A Must Have Baby Book (with a purpose).

When we created 1-2-3 Just Play With Me, we did so with some very specific considerations. One was choosing a card format vs. a book because while the content on those cards are therapist inspired, we created the product we wanted (and had time for) as busy moms AND therapists.

One benefit we envisioned was the ability to stick a few at a time (appropriate for baby’s age and/or stage) on the refrigerator or nursery shelf,  empowering families to learn the many beautiful details of early development by playing with their baby purposefully, while being present in that specific moment in time and not getting overwhelmed with the many changes that come in the first few years.


Along the way, we’ve discovered (with the help of many of you) more creatives ways our sweet cards could be practical in every day life. One of our favorites is using the cards as your personal “baby book.”  As you enjoy reading detailed milestones to watch for at each age and in each developmental domain, customize your cards with what you are seeing your baby doing! Add first words, dates that milestones were achieved, and funny or cute experiences.  That’s right take a pen right to those beautiful cards!  Not only will you have a detailed account of your baby’s development, you can also share their individual developmental path with your pediatrician at your child’s next appointment.


Don’t have your copy of 1-2-3 Just Play With Me yet? Pick one up for you, or as a gift and explore why Today’s Parent calls 1-2-3 Just Play With Me a “Product That Will Make New Parent’s Lives Easier.” (Also available via Amazon Prime, in ebook format, and select retailers).

“The Look” And What It Silently Says to Me From A Sibling Of A Child With Special Needs

Last week I got the opportunity to speak at career day at my daughter’s school.  I drag my big therapy ball, some thera-band and thera-putty, my anatomy coloring book, a baby doll, and other interesting goodies that I play with every day into the school every time I am asked to do this.  The “regular grown ups” (aka lawyers, mortgage brokers etc.) laugh kindly.

 Last week, I had 20 minutes to share what I felt was most important about the profession I love. And then I did it again 3 more times. 100 4th graders and me. I gab on and on about how Physical Therapy is repetitively listed as one of the “happiest” professions, how great the job outlook is in coming years, and what I love about my job. I share that interested students need to like sciences, can’t be repulsed by touching people, and need to enjoy social interaction with many kinds of people.  I am a total nerd, but I get misty eyed sharing about how I love the teaching part of my job and what a blessing it is to motivate parents who get such satisfaction and joy when they get to be the ones who teach their child to roll, crawl, or walk!

I’ve done this for years for elementary, middle, and high schoolers. Without a doubt, when I ask for questions at the end, I get the same ones every single time – no matter the age.

“Did you ever work with an NFL player, NBA player…Professional Wrestler?”

“What’s the grossest thing you have ever done?”

“How much do you get paid?”

“You dissected a real human in school? Ew. Were they alive or dead? Was there blood? Did you cry? Ew.”

As consistent as these questions are, I am always ready for them. And there’s another one that happens every time as well. Usually when we are almost out of time, a child will somewhat sheepishly raise a hand and when I call on them will ask…

“Have you ever worked with someone with Downs Syndrome?”




“Have you ever worked with someone with Cerebral Palsy?”






No other comments. But none are needed. I get the look and I know. This is the sibling of a child with special needs. No words are needed because the look is enough.

The look says, “I know you get it.”

The look says, “Someone like you has been to my house every week and knows us.”

And, “You know how hard my family works for small things that people take for granted.”

And, “You know how sad it is for us when people make hurtful comments.”

And, “You know that I am often expected to be more patient that most kids my age, and that that isn’t easy, and sometimes I’m resentful, or wish for more attention, and jealous. And you know that I feel bad about that but I still can’t help it.  And you know that despite these sometimes “yucky” feelings, nothing makes me feel more proud than when my sibling overcomes and obstacle or learns something new…because they don’t do it alone…my whole family does.”

Career day is a joy. It’s a day that recharges me with excitement about my job and my calling in this world. But, the sibling “look” gets me every time. 

Sometimes I wonder if those kids can silently read my “look” back to them. If they can, I hope they read,

“You are brave. And strong. And important. Not just because of the kind of sibling you are, but because of who YOU are. All alone. As YOU.”

And I hope they hear, “What you are learning from your sibling experience is compassion, and empathy, and a patience, and an awareness, and gratitude greater than average people will ever even know. And it is a gift. And it will make you do great things in your life.”

And I hope they know, “Your parents love you for you. Not because of what you do to help but for who are you are. Are for the special gifts you yourself have.”

And finally, I hope my look back says, “I get it.” And even though I don’t know you, “I’m proud.”

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the kid that asked that question last week and the kids who have asked that same question in the years before.  April is a month dedicated to Autism Awareness, Child Abuse Prevention, Mesothelioma, Children’s Footwear Awareness, National Minority Health Month, and Genocide Awareness & Prevention among others.  All are so important.

But I’m here to say, let’s let every month be awareness of siblings with special needs month….awareness of their own special needs. 

How can you celebrate?

Do you know a sibling of a child with special medical or health care needs?

       Take them out for a special day celebrating just them..doing something they love and often can’t do.

       Better yet, volunteer to watch their sibling so their own parent can do the same.

       Make a donation to the many camps that offer attention and love to these super siblings so that a child can attend. Financial costs are often a struggle for families. Sharing your resources to help a sibling attend camp, or play a sport would be a gift!

       Simply be aware of the challenges with families you know or don’t know. Offer help if you feel comfortable. Offer a smile. A “we are all in this together” wink. All can go a long way.

       Teach your child compassion and friendship by modeling it. Siblings of children with special needs have their own special needs – quality friendship is one!


Do you have a child with special medical or developmental needs? How do you feel their siblings are best supported? What are their needs? Join our conversation!



Invite Your Kids (Even Babies) To Sunday Dinner! Why We Need To Fight Against The Extinction Of Family Meals.

It’s Sunday. Are you having Family Dinner? What does it look like for you?

Is it this?









Or this?








Or even this?









Is your table where you serve your food, or your back seat?

Let me start by saying that a friend of mine recently commented that she felt guilty that her son had to eat dinner on the way to soccer practice and I reassured her of her Mommy-Awesomeness by revealing the impressive fact that my daughter ate Mac-N-Cheese for dinner on the way to dance that was served in a glass measuring cup because all the bowls were dirty! (Who can beat that I ask you?)

The strong current of society pushing the average family (mine included) so swiftly that it somehow keeps up from remembering the importance of how a family meal contributes to a child’s development and frankly, the health of all of us.

Before we had children, my husband and I are at the kitchen table at times, but more often than not, we ate in front of the good old TV. Not a proud admission, but when there is just two of you, setting the table seems a bit – much. Or at least it did for me EVERY night. When we started having children, that shifted. MANY of my memories of childhood centered around the table. From secrets at the “kid table” (which I sat at until a few years ago) with my cousins to reading the morning paper with my parents over breakfast, sharing a meal together was part of our regular existence and for good reason. I wanted the same for my daughters.

Children who eat at the table with their parents learn many things, and I am not talking about what fork to use first. At family meals, children learn to make EYE CONTACT. They learn to use MANNERS. They practice the fine ART OF CONVERSATION (with actual voices and not just text messages). They learn SOCIAL ETIQUETTE such as taking turns when speaking and LISTENING to what matters to someone they care about. The greatest part of all of this – they get to practice all of this in the safety net of the people who love them most in the world – their parents and siblings! The family meal is where children can take a stab at the something besides the entree – they can explore social relationships with people of various ages and learn from real experiences how to connect with others over a meal. And guess what? As adults – this is a skill they will NEED.

Do you know how early this starts? Ready for it?… IMMEDIATELY.

Here are some ideas to make this look real for our families.

A newborn can be held during dinner or placed in a safe place near the table (this may be my only endorsement of what I call the “baby container.” Usually I am not a fan, HERE’S WHY). Hearing the voices of his/her family members and smelling new smells are important SENSORY EXPERIENCES.

An older baby will watch you eat before he/she does. Yes, sucking is a natural reflex, but chewing is a learned one. I remember a bright and loving parent, whose daughter was blind, ask me how she could teach her to chew and spit out toothpaste. (With help – we found a way, but the example illustrates that activities as simple as chewing must be modeled). If a baby is not given a place at the table, he/she is denied the modeled example of many DAILY SKILLS, like chewing, but also drinking from a cup, using a spoon etc.

An even older baby, learns to IMITATE at the table. The meal provides opportunity to mimic behaviors he/she views. In addition to the chewing example, the baby learns to self feed using both hands and utensils. Yes, this is MESSY, but that’s what wipes are for. Babies don’t learn to feed themselves (or do anything else) without PRACTICE first. (Plus one day that spaghetti face picture will be really funny). Did you know that once a child can imitate a motor behavior (sometimes as subtle as sticking out his/her tongue), he/she can imitate language? Think about it,modeling simple movements (blinking eyes, clapping hands, banging toy on tray) all come before language. Family meal times are a great place to practice this essential skill. More about that HERE.

Children learn WHO THEIR PEOPLE ARE at the table. Receptive language (understanding) comes before verbal language (expression of words). Ask your baby where his/her sibling, parent, dog are – they’ll surprise you by looking right at them, before they can call them by name. Practicing this at meal time with people or objects (where is the banana?) gives baby an opportunity to recognize and  eventually verbalize to “their people.” Think of it as your 1st family conversation. Soak it up!

Children develop a variety of PREFERENCES for food at the family meal. Experiment with different textures, colors, smells, tastes, and temperatures (all as your pediatrician advises) and you will quickly learn even more about your child. My 9 year old is not a fan of meat – and in true form, at her first taste of the baby food version of chicken, she promptly vomited it right back out at me.  Meat clearly was not her preference. Note taken. (Pass the wipes please, Honey).

Meal times are also a place to share early information about NUTRITION. If I let my daughter make her own decisions, she would chose noodles, rice, pizza, and bread every night. It’s not been an easy road to her seat at our dinner table, but she finally understands that she needs all of the food groups at each meal and why. This can start at an early age for any child. Keep it simple and in terms children can understand at their age – “Fruits provide vitamins that help keep you from getting sick. Dairy keeps your bones and teeth strong. Vegetables are important for your eyes, skin, and hair. Protein helps build muscles so you can lift heavy things and complex carbohydrates give you energy to run for a long time.”  Trust me, kids understand this much more than “clear your plate because I said so.” Let’s be real – they come out selfish little people and if they realize there is something in it for them, they are often more motivated.  (My latest attempt for my vertically challenged offspring is that to get out of the booster seat like their pals, they’ll need to eat well to grow. I’m hoping this works before I drop them off at their first junior high dance.)  Teaching this can be fun! Have younger kids? Model balanced nutrition with pretend play foods! We use My Plate. I keep a copy on the side of the fridge and they need to compare their plate to this example.


If they don’t want the salmon I made, that’s fine with us, as long as they 1) choose another healthy protein (nuts or peanut butter are popular choices in our house) and 2) I don’t have to make it. (Nope, I do wear many hats but short order cook is not one I claim).  I wish my children were more adventurous with foods, but I gave up the battle for a wide variety long ago and focused on healthy balance. I hear variety should increase with age – I’m not holding but breath but found this information on answering the question of “Is your Child a Picky Eater or Problem Feeder” helpful.  More ideas for including kids in mealtime HERE.  I love this idea for hands on learning about food!


In addition, exposure to varied food can teach kids early on about different CULTURES and WHERE AND HOW FOOD is grown. Visit local farms to show them how real food actually grows on trees and in the ground. Enjoy self picking if you have orchards that provide the option or garden if you have the talent that I do not! Do you have a dairy farm near by? (We have one that delivers milk in old fashioned glass jars to a cooler in our driveway. Our girls love him and call him the Milk Fairy. I call him HEAVEN SENT because I am no longer running to the store all the time!)  Learning about the process of getting food from garden to table helps children value their nutrition and take ownership of it. I love this idea pinned on our Pinterest Board to share where different foods come from.


So meals are important, but let’s keep our focus on reasonable goals. Maybe one person in your family works late. Yes, you might have to feed the kids early, but they could sit with the spouse that works late while he/she eats and have a small dessert. Maybe your kids have activities or practice many nights a week. Aim for sitting together 2-3 times a week. And breakfast on a weekend can count. Maybe you don’t have time every night to cook or plan — in my humble opinion, a quality family experience together over bowls of cereal, outweighs anything alone in front of a screen any day. Two thirds of American families eat dinner with a T.V. on. Think of it as the T.V. robbing you from the limited number of conversations you can have with your 3 year old (there are fewer than you realize). Let’s change that statistic and together raise children who can share the highlights of their day while asking to pass the cereal (oops, I meant, quinoa with tilapia and asparagus).

Family meals are too important to become extinct. We need them to raise independent and healthy children. So, get to thinking about some practical, realistic ways, you can invite your favorite little guest to dinner! Here are some from our Pinterest Board – PLAY With Food to get you started.  Share your ideas with us here or on Facebook! Bon appetite!

Like these ideas? We believe that linking child development to PLAY makes both parents & children smarter and happier. So we offer hundreds of examples of just that. Bonus is – they come in card form so while you can have time to digest that family dinner together because you can learn about your child while only digesting small bits of specific information at EACH stage of infant/toddler development. Want to hear more? Check out 1-2-3 Just Play With Me (great as a baby gift! and WE SHIP FOR FREE!)

Greetings From The Other Side – What I learned From A Much Overdue Girls Trip

Hi there.

It’s me, writing from the other side.

Yep, that other side. The side where children sleep through most nights, get on a bus and are away from you for 8 hours daily, and when they toilet so independently that you can longer discuss their bowel patterns with your spouse.

Yes, there is actually this side. It’s kind of odd at first, like visiting a foreign land where you keep looking around for “your people.” Just like when you became a parent for the first time, you feel a little awkward and unsure of your role and your place in line.  You have a smaller purse and no longer carry baby wipes or a change of clothes. It’s weird, and foreign, and oddly unfamiliar, despite the fact that you spent a much larger percentage of your life in this world (Bk Read: Before Kids) that the one that feels comfortable to you.

But there are some serious perks too. Date nights, uninterrupted exercise (and other things), feeding yourself  while not simultaneously feeding someone else, and none greater than sleep.  Oh yea – and there’s another – travel. BY. YOUR. SELF.

I know it’s not everyone’s thing, but I love to travel. I love to see new places, meet new people, sit and people watch, taking in what the daily rhythm of random places feels and sounds like. I like asking waiters what “the thing” is on the menu the town in known for, and buying trinkets made from local crafters. I grew up in a family that also loved to travel. My mother’s talent for scoring deals combined with the fortune of having relatives that worked for the airlines made travel possible for the daughter of a teacher and plumber and that is one of many things I am thankful to my parents for. When I met my husband, we traveled together (gratefully he enjoys travel adventures as much as I do), and when our daughters were born, we held tight to our belief that seeing the world and experiencing life as others do, is not only essential to development of self, but is…well, super awesome. So we mastered closing a stroller and popping it back up through long security lines at the airport like masters, carted them around in carriers on our bodies while pulling wheeled luggage and balancing car seats in the other arm, packing our SUV to the roof with snacks, baby gear, and enough entertainment to go hours in the car.We ignored naps and routines many times in favor of jetting to new time zones and chose spending any extra cash on travel (places both close and far) over new clothes (I’d rather be in Hawaii in my old Target t-shirt with holes in it than home with a new spring wardrobe any day) or an updated house. We took an 11 month old and a 2 year old to Hawaii. 11 hours flying. YES. WE. DID. All in the name of exposing our kids to the world (never mind neither of them have ANY memories of the newborn whale nursing from it’s mother 7 feet from us. Oh well — another reason to go back!)

But here’s the thing, even though having kids did not stop me from traveling, it did stop me from traveling the way I used to. I don’t mean ultra posh resorts with all inclusive bars. I mean, having a whole hour to read a book. I have been a mother for almost 10 years and I have not traveled alone or with girlfriends for reasons other than work (read: child development therapists having dinner while discussing rising Autism rates – what a party!). So when I had the opportunity to join my Aunt at one of the nicest resorts in North America at a reasonable price (just plane ticket and meals) AND bring a friend – I couldn’t resist. We planned and I spent lots of time with my friends over at Trip Advisor. We aligned scheduled and secured child care (aka Daddy back up – thank you grandparents) and all was good… until my Aunt’s plans changed and we were forced with decision to still go or not. After much deliberation, we voted YES. Why not? Spontaneous choices are healthy, right? Except that rocking a 7 year old to sleep while she sobs that she doesn’t want you to leave her (WHY does this not happen when their adored father goes on guy trips?) and spending more time writing out directions by the day for your husband (“What day does she go to dance again, honey? …really?) and laying out clothes for the week complete with notes for what shoes and headbands to wear takes more time than actually flying across the continent. No wonder so many women don’t indulge themselves with time away on a girls trip. Is it really worth the hassle of (heaven forbid) arranging life without you?

I am here to say, yes, ladies, it is. And while you have all the options in the world (we keep reminding ourselves, we don’t have to hurry for ANYONE. No kid. No dog. No doctor appointment. No practice. No PTA), there is one undeniable fact. Becoming a mother changes you forever. And no matter how far you travel or how long you are away, they are never far from you. I am writing this from a time zone 2 hours away from home, but I got up at 4:50 because that’s when I would be up to get kids ready so we don’t miss the bus. I keep forgetting to shut the bathroom door (because no one is going to interrupt me). I only have 1 carry on and 1 personal item. Only 1. No booster seat. I could read on the plane – or sleep. You know what I did?


Yes. I found this guy. His mom was having a rough day flying alone and he liked us. (I almost tried to keep him and I think she might have considered given her level of tiredness).

Even though they never leave us, it is good for us to leave them. If you can rip the bandaid off quickly and give yourself time to think or be quiet enough to listen to what you need to hear, you won’t miss the message. You’ll know that reminding yourself about the woman you are will make you a stronger mother. Showing our children that we have interests (outside of them) provides a strong example of self and a positive model of a work/life/service balance. We are their first and most influential teachers. We know this without a single doubt when considering the responsibility of teaching manners, or letters and numbers, or our faith practices. Why don’t we consider it within the context of us being individuals – and not just their Moms?

It took me almost ten years to get the courage (and lose the guilt) to take the plunge (and I still almost chickened out), but I am happy I did. They are surviving this week and so am I. When I get back, I am certain we will appreciate each other more. Plus, I got to see this yesterday morning, and drink a whole cup of fresh coffee. That I didn’t make. And I didn’t have to reheat in the microwave – not even once.


Knowing when the time is right for you to step away and recharge may come at a different season than it does for a friend. But I am here to say, whenever that opportunity presents, it is worth it dear girl. Promise yourself, that even if it is a short drive away to see an old pal, that you will eventually gift yourself (and your children), with the opportunity to see the world through another’s eyes — perhaps the eyes of the very person you are right now, because even though THEY are never far from us, if we aren’t careful WE can travel far from ourselves.  And there really is no place like home.

Dear 28 year old Mommy (aka the me I used to be),

Dear 28 year old New Mother (otherwise known as ME),

There are some important things you need to know. Things that I need to tell you not only to make your days a little easier, but more importantly so that you can stop being so hard on yourself.

First of all, you have 2 girls (drama for the mama assumed in this case) that are 21 months apart. Forget the clean house and burn those to-do lists. They will only leaving you with the dread of disappointment when in fact, you are accomplishing HUGE things – you are raising two future women, mothers, friends, daughters, healers, helpers, listeners…two future warriors. Here’s your new to-do list: If everyone is safe, fed, relatively clean, and happy for at least part of the day – you are WINNING!

Feel the stress of “keeping up” creeping up next to you? Give it the face palm, sista. Your babies don’t need more toys, classes, or lessons. They need more you. On the floor..hugging, singing, and sometimes even just napping next to them! Tune out most of that exterior noise and listen to the coos and giggles next to you, for they will soon turn into nonsensical whining and bickering about trivial topics like…WHY.DON’T. I.HAVE .ANY .SHOES. TO. WEAR? (while looking at a closet full of shoes). Coos and giggles are magic friend.   P.S. The one thing you should buy and play more with.. is BLOCKS. Here’s why (remember your struggle with Physics?)

Some things you are going to be good at. Others you are not. This mothering thing is not unlike your experiences in gym class years ago (sports that involve just you – you fare decently. Throw a ball in the mix…well, at least you tried). Just like you did with softball, try harder every day, but find peace accepting both your strengths and weaknesses. Do you expect your daughters to be wonderful and simply amazing at everything they ever try? I thought so. Give yourself the same consideration.  You deserve it.

On that note, I’ll give you a sneak preview – you are totally gonna rock breast feeding, potty training, and ignoring things in favor of play and naps (see above). Sleep on the other hand – like I said, we all have our gifts. Stop comparing yourself. Yes, your dearest friend is like a sleep fairy that magically kisses her awake (no joke) baby and places her in that gorgeous basinette to fall into hours of glorious slumber. Yes, you will nurse, rock, rock while walking, rock while placing down, rock the crib, and keep rocking yourself while you walk out of the nursery door every night, only to have those babies scream out for you when you hit the door. Yes, you will read (or will ask your sweet husband to read) many books on sleep, you’ll make feable attempts to Ferberize your sweet girls, you’ll talk to the pediatrician about your noble efforts with no success, and you will lie for 20 minutes that feel like an 20 hours with a pillow over your head trying to not cry and lactate at the same time. In the end, you will cuddle that precious gift next to you – exhausted, guilt ridden but relieved at the same time, and you will only sleep with one eye open anyway for fear you will suffocate her. You are weak, but it’s ok (potty training will come soon and it will be REDEMPTION time). Keep trying, but accept who you are!

Going to a friends house for a playdate? Bring a blindfold – just in case! If you see site words labeling the toy room – put it on! Take a deep breath and remind yourself what you know – what you studied & believe. Small children should not be forced into learning to read too early. The brain is not actually ready until 6 YEARS OLD – you have time, dear girl. Read books every day, label vegetables in the grocery store and sing about them while people look at you like a lunatic, dig in the dirt, jump in the rain puddles, don’t forget the blocks, but don’t worry about that baby reading yet.  Your friends know this too – they just see other play rooms, with other site words, and they worry too. ** Spoiler alert – one day not too long from now, your soon to be 5 year old will teach your soon to be 3 year old how to read while playing (gasp) school, all the while –  you will be doing work in the next room (feeling guilty for not being the female version of Mr. Rogers while your children suffer alone). When people become shocked that the 3 year old can read, you’ll swear up and down you had absolutely nothing to do with it and they wont believe you – until, the 3 year old tells the nice people that Mommy was busy and that her sister taught her everything she knows (breathe – embrace the weakness and the strength (siblings are the best gift to each other, and you always wanted a sister yourself).

Things happen because you and your lovely little family need them to. Stop feeling cheated out of a natural childbirth. Listen to that doctor when she says that if you had a baby with your large headed husband in the olden days, both you and your baby wouldn’t be here. Some things are meant to be – your C-section was one of those things. You are allowed to always be mad that they made you wait so long to hold pink bundle #1, but you redeemed yourself and got assertive 21 months later with even pinker bundle #2. Look for the silver lining. Always. One day, you will be one of few thirty some year old mothers, who can jump rope and sneeze safely.

Another thing, those ladies all around you. Your Mommy Posse. They are a GIFT from above. You are already realizing this one. Cherish them and their babies. They are your lifelong family. Others come and go, but those that brought you magical ice packs for mastitis, walked miles with you and your ridiculously heavy stroller,  rescued #1 when #2 screamed 22 out of 24 hours a day with undiagnosed acid reflux, and listened while you heard yourself think out loud about how you were going to make all these important child rearing decisions…those chicks – they are FOREVER YOURS.

You might lose some of that baby weight. You might not. But one day you will think back and belly laugh about the time you set up the Pack-n-Play next to the treadmill, carefully placing the puffs container in the cup holder so you could haphazerdly spill the puffs into/on top of the children to keep them happy for…just…twenty…minutes of heavenly exercise. You will give up the dream of a two piece bathing suit and embrace the reality of health, strength, and a positive example of self image  for your daughters. And that will be way sexier to your husband anyway.

Speaking of him. He’s a gem. Remember that. You are going to go to dinner one day soon when your generous mothers insist you have a date night. You will stare at each other – exhausted – and not know what to say to each other. This will FREAK YOU OUT and you will wonder what happened to “you.” Keep trying. “You” are still there. “You” always will be. Give it 18 months, a good shower, and a few nights in a row of decent sleep. It does wonders. Don’t worry. “You” still got it babe.

Some things will change. Like most things in life, while you will still have some insecurities, but you will get confident with practice. Trust yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to not sweep your floor. Don’t be afraid that you always seem to have baby puke on you. You do. But it’s ok. No one cares.

A few years down the road, your 9 year old (excuse me, HOW did this happen?) will stumble in to your room at 1:00 am sleep walking with a zombie look in her eyes and mumbling about her state mandated standardized testing (another blog – another day) and you will feel guilty because you failed the whole sleep thing – and well, now there’s this. You will look at her face, and her sister’s —  once they are soundly and peaceful (even if briefly) asleep and you will still wonder why YOU were trusted with these incredible human beings.

And you will take a deep, confident breath, and go to sleep, waking to be a more confident and more rested version of the self you are today. And you will be satisfied with trying your best and spending less time worrying and more time saying “Thank you.”


Your soon to be 36 year old self

P.S. Remember that friend with the angelic sleeper? One day you guys will put your crazy heads together and dream about the resource you wish you had when you became Moms…the thing that tells you that YOU are all your baby needs (with some mud, blocks, and pots & pans). And you will work. And sweat, And cry. And pray. And talk – alot. And one day – you will make THIS. And she will write all the parts about SLEEPING. And you will write all the parts about POTTY TRAING. And your 36 year old self will find peace with her parenting skills with sleep – because, there is always a silver lining.  ALWAYS. And that child who would NEVER nap on a schedule, can now sleep ANYWHERE at ANY TIME. YOU ARE WINNING MY FRIEND! KEEP IT UP!

lg sleep











My Not-So-Glamorous Adult Crush

There he is, my first celebrity crush.  I remember this poster hung on my closet door and each night I would climb my stool to kiss him goodnight!  Still to this day, “Thriller” is one of my favorite albums.  Since then I have had several other crushes:  Joey from New Kids on the Block, Elvis, James Dean, Leonardo DeCaprio.  Now as an adult I don’t have many crushes…except for one.  My celeb crush looks a little different today.  He is not in the company of my past music and television star crushes.  He’s an author, a counselor and therapist of sorts.  Who might it be?  Wait for it……wait for it…..My adult celebrity crush is….Dr. Marc Weissbluth!  Who is Dr. Weissbluth?  WHO is Dr. Weissbluth?  He just so happens to be the man that brought sanity back into my life after 7 long months of sleepless nights.  He is the man that taught me how to appreciate something I once took for granted.  He is the man that helped me to accomplish what felt to be impossible.  Dr. Weissbluth authored the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  The book that saved me!  And there is no appreciation like that of a mother who finally catches some zzzZZZs!

I have since recommended that book to several friends.  His methods haven’t worked for all of them.  In fact through their trial and error I have been introduced to different sleep techniques that have also benefited my children and I.  And if I have learned nothing else in the past 7 years, I learned that there is no “one size fits all” sleep method.  In fact, there isn’t even a “one size fits most” sleep method.  So I am sorry to disappoint if you came to this blog hoping to find the “secret”.  I don’t have it…but neither does anyone else.

Every baby and child is different.  And the way they sleep just might be more of a reflection of their personality than your parenting.  Like many parenting issues (discipline, potty training) sleep is one that has to be researched, tried and tried again, much like a puzzle that may take several attempts to complete.  There are many options out there to offer you help:  books, blogs, websites, sleep consult services.  If you so desire help, it’s easy to find.  The tricky part is finding what works for you and your child.  Now the mother of 3, experience has taught me a few things about infants and sleep.  Some lessons were learned harder than others, but all are valuable and I hope they can help you too.


1.  It is important to understand babies’ sleep cycles and how they differ from adult sleep cycles.  This knowledge will help you recognize when your baby is in a light sleep vs. a deeper sleep (i.e. when it is safe to lay them down without waking them up!).  You should also familiarize yourself with how much sleep your child requires for their age to keep your expectations reasonable and real!

Age Nighttime Sleep Daytime Sleep * Total Sleep
1 month 8 8 (inconsistent) 16
3 months 10 5 (3) 15
6 months 11 3 1/4 (2) 14 1/4
9 months 11 3 (2) 14
12 months 11 1/4 2 1/2 (2) 13 3/4
18 months 11 1/4 2 1/4 (1) 13 1/2
2 years 11 2 (1) 13
3 years 10 1/2 1 1/2 (1) 12
*Note: number of naps in parentheses


2.  Do what you are comfortable with.  If a sleep method suggests letting your baby “cry it out” and you just can’t imagine doing that, than don’t do it.   I wanted to try co-sleeping with my infant, I longed for the extra bonding at the end of the day, but my husband said no.  He is a heavy sleeper and feared rolling over on her and suffocating her.  Bottom line is you have to do what helps you sleep better at night too.  After all, what good is a baby who sleeps 8 hours if you lie awake feeling guilty about how you got there!

3.  It’s normal for babies (and toddlers, preschoolers and even older children) to wake up in the night. Eventually your infant will sleep through, I promise!  Typically this occurs between 6 and 12 months of age.  But even after you have achieved this milestone, other milestones, like teething pain and illness, may cause them to wake.  It is even thought that when babies learn to crawl and walk, they awaken in order to “practice” their new skills.  Then as toddlers and preschoolers night awakenings may occur because of separation anxiety and night terrors, all of which are developmentally appropriate.  My 6 year old has even been known to invade my bed in the wee hours of the morning because of a bad dream.  So, just know that tackling the sleep problem with your infant doesn’t mean it’s over.  My best advice to you is to squeeze in a nap when you can because you never know what the night may hold!

4.  Remember, it’s not your fault your baby wakes up!  In fact there are developmental benefits to night awakenings especially in the first few months of life when infants wake to feed.  Your baby’s sleep habits are more a reflection of his/her temperament than your parenting.  And when comparing sleep stories with other parents, keep in mind that most parents will exaggerate to make themselves look and feel good.  A baby that sleeps through the night is not indicative of “good parenting”.  So, go easy on yourself!

So, although I may have not magic fairy sleeping dust to pass along, I hope my practical tips help you and your lil one rest a easier at night!  Happy snoozing!