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Why We Sleep Clock

The sleep clock entered our lives a month or so after our foster kids came bursting through the door like the whirl-wind you might imagine (and a whole lot more I promise you couldn’t dream up — because we didn’t/hadn’t/couldn’t — which is probably the reason the chaos hit us so hard. Emotionally and Physically).

Among the lengthy list of “stuff” (i.e. behaviors) we had to navigate with these two little ones were sleep issues.

MAJOR SLEEP ISSUES.

Issues that differed between the two.

For one (9 months old) it was a matter of waking in the night and then holding us hostage the remainder of the night because he simply refused to sleep if he was put back down.

For the other (21 months) it was screaming fits that you can’t imagine, for hours, about bed and nap-time. Not staying asleep. Then inability to convince her that is, in fact, still the middle of the night and too early to get up for the day (cue next screaming fit).

Screaming that continued to torment me in the very few hours I did get some shut-eye. Screaming I heard in the rare moments it was quiet in the house. Screaming that still haunts my dreams from time to time.

The struggle was unreal.

A new family. A new environment. Uncertainty. Confusion. Fear. Lack of schedule being part of your history.

Naps? What are those?

It’s hard to really know what all contributed to this fight – but it wasn’t a fight we could relent on and simply let be.

It was one of those things that we simply had to dig in and figure out because…

Kids need sleep.

We ALL need sleep.

For the one a little sleep training went a LONG way and it wasn’t long before we had him sleeping mostly through the night.

For the other, I had to get creative (beyond simply enduring the 2-3 hour screaming fit — which — I did — because there wasn’t any convincing or soothing that little thing to sleep. She was pissed and scared and sad and she wanted the world to know. I’m not sure about the world, but feel confident our neighbors got the point).

And I remembered a friend of mine talking about a sleep clock she had purchased for her son. A way to keep him in his own bed until an appropriate time to be getting up (i.e. waking her up).

Her son is a lot older than my kiddo but I figured anything was worth a try.

So I ordered a sleep clock.

It took a while for things to catch on: blue means sleep, yellow means wake up. It didn’t do anything to squelch the screaming fits on the front end of the night (or naps). But eventually it helped a great deal with understanding what time of day (or night) it was for a little one unable to tell (or really understand) time.

No more arguing the facts – if the clock is blue, it’s still sleepy time.

We had some fits for a few weeks but eventually she got the gist: she wasn’t getting out of bed until the clock face changed to yellow.

And now?

Both kiddos have sleep clocks.

It doesn’t help get them to sleep. They both continue to boycott the idea.

BUT, it keeps them in bed. Both on the front and back ends of the day.

And this has been monumentally helpful in the morning when I’m here alone attempting to get myself and 3 littles, age 3 and under, ready and out the door.

When they’re all awake at the same time I run the risk of losing all control with kids getting into things they shouldn’t, fighting with one another, etc.

I got a nice taste of this “losing all control” the very first morning after the baby was born and I was flying solo getting the crew ready and out the door. It took nearly 3 hours, start to finish, before I was back home post drop off at the babysitter and so exhausted (because, honestly, my body wasn’t physically ready for that yet) I spent the rest of the day on the couch crying thousands of tears and wondering if I might just die.

So their wake (i.e. get out of bed) times are staggered allowing me to get and stay in a rhythm. I have time to get one up, dressed, teeth brushed and hair combed before situating him in the family room with some toys and a “show”. Then just enough time to unload the dishwasher or start some laundry before the other, who can do a few things a little more independently while I get the baby ready, is up and at ’em.

Before I know it, we are out the door in what might even be described as a semi-organized fashion

When I first embarked upon this idea I was skeptical. Mostly because of their ages, and honestly, their temperaments too.

But staying consistent and a LOT of repetition has paid its dues BIG TIME and made opportunities for absolute craziness in the morning much more manageable.

If you have little ones, I highly recommend considering a sleep clock. Here’s the one we have: My Sleep Clock

It’s simple to operate, setting wake times for week days and weekend days as well as nap duration. We don’t currently use the nap function or the music/white noise functions but the opportunity is there.

The clock is battery operated and doesn’t come with a cord to plug-in but there’s the option for that as well: Sleep Clock Power Adapter

I tend to think the clocks eat up batteries a little more quickly than I would prefer, but there’s an energy saver function that I’ve found helps a LOT in this regard.

Is sleep a struggle in your house? How about the morning routine? Might your family benefit from the addition of sleep clocks?

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Affiliate Disclaimer:  I receive a small compensation for products you may purchase via an affiliate link on my blog. THANK YOU for supporting my blogging journey in this way!  BUT, the opinions on the products are my own. I NEVER recommend, or link to products that I am dissatisfied with.

A Mountain of Toys: The Toy Rotation Begins

We celebrated our Christmas holiday in Nebraska; with our foster kiddos. It was an exciting time as it was the first opportunity for many to meet the little ones. That excitement translated in to LOTS of wonderful gifts – clothes and toys. A mountain of toys. So many that we couldn’t even get it all in the SUV to return home! With BOTH kids’ birthdays hot on the heels of Christmas (birthdays = more toys) I needed a plan for how to make organizational sense out of all this stuff!! And so begins the toy rotation.

I literally spent the better part of FIVE days upon our return home attempting to get our house and lives back in order after the holiday travel. There was a mountain of laundry to be done as both kids received so many new, awesome outfits as gifts…added to the usual travel laundry. There was also the mountain of toys to be addressed.

We don’t have a designated play room in our house for the kiddos. The family room is multi-purpose for TV watching and relaxing and serves as the “safety zone” for the kids to play. As you might imagine, there isn’t room for a mountain of toys. Additionally, more toys means a bigger <overwhelming> mess.

Even before the addition of all these toys, I noticed that when left to their own devices, both kids would set to work pulling out every toy from the toy box. Then, not play with one thing! But, when I controlled the situation and selected only a couple items from the box, they were more easily entertained; for longer periods of time.

There comes a time when too much is just that…too much! Not only does the mess in and of itself become overwhelming, but so many choices is overwhelming for little ones as well. A mountain of new toys, on top of the mountain of toys they already had seemed a recipe for disaster.

Enter the solution: splitting the toys up so there are fewer options (though, honestly, still a LOT to choose from…probably too much), and rotating out the selection weekly.

Toy rotation!

I purchased a couple plastic 3 drawer storage carts (<– affiliate link, free shipping with Amazon Prime!) and got to work separating out the toys that Baby Girl needs supervision while playing with (and that we definitely want to keep away from Baby Boy) from the rest of the toys. Then, I divvied up what remained. One drawer of the storage cart holds half of Baby Girl’s toys. Another, half of Baby Boy’s toys. And the third holds half of our puzzles and books.

The toys that didn’t make their way in to the first week toy rotation went in a tote in the basement.

As I made a pass through the family room on cleaning day, just prior to the start of week 2, I swapped out the first batch of toys for the second.

The result? The kids were over the moon and captivated by what seemed like new toys. I was able to ensure all the parts and pieces to the first batch of toys were accounted for before tucking them away in the basement. The daily mess is kept to a minimum and is quick to clean up at the end of each day!

This is most certainly not a new idea on the parenting scene. But I share with you because I’ve seen the positive impact the toy rotation has had on my kids as well as on this mama’s Type A personality’s sanity.

And, I’m likely to be back at it with another round of sorting and separation once we wrap up the January birthday’s for both kids!

 

Affiliate Disclaimer:  The product links on this page are amazon affiliate links. I receive a small compensation for products you may purchase via an affiliate link on my blog. THANK YOU for supporting my blogging journey in this way!  The opinions on the products are my own. I NEVER recommend/link to products that I am dissatisfied with, or that aren’t on my very own wish list.

 

Photo Credit:
Toys: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Sitting Room/Drawers: Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

New Year – 2018 – Pause & Re-Group

Hey there! Remember me? It’s been a while since I’ve met you here. Two and half months, in fact. I have good reason and I’ll tell you why, but before all that, Happy New Year! The New Year is an opportunity to pause and re-group. What a blessing that this opportunity presents itself without our even asking.

I hope your holiday season was full of magic and memories to last a lifetime.

Now that the dust is settling on the craziest time of year, I feel like I can exhale and fill you all in on the happenings over here in our world, the reason for my lengthy blogging absence, and what I plan hope to do differently in the New Year.

On Friday, October 13th, J and I welcomed in to our home two little foster kiddos. And when I say little, I mean LITTLE. Two full siblings with the blondest hair you ever saw and blue eyes to die for. Both under the age of two. That’s right, we went from zero to two under the age of two in the blink of an eye.

One might say that our world was flipped upside down. Yep! Except that “flipped upside down” is an understatement. We knew when we began this journey that it wouldn’t be easy. We knew it would be hard. We just didn’t know it would be HARD!!! H.A.R.D.

We didn’t know it would be the kind of hard where you lose 15 pounds in three weeks. The kind of hard that prevents you from keeping even one thing straight in your brain. The kind of hard that leaves the screams and cries of traumatized babies ringing in your ears even when they are asleep and the house is completely silent. The kind of hard where you seriously question if you’ve got what it takes to give these children what they need when they’ve come from the very worst of circumstances. The kind of hard where you cry.

Every. Single. Day.

For weeks.

Truth is, we probably bit off more than we could chew accepting a very first placement that included not one, but two, babies. A series of circumstances, however, led these two to our home and saying “no” just wasn’t an option.

So, we said “yes”.

And thus began this crazy <BEAUTIFUL> wild ride we find ourselves on currently.

Looking Forward to The New Year

I thank you for sticking in here with me though I’ve been grossly absent for the past couple months. I plan for things to look differently in the New Year.

The start of the New Year is a good opportunity to stop and re-group and it is my intention to do just that. Part of my re-grouping, now that I’ve got a better handle on the chaos in our lives, includes getting back to regular writing (though, it may start out a little slow at first). There’s more to this fostering journey I’d like to share with you and, as always, tid-bits from my adventures in the kitchen, gardening, DIY projects and spiritual growth.

Will you be doing any “stop and re-grouping” this New Year? What does that look like for you?