The Sleep Trials

Sleep training didn’t work? You’re not alone.

The Sleep Trials

Is your baby only sleeping 2 hours at a time? Does your toddler sneak in your bed every night? Either way, you probably read all the books and tried all the techniques to help your little one (and yourself) catch some ZZZs. And just when you think you are mastering the ins and outs of a good night’s sleep, BAM! – your wee one is back at his old tricks, and you to square one.

There’s no one-size-fit-all approach to getting your baby to sleep well. How do I know that? I have three children: four-months-old twin girls and a three-year-old boy. When it comes to their slumbers, my littlest ones are like night and day, but somehow they are both sleeping beauties (for now).


My oldest one is a different story. We are still trying to figure out how to get him to sleep, and if there’s one thing his sleep problems have taught me, it’s this: raising a good sleeper is more of a marathon than it is a sprint. So without further ado – and in case you need a reminder that you’re not the only one pulling all-nighters with your babes – here’s my exhausting tale.

After Kenzo was born, it took him a week or two to get his days and nights figured out. He usually breastfed for about 45 minutes and took about an hour of rocking and bouncing to fall asleep. This left me with only an hour to rest before he woke up again to nurse. Kenzo slept in his own crib, but in our room – where else would he sleep in our 650 square feet one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment?

When he turned 8 weeks old, I tried what the book On Becoming Babywise calls the 3-hour “eat-play-sleep” schedule . Kenzo took to it right away and began to nap better and sleep longer stretches at night. By three months, he would go down drowsy but awake and sleep 10 long consecutive hours a night. It was amazing. I attribute our success to three things: the eat-play-sleep schedule, the swaddle, and thumb-sucking to soothe himself.

But the glorious period of good sleep stopped suddenly when Kenzo was 5 months old. We hit a “wonder week,” a leap, a developmental milestone – whatever you want to call it; personally, I call it HELL! At that point, he learned to roll on to his belly (bye-bye swaddle), but would get stuck and angry and would scream until someone came and flipped him. His bottom teeth erupted (bye-bye thumb-sucking), and I think he also developed object permanence right around that time. We were basically back to the newborn stage of waking every two hours. After experiencing the awesomeness of uninterrupted sleep for a few months (and knowing that he was physically capable of sleeping through the night), that regression was much harder to take.

Out of desperation, we tried the cry-it-out sleep training method many a time over the next year and a half. Hearing him cry for more than 5 minutes broke my heart, but within a few days he was going down quietly and happily. Fast forward a few weeks or months, and we’d be back to square one after an illness or a new developmental milestone. Cry-it-out again. And repeat.

Eventually, we moved to a bigger place and were able to give Kenzo his own room. We tried the cry-it-out method one last time. But when our neighbor stomped on our ceiling out of protest, we chickened out and ended up with the “side-car” sleeping arrangement, which we still have now.

Yes, our three-year-old son still sleeps in our room – more or less in our bed. But since weaning him last year, he’s been sleeping through the night. Sure, he can’t go to bed without me, and we will have to make some bedtime adjustments when he starts Pre-K in September, but we are all getting great sleep. So we are all good, for now!

Getting our little ones to sleep can be tough, and not (just) because some babies are light sleepers. The very fact that there are so many different opinions out there will make you second guess yourself. Take the cry-it-out technique, for example: some swear by it, saying it’s necessary in order to have not only a good sleeper, but also a happier and healthier child. Others view the method as synonymous to child abuse.

What do I say? If you are a good person, chances are your kid is going to grow up to be pretty fantastic. So ask your friends, family and pediatrician for advice. Do your research, read some books, google (with moderation), and go with what feels best for you and your family – this goes for sleep and all other aspects of parenting. Oh and don’t forget one very important word: consistency! Stick to your guns. You got this, and you are rocking this parenting thing.

Written by Heather Tomoyasu. Heather is a vlogger and blogger on her site US-Japan Fam, owner of Miny Moe, author of “Legit Ways to Make Money From Home” (available on Kindle and iTunes), founder of Tunes 4 Bay Ridge Tots, and mommy to a yummy toddler plus newborn twins! You can follow and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

International Network for Aid, Relief and Assistance (INARA)

It's 2020. The world is changing. It's hard to believe but the old decade is over, the new one is here and it is bringing a lot of new life with it. The babies born this year are members of Generation Alpha and the world is waiting for them.

We're only a few months into the new year and there are already some new celebrity arrivals making headlines while making their new parents proud.

If your little one arrived (or is due to arrive) in 2020, they've got plenty of high profile company.

Here are all the celebrity babies born in 2020 (so far):

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