What to do when your toddler takes over your bed?

It’s a decision that every parent needs to make for themselves (and hopefully, your partner comes to the same decision that you do): will we let our children sleep in our bed?

I’m not necessarily talking about the early decision of whether an infant can/should sleep in bed with parents (co-sleeping). I mean when your child is older, has their own bed, and wakes up in the middle of the night expecting to climb into bed with his or her parents.

I’ve known many parents who draw the line- you have your own bed, with your own Mickey/Firetruck/Princess/Pony blankets- you should sleep there. I’ve known lots of other parents who allow their kids into their beds and typically complain about the lack of sleep that comes with that decision- we’ve fallen into the latter category as of late.

In fact, Harper has slept in our bed for at least a portion of every night for the past 3 weeks or so. Is it a phase? (She’s 2-1/2). How long will she continue? Since we have no idea how to answer any of these questions, we found ourselves with another interesting question recently. We’re in the market for a new bed- do we opt for a bigger size now that we’re accommodating 3 people every night instead of 2?

For us, the answer was yes. We opted for a California King size bed (we had a Queen before). When it came down to it, since we both work full-time, we decided that if our girl wants to be around us during the overnight hours, we want her to have that option. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to try to get her to sleep in her bed though- we still plan to put her to bed in her room every night. But it’s nice to know that when she does her mid-night bed-hop, we’ll all have enough space to still get a good night’s sleep.

How about you, mamas? How did you handle your little ones’ bed takeover schemes?

Side note: that hilarious image above is from a web site called howtobeadad.com – some really funny stories on there about the adventures in parenting- just wanted to give credit for the image.

 

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

2 Year Olds and Temper Tantrums

At least I know I’m not alone. There are countless articles out there that describe the kinds of tantrums that two-year-olds are capable of, so I know what I’m experiencing is normal. But as a first-time-mom, there’s not an article or book out there that could have prepared me for the wrath of my unhappy two-year-old.

Toddler tantrumHarper’s outbursts have been steadily increasing in frequency and fury. She used to just cry uncontrollably. Those broke my heart to watch, but they’re nothing compared to the screaming fits that she’s been unleashing lately. Last night, it was over changing into her pajamas. A seemingly routine act, that happens literally every night ended up becoming the last thing in the world that she wanted to do- and she let us know it. Screams that echoed throughout our apartment, that probably woke up neighbors and had our cat running for cover. Flailing arms and legs. She was literally uncontrollable.

Of course, in these moments, I feel like I should be mentally going back to the articles that I’ve read about how to respond and react accordingly. Most of the time though, I’m standing there a bit paralyzed, in shock that my sweet tiny baby has already become a screaming toddler. I try to hug her and calm her down- she pushes me away. If I walk away to try to give her space, she seems to cry more. I’m still trying to figure out the right way to help her through these episodes. I hope it doesn’t take too long to figure it out.

How have you handled your toddler’s tantrums?

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

5 Tips for Mealtime with a Toddler

I feel like I’m constantly reading “tips” articles or whole books, dedicated to helping me to navigate the hectic, tiring, hilarious and fulfilling job of parenting a toddler. One of the areas that I’ve needed a lot of coaching, is mealtime.

My daughter Harper is a bit of a comedian. When we’re running low on time, it always seems like that’s when she decides that she’s going to do nothing but joke around at the table. At first, I found it difficult to keep her focused, but I’ve developed some skills in the toddler mealtime department- so below are my top 5 tips for feeding a toddler.

1) Offer Choices. I had heard this one before- mainly just in reference to vegetables (and it amazingly, DOES really work for vegetables! See the original article I read on babble here). But when I say offer choices, I mean from meal planning “Harper, do you want waffles with blueberries today or bananas and cheerios?” “Do you want chicken and broccoli or soup (anything even remotely liquid-y is “soup” at this point) to sitting at the table deciding what to eat first (or even which piece of chicken to eat).

I’ve noticed that by actively engaging with her, and making the meal about her choices, she’s more likely to eat than goof around. Of course, not every meal plan is based on Harper’s decisions (I’m not a short-order cook!) and that’s ok- even when the choices are small (like which fork to use today), it works!

Mealtime tips for toddler2) Allow them to experiment. Yes, as adults, we KNOW that broccoli dipped in ketchup MUST taste awful. But for a toddler who’s just learning about food, this combination seems perfectly reasonable, and potentially delicious. I had read somewhere that allowing your kids to be adventurous with their food early makes them more open to trying new things later- so when my daughter decided to dip her broccoli into her ketchup, I decided to let her go for it. To my surprise, she kept doing it… and finished her broccoli. So my new motto is, as long as its not dangerous- go ahead and try it!

3) Hold the milk. My daughter is obsessed with milk. I’m pretty sure she would drink a gallon a day if I let her, so its become increasingly important to only serve water with dinner. If I give her milk, she WILL drink it all before touching her food and she WILL request more because she’s used to having a beverage with her meal. Offering water allows her to focus on the food while still having something to wash down her ketchup-covered broccoli with.

4) Make Healthy Foods fun. We’ve embraced the smoothie bandwagon at our house. We’ve worked everything from kale to soy milk, to blueberries to spinach into our smoothies, and refer to them as ‘milkshakes’. Harper loves them.

Are we lying to her? No. There’s milk in there (soy milk). So they’re sort of “milkshakes”. But the point is, she’s enjoying a treat and we know that she’s getting the vitamins she needs. Its a win-win.

Along the same lines, but another great discovery: it really does help to refer to broccoli as “trees” and play a game where your kiddo pretends to be a dinosaur eating the “trees”. Whoever came up with that is brilliant!

5) The classics are still good. Does every meal time need to be well thought-out and restaurant-quality? No. Don’t put pressure on yourself to win Top Chef at every meal. Sometimes, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich really is the perfect lunch. And sometimes, grilled cheese and chicken soup is just what the doctor ordered. In my opinion, these old standards are necessities in the mealtime rotation- both for my sanity, as well as in the name of being a kid!

Got anything to add? What makes mealtimes work in your house? Do you have any great toddler-friendly recipes to share?

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

Toddler Time – Dragons, Snakes and Pirates- OH MY!

For the past 2 weeks, our little girl has woken up in the middle of the night for seemingly no reason. It always comes at about 3 am- and she always asks to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed for the rest of the night.

I’m not really sure what causes these mid-night wake ups. This is a totally new trend for her. She used to sleep through the entire night (Yes, I know I’m very lucky!) Sometimes, when she wakes up though, she says things like “The snake bit me!” or “The dragon bit me!” or “The pirates, Mommy- the PIRATES!”. I have no idea where 2 of these 3 nightmares comes from though. First, she’s never seen a real snake. And I’m pretty sure she’s never seen a real dragon. Also- she’s never seen a snake or dragon even in a book or show or movie (though I know where the pirates come from…which became obvious when she said “AND CAPTAIN HOOK!” one night).

Besides cutting “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” out of the rotation of weekend treats, I’m not sure what to do about her nightmares. Since I have no idea where they’re coming from, it’s not as simple as skipping a certain book or a certain TV show. Its odd to me that she somehow 1) knows about snakes and dragons and 2) has enough of a knowledge of them to know that they’re scary things, and yet I don’t know where she was exposed to them. I’m not even sure removing these things is the right way to handle the situation, even if I knew how to remove them. I just tell her that there are no snakes in our house and that there’s no such thing as dragons and Mommy and Daddy will always keep her safe. It seems early though, for her to be having nightmares.

Is this the average age that these things start to happen? What were your kids afraid of at 2 years old?

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

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