Friday, May 02, 2008

A week in the life
I've been meaning to do this anyway, but in light of the sleep & behavioral issues going on & comments asking about specific routines & techniques, I think this detailed schedule may help someone pinpoint where we're off track, or maybe I'll have an epiphany while writing it out & come up with some hair brained solution (most of this is probably going to be me putting it all out there to see what I can find - a little mental dumpage, if you will). All in all, it couldn't hurt!

So here it goes. What our life is typically like every week-


  • 6-7am: Wake up
  • 6:30-7:30am: Breakfast with morning cartoons
  • 7:30-7:45am: Drive Bill to work
  • 8-9 or 10: Prep time at home (packing snacks, getting ready for the day). Logan is usually outside playing in the sandbox now that the weather is nice.
  • 9 or 10-12pm: Whatever Club activity is going on (meeting/playgroup, walking group/park day, special trip, etc. with snacks included)
  • 12:30-1:30pm: Lunch & down time at home
  • 1 or 2-3 or 4: Nap time (if at all depending on Logan)
  • 4-4:45pm: Outside play & snacks if awake
  • 4:45pm: Leave to pick up Bill from work
  • 5:30-6:30pm: Dinner prep while Logan plays with Bill, usually outside now
  • 6-6:30pm: Dinner
  • 6:30 or 7pm: Downtime before bed (usually cartoon time)
  • 7-7:30pm: Bath time
  • 8pm: Bedtime (if he actually goes down. This could take up to 2 more hours for him to finally go to sleep).
  • 5:45am: I leave to train a client in their home
  • 6am: Logan wakes up
  • 6-7:15am: Breakfast & morning cartoons
  • 7:30am: Drive Bill to work
  • 8-8:30: Prep for the day (make snacks, etc).
  • 9-10am: Preschool prep class (typically - this month it's at a later time)
  • 10-12pm: Whatever Club activity is going on (meetings, walking group/park day, etc) if nothing is going on then we go to the gym
  • 12:30-1pm: Lunch
  • 1 or 2-3 or 4: Nap time (if it happens)
  • *see Monday for rest of the day
  • 6am: Logan wakes up
  • 6-7:30am: Breakfast & morning cartoons
  • 7:45am: Drive Bill to work
  • 8 or 8:15-9:30am: Meet photographer friend to train at the gym while Logan goes to the Kids Club
  • 10-11:30 or 12pm: Playgroup
  • 12:30-1pm: Lunch
  • 1-4pm: Nap time if it happens
  • 4:45: Leave to pick up Bill from work
  • 5-6pm: Grocery shopping
  • *see the previous days for the rest of the schedule
  • 6am: Logan wakes up
  • 6-7:30am: Breakfast & morning cartoons
  • 7:30am: Leave to drive Bill to work
  • 8-8:30am: Daily prep
  • 9-10am: Preschool prep class
  • 10-12pm: Whatever is on The Club calender or workout at the gym
  • 12:30-1pm: Lunch
  • *see previous days for rest of schedule
  • 5:45am: I leave to train a client in their home
  • 6am: Logan wakes up
  • 6-7:30: Breakfast & morning cartoons
  • 7:30am: Drive Bill to work
  • 8-8:30 or 9am: Daily prep
  • 9 or 10-12pm: Whatever is on the schedule for The Club (usually walking group with park play afterward)
  • 12:30-1pm: Lunch
  • *see above
  • 6am: Logan wakes up
  • 7-9: Lounge around the house, eat breakfast
  • 9-12: Rotate taking care of Logan while the other person takes a nap or do whatever we're doing for the weekend (yard projects, park play, etc)
  • 12-1pm: Lunch
  • *see above
  • 6am: Logan wakes up
  • 6-9am: Breakfast & morning cartoons or outdoor play
  • 9-11am: Workout with photographer friend while Logan goes to the Kids Club
  • 11-1pm: Shopping, lunch, whatever
  • 1-2pm: Nap
  • *see above

Temper tantrums happen all day long; when he wakes up, during breakfast, leaving the house, leaving activities, at the store, in the car, leaving the gym, during lunch, when he's told to come inside, during nap time, when leaving to pick Bill up from work, before dinner, during dinner, before bed, during bath time, while getting him ready for bed & during bed time until he falls asleep. On our worst days - it looks exactly like this. On our best days it could be two or three tantrums, but never a tantrum-free day.

Discipline techniques are numerous; time-out in the time-out spot by the back door for 2 minutes or until he calms down (this is consistent wherever we go be it playgroup or shopping), grounding to his room for 30 minutes or more if he's being violent or after a serious infraction, counting to 3 before time-outs, repeating myself before counting to 3, ignoring small tantrums that only make him escalate into massive rages, attempting to communicate before a tantrum ensues which only makes him escalate into massive rages, yelling because I have run out of patience & options, spanking when he kicks me in the stomach or throws something at me, attempts to break something (like his bedroom door or window) or is blatantly being disobedient while being disciplined.

Major power struggles happen often; meal times, when safety is concerned (needing to hold my hand in a parking lot), when he needs a diaper change or getting ready for the day, nap times, bed time. He often goes to bed without dinner due to his refusing to eat what we've made, or sits in a dirty diaper for an extended period of time because he won't cooperate with diaper changes. Forcing these issues leads to major battles & meltdowns (from both of us). Other than safety situations, I often end up relinquishing control & let him run the show (not forcing him to eat, letting his diaper bother him enough until he comes to me to let me know, letting him play in his room for a few hours while he does not sleep), unless again he's being destructive - slamming his bedroom door, etc. Then this behavior is not ignored.

If we cut out activities on the schedule & stay home during the day, it's worse because Logan gets bored & watches too much TV. He doesn't want me to read to him or put puzzles together, he wants to do it himself. Play-doh, coloring & crafts take only a few minutes out of the day. Besides, Logan needs more physical activities than most kids (winter was a prime example of too much TV & boredom).

We did cut out swimming lessons that we were going to twice a week but other than that, I don't see us as over scheduled or very inconsistent in our daily routines. Actually, after typing this out we seem to be pretty consistent with out activities & time schedules. Wake times, lunches, nap times (attempted), dinners, bed times (attempted) - all are at the same time every day. Even our activities, although varied, are at the same times every week. Our busiest time of the day is only for about 3-4 hours in the morning & we're always home in time for lunch, staying home for the rest of the day until we have to leave to go pick up Bill from work.

This is why I'm feeling hopeless. I feel like I've tried everything & I can't think of anything we haven't tried (with the exception of taking away his currency - cars, TV, outside time. I'm not sure how this is different than time-out). I've even considered medical conditions (Asperger's was a thought until I really looked into it - it's a definite no). In this aspect, the only thing I haven't tried 100% is the Feingold Diet. I think this might be worth a shot...maybe.

I think I've just about purged & rambled on about everything that we do, have done & the few we haven't tried. I think I'm going to sleep on it. I hope this detailed information sparks someones insight into what might be the issue. Lord knows I don't know where to go from here. The next step is calling his pediatrician for resources.


Jezer said...

Me again.

First of all, I know that Logan and Al aren't exactly alike, so I apologize for constantly comparing. BUT they are so close in age (and Logan usually seems to be about a month ahead) that I can't help but draw on their similarities.

Looking at your schedule, I have only one suggestion, and I don't even know if it is possible. Is there any way that you could make lunch and naptime earlier? I ask because Al exhibits many of the behaviors that you describe when he's gone too late without a nap. In fact, there are some weekend mornings that he's ready to lay down (and will ask for "night-night") as early as 9am! On a normal day, he has lunch around 10:45-11am, and then he's down for nap no later than 11:30. His daycare follows this schedule, so I suspect that this is the kind of routine that will work pretty well for the majority of 2-year-olds.

Sometimes, he just can't wait until after lunch, and he takes his nap early, lying down between 9:30-10:30, and has lunch after.

Even if he says he's not sleepy, but acts cranky, we will lie down together and read books or listen to music and next thing I know, he's asleep. He'll stay asleep for a good 2 hours.

I'm not sure if that helps at all, because I realize that the major part of your planned activities happen smack in the middle of the times that I've mentioned. But maybe there's a little room for adjustment somewhere.

I hope you both find some relief soon. It is no fun at all to tend to a cranky toddler all day. You are a magnificent mom, and I'm sure this will all work itself out soon. Hang in there.

Joanna said...

I have been reading forever, I used to comment daily and then it just kinda got here and there...anyways...On to the post at hand. Kelsie is the same way. Her problem, not enough sleep. She used to go to bed at 8pm and not wake up until 8:30 or 9 the next day, including at least an hour nap around 2:15 in the afternoons. Then we switched to her toddler bed...This is when it all started, her bedtimes are just like Logans, taking forever to get down. Zack stays in there with her until she dozes off. We find this works, and just move up her bedtime to start at 7:30 (when possible) this ensures she gets down at a decent time and since I know she is going to wake up early, it sorta works. Not all the time but it does give some relief. The naptimes...We are there, "if it happens". Laying down with her really helps. I don't know if you lay with him or not (I can't remember) but it does help get her off to sleep and then I either nap with her or creep off outta the room. I agree with jezer...Kelsie can't nap until after I pick up Kayla from school so after 2. I noticed a big difference when Kayla was on spring break and we were able to be home. She would lay down about 1 and not get up until after 3! I am now thinking that any later then 1 trying to nap is a waste of energy because she is just "too" sleepy and fights it even more.

Good Luck! I know that it's hard getting a toddler down that doesn't want to go to sleep, but I think that this would provide some relief.

Beth said...

I was going to suggest an earlier nap time too. If he gets up at 6am, he is probably tired enough to sleep a tad earlier. Maybe try lunch around 11-1130am and a nap at noon? or do lunch after a nap? Good Luck. It is hard trying to figure out what works!

Kristin said...

We did try an earlier nap time, right after we came home & pushed lunch to afterwards. No dice. However, I think if I make his snack to be more of a deconstructed lunch (he's always eating everyone else's snacks anyway) so he's grazing more than sitting & eating a meal (or maybe a meal-on-the-go kind of preparation), he'll be full enough that "skipping" lunch won't bother him & he can go right into his nap when we come home.

On most days, I think I can get home by 11:30, if not 11:45. So, with larger meal/snacks & earlier nap time this way - maybe this is the solution :)

I don't lay down with him to get him to sleep & never really have. But, he does go to sleep with a classical music CD playing quietly at night. I don't do this for nap time & it would probably help. At night I used to read to him until he decided he didn't like story time anymore. But, I like the idea of getting him to bed by 7 instead of 8, anticipating the time it will take for him to actually get to sleep. We did try this, but it backfired when he did end up falling asleep right away because then he would wake up at 4:30.

I think if I do a whole schedule shift again, but this time make sure his morning snack is more of an extended lunch - it will work better.

Yesterday his nap ended up being 5 hours long (10:30-3:30ish). He had some really bad episodes with tantrums the rest of the day (mostly after Bill came home from work & before going to bed). He did wake up in a really good mood this morning & at 8:30 went on time-out for turning his sippy cup upside down & sprinkling milk all over the floor. Surprisingly, there was no gnashing of teeth. He followed directions, sat there without crying & stayed there until his 2 minutes were up.

Today is one of the very rare days that we have absolutely nothing going on (crappy weather day) & I'm going to workout after Bill comes home from work. So, it will be a good day to try the early lunch-nap-schedule shift without interruption.

Thanks for the suggestions & brainstorming :)

Anonymous said...


Kayce said...

Fortunately, sleep is one of those areas that I've never had problems with. We worked early to establish a simple bedtime routine with PJ, and he followed it easily (I know...lucky us!). He still doesn't always want to go to sleep when I put him in his room for naps and bedtime, though. We just stripped down his room so that there was NOTHING to play with in there. Other than the recent issue with the blinds, he can't be destructive. He's forced to at least rest when he's in his room. Usually after some rest time, he gives in and sleeps. I don't know if this will help with Logan because obviously he's way different from PJ, but maybe it will give you some sort of idea.

Oh, and maybe you should warn him about transitions long before they occur? It sounds like the majority of tantrums happen when you're moving from one activity to the next. Not that this has worked with PJ yet, but I hear it should...

Anonymous said...

I agree with the others that the naptime thing could be earlier. My kids eat lunch at 11 and then 3 of them go down at 11:45. But every kid is different so if you have tried it then that's not the cure.

I also wanted to mention that my sister's son is a lot like Logan. After a year of meltdowns, no sleep and the like my sister took him to the doctor and asked what could be done. He did tell her that there are some kids who actually have a sleeping disorder which then will cause them to have terrible meltdowns. They can not get themselves to sleep and when they do it is not regular. He suggested something called Melitonin (SP?) it is something natural that makes you sleepy. He told her to use it at the same time every night for 2 weeks and then stop. He thought that it would help her son's body to readjust to a new schedule. It totally worked. It worked so well that finally after 3 years of this it was better in two weeks and he has never gone back. It might be worth asking Logan's doc about it. I know my sister was so desperate and crying a ton about this. And now it is totally fixed.

Anyhow- You sound like such a good mom. Keep up the search for Logan on what will work best. It will pass like all things do.

Good luck - Heidi

Jen said...

Okay, I'm gonna make a small suggestion. I think cutting out swimming lessons was a great idea. Logan does more activities then most kids his age, and it probably gets a little "over-stimulating" at times.

What if you tried cutting out the "Group" activities? He does Kid's club, play group, the gym, Mom's club, etc. all with other kids. Maybe what he needs is activites outside the house with just YOU.

I know you said when he stays home with you, he wants to do things himself and not have you read to him. But, is that such a bad thing? I know it can be frustrating, but what if you sort of followed his cues, and let him do things independently, while still being there with him. It doesn't have to be You doing it for him, or not doing it at all. You could sit with him while he reads, etc.

Also, I would not punish the tantrums. Try and look at it like this...if Bill or the inlaws, or a problem at home, pisses you off, you can call and complain to friends, Bill (if he's not the problem!) etc. Logan doesn't have anyone except you and Bill. You are his coworker, spouse, friend, all in one. At his age, he doesn't have the vocabulary to articulate his frustration, so he tantrums. When he tantrums, rather than seperating him from you (time out) try sitting down with him and talking very quietly (hard in the heat of the moment, I know) and just sitting with him until he calms down.

I'm really trying with my kids to cue in more to what they are trying to tell me with the tantrums, rather than punishing for the tantrum. As parents, it's our job to teach our kids how to behave, not punish them for not knowing how to behave.

Anyway...just my thoughts.

Alicia Seevers said...

I'm gonna agree with Jen, as much as YOU enjoy your Moms group (all adults need some adult stimulation), you might try cutting that out. My 22 month old wakes between 6-7am and she is ready for a nap around 10-11am and then we do lunch when she wakes up.

Kristin said...

Today is a good example of what happens when we cut out activities, since we've been home all day doing nothing.

Things went well this morning as we hung out on the couch watching TV. However, the TV has been on all day. We're talking about from 6-11:30am. This is way too much.

I turned off the TV for a while to play with cars, read him a library book, watch the birds out of the window & play with Kitty. He did OK for 5 minutes & then flipped out that he couldn't watch TV anymore. I tried to redirect him down into the playroom to play with toys & he got royally pissed, going into one of his extreme tantrums. I let him scream until he started getting violent, throwing toys & kicking doors. Then he was sent to time-out (the second one for the day & it was only 9:30am).

This is one of two reasons he's enrolled in his preschool prep classes. He needs structured activities (arts & crafts time, story & song time, etc.) along with learning to follow directions. He participates well with the class & teachers, but HATES doing these things with me. So, since he dislikes it that much, we don't. This isn't anything new, he's been like this since about a year & a half old. It's just gotten progressively worse as he's gotten older & more independent.

But, bottom line - boredom makes the behavioral problems even more extreme than usual.

If I review the activities to cut some out:

The gym 2-4 days a week.
2 of them I have to be there for because I'm training someone. This is not something I'm readily willing to cut out or move (there's no way in hell I'm working out at 4-5am or after 8pm when I have to get up at 5am the next morning). Logan does love it there & often asks to go - but this is a part of my life I absolutely can't give up. It's not only for my physical health (& it's my profession), but it plays a huge role in helping my mental health (cardio is a BIG TIME stress reliever for me). The less I workout, the more agitated & irritable I become (which is a scary thought considering I'm already pretty irritable right now).

Preschool prep class 2 days a week.
Other than being important for the structured learning environment, we also got him enrolled to help with his expressive language delay (3-5 months behind). He has been improving, but we'll see how much after his second evaluation.

Playgroup 1 day a week.
I guess if anything, we could drop this. We've been going every week since Logan was 6 months old & these are his friends that he loves to play with. While he gets along with all of the kids, his very best friends have been moved to different playgroups because we were getting too big.

This is what got us active in MOMS Club & the primary purpose was social time for both Logan & myself. Over time, we've clearly become active & social in other parts of the club & our town - so maybe we've grown out of it. We could drop this for a while & see what happens. We can always go back if I change my mind.

Walking Group 2 days a week.
This fits right in with going to the gym. It is less "stimulating" than the gym & we go regardless if any of our friends go. So, occasionally, this is one of those activities that Logan & I do without anyone else.

Random Club activities 2-3 days a week.
This includes baby showers, learning field trips, music demos, various meetings & park day play time. If something is scheduled in the afternoon, we don't go. If it's something that Logan won't yet understand because it's geared more towards preschoolers (airport tour, police office day, etc.), we skip it. Most of the time though, these are the special fun things that we get to do that we normally wouldn't if it weren't for The Club.

Jen, I totally get what you're saying here. Overall, I don't think Logan would be punished as much for temper tantrums if he wasn't violent in almost all of them. Logan, although identical to his Dad, is ironically EXACTLY like me when it comes to personality & attitude. The more I don't cry & vent about the things that bother me, the worse I feel (or the more angry I get). Also, say if it's an argument between Bill & myself, the more he ignores me & doesn't REALLY listen (which he's very good at & does it to piss me off), the more upset I get (& the worse the situation becomes).

While you've mentioned this to me before & sent links (that I did read - I promise!), I think I just needed to hear it again to have that Ah-ha moment. When we first tried Dr. Karp's toddler techniques (similar to the techniques you sent, helping your child understand that you know what they are trying to communicate & be an active listener to your child's needs), they worked great. The tantrums decreased in frequency & intensity, but then after time they started back up again.

I think my problem (one of many) is that I give up too easily. If something doesn't work all the time (which I can't expect - nothing works 100% all of the time), I get frustrated & do something else. I've never dealt well with frustration - ever - & I see the exact same feeling coming from Logan.

I've often cried over knowing how Logan feels in these situations & not being able to help him like I want to. I'm often stuck in the stressed out frustration cycle & have a hard time finding that "re-start" that I need to do to solve the problem.

So in addition to the meal/snack & nap changes, we'll give up playgroup for a little while & see what happens. I also need to change & try a whole lot harder in communicating & listening to Logan, as frustrating as it may be at the time.

Jen said...

Okay, one more thing, then I swear that's it. Though, in fairness, you did ask for at least it's not unsolicited MIL advice this time! ;)

The only other thing I would suggest is Stop trying to END the tantrums. They won't end. You can't make them go away. All the timeouts, spankings, sending to his room, etc. in the world aren't going to END the tantrums.
At this age, tantruming is a normal behavior. Yes, even three or four a day. Think how many times a day you wanna lose your crap on him! The difference is, that as the adult, you can control yourself and keep yourself from losing your crap several times a day, and Logan can't yet.

As for the violent behavior, what if you gave him a healthy alternative. He needs to have a "safe" way to release the anger. (How much of a hippy do I sound like!?!) So what if you gave him a pillow or something else that wouldn't hurt him, and taught him if he's angry, throwing things isn't acceptable, but he can hit his pillow. So rather than sending him to timeout or spanking, you could say, "We only use gentle touches with Mommy/Dog/Baby. If you need to hit, you hit your pillow." And then give him the pillow. Then when he's a little older, and more able to process his anger, you can phase out the hitting of the pillow.

This way, you aren't getting hurt, and he has a safe alternative outlet for his frustrations.

Alright, I'm done being the intrusive MIL now. I just know how overwhelming it can be in the moment, and how frustrating it feels when it seems like you have run out of options. Hang in there. You are an amazing mother. Don't think that losing your cool in the moment makes you a bad mom. Just apologize to Logan, don't beat yourself up about it, and just move on.
Hope this helps a little, and that I'm not just irritating you with all my hippy rambling!! :)

Dawn B said...

I hope everything gets more mellow for you and your family. It sounds like Logan is just as stressed out as you are. :( I wish I could offer more assvice (lol) but I'm fresh out. I did keep thinking how things will be mellowing out soon. I wish I could give a definite date, time.. as each day passes with Logan getting older things will be easily processed for him easier. He's a smart and sweet fella from what I read. Tons of great luck!!

Jaime said...

I know all children have tantruming but this sounds extremely difficult.

There isn't much I can add to the other comments but that I agree with earlier naptimes. It might take a short period of adjustment but I think maybe it might help if he's overly tired.

As for the tantrums. My youngest son likes to throw them and at first I tried time-outs and trips to his room. Finally though I just started letting him scream and I walked away. I'd go into another room or area until he collected himself. This could take anywhere from 10 minutes to over an hour. He's learned now that all the tantrum does is alleviate his stress. It doesn't produce any reaction from me.

the stefanie formerly known as stefanierj said...

I haven't been able to fully catch up on all I've missed, but wow, sweetie--I can seriously relate to all of this, and D is a full year older! Jen has some great advice, though (hey! I should take it someday!) and you are the total Power Mom, so I know you'll get through, but hang in there.

I've missed you...

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, does Logan snore?