Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Grab a coffee and sit down... I need your help!

Hi friend,

Have you had your coffee today? No? Go grab a cup and sit down with me. I need some friendly advice.

I realize I'm sort of airing my dirty laundry here. At the risk of you thinking I'm a terrible mom, I'm putting this out in blog land, hoping your advice will bring a little peace to the Brightside house. Though most of our day here is filled with smiles and laughter, there are 3 times a day that I can count on being frustrated and frazzled.

Problem #1: Sleep - My kids wake up before the sun and fight bedtime with every ounce of their energy. They look tired. And I can tell by their moods that they need more sleep.

Ever since the kids were babies, we've stuck to a pretty regular nighttime routine to ensure an early bedtime (currently 7:45-8). Bath, pajamas, teeth, 2 books, 1 song, tuck in with kisses. This worked for about 3-4 years.

But for months now we have had some revolt at bedtime. My older daughter (5 1/2) comes out of her room an average of 4 times after we put her down. Here's a list of what we hear from her, "I'm hungry, i can't sleep, I'm not tired, i want water, i had a bad dream, i''m scared, what if i have a bad dream, what if a crocodile comes in my room, it's too loud, etc". My 3 yr old has recently clued in on this fun game and has started pulling some of the same antics.
Barring illness or bad dreams, they both sleep all night. Maybe I should count my blessings.

Do you have any tips for getting your kids to go to bed without a battle???

Problem #2: Breakfast - My 5 yr old is a vegetarian. It's true. We fought it tooth and nail but as soon as she realized where chicken came from, she refused to eat it. Next were hot dogs (she is convinced there are dogs in them, and that the people who make them have lied to us). No beef (although I haven't told her that porcupine meatballs have meat in them... I'm so bad). No eggs. No milk. She weighs 38 lbs and she's 5 yrs old. Am I worried? Yes. I have tried everything short of sticking a feeding tube down he throat.

After much fighting, I decided to explain to Sierra that there is such a thing as a vegetarian, and that she may choose to be one (someday). But I also explained that vegetarians eat other things to get their protein. We have an agreement that if she won't eat animals, she needs to eat beans, nuts or peanut butter instead. And she does, begrudgingly. Honestly, I don't know where she comes from. My husband and I both love food but she treats it like a nuisance.

Needless to say, it's difficult to find a breakfast she will eat. I've come up with go-to meals for lunch and dinner. But breakfast remains a problem. The two foods she will willingly eat are cinnamon rolls and pop tarts. Not exactly a healthy breakfast for anyone. I'll admit, I give her one or the other a lot. Because she'll eat it and I can get her to school in time. But it's not healthy. I need some alternatives.

Do you have any go-to, easy breakfasts that you can share?

Problem #3: Getting in the car - God, that sounds ridiculous. I swear my kids are actually well behaved and fun to be around much of the time. But getting them in the car in the morning is like pulling teeth. They dilly dally. They stall. They scream. They cry. They hit each other. They tell me I'm a bad mommy. It's awful. Once we get in the car, they are fine and happy to be on their way to school. But for a brief moment every school day, i want to run.

Do you have any tips on how to get your kids to "go" in the morning??

That's it. It's a sloppy, boring post. I apologize. I just need help. It's that simple. :)

Thanks for any tips you might send my way!!!

Have a great day!!!


  1. A partial solution to the early no-meat issues with Sierra:

    1) Go to Trader Joe's and stock up on some of their soy hot dogs and soy sausage and stuff. Try out a number of them with Sierra. Tell her that we are trying to find good healthy food for her to eat that doesn't have any meat in it for her.

    2) Let's get her the blood tests that the Doctor recommended.

    3) Add small amounts of protein power to her food. She likes to eat oatmeal in the morning, right. Well, add some protein powder to it. She likes Jello, doesn't she. Well, let's make it for her, but add a slight amount of protein powder.... same goes for any cake or cookies that we make as a special treat.

  2. Hi Summer (its Laura M., but I think i need to post this anonymously. Ok, as far as breakfast, does she like smoothies (either something like Danimals or a homemade one??). Cereal and toast are also good and easy.

    Bed time is tough, have you tried a special nightlight? Make sure a snack and drink is offered before bed (we still let Jenny have a sippy cup with water in her room.) Maybe you need to have a little later bedtime or get her more exercise to make sure she is really tired. Good luck!

  3. Your not a bad Mom for airing, your a good Mom for "trying" to find some resolution.

    Do you have a Whole Foods market near you?? It's like the Nordstrom Trader Joes & maybe you could take her along with you & make it a Mom/Daughter outing. Whole Foods Market has a plethora of choices for vegetarians & vegans. Make it fun for her to choose some of the things "she wants to choose" that way she will want to eat them.

    Oh and the bed time blues. I had a similar problem when my son was younger and a gf of mine suggested spending the 45 minutes prior to his bed time with him. Like really spend it with them as your quality time with your kiddos. After they bath, brush, have their snack and drink, designate 30 to 45 minutes to play a game with them in their room, read stories, organize their toys. This way they have had Mommies/or Daddies attention for a good length of time before they have to independently sleep.

    Hope you get some good tips to keep on the "bright side" on your home front ;)

  4. Go to Amazon.com and buy the cookbook Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld. You can puree chicken, beans, vegetables and put them in ANYTHING without your kid knowing it. Cauliflower hidden in Mac & Cheese is a favorite of mine. I can't help you on the sleep thing. My daughter gets up at least 4 times after I put her down, and finally after she does go to sleep she crawls into my bed sometime in the middle of the night. She's a picky eater too, but she loves Activia yogurt (not all the cutesy kiddie yogurts, only activia), Trader Joes poptarts and cheese. Don't get me stared on her bathroom habits, but most her protein comes from cheese and eggs. Getting to school used to be harder for me, but I bought my daughter a "big kid" booster today and she can't wait to sit in it, so we'll see how it goes from here on out. Trust me though...you're doing fine and all this stuff happens to almost all my mom friends and one day will all pass!

  5. My oldest is a very picky eater and it shows, his younger brother is bigger than him. I discovered that he likes peanut butter and bananas on toast for breakfast. A little protein, a little fiber and a little fruit keeps him going until lunch.

  6. Will she eat oatmeal? A bit of peanut butter goes great in oatmeal. And like Heather said, fruit is a great choice. Banana and toast or even an apple. Quaker makes a oatmeal on-the-go bar that is very yummy and much more nutritious than a pop tart. Maybe whole grain waffles.