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Parenting Three

my three beautiful children

Things I love about having a seventeen-month-old:

  • Smiles, smiles, smiles!
  • So many hugs and kisses
  • Gravity-defying ponytails
  • Watching her learn and grow with her brother and sister

Things I love about having a three-year-old:

  • Suddenly emerging skills – last weekend he started printing letters!
  • Laughter
  • Watching him play with his sisters
  • Gaining more insight into his mind through new vocabulary and descriptive ability

Things I love about having a nearly-five-year-old:

  • Watching her embrace the role of big sister as she enjoys teaching her younger brother and sister
  • Learning to read and write
  • Empathy
  • More personality every day

Things I’d love to learn more about

  • Getting kids to sleep through the night – Emma nearly always does, but the other two are up. Every. Single. Night.
  • Keeping kids active indoors on cold winter days
  • Whining elimination

Someday my house will stay clean, I will sleep through the night, and the only whining will be my own inner complaining. And then how I will miss these three little faces!

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

24 thoughts on “Parenting Three”

  1. Bear sleeps through the night because she sleeps with us. J-jo wakes up and I need to move to his bed (he sleeps in a queen size bed in his room for this purpose). After he nurses once, he falls back to sleep. If I stay with him he sleeps through. Not the ideal situation, but at least we get more sleep. I love lily’s ponytails! We have a (plastic Little Tykes) slide in our house and it is tremendous to burn off energy. We also play chase around our “circle” – does your house have a “circle” through rooms -does this make sense? singing, run, run as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man. This is also fantastic.

  2. So fun to see you all the other day! As for sleep–we sleep with Justin and that works. I have a friend who has her two sleep together in one bed and they sleep through the night, but if they’re just in teh same room they don’t…you could try that? As for whining…when I say “don’t whine” it doesn’t sink in, but when I give him a positive alternative it often works (e.g. “ask for that with a please instead of whining please”). Emphasis on the often rather than always :)

  3. I love this picture of the kids all dressed up. Lily’s pigtails are adorable Mary Anne! I like how you’ve listed all that you like about each one at their current ages too.

  4. We have a light on a timer and our son is not allowed to get out of bed until his light turns on in the morning. I set it at a reasonable time and there are books next to his bed that he can look at if he wakes up early. This alone has eliminated many many problems. I’m also one for tough love and I will let them cry it out. Even if they wake the rest of the house in the process, a week of that is better than not having a good nights sleep for 2 years. A book that has literally made sleeping through the night possible for my two kids (they started sleeping 12 hour nights at 16 weeks and 10 weeks) is Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. But it’s a cry it out method. Good luck!

  5. What a beautiful photo of your three babies. Three children at three different stages means there certainly is so much to love and be excited about. For me at the moment, the biggest challenge with our three cherubs is trying to keep everyone happy at the same time. Trying new things everyday and working out what works best for us.

  6. ana @ i made it so

    your children are beautiful. and so very young still… you are brave to take on cs5 on top of all your other commitments! :)

  7. You know how sometimes you come upon something you really needed at the moment and you weren’t even looking for it? well, that is what happened to me today as I read your post. It gave me perspective, thank you, I needed it for dinner!!

  8. Aaaah, I totally agree! I have to remind myself they are growing so fast…the whining does make it challenging though!

    I love gravity defying ponytails too!

  9. Good luck with whining elimination – as you pointed out, even adults whine too :) This is such a great picture of your Terrific Three.

  10. Bless you, MaryAnne, for your candor and your diligence in recording all these special stages. Someday we’ll look back and smile at how our kids’ development defined us as moms. And also marvel at how, once upon a time, they couldn’t do X, Y or Z and one day they could, and we celebrated as if it were winning the Nobel Prize (which it was).

    Our little Kate (2.5++ yrs old) JUST started properly sleeping through the night. Previously, she’d fall asleep OK and then by morning she was in our bed. Those were the good nights. On the bad nights, she would scream us all awake in her room, and we’d go and try and calm her down, and she’d still end up in our bed. We tried having her bunk in with her sisters so she wasn’t alone, we tried removing privileges, we tried adding rewards and several other things, and nothing worked.

    Last week we switched their rooms – E (6+ years old) got her own room, Jenna moved up into Emily’s upper bunk and Kate moved in with Jenna to sleep in Jenna’s lower bunk. Miraculously (and we still can’t believe it) she’s sleeping through the night. And doing well in potty training. Not sure if it was just a coincidental jump in her neuron development or her incidental graduation to Big Girl status, but it’s going well. Emily and jenna started sleeping through the night in their own beds much earlier (Emily more than Jenna) so we initially felt there was something awry with Kate. Turns out it was maybe just time, and personality.

    So hang in there! You’re already doing really well and you are an awesome mom (if you ever forget that, I’ll be happy to remind you anytime!). It may be that Johnny and Lily can be helped by special practices or parenting tricks I know not of (pity) but it may also be just plain old time. Isn’t it scary, though, how we’re allowed to drive (our kids to school, etc) with this little sleep?

    And I’m with Tez with the whining. Tell me how!!!

    Have a good weekend!


  11. Elisa | blissfulE

    Oh they are so precious!

    We’re also working on whining elimination. Michael’s our main culprit, and I often tell him “I don’t want to hear whining” or “that’s really whiney.” I also have to make sure I don’t give whatever he’s asking for in that whiney voice, otherwise, I’m just asking for more whining!! NOooooooo…

    As for indoor activities, one of our current favourites is the crocodile game, where I sit on the sofa and open/shut my arms like a big crocodile mouth, and they run all over the house, then get closer and closer and then run away and, just occasionally, I get to “eat” (tickle) someone who strays too near… :)

  12. You have lovely kids! I really enjoy reading about your parenting journey, and refer friends here often.
    Sleeping through the night? What is that? HA HA! The kids I have still at home are 9 and 10 years old…they continue to wake randomly, on random nights, and I’m up at least once a week.

    Part of what I did to maintain patience through the night wakes is to remind myself that when I sleep, I often approach wakefulness and convince my body to return to slumber. However, I’m an adult and have had practice and returning to sleep. These guys, are just on their journey to healthful sleep habits, they aren’t quite as pro at returning to slumber land, due to lack of experience. My job then is to both model and teach healthy, sustainable methods of returning to sleep or soothing themselves back to sleep.
    We do deep breathing, visualizing, mantra type mind relaxation *ie: counting sheep, listing what I would see in my room if my eyes were open, etc.*
    Yours may not be old enough for some of that, however, they are certainly old enough to have you come along side them and teach them deep breath in through the nose and long breath out through the mouth while saying “re-e-e-e-e-s-s-t” to their body in a whisper.
    Mostly it’s just about time and maturity and it’s a learning curve, much like printing.
    You’re doing a great job!
    As for the whining, when you get that figured out, TELL ME HOW! :D

  13. We’re working on whining elimination too, the suggestion I’ve been given is for requests, they are told no and given an amount of time before they can ask again (with a timer).

  14. I love all those positives especially when they just learn things like reading and writing, amazing. The comment from Emma above is too cute.

  15. That’s my Scottish girl dress! I love my brother and my sister. I wore Lily’s dress when I was a little baby and now it is for Lily. I love you Mama!

  16. Absolutely adorable. I think sleep must be overrated, right? I mean, that’t what THeY say … ;)

    Love the pigtails. They truly do defy gravity!

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