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When my ‘good sleeper’ suddenly couldn’t fall asleep—I was the answer

Even as a certified sleep specialist, this realization took me by surprise.

When my ‘good sleeper’ suddenly couldn’t fall asleep—I was the answer

Whether you’re an adult tossing and turning over thoughts of tomorrow’s responsibilities or a baby who sleeps best with a full tummy and swaddle, we always sleep best when we feel content and safe. As parents, that’s why we have to be mindful of how that sense of security affects our children’s bedtimes as they grow.


Allow me to walk you back a bit: I used to look forward to bedtime. Like really, really look forward to it. As many of us mamas know, there is often very little rest to be had during our children’s waking hours—which has led even me, a certified sleep specialist, to sacrifice a solid night of rest to catch up on an episode or two of some trash TV.

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For a long time, I could get away with this because I knew the night would likely be uninterrupted once I went to bed. That’s because for much of the past seven years of my son’s life, he’s been a great sleeper.

Bedtime in our household was nearly a perfect string of events. The routine from bath time to lights out usually took 30 minutes, followed by my son being fast asleep within three minutes of me leaving the room.

I am well aware this is not the norm for most families and that we were pretty lucky. But, as they say, good things don't last forever—even for sleep consultants.

Suddenly, our formerly independent sleeper doesn’t want to be in his room alone. No matter how many times we check under the bed, in the closets or in the drawers, he simply cannot fall asleep or stay asleep on his own.

If I'm being really honest, I totally forgot how real sleep deprivation is.

I have begged and pleaded with my child to go to sleep. I’ve continued to assure him that he’s fine and needs to sleep. I’ve even teetered on the edge of discipline, which is a big no-no in the sleep world.

Since nothing seemed to make a difference, I basically had two choices: I could let go of the expectation that my son should be a completely independent sleeper. Or I could continue to allow myself to feel frustrated that he wasn't responding the way I wanted.

With a whole lot of resistance, I chose the first option and I'm so glad I did.

My husband and I decided to come up with a plan that provided our son with the security he was looking for, making our primary goal to get him the rest he needed.

We communicated this plan to him: We would sit outside his door until he fell asleep and then keep a matress underneath our bed for him to pull out if he woke up in the middle of the night. The one rule was that he did so quietly, so that we could continue to get our sleep. He looked so relieved.

Since implementing this plan, I had to sacrifice my “alone” time in order to sit outside his door—sometimes for up to an hour.

I had to put my very strong feelings of frustration aside and continue to remind myself to practice compassion and patience.

I had to spend a lot more time connecting at bedtime instead of rushing the process so I could get on with my own plans for the evening.

It has been hard. It’s also reminded me of the crucial role I play in my son's life, not just at bedtime but as the person who gives him confidence throughout life.

I am his constant. I am the person he looks to when he is scared. My child simply feels safe with me. So for now, I can give him the peace of mind that all is well, that he can relax, that he can breathe deeply and go to sleep.

The small sacrifice I made by giving up my evenings alone allows him to get the sleep he needs to thrive the next day.

Yes, I miss what it used to be, but I am embracing what it is now. We are doing what we need to do and all is going to be okay—and you'll be okay, too, mama.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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What you need to know about President Trump's Supreme Court pick

The President has reportedly selected his third SCOTUS nominee.

President Donald Trump has chosen his third pick for the Supreme Court—and he picked a mom.

The New York Times reports President Trump is choosing Judge Amy Coney Barrett as his nominee. An official statement is scheduled for Saturday.

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