Saturday, April 2, 2016

Bedtime Battles or Sandman Snuggles

Bedtime can often be the worst time of the day for parents. They dread that time of night when babies are wide-eyed, toddlers are giggling as they get out of bed and run around the house, and young children are screaming because they don't want to take a bath.

So how do you get bedtime running smoothly without incident? By managing proactively.

Bedtime is part of a daily routine that should be thought through and planned out carefully. Of course there will be interruptions and unexpected incidents, but generally if a child knows what is expected of him/ her, bedtime can become a time the whole family enjoys.

Make bedtime the same time every night. Begin a routine about an hour before... bath, brush teeth, books and snuggles, prayers and Bible reading,  perhaps a song or music, and then lights out.

The key to successful bedtimes is consistency.As soon as you start letting a crying child climb in bed with you, he/she will be wanting to be in bed with you every night. As soon as you pick up an infant after you know his diaper is clean and his belly is full, you will be picking up that infant every time he demands you do that. Stand firm and insist that your bed belongs to you and your spouse. Rub your child's back and reassure her that you are there but that it's bedtime now and she may not get out.

I am sharing with you what I've learned after four kids. By the time our fourth came along I found it easier to let her cry in her crib until she fell asleep. I knew she was protesting and that she was alright. I would just pat her back and reassure her and then leave. But I confess that the first three put me through the wringer. Or, I should say, I let them put me through the wringer.

My firstborn used a pacifier and every time it would pop out of his mouth he would wake up and cry. I would be up multiple times. I wanted to let him cry it out but it would be a Saturday night and my husband would be preaching the next  morning and would beg that I settle him down so he could sleep. Ben learned that if he cried long and hard enough I would come running.

I nicknamed my second-born, "My Little Leech", because she loved to nurse. She would nurse all day if I let her! When I thought she was sound asleep I would carefully carry her to her crib, tiptoeing so as not to make the floor creak, and then ever so gently lay her down, but as soon as I'd pull away my arms, "WAAAH!!!" and back to the rocker we'd go.

By the time my third-born came along I was so bleary-eyed keeping up with the 6 year old and the 4-year old, that time is all a blur. But I do remember doing something right with her:
When it was time for her to move out of the crib to make room for a new baby, we put her in a "big-girl bed". Of course she figured out really quickly how easily she could could climb out. So my husband just camped outside the bedroom door and each time she popped out, he gently put her right back. One night of putting her back in her bed about twenty times did the trick. She never tried to get up again.

In retrospect these are the bullet-points I wished someone had told me back then:
* You and your spouse must be a team, deciding together how a consistent bedtime routine and rule should look.
* Don't begin a habit of allowing your children to sleep with you. You and your spouse need that coveted space and time for each other. Remember that it's your spouse you'll see each morning when the children are grown and gone.
* After reassuring your child, let him cry it out. It won't last forever. If you're certain he is alright (i.e. clean diaper, full belly, not sick) do not pick him up out of the crib. Let him learn to settle himself. He will!
* Be consistent. Be consistent. Be consistent. Did I mention to be consistent? Yeah, same time, same routine, same rules. Children are fast learners and as soon as you let up, they will quickly learn there's a loop hole in your discipline and that you don't mean what you say.

Blessings on your parenting journey!  And now for a refashion...

Here is an outfit from the nineties that I still had in my closet. I wore both the denim shirt and skirt many times over the years but they clearly needed an update:

So here goes...

First I chopped away the front panels, keeping the collar, the yoke and the button strip.

Next I cut away most of the back, except for the yoke, and the sleeves.

I cut open the skirt and laid it out flat.

 I used the panels I had cut away from the shirt to be my pattern, and then laid them out on the skirt fabric.

 Making sure there was a seam allowance I cut out the pieces, including the back panel. Then I simply sewed the cut pieces back into the denim-shirt frame. Here is the finished project:

And since the buttons looked boring to me I changed them up too: