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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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Movement Monday: Strollers & Warm Weather Strollin’ Tips

When I added a stroller to my baby gift registry, I focused on a double stroller.

I figured that with three kids in the mix, and the need to keep situations contained from time to time, the double would come in handy.

In fact, when we first got our foster kiddos, if it weren’t for a VERY well loved before us double stroller (seriously, it was near needing a trip to the dumpster), I’m not sure I could have managed.

I attempted ONE doctor appt with a single stroller in the first week of their arrival – which meant one was contained and the other trusted to be chill.

The appointment transpired something opposite of that, ending with an exploded sippy cup of juice all over the floor and the staff assuring me it was fine, they would clean it up (aka: they wanted me to get my tornado the heck out of their office) and giving me all the sympathy faces.

It was an epic cluster!

Along with needing containment for both of them during appointments, the screaming that rarely stopped seemed to subside a little if I was strolling them through the neighborhood.

Which meant a LOT of walking for me. A large contributor to my losing 15 lbs in just 3 short weeks.

Anyway, with a third on the way I thought it would be nice to have a new double stroller option to rely upon.

And we had been generously handed down a couple single stroller options that would suffice.

I haven’t used the new double stroller much at all – but we have gotten boat loads of use of the jogging stroller that was loved before us and then handed down for us to give it another round of life.

It’s not fancy. It has some rips, tears, stains and other chinks in its’ armor.

But it rides smoothly and baby boy is comfy with a new, clean stroller insert so there’s little to complain about.

What I really love about this stroller is that the sun shade adjusts all the way from the handle-bars to the drink/snack tray. This allows me to keep the sun off my little guy as well as the air flowing around him because it doesn’t get trapped in the back/top of the stroller under a shade that’s attached to the handle-bars.

Here’s a link to one very similar to what we have: Baby Trend Jogging Stroller

I did a quick search of top selling and reviewed strollers on Amazon – and they can be quite spendy to say the least. The stroller linked above can be picked up for under $100 right now. Plus, it posts good reviews with 4.5 stars!

And taking a note from my girl over at Move Better Mom Better, I ordered this battery operated fan to help keep my little dude from over-heating when we’re out and about and temps are climbing.

I always worry about how hot strollers and car seats can get for our little ones and about a month or so ago, Kristen had an awesome IG post with suggestions to keep the heat off the kids without scrapping the idea of the outdoor adventure all together.

One additional thing I like to do to ensure my little dude stays as cool as possible is to eliminate any unnecessary clothing. You betcha that we stroll in just a onesie sans pants!

Him. No me.

Hope you have a wonderfully wonderful week ahead – but before I go, can we please talk about these adorable chubby baby legs?