Monday, October 28, 2013

Thumb Sucking Fiasco

I swear, this child has a need to suck that rivals vampires. Or the Chicago Bears. It was an epic struggle to break the pacifier habit and weaning was so difficult that she decided to take up thumb sucking. I was okay with the thumb. It was free, she couldn't lose it, and unlike a pacifier I wouldn't have to worry about the dog chewing it up. 

For two months she sucked the heck out of that thumb. It got a little red, then a little calloused. The doctor gave it the okay. And then it got infected. She sucked her thumb so much it got infected. What the heck? 

After a trip to urgent care (don't these things always seem to happen on the weekend?) her disgusting puss-filled thumb was drained and looked better almost instantly. The real question now is whether or not I try and call off the thumb-sucking thing all together and if so, how?

Lizzie isn't even a year and a half. I think that is still an appropriate age to be sucking her thumb, but she is almost violent about it. The poor thumb that wasn't infected got all the love while the infection was healing and it looks raw. Thumb sucking has been a blessing since moving her from the family bed, and I really don't want to backtrack on that amazing progress. Unfortunately going by the red, raw state of her thumbs, I'm thinking that there may be no other choice.

I've heard aloe vera is very effective. Maybe I'll try that first.

Anyone else have thumb sucking trouble? I'd love to hear how you managed to break the habit!

Related Posts:
Cold Turkey
Weaned: Aka My Baby  Doesn't Want Me Anymore

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Little Red Riding Hood Toddler Halloween Costume

Yay for sewing machines! Though it's been years and years since I've sewed anything I finally have a sewing machine again. And I'm going to use it.

As I mentioned in my DIY Big Bad Wolf Post, we are doing the Little Red Riding Hood family costume this year. While the wolf was an easy project, I was a little nervous about attempting a cape. 

It ended up being really easy! I found a great tutorial from Martha Stewart which can be used for a lot of different types of capes. My favorite part was that this whole project cost me around $2 as I had some old fabric lying around. 

Turned out pretty good, huh? I can't wait until next week to get some great family pictures as Little Red, the Wolf, and Grandma! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

DIY Simple Big Bad Wolf Mask For Halloween

After much consideration, we've decided to do family costumes for Halloween. Normally I don't bother dressing up but we thought it would be fun to do Little Red Riding Hood while Lizzie is still too young to have a preference on costume ideas. 

Instead of spending a lot of money on a wolf costume for Andrew, I decided to make a simple mask. 

Here's my supplies: 

A plain mask, four things of faux fur, felt, elastic, a scissors, and a glue gun. 

The Head

  • If your mask doesn't have a headband, attach the elastic headband.
  • On the back side of one of the pieces of fur, use a sharpie and draw around the outline of the mask. Cut out. If the faux fur is very furry, make sure to cut slightly inside the lines or you will obscure some of the eye slits.
  • Draw a simple outline of some ears in sharpie and cut out. I used a little of the black felt and drew two little slivers to glue on top of the ears for definition.

  • Super glue the felt to the ears, then super glue the ears to the back of the mask. Though the super glue would have been enough, I also stapled the ears to the mask to be certain.
  • Super glue the fur to the mask.
  • Use a small bit of the black felt and cut out a small nose. Super glue nose to front.

  • Scare your toddler! ;)

I used the remaining pieces of fur and sewed a simple tail (which we will pin to the back) and two simple front paws. 

Andrew gets the pleasure of wearing this for Halloween while I have to be lame-o grandma. We have a plain grey shirt that will pair nicely with this. 

Overall, this whole project cost less than $10, which I of course LOVE. I'm also glad that with this South Carolina heat we can get something cute that's not bulky or hot. Now for the Red Riding Hood hood...

So scary right? 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Finally Getting My Toddler Out of the Family Bed

Hallelujah! Cue the band, it's time to celebrate! Lizzie is finally in her own room, in her own crib, sleeping through the night. Hey, it only took sixteen months.

You may not remember, but that happened to be New Year's resolution #1 on my list way back in January. Better late than never right? 

I admit when I posted in January that I expected this magic to happen in, you know, January. Part of the problem was that we were unwilling to do the cry-it-out method. I have nothing against CIO but it just wasn't the right fit for our family. The second part of the problem (other than my laziness) was that back in January, Lizzie was still breast feeding once or twice in the middle of the night. 

Well that's over now. It took much longer than I had anticipated but I can finally enjoy sleep without the random toddler kick to the nose or butt smother, and she is finally using that expensive convert-to-bed crib for more than naps.

Here's the things that finally helped me get stinker butt out of our bed without using cry it out. Note: This process took a few months, but in the end it is completely worth it without being too traumatic for either of us.

  • "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" by Elizabeth Pantley. Seriously, though I ended up not using all her methods this book really helps explain how babies/toddlers sleep and gives suggestions on how to ease into a new sleep routine even for co-sleepers. 
  • Quitting nighttime nursing. I'm NOT suggesting that you wean your baby before either of you are ready, but Lizzie had become dependent on nursing to fall back asleep. She wasn't hungry, but for several months, nursing became a quick fix for both of us to get more shut eye. Once I switched to only daytime nursing, she started sleeping longer and longer stretches. We were still co-sleeping but she was no longer waking up every hour and a half.
    • While getting rid of the night time dependency, I did have to substitute rocking, walking, and cuddling to get her back to sleep. By mixing up several different ways, she did not simply swap her dependency on night time nursing for something else and learned to self-soothe a little bit.
    • "The No Cry Sleep Solution" has lots of good ideas on how to break this type of sleep dependency.
  • We started fresh from a long vacation. This helped all of us re-boot and establish a solid new routine.
  • Bed time ritual. This is huge. We've figured out that even if it's not exactly the same time every night, the ritual itself is great for getting Lizzie in the "we are going to bed soon" mindset. Ours consists of bedroom pickup, bath, a few books, hugs, and then lights out. It lasts 40 minutes or so, and after several weeks, she knows when it's time to crawl in bed.
  • Switching to a toddler bed. There's nothing in Lizzie's room that she can hurt herself with. Yes, fifteen months was a little young to make the switch but she HATED being trapped behind the bars of the crib. 
  • Getting a new friend. While she all ready somehow has way too many stuffed animals without us ever buying her a single one, we got her a brand new wolf doll specifically for her new big girl bed.
  • Slowly easing away. In fact, for the first few nights I even lay with her in the toddler bed until she fell asleep. Then for a few nights I sat in her bed with her until she fell asleep. Then I sat just outside the bed, etc. until I was on the other side of the room. The first week she would wake frequently, and I ended up sleeping in her room with her and shushing her back to sleep without taking her from her bed. Then, when she woke less frequently I slept in my bed and walked back if she woke in the middle of the night until it finally, finally phased out.
    • Note: I still sit with her in the room until she falls asleep, which is anywhere from five to twenty minutes usually. This is mainly because I don't want her popping up from her bed. 

This is what worked for my family. I know there are a lot of sleep-deprived parents or parents looking for a way to quit the family bed so I hope at least a few of these ideas can help.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Living on Base During a Government Shutdown

So we are officially one week in on this government shutdown.  This is the third or forth October that we have been a military family, and I have to admit that I scoffed a little bit at all the panic that was going around base when people worried that they weren't going to get paid. 

Every year since we've been in the military has been the same, with a military-excempt bill going through just as the deadline approaches. So I admit, I rolled my eyes at the end of September panic that spread across the Joint Base Charleston forums from military spouses and members. They passed a bill making sure military members still would be paid, but I didn't realize just how much a government shutdown would still affect those of us living on base.

So many military families not only have their service member working for the government, but also the milspouse. Often, working on base or in a federal job is one of the only ways that milspouses can find employment. Many of them are out of work until the shutdown is over.

The biggest example of this that I have noticed is the Commissaries. Though they have just reopened, They were shut down for almost a week. That's a week without pay for most of the workers. That's a week where any perishable foods that weren't sold in the shopping frenzy on October 1st will most likely be need to be thrown out. Not to mention all the military families that are on a tight budget and depend on the commissary's lower prices to feed their families.

The other big example that I've noticed just on our base is all the enrichment activities for military families. Classes designed to help military families find a job, manage their finances, prepare for a baby, or strengthen their marriage are suspended until further notice. While it's true that most of these classes can be taken at another time after the shutdown is over, it's not always easy to find the time.

Hopefully this can all get resolved quickly. For a deadline that approaches the same date every year, it is ridiculous that military families, federal workers, and countless others are being punished for this refusal to compromise.