What do you do with your toddler while you're trying to get the baby down for a nap? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 10:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My 2 month old will go down for naps just fine sometimes, but many times she needs rocking, patting, humming, etc before she can really get into the right space for drifting off to sleep.  The problem is, she'll just about be "there" and then my almost 2yr old dd runs in talking loudly, shrieking, banging something, closing and opening the door, etc and then baby wakes right up.  She leaves and baby drifts off again...then toddler is back.  It happens over and over and I spend HOURS trying to put the baby down.  If I could just get a solid 10 minutes, I could get her down and then be totally free to play with almost 2yr old dd!  I wish she understood this!

 

I've tried giving her a snack and some TV time, but she still just wanders in after me.  TV doesn't hold her attention.  I've tried giving her special toys that are only brought out when I go in to put baby down but with a frequently napping newborn sometimes the special toy was never put away from the first nap and it isn't special anymore. (messy logistics of a chaotic household of 2 under 2 I guess).  I've thought about putting her in her crib for a few minutes to keep her safe and out of trouble, but I think she'll throw a tantrum and feel isolated and left out.  I don't want her to think of her bed as punishment.

 

I would wear the baby for her naps but she doesn't nap very long in the carrier, spits up on me (excessive spitter-upper) and it just kills my back to try to do household things with her in the wrap or Ergo.  It's very uncomfortable for both of us unfortunately.  Not to mention it's 110 degrees outside (literally) and we get really sweaty.

 

Any ideas to keep toddler quiet while putting baby down?  I'm losing my mind and dd's behavior is starting to deteriorate.

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#2 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 11:41 AM
 
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I never tried to "get baby down" for a nap. The baby fell asleep while nusring and slept through what the rest of the house was doing. I would either rest and hold the sleeping baby or have the baby in a sling. We never owned a crib so there was no putting the baby down anywhere. How do you spend HOURS trying to get a baby "down". If a baby needs to sleep they will go to sleep.


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#3 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 12:34 PM
 
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I definitely understand your struggle--although I can't really offer any advice, just commiseration. I only have one little one (he's 15 months old now) but since he was 3 months, I've been watching other children in my home. Nap time has always been, and still is, the hardest part of the day. I deal with the same situation of having the little one almost down, just to have one of the toddlers start shrieking or banging something or call out for me. So frustrating! And in my experience, a sleepy baby won't always just fall asleep--whether being held or not. I think all children are different in their sleep needs--my son has never been able to fall asleep if there's background noise or movement.

Good luck--I hope it gets easier for you!


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#4 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 01:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by foreverinbluejeans View Post

I never tried to "get baby down" for a nap. The baby fell asleep while nusring and slept through what the rest of the house was doing. I would either rest and hold the sleeping baby or have the baby in a sling. We never owned a crib so there was no putting the baby down anywhere. How do you spend HOURS trying to get a baby "down". If a baby needs to sleep they will go to sleep.


Okay.  I'm not sure why you chimed in then if you can't relate and have no advice.  I'm sure many can relate to spending HOURS trying to get a baby to sleep...she's got excessive spit up and falls asleep countless times only to be awakened by her need to spit up (this happens whether she's in a crib, a sling, my arms, my husband's arms, my mother's arms, etc).  Then she gets the hiccups...then she poops...then the toddler makes noise...then, then, then.  It's always something and the result is a VERY tired little baby who can't seem to sleep.  It is so not true that if baby is tired enough, she'll sleep.  That's why anyone who writes a book about sleep and babies will make a fortune. :)  I find it hard to believe you can't relate...even if you've had perfect babies.  Even if you were the perfect AP parent.  I get that our parenting styles are different...but again, not sure what you were hoping to add other than I shouldn't own a crib (by the way she sleeps on my chest every night and doesn't actually use a crib, just a co sleeper occasionally) and I should let baby nap on me despite my need for a shower or to poop or some personal space every so often.  It's not possible in my home to "rest and hold the sleeping baby" when the toddler is dangerously climbing on things or splashing in the toilet or needs to be fed or have a diaper change or god forbid I have some personal needs to attend to, etc.

 

Gitanamam, thanks for your comiseration. 
 

 

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#5 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 03:15 PM
 
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I have only one DS who is 16 month old so I cant even imagine how you manage both your kids! I can feel how tough it must be for you.
You must know what your toddler enjoys. Mine loves to take bath, and I can let him sit in the tub and be nearby and he will amuse himself with the water and toys for a long( relatively long) time. Or how about letting your toddler paint or rip pieces of paper( messy I know, but thats what kids love:) )
The ideal solution would be to have some help...a grandma or someone, but I guess its not feasible for you?

Good luck and be kind to yourself:o

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#6 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 05:54 PM
 
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I know exactly how you can spend HOURS trying to get a baby down for a nap. My DS would not go to sleep the first 10 months of his life without screaming while I held him for 30 minutes to 2 hours before every nap. There was no other way to get him to sleep. I tried everything. Some babies need so much help to sleep.

 

I'm about to be in the same boat as you and this is what I am planning to try if the new baby is a difficult sleeper: Setting up a safe space for my toddler with lots of toys and books and then blocking the space off with a gate. If he has difficulty letting me go for 10-15 minutes, I will practice with him, starting with 2-3 minutes and working up to the time I need with the newborn. This is how we built up the time he would play independently. Personally, I'm comfortable leaving him crying for a few minutes because he's a really easy crier and I always explain where I'm going and that will be back. I always bookend the time he is alone with special focused time with him. If DS bothers the baby by being loud (happy or not so happy loudness), the sound machine has been a godsend for DS so we'll try it with the new baby.

 

Good luck! I hear the first year with two littles is so, so hard but then it gets so much better when they can play together. You can make it through!


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#7 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 07:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amy@STL View Post

 Mine loves to take bath, and I can let him sit in the tub and be nearby and he will amuse himself with the water and toys for a long( relatively long) time. Or how about letting your toddler paint or rip pieces of paper( messy I know, but thats what kids love:) )
The ideal solution would be to have some help...a grandma or someone, but I guess its not feasible for you?

Good luck and be kind to yourself:o


I have a particularly precocious dd and I don't think I could rest easy leavin her alone in water or with paint.  PAINT?!!  You're a brave lady!  ha ha!  But paper!  Yes, that actually was one of our special "toys" - a bag of colored paper shreds.  They worked for awhile.  Myabe I'll try that again in a few days.

 

My mom lives 1 hour away and tries to make it out here once a week to help.  She usually can only stay a couple of hours.  It's my favorite few hours of the entire week!  I've even thought about a mother's helper just for a few days during these first few months.  But, we're on a really strict budget and make a lot of sacrifices financially so I can stay home and I just don't have to guts to ask my poor husband who works his tail off to make ends meet.

 

Thank you for the reminder to be kind to myself...just today I was thinking the baby must hate me.  I must be a terrible mom or something.  :(  I have a degree in early childhood education and loads of experience with infants.  It's always come so naturally to me and I've always been very successful with infants and toddlers alike.  It's a lot different when you're sleep deprived, eating junk and they're own kids.
 

 

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#8 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by JustSimplicity View Post

I know exactly how you can spend HOURS trying to get a baby down for a nap. My DS would not go to sleep the first 10 months of his life without screaming while I held him for 30 minutes to 2 hours before every nap. There was no other way to get him to sleep. I tried everything. Some babies need so much help to sleep.

 

I'm about to be in the same boat as you and this is what I am planning to try if the new baby is a difficult sleeper: Setting up a safe space for my toddler with lots of toys and books and then blocking the space off with a gate.

 

Good luck! I hear the first year with two littles is so, so hard but then it gets so much better when they can play together. You can make it through!


I always heard that the second is so much easier than the first.  I was positive this baby would be a better sleeper.  I am still sort of in shock that she's just as difficult as her high needs sister!  I really hope you luck out with #2.  You deserve it!

 

I definitely need to figure out a space. Good thinking.  Her room is mostly safe, but the little stinker climbs onto her rocking chair and then gets on her knees on the arm of the chair and finds it funny to balance and gets a tremendous thrill when she almost slips off and has no idea she could seriously get hurt.  Our house is super small and the hallway (with toys) is the safest place to gate her...but would be super noisy even with sound machine.  Hmmm...I'll have to do some creative thinking about this.  Hopefully I can come up with some special little "area" for her.

 

I, too, have always heard the first year is super tough with 2 very small ones but that it's so great later on.  Boy I hope so - this is HARD!

 

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#9 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 07:16 PM
 
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I feel your pain. My 18 month old is quite boisterous. My 2 month old (DS) will fall asleep nursing or right after only to wake from big sister's shrieks. I have been lucky to let DS nurse & sleep while I hang out in DD's room. I have only successfully been able to put him in his hushamok in my room a couple of times this way. Otherwise I end up putting DD down for her nap (She goes down rather well), then work on getting DS down. Although by the time this is all over DD is usually getting up again or near to it. It's exhausting. And I haven't found any way to accomplish any housework until night when they are both asleep, and of course then I want to sleep too!

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#10 of 21 Old 08-09-2011, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 Otherwise I end up putting DD down for her nap (She goes down rather well), then work on getting DS down. Although by the time this is all over DD is usually getting up again or near to it. It's exhausting. And I haven't found any way to accomplish any housework until night when they are both asleep, and of course then I want to sleep too!


This is exactly what I do!  I spend dd #1's entire nap time working to get dd#2 asleep.  I dream of having a little alone time someday.  I long to just clean my house!  I actually enjoy it and I miss having two hands long enough to dust and vacuum!  But by the time they're both in bed for the night, that's the last thing I have the energy for.
 

 

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#11 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 11:38 AM
 
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I can relate to this, as I also have to work to get my children to bed (my 3-year-old now goes to sleep on her own, but when she napped, I had to rock or nurse her to sleep, just as I do now with my 1-year-old).  My older daughter is a bit older than your older child, so perhaps that makes it easier for her to wait while I put her younger sister down for her nap.  I sometimes use the TV, and my 3-year-old has almost come to expect that--if I say I'm putting Lilibet down for a nap, then Sunshine asks, "Can I watch [favourite TV show]" and I'll put in a one-hour movie for her.  This usually keeps her busy.

 

Other times, I've had to talk to her about her behavior.  Perhaps you could also have a chat with your 2-year-old about the fact that baby needs a nap and mommy needs some quiet time.  Would a reward for quiet behavior work?  E.g., "When Mommy puts Baby to sleep, then you and Mommy can play a game/read a book/etc."  Remind the child that Baby really needs her nap.  One thing one of my neighbors did was to keep "quiet time" even after her older son stopped napping.  He didn't have to sleep, but he did have to spend some time in his room just reading a book or laying quietly on his bed.  If you can start this habit with your older child, it would give you time to put the younger child down.  If this isn't already a habit, though, it might take a week or two to start this new routine.

 

I hope you find something that works!!!  Naptime with my first daughter was a LOVELY time as I was able to work... naptime with number two means that I still have number one running around, wanting to play or go outside (when I need to be inside in case baby wakes up).  Creativity is definitely a must as mom.  Good luck!


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#12 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 11:54 AM
 
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I haven't had problems with naps.  My LO goes down easy in the morning and then naps at the same time as my 2.5 yr old in the afternoon.  But night time is horrible, I have the same problem getting my LO down for the night that you are having with naps.  My 9 mth old likes to go to bed at 8pm and I have to nurse him and rock him for a while before I can actually set him down and leave the room, if I can even lay down at all.  If I try to do it with my 2.5 yr old in the room he wakes up the baby and I can't get him down.  Eventually I just have to wait until my 2.5 yr old is ready for bed until I can get my LO down.  I have no help for night time because my DH works through bed time.


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#13 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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We can totally relate to this!  DD could fall asleep anywhere, surrounded by any amount of noise/confusion/crowds/whatever.  She was the easiest baby in that respect; we could take her anywhere and never have to worry about her not getting enough sleep.  But DS (3 mos) is a totally different story; he needs calm and quiet to be able to fall asleep.  No matter how hard we try to get him accustomed to napping through noise/activity, he just can't do it.  And if he gets overstimulated AND overtired, then he will scream -- sometimes for hours -- before we can get him to sleep.  It's excruciating.  And heaven help us if we happen to be out and about in public during his naptime! 

 

IME, it's just one of those things that depends on the child.  Foreverinbluejeans, it sounds like you were really lucky to get babies who could fall asleep and stay asleep, and lucky to have the freedom to hold the baby or babywear through her/his entire nap.  That has not been my experience. 

 

When I'm trying to get the baby down for a nap and DD is being noisy, I do one of the following things:

  • follow KoalaBear's advice and put in a movie for DD; the noise of the movie will sometimes even lull DS to sleep, if it's consistent enough
  • lay down on my bed to nurse DS and tell DD to play in her room.  I turn on a small fan to help drown out DD's noise.  Of course, she still wanders in a lot, but I just send her back into her room.
  • If things are really awful (i.e., DS is screaming with exhaustion and DD is tantruming), I will get DD into her bedroom and close the door, keeping a monitor on so I can hear what she's doing, then lay down in the next room with the baby until he's asleep.  I've only had to do this a couple of times, but this afternoon was one of them.  I explained that if she couldn't be quiet while the baby fell asleep, I would have to leave the room and close the door.  When she kept screaming, I did just that.  She cried a bit, but it only took a few minutes of quiet to get him down, then I could go back in to her.  It's not my favorite solution, but it does work.  And she's old enough to understand that I'm coming back, so she doesn't ramp up her crying into hysteria or fear. 
  • Last resort -- though not a "Green" option by any stretch of the imagination -- is to put them both in the car and drive around the block a couple of times until somebody falls asleep.  They both transfer pretty well once they're asleep. 

 


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#14 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 04:45 PM
 
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Dot-to-dot, I have a degree in early childhood ed. as well and I've worked with infants and toddlers for over 10 years, but being with my son is by hard the most challenging work I've ever done! I think it's totally different when it's one of your own, and like you said, being sleep deprived and living on a diet of leftover peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ideal makes it even tougher. I always thought that motherhood would be a breeze for me, since I have a lot of experience with little ones........oh how wrong I was! Just shows that life is the best education. Hang in there!


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#15 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 05:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gitanamama View Post

... it's totally different when it's one of your own, and like you said, being sleep deprived and living on a diet of leftover peanut butter and jelly sandwiches ideal makes it even tougher. I always thought that motherhood would be a breeze for me, since I have a lot of experience with little ones........oh how wrong I was! Just shows that life is the best education. Hang in there!


truedat.gif

 

I worked as a nanny before I had my kids, and I was so sure that life would be a breeze once I was a mama!  "I've cared for 4 at a time," I'd say blithely, "One or two is gonna be a piece of cake!"  Ha ha ha ha ha ... duck.gif

 

Yeah, I don't know why it never occurred to me that working in child care 9 hours / day, 4 days a week, is just Not Anything Like living 24/7 with a couple of screaming short people in the house.  And when I was a nanny, my only job was  to take care of the kids.  That was it.  I wish I knew then how good I had it!  My job now is to take care of the kids, take care of my husband, keep the house clean, make sure the bills are paid and the budget is kept up-to-date and the checkbook is balanced and the meals are prepared, and take a shower at least once a week.  Really, I thought I knew anything about being a parent???  Boy, was I a fool.  At least it gives me a sympathetic point of view from which to receive all the snotty, foolish comments I get from people who aren't parents yet...

 

Off to be a good parent to the 2 screaming short people...

 

 

p.s. Off topic, but I had to share... this is my 1,000th post on MDC!  joy.gif


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#16 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 05:19 PM
 
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How about this... I've started taking my DS to really exciting, new, never-before-seen, because they're 45 minutes away, parks! LOL. Seriously, DD (6 m/o) needs her naps around 9am, 12pm, 2pm. It was easy when she was younger, we had a huge house with upstairs and down, I could let DS play up in his room and even when he came down, noise just didn't carry the same way. For the last 2 months we've been in an itty bitty hear-every-sound apartment and DD just can't wind down with her brother's CONSTANT banging, running, jumping, yelling, singing,  etc. So around 9 am, we hop in the car and head to a (sincerely awesome, but pretty far away) park and DD naps the whole way there. We hang out, play, go for a walk, just enjoy the park for awhile. I pack snacks and books and whatever. We leave at 12... just in time for DD to sleep the whole way back. When we get back, around 1245, DS plays while I get lunch together and we eat together. The kids play "together" sort-of and then we all wind down together on the couch with books and songs, and then they both nap at 2. It definitely took DS some time to get used to the idea of napping on his own (even if on his own is just the other end of the couch) but that far into the day, he's too tired for it to matter. 

 

If your babe hates the car, I can relate too. I just started doing this in the last month or 2 because prior DD really hated the car. Now she sees it as an unwinding space. As soon as we get in, she's out.

 

Obviously, not an everyday option, but a good solution when you're really stretched thin on sleep, patience, time to yourself! 


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#17 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 05:21 PM
 
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Quote:
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truedat.gif

 

I worked as a nanny before I had my kids, and I was so sure that life would be a breeze once I was a mama!  "I've cared for 4 at a time," I'd say blithely, "One or two is gonna be a piece of cake!"  Ha ha ha ha ha ... duck.gif

 

Yeah, I don't know why it never occurred to me that working in child care 9 hours / day, 4 days a week, is just Not Anything Like living 24/7 with a couple of screaming short people in the house.  And when I was a nanny, my only job was  to take care of the kids.  That was it.  I wish I knew then how good I had it!  My job now is to take care of the kids, take care of my husband, keep the house clean, make sure the bills are paid and the budget is kept up-to-date and the checkbook is balanced and the meals are prepared, and take a shower at least once a week.  Really, I thought I knew anything about being a parent???  Boy, was I a fool.  At least it gives me a sympathetic point of view from which to receive all the snotty, foolish comments I get from people who aren't parents yet...

 

Off to be a good parent to the 2 screaming short people...

 

 

p.s. Off topic, but I had to share... this is my 1,000th post on MDC!  joy.gif


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#18 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 07:55 PM
 
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Have you found something specific your child is interested in on tv?  Elmo usually seems to be a long attention grabber.  What about putting the toddler in a high chair?  Hahaha, I'm laughing because I can't believe I'm suggesting you strap your child in a high chair and stick her in front of the tv for 10 minutes.    I would never do such a thing! ;)


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#19 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 08:39 PM
 
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bedroom is upstairs, toddler is downstairs, gate in between. usually I wait until the baby is really tired and he falls asleep pretty quickly. 


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#20 of 21 Old 08-11-2011, 09:45 PM
 
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My 27mo old does very well while I'm rocking/nursing my 4mo, now that we have been working on it it a little while. We have had a lot of nursing challenges and I often utilized my husband being home for lunch or in the evening to have him occupy my toddler while I shut the door and got DD down. When we're on our own during the day, I have very often brought my laptop in, put on Veggie Tales on netflix, turned the fan on to muffle some of the sound and really encouraged DS to whisper, be quiet, etc. He has learned to be quiet in church, so it's not new to him. It just takes training.  He can now spend 15 min in the room with me and barely say a word. He's good at whispering too and I make sure I whisper and look at him and do what I can in silence to interact with him and encourage quiet play. And after we leave, I praise him for being so quiet and helpful to get DD to go down for a nap and I'm sure to spend some one-on-one time with him. Other times, if I just need a few min of quiet before he initially bursts in more loudly (and then quiets once he knows baby is sleeping), I'll put veggie tales on in the living room and it buys me a little time before he figures out where I am. Lately there hasn't been as much of a need as DD is nursing better and DS has the rhythm down of how things go when we're in her room.


Alicia, wife to an loving and faithful DH, and mama to three fantastic though nutty children (cs, then an HBAC, then a VBAC!!).
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#21 of 21 Old 08-15-2011, 02:37 PM
 
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Chiming in a little late here but wanted to give you my input...

 

My toddler doesn't get to watch much TV, so I use it judiciously. When my infant's nap time rolls around, I turn on a show that will hold my toddler's attention for 20 minutes. Then I sit with him on the couch and nurse my infant until she's zonked out. At that point, I'm able to sneak off and transfer her into a cradle swing (where the motion tends to keep her asleep without the need for too much soothing from me). By the time I'm done with that, the toddler's show is just ending and I can whisk him someplace as far from the napping baby as possible...

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