Fourth P: Parents

Husband's Upset, Mom's Fatigued, Baby's Awake Again

Dear Holly,This morning, my husband yelled “Well maybe I’ll just leave!”. He was referring to our incessant issues with our 11-month old little boy’s sleep troubles. He wakes up about every 1.5 – 2 hours to nurse, and he has done this for pretty much his whole life. I’ve just brought him into our bed, and normally my husband is okay with it but I guess it’s gotten really cramped for him. I am capable of functioning with much less sleep than would be optimal, but my husband has a very stressful job and really needs his sleep. On some nights I’ve just been sleeping on an air mattress in the basement with my child. I’ve read all of the sleep books, and my pediatrician and friends have recommended “cry it out” which I’ve tried a couple of times. Whenever I’ve let him cry in his crib for longer than 5 minutes or so he literally vomits the entire contents of his stomach and I feel terrible. I’ll do whatever you advise. I’m at my wits end. If necessary, I’ll just sleep in the basement permanently, which seems like a drastic scenario of placing the 4th P before the 2nd P in some ways because my husband gets sad when he has to sleep... read more

Too Little for Much Independence

Dear Holly,I just finished reading your book, and am still at the stage of needing a radical home transformation before I can move into “upkeep” mode. While I am working on home organization, I have a 2 1/2 year old child who really needs some new interests and challenges. I honestly think she’s totally bored. She is an only child (so far), so I have no little helpers to play with her or otherwise occupy her. I am really trying to get her involved in things that she is capable of doing, but I still need her to sometimes be able to do something quietly by herself, which I am having a real problem with. So far, she doesn’t even like to color! I can’t seem to find anything that holds her interest for more than a few minutes, except for “watching”, but I don’t want her watching whenever I need some time to make dinner or whatever. She has always kind of ignored toys, except to spread them around the house and then leave them alone, and unless I am actively involved in another activity with her, she just doesn’t know what to do with herself, and I frankly am not sure what to do with her either. If you or your readers have some ideas, I would be most grateful. I’d like to see her be happier during the times when I need to have her occupied... read more

A Very Sleepy Mummy

Dear Holly,I have a 3 year old (that doesn’t nap), a turning 2 year-old, and a 2 month old. The 2 year old naps for 2 hours in the afternoon, and the baby sometimes concurrently. I am exhausted by that time, and find that I like to pray and then need to take a nap. Of course, the three year old always ends up watching TV so that mom can take a rest, sometimes up to two hours. Is this acceptable? If not, any suggestions on what we can do so that mom can... read more

Mom's Two Lives…

Dear Holly,We are a military family which makes our life a bit different from most. Currently, my husband works shift work: 1pm until about 1130pm/midnight. The kids go to bed, generally, around 9pm. I’d like to make that time, sharp. Not so variable but I don’t know if that’s reasonable at this stage. My husband and myself go to bed about 1:30-2am. The kids wake before us and we’ve tried to keep them in their rooms or upstairs with a baby gate but they’ve learned to climb that now. I don’t want them going downstairs and getting into things or possibly going outside. We have a river outback. I wish we could get up earlier but we can’t. When my husband gets home he just wants to do things that help him unwind. Watch T.V. or be on the computer. Sometimes we talk. I had to make him sit down with me not long ago to pick a baby name because we’re so close to the end and there are many more things for us to get done. Also, we tend to stay up because my oldest has Type 1 diabetes and we have to check her blood sugar anywhere from midnight until 2am as well as take her potty. So going to sleep and waking soon after is hard. So……….should I go to sleep before husband gets home, so someone gets rest? I’m lonely here all day and look forward to being up with him. I really don’t have many friends and the ones I have I see only at church/church functions. Should I try and just get... read more

Getting in Spiritual Reading for Kids

Dear Holly,Both my third grader and fourth grader are quite slow in their school work. They do good work, but they just work very slow. Their reading is somewhat slow too. This leaves them less time for the Spiritual reading like the lives of the saints, because they have to read books from school to be able to complete their reading counts tests. Oh how I wish that my good husband would open up to the idea of home... read more

Good Books For Kids

Dear Holly,Are you familiar with the “Magic Tree House” books? My 4th grade son really likes to read them. He mentioned that they have sorcery in them, so it made me a little apprehensive. With my children going to the public school, I try to give them good reading books at home to help teach them good virtues. I always have them read chapter books on the Saints. The problem is, they have these reading counts tests that they take in the library. They have to read the books there in the library, and then take comprehensive tests on them. I tried to redirect him into looking to see if they have “Little House on the Prairie” books, or Boxcar Children books. Do you have any suggestion on... read more

Defiant & Disrespectful Child Laughs at Mom

Dear Holly,I have 3 girls, ages 4, 2 1/2, and 1. My oldest daughter is great when she’s good (helpful, sociable, energetic, creative), but when she’s bad, she’s defiant, disrespectful, or just laughs at us when we try to discipline her. She repeatedly does things like go out of her room before we are awake and wreaks havoc. Despite serious consequences (eg. having to stay home from a fun activity, or losing all the toys in her room and having to ‘earn’ them back one at a time with good behaviour) she still keeps repeating the same misbehaviours. Any suggestions for how to get through to her? I am also very upset when the younger kids imitate her behaviour, and do bad things that they normally wouldn’t. I am really hoping to address this issue before she starts school next fall, since our time together will be so much more limited after that. Finally, when I do put her in time out, she often screams and kicks the door/walls etc. I can tell that this really disturbs the younger ones, especially the baby who keeps trying to crawl over to her big... read more

Things Take Time…

Dear Holly,I am finding it hard to schedule things for the rule because my children are all so young and need so much help. For example, if I want to take them for a walk, it usually takes 15-20 minutes just to get everyone with the appropriate coats/hats/shoes, used the toilet, put on a clean diaper etc. And then the same when we get home. This really eats into the day! Same with going to Mass etc. Any advice for how to handle... read more

When Hubby Won't Stick to Agreements…

Dear Holly,What do you do if your husband refuses to follow through with consistency-type resolutions that you’ve made regarding discipline? For example, my husband and I have time after time discussed that we will not use physical punishment until we have already done time-outs/ natural consequences etc. and the child is still defiant or thinks it’s a big joke. So I struggle to maintain my cool all day, then after he’s done work for half an hour, he’s spanking the kids and/or yelling at the first negative behaviour they exhibit. I understand that their behaviour is extremely irritating, but it’s just frustrating. Any... read more

About Toys & Books Again…

Dear Holly,I just had a question about rotating toys & books [in the bins from day to day] … I have thought about doing this, to make cleanup time easier, and to keep them more engaged with their toys rather than just unloading them and spreading them around. But the concern I have is that they will learn to feel that they always need something new and exciting, rather than being happy with the same things. Do you have any... read more
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