Monday, January 26, 2009


The past few days have been full of realizations for me. The first one came while I was reading the comments to my last post. I had some great, but conflicting, advice about sleep. On one hand, I should keep Michael up to help him reestablish his nap. On the other, I should be putting him to bed early to make up for no nap. Great advice, if I have a goal. But I didn’t. I was trying to restore the nap and trying to get him to bed earlier. I realized I need to go with either one or the other.

I actually consulted my mom for her opinion on whether we should go for the nap, or give it up. She handles nap time 5 days a week, so she has a very good idea of what Michael really needs. As much as I hate it, I think she is right. He’s giving up the nap. So our goal is to make sure he gets enough nighttime sleep. His new bedtime is 6:00 pm. It’s early, and I don’t love it, but it’s what he needs. I’m not sure how it will work come summer, but I’ll worry about that if, and only if, it becomes a problem.

I also had to come to the realization that the tantrum that Michael threw on Thursday was beyond me. We have always been able to handle his tantrums and undesirable behavior with natural consequences and consistent responses. On Friday I decided to pick up several books to read up on discipline approaches. Standing there in front of the parenting books I realized that I hate parenting books. Feeling helpless, I kept scanning the section until I came across Weissbluth’s book about Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and so much anger welled up in me that I surprised myself. I had forgotten about throwing that book across the room…oh lets see…right about the same time that Michael was dropping from three naps to two (earlier than he was supposed to). I hate that book so much I didn’t even open it when Michael decided to drop down to one nap a day (Guess what, earlier than he was supposed to.)

Honestly, I ‘m not sure if the book has any useful advice in it or not. All I know is that anyone that starts off a sleep book with black box warnings about what you are doing wrong, and then takes 300+ pages to tell you how to fix it, does not understand his target audience. I swore that someday I’m going to read the book, organize it and condense it so that it can be useful to parents that have been surviving on 3 hours of sleep.

Once I realized I had all of this anger in me about sleep advice books, I was able to calm down and start over on my search. I picked up Touch Points and 1, 2, 3 Magic. I started reading Touch Points but I ended up frustrated pretty quickly. It’s an interesting book in that it explains what developmental changes kids go through, but it didn’t have any practical advice on what to do about it. Yes, I know that we are seeing a resurgence of aggression; I caught on to that when my kid punched me in the face. I want to know what to about it.

Which brought me to my next realization, I’m a slow reader. Ok, I know that, but when I’m just doing pleasure reading, I tend to forget about it. I’m always reminded of it when I really need the information the resides in print and cannot get to it fast enough. Twenty pages into a book, I want to see some answers. I don’t have time to dig through 200 pages of psychobabble when my kid is turning into a maniac. I NEED ANSWERS NOW!

Which brought me to a completely different realization that’s going to lead me off on a tangent. I exercise 4-5 times a week. I typically do about 60 minutes on my exercise bike, but I haven’t been getting the results I used to get. Andy has been after me to change up my routine; his point being that my muscles are too efficient in doing the bike, and I need to work different muscles to get a better workout. He’s right, but I’ve been very resistant to changing things up. On Friday, I finally realized why. I read while I’m on the bike. My resistance to change my work out has nothing to do with the work out, and everything to do with protecting my reading time.

At Laura’s recommendation, I decided to try out the 30 day shred. When I mentioned to Andy that I was going to buy the DVD he suggested I take a look at On Demand to see if it was on there. What do you know, it was! At which point I realized that while I’m a geek, it’s turns out I’m not the useful kind. I don’t fix computers, I don’t know how to work our new Blue Ray DVD player, in fact half the time I can’t even figure out how to turn the big TV on without shutting the cable box off at the same time. I’m technologically hopeless.

The 30 Day Shred led me to several realizations. One, Jillian is tough. Two, sneakers that don’t actually have laces that tie are not suitable for anything other than walking the mall. Three, sneakers are not cheap. And four, I have muscles in places that I never knew about before, and Jillian knows how to remind me about them. If I were to meet her right now, I’m not sure if I’d want to hug her or punch her. Either way, I don’t think my arms would be up to it.

Last night, I decided to compromise. I did Jillian’s workout, and then I hoped on the bike for 30 minutes. This way, I get a better workout, but I still preserve some of my precious reading time. I’ve set aside Touch Points in favor of 1, 2, 3 Magic. So far, it’s making a lot of sense, and seems to build off of things Andy and I already do. The book is clear and concise, and I’m making my way through it as quickly as I can.

Which brings me to my final realization of the weekend; I’m afraid of doing time outs. Anytime parenting brings out such a strong reaction, I try to figure out if it’s because the technique is “wrong” to me or if it’s touching on something from my own childhood that makes me feel uncomfortable. As I read the description of how the author suggests you execute a time-out, I agreed that it seemed reasonable. I even realized that my parents used that approach at times, and it worked the way he described it. I’m going to finish reading the book, and see if we can give it a go. But I’m still wondering just what I thought a time-out was, and why it made me so uncomfortable. I guess that’s a realization for another day.


Lindsay said...

I had both the same and opposite reaction to HSH,HC. I TOTALLY AGREE that a writer needs to take that thing and make it readable. Dude, that is one poorly-written book.

On the other hand, I loved the meat of it. It just made a lot of sense for us. Good sleep begets good sleep. Earlier bed times are worth the evening sacrifice. It has all worked at our house.

JTC dropped his nap around his second birthday. He still lays down at daycare during naptime, and I think that helps. He's so tired by 7:00, though. I think I'm going to have to start picking the boys up earlier just to get him to bed earlier.

Anyway, I support 6:00. Go Joanna!

Maria said...

One of the things we did with time outs was to call them 'stop and think' That way the kids understood that they had to a.) stop what they were doing, and b.) think about what they were doing when they were make to stop. It seemed a lot less offensive to me than the term, time out. I have to say, though whatever you call them, they are really helpful if you don't buy into the evasion techniques kids are so good at. It's the getting the kids to realize that they have to sit there quietly for the allotted time, before they can get up that can be challenging part in the beginning. I have a friend who totally doesn't get the whole time out thing, and just lets her kids scream and be out of control for their alotted time, therefore rendering the timeout completely uneffective and painful to watch. Good luck, I hope the new techniques help.

LauraC said...

I hated HSH,HC. Never understood why people are in love with it. I tried to read it when we were desperate for sleep and could not focus enough to read it. That's how I chanced on Ferber. With two, you NEED a schedule. And he is all about schedule. Also I like that you can look up your specific problem and find a solution, and that none of it has to do with crying. You don't need to read the whole book to get answers. Love it.

AND LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE 1 2 3 Magic. We've been using it since the boys turned two and it is like a godsend. I would say 99% of the time, Alex stops whatever he is doing at 2 to avoid a timeout. Nate is going through a rough phase where I'm considering giving him away so I can't talk about discipline with him right now :)

Obviously with two, we had to be more strict with discipline bc 1 - I'm outnumbered and 2- they REALLY get on each other in every way imaginable.

But did you like the shred????

DesiDVM said...

So many topics LOL...I really liked HSHHC but hated the way it was written. I think that book really helped me understand how much sleep babies and toddlers need and that it's perfectly fine to put them to bed early if needed. Also the signs of sleepiness, I didn't really catch on to those until I read that book. J for the most part (maybe 80% of the time) still takes his nap and is in bed by 8pm, when he doesn't take a nap he's down by 6:30.

I've never read the "1, 2, 3" book but that's pretty much what we do, the "punishment" if he doesn't stop what he's doing by the time I get to 3 is usually time-out. I've also found that time-outs don't work if they're in full-on tantrum mode -- when J gets like that I actually walk away from him or tell him that if he's going to scream and act crazy he has to do it in his room with the door shut, and I have had to follow through and put him in his room (I usually stand outside the door). That usually stops him pretty quickly:) For regular time-outs we use a special little chair and set an egg timer. If he gets up from the chair the time starts over. Then he has to tell me why he was in timeout and apologize if warranted. It helps that they also do time-outs at daycare.

I'm also doing the shred - I like it but I usually run for about 30min first to get a longer workout. I don't do it every day, maybe 3 times a week on top of my usual workout schedule.

Karla said...

Funny, I got 1,2,3 Magic last Friday. I've read it and begun to use it. Amazingly, it works. It was recommended by our Pediatrician, and when I worked in a pre-school its the book the director always recommended to parents, when needed. I suggest you give that one a try. Its very easy to read, the author does not give a lot of "mumbo jumbo" in the book. Very straight forward! GL! :)

Beth said...

We're trying 123 Magic, too! William's time-out is in his room with the door closed. He hates it, and the threat of it is usually enough to get him to stop what he's doing. But the tough part is getting him to calm down. He doesn't get it, yet--that he has to calm down before he can come out. I love Maria's term "stop and think." I think we'll start using that. I look forward to hearing about your success or lack thereof!

JenFen said...

We used/use 123 Magic in our house too. Loved it and recommend it to everyone. I feel the same about HSH HC. It had a lot of good info but it was very poorly organized. Ultimately I used Good Night Sleep Tight and later on more of a Ferber method, both with success.

As for the naps, I think you are making the right decision. Jadyn still naps fine every day and then goes down by 9pm but when Jake started staying awake until 10-11pm because he was still napping, I knew he needed to drop it. Once he did, his bedtime became 8pm (mind you he was 3 1/2 not 2 1/2 but still).

Good luck. And you are 1 step ahead of me because I only think I know what In Demand is and I have no idea what the shred is. LOL!

-Bridget said...

Hope you work through all of the sleepy growing pains soon. Sounds like you are on the right track. We struggled with this with Reagan a while back and you are right, once you make a decision one way or another and stick to it, things get better.

I've never actually read the Magic book even though I cheated and use some of the highlights I've heard about. I may have to actually read the whole book now and see what we are missing. We've had a few tantrums with Reagan at the same level you're describring. It's actually quite frightening to me.

Karen said...

I got 1 2 3 Magic out from the library but didn't have time to finish reading it because of all the counting I was doing :) We are trying to develop some sort of plan here to keep Michael in time-out but we usually just tell him we are going to do time-out and he complies. Of course, he then does this over and over until the task is done so I don't know how successful it really is. At least the sleep is better now that Michael has the gate!