September 29, 2011

She Sleep a week!!!

Whew.  Here it is, nearly two weeks after the dreaded "Sleep Training Week" and my life could not be any better!!

WOO HOO for me!!!

I am a co-sleeper parent.  Was with Jon.  Was with Ella.  With Jon, it was because I was nursing and I was SO exhausted (he was colicky) that I just could NOT get out of bed to feed him.  With Ella, it was my huge (self-inflicted) guilt trip of being gone all day (at work), that led me to believe our "only" time to be together was at night.  *sigh* 

Ella is not a friendly sleeper.  She thrashes, she flops, she spins, she kicks and much more.  She is SUCH a busy girl even when she is awake...that she must be reliving all the good times she had that her sleep.

So, it became necessary to get her to sleep in her own bed.  A "big girl" toddler bed.  I dreaded it.  I agonized over it.  I researched it. 

In fact, I googled everything I could on sleep training (there is really not much, unless you want to pay for advice) and I went to the library and checked out all three (3?!) books on sleep training.  Hmm.  The "sleep training" books each had ONE chapter that was semi-useful.  Google was much more helpful.  I stumbled onto Super Nanny.

No kidding, this website has TONS of useful information regarding child rearing.  AND it's actually practical and applicable.

Here's what I did:  First of all, I went to eBay...  What?  You don't immediately go to eBay when you have a big project???  You are doing it wrong.

I went to eBay and bought a HUGE lot of PJs for Ella.  I think I got 10 pair for less than $20 (including shipping).  This was crucial because I had NO EXCUSE to not put her in warm PJs each and every single night.

Did my research and marked my calendar for September 12.  Told the family..."this is it". and waited (dreading) this week to arrive.

Night one:  PJs on and say "night night" to the boys.  I take her to her room.  Tell her it's "night night" time, hug her, kiss her and lay her down.  Then I moved to the center of the room and faced the door (she could see my profile) and waited.  Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.  She got down several times that night and Trent (who stayed in Jon's bed in the same room to help) had to put her back to bed several times after she fell asleep and woke back up.  I never heard a peep, so I assumed all went VERY well.

Night two:  PJs on and same routine as night one.  However, I did make a few changes to her bed.  I added her two biggest stuffed animals to her bed.  I had put on a recently worn shirt of Trent's on one...and a recently worn shirt of mine on the other.  I also switched out her pillow to one Trent had recently used.  She was virtually SURROUNDED and she could "smell us".  I laid her down and she tried to escape ONE time.  Fell asleep faster, but flopped around a lot.  Trent stayed in that room again and at some point she had got up and was standing next to his bed and he let her crawl in with him.  I was devastated.  :(   I thought:  "We have FAILED!!!  It.  is.  over.  But I was determined to make this matter HOW LONG it took.

Night three:  Same "night night" routine.  Lay her down and no escape attempts.  She fell asleep much quicker and stayed in bed the whole night.

Night four:  (Here's where it gets crazy).  Same "night night" routine.  Lay her down and I left the room.  After about 2 minutes, here she came....running for all she was worth.  I picked her up, hugged her, kissed her told her (again) it was "night night" time and laid her down.  She cried and whimpered a bit, but was asleep in less than 15 min.  I was BEAMING with pride.

Night five:  Same routine.  Lay her down and leave the room.  5 minutes and she was OUT. 

Yes, in 5 nights, my daughter learned how to sleep in her own bed and no one got hurt!

My BEST advice:
1.  Establish a routine that WORKS FOR YOU. 
2.  No matter what (even how tired or wore out you are), be consistent and DO NOT STOP. 
3.  Do your homework.  Make plans and be REALISTIC.
4.  Do NOT underestimate your child.  9 times out 10 they will surprise you.


September 9, 2011

Oh Be Careful Little Ears

There is nothing like a reality check from your kids.  You know the kind I'm talking about...there they are playing, when all of a sudden, they get upset and start yelling and pointing with angry eyes and mouth to their toy or worse...their playmate.  Where did they learn that behavior??

Well, sadly, they probably learned it from you.  You don't think so?  Check yourself.  Next time you are upset or your words, your actions, your facial expressions.  Bingo.  They are a perfect mirror image of what they see at home.

I didn't believe this was true for the longest time, until my son came along.  I learned very quickly to watch what I said or how I reacted to things when he was young...because I was/am a lazy parent.  LOL!  I don't want to have to fix something later down the road--I'd rather it never become a problem! 

Your children also have the distinct ability to copy the positive behavior too.  Jon used to love to "preach" when he was less than 2 years old.  He had a stuffed chair that he'd flip over and use as a pulpit and he'd bang away and raise his voice and "preach" to me and Trent.  He was copying his daddy.  Ella is the same way.  She has this habit of walking on her tiptoes.  I think she is copying me wearing heels.  HAHA! 

One of the greatest blessings of raising your kids in the church is the fact that they learn how to praise without one single solitarty lesson or Sunday School class.  Jon received the Holy Ghost when he was 2 1/2 years old.  He got it at my parent's home in Claremore, OK.  Trent was studying in a spare bedroom and heard Jon repeating over and over: "I praise you Jesus, I praise you Jesus".  It took us a while to figure out where he learned that...but it was from me!  I say that all the time and didn't realize it!  It wasn't long before he was crying.  And as real as anyone has ever received it, leaning over my mother's vacuum cleaner, Jon began speaking in tongues.  He had no idea what had happened or how important it was, but God, just could not let the praise go unnoticed...and so, He gave Jon a gift that will never grow old, be out of style, or lose it's value. 

Not to be outdone, Ella has taken on worship as well.  Quite frequently, she can be seen raising her hands, clapping, saying "amen" and jumping up and down at church.  I encourage this as much as possible.  Recently, at a Home Missions church, Ella noticed a saint speaking in tongues.  She stared, transfixed on the posture of this lady and the sounds coming out of her mouth...and there, she began copying what this lady was doing.  Since then, she has "spoke in tongues" several times and I am thinking she is trying to one up her brother by receiving the Holy Ghost before he did!  Won't that be something?!  And if, you happen to get lucky enough to sit with Ella during church...look out, if she "feels led", she is likely to lay hands on you and pray for you!

This photo was taken last week during our church prayer time. 


September 8, 2011

But by faith...


All of these words (and many more!!) describe my feelings and emotions about the decision to Home School.  I had only done a teeny tiny bit of research into it.  Had only asked a couple friends about what they did or what program they used.  I was so CLUELESS about how big of a subject Homeschooling is, that I just closed my eyes and jumped in...and starting swimming for dear life!

We made the decision to home school for various personal reasons.  One of which, is that being a Preacher's Kid, my son is subject to the most bizarre random schedule and "a bed time" is more of a general idea rather than rule of thumb.  Jon attended public school from Kindergarten until 2nd grade.  Like a brave soldier, he'd endure the ride home from church, arriving as late as 2 am (or later!!!) and getting up the next morning and going to school.  I felt like a dog.  My brave little guy would get up, go to class, come home, play hard, and never made a big scene about being "too tired" to go.  Some days, we would keep him home if the trip had been especially long or tiring...but usually, he went.

Now, before you all assume that we attend church 30 minutes from our home, and just like to party and chat and wile away the hours fellowshipping while our kids grow more and more tired, weary and have to understand that my husband is no ordinary preacher.  He not only pastors a church in South San Francisco, he evangelizes full time.  This means that he travels to various churches for different services, sometimes several nights in a row (but mostly on weekends--Sunday is our "big day").  Some of these churches are as far away as 4 hours--ONE WAY!  And like a good daddy, my husband would get there, get the job done and then get on the road ASAP so that Jon could get up and go to school.  On occasion, we (me, Jon and Ella) would stay home and still, Trent would make the drive home in order to be able to get up and take Jon to school the next morning since I still work a full time job.  Truly, if you knew how much my husband sacrifices for his'd give him a hug...and a medal.  He is an amazing daddy. 

So, we begin our journey into home schooling.  This means, a more laid back schedule for Jon.  Doing school work in his PJs with messed up hair and being able to spend the day with dad. 

We are on week 2 and so far, I feel GREAT about this decision.  Jon is breezing through all the review work they do at the beginning of the year and has nearly memorized the entire portion of scripture (Hebrews 11:7-10) that is required for them to learn the month of September (and we are only 5 lessons into the month!!!).  I am super proud of him and so thankful that we are giving this a chance.  I think the biggest advantage so far is that he seems to have increased self-confidence.  Had I known that would be a perk, I would have had MUCH less hesistation about making the change.

Oh, and little Ella is getting home schooled too.  I have been working with Ella in the evenings with phonics.  So far, she's learned the "E" sound: "eh".  Everytime she sees "E", she says "eh, eh, eh".  She is learning to count to 5, number recognition and ASL.  And...she is only 21 months old.  It is QUITE possible that I will have a little reader on my hands BEFORE Kindergarten.

So, we began this endevour, unsure, unaware, and unknowing...and, as Jon's memory verse states..."But by faith...", we are going to succeed. 

If you are a homeschooling parent, and on Facebook, please join our home school group!