Infographic for toddlers: How to make your mother’s head spin – Bedtime Edition

Bedtime. It’s the best time of day and the worst time of day. It fills me with so much anxiety and so many questions.

  • Who should I put to bed first? Baby or toddler? Who is more likely to wake who up?
  • Did I hide all of the long, annoying books adequately?
  • Where’s the cup for the potty? Undoubtedly she is going to want to potty when I am done…

Because she is the master of bedtime mischief, I asked Gabby to create this infographic for any toddlers in need of tips to drive their moms BATSHIT. CRAZY. at bedtime. Here you go:

Infographic: How to drive your mother insane at bedtime

More stuff the noise machine said

Hey, remember that time I confessed that I heard a robotic voice that says weird phrases to me when the noise machine is on in the kids’ room? Click here to reminisce with me about my crazy.

Me attempting to be terrified

Me attempting to be terrified

It is still happening. Not as much as in the past, since I’ve been spending less time rocking the kids, but still… It hasn’t gotten much better. Here are some of the latest sweet nothings it has been whispering to me in the dark.

  • One percent is yours. One percent of what you crook?!? I don’t owe you anything.
  • Don’t you have to potty? No, but thanks for asking. I’m a big girl. It’s called a toilet.
  • When you’re right, you’re right. Now you’re talking! You’re starting to make so much sense.
  • Bedtime for littles. Right on, noise machine! It sure is. I like it when you agree with me.
  • I need your flavor. Getting scared again. I don’t know if I want this thing talking to my kids. Nor do I want them being tasted by it.
  • Maria-ria. That’s not my name. Is it channeling ghosts now? You guys! I’m freaked out.

Not only am I terrified, but I feel like this freak show should have a name if I am going to publicly acknowledge that it talks to me.

Update (03/23/15): And her name is Maria-ria. Val, you are the winner!!! Send an email to newestmcdermott@gmail.com so I can get them to you. Thanks for playing!

Frustrating Night

As I sit here rocking my writhing baby who is pulling my hair, scratching my face, and screaming at me, it once again occurs to me that I need to breathe. 
Breathe in, breathe out. Okay, that’s a little better. I am always on a time crunch these days. We have to get out the door, I need you to get to bed at a decent hour, we have to get home… On and on. 
So I take another breath. In and out. And I remember that if I can just calm down and stop being so stressed out, they will too. If I stop fighting them at every pass, maybe they won’t push back so often. If I say yes more and no less, they will need to challenge my authority less. And stop yelling. 
So I take another deep breath and she falls asleep. I look at her face as she snuggles into my arms and kneads her blanket with her hands and my decision is made. I’m not in a rush. We can slow down, take breaths and stop yelling. 
And we can just enjoy each other. They can be kids. For as long as childhood lasts.

Sleep training (?!?!)

Don’t worry, this is a lie. It won’t last more than a couple of hours.
Lillian is in a phase of fighting sleep. It feels like extreme FOMO (fear of missing out) more than teething or anything developmental. She’s exhausted, but she arches her back and yells and turns her head while nursing… All just to stay awake. 
So tonight, I brought the laundry upstairs and put it away while I let her fuss herself to sleep. I will point out, she never cried – she fussed. It was never urgent and I went in every few minutes to make sure her blanket wasn’t over her face (her favorite “get out of bed” tactic) and she had her Binky. She was ok. Just fussing. 
And she finally went to sleep. It took less than an hour, but she did it. I’m hoping this is the worst we see for sleep training. What a miracle baby. 
Update: She seems to sleep great until around 3am and then wakes up hourly to nurse. Luckily, we started rice cereal this past weekend, so once we really start increasing her solids, maybe she will start sleeping better.

The Pee-Pee Book and Other Literary Problems

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that’s the title.

Gabby is very much into books these days. All books. Anything with pages, pictures, and words. She particularly enjoys books that rhyme, and she is very adept at memorization, especially if the rhyming scheme is good. 
This makes bedtime difficult for me, because since putting the girls into the same bedroom, my M.O. is basically to keep Gabby quiet so she doesn’t wake Lilly up. So, now in addition to her usual, “I wake baby up!” outbursts, I am battling her passion for reciting every book at the top of her tiny (but powerful) lungs.
I added “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch to the bedtime pile, thinking it would be a sweet singsong-y way to end the evenings. It took one reading before I was being echoed as that little boy in the book “goo and goo and goo.” She also memorized the song, but only the last word of each line, so she would mumble, “hmmmm-hmmm EVER, eehhhhhh ALLLLLWAAAAAYYYYS, hmmmm-hmm baby BEEEEEE.” That book is out of the rotation now.
I also had to stop reading Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book. This book would be a fantastic book to lull any other two-year old child to sleep. Most of the words are made-up, so comprehension is low. The rhyming scheme never changes, it has a very steady rhythm that makes me drowsy when I read it aloud. No, the problem with this book is that she doesn’t know what anything is, and so she gets bored. The number of pages I had to skip in the book was getting out of control. I knew she was going to ask me, “What’s that?” when I got to the page with the machine that counts how many people have fallen to sleep or the page where the Bumble-tub Club is sailing along the river. It was just riddled with disruption and ritualistic asking of questions I had given answers to nightly for months in a row. It was madness.
A friend gave me a stack of books her daughter has outgrown. There were a few good ones in the pile. One of her new favorites is “Just Be Nice — To Your Little Friends!” by Caroline Kenneth. This book is referred to as “The Pee-Pee Book.” Because my child does not know the difference between pee-pee and Pooh. Maybe I need to find a book about potty training…