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Image Isn't Everything

GG and I watched the NAACP Image Awards last Friday.  The century-old organization’s premier event that celebrates “the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts…”  I especially like watching with GG because it gives us the perfect opportunity to have a natural, unforced conversation about the wide spectrum of Black entertainers – outside of the Mr. Moseby character from Disney’s "Suite Life on Deck", who in my opinion, has a lot to be desired.  But I’ll save that for another rant, another blog.

Anyway, the opening ensemble with Wyclef Jean, Carlos Santana and some other international performers fascinated GG, who noticed that the music sounded like it was Mexican or Jamaican.  So we talked about how a long time ago, African people brought their music with them wherever they went (or were taken), and how that music’s had an influence on all sorts of genres since that time.

What I really appreciate about the Image Awards is when individuals who truly embody the ideal image take center stage.  As we watched Myrlie Evers approach the podium I thought to myself “That’s what I want to be when I grow up.”  And then the nominations for “Best Actress,” “Best Supporting Actress” and “Best Picture” were announced.  “Precious” was represented in all categories.

Wait a minute...I thought these awards were about image.

First off, I’ll readily admit that I haven’t seen “Precious”.   I personally don’t find the reality of child abuse, child neglect or poverty particularly entertaining, so there’s no reason for me to pay eight bucks and see it in a theater.  The young woman who plays the title character seems to be delightful, funny and articulate – and she’s a grad student, for crying out loud!  So why should an image that is the completely and total opposite of that even be nominated?  The actress who plays the title character’s abusive mother, comes off as strong and smart in interviews, so again, why should the NAACP award her for an image so seemingly ugly and abusive?  Well, they both won; and if I remember correctly, the movie won the Image Award for Best Picture too.

But I just have to stop and wonder -- especially on the heels of Black History Month -- were these images really worthy of an Image Award?  With as many contributions as Black people have made throughout this country’s history, I just don’t think so.


My son, Harrison, is a crappy sleeper.  He does not sleep through the night on a consistent basis...in fact, I can count on one hand the number of times in the entire year of his life that Harrison has slept for more than seven hours at a stretch.  Some nights he wakes up once or twice and fusses for a bit and then goes back to sleep.  Some nights, though, he is up almost all night--sometimes playing, sometimes crying--and then he wakes up at 5 a.m. as if he had slept the whole night through.  Daytime naps are no different.  About half the time, Harrison will take two good, long naps in a day.  The other half of the time, he takes maybe one twenty-minute nap and then is up for hours and hours at a stretch.

What gives?  My daughter, Grace, started taking good naps and sleeping through the night before she was three months old, and I'm not doing anything different with Harrison...if anything, I am being a little harsher on Harrison when it comes to sleep than I was with Gracie.  I've tried a lot of things--we've tried co-sleeping, letting Harrison cry it out (even though I am not a fan of CIO), rocking him to sleep, rubbing his back, we've tried switching it up and putting him in the Pack 'n' Play in our room...you name it, we've tried it, and still, our little man doesn't sleep.  As a result, my husband and I don't sleep, and wow.  It has been a long, tiring year.  We're ready for a change.

Recently, I was crabbing on Facebook and Twitter about yet another fragmented, exhausting night of sleep (or, rather, no sleep), and one of my Facebook friends, Sonya Jongsma Knauss, offered to give me a couple of sleep books that she had that might help me out.  One of the books, The Sleep Easy Solution, looks pretty intriguing to me, and although I am skeptical (the book promises results in "less than a week!") I think I'm going to read the book cover to cover and see if I can glean some good ideas from it in our efforts to get our son to sleep well.  

As I read this book and try out its suggestions, I will be reporting back to you all about how it goes.  Wish us luck as we try to get more sleep!!

Nov. 24, 2009

This has become one of the most important days of my life.

Well, maybe I should start from the beginning, and you will understand why.

About a year after my husband and I got married, we found out I was going to have a baby and how excited we both were. I gave birth to the most beautiful daughter, Erica.

Then tragedy struck a few years later and we were told we would never have another child. We went on with our lives and loving our daughter, Erica.

Through the years, many children have entered our lives (friends and family), so I have felt pretty blessed.

A couple years ago, I was realized that I was no longer able to work full time and turned my business over to our daughter. I stayed on with her part-time but wanted something else in my life to help keep me busy.

My husband and I sat down and came up with what we felt was the perfect solution: foster care. We contacted CSSW and went to an orientation meeting to see how to begin becoming foster parents. We were both very interested; we got our license and began.

We first had a brother and sister who were adopted by a wonderful family. Then in July of 2008, this 6 month old baby boy, Kobi came in to our lives.

We watched him learn how to crawl, learn how to walk, get excited when he would learn new things. We watched him grow.

Unfortunately, his mother was not able to provide for him so after being with us for a year and a half, we were given the option to adopt. We jumped at the chance to bring this boy into our home.

 He is very loved by my husband, our daughter and me. We can’t imagine life without him. Not only do we have the best daughter, now we have the best son that any parent could ask for.

Here’s the kicker: my husband and I are 51…and our daughter is 30.

 Yes, we are back in the saddle raising a child again, so please come along with me and follow our journey as we raise this little boy and watch him grow.

Oh, and in case you didn’t guess, November 24, 2009 was the day that Kobi officially became our son.


Hey there-
Life usually doesn’t turn out the way we plan, a shocking discovery for a planner such as myself. I believed I had thought of everything; perfect partner, part time job, gorgeous house, supportive family, healthy child, another fabulous pregnancy, cancer diagnosis, widowhood. Oops, where did those last two come from? I didn’t plan those. I would never plan to raise my boys alone, without their father.

Plans change.

Plan B emerged slowly from the broken remains that were my life. Second marriage, step children, ex-wife, sainted dead husband, these were never part of my plan either, not the original plan anyway.

But here I am, making new plans, constantly.

Please enjoy my random observations of parenting without the intended partner.

“Life is a succession of readjustments.”
Elizabeth Bowen

Thanks for checking in-


I think technology has helped us become more efficient people, but although it has perks - it has some take aways. 

We’ve all experienced it or observed an annoyance with people and their cell phones. How many times have you been perturbed by someone’s driving, only to pass them and realize they were talking on a cell phone. Or, been in a check-out line and heard every intimate detail of someone’s life? Or, been mid-way in a meeting and someone’s ring tone sounds off?

You would assume, the same level of common sense would be inherent in all of us – but apparently not. So, maybe cell phones should come with a pamphlet outlining some etiquette?

Seuss, Easy Readers, party, free

Party Time

We’re throwing a party this Saturday—and you’re invited!  It’s Dr. Seuss’ birthday and the Milwaukee Public Library is celebrating.  The event is Saturday, March 6 at Central Library from 10 to 1.  During this year’s celebration we are featuring Yertle the Turtle (don’t you just love saying “Yertle the Turtle”?).

The event will include the Red Fish, Blue Fish fishing pond, Seuss-inspired art projects with Artists Working in Education, face painting, music by Ken Baron, Dr. Seuss and Dr. Seuss-inspired stories in the story nook, and Yertle the Turtle cookie decorating. We’ll also have visits from Browser the Library Lion, Penworthy Bear, and the Cat in the Hat! The party wouldn’t be complete without turtles. We’ll feature a “petting area” with live turtles from Hoffer’s Tropic Life Pets.

Next time I’ll talk a bit more about Easy Readers but for now I hope you can join us for the party this Saturday!

 Click here for more information about Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss.  

kids, parenting

Cirque du Dorsey

I've been thinking about going back to school to get my PhD in juggling.  

There's no way that moms are supposed to just know how to juggle without some sort of education or training, right? I mean even performers starring in the circus must get instruction at some point.

But then I realize, wait!  Even though I get totally exhausted by it, and at times I feel like I am really no good at it, I already know how to juggle. 

For example, on a typical workday I somehow manage to get myself (looking presentable) and two kids out the door before 7:00.  This involves laying out the little one's school uniform the night before, nudging them out of bed (which requires singing original made-up rhyming songs each day for my youngest), making them breakfast, helping them remember their gym shoes, snacks, permission slips, snow pants, boots, tennis shoes, donations for the food pantry, a note to the bus driver when my son goes home with his friend, Brownie vests--with the latest patches sewn on--on meeting days, cold lunches if the hot lunch is icky and a lunch and a couple of snacks packed for myself.  Some days I even squeeze in a fifteen-minute Pilate's workout before I attempt to juggle all these tasks. 

Then after school, with the assistance of the after-school program and by cashing in favors, I manage to get two kids to two different activities at the same time, even when said activities get rescheduled twice in one week and a personal emergency prevents a mom in carpool from getting one kid where he needs to be two days in a row.

Dinner gets on the table, homework gets completed, e-mails get answered, the dishwasher gets loaded, the driveway get shoveled--if necessary--and we still have time to cuddle up, watch our DVR'd shows and read books at bedtime.

And the great thing is, that if, by chance, I mess up my juggling one day, I get to do it all over again the next day--but the things I get to juggle each day varies just enough to keep me on my toes and prevent it all from becoming routine.

All the world's a stage after all.  So I'll keep working on polishing up my juggling act. I'd invite you to come watch but I'm sure you are too busy perfecting your own act!

Spring is the most inspiring time of the year. We are celebrating the beginning of the season with an exciting Eco-Giveaway prize: a gDiapers Sweet Bundle, a $99 kit that includes everyday g's 6-pack of little gPants plus your choice of a case of gRefills or 2 packs of gCloth inserts.

Yes, we are all about starting the season in an environmentally conscious way. Over 18 billion disposable diapers are sold in the US every year, and over 90% of those end up in landfills, where it can take them up to 500 years to decompose!

gDiapers are breathable and combine the best features of cloth and disposable diapers. Plastic-free biodegradable gRefills keep babies dry and happy, so they’re less likely to get diaper rash.

Fan of Eco.Logical.Mom
and gDiapers on Facebook by March 31, 2010 and be entered to win this fantastic gDiaper set! The winner will be announced on April 5, 2010.

Good Luck!
Click here to become fan of Eco.Logical.Mom

Click here to become fan of gDiapers

"Sweet Bundle" provided by gDiapers.

Let's Connect With Nature!

If you want to get the kids outside more...to appreciate nature, get some fresh air, or for some plain old fun, here's where to start. 
•    Get out there!  The best way to experience nature and all that it offers is to get outside.  You won't get all the great benefits of connecting with nature through any book or movie.
•    Keep it simple!  You don't need to plan anything elaborate, or spend a bunch of money.  Some of our best "finds" have been from our own yard.  Last summer we found our first salamander in our yard.  We had never seen one in our area before and it was really cool.  We watched its behavior, looked it up on the internet to find out what kind it was, what it ate and where it spent its time (so we could release it somewhere better than in the window-well we found it in).  My son even took a printout of its picture to school for show and tell.  He got so much more involved in finding out more about it because we actually had found a real live one in our yard.  What a great teachable moment!
•    Don't be intimidated with what you don't know!  You can teach a child to appreciate nature by exploring WITH them...it's not about naming everything you come across.  No matter how many years of study I've had in the science and environmental field, there will always be things I don't know.  It's actually what I like best about nature.  There's always something interesting to learn.   If you come across something you can't identify...just say "I don't know, let's look it up together".  Or, you might want to get a field guide (we have one on birds, trees and butterflies).  That way we can identify things on hikes if we want to.
•    Get excited about their discoveries.  Yes, even the bugs, worms and dirt.  The more excitement you show, the more likely they are to head out and explore more.  Fostering a sense of curiosity in a child in one of the greatest gifts you an give them!
•    Address any fears.  If your child, or the children you are working with, are afraid of something they're going to experience, address it before you get outside.  You could even relate a fear that you have and show them how you've tried to overcome it.  Also, try to be comfortable with any of their "finds".  Admire them, even make an effort to touch them.  (Of course that's IF they’re not dangerous).  

More ideas to come!  Happy exploring!

Chris Hettwer
For more information on getting your child connected with nature visit my blog at: http://letsconnectwithnature.blogspot.com/

Clarity Irene

I was so annoyed yesterday I thought I might spontaneously combust right in my car while I was driving Henry to his soccer game.

It all started when I was summoned out of bed by my five year old, Arthur, yelling “Mom!” repeatedly from his bedroom.  By his calls I imagined something involving either blood or vomit but what I found was his brother Henry “annoying him” by staring at him over the boards of his bunk bed.

Apparently Henry had been thrown off when he went out to have his breakfast cereal and found someone he didn’t know sitting in his seat at the dining room table (step-sister, Aubrey, had a friend spend the night) and his solution to this was to wake Arthur up and proceed to stare at him. According to Henry it was more embarrassing to introduce himself to the “stranger” and ask her name than to cause a scene by annoying everyone in the house at 7:30 on a Sunday morning.

The day quickly deteriorated from there when I had a cold shower due to the fact that I had to switch a load of laundry which put me in line for the shower behind my step daughter, Natalie, who takes the longest showers known to man.

After my extremely brief shower, where I only performed the bare minimum in hygiene maintenance, I began to pack for a two day “business trip” when Henry appeared at my bedroom grief stricken.

“Mom, I’ve got my cleats and my shin guards and my water bottle and my ball but I bet you didn’t clean my soccer uniform from yesterday, did you?  I don’t want to wear the same one from yesterday, that’s gross,” he announced mortified and dejected at the same time.

“Excuse me?” I retorted.  “Excuse me!?!?!? Of course I took the time to wash your soccer uniform last night after we got back from your Aunt Jane’s birthday party, thank you very much. And I had a cold shower this morning just so it would be dry!” 

What kind of eight year old boy cares about wearing a dirty soccer uniform anyway?

After all this I was quite proud of myself that we were actually getting in the car early enough to drop Natalie off at her friend’s house before the game AND stop at the library  to return the movies that were due the next day  when I discovered I was missing something……..Arthur. Where the hell was Arthur?

Henry and Sam thought maybe in the ravine behind our house. Nope. Our neighbor thought maybe he and his son were together in the ravine down the block. Nope. Maybe the basement? Nope. Maybe the new neighbor’s yard? (after all they do have Battter, Batter Baseball) Nope.  After having the five of us calling for the boys up and down the block the two hooligans were finally located in the backyard of the other neighbors who weren’t even home at the time.

Evidently when Arthur is told we are leaving in five minutes he takes that to mean it is time to go play in the neighbors sand box.

“Well, I didn’t know how long five minutes was, Mom, sometimes it can seem pretty long,” he told me, completely unfazed by the now apoplectic brother and mother who are crazy people when it comes to being prompt.

From now on I will be more specific with my instructions when I give the five minute warning.

“Don’t leave this property!” should suffice.

We were on track to be only a few minutes late until I missed the street for Natalie’s friend’s house due to construction. It appears that when there is construction in this town they take all identifying street signs down and just make people guess where they are amidst the orange cones and construction tape. After realizing I had gone too far I totally freaked Henry out by pulling a U-turn.

“Mom, why did you just turn around in the middle of the street?” (It was completely legal I assure you)

At this point I was taking deep breaths and doing self talk, trying to remind myself this is just a soccer game after all, it isn’t as if I was going to be late for brain surgery. My finger drumming on the steering wheel gave away my attempt at a calm demeanor.

Slowing down the car in the middle of the construction site to let Natalie jump out of the car (you aren’t supposed to meet the parents or anything are you?)  I pulled another U-turn (again, perfectly legal) to high tail it back to the soccer field.

At this point Henry was lecturing Arthur about the importance of being timely and if he would just listen when mom said it was time to go then mom wouldn’t have to be driving illegally and probably get arrested.

“Do you want Mom to be arrested, Arthur?” (I am telling you those U-turns were SO legal!)

We made it to the soccer game with a minute to spare.  (They lost horribly, probably because their star goalie was all discombobulated by the late arrival)

We got back home and I got on the road, where I had four hours in a car by myself to think. Scary!

I thought about the fact that, on occasion, I miss the days when Bob was dying and the days and months after he died.

I miss the clarity that grief affords you, your priorities are so clear; there is no time for petty grievances.

Annoying siblings, cold showers, dirty soccer uniforms, running late?

Who cares? My husband just died.

Soon after Bob died I began what I called a success journal. Every night after the boys were asleep I sat down and wrote a list of all the tasks I performed successfully that day. The first few entries were rather slim, consisting of the boys being alive and safe in their beds and the fact that I fed them.

Everyone is always claiming how busy they are these days, rushing off to somewhere to accomplish something.  What does it all boil down to at the end of the day?

Are we fed and safe in our beds? The rest is just gravy.

How our journey began

The Maley family after adopting Kobi in children's courtWell, now let me tell you how our journey began on adopting Kobi.

It started in the fall of 2007, when my husband and I went to an orientation meeting and found out that we needed to take classes to be licensed to do foster care.

It was at this meeting where we found out that we could do foster care with the option to adopt as well, or just straight adoption. The fact that we had a possibility to adopt a child was very appealing to us.

There were 12 different classes that were mandated for us to take. We went through background checks, and did lots and lots of paperwork, plus they did a safety inspection at our home.

Once all was said and done, we finally received our license in late 2007, and waited for a child.

Before too long, we became foster parents of two great children – a 1-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother. While we really loved them, when they were available to be adopted, we realized that adopting two young children would be a bit more than we could handle.

They were quickly adopted by a great family, and in July 2008, we told our case worker that we wanted just one child – which was fine with them.

Then Kobi came into our lives!

Kobi went to visitations with his mother periodically, so we didn’t really know until about a year after he had been with us that it was apparent that he was going to stay.

Then one day in October last year, we got the phone call saying Kobi was available for adoption…if we wanted to go through with it…Of course, we said yes! We were thrilled about having a “Thanksgiving baby,” as our case worker put it….

I will never forget the day we finally adopted Kobi: Nov. 24, 2009.

Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Christopher Foley, Kobi and Mark on Adoption DayWhen the doors to the courtroom opened and we walked in, boy, did the water works start. It was just hard to believe that this little boy was our son!

Yes, being the parent of a 2-year-old when you’re a member of the AARP is hard work, and yes, we have had some bad days.

But 97% of the time, it works. And we wouldn’t change a thing.

3 hour (sleep) layover

So recently, while in Green Bay visiting my parents, my daughter decided to get up at 1:30 a.m. And guess what? She had no interest in going back to sleep.

This has never happened before. Had we been at home, she would have had to cry it out or play in her crib until she grew sleepy again. That night she was sleeping in a pack-n-play. My parents are more than understanding of this type of situation, in fact, the next morning my dad told me I should have handled it however I would have at home. But, that is tough for me, knowing other people are in the house and they would have to listen to the crying (plus I am sure my daughter was not pleased about being in a pack-n-play). I know they dealt with this type of thing when I was a baby but that was 34 years ago!

It may be the teething (she has 4 molars and another front tooth coming in) that wakes her at night and probably the over stimulation from the day before, but she normally goes right back to bed. She wanted to party. I tried everything. I gave her medication for her teeth, I rocked her, I even tried to bring her to bed with me which I normally do not do (hey veteran parents, are you reading this and cringing - thinking I did everything wrong in the book?!). Nothing worked. When she was in bed with me she was throwing her stuffed animal (Puppy) around the room and talking away. Like I said, this girl wanted to party.

Finally at about 4:15-ish, I was able to rock her back to sleep. I put her in the pack-n-play and went back to bed. As I was drifting into unconsciousness, I remember thinking she would sleep in since she was up so long. Boy was I wrong.

6:01 a.m. on the dot, she was a chit chatting away in the other room. Seriously? SERIOUSLY? How is that humanly possible? My husband and I always say we wish we could borrow some of the never ending energy.

Moral of the story: I am too exhausted thinking about that night to even think of a moral of the story. There isn't one.

What it has been like so far

Keep in mind Kobi has been with us since July of 2008, but on November 24, when he became our son, it just seemed like things had changed.

He had already been through a Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter with us, but last year on Thanksgiving and Christmas, it just seemed different because there was our daughter and now our son who we could be thankful for. And it did not take him long to figure out how to open Christmas presents.
I always figured that since we had raised one child already, that raising a second one would be a piece of cake. Boy, was I wrong. Here’s the difference; our first child was a girl, and now we had a boy. Well, they are quite different. Kobi has no fear of running and falling. So far to date, he has lost a tooth and has had stitches by his eyebrow. I am wondering what is going to come next.
We have a friend who gave us a book on raising boys and I have not gotten past the first chapter because after reading that chapter, I felt like putting Kobi in a bubble and keeping him there until he is 18. The things this book says little boys do. I have learned that most little boys have no fear. And people wonder why I have gray hair.
I have also learned that this boy has quite the temper and likes to throw temper tantrums. Since this is something we never experienced with our daughter, we went straight to the experts at the Mayo Clinic. They say just to ignore the child when he or she has a tantrum and eventually they will stop. And, yes, it works.
Oh, and Kobi and I have something in common…soon as we walk in the door after going out, we take our shoes and socks off. We love going barefoot.
My days are long because Kobi wakes up quite early, but I always have the afternoons to recover while he is sleeping. I enjoy tucking him in at night and checking on him to make sure he is covered up. I stand there and marvel at the fact that this little boy is my son and how lucky we are.
I love playing with Kobi and seeing how excited he gets when he learns something new like clapping or saying a new word. He loves The Wiggles, so he loves to dance along and sing with them.
He loves the outdoors and, as we discovered on Thursday, he loves mud. What a boy!
I look forward to all the new things that Kobi has to teach us and I must remember one very important thing; He’s a boy and boys, as I am learning, are daredevils and that is OK.

Ease on down, ease on down the road.... I never saw the original production on Broadway or the made for TV movie but the First Stage recreation probably tops both!  What an amazing performance. Today, I saw the production with the Glitter Cast as Dorothy, Tin Man. Scarecrow, and Lion took a journey to see the Wiz down the yellow brick road with an urbanized twist. Her friends help her defeat the Wicked Witch of the West  and Dorothy learns a  ittle lesson about herself. The music, choreography, singing and acting sure made me feel like I was on Broadway. The cast did an excellent job engaging the audience and no one wants to miss Addaperle nor her hair-do!

A take-off of the Wizard of Oz in a  family- friendly, hip-hop fun way, the silver glitter magical shoes tell a story of courage and love. If you are a Wizard of Oz fan and have little ones over 5, this is a must-see.

Fun Oz Facts:

1900- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum is published.

1903- A musical version opens on Broadway and tours for seven years

1910- It debuts makes it to the silver screen as a silent movie

1939- Wizard of Oz wins 2 Academy Awards

1956- A television version debuts as the first major movie to be shown on network TV

1978- The Wiz becomes a major motion picture with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross

2010- The Wiz debuts at First Stage Children's Theater through March 28.

For more information, visit firststage.org.

Several food companies advertise processed snacks as great healthy choices for kids. We've all seen kids cereal loaded with sugar and artificial colors! Excessive amounts of sugar, fat and sodium not only cause healthy problems, but also damage kids' ability to develop good taste buds!

We compiled a list of common snack traps for kids available at grocery stores. Some companies make healthy versions of the list below. So read the labels to distinguish them!

- Sugary cereal.

- Frozen pre-packaged pizza, cheese balls, fried sticks in general.

- Sugary yogurt with artificial colors.

- Cereal bars loaded with sugar (they should be labeled as candy!).

- Chips, including the veggie versions.

- Juices and smoothies loaded with sugar and artificial colors.

- Artificial cheeses

- Caloric cookies as a result of high fat and sugar, and poor in fibers.

- Fried doughnut and pastries.

- Crackers and cream cheeses high in sodium.

- Hot dogs, and high fat meats such as pepperoni

The list can be very long, and impossible to memorize! Improve the quality of kids' snacks by reading labels, and limiting fat, sugar and sodium intake. Stick with natural versions whenever possible.

Note that  many ingredients are variations of sugar such as corn syrup and high frutose, which can be misleading.


I read your blog about childhood apraxia and am wondering what it looks like in a 2-3 year old child?


As I stated in last blog, Childhood Apraxia of Speech Disorder is a motor speech disorder meaning that the major difficulty the child has is with an inability to plan and program actual speech movements of the lips, tongue, cheeks, jaw, etc. (i.e., the child has trouble controlling and moving the mouth in the way that he wants to). Children with apraxia of speech are the children who have a hard time imitating sounds or words but occasionally say some amazing word like “spaghetti” with no problem. Typically apraxia children are quiet with minimal singing or chatter while playing or doing other activities. Children with apraxia typically have no problem following directions or understanding what you say to them. They present a lot like other children their age, they just do not communicate very much verbally. They may use a lot of gestures or pointing to get their message across to you (i.e., take you to kitchen to show you what they want, etc.). If this sounds like your child, ask your pediatrician for a referral to a Speech Language Pathologist.

For more information on this topic visit Childhood Apraxia of Speech Association of North America (CASANA) www.apraxia-kids.org. Visit me at www.speechtails.com or email questions to amy@speechtails.com

For Crying Out Loud

Cry it out...Ferberizing...Sleep Training...oh my!!

I am going to admit something here--when it comes to my kids, I am a "sleep softie".  If one was to look at a spectrum of sleep experts, with sleep expert Ferber and the "cry it out" method of sleep training on one end and with Dr. Sears and Attachment Parenting on the other end, I would definitely fall way over on the Dr. Sears side.  When my kids wake up at night, I (or my husband) typically go right to them, pick them up or soothe them in some other manner, and stay with them until they fall asleep.  I just can't do "cry it out".  It doesn't work for me and for my personality.  And I was a bit spoiled with my daughter, who is now five years old, because she started sleeping through the night (from about 8pm until 6am) at less than three months old--without ever crying it out in her crib.  

Now, I want to make something clear.  I'm not saying that parents that use the "cry it out" (CIO) method of sleep training are doing something wrong.  On the contrary--when I talk with my friends that have small children, virtually all of them have used CIO with their kids, and their kids are all very good sleepers.  They tell stories of enduring one or two difficult nights of listening to their kids cry in their cribs, sometimes for an hour or more, but then after a week or so their kids would fall asleep mere minutes after they were put down in their cribs and then slept all night.  It sounds like a miracle solution.  Now if only I could make myself do it. The longest I have ever let my son, Harrison, cry in his crib has been about ten minutes.  (Incidentally, he did fall asleep when I did that, but then we woke up as soon as I went into his room to check on him.)

Regular readers of this blog know that Harrison is a less-than-stellar sleeper.  He just turned one year old a little more than a week ago, and to say that he doesn't sleep through the night would be an understatement.  He often wakes up several times a night, for no apparent reason, and doesn't go back to sleep until either my husband or I goes in to comfort him.  Nap times are the same thing...he goes down for a little while, wakes up before he's ready to, cries, and falls asleep in my arms as soon as I pick him up.  Sometimes I get really frustrated and I let Harrison cry for a little while in his crib.  But the longest that I have ever let Harrison cry in his crib has been about ten minutes.  (Incidentally, he did fall asleep when I did that, but then we woke up as soon as I went into his room to check on him.)

As I type this, it's clear to me what the problem is here.  Harrison has learned that his cries will be rewarded with almost immediate snuggles from Mommy or Daddy.  That's fine for him, but Mommy and Daddy are exhausted after not getting a full night's sleep in more than a year, and we are ready for a change.  I think we're going to have to let go and let him cry and let him learn to soothe himself to sleep. 

Any suggestions for me on how to make this process easier for my son and for his poor mommy??

If you think the "information highway" is an adventure waiting to happen, you should hop on the Marquette Interchange for the thrill of your life. You see, I don't like surprises and I don't like heights. Unfortunately for me, the Marquette Interchange contained both.


I knew the Marquette Interchange was was coming ... I saw it on the signs but I had no idea it would be so huge and so incredibly unable to compensate for human error. Friends that really love me are willing to protect me from my fears. Friends that just enjoy my company can't believe that I seriously don't like surprises and that I honestly hate heights.

Now, I've watched enough episodes of situation comedies in my adult life to realize that if you can take your fear and visualize it as something similar but more manageable it often makes it less terrifying and there is a good chance you will STILL BE ALIVE when you come through the other side of your fear.

My first attempt to navigate the Marquette Interchange had me imagining it to be a very tiny, no big deal, itsy bitsy roller coaster.


So, I am trying to picture that I am in control of a small roller coaster and I can manage this, no big deal. My knuckles are so white they began to turn blue.

"I can do this. I have a Garmin. I can do anything."

That right there is the kind of positive attitude that can get in the way of rational thinking.

I had successfully begun to picture myself on the "other side" and it was good. I could see myself mingling with my friends on a Sunday afternoon. We were smiling. There may have been beer. Life would be good for me on the other side of the Marquette Interchange.

The only problem with my commandeering this dinky roller coaster was that I just couldn't envision myself comfortable in the driver's seat.

I had lost the ability to breathe. I had somehow managed to put my seat into the straighter than erect position so that I was literally leaning forward and couldn't take my rigamortis-onset-like hands off the steering wheel so that I could tilt back a little.

Oh yeah, not bad enough? it was cold when I left the house so that leather seat that had been set on high about an hour ago was now smokin' hot and my back end is sizzling.

The entire trip was made worse as I factor in that my Garmin doesn't acknowledge the existence of the Marquette Interchange. Yup, I am no sooner up, up, up and away into the heights that combine grey cement with grey steel when I hear Aussie Dan begin chanting "re-calculating" ... Not even the Little Engine That Could would have been able to maintain an I think I can attitude with a Garmin announcing "re-calculating" over and over and over.


Eventually on that sunny Sunday afternoon , without the assistance of Garmin's Aussie Dan and by calling friends via my Smartphone, I made it to the other side of the Marquette Interchange .

Life's a journey, enjoy the ride has nothing to do with the Marquette Interchange unless you've edited it to read as follows:

*Life's a journey ... enjoy the ride, there's gonna be beer on the other side.


Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Greendale High School MPR
6800 Southway
***8 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.***
Closed from 11:00-12:00 for re-organization
Half Price Sale 12 p.m. – 2 p.m.

***Please Note:  For safety reasons, children under 12 years old will not be allowed entry until after 10 a.m.  No strollers permitted at any time/No exceptions***


This is the sale you don’t want to miss. This year we have 3 large rooms filled with items.   Many name brand children and infant clothes, cribs, strollers, car seats, summer items, bikes, bedding, maternity clothes, sports equipment, toys, books, baby furniture and much, much more!!!!!

Please visit our website  HYPERLINK "http://www.greendaleentertainment.com" www.greendaleentertainment.com if you would like further information on the resale or other GEA events.


I'm a BIG fan of children's theater. The curriculum teaches life skills, boosts self esteem and really gets kids thinking, moving and learning about their own self.  Here is one program you don't want to miss in the Elm Grove area.

800 Elm Grove Road l Elm Grove, WI
262.782.4431 x305
Sunset Playhouse has been educating, entertaining, and inspiring since 1960 and offers a variety of performing arts classes for children ages 2 - 18. All classes take place at the  beautiful theatre facility in the heart of Elm  Grove at 800 Elm Grove Road.  
There are four class sessions throughout the year, and special summer and
spring break camps.
Star in an original adaptation of The Secret Garden.  Camp participants will learn a lot 
about performing in and completing the technical aspects of a play.  Audition, rehearse, 
sing some songs, have fun, paint the set, rehearse, have fun, build costumes, find props 
and then perform a play for your family and friends.
MARCH 27 - MAY 28
Ages 2 - 18:  Move to the music, use your imagination, think on your feet, do a little improv,
juggle, write a play, sing and dance, act out your favorite story, and fence with friends!

Download a complete brochure and registration form at
www.sunsetplayhouse.com/education or email
enavin@sunsetplayhouse.com or call 262.782.4431