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Thanksgiving in America is a proud tradition with a long history…though it has only been an “official holiday since the Civil War.  Of course, every school child is taught the story of the first Thanksgiving, with the Pilgrims and the Indians…usually culminating in a big feast at school, complete with costumes and a pageant!

But, over the past several years, Thanksgiving has slowly been pushed aside in favor of the bigger money-maker: Christmas.  The stores put up their big Christmas displays before the last Trick-or-Treater has even made it home to sort their candy!

Now, I like Christmas, don’t get me wrong.  What’s not to like?  We get to celebrate the birth of Our Lord with cookies, candy, and presents!  But, when we skip straight from Halloween to Christmas, we miss something…something important.

Why is Thanksgiving Important?

1.  Time to slow down.

Many (but not all) of us get a little time off work during the week of Thanksgiving.  We get to slow down and take a little breather.  Of course, I’m a mom, so that doesn’t really happen for me!  But, we do usually take a trip up to visit my parents.  It’s the closest thing to a break I ever get.  Everyone needs a break now and then.  It helps us clear our heads.  When we come back, we feel refreshed and ready to tackle all those problems again.  It’s nice to have a change of pace!

2.  Time to remember who is really responsible for all of the blessings in our lives.

Just before Bear’s first Christmas, I had quit my job a few months earlier to be a full time stay at home mom.  Money was tight…very tight!  We had a long (expensive) trip to make…which would turn out to be the last Christmas we ever traveled to Odessa.  We had a baby to (obsessively) buy gifts for.  Our list of bills was never-ending.  How were we ever going to pay for all this?

I sat down at the computer one afternoon to check on our checking account before we paid a bill.  I clenched my teeth as I logged into our account.  Then the screen popped up…

“There’s nearly a thousand dollars more than there should be!  Where on earth did an extra thousand dollars come from???”  I was frantically going through scenarios in my head.  I was very sure that I had no rich uncles…not even the kind that live in Nigeria.

I clicked on the account details.  Something had to be wrong, something must have gone unpaid.  There was an automatic deposit in the account from my former employer.  They had finished paying out all of my vacation time months ago.

I called my husband…I couldn’t think what to do.  He told me to call payroll for my old department.  So I did.  They had to put me on hold while they looked it up.  When the secretary came back to the phone, she very nonchalantly explained that because of some sort of glitch, they had failed to pay me for all of the compensation hours I had earned for working so much overtime in my former position.  As soon as they caught it, they had sent a deposit to my account.  There was no mistake, the money was rightfully mine.

You see, we were in an hour of need.  God sent us those funds at exactly the right moment…a moment when we would remember and know that He was really the one in control.  

I have more stories, similar to this one.  Some have happened to me, some to my husband (one even involving a deer).  These things happen to us to remind us that God is in control, He will provide when we call on Him.  

Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday to remember and reflect on all of those instances, and then to give thanks that He cares about us so much!

3.  Time to spend with family and friends.

When I was young, we spent many Thanksgivings at my grandparent’s house in Odessa, Texas.  We would spend the morning together, watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade and preparing in the kitchen for our big “feast” at lunch.  Then, we would sit down together at the table, pray to thank God for all the blessings he had given us out of His bounty.  As we ate, we sat around the table telling stories about family…both those gathered in other places, and those that had already gathered in Heaven.  Eventually, we would get up, and clean up the mess inevitably made by the festivities in the kitchen.

When we finished the clean up, we would often sit around a card table, putting a puzzle together, or maybe playing dominoes.  My grandparents and mom and uncle would talk about memories of their childhoods, or maybe trouble they got into with their cousins.  I learned about our family history, and in doing so, I learned about myself!

When the game-playing was all done, my mother and grandmother would eventually turn their attention to the newspaper ads, to try to quickly coordinate their plan of attack for Black Friday.  There would always be jokes about how the stores seemed to open earlier and earlier every year.  I specifically remember one year, when I was a teenager, I quipped back that by the time I had kids, Black Friday would begin on Thanksgiving itself!  Everyone laughed and said, “No way!  People would never stand for that!”

Black Friday Eve

Until they did.

To many, Thanksgiving means little anymore, other than an excuse for gluttony, followed by a marathon of greed…a rush to the store to get the most stuff for as little money as possible.  If you have to beat someone up to get it, no problem!

Unfortunately, that greed marathon requires many thousands of people to leave their families to serve the shopping hordes.  For them, Thanksgiving can no longer mean slowing down, thanking God for all his blessings, and spending a little time with family and friends.  Now, it’s just another day at work, with even longer, harder hours than usual…hours spent breaking up fights over big screens in the electronics department, or Legos in the toy department.

Thanksgiving has lost its meaning.  All it is to many is just Black Friday Eve.  The day of early Early Bird sales.  Doorbusters start at midnight on Thanksgiving!  Better get on out there…you might miss out on the stuff.

As for me and mine, I think we’ll live with it…missing the stuff.  We’ll slow down, thank God for His many blessings.  We’ll spend a few days with family that we don’t get to see very often.  We might even peruse a Black Friday ad or two together.  But, you can bet we won’t be there on Thanksgiving.  It’s not the time or the place.  We’ll save it for Friday afternoon.  The stuff will still be there…if it isn’t, we’ll order it online on Monday.  Life will go on.  What is stuff compared to time with your family?  Mere nothingness.

Thanksgiving precedes the first Sunday of Advent, usually only by a few days.  What better way to enter into a period of making our hearts ready to welcome Christ than to slow down, and thank God for the blessings in our lives?

Don’t forget Thanksgiving.  Remember it, dress up like an Indian if you need to.  Just don’t forget to slow down and be thankful.

This year, will you celebrate Black Friday Eve?  Or Thanksgiving?

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 Thanksgiving or Black Friday Eve?

sick teddy bear

Well, it’s getting to be that time of year.  The holidays are right around the corner, there’s so much to do!  But it’s also cold and flu season.  In our house, when someone gets sick, everything shuts down.  Once the first kid goes down, there are 4 more waiting in line to get it.  Even with the best prevention measures in place, chances are, that bug is going to make the rounds.  We just live too close to each other to prevent it in most cases.

We have quite a nasty bug going around our house at the moment.  Severe headaches, sore throats, high fevers…the works.  It seems congestion and cough follow the sore throat after a couple days.  Just to make things interesting, it seems to disappear entirely from about 2-5 pm every day.  But, boy, does it come back with a vengeance at 5:30!!!  Bear came down with it Saturday evening/Sunday morning (sometime overnight…I didn’t look at the clock), and we’ve been playing this game ever since.  Now, everyone else under the age of 35 has it, with the possible exception of Baby.  She had a fever Sunday evening, but as of yet, no other symptoms.  I’m unclear as to whether that was from teething or (crossing my fingers) she’s getting some passive immunity from nursing and has come through relatively unscathed.

Anyway, all this sickness started me thinking, “What are some of my best tips for surviving the inevitable viruses that pop up so often in childhood?”


Mommy Survival Mode

Right from the first alarming “beep” of the thermometer, my mindset has to change.  All of my current plans and items on my to-do list have to go on the back burner.  I have entered “Mommy Survival Mode”.  It’s a defensive place in my mind, I think, fueled mostly by adrenaline and Dr. Pepper.  I will lose my mind if I start thinking about all the things that aren’t getting done or the sleep I’m not allowed to have.  At the end of the week, the house will be a bigger wreck than it already was, I’ll be 2 weeks behind on laundry, and my face will not have felt the outside air in seven whole days.  I don’t sleep more than 2 hours at a time for the entirety of the ordeal.  But, it’s all worth it to make sure my fever-ridden children are as comfortable and safe as possible.

Fever is actually a good thing.  It’s one of  the ways our bodies fight off infections.  But, we all know that too much of a good thing can be dangerous!  And so it is with fevers.  It’s good to let our bodies turn up the heat just a little to make us inhospitable for those germs…but, as a mother, I have to make sure my kids’ immune systems don’t get carried away when they turn up the sauna.

One of our little ones is rather infamous for her ability to spike a 104 degree fever within a period of about 5 minutes.  It’s an impressive, terrifying thing to witness…especially when she’s already had as much acetaminophen and ibuprofen as she’s allowed for the next 2 hours.  We have had to resort to cold baths upon more than one occasion to cool her off.  She is the reason I cannot sleep when the children are sick.  It’s my job to check on them every couple hours to make sure no one’s immune system is cooking them.

So, what are the tools I can’t live without during my stay in Mommy Survival Mode? 

Good Drink

Find something your kids will drink.  This is so important.  When you’re running a fever, your body loses a lot of water and electrolytes…even more if there’s also a stomach bug in the mix.  Little bodies need to stay hydrated.  Plus, good hydration helps to keep a fever under control.  Buying enough Gatorade or Powerade, or especially Pedialyte to keep 5 kids hydrated while ill is rather cost prohibitive for our family.  So, we make up a little electrolyte drink ourselves with Kool-aid (made with only 3/4 the recommended sugar), water, and 1 teaspoon of salt per quart.  Now, if you want to avoid all the artificial dyes, there are a plethora of homemade sports drinks options you can find on a simple search.  Find one your kids like.  They’re all pretty easy to make, and so much cheaper than the commercially available alternatives!

Different colored string

All of our cups look the same.  Most of the time, that’s no big deal.  But, when something starts going around, cups start leaving the kitchen and going on to various end tables in the living room.  Pretty soon, I have no idea which cup belongs to which kid.  Since we have a bug going around, you can see why I might be rather concerned with making sure the right cup stays with the right person!  I could put a piece of tape and a name on each cup, but then there’s condensation, and the tape falls off.  I have several different colors of string that I use to make products available in my Etsy shop.  I assign a color to each child, then cut a section of string and tie it to the handle of each child’s cup.  Now, I know which cup goes with which kid.  It saves me from having to add extra dishes to my list of Mommy-I-needs.

Books and Movies

I spend a lot of time sitting on the couch reading stories when the kids are sick.  It’s always nice to have a few new ones available from the library.  But, of course, I’m bound to read the family favorites several times a day, too.  This can also be a great time to introduce your children to some truly great classics, like Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, or Treasure Island.  Of course, eventually, my voice is going to give out.  That’s a great time to have some favorite movies on hand.

Special Meals

When your kids have fevers, sometimes they just don’t want to eat very badly…even if you’re not dealing with a stomach bug.  Find some special things that are easy on the stomach to offer your kids.  Applesauce and bananas are great options.  Bananas are high in potassium, which can be lost due to dehydration during a fever.  Also, pancakes and biscuits are usually big hits in our house.  Last night, it was popcorn and spaghetti (with no sauce).  It was quite a bland dinner for my husband and I, but the kids ate something…and that was a win.  Nutritionally speaking, keep in mind that bending the usual rules when the kids are sick is ok.  A few days of carb loading isn’t going to do any lasting damage.  They need a few extra carbs to give them energy to fight the illness, anyway!  

An Extra Dose of Cuddles

This morning, I just sat on the couch and hugged my little Rhino for nearly an hour.  He was burning up, and I was sweating under all that extra heat, but it didn’t matter.  He needed me.  Most of the time, he’s a little bundle of energy, and has a hard time sitting still for longer than 30 seconds at a time.  But, when he’s sick, he still wants to just sit in my lap and cuddle with me.  For a little while at least, Mommy can still make everything better.  

Fever Reducers

Where would a list of Mom’s sick day arsenal be without a mention of fever reducers?  Good ole acetaminophen and ibuprofen can still work wonders for a sick child.  Sometimes, I have a little giggle at the transformation that occurs in a sick child half an hour after a dose of medicine.  This morning, Rhino got up, ready for his next dose of medicine.  I took his temperature, and it was an alarming 103.3, and he still had to wait another 30 minutes until he could have his next dose (remember, I had been up throughout the night, giving medicine or cool compresses as needed).  We made it through that half hour (and a little more), cuddling on the couch, with a wet washcloth on his head from time to time.  I gave him the next dose of medicine.  I settled him as comfortably as I could, and went to take a shower.  My husband hadn’t yet left for work…it was my last chance!  I finished, and said goodbye to my husband for the day.  Pretty soon, Baby woke up and needed to eat.  By the time I got done feeding her, and came out of my room, Rhino had on a backpack and was playing some sort of game.  When I came out, he proudly announced, “Mommy, I not sick anymore!” and gave me a huge grin.  I knew it was only temporary, and before lunch, sure enough, he was once again languishing on the couch.  But, these few moments give me hope.  Hope that this won’t last forever. 


By next week, my kids will back to their usual antics, and this will all be merely an unpleasant memory.  We’ll be trying to get back to normal, and playing catch-up on all the things we didn’t get done this week.  We will have survived another ordeal. 

Mommy Survival Mode, deactivated.

Chickens, Chicks, Eggs, and a Baby

Sometimes, in life, decisions come back to haunt you.  Such is the case in our home right now…every time I go to put Baby to sleep.  Bedtime, naptime…they both present challenges right now that no mother should ever have to face.  It’s all because of one decision made nearly 7 years ago…the decision to let my husband have his way. 

He wore me down, really.  I wrote a post about it, so, if you wish, you can go back and read all about it.  He wanted chickens.  If there was one thing in this world I didn’t want, it was chickens!  It was the one rule I had when we first moved out here.  No chickens.  How hard is that?  Honestly?  Well, apparently it was hard enough, because we did eventually wind up with chickens.  Lots of chickens.Chickens in the barnyard

Most of the time, the chickens and I keep the peace.  They stay out near their coops behind the barn.  I do my thing up at the house.  I happily eat their eggs and feed them to my kids all year.  But, once a year, in the fall, we hatch eggs*.  The lucky ones will grow to be replacements for our aging hens and roosters, but many will eventually grace our dining room table.  You may be wondering at this point what hatching chicken eggs has to do with my story, but don’t worry…I’ll get there.

The weather in Texas during the fall can be a little erratic.  One day, it’s 95 degrees.  When you walk outside the next morning, there’s been a cold front that has pushed through (often with plenty of wind damage in its wake), and it’s only 52.  Never to fear, it will be back up to 85 by lunch.  Chicken eggs require a relatively consistent 99.5 degrees during their 3 week incubation time.  With the fickle weather outdoors, that just isn’t possible this time of year…unless you have a hen with an inclination to stay with her eggs.  We have plenty of hens, but we have yet to produce a hen that is a good enough mother to stay with a nest of eggs longer than about 3 days.  We’re generally happy when they don’t break their eggs…asking one to sit on a nest may be a tall order!  So, up in the loft above our bedroom sit two egg incubators.

Hens hunting grasshoppersThey have been there, full of eggs for three weeks.

About a week ago, we began to strain our ears, listening for the first little cheeps and pecks coming from the loft.  Then, on Friday, it finally came…with a cheep cheep here, and a cheep cheep there…here a cheep, there a cheep, everywhere a cheep cheep.

Now, the eggs are hatching, bringing forth new life to feed us for another year.  The kids get so excited, and watch for their daddy to head up the stairs.  They know that when he comes down, he’ll be carrying all the fluffy little things that are ready to make the move from the incubator to the brooder in the garage.  It’s a wonderful, joyous occasion.

Wonderful and joyous…

…Until it’s time to put Baby down to sleep.

You see, chicks are really loud when they hatch.  Their doing it in my bedroom in the loft, remember?  Baby’s crib is in our room.  So, it’s me, my husband, Baby, and a bunch of hatching eggs.  We’re one big happy family!

Here I sit on my bed, nursing Baby (who isn’t really very good at  the whole sleeping thing to start with).  She drowsily starts to slip off to dream land.  I gently get up to lay her in her crib.  As soon as her little body touches the mattress, “CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP!”  It’s rather jarring, I must admit.  Baby is now wide awake, and is not pleased that her mother had the audacity to put her down just as the dreaded sleep monster was about to overtake her.  The chickens, sensing my ire, immediately desist.

“Dad-gum chickens!”  I mutter under my breath.  

I pick up my dear, sweet, non-sleeping child.  I comfort her, and she calms down.  She’s not hungry anymore, but maybe she’ll settle for a lullaby and some rocking.  So I sing a few verses of Jesus Loves Me and Baby is getting sleepy again.  It’s time for the dreaded transfer maneuver.  I gently lay her down, and she immediately rolls to her side…a sure sign that sleep is coming!

“CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP!”

I want to pull my hair out!  No mother should ever have to try to put a baby to bed with a loft full of chicks!  Why me?

I’ll tell you why.  It’s because I surrendered during the Battle of Chickens way back in 2010.  Now, despite the fact that “I wouldn’t have to do anything with the chickens,” I now have chickens in my bedroom…my bedroom!  My baby can’t sleep because of the chickens.  If you had told me 10 years ago that I’d have chicks in my bedroom, I’d have had you committed.

In a week, they’ll all be hatched, dried, and out in the brooder in the garage.  There will once again be peace between the chickens and I.  Only the white noise of air conditioner and noise machine will remain in my bedroom.  It will be back to just the three of us…me, my husband, and the baby.

Well, until the second batch starts to hatch in a few weeks anyway…


*We hatch eggs in the fall instead of the spring because our winters aren’t cold enough to freeze little chickens, but our summers are hot enough to cook them!


Life Love and Dirty Dishes

 

 

Awesome Life Friday

 

 

The Blogger's Pit Stop

 

Think Tank Thursday

A Letter to Rhino...A Letter to my son

Rhino and MommyMy dear, sweet little boy.  Where does the time go?  It seems like just yesterday we were meeting you for the first time (though you’d already been kicking and punching me for quite some time!).  Your birth itself was rather uneventful.  It was a four hour long induction.  At the end, there we were, holding our fourth baby.  A little boy weighing in at 8 pounds 7 ounces…bigger than any of your older siblings (though your little sister would eventually beat you by 8 ounces). 

 You’ve been a little rambunctious from the beginning, and so you still are today!  You are a happy, healthy, strong 3 year old boy.  You have no sense of pain (we’re fairly convinced you have a future in the NFL at defensive tackle), and rarely show any signs of fear.  Sometimes, I wish you had just a little more fear.  You make your old momma so nervous sometimes, while you climb furniture and old tractors without a thought for your own safety.  You think fist fights are hilarious.  Luckily, when you do get hurt, a kiss and a band-aid still makes you all better. 



Rhino with a pipeA year ago, we were worried, because you didn’t seem to talk much.  You’d get frustrated and angry when you didn’t get what you wanted, but you didn’t talk much.  You’ve come so far over the past year.  You jabber up a storm these days.  Unfortunately, it’s still mostly spoken in a foreign language.  But, at least you’re talking!  You’re speaking more clearly each day.  By this time next year, I wonder if we’ll even be able to remember your special language! 

You have an exuberance for life that is infectious.  Everything is exciting for you…even if it’s just an episode of Paw Patrol (or is it Pop Control, as your big brother calls it…or maybe Bah Bole, as you assert?) that you’ve seen a thousand times…today.  After all, we bought them on DVD so we could see them over and over again.  You come grab my hands and start jumping up and down, telling me that you want to dance at least 3 times a day.  I need to agree far more often!  Just, maybe not while your baby sister is trying to sleep. 

Muddy RhinoSometimes, you look up and smile at me, and you have a certain twinkle in your eye.  That’s when I know that the proverbial brown matter is about to hit the rotary cooling device.  You’re up to something.  If I say, “What are you up to?” in my biggest, gruffest Mommy voice, you’ll get a huge grin on your face and start giggling maniacally.  Then, you’ll say, “I Doh-nooooo!” (that’s “I don’t know”…if you don’t speak Toddlerese).  Perhaps, when I get up to follow you, there will be a flood in the bathroom, or I’ll walk through the door just in time to see you scramble up the side of the bathroom counter to a perch you’ve found standing in the bathroom sink…why is it always the bathroom?  Your cuteness at these particular moments, when you know you’ve been ‘busted’ is incredibly endearing.  But, no…for your own good, I must stand firm…all while hoping that someday you have a little boy just like you.  Then you’ll understand.  I just hope your future wife is a patient woman (Bless her heart!). 

For all of the mischief you make, you pour out just as much love.  You bring Mommy flowers, and give me huge squishy hugs.  You can be as sweet and gentle with your little sister as you are rough with your big brother.  You have a big heart, my dear son, and you use it well.  I pray you keep it that way.  I pray for you every day.  On good days, I pray for all the big, grand things you might do with the life God gave you.  Some days, all I can manage is constant prayers that your guardian angel is being extra vigilant!  Thankfully, you’ve made it another year. 

I love you son.  More than you can possibly understand.  Happy Birthday! 


Easy Peasy Pleasy

Halloween Alternatives to Door-to-Door Trick-or-Treating

It’s already fall…where does the time go?  Even though it doesn’t quite feel like it yet (it was 94 degrees here yesterday), that means Halloween is right around the corner.  We don’t make a huge deal out of Halloween around here, but we do like to celebrate it a little bit.  It has always kind of felt like a gateway holiday to me…it really kicks off the holiday season.  My kids really enjoy dressing up as their favorite princess or superhero for an evening of fun.

I know many parents these days worry about the safety of taking their kids door to door, requesting little bits of sugary, sticky goodness from complete strangers.  Indeed, the world has changed quite a bit since my freewheeling days as a young child in the 80s.  I was wontonly set free into my grandmother’s neighborhood every year for this grand tradition (where she knew each and every one of her neighbors…and they all sat around and chatted after all the candy was gone).

You can argue with me later about whether or not we should even celebrate Halloween…that’s a different subject for a different post.  I’m going to assume that if you hang in there and keep reading, you’ve already made that decision for your family.

We live in the middle of nowhere.  We do have a few people who live within a reasonable proximity, however, walking all around a rural “neighborhood” after dark in costumes is just not the smartest move ever.  So, we have to be a little more creative in order to engage in this time-honored holiday tradition.

Take a Treat to Someone Else

Find out if there are any nursing homes, hospitals, or children’s homes in your area.  Often, these types of places will plan events for Halloween.  See if you and your family can volunteer.  Giving back to people who are in a difficult spot in life can be a really rewarding experience for your family.  Plus, it takes the focus off the candy, and puts it on to people who currently need a little extra help.  You never know, you might actually make some new friends, too!

The Mall

Many shopping malls host events for kids to come and trick-or-treat around the different participating stores.  Often, there are also costume contests for different age groups, as well.  So, do a little research, and find out if any of the malls in your area host an event.

Neighborhood or City Sponsored Festivals

In the town just down the road from us, the Chamber of Commerce hosts an event every Halloween on the county courthouse square.  Kids of all ages are encouraged to come out and walk around the square and trick-or-treat from the local businesses.  We’ve gone every year since we moved to the area, and the kids have lots of fun with it.  Check with your local Chamber of Commerce.  Maybe one near you does something similar.

Church Festivals

Many churches hold Fall Festivals each year, usually within a week of Halloween.  These festival vary in size and complexity from a basic “trunk-or-treat” set up to a full-fledged fall themed carnival, complete with games, treats, and hayrides.  Our kids have had tons of fun playing games at these types of events in the past.  Though, I do have to mention that these festivals often bring out big crowds.  My kids aren’t really used to being around huge crowds of people.  If yours aren’t either, be aware that they may need a few minutes to sit and take in the scene before they’re ready to play!

Police or Fire Departments

Often, the police department or fire department in your town may have a special activity for kids on or close to Halloween.  They will often have safety demonstrations at these events as well.  They can be both fun and educational activities…and who doesn’t like that?

University Events

The university where my husband works always has a couple of student groups who put on Halloween events for kids in the area.  We went to one with our kids one year, but due to the distance, the past couple of years, we’ve opted for something a little closer.  Much like the church festivals, crowds can be an issue for these activities as well.  If you have a university or college near you, find out if there is anything fun going on for neighborhood kids.

Doctor’s Office or Pharmacy.

A few years ago, Monkey was spinning in circles (trying to make me laugh) in the living room two days before Halloween.  He crashed and managed to hit his eye on the side of the coffee table.  The next day (the day before Halloween), he woke up with a huge red spot in his eye.  So, off to the doctor we went.  It turned out that he was just fine, but it sure looked awful. 

All of the kids had a bit of a cold, too.  Bear had been telling me all day that she didn’t feel good.  But, I was so worried about Monkey’s eye, that I kind of brushed it off.  I kept telling her I knew she didn’t feel well, no one felt well…everyone was coughing.  After we got home, she fell asleep on the couch, coughing on and off all afternoon.  Everyone else was starting to get over it, I figured she would be feeling better by the next day too.  But, by that evening, she was struggling to breathe.  Andrew took her to the emergency room while I stayed with the rest of the children.  After a breathing treatment and a course of antibiotics for severe bronchitis, they came home. 

The following day was Halloween.  All of the kids were so disappointed that there wouldn’t be any fun activities because of the sickness.  So, I told them that they could go ahead and wear their costumes out to the pharmacy.  That helped a little.  So, I took Silvermist, Tinkerbell, and a construction worker to the pharmacy to pick up all of Bear’s medications prescribed by the emergency room doctor.  The folks at the pharmacy felt so bad for the kids that they gave them two whole bags of candy for them to save for after they were well (after all, lots of candy isn’t good for a recovering little one!).  I was so grateful to the ladies at the pharmacy for being so sweet to the kids on what has gone down in history as the worst Halloween ever.

So, if you ever find yourself in a bad situation on Halloween, keep in mind that even mundane places (like a pharmacy) can occasionally be a fun place to go…if you have a great costume, anyway!

 


 

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JENerally Informed

 

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Easy Peasy Pleasy

 


My kids have toys.  Tons of toys.  Toys, toys everywhere.  They have so many toys, they don’t all fit in their rooms at the same time.  Plus, in case those aren’t enough, they get more toys every Christmas and every birthday.  That’s 10 new toys coming into the house every year…not even counting the grandparent contribution!  So, what do they do with all of those toys?

Well…sadly, not much.  Don’t get me wrong, they do enjoy the toys, and they play with them from time to time.  However, most of the time, I note them playing with all sorts of other things…not toys.  It does beg the question, “Why do we bother?”

Here’s my list of some of my kids’ favorite not toy toys.  See if you can relate:

1. Sticks

What is so cool about sticks?  I guess it’s because they can do anything you want them to!  The biggest ones are often made into clubhouse teepees.  I’ve also seen fishing poles, horses, guns…pretty much everything can be mimicked with a stick!  Plus, once you’re done with them, you can throw them in the pond and make the dog chase them…and who doesn’t like making the dog take a swim?

 

2. Rocks

We have a plethora of rocks around here.  Not only can the kids dig them up from the dirt, our driveway is also made from rocks.  If we go on a walk, our road is made of rock.  So, we have no shortage of rocks.  We go out walking empty-handed, and by the time we come home, I’m carrying a huge load of rocks in the stroller, my pockets, and even in my hands.  Wait, why am I carrying all the rocks???

Once back at the house, they are investigated thoroughly.  Then, the ones that contain the proper level of sparkliness will go on to become eggs in a pretend bird’s nest, or dinosaur nest, or turtle nest…you get the picture.  The ones that don’t make the cut either go back in the driveway (if they know Mommy or Daddy are watching) or they are flung into the pond one by one so that, you guessed it, the dog will chase them.

3. String

Oh, all the uses of string!  Tie some string to a stick, and now you have your very own fishing pole.  If you can find a piece that’s long enough, tie it together at the ends, and now you have a glamorous necklace to use for your next ball (it’s starting in 5 minutes in front of the refrigerator).  Bear once tied several knots on one end of a piece of string to make something that vaguely resembled a dragon.  Everyone else immediately had to have a dragon pet of their own.  We had string dragons floating around the house for days!

4. Cardboard box-small

Ah, the cardboard box…it’s infamous!  Any time we receive a package in the mail, the children immediately claim the box and the bubble wrap (see #6).  Why do children like a cardboard box so much?  We adults will never understand.  I guess all our make-believe magic grew up and moved away…or maybe got packed away in one of those boxes!  Cars, trucks, boats, aquariums…those little boxes can be magical! 

You never know what they’re going to put in the box, either.  Last night, I came out of my room, after having fed Baby.  When I emerged from my room, I was confronted with a highly suspicious sight.  Three out of four of my mobile children had found a box that my dad had sent something to us in.  They were standing around the box, and Bear was hurriedly closing the top of the box.  

“What do you have in that box?” I demanded in my most authoritative Mommy voice.

<Giggles>

Bear flashed me one of her patented sheepish grins and piped up, “Monkey!”

Maniacal laughter from inside the box ensued.  Then all the children started laughing.  Monkey popped out of the box.

Their dad and I started laughing too.  “Alright,” I admitted, “with you four around, perhaps I should have asked who!”

I have no idea what kind of game they were playing, but it sure was funny…especially after it aroused my suspicion!

5. Cardboard box-large

Need I say more?  What parent hasn’t bought their kids the best toy of the century only to have it thrown by the wayside in favor of a refrigerator box?  Shocking, but true.  Jails, castles, houses…the possibilities are endless!

6. Bubble Wrap

Lizard starts jumping up and down any time she sees the delivery truck bouncing up the driveway.  She’s already calling out, “I get the bubble wrap! I get the bubble wrap!” before I even get out the door to claim the package.  I have to meet our drivers at their trucks…they’re scared of Patch (as are all the meter readers, and the guy who works for the county grading the roads).  LIzard’s still bouncing when I come back in, and I can barely make it in the door, because they now all want a piece of bubble wrap.

Oh, the disappointment that ensues when a package comes with brown paper stuffing instead of bubble wrap!  There is wailing and gnashing of teeth!

I have to avoid the shipping materials aisle at WalMart just as meticulously as I do the toy aisle.  At least if I want to keep the “Momma, can I have?”s away.  You should have seen Lizard’s face the first time she noticed the shelf full of giant rolls of bubble wrap!  No birthday or Christmas morning has yet been able to compare to the joy and desire mirrored in those little eyes that day at WalMart!

7. Strangely melted metal

They call this little gem “Rudy”.  When they first found it in the yard, one of the children decided that it looked like the big, bad dinosaur creature from Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs that Buck called Rudy.  I’m not actually sure what it really is, but we’re pretty sure it originated from the burn barrel.  Don’t worry…we checked it for sharp edges.

 

8. Shovels

Yes, my kids play with shovels. Not the toy shovels you find in the sandbox seasonal aisle or the role-play toy aisle, they ‘play’ with real, full-sized shovels.  Every once in a while, someone gets a hankerin’ to dig a hole.  It makes no sense to me, but, hey…they have a blast.  Their Daddy will give them shovels and real jobs that need to be done.  They get a shovel, Daddy gets a fence post hole, and, after they’re done Mommy gets a quiet afternoon nap time since they’ve exhausted themselves digging a hole!

9. Pile of bricks

A few years ago, while we were visiting my parents’ house up in the DFW area, we were over at my grandparents’ house, visiting with them one afternoon.  My granddad had a pile of bricks stacked up next to the shed behind their house.  It was a fairly decent-sized pile of bricks.  Bear found them while playing outside and immediately set to work building a pint-sized castle.  She asked to go back over to their house every afternoon.  My granddad was so amused with her building, that at Christmas (the same Christmas that the giant Lincoln logs appeared), he sent at least half of his pile of bricks down with my parents so that Bear could have bricks at her house too.  Since then, they’ve been castles, walls, chairs, stages, corrals for wild stick horses…you name it!

10. Old coffee cans

Oh, the fun you can have with an old discarded coffee can!  My husband buys his coffee from Sams, you know, the big, giant 2 pound canister.  When he’s used all the coffee inside, the cans (or rather, plastic canisters) meander out to the barn where they are then given a second life as a feed scoop, or egg transport device.  If, however, the children gain control of them first, however, many interesting things can happen to these unsuspecting containers.  They make fantastic sandbox toys or mud pie makers. 

They like to collect rainwater in these cans and turn them into “soup”…the main ingredients of which appears to be water, dirt, leaves, grass, and sticks (to give it just the right amount of texture).

Sometimes, though, their stick horses become stick cows, and the rainwater in the coffee cans is actually milk.  With the milk they collect, they can make cakes or ice cream…both of which look strikingly similar to aforementioned “soup”.  Woe to the onlooker who guesses incorrectly!

I could write an entire post about all the uses for old coffee cans…maybe I will!

 


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Our Favorite Outdoor Summer Activities

It’s summer here in central Texas…and it’s HOT!  But, with four mobile kids, being stuck inside all day, despite the heat, just isn’t an option.  So, today, I thought I’d write about some of my kids’ favorite outdoor summer activities.  Some are childhood classics, some are definitely ‘farm kid’ pastimes, and others will just downright make you cringe!  Keep reading, if you dare! 

1. Playing in the Pool

What kid can resist playing in the pool?  We make occasional trips to the “big pool”…you know, the kind where the water is higher than your ankles.  But here at home, we don’t have anything fancy like that.  We buy a wading pool at the beginning of each summer.  We still haven’t found a way to keep them usable from summer to summer, so we have to get a new one every year.

I spend many an afternoon watching the kids splashing around.  Their splashes keep me just cool enough to stand being outside!  They play all sorts of imaginary games.  Dolphins, whales, “fast fish” (whatever those are), crocodiles, sea turtles, and even the occasional mermaid…my front yard is full of aquatic wildlife when the pool is out.  My husband and I are constantly amazed by the amount of communication skills that go into a single game of make-believe!

Plus, we (and by we, I mean my husband) can give the garden a good watering when it’s time to empty the pool.  Nearly everything – even playtime – has to pull double duty around here!

2. Rope Swing

Sometimes, though, playtime is actually an object’s second duty.  Several months ago, my husband slaughtered a pair of hogs.  I know many who read this may find that horrifying, but that’s just how life out here works.  Meat doesn’t come from your grocer’s freezer…not originally, anyway.  But, I digress…

My husband put a rope up in one of the trees to aid in processing the hogs after they were slaughtered.  The next day, our kids came out and found the rope still hanging from the tree branch.  They didn’t see a hog rope, they saw a fun time!  My kids are weird, remember?  They stand on the side of my old truck, hold onto the rope and jump off, swinging across the yard.

Occasionally, only under proper supervision (they know they’re not allowed unless one of their parents is right next to them), they get to “foot swing”.  They put a foot into the loop in the rope and (usually) their Daddy swings them up, high and fast.  Their ol’ Momma has even tried it a time or two.  It feels like flying…at least until you can’t hold on any longer!

3. Giant Building Logs

The. Best. Christmas. Gift. Ever!

These logs were a collaboration between my dad and my husband.  My husband came up with the idea, and my dad brought them to life.  These are landscaping timbers cut into varying lengths.  Then, Dad drilled holes at even increments along the flat sides of the timbers.  Pipes can then be inserted by the builder through all the layers to make sturdy structures…much like Lincoln logs, but on a much bigger scale.

These logs have built castles, houses, boats, backyard fences, corrals…you name it!  If Bear is missing, you can almost bet that she’ll be outside building something.  The rest of the kids really get into it as well, giving her ideas of new structures to build.

4. Bubbles

What list of outdoor activities would be complete without bubbles?  I usually make our own bubbles at home with a little Dawn, water and sugar…otherwise, we’d go broke buying bubbles all the time!  The kids really enjoy blowing bubbles.  They especially like to chase each other’s bubbles across the yard in hopes of popping them before they fall in the grass or float over the pond.  Occasionally, a bubble will float past a dog who will try to catch it.  Sadly, the dogs never have anything to show in victory, other than a bad taste in their mouth!

5. Catch

I know what you’re thinking when you read that title.  But, you’re probably wrong.  Our Border Collie, Patch likes playing with the kids.  She also likes playing catch.  A lot.  She’s usually the dog that ends up catching bubbles.  But, Patch will try to catch pretty much anything thrown in the air…tennis balls, sticks, dirt, fertilizer (much to my husband’s consternation), and of course, balls of mud.

One of the kids’ favorite variations on this game is throwing small twigs or pebbles into the pond.  Patch will then take a flying leap into the water (what’s not funny about that?) to try to retrieve whatever was thrown in.  If was a stick, she’s usually successful.  However, if it was a pebble. she’ll swim around desperately trying to find it.  Of course, the children think this is quite hilarious.  I wind up with four sets of muddy feet and a dog covered in pond scum.  What joy is mine!

6. Pond Hunts

Our pond starts to dry up in the late spring.  If we’re lucky, we get enough rain during the early summer that our pond doesn’t completely dry out (our first year living here was 2011, and by the end of the summer the pond was bone dry, not even a muddy spot left!).  But, either way, it gets much smaller.  Our children often form a little roaming band and tramp around the pond bed finding interesting critters, or playing some imaginary game.  The game often degenerates into playing mud-ball catch with Patch.

Bear will often bring her nature journal and nature identification guide with her.  She takes great pleasure in finding, drawing, and identifying little creatures and plants that have made their home in the dried-up pond goo!  I’m glad they have fun, and I suppose it’s even a little educational.  But, again, it tends to end in mud-covered shoes, clothes, and dogs!

7. Mud Fight!

Ah, I’ve saved the best for last!  I know this one is likely to make many of you shudder.  But, this is, hands-down, my kids’ favorite game!  They run outside as soon as it stops raining (usually before if there’s no lightening) so they can get to the puddles before they dry up.  As you can tell from the pictures, they get gross!  But, it’s nothing a water hose can’t fix.  I suppose all that fun is ultimately worth the mess!  If you would like some tips on how to deal with kids and mud without losing your sanity, check out this post.

 

And, because you really can’t get a real feel for this last one from just a picture, here’s a little video clip:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/PNGsf47Bs1U” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

 

 


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How to treat insect stings fast!

This weekend, I was reminded of a fantastic little addition to our medicine cabinet when Bear accidentally encountered a couple yellow jackets while fishing with her Daddy. Insect stings hurt!  Especially yellow jackets…but it doesn’t matter what critter did the stinging, they just hurt.  There can sometimes be quite a bit of swelling after one of these encounters as well.  So, how do you take the sting out to make your little ones comfortable again?

I’ve heard several home remedies for insect stings in my life…most of them from my grandmother.  I’ve tried all of these at least once, and for the most part, she has a pretty good track record for knowing things that work…no matter how crazy they sound!  Now, my granddad, on the other hand, he wanted to put kerosene on everything…he even kept some in his medicine cabinet.  I wouldn’t suggest kerosene, but I do have a couple of my grandmother’s suggestions to pass along!

Maalox

Maalox was my grandmother’s go-to for insect stings…ant stings in particular.  I was terribly susceptible to ant stings when I was young.  If I got one on my toe, my foot would swell so badly that I couldn’t put shoes on within an hour.  I grew out of it for the most part, but they’re still a nuisance!  Grandmother would dab liquid Maalox onto my stings, and, while it didn’t help the excessive swelling too much, it really did help the pain.

Meat Tenderizer

A doctor at my university’s student health center actually suggested meat tenderizer when I was bit by a spider (not an insect, I know) in my dorm room.  I tried it…you actually make a paste to apply by adding water (some folks say to use vinegar instead, but I haven’t tried it that way).  It worked pretty well to take the pain out, but there was still a lot of swelling, and it still turned purple, prompting an after-hours visit to the ER.  Maybe I should have used it with vinegar!

Aspirin

I’ve heard this one from a lot of folks.  It makes sense, really.  It’s not as crazy as meat tenderizer!  Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory medication.  You can crush a tablet, and make it into a paste with a little water…then apply it to the insect sting.  This method works fairly well, but it takes a little while.  It’s definitely not as fast-acting as the next remedy.

Laundry Bluing

Laundry bluing?  What on earth is that???  Fear not, that was my first reaction when my grandmother first suggested it to me.

I took the kids up to visit my parents and grandparents one summer.  Apparently, at a stop along the way, we gained an additional passenger who remained unnoticed until a couple hours later.  Lizard was only about a year and a half old at the time.  She had fallen asleep, but just before we reached our destination, she woke up and started screaming.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on while driving into Dallas rush-hour traffic, so I pulled over, and managed to get her calmed down…though I still couldn’t find the cause.  Well, a couple hours later, at my grandmother’s house, I laid her down on the floor to change her diaper.  There was a huge welt on her leg.  She had been fussy ever since the incident in the car…and now I knew why.  Something had stung her on the leg.  It was big and red and angry!  I made a rather surprised exclamation about it, and my grandmother came to look.  She said, “That’s a bee sting.  I just bought some bluing.”

I looked at her like a cow looking at a new gate.  “Bluing?  Is that what you said?  What’s that?”

“It’s for laundry.”  She stated rather emphatically.

“Okay…”

My mom jumped in, “People used to use it a lot to make their whites brighter.”

“Okay…”  I was still waiting for someone to tell me why we were talking about brighter whites in every load instead of my daughter’s giant bee sting.

“Mother used to use it on us when we got stung, but I hadn’t thought about it in years.  It takes the sting out, and all the swelling will be gone by bedtime.  I just bought some last week I just happened to come across.  Let me see if I can find it.”  Grandmother took off for her back bedroom to look for it.

I looked at my mom and shrugged my shoulders, still a bit dubious.  But, I figured I might as well give it a try.

My grandmother returned after a few minutes with a little blue bottle labeled, “Mrs. Stewart’s Liquid Bluing” and a few cotton balls.  She said, “Put a little of the bluing on the cotton, then dab it on the sting.  Make sure you cover the whole thing.  Try to keep her still until it dries, because it will get all over everything and it will stain.”

So, I did as instructed.  I made a big blue painting with that stuff all over Lizard’s leg.  By the time we sat down for dinner, Lizard had stopped fussing.  By the time I changed her next diaper, the swelling was gone.  She still had a big blue splotch…but no swelling.  I used it again the next morning, just to be sure…but I had a hard time telling where the sting had even been.  I was sold.  Grandmother told me to keep the bottle, and I did!

I’ve used it several more times since then…every time someone gets an insect sting.  It has a great track record for bee stings, and for yellow jacket stings…including Bear’s little encounter over the weekend.  She was stung on the leg and on the nose.  At first, she didn’t want me to turn her nose blue, but within minutes of the time I put it on her leg, she said her leg didn’t hurt any more and wanted it on her nose too.  So, Bear had a blue nose Sunday afternoon…and I didn’t hear another complaint about her nose.  By Monday, her nose wasn’t blue anymore, but that yellow jacket sting was gone too.  A blue nose is a small price to pay!

So, next time you or one of your little ones gets an insect sting, give bluing a try.  You may be just as surprised as I was.

Incidentally, while bluing is great for insect stings, you can also grow a fantastic crystal garden with it, I’ve been told.  It’s on the list to try this week! 


How to treat insect stings fast!

 


  

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Socks

Where do they come from?

Socks.  I despise socks!  Socks comprise a major part of the laundry around here, and I can’t really figure out why.  They’re relatively small, and my husband is really the only one who wears them regularly.  You can usually find me wearing a pair of flip flops…rain or shine, hot or cold, it doesn’t really matter to me.  Our children don’t like socks.  The oldest decided several years ago that they made her feet sweat, and said so within earshot of her younger siblings, who, in their quest to be like their big sister, have followed in her bare (but not sweaty!) footsteps.  If you find any of my children walking around with socks inside their shoes, rest assured, there has recently been a knock-down, drag-out fight over the occasion.  I’ve found, in motherhood, that it’s important to pick your battles.  There are circumstances that I will force the children to wear socks…but most of the time it just isn’t worth it.

So, how is it, then, that socks have come to represent such a large portion of the laundry?  Honestly, I have no idea where they all come from.  If you know, please tell me the secret!  Really…it’s driving me crazy (yes, dear husband, I know…it’s too short a trip to waste the gas).

Continue reading “Socks”


Living with a colicky baby can be an intense emotional experience.  Your baby is crying and crying and crying…and you can’t seem to do anything to make your precious new baby feel better.  You’re worried.  Being a parent wasn’t supposed to be this hard!  Maybe something is wrong with your baby…there must be!  All that crying must be a sign that something is wrong, right?

I’ve been there.  So far, we’ve lived through it once, and now we’re living through it a second time (though not nearly as bad as the first).  That’s my first piece of advice…take heart, you will live through it, even though it may not seem like it right now!  Our first go round was with our oldest child, Bear.  We evaded the dreaded colic with three more babies.  Now, with the fifth, it seems that we must do it again.  

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What is colic?

A very young baby (less than 5 months old) that cries a lot, typically for a few hours at a time, and usually at approximately the same time every day is said to have colic.  Often, they cry like they’re in pain, and pump their legs up and down and pass gas. They arch their backs and pull away from anyone who tries to hold and soothe them.

Sometimes, your doctor can pinpoint a cause, such as reflux, but often, there is nothing apparently wrong with these babies.  Try telling that to a parent who has to endure their precious little baby’s screams all night long without being able to soothe them!  Try telling that to big brothers and sisters whose parents are a wreck from having a baby screaming in their ear all evening.  Colic affects everyone in the family, not just Mom, Dad, and Baby!

Our first experience with colic

When we first brought Bear home from the hospital, she was so tiny and cute and perfect.  I’d had preeclampsia, and had been induced at 37 weeks, so she was definitely on the small side, weighing in at just under 6 pounds.  The very first night at home, she slept 5 hours during the night without waking us up!  I thought, “Well, well, well!  All this talk about never getting any sleep with a newborn is nonsense!  I just gave birth to the best baby ever.  I’ve got this parenting thing down!”

As my dad used to always tell me, “Pride cometh before a fall!”

By the time Bear was 2 months old, she spent most of her waking hours screaming uncontrollably.  I had just gone back to work.  Her preferred time of day to be up and angry was from around 6 every evening until about 3 in the morning.  Every.  Single.  Night.  None of us were getting any sleep.  My job performance tanked (I was sleep deprived, and I desperately wanted time with my baby when she wasn’t screaming).  I wanted to be a good mother, but I couldn’t even make my baby feel better!  I felt like such a failure.  

When I took Bear to the doctor for one of her check-ups, I mentioned that she cried all the time.  He asked several questions about it, then told me she had colic.  He also thought she might have some issues with reflux, since she did spit up quite a bit.  Then, he prescribed some medication for the reflux, and, while sympathetic to my plight, basically told me “good luck” with the colic.  It was just a stage, and it would get better.

Our next door neighbor, who ran an in-home daycare, watched Bear every day.  It was really nice to have someone so close to our home!  She had some great tips for finally getting her to sleep…and they helped some.  I don’t know how I would have dealt with the stress if I hadn’t had a couple more rational heads than my own (my husband’s and my neighbor’s) giving me advice.  

Eventually, Bear did grow out of it.  By the time I left my job to stay at home with her, she was a happy, healthy 6 month old.  We finally had lots of quality time together.  But, boy, were those first few months tough!

More Crying

Our newest little one has gone through a similar stage, though it hasn’t lasted as long, or been as severe as Bear’s case!  When she first came home, Baby cried every night starting at 7pm…just after my husband gets home from work.  Fortunately, she winds down and sleeps well when I put her to bed at around 8:30.  So, at least she can be helped!  It’s still trying to listen to a baby cry for an hour and a half each night.  There are a few things I know this time around that have helped this stage be a little more survivable.

Baby is now just over 3 months old, and does seem to be coming out of it.  We’ve been 2 nights in a row now that she hasn’t cried through dinner.  When you’re living with an infant, you have to take all the small victories when you can! 

So, here we go, here are some tips you can use to help calm a crying baby!

Stay calm!

I know it’s easy to say, and really really hard to do!  Believe me, there have been nights when I’ve walked the floors with one of my babies, and I cry just as much as they do.  If you can keep your cool, though, you’re more likely to pass the mood on to your baby.  If you tense up, so will your baby.  I think one reason Baby’s colicky phase hasn’t lasted as long as Bear’s did is because between my husband and I, one of us was able to stay calm with her crying periods.

If you can’t stay calm, pass the baby to someone who can.

When I would start crying just like the baby, that’s when my husband knew it was time to take over for a little while.  I was with Baby (and all 4 of her big brothers and sisters!) all day long, and my patience was already stretched pretty thin by the time he got home from work every day.  He would often (like, every night) take her outside to walk while I ate dinner with the other children.  By the time we were done, I would be in a better frame of mind to calmly take her and get her settled down to bed.  We have sure missed eating together as a whole family, but it was a necessary (and temporary) sacrifice.  We know that it is just a stage, and that this too shall pass.

Swaddling

Swaddling saved our sanity when we finally figured out (thanks to our neighbor) that Bear liked it.  I knew the nurses in the hospital had done it, but I wasn’t any good at it.  So, when we got home, I just stopped.  It would seem like torture to an adult, but some babies really need that snugness that swaddling provides.  Sometimes, babies fling their arms and legs when they get upset, and they upset themselves even more with this behavior.  They make themselves feel like they’re falling.  Swaddling keeps those arms and legs under control so they can’t cause trouble.

Baby really needed swaddling during her rough time of night for the first month or so, too.  It was the only thing that would calm her down enough to eat and go to sleep each night…until it wasn’t.

Ditch the swaddling

Confused?  First I said swaddle, then I said don’t!  Yes, that’s what I meant to say…babies are confusing.

At some point, a baby will go from requiring a swaddle to detesting it…usually within 24 hours.  Just because it worked last night, doesn’t mean it’s going to work tonight!  They like to keep us on our toes.  

A few weeks ago, Baby’s swaddling switch flipped.  I swaddled her to feed her and put her to bed one night, and she got MAD about it.  Now, mind you, the night before, she couldn’t sleep or calm down from her daily crying fit without it.  After a couple of reminders from my husband about how all of the other kids had done that at some point too, and some protestations from myself that they hadn’t done it as young as she was, I finally gave in and took the swaddle blanket off.  She quit crying, and was perfectly happy to settle down to her pre-bedtime nursing session.  I was concerned that she wouldn’t sleep very long without it, but she continued about her regular nighttime pattern without interruption.  She has been sleeping unswaddled ever since.

Sing!

Sing a song…any song.  It doesn’t have to be some sweet, pre-planned lullaby you’ve always wanted to sing your baby to sleep with.  Trust me, by the 17th time you’ve sung that song in an hour, you’ll be ready for something new.  When I can’t think of anything, I start singing hymns that I learned long long ago.

Talk

Have a little conversation with your baby.  Tell them anything you can think of.  Make sure that you’re using a calm, soothing voice.  Tell them all about the things you can see.  Describe the sky, or the clouds, the grass or the trees.  Tell them all about the family members that are still waiting to meet them, or maybe about how much their grandparents enjoyed meeting them the day they were born.  Read something to your baby.  Your baby likes the sound of your voice!  It’s warm and soothing and familiar.  

Walk

Hold your baby close and take a walk.  Gently and quietly take a walk outside.  Combine the walk with a little singing and conversation.  The fresh air and change in temperature and scenery will do you both good.  Plus, you get a little exercise out if it too!  It’s a win-win.

Wear your baby

Get a good, secure carrier that’s designed for small babies and get your baby all snuggled up next to you.  The snugness right next to you is soothing for a baby.  Remember that sometimes your baby may fuss while you’re putting them into the carrier and getting everything settled and secure.  All of mine have hated the process of being put into the carrier.  But, once they get there, they really like being close and the movement.  If they’re having tummy issues, the pressure of your body against their tummy can be really soothing.  Plus, your arms can finally have a break!

Check in with your doctor.

Chances are, there is absolutely wrong.  However, it’s always a good idea to bring up excessive crying with your doctor.  There are a few things that can cause a lot of crying, and if it’s something that the doctor can fix, everyone will feel a whole lot better!

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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