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the newbie: Got Games?

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com

It’s been raining a lot this fall, and now that June is 14 months old, I’m having to get more sophisticated in my entertainment efforts. She enjoys setting Pandora to “Call Me Maybe” radio and having dance parties in front of the mirror. She also loves tearing up a roll of toilet paper, piece by piece. I know I probably should take it away from her but it seems a small price to pay for half an hour of peace on an afternoon when we can’t get out to the park.

We also have a floor full of toys, animal flash cards and a music table, naturally. Usually a giant cardboard box is more appealing than any of that. The day when the diaper shipment comes is like a trip to Disney World—that box is huge!

But sometimes I feel like the court jester—trying everything to make the Queen laugh and laugh, and fearing her inevitable turn to the Cranky Dark Side.

I’d love to hear what other moms do to make their little ones happy on an indoor day.

the newbie: Sleep Changes

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com

Oh boy. I thought we had it down. I thought we were the golden family of sleep. I thought people who complained about restless babies were just missing nap cues or somehow timing things wrong.

I’m eating my words. While the night is still pretty solid (11-ish hours, knock on wood) June is now shifting from one nap to two—we think—and she’s absolutely tired and cranky. She does this head rocking thing that just breaks my heart. I can almost see the thought bubble above her head that reads “Soooooo tired,” but she fights it like a champ.

She really needs her morning nap, but WILL NOT take it. And the afternoon nap? It’s getting shorter and shorter. Meanwhile, she’s not well rested at all—she’s spacey and whiney and generally not in a good mood.

Everyone says “this is a phase,” but if you have any advice on how to make it through this one, I’ll take it!

the newbie: Saying “No”

By Melissa Walker, who can also be found blogging at melissacwalker.com

I think we’ve entered a whole new realm with June since she turned one (this week!). Discipline. Now that she’s crawling and cruising at high speeds (well, pretty high for a baby anyway), she’s getting into all kinds of things. Current favorite activities include: unspooling the toilet paper, pulling on the refrigerator door, and splashing in the cats’ water dish.

I like to let her move freely in the apartment—it’s small, so I can always see her, and we’re pretty baby-proofed (stair gate, outlet covers, door latches)—but I also need to start telling her “no” at some point, right? At the moment, I say “No” calmly but firmly, and then I move her to another area so she, ideally, gets distracted.

That water bowl proves to be too much of a splish-splashy good time, though- -she races for it as soon as I put her down. I don’t want to begrudge her some summertime water fun, but I’ve got to keep her out of the cats’ eating area! I’ll find a way to rope it off, but the larger question is: Is she old enough to understand the word “no”? She certainly stops and looks my way when I say it, but then there’s a grin and she pays me no mind.

Is it too early for discipline? Time for me to start stepping in calmly but firmly? If anyone has tips, I’m all ears!

We’re happy to have Kathryn Wiley, owner of Rockin’ Baby slings (on zulily today!) and founder of Mother to Mother, an initiative set up with the purpose to give a sling to a Mother in Haiti for each purchased in the U.S. Kathyrn has joined us to share the story of how Mother to Mother came to be and how it’s helped provide practical childcare solutions to mothers in Haiti while fostering a cross-cultural connection between moms in Haiti and the United States… [Read more on the zulily blog now!]