. Good idea! Thanks for the prayers :)

  8. Watch "Supernanny" a couple of times ... I sure wish I had her when my sons were young!!!

    I reckon that Luke and Clara are old enough to help with a lot of the work - i.e. putting the silverware away, clearing off the table, folding towels, sweeping (and YES, I know it is 'easier' to do it yourself) but me thinks (the granny in me) that they are bored and need something to do.

    As far as naughty spots - never, never in the bedroom - that is a real treat - my sons were well aware that when I said "go to the corner" the gig was up and they stayed in the corner (in the kitchen in full view) until I told them they could get up. I love that Supernanny (much better than The Bachelor, smile) always got a cuddle and a kiss at the end of time out...something I did not do. If Luke decides to continue to test you, then you repeat putting him back in the corner - it does take time ... yes, but just as all good things, practice makes perfect.

    I so wish I could come and be with your two toddlers as you nurse - but alas ...

    Remember - this will not last - they will mature a wee bit and Essie will at some point not nurse as often and, and, and ...

    Prayers accompany this post!

    Congratulations on the fishies on the ceiling light! That is brilliant.

    1. I love Supernanny! Honestly, as someone who hates to read, if I can get parenting tips from a TV show, I'm all over it! ;) We use her methods for naughty spot (including her script, which does include the kiss and hug at the end) and also, to some degree, when we sleep-trained Luke over the past year.

      But that's where the problem lies - while I'm feeding Essie (nursing or with the bottle, it takes a while at the moment), I can't keep getting up to put him in naughty spot, which is a huge problem because that method relies on consistency. He just will not go in naughty spot on his own (and we've been doing it with him for a year). I have to drag him there and hold him in it. Even if it's right next to me. I just can't do that while feeding the baby.

      You know... I was beginning to realize that about his bedroom! He might actually not see it as punishment. He sure cries when he's in there, though. And I really use it because it's the one place I can contain him if I'm feeding the baby.

      Thanks for the prayers!

    2. I always unlatched B and put her down to correct Hannah. H behaviour trumps B at this time. I didn't have much of a problem when I was nursing. I do remember thinking poor B can't even eat, but that is life with a toddler. I try to be consistent 100% of the time. Its when I'm not consistent and I start getting stressed I realize I am the one that slacked. I can literally see it in her behavior. If I am on my game, I can handle the toddlerness.

      Now that I"m not nursing a newborn, I still find that if I'm feeding B, H gets out of hand, she gets dealt with. No matter what B is doing. B hates it too. ha!

      When I worked for security. The motto was that we as security personel had to get it right every single time. The terrorist only had to get through one time. I feel that its the same way with kids. Naturally they are going to try to have it there way. Guess what, this isn't burger king, kids!

      So I would always put Essie down and correct. He will push you to the end. But if you keep winning the battles he stops pushing as hard. But it takes time and lots of patience to get there. Just like my dog trainer said to me, if you can not make Max do something then do not tell him to do it. Simple as that, he will become untrained that way. I do not think that dog training and raising kids is much different. I even make sure I remember to do that with Hannah as well. If I can't make her pick up her toys then I don't ask her too. I wait til I'm able to make her do what I have asked her to do. She would learn that my words have no meaning if I don't make her do what I have asked.

      We don't do time out here so I don't have much experience with that. Can he be contained in his high chair? I bet it sucks being in time out with him. :( Id bolt a chair to the ground if I had too! LMBO

    3. I would probably put E down to correct L, except that our nursing situation is very dicey. I'm struggling with supply and I can't have anything else working against us. Oh, and add a new development in there of pumping! So I nurse, feed a bottle, then pump. A lot of time for kids to misbehave! Haha. The problem is L is continuously bad while I'm feeding, so I would never get to feed. That probably makes him sound terrible.. there are lots of days where he's great, but like I said in the post, when he's bad, he's bad :)

    4. Can you recreate the situation outside of nursing? Make it look like you are "nursing" E and then put her down when you need to correct. Can you make that your only thing you do for a good few days. Nurse, correct, nurse, corrrect...Like the CIO method. LOL

      Just like the trainer said, don't ask him to do anything if you can't make him. I see it with H. If I tell her to pick up her toys and I get distracted it only takes time for that request to mean nothing to her when I ask her again. Then I have to readjust and get back to being 100% consistent when I am the one that has slacked.

      H isn't willfully obedient. LOL I don't know a person that is....Our Lady is the only one that surpassed orignal sin. LOL I'm not giving advice...Just "talking" LOL

  9. I love those projecting nightlights. You can also buy them in stores at Lowe's (unsure if that is where you purchased it) My boys love Lightning McQueen and they happened to have one with Lightning and Mator. They love it and it really offers just enough light for them not to be scared. They also had the fish one and a princess one.

    1. Oh, and my kids are the same way. They fight over everything, but then they are the best of friends later on in the day. I truly think it has something to do with them just being so close in age. My kids are 17 months apart. We actually try to treat them as twins when it comes to buying stuff because you can't get one without another because then its a war. I too am unsure as to where to go from here, but I am hoping that we are moving in the right direction. I love the comment of supernanny because I said that to my husband the other night.

  10. I feel your pain. I have "twin" toddlers too. I have no advice, but can I just ask where you got the "big sister" shirt? I think I have to get those for my girls. Too cute. Good luck!

    1. My sister got them from an etsy shop...I'll ask her which one and let you know! I love them!

    2. Thank you! They are so cute! Your kids are pretty adorable too;)

  11. Hi k!
    What about using high chairs? I still use them for time out over here. My kids HATE high chairs so it works pretty well. And they are strapped in.

    Also I am wondering about switching your strategy a little ... Instead of waiting for them to misbehave every time, try to outsmart em a little. First, it seems clear they need to be separated while you ate nursing. Perhaps this might require you taking 5 minutes to get Luke and Clara set up in separate rooms each with something to do for that 10 minutes. Also tell them very clearly that mommy needs to nurse the baby and that mommy will be back in a few minutes. That way they don't feel like they are being punished. Make sure the room has toys and is kid proof of course!
    Also use gates or lock the doors with the door spinner. I prefer using gates (you can raise them up a little so they can't climb them).
    Maybe your best hope is to fend off trouble before it starts?

    1. We only have one chair with straps, since Clara sits on regular chairs now, but I could strap Luke in. Although I have to think of every possible crazy scenario, because he WILL do it.. haha.. and I'm wondering if he could actually tip the chair over. Worth a try though. Maybe I could move it into the living room with me even!

      I have hesitated to put them in their rooms only because it happens in the evening right after they've just woken up from naps. But maybe it's worth it, even if they cry a little. I think I'll try it. Thanks!

  12. Oh and I would fully expect both of them to go ballistic after a few minutes in there. But they will be fine and maybe even get used to it. I think kids need a break from each other anyways and this way it's not a punishment!

    Also know this wouldn't be a permanent strategy. Just for the time being until they mature a tad.

  13. Another blog I read just yesterday (www.breezyacresblog.com) mentioned Raising Godly Tomatoes as a book that had been helpful in the disciplining days that had sucked her joy - she has a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and another 2 year old just adopted from China. I googled it, and there's a related website I will pass along - maybe you will find tips there that would help. www.RaisingGodlyTomatoes.com

  14. Oh my...I didn't read all the comments. We do time outs in a pack n play. They don't climb out, so I am lucky there. I honestly have no advice. I think the key with disciplining toddlers is not giving empty threats...but how do you do that when you can't get up and enforce your demands? I guess I really don't know! Yikes! THIS is why I can't have a newborn right now lol! You are doing an amazing job and you ALL will get through this. SO glad you figured out the light situation for Clara:).

  15. That just sounds really really hard. The only consolation I have is it won't last forever.

    (I'm just doling back what I wanted from my hubby yesterday) I told him on the phone "just tell me that sounds really hard to have the baby scream all through your shower and getting ready..I'm sorry to hear that" I told him....I don't want solutions, just sympathy!! :)

    Hope you do get some good solutions front this though... :)

  16. Oh yeah, and just getting REGULAR household things done is a real feat. I hear ya on that.

  17. In the hopes of prevention, what about setting Luke up in the high chair (near you) with some activity or snack before you sit down to nurse? I know all too well about attention spans (or lack thereof) as well as limited options for keeping busy. I'm sure it couldn't work every time, but it's just what I thought of first. I had such a great highchair. It was cheap but man, they couldn't get out of it and it was stable as could be :) Also I was very unorthodox about what they could do to keep busy, as long as it wasn't life threatening :) We used to freeze little plastic animals in ice cubes and let them whack at those until they freed the animals. (see what I mean? Not exactly convenient, but yes we get desperate.) I am fuzzy on what's appropriate for what ages, but Google knows everything. Prayers mama, I do feel your pain!!

  18. I've never commented, but do read your blog occasionally!

    I have been there--a couple of times! We had four kids in the course of six years, so we had the whole crazy toddlers vs nursing baby quite a bit. I know it doesn't help, and it may not seem this way, but this does not last forever. I never had a solution that worked during every nursing session. The kids were always bickering over something or trying to get into whatever they could.

    As for the house...you will eventually get into your own groove of things. Give yourself a break, and give yourself time---your kids are all still so little! There will be days when you get more done than others, but in the end all that really matters is that the kids are taken care of, and everyone is happy. My mom always tells me there will be plenty of time to have a spotless house when the babies grow up. Prayers for you! The trenches may be tough at times, but you are doing a great job!

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  21. ummmmmm, I don't get those things done around the house and I am not nursing a baby. :) Mine are 20 months apart; 3 yrs and 18 months and life is just crazy. Best wishes and God bless!

  22. I'm happy to just get the dishwasher emptied and food served each day. you are amazing!

    Rewards work well for E, epecially fruit snacks. She loves chocolate, too. Maybe a hershey kiss for each time they don't fight while you are nursing? I would pikc one behavior each day to work on.

    Or maybe put some feelers out there for some homeschooled kids that would like to play with your little ones a couple days a week.