Thursday, October 3, 2013

So I've Decided to Homeschool

Up until two days ago, I had been saying that I was "open" on what to do about Declan's early education.  Ryan is very supportive of my lean towards homeschooling, but if I felt otherwise he would consider other options.  Both of our sets of parents would also be happy to see us keep him home.  Ryan grew up in private school and I was homeschooled, so we are certainly influenced by our backgrounds in alternative forms of education.

Most of Declan's little friends attend some sort of daycare or mother's day out program a couple of days a week.  I work from home part-time in addition to being a stay-at-home mom, and I've thought at times it seemed ideal to put him in a program 2 days a week.  I would be able to work more, he would have exposure to a new environment and structured activities.  On paper there are certainly a lot of reasons for me to jump on the train.

Last March I had decided to do it.  He'd be entering the toddler class with his best friend and it was going to be perfect.  A few days before his first day, however, I had these major knots in my stomach.  All I could think about was the time I would miss out on with him.  I imagined the activities he would do, and I thought I could do that.  So, I called and cancelled his enrollment.

Since then, I wonder sometimes if I should consider it again now that he's almost 2 1/2 years old.  I've asked myself is it best for him or best for me?  I hear my friends talking about how they feel like their little ones are learning social skills and how to respect other authority.  I feel afraid sometimes that my son won't learn those things if he stays at home with me.

But I look at him and I watch him interact with other people, and to me, he doesn't seem behind on those skills.  I think about my own childhood and growing up surrounded mostly by homeschoolers.  Where are my homeschool friends now?  Do they lack social skills?  Do they have trouble with authority?  By and large -- no, they don't.  In fact I remember growing up that I felt very comfortable around adults and I could sense when other kids had similar values to mine, and I was drawn to them.  In high school I was usually teacher's pet, I was definitely not a rule breaker, and I had a lot of friends.  I was however, very uncomfortable around rowdy kids.  Not to say that homeschooling made me a perfect child, but I know myself and I can very well picture my people-pleaser and rebellious personality growing up in public school and not being the same person I am today.  There are exceptions, but my point is that being homeschooled did not seem to inhibit me from having quality friends or knowing how to respect authority figures.

And why would it?  When you're homeschooled, your main influences are your parents and the kids and other adults that your parents choose to bring into your life.  I am intentional about Declan having playdates with other children several times a week (I even log them because it is important to me that he gets that).  What I like about these is that I get to oversee his interactions with kids and adults and use every opportunity to teach him "this is acceptable" or "this isn't."  I would strongly disagree that kids need a classroom setting in order to develop social skills or learn respect for authority.

Education, I think, is the biggest thing that sets my decision apart from other parents'.  It helps me understand that this road is for us even if it's not for them.  I've had a few friends tell me things like, "I'm not creative enough to think of ways to teach my child" or "You're the teacher-type."  I'm always kinda stumped because I really don't see myself as especially creative, and my mom's the teacher in my family, not me!  Those kind of comments made me see that it's not that I'm creative or "teachery," it's that I'm comfortable where others may not be.  It's what my childhood looked like.  I grew up with two wonderful professional teachers in my life - my great grandmother (whom we lived with until I was 14) and my mom.  Also, I was the oldest in my family.  I have a brother who is 4 years younger and a sister who is 12 years younger than me.  My mom started homeschooling us when I was in 4th grade and continued until I finished high school.  I've always known "it's not for everyone," but now that I'm starting to think more like a "homeschool mom" I realized that without my school years at home, the responsibility of my child's education may seem better left to the professionals.  My comfort and confidence level with homeschooling is a 10, whereas my friends with different backgrounds may not have a strong idea of what homeschooling looks like.  I've heard some moms say, "[My child's] teachers can teach him things that I can't." and I just instantly think, Now that's not true!  He's a toddler, his education is pretty simple!!  But I do think I can understand that mindset that they have.  I consider our situation entirely different because of the "mom-teacher mindset" I have ingrained in me.  And I'm so thankful for it!  (Thanks, Mom!)

So, I just want to say to my friends - we may have different ways of doing it, but I know our visions are the same and our love for our kids can't be compared.  I hope this helps you understand our decision a little bit better.  Let's continue supporting each other as we raise our kids to love God and love people.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

15 Months Old and Killer Transitions

It's 2p.m. and Declan just got quiet.  I'm holding my breath.

More and more every day a little piece of my desire to know all there is to know about baby sleep gets chipped off by the impossibility of this one bit: 2 to 1 nap transition.  I've talked and typed about this monumental event since he turned 13 months.  That's when it all started.

We were trucking along merrily for a few weeks with 1hr+ naps at 9am and 1pm and bedtime at 6:15pm, wake up at 7am.  It was glorious!  I had read about the transition to 1 nap and I had been forewarned about resisting the urge to rush it (which I was determined not to do) and that it was going to be a difficult few weeks or even months, no matter what.  I read that most babies don't transition until they are about 15 months old, too, so when his 2nd nap started to shorten at 13 months, I was very confused and panicky.  To make sure he didn't get overtired, I moved his bedtime earlier to 5:30.  A couple of weeks went by and the 2nd nap was short or nonexistent most days, despite my efforts.  I knew it was too early for him to go to one nap, but I joined other moms of 13 month olds on forums asking the same questions that I was. 

Now that Declan is 15 months old, I'm back on the boards.  Most days he has been refusing his morning nap, or taking it so late that there was no chance for a second nap.  Some days he will still take his two naps (like today).  I can't help but know this too shall pass, but it doesn't stop me from clamoring to find out what to do.

Do I wake him up if his nap occurs too late in order to protect his next nap or bedtime?
Should I keep offering a morning nap each day and only give him one nap if he refuses the morning one?

Should I just push him to one midday nap from here on out, brace myself, and wait for the dust to settle?

I've had lots of people tell me to push him to one nap.  It's not enough, and he's very overtired by bedtime, which makes for a rough night and early wake up. 

So our days are filled with catch 22s.  I'll probably never find the perfect solution, but it helps to have the mentality of taking each day as it presents itself.  And I'm very thankful for an easy going little boy, who's temper doesn't vary a whole lot if he has a bad day of sleep.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I got this image from  Just thought it was a wake up call (c;

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nursing Bra Blues (Guest Post)

I finally finished my guest post for my friend over at Boosaurus!.  She blogs about bra sizing, does bra reviews, and has a special interest in smaller bands with bigger cups.  Whether or not that applies to you - if you've got boobs - check it out!  You may learn something (c:

I blogged about my experience with breastfeeding/nursing bras and tanks.  Whether you are shopping for one or you have good tips, you are welcome to check out my post and comment with your thoughts!  For more really great practical nursing bra information (and lots of things I didn't think to cover), my friend April also did a guest post, Nursing Bras: Things to Consider.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Our Routine Today

I'm always interested in knowing what a day in another person's life is like.  Maybe it's because it really says a lot about them.  It shows what is important to them.  I have also enjoyed looking back over my past blogs and remembering what days were like back then.  So, for my future self and anyone else who is curious, this is a snapshot of our days.

6:20-7:20am - Declan wakes up.  I consider it a good morning if he sleeps til close to 7 (c:  Ryan gets up and starts oatmeal in the microwave for D and I go get him and change his diaper.  Usually then Ryan will get his shower while I feed Declan breakfast.  After the babe has had his food, he is released to play while I either get ready (if we're going walking that day) or I make my own breakfast if we're staying in.

7:45am - Declan and I do the ceremonial bye-byes and kisses when Ryan leaves for work.  Then he continues playing, usually, and I check my email, get my coffee, eat my breakfast, etc.  Lately we've been walking 2 or 3 days a week, so on those days we'll leave with Ryan and head off to the trail with my water bottle and his sippy cup full of ice water or milk and armed with raisins, just in case.  On home days, after I've sufficiently moseyed around and my coffee kicks in, I'll usually do something laundry-related until around 9 when I'll keep an eye on D for signs that he's ready for his nap. 

9:15-10:00am - Declan's morning nap begins.  I put him down and go to work for my stay-at-home job.  He'll usually sleep for an hour, sometimes as much as an hour and a half.

11:00-12:00pm - Lunchtime for Declan.  Depends on his breakfast, but he'll usually want lunch at 11.  After lunch, he gets a diaper change and usually needs a good wipe-down, too.  Then he is released to play again and I go back into chores mode.

1:15-1:30pm - Declan's afternoon nap begins.  This one has been growing shorter on some days, so I'm wondering what I'll need to do to help his morning nap fade out and his afternoon nap be more solid.  I'll work again while he naps.

3:00pm - D usually needs a snack around this time.  Then he's off to play again and I do housework or get supper started.  He usually needs my attention more between 4 and 5, so I have started to just plan for that time to be with him.  Sometime we go outside so he can roam around and explore, and sometimes we play inside sorting blocks by color and reading books.  It's a happy time and I enjoy setting that aside just for us.

5:00- 5:30pm - Supper for Declan.  Ryan usually gets home while Declan is eating, and he joins us at the table and we talk.  I would really like to move toward eating meals with Declan, it's just something I have to work on prepping in advance. 

5:30 - 6:00pm - Declan gets his bath, Ryan does "Towel Time" with him.  He dries him, diapers him, pj's him, and they have lots of good giggles all the way through.  Then either Ryan or I will sit in the rocker and read him 1 or 2 of his books.

6 or 6:30pm - Into his crib by 6 or 6:30.  He gets his pacifier and a blanket, we turn on the fan and turn out the lights, then kisses and goodnight, and close the door.  He usually babbles or taps his paci on the crib rail for a few minutes, then goes to sleep.  Then Ryan and I have supper and usually watch a rerun of the Big Bang Theory.  After supper, he'll go clean the kitchen and I will work for a few more hours.  I try to go to bed by 10, but it usually is closer to 11 or midnight. 

So those are most of our days here lately.  We're busy, but we are enjoying it (c:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

11 Month Old Offspring

Declan is 11 months old now!  Since he was born, I haven't stopped being surprised and amazed at his development.  It seemed like every week, if not every day, there was something new to be proud of.  In the past 3 weeks he went from taking his first steps to being a real toddler. 

He's still sleeping pretty well, although he's kind of recovering from all of the traveling we just got home from.  Most nights he sleeps 11-13 hours straight, depending on when he goes to bed (he always wakes between 6:30-7 now - thank God it's not 6am anymore!), and taking an hour+ naps at 9am and 1pm. 

 He has recently learned to put his two lower and four upper teeth to work and take bites off of bigger foods, such as sandwiches and strawberries.  At 12 months it'll be safe for him to eat just about anything, so we can add honey and eggs to his diet.  I think we'll remain cautious with nuts, but he has probably already had them in other things since we haven't been very careful to avoid them.  For the past two days I have been giving him goat's milk in a sippy cup.  He has been losing interest in nursing for several months now, but I was determined to keep offering it to him until he was a year old.  Just in the past couple of days, I have gone from trying to nurse him 3 times a day to 2 times (morning and evening), although he hardly even tries in the evening now.  He just wants to squirm in my lap and keeps pointing to his books, wanting me to read to him instead.  I am sort of thinking of taking more of a "don't refuse, don't offer" approach to the bedtime nursing for the next week or two and see how that goes.  I'm not too sad about weaning him.  I am more worried about two long upcoming trips we have planned over the next two months and wondering if I'll wish I had kept that resource as a way to comfort or soothe him while everything else will be unfamiliar away from home.  But at the same time, maybe it will be better to have weaned him by then for the convenience. 

Not saying a lot of different words yet.  Almost everything he says is with the "m" sound.  He doesn't seem to decipher between "Mama" and "Mo" (more) since when he is demanding more food, it usually comes out as "Ma ma ma ma ma! MA!" - how to teach patience to an 11 month old?  I don't know!  When asked, he'll tell you what the cow says (Mmmmmooo!), or the dinosaur (a gravelly "Aaaarrrr!"), or the dog (Aaa!  Aaa!), or the little pigs (Eee Eee!), or the cat (a very soft whispery "Eeeooooo").  We've still been trying to get him to say "Dada" or anything with a consonant other than M, but he will just grunt softly in response.  So, that's still to come... (poor Ryan! lol)

His favorite "toy" is any blanket or item he can put over his head and play, "Where's the baby?" with.  He giggles and squeals like crazy when playing peekaboo or hiding behind the corner or furniture.  Playing with his toys is one thing he does very well, though.  He'll wander from the living room to his room, dragging toys in between, for several hours out of the day.  If I put the Toddler Radio station on Pandora in his room, he'll play in there for hours.  He loves soft squishy things like pillows, sheepskin, and a blue stuffed puppy that he has.  He hugs on and loves to bury his face in it. 

I am very thankful for what an easy baby he has been.  The acid reflux was a bump in the road.  It was difficult and scary to not know what was wrong, but I feel a lot more equipped to deal with things now, should anything else come up.  Having a chiropractor as a resource for health treatment makes me feel a lot better.  A tough diaper rash, a fussy day here and there, a little runny nose once, but so far no ear infections, fevers, stomach bugs, allergic reactions, colds, etc.  I credit breastfeeding, chiropractic care, good sleep, a little exposure to dirt here and there, a healthy appetite, and just plain old God's blessing to his wonderful health.  I hope all of our future children are this easy (one can dream, right?)!

I keep praying for God to keep me humble.  I know that pride comes before a fall (and have experienced it many times!).  I am so proud of that kid though.  His accomplishments, his adorableness, his humor, his health, and so on.  Mother's Day was just last weekend, so there are a lot of, "You're a great mom!" flying around - and while I would love to take credit for the joy that my son is to the world - (c; - I know that, truthfully, I'm just drenched in blessing.  I really don't know why God decided to make it so easy for me.  I think about the verse that says that He won't give us more than we can handle, and it makes me wonder if He knows that I can't handle a lot - lol - but seriously... I think about moms that have been through heartache with their babies.  Another topic for another time, maybe.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sleep for Newborns - 6 Weeks Old

I think some parents might find it relieving to know that it's okay if you don't want to start sleep training right away.  Maybe you feel like some crying is inevitable, but you aren't comfortable with letting your newborn, 6 week old, or even 4 month old do that just yet.  I hope that if do you feel this way, it will be encouraging to know that you can take your time and still gently ease your baby into good sleeping habits by taking advantage of the brain development milestones that occur naturally.

Less than 6 weeks old
Babies typically fall asleep at night very late and do not sleep very long during the day or night.  They have no circadian rhythms at this point so you can't set your baby to clock time yet.  Try to soothe him to sleep during the day or night before he gets overtired.  Always respond to the baby and avoid the overtired state.

After 6 weeks 
80% of babies become more settled and start sleeping longer at night (this is because of increasing brain maturity), and begin to get drowsy for bedtime at an earlier hour.  Try to start soothing earlier to facilitate this when you start to notice it.  You're still not sleep training at this point, so if you still want to go to your baby when he cries, follow your instinct.  Begin taking advantage of opportunities to put your baby down drowsy but awake.  It doesn't have to happen every nap and every night, but you will notice that sometimes it is easy to put him down and let him fall asleep on his own.  The more you can do this, the more comfortable your baby will get with falling asleep on his own in his bed.
20% of the babies who do not start settling into better sleep at night should still be soothed early, but more time should be allowed for lengthy soothing sessions.

In my opinion, a mom should not feel guilty about feeding or rocking her baby to sleep especially at this very young age.  It's natural for a baby to fall asleep while eating, so don't feel inclined to wake your baby up before putting him to bed.  Realize how important complete sleep cycles are to the developing brain, and focus on still, quiet sleep as much as possible.  Avoid waking or keeping the baby up longer than 1-2 hours.  Ideally you are able to always have the baby sleeping in his bed in a still, quiet room (this matters more and more the older they get as newborns sleep through anything!) You're not training yet, you're setting a foundation for a well-rested baby who will be better prepared for sleep training later.

Tips to set a good foundation:

• Respect and protect your baby's need to sleep.
• Anticipate and prepare for when your baby will need to sleep, the same way that you anticipate a feeding.
• Maintain brief intervals of wakefulness, a 1-2 hour max window (baby needs to be asleep by the 2 hour mark)
• Watch for drowsy cues and respond with soothing immediately.
• Start developing a bedtime routine that you can replicate in whole every night (i.e. bathtime, story, feeding, soothing, bed).
• Remember timing is key.  For those 80% of babies who start settling at 6 weeks, perfect timing produces no crying.

All this info, except what I specified as my own opinion, is paraphrased from the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

It's About the Hormones!

This is a little about the biological way that baby sleep works to help you unlock your own child's ability to sleep.  This is not about method, it's about arming you with knowledge.

Sleep is controlled by the brain (not the stomach!).  Melatonin is released when it's time for babies to fall asleep.  Think of it as a wave of sleepiness.  Babies have waves of sleep windows that occur throughout a 24 hour period.  So when they are kept up past that wave of tired, their bodies release cortisol from the stress of being fatigued.  (Excessive cortisol from being frequently tired does a lot of bad stuff, look it up if you're interested.)  So what you want to do is catch the wave!  Put your baby to sleep when he or she first shows sleepy signs.  Keeping them up will make it harder for them to fall and stay asleep.

999 out of 1000 times (yes this is a rough estimation), keeping your baby up later, swaddling, pacifiers, more food before bedtime, etc. will NOT fix the root of the problem (it can actually make it worse).  Whether you have a short napper, nighttime sleep troubles, difficulty getting your child to sleep, or an early waker, the answer is almost always MORE SLEEP  (Yes it sounds too good to be true, but it isn't).  The more sleep your child gets, the less the melatonin secretion is being suppressed by the cortisol and your child will start to play catch up and the sleepy signs will become more noticeable.  Once your child starts getting more sleep, you should see a dramatic difference in the length, quality, and ease of falling asleep within 4-5 days, if not sooner.

Now that you know that, maybe you can start figuring it out on your own with your method of choice.  Sometimes habits need to be broken, or schedules need to be changed, and if you still have questions or need help, please feel free to ask! 

8-10 hours of sleep a night for a baby may sound good but it is not ideal!  Your baby is more than likely capable of getting 11-12 hours in addition to one to two 1 hour+ long nap(s) - depending on the age, and probably needs that much!  I acknowledge that there are exceptions to this, but your baby is probably not it!

Other sleep posts:
Sleep for Newborns - 6 Weeks
Is Your Baby Overtired?
Sleeping Through The Night?
4-8 Month Old Naps
Crashing II

I am not a sleep consultant.  I just want to collect and organize my reading and experience with my own child to help myself and others find solutions to help their child sleep.  I have a passion for seeing a family enjoying life together because they are rested.  I think that when a person is relieved from the burden of fatigue, they are able to function in a way that is truer to their very best. 

Imagine how much more that means to a baby

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

9 Months Old: It Feels Like We Have Arrived

So much has happened with Declan over the past few months.  And apparently there was a lot going on with me and I haven't had time to update my blog and tell the world.  Declan started crawling at 7 1/2 months, and days after, started pulling up and cruising too.  It all happened so fast!  Maybe that's why I'm busier...hmmm...

Teeth Update
He has had 2 bottom teeth for a while now (I may have already blogged about that?) and he's just started working on his two uppers.  The gums have been swollen for a day or two and I just noticed before I put him down for his nap how red one of them is.  He is still all smiles though.  Teething has never been hard for him.  I blamed a lot of his extra fussy times on teething and we often gave him Tylenol when he probably didn't need it.  "Teething" has never disrupted his sleep, thank God.  I like to think that it's because he's rested and we've trained him well how to sleep.  I'll get to that later though... you know I will.

He vocalizes a lot, saying "ma ma ma ma" and "ga ga" and more recently loud squawking.  Still working on "da da."

His sense of humor is coming out.  He likes to make us laugh with his funny faces and playing, "Nighttime, Daytime!" and "Where's the Baby?"  He gives me hugs a lot, and sometimes open-mouthed kisses on the cheek.  He's stingy with hugs when it comes to other people, though.  I think the only other people he has shared them with are Ryan and Aunt Ruthie.

The past two weeks I have relaxed a lot on what I give him to eat.  I was following the 4 day rule: introduce a new food and wait 4 days before introducing another one in order to check for allergies.  Thankfully, we haven't had any allergic reactions despite my sudden lack of carefulness.  I am still not giving him any nuts, honey, and we're avoiding eggs, although he does get it in breads and probably other things I don't think about.  I'll ban those until he's a year old.  Anyway, so he's pretty much eating miniature versions of what we're eating.  I'm trying to give him lots of practice with self-feeding.  It's kinda tough though because of the mess (c:  Oh well.

I am still nursing him 4-5 times a day.  He's become very difficult to nurse and doesn't seem interested most of the time.  It started out as him stopping to give me a hug or smile at me.  Then it went to stopping to make a funny face or trying to get into a crawling position while still nursing.  At the back of my mind I wondered if I should discourage these interruptions, but we were both enjoying them and laughing so much that it became one of our favorite parts of the day.  I asked other moms what they thought and nobody seemed to think I should stop him, so I let it go on.  Now, he's wanting to switch so frequently or crawl off and play, then get upset when I assume he's done, that it's become a hassle.  I've started to think that maybe he's not getting enough.  I would be more worried, but I was planning on weaning him at 1  year.  I know they don't often wean themselves before 1 year, but it wouldn't be hard to head that direction if I wanted to.  We'll keep trying for 3 more months though.  Any thoughts on this?

Acid Reflux and Chiropractic Treatment
I'm so happy to report that his reflux has not made a comeback at all.  There were a couple of days in which he was extra fussy and spitty.  I still don't know what that was about - could have been a relapse.  I was very grumpy and got depressed during that time, not knowing what to do next if the reflux was back.  Thankfully it only lasted a couple of days.  Maybe it was something he ate, maybe he was overtired, maybe we'll just blame it on the mysterious "catch all" - teething.  He had more vertebral sublaxation than normal at his previous visit 10 days ago, but he had fewer at his appointment this morning.  Dr. Adams said it was probably due to his pulling up and plopping on his bottom that was throwing his spine out of whack more than normal.  Anyway, it was a good report today, and I have a happy baby to go along with it so... yay!  We go again in 2 weeks.

And now, my update on  his sleep.  I save the best for last (c:  It has taken a long time for us to get over the overtired hump.  It's a crazy uphill battle, but we're there, finally.  More often than not, Declan takes two 1 - 1.5 hour naps a day, and he's now sleeping 12-13 hours a night.  Last night he went to bed at 6:30pm, woke up around 5am to eat, and went back to bed until I woke him at 7:45 (not sure how much longer he would have slept).  I am pretty sure that's a new record for him.

After all of the frustration and going back and forth, what ended up being the best things for us was:

  • The Nap Hour - leaving him to sleep, cry, or play for an hour at naptime no matter what - no exceptions.  Naptime is at 9am and 1pm (biological sleep windows for most babies age 4-8 months).
  • Inadvertently teaching him to self-soothe.  I was still rocking him to sleep a couple of weeks ago when he started to squirm and fuss in my arms every time I started rocking.  This got frustrating for me so I just started to put him in his crib when this happened.  To my surprise, he'd go to sleep minutes after I left the room.  So I started to skip the rocking and just put him in his bed.  He usually cries for a few minutes and goes to sleep.  I saw an improvement in both the length of his naps and his nighttime sleep once I did this.
  • Choosing an appropriately early bedtime - His sweet spot is between 6:15 and 6:30.  It's not too early or too late.  The night goes smoothly and I usually have to wake him the following morning to maintain our schedule.  
Starting tonight, we're going to work on sleeping through the night.  He's still taking one feeding, but it's moving later and later most nights.  And he's skipped it a few times, so I think he just needs a little nudge to get him sleeping 12-13 hours straight.  I'd let him sleep longer but I think we're already pushing the limitations of his diaper... (c;

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Is Your Baby Overtired?

"I don't let my child's naps hinder
me from doing my grocery shopping!"
Sleep is under-emphasized in our society.  We burn the candle at both ends.  We work weekends.  Yet our kids are important to us, too, so we tote them around, taking them with us to Wal-mart at all times of the day and night and bringing them along to parties.  The general consensus is that you've got a "good sleeper" if your kid will crash anywhere.

The problem with this is the quality of sleep.  In a nutshell, sleep is a complicated state that occurs best when it's the right time.  Fluctuating hormones cause us all to enter sleep states and wake states throughout a 24 hour period (see the Napping Window).  It is possible to put a child to sleep during a wake state (although it will probably take a long time!) but because of the increased cortisol hormone, the sleep will not be as deep and the sleep period will probably be short.

All of that to say that, after 4 months of age, a routine helps to train a child's body when it's time to sleep. 

Just as important as the timing is the place.  Although she looks completely zonked, a soft blanket and a shopping cart are no substitute for her bed.  You're familiar with sleep cycles, right?  Fall asleep, get deeper into sleep, cycle up to a lighter sleep state, and then without waking, go back into a deeper sleep.  Many cycles per night.  The reason that still, quiet sleep is the most restorative is because the motion and the noise hinder getting into that deep sleep state.  Her mind is not able to rest.

I don't want to make anyone mad, but I do think that parents are sadly unaware of some facts about their child's sleep.  First of all, some things I've heard parents say.

•  My child just isn't the type to conform to a sleep routine.
•  My child doesn't need as much sleep as other children.
•  Our family is on the go.  It's best if our child just gets used to it now!

If you've found yourself thinking or saying something like this before, please consider some of these symptoms of over tiredness in babies and young children.

•  Waking grumpy vs. happy
•  Unable to play happily by themselves during their wake time
He crashed.  Kinda funny, but
really just kinda sad.
•  Unexplained fussing
•  Yawning or rubbing eyes a lot
•  Fidgety or spazzy
•  Easily startled
•  Irregular sleep patterns
•  Fights naps and/or bedtime
•  Random unexplained night wakings
•  Complains of headache or stomach ache
•  Seemingly not tired when you know they should be
•  Waking within minutes after being put down for a nap
•  Crashing randomly

Imagine what it feels like when you haven't gotten enough sleep.  Miserable, right?  What's work like the day after you haven't gotten enough sleep?  I'll skip to the chase because I think you get my drift.  A bad attitude and a hard-to-pin-down schedule today are the least of your concerns when your child is sleep deprived.  Weissbluth writes, "Small but constant deficits in sleep over time tend to have escalating and perhaps long-term effects on brain function."  Not to mention the affect sleep has on health.  Some long-term affects of a child who does not get healthy sleep can be decreased mental focus, insomnia, ADD and ADHD.  People take medicine and suffer from these ailments that might have never occurred had they been getting enough sleep.

Eliminating a child's sleep deficit is not easy, but anything you can do to help your child get more sleep (the right kind of sleep... still, quiet, consolidated, and regular) will benefit their health and development.  If you want to get started, you know the book I'll recommend.  I love to talk about this stuff (can you tell?) so please let me know if I can be of any support.