Friday, April 30, 2010

Celebrating Max and Sadie

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as part of the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC MOM Jenn M.'s twins, Max and Sadie, who were born at 29 weeks 4 days.

Max weighed 3 lbs 3 ozs and was in the NICU for 45 days. He needed help breathing with the CPAP for almost a month, but never needed to be on the ventilator. Max was also on a feeding tube for a month while learning the suck, swallow, breath reflex.

Sadie weighed 3 lbs 2 ozs with a 50 day NICU stay. Like Max, she also was on the CPAP and had a feeding tube.

In addition, they had the normal Apnea's and Bradychardia's while in the NICU, as they we working on growing big and strong.

The proud parents

Bundles of joy

Sadie and Max at one year.

They will be two in August and are doing well. Though they have been delayed in all areas, they are slowly starting to catch up. As a matter of fact, after a year of weekly physical therapy they just graduated! They are now focusing on speech and mom and dad are hoping they will be talking their ears off soon. They are also happy to report that despite the fact that they are on the low side for weight, they are finally actually ON the charts. Yay! Jenn also says: "we couldn't be more grateful for the funding that March of Dimes has supported."

Max's big brown eyes are incredible and Sadie looks so super cute in those pigtails. It's great to see how much they have grown and how far they have come over the almost two years.

Thank you Jenn for sharing their story with us. What cuties they are! We are very happy to hear how well they are progressing and to see those cute smiling faces. We are very proud and honored to celebrate them with you.

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Celebrating Nicole and Leah

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as part of the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC MOM Tamara H.'s twins, Nicole and Leah, who were born at 33 1/2 weeks.

Nicole was 3 lbs 12 ozs and 17 1/4 inches long. She was put on the CPAP machine shortly after birth and spent 12 days in the NICU.

Leah was 4 lbs and 17 1/2 inches long. She was put on a feeding tube to help her stay nourished. She also spent 12 days in the NICU.

Today they are one year old (just this month actually). Both girls are happy and healthy and have grown a lot! Nicole is now 19 lbs 30 inches and Leah is 22 lbs and 31 inches. Look how adorable they look in their Easter dresses and hats - too cute! What pretty little girls they are.

Thank you Tamara for sharing their story with us. They are adorable and we are so happy they doing so well! We are very proud and honored to celebrate them with you.

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Celebrating Ryan and Sean

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as part of the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC MOM Amy C.'s twins, Ryan and Sean, who were born at 34 weeks.

Ryan was 4 lbs 9 ozs. He was only in the NICU for 24 hours, but in the hospital for eight days due to jaundice and trouble keeping his body temperature up.

Sean was 4 lbs 8 ozs. He was also only in the NICU for 24 hours and remained in the hospital for eight days due to jaundice.

Today they are nine months old and doing incredible! Ryan is now 25 lbs and Sean is 28 lbs, so they definitely made up for their low birth weight! Below is a photo of them at seven months, looking so happy and cute. Look at those big rosy cheeks (love big baby cheeks!)! So adorable!


Thank you Amy for sharing their story with us. It is wonderful to see how happy and healthy they are. And we can certainly see why they are the light of your life. We are very proud and honored to celebrate them with you.

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Celebrating Abbey and Katie

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as part of the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC MOM Stephanie A.'s twins, Abbey and Katie, who were born at 35 weeks.

Abigail (Abbey) was 4 lbs 9 ozs and 19 inches long. She only stayed in the NICU for two days.
Katelyn (Katie) was 4 lbs 3 ozs and 17.5 inches long. Her NICU stay was five days (one longer than mom was in the hospital) due to being tube fed while she was learning the suck/swallow/breath mechanism.
The proud parents...

They are now 10 years old and in 4th grade. Stephanie says that they are very tiny for their age, but feels that runs in the family and is not related to the prematurity. Most importantly, though, they are doing fantastic! And what absolutely beautiful girls they have become, just look at those smiles.
Katie and Abbey

Abbey and Katie

Thank you Stephanie for sharing their story with us. We love to see how well they are doing and how much they have grown. They are beautiful girls and you have reason to be very proud. We are also proud and honored to celebrate them with you.

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

Monday, April 26, 2010

Celebrating Bennett and Kendyll

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as part of the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC MOM Sara W.'s twins, Bennett and Kendyll, who were born at 32 weeks 6 days.

Bennett was 4 lbs 4 ozs and was in the NICU for 26 days.
Kendyll was 4 lbs 7 ozs and was in the the NICU for 21 days.

Their first photo together, while still in the NICU:

Though Bennett had some motor delays and didn't walk until 22 months, he has quickly caught up now. They celebrated their second birthday in February and have been talking up a storm. And as Sara says with a smile, "we have been full-on in the terrible twos for months now."

Thank you Sara for sharing their story with us. We love to hear that they are doing so well, even if they are being two! With those big brown eyes and the long beautiful eyelashes that they both have, I bet they have you wrapped around their fingers. Thank you again, we are honored to celebrate them with you.

You can read more about Bennett and Kendyll's adventures on Sara's blog.

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

Wooden Toys for Infants and Toddlers

Seems like someone was just asking about this via private messages. Here is a sweet website/company that I found. It's based in Worthington and it makes wooden toys for infants and toddlers. Check them out!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Celebrating Kyle and Rhys

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as we head into the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC MOM Kelly Z.'s twins, Kyle and Rhys, who were born at 34 weeks 1 day.

Kyle was 3lbs 14 ozs and 18 1/2 inches long. She was in the NICU for 18 days. Her stay was mainly due to her low weight and need for tube feeding.

Rhys was 4 lbs 2 ozs and 17 3/4 inches long. He was in the NICU for 20 days. Rhys had to have a CPAP breathing machine for the first few days and also had the feeding tube and low weight issues that Kyle did.

Kyle and Rhys are now happy, energetic 20 months olds. Both are ahead in their height percentiles and right on track for their weight. Between the two, just like at birth, Kyle is still an inch taller and Rhys is still a bit heavier and both are a bunch of fun!

Thank you Kelly for sharing their story with us. We love to see how great they are doing; running around, playing in the snow and bringing joy everywhere with their beautiful smiles. We are honored to celebrate them with you.

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

Friday, April 23, 2010

Two year old's dropping their naps... help!

Question from a CMOTC MOM:
My girls have historically been really good sleepers, and their sleep has been pretty scheduled. The last couple weeks they will not take a nap. They get about 11 hours of sleep a night, and used to take a 1 1/2 to 2 hour nap in the afternoon. I think if they were singletons, they would sleep because they are clearly tired. But, they are in the same room and once they lay down, they start singing, talking to each other and jumping up and down in their cribs. I've varied the time I put them down which hasn't helped. Also, I tried separating them into different rooms for naps, but they are so worked up about being separated that they just cry.

I lent away some of my sleep books, so I'm looking for some advice. Give up naps? Keep trying to put them down? If they were quiet and would just lay in their cribs and read or something, it would be a "break" for me, I suppose, but it's kind of stressful when they are crying and screaming and carrying on.

Advice/experience offered from other CMOTC MOMs:

This is so frustrating when two year olds do this! I have been there! Some moms may say that their 2 year olds gave up naps at this point- maybe for similar reasons, but it is my personal belief that if they were good nappers right up until that point, then they still need to nap but are going through a phase. Usually if they don't need naps anymore, they kind of wean themselves off of them- having shorter naps or napping some days and others not. Most likely, if you remain firm and stick it out, they will get back into the routine and will continue to be good nappers for a while. Shortly after mine turned two, we switched them to toddler beds and they did NOT want to nap. They would get up, play, talk to each other or whatever and keep each other up. Our house is small and separating wasn't really an option. So, what I did was sit in a chair between their beds and whenever they tried to get up or talk or whatever, I would firmly say NO and lay them back down. I would stay there until they both fell asleep. It was super annoying because it was nap time and I had other things to do, but I tried to look at the bright side and caught up on reading while I was waiting for them to fall asleep. After a while, the routine set back in and I was able to stop sitting in there and they go to sleep in the same room even though they are now a little over 3. They nap great again! So, my advice is to stick with it- they probably still need their nap they just don't know it and you have to enforce it. :) Good luck to you! I totally understand how frustrating it is!!


My 5 year old twins and 3.5 year old twins all still nap. They seem like they will drop them sometimes, but I stick with it and they are back on schedule. With all my kids, I have had the (seriously- they are dropping their nap! feeling), and then they don't. The 5 years old probably naps 5 days/week, but has quiet time in his room each day.

If you want them to keep the naps (which I totally recommend for sanity) then you will have to just stick with it and hopefully they get back into it. Tough age because their ability to understand that they have to be quiet instead of play is hard. Ours have always slept with their twin- we didn't put in separate rooms. Also with better weather coming, they will need the naps after playing outside and getting the fresh air.

Something that might help is a quiet time timer. Sit down with them and discuss that you will be setting the timer for a certain amount of time 15-20 minutes. If they are quiet with their eyes closed until the timer goes off then they can get up. At our house if they get up or start talking the timer starts over. I have one that always says he isn't tired at bedtime. Since we have started this he hasn't gotten up once.

Hope this helps. If not the Columbus Library has a very helpful book called "Healthy Sleep Habits: Happy Child".

We are experiencing the same issue! It’s rare that they sleep these days. My husband is actually a stay-at-home Dad and constantly struggles to get them down and they used to be great sleepers too. What has seemed to work for us on occasion, is to sit on the floor of their room until they fall asleep. I’ve heard from some friends that if you sit, making no eye contact, and don’t give them attention to their antics, they will calm down and give up. I have to say we have tried this – it has worked! If they get out of the crib, pick them up with no words and put them back in the crib (or bed). Eventually they do give up – but, it does take time too, up to 1 hour or even longer when we first tried it.

I will say that they have learned that eventually Daddy will give up and “let us get up” mentality. So, stick to your guns and don’t let them rule. I hate to say it, but when I’m the one putting them down, I get less fuss because they know Mom isn’t going to give in after 1 hour or more, and it doesn’t take me as long either to get them down and I usually “win”. One of my twins is sly though – she waits until the other falls asleep and hopes she can get up and play alone. But, I rock her and she crashes in 5 minutes.

And sometimes they just end up crashing out on the living room floor, like their batteries run dead. Worst case is, by Thursday of each week, naps are easy because they are exhausted. I’m just looking forward to Summer, because I know for us part of the reason is they are not getting outside to run off steam!!!

Hang in there! At the very least, know that you are not alone and we are also navigating through this frustrating transition.

Here's the best piece of advice someone gave me...or more like a word of wisdom. "It's not the child that drops the nap but the mom."
I whole-heartedly believe this. My twins napped til the day they left for Kindergarten. I still put them down on days when I know we will have a late night and they are 6. Their 4 year old brother almost never naps...not because he couldn't use a nap but because it isn't convenient for our family's schedule.

I think kids go through phases and if you can get through this one, they will start sleeping again. you really don't want to start the precedent of no naps's too early. A tired 2 year old at 6pm is NOT fun.

I have 2.5 yr old twin boys that sleep in the same room, in twin beds on opposite sides of the room. They too are really good night time sleepers (8p~7a) and when I can get them to nap, they sleep 1.5 - 2 hrs so I feel like they do need that nap. I, like you, struggle to get them to sleep but feel that we all need some quiet time so I work hard to get them to sleep.

The first battle we encountered was to keep them in their beds after they transitioned to "big boy" beds" but with my persistence they now stay in their beds. Now the struggle is to get them to sleep. I give them each a stuffed animal (which they love) and I let them "settle" down for 10 minutes or so -- I let them talk and giggle and play with the animal, etc. Then I go in the room and remind them that it's nap time and they need to settle down. If that doesn't work, I let them know I will have to take their animal away if they don't quiet down and I follow through right away (meaning, I don't let another 10 minutes go by with them talking and playing -- I will take the animal away within a minute of hearing them start up again). If they are still not settling down (which happens often), I take a book or magazine and just sit there and read for a little while, or do some stretching or take turns rubbing their backs to help them settle down and they usually go to sleep either while I'm doing that or shortly after. All in all, it could take up to a half hour but I feel it's worth the 1 - 1.5 hours of quiet I get when they do nap and our evenings are typically more pleasant when they get that nap too. I did not have to go through this crazy routine with my singletons and used to get very angry and frustrated about the twin napping situation but now just plan it into my day and enjoy the 20 minutes of reading or whatever I decide to do when I'm in their room.

I've also noticed that their nap time has changed a little from the usual 1:30 to more like 2:00-2:30 and I try to either do a little reading time or let them watch a mellow show or video (Wiggles probably wouldn't be good) for a half hour before nap time. This seems to get them in "wind-down" mode from their busy morning of playing (and fighting) and I think helps with the nap-time thing.

It is possible that your girls are getting out of the napping stage but I've always felt it was important to give everyone's thoughts a little time to rest so we've always had our kids do a "quiet time" even when my oldest was in Kindergarten. He was clearly out of the napping stage by then so I would have him sit on the couch and look at books or just lay there quietly for 30 minutes. My four yr old currently goes to his bed during the twins' naptime and doesn't usually sleep but he lays in there and talks to his stuffed animals or stares at the wall or whatever he does as long as he's laying quietly. If he hasn't fallen asleep, I let him get up after an hour of resting and play quietly or color until the others wake up or his older bro gets home from school.

Not an easy decision to make b/c naptime can be a struggle and consequently a stressor. Hope my suggestions prove helpful and good luck!

Good luck – We just went through this a few weeks ago and fortunately it didn’t last long… we ended up getting a sound machine and room darkening curtains. Also, the first couple of days I stayed in there so they knew it was nap time. You will get tons of good advice!

I wouldn't give up on the naps yet! It seems likely that they still need it.

It could just be a phase and if you just pick something and stick with it maybe they will settle back into the routine. Personally, I think that it is a good idea to have them separated for naps. With my twins it seems to work better and I think that it is good for them to learn to be by themselves. If they have always been together I can understand that it could be a little traumatic at first!

Anyone have any advice to add? What worked for you? Books you would recommend? Please comment below!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Celebrating Cole, Anderson and William

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as we head into the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC MOM Mea R.'s singleon, Cole, and twins, Anderson and William.

Cole was born at 31 weeks 4 days and weighed 4lb 4oz. He was in the NICU for 6 weeks and 1 day. Cole was born with SVT (high heart rate) and took medication up to age 4, he was off of the medication for almost a year before having another episode (260-280 bpm) a couple weeks ago, so he resumed medication for now.
The twins were born at 32 weeks 6 days. Anderson was 4lb 11oz. and had a four week and 3 day stay in the NICU. William was 5lbs 2oz at birth and stayed in the NICU four weeks and 1 day.
Today Cole is a bright 5 year old, who is currently is attending his local special needs preschool as a mentor in the pre-k room. He enjoys playing legos, playing X-box with his dad, cooking with his mom and most of all spending time with his two younger brothers Anderson & William!

The twins will be celebrating their 2nd birthday soon. Anderson enjoys coloring, playing with trucks and being his older brother’s, Cole, shadow. William enjoys playing with playdough, reading books and hanging with is older brother too!
Thank you Mea for sharing their stories with us. We are very happy that all three are doing so well and hope that Cole will be off medication again soon! We are very honored to celebrate your very handsome little blond men with you!

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Celebrating Jack and Addie

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as we head into the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC MOM Elaine L.'s twins, Jack and Addie, who were born at just 27 weeks.

Jack was 2 lbs 6 ozs. and 14 inches long. He was in the NICU for three months.

Addie was 2 lbs. 8 ozs and 15 1/2 inches long. She was also in the NICU for three months.

They are now 14 months old and doing great!

As a matter of fact, during those NICU months, they were told that Jack may never walk, but just last week he started WALKING! Can you hear us all cheering Jack?! Check out his new strut below.

Addie is on his heels and starting to walk herself as well. Go Addie!

Thank you Elaine for sharing their story (and fabulous news) with us. We are very happy that Jack and Addie are doing so well and that Jack is walking! They are such cuties, with gorgeous big blue eyes, and we are honored to celebrate them with you.

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Earth Day turns 40: ways to celebrate with your children

It's time to celebrate Earth Day's 40th birthday and help children of all ages learn the importance of this special day. Below are several activity ideas, crafts and resources that can help you do just that, both on Earth Day itself and throughout the year.

Here’s a list of fun activities you can do with your kids to teach them about the environment (from

  • Pull out invasive plants and replace them with native species.

  • Ride bikes, walk or take public transit.

  • Volunteer at a local Earth Day event.

  • Write a letter to a local policymaker.

  • Start a family garden and grow healthy food. Start a compost pile and use a rain barrel.

  • Switch out light bulbs for energy- efficient CFLs.

  • Learn about the history of the environmental movement. Use activity ideas from Earth Day Network lesson plans.

  • Paint an eco- mural. Use green art supplies.
    Make art from recycled objects.

  • Play educational games Environmental Jeopardy.

  • Use the interactive online Ecological Footprint quiz.

  • View and discuss films on Earth Day TV.

  • Clean up your playground , schoolyard, walking paths or watershed.

There are even more on their website.

More fun activities:

  • Create the Earth. Eco-friendly coffee filters make great miniature earths. In two separate cups, use food coloring to make blue and green colored water. Then allow the children to use eyedroppers to drop the colors on their Earth (coffee filter). When the colored water is dropped on the filter it spreads a bit and the children can create land and water shapes on their “little earths.”

  • Lights Out, Flashlights On. Play “I Spy” in the dark. Have the children use flashlights to locate objects they can use to become more “green,” such as a light switch or recycle bins.

  • Go for a Nature Walk. Place tape, sticky side out, on the children’s wrists and take them outside to collect things in nature. You could also decorate a sack and go around the neighborhood picking up litter.

  • Dress It Up! Hold a fashion show using old newspapers as the runway. Create vests by using grocery sacks decorated with recycled supplies such as used yogurt cups, etc. Glue recycled materials to the vests and decorate with paint. Then let your kids show off the “beauty of recyclables” while learning what items can be recycled.

  • Make Rain sticks. Recycle old paper towel rolls by making rain sticks. Have the children close the bottom of the stick with paper and tape. Then fill with beans or rice. You can also crumple up some aluminum foil to make a louder sound. Let the children decorate the rain sticks with construction paper. Use this activity to talk about the importance of clean water and water conservation.

Website resources for even more activities:

  • You can find TONS of fun activities (which include crafts, games, projects, activities, etc.) on

  • The National Wildlife Federation also lists many great activities for celebrating Earth Day. Check them out here. In addition, they also have a great activity for your toddler or preschooler to learn about the world around them using their five sennses to "hunt" for natural treasures. Check that out here. And through their "Be Out There" program, they have even more fun activies for families that celebrate nature. You can find the "Be Out There" activity ideas here.

Earth Day crafts: has some great craft ideas which use recycled materials from around your house or promote recycling of some sort. One of my favorites is the decorate a compost bin (both a fun craft, a great lesson to teach and also wonderful for the environment).

Green books for children:

Read books from the Little Green Book series, from Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, to your children. This is a super cute line of eco-friendly books that teach children the benefits of going green. In addition, the books are printed on recycled materials with vegetable or soy inks, so it's eco-friendly the entire way around! (We have some of these, I really like them and so do the kids.)

CMOTC Earth Day activity:

And don't forget to celebrate Earth Day with CMOTC at the zoo on Wednesday April 21st. The zoo has put together a special scavenger hunt for our little ones. Pack a lunch and meet everyone at the main entrance at 9:30 a.m. Please RSVP Denae G. by Monday so she can provide a head count to the zoo. If needed, the informational flyer is in the document library on the CMOTC website.

How about you CMOTC MOMs, what fun activities are you planning to celebrate with and educate your children on Earth Day?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Potty training - Is it too early?

Question from a CMOTC MOM:

I am wondering if 17 months is too early to start potty training. I never would have dreamed of doing it this early, but my boys are ripping off their diapers pretty consistently. I try to keep them in clothes, but they rip off pants or just pull the diapers through the pant leg on onesies. Is it time to potty train? Any advice on timing for potty training, and also on how to potty train would be very helpful!

Advice/experience offered from CMOTC MOMs:

Duct Tape. One piece footless pjs worn backwards and pin the zipper with a diaper pin. I think at one time we did a backwards onesie, backwards pjs, AND tape. We would tape from front to back, then go around the waist, making sure to end the tape in the back. Some like clear packing tape. Use bandage scissors to cut the tape at diaper changes.

I wouldn't attempt potty training at that age. You'll be more frustrated. MOST kids aren't ready until after their 2nd birthday, and many aren't ready until closer to 3.

You could start reading books about it (adult and children), let them see trusted adults "do their thing", maybe even put a potty chair in the bathroom for the unexpected surprise. Put them on the potty chair right before getting in the bathtub. But I wouldn't do anything formal until they are verbal and can follow multi-step instructions. It's A LOT to remember.


My kids did that too. Its a phase. One of them just now got over it. I literally had them in footie pj's with the pin all day until we planned to go somewhere. Luckily, the last hold out got over it just in time for warmer clothes since all of our zip up PJ's are fleece. (She started a new phase but that's a whole other story) I've heard that if you start them too early with potty training it will take longer in the long run. 17 months is waaaay too early in my opinion. I started vaguely at 22 months, but even now at 26 months, its not really time for my girls.


We too used duct tape--eventually going completely around their diaper twice--even during the day. Also onesies backwards and footless zip up pajamas worn backwards (or footed--one size too big so you can twist the feet around) and then diaper pins upside down or to the inside if you can. I had one of my trio who has always been extremely good with fine motor control and could pick at duct tape and even undo diaper pins at a very early age. She also was a monkey and would climb out of her crib over to the next one and undo the other two's pjs, pins and duct tape for them. Very frustrating! And secretly very funny! I can't tell you how many times we came into their room in the morning or after naps to find more than one naked (sometimes still asleep!)

Thankfully we only came into a poop-fest one time and it was pretty well contained to the sheets and kids. I've heard of very very messy ones (and seen photos) though so I would get going with the duct tape ASAP if I were you! :)

Also, I'm a believer in wait-until-they-are-ready potty training. You will know. And it may save you a lot of grief in the long run. One of mine was just waiting for another to show interest and then she was ready that day too. So two were done within a day or two of starting. It was really pretty simple at that point.

On the other hand, my third went on for another 5-6 months past the other two being done potty training and she was still refusing to do it and saying, "No thank you, I like my diaper". But the moment she decided to do it she was DONE. Never an accident either way, ever. It was her decision and true to herself that is how she is in everything she does. 'In her timing.' All the talking about it in the world wouldn't have mattered one bit. Every child is so different. Use your judgement and know that if you lose your patience during the process too much, they may sense your frustration and use it to their advantage and drag the training time out longer than necessary.

One last thing, we never used potty chairs/seats except in the car on trips. Some people like them for around the house though but don't feel like you have to do it if you aren't sure about it. (The mess of potential potty spilling everywhere just wasn't appealing to me...) My kids instead just figured out how to sit on the big potty right away by themselves. I bought several little plastic stools (one for each bathroom) that they could use to climb up with and use at the sink too. Our stools were like this ebay one (non-skid & easy to wash).

Good luck! And trust your instincts but invest in several rolls of duct tape for now!


If you check out books from the library, you'll get a feel for what "ready" really is. For mine, taking off diapers was more about being able to undo the velcro tab and had nothing to do with an understanding of toileting or bodily functions. Like another mom said, we also had one with more advanced fine motor skills, and she would "assist" the others. I think toileting readiness is really about following the multi-step process and understanding cause and affect of the feeling, then the action. I've potty-trained 5, and some were easier than others. I'm certainly no expert, but I did learn with the first one that it shouldn't be frustrating. When you are getting angry and frustrated, then it's not time. The kids will pick up on it. My oldest didn't completely train until he was a bit over 4. He had #1 down as an older 3, but #2 was difficult for him and he soiled during the day quite often. A couple of my girls were fairly reliable before their 3rd birthday (about 2y10m, and the last was #1 trained at 3y1m, but consistently did #2 in her bedtime pullup until she was about 3.5. She was easy-peasy to #1 train. We knew she knew what she was doing with #2. She NEVER soiled her underwear, just saved it up for the bedtime pullup. We let her go with that until she was more comfortable with the "big girl" challenges of preschool, then we gently helped her to be comfortable going in the toilet.

You'll really get to know your kids and their learning style when you take it on. And one thing I learned from a mom of quints is that it's OK to teach them 1 at a time. We actually started with 2, because those 2 are quite competitive and it would have caused melt downs if one couldn't do what the other was doing. But the other 2 were happy to wait their turns. So you may find that one of your boys is more interested before the other, and that's OK. It's actually easier, I think. But if they are competitive, you can use that to your advantage too.


I bought potty chairs when my boys were 18 months just so they got to know what going to the potty was all about. I didn't actively start with them until they were close to 2 1/2 though. They didn't really show too much interest before then. They thought it was neat to sit on the potty but that wore off. I would get them to sit on their potties naked before bath or just periodically during the day but that was about the extent of it.

Even at almost 2 1/2 it was still a little frustrating at times but at some point they just "got it"! Now at 3 1/2 I have one boy who is completely diaper free (both boys have been diaper free during the day for a long while but at night would still require a diaper) and the other is still working on the night time diaper thing.

Someone else mentioned the potty seat and possibly not even going there. If I had to do it all over again I may not have even bought potty chairs. The only reason is that it's messy. Every time the pee you have to dump pee and clean it and then when they poop... well... I'm sure you could imagine having to clean up after that!!! I will say that I have been happy with the Bjorn potty's sold at Babies R' Us. The bigger one's, not the little one's. The big one's have an insert which makes cleaning A LOT easier.

Spring/summer is also a great time to potty train. They can run around in just underwear and socks (socks help if they do pee themselves by absorbing some of the liquid as gross as that sounds) or completely naked. Then you can "catch" them if you see them start to go. When you seriously start I would take them into the bathroom every 20 mins or so and get them to sit on he potty. It is a time consuming process but once they get it it is glorious!!!

We also used M&M's as rewards. They would get two if they peed and 5 if they pooped (since for my boys pooping was the tougher one). Some people prefer not to use treats and prefer to use a sticker chart to work towards a prize. Whatever works for you and your little one's! Mine didn't care for stickers but loved the M&M's :)

Good luck and try to just take it one day at a time when you do start. You WILL have frustrating days that seem like they will never get the hang of it but they will!!!

Oh... one last thing... in regards to Pull Ups. We used those for awhile but I think the absorbency on them is so good now that it didn't really phase them too much when they would have an accident. Just a thought. That's when we went the naked or just underwear route. We had more laundry to do but I honestly think they caught on quicker after we stopped the Pull Ups. I am no expert and every child is different so this is just my two bits!


My guys potty trained early at about 2.25 years and were in underwear overnight at about 2.75 years!! By most standards that is really early. I think 17 months sounds really early but if they are interested int he potty then go for it!! My guys would also remove their diapers and it drove me nuts because the bed and clothes were wet and sometimes the diapers were not!!! We used Duct tape at bedtime to keep the diapers on and made sure the seam was in the back. they were like houdini time the diaper was off but the onsie was still snapped at the bottom!! hahahaha! The duct tape was great!!. I used pullups for a while because they could pull them down if necessary but they weren't so great if they pooped - because you had to pull them down and eveything got pulled down their legs!! what a bonus! Until I figured out that when they pooped I would just rip down the side to take it off like a regular diaper. I liked the pampers easy ups because they were a little smaller and my guys were smaller around.


Do you have any advice to offer? Please share? Do you have any great potty training resources? Please share below or email us.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Celebrating Eli, CJ and Natalie

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as we head into the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC mom Helene S.'s triplets, Eli, CJ and Natalie, who were born at just 27 weeks 6 days.

William Eli was born first weighing about 2lbs, 12 ounces. His NICU stay was 49 days.

Caleb James was a minute later and was the peanut at just over 2 pounds. He was in the NICU the longest at 70 days.

Natalie Kate, the rose between two thorns, tipped the scales at 2lbs, 5 ounces. Her NICU stay was 65 days.

This was their first group photo, which couldn't be taken until they were all home due to all their issues in the hospital. What a monumental day of joy.

Though they had their fair share of struggles with gaining weight, holding temperatures, as well as having blood transfusions and the typical NICU related scary episodes, today the triplets are happy, healthy, rambunctious, and thriving four year olds. They are pictured below with their younger sister, Charlotte, on the right.

Thank you Helene for sharing their story with us. We are very happy that today they have no complications from their extreme prematurity, unless, as you said, "you consider obnoxiousness and chronic monkeying around a complication." That is music to our ears! And what cuties they are!

Helene also featured her NICU graduates on her own blog today. In her post you can read more detail on their NICU journey and their story - check it out here.

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

Monday, April 12, 2010

Tips, reminders and infomation on the upcoming CMOTC Sale

Nicole from the CMOTC Sale Team provided this very helpful list for the upcoming sale. Broken into categories (shoppers, sellers and workers), she details useful information and tips on how to best prepare, attend and get the most out of the sale in whatever capacity.


I thought I would post some tips and reminders about the sale since we are getting so close to crunch time! Some of this reiterates what others have said or what’s in the guidelines, but it’s worth repeating!!!


  • Bring a large shopping bag to keep all your items in (keep those hands free to look through piles!)

  • If you are at a table with several other mom’s, find out what everyone is looking for, so you can find things for each other (and maybe make a new friend - that mom across the table will probably have a child(ren) the same age/gender as yours)

  • Don’t hoard! Everything you have in your bag is something someone else does not have the opportunity to buy, so try to limit the amount of “sorting” you have to do before you check out.

  • Leave the coat in the car and make sure you eat something. Bring water, if you have a convenient way to carry it while you shop.

  • Check the items you want to buy to make sure they work; you have all the pieces, matching shoes, etc.

  • I know I sound like a broken record, but Friday night shopping is for MEMBERS ONLY. Do not bring your children (including infants- even if you are carrying them), husbands, mothers, etc, (exceptions noted in the sale guidelines). This rule is STRICTLY enforced.


  • Make sure you have registered for THIS sale. Registration from the fall does not carry over, but all of your inventory will still be in the system.

  • You will have no access to the website on the Friday of the sale. Make sure you have everything entered and printed before then.

  • Don’t forget to sign up to work! (remember it’s 2 two-hour shifts unless you are working set up or tear down)

  • Securely attach your items with safety pins, a tagging gun or clear tape.

  • Print your tags on your printers “draft” or lightest setting. But make sure the barcode lines are clear and not fuzzy. Print on cardstock (or heavy paper, but NOT construction paper) that is either your assigned color, or white with a highlighter mark in your assigned color (suggest highlighting your seller number). Do not use dark blue or green paper or the barcode will not scan.

  • DON’T MAKE COPIES OF TAGS. Each tag has a unique number and can only be used for 1 item.

  • If you think you might mark something down, make 2 tags. Attach one to the item and have the other one with you in case you decide to mark it down.

  • Sort your inventory out by how you will set it out at the sale (e.g Boys 2T in one bin, sorted by pants, PJ’s Tops, Bottoms) to make set-out go quickly.

  • MUST be hung: Dresses, skirts, outfits, maternity, jackets, Sports Licensed Merchandise (OSU, Browns, Etc)

  • MUST be on tables: Jeans, PJ’s, “play” clothes, Onesies, preemie.

  • If it’s not listed as must be hung or folded, it’s up to you. I prefer to hang most of my stuff, because I also prefer to shop that way.

  • We will have additional hangers available at the sale; they will be located near the registers.

  • You can take home extra hangers after the sale from whatever we have left over.

  • Remember to check in as a seller, and leave a large bin with your seller number.

  • Bring helpers with you to put out your stuff so you can get done early and check out what you will go for first when you are let in to shop, then be one of the first in line to be sure you will get it!

  • Don’t forget to check the tagless item table by the registers before you leave on Saturday for any of your items!!! Those are donated if not claimed!!!!


  • Plan to arrive about 15 minutes early, especially if you are working Saturday, as parking and traffic can be a bit crazy.

  • When you arrive, check in at the worker check in desk, get your name tag and apron. Then find your shift leader (who will be wearing a yellow t-shirt). Your shift leader will tell you where to go and what to do.

  • If you need a break, let your shift leader know you are leaving the floor, so they can make sure your areas are covered. There will be snacks and drinks in the lounge for all workers.

  • Try to have as much FUN as possible while you are working! Make new friends! If you hate the job you signed up for, ask your shift leader if you can be re-assigned.

  • Feel free to jump in if you see there is an area that needs more help that you may not have been assigned; just let your shift leader know.

  • If you are working on the sales floor and you see shoppers sorting out their purchases, offer to take the items they don’t want and put them back. This ensures that the merchandise gets back on the floor for someone else to buy!

  • The members (and friends, husbands, etc) that work the sale are what make it really work!!

Thank you Nicole and the entire sales team!

Anyone else have some helpful tips? Please share!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Autism Awareness - early signs and resources

April is National Autism Awareness Month and with that it is the perfect time to share this very valuable resource on detecting early signs of Autism as well as a whole host of great resources.

Autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears in the first three years of life. It is the most common condition in the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) group—also referred to as pervasive developmental disorder (PDD)—and effects individuals to varying degrees, from very mildly to severely.

Children with autism have difficulties communicating, interacting with others and exhibit different ways of processing learning, reacting and paying attention.

According to the Autism Society of America, approximately 1 percent of children in the U.S. ages 3 to 17 have an ASD, and prevalence is estimated at one in 110 births. Ohio is tenth in the country of children with Autism (statistic from 2003). There is no cure for autism, but the condition is treatable and children can recover. Early diagnosis and intervention (therapy) can significantly improve the outcome and reduce the cost of lifelong care.

Early Signs of Autism to look for in children:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetition of actions or language

  • Little or no eye contact

  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

  • Little interest in interaction with other children

  • No interest in “pretend” play

  • Aversion to being held or cuddled

Consult with your pediatrician if you have noticed any of the above.

The Autism Society of America has compiled a list of ways to help advance awareness of autism. You can learn more about ASD from:

Easter Seals, a leading provider of services for children with autism and other disabilities, has recently launched an online version of its popular disability-awareness curriculum, Friends Who Care, for parents or teachers to use. Download it at

Thank you CMOTC MOM Kathleen P. for sharing this great resource on our blog.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Celebrating Andersen and Ava

We are celebrating, honoring and remembering our CMOTC NICU babies this month as we head into the March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes.

Today, our spotlight is on CMOTC mom Alisa P.'s twins Andersen and Ava who were born at just 26 weeks.

Andersen was 2 lbs and 13 inches long. He had a four month NICU stay.

Ava was 1 lb 13 oz and 13 inches long. She had a four month NICU stay as well. Ava had ROP in her eyes and to date has had four eye surgeries. She also had a feeding tube when she came home from the hospital, which she had until she was two years old. Now, at four, she eats enough for her AND her brother!

Today, both Andersen and Ava are happy, energetic four year olds.

Thank you Alisa for sharing their story with us. We are very happy they are thriving and proud to be able to honor and celebrate Andersen and Ava with you! They are absolutely adorable!

Alisa also wrote a blog post for us in the fall titled A Look Into Prematurity, which talks about their incredible journey. In that post, Alisa provides support to other parents of premature babies not only by detailing their journey, but also through sharing resources and links for programs and helpful information as well as hope, courage and her own offer of support.

If you would like to celebrate, honor and remember your premature little one(s) this month on the blog, please send photos (then and now) along with your child(ren)'s information to

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