Thursday, January 10, 2013

Cloud B Sleep Sheep - Review!

This review was originally posted ages ago. I've updated it and what do you know, it's jumped to the top of my blog. So it's old, like about 17 months old, but still relevant as we're still using this great product several times daily.

I know I have mentioned before about Mia's sleep troubles. She's really been a difficult baby in terms of getting her to sleep and stay asleep. She's still waking about four times a night (a vast improvement over 6-8 times!). I have managed to get her to take more naps during the day, though. Our morning venture out in the stroller is one, a mid-afternoon nap, and usually one around dinnertime. I was thrilled when Cloud B sent the Sleep Sheep to help Mia out. Cloud B is a company devoted to helping children of all ages sleep better. They have a number of products designed for this purpose. One of my favourites is the Twilight Turtle - we already have this one and can't wait to put it to use when Mia begins to sleep in her own room at night. It projects stars and moon onto the ceiling in your choice of three colours. It comes with a guidebook so you can find the constellations, and is truly lovely at night.

Back to the Sleep Sheep - it's a wonderfully soft stuffed sleepy sheep that has essentially a white noise player in it. The player has a 23 or 45 minute setting, so it switches off when your baby's well asleep. There are four different sounds: heartbeat, rain, ocean and whale song. It also has a volume control (thank you!). It has a velcro strap so you can attach it to the crib (on the outside, for safety, please!), or anywhere, really. It's fairly large, sitting at about 12" (I'm guessing, I don't have a tape measure here in Calgary) - and there is also an "on the go" version that is sized more appropriately for the stroller! Smart. A little story book and adoption certificate comes with it as well - and yes, batteries are included!

Mia loves the feel of the sheep, and spent some time just touching and looking at it when we took it out of the box.What you should know - Mia fights sleep for as long as she can. She really doesn't settle well, and it is an ongoing struggle to get her to take three naps a day. Often when I decide it's naptime, Mia has other ideas. So we do quiet activities like lying down and reading in a quiet voice, looking at picture books, and singing lullabies.

My first opportunity to try it out was at her midafternoon nap. We read I Am A Bunny (three times), then read Pokey Little Puppy, and nursed a little, and I turned on the ocean waves sound for Mia. She fell asleep quite fast! Unfortunately, she woke as soon as the ocean waves stopped - I only had it set for 23 minutes, so there's my lesson - she's not fully asleep in such a short time. From now on it's the 45 minute setting! One feature I would love is if the sound faded out rather than shut off abruptly.

Then we tried it at bedtime. I've been putting her in the bassinet awake but sleepy lately, while I let her know I'm still around but don't interact with her. She is often awake for 45 minutes, talking to herself and just looking around. The rain setting is soothing and eventually her eyes drifted shut - sooner, I think, than usual. I find the sound soothing as well. My husband, however, sat up saying, "What's that sound?!" I told him it was the Sleep Sheep. "Oh," he said, "I thought it was a problem with the plumbing!" Ha :)

I did notice one night when my husband had the tv on in the next room that there was a very noticeable difference when I had the Sleep Sheep playing. With the Sleep Sheep on, I could hear the tv, but couldn't make out the distinct sounds or words of it. When it switched off, I could immediately hear the tv a lot more easily. So I really love it for me as well as for Mia!Overall, I like the Sleep Sheep a lot. It's cute, Mia loves to touch it, and the sounds are soothing. There are other Sleep Friends available, including a Dozy Dolphin, Mimicking Monkey, and Gentle Giraffe, as well as the aromatherapy Lavender Lab (the Lavender Lab is available only in the US - for now!), and some adorable Slumber Friends pillows.

Become a Cloud B Facebook fan for the latest info about the company and their great products! For more information about Cloud B products, you can visit the Cloud B website for information. To purchase - in Canada you can email info@dogree.com or cs-1@dogree.com (or, I have seen the Sleep Sheep at Babies 'R' Us!). For my American friends, online purchases can be made directly at the Cloud B website.

Thank you, Cloud B Canada, for the opportunity to test out this great product!

Edited to update: At 23 months, we are STILL using the Sleep Sheep at every bedtime, night waking (yeah, she still does it) and nap time. It's still on the first set of batteries, even. I definitely recommend this product!!!

Note: The Sleep Sheep links (not the Cloud B links) are affiliate links. That means if you choose to purchase this through the National Autism Resources Group site you arrive at by clicking, I'll receive a small portion of the sale. Thanks for your support if you do choose to do so!

Potty training... the adventure begins!

Yeah, I'm going right ahead and talking about poop on my blog. I became a Mum, that's what happened.

I admit it, I'm not entirely ready for potty training. We have one more big trip coming up (two weeks in Maui! I can't wait!) and I feel like we should wait until that upheaval's over before we begin.

My husband is ready - and has been for about 5 months.

My 23-month-old daughter? Well, she's surprising me.

We started her on the toilet at about 5 months old, really sporadically - put her on, go "Sssss" and she would sometimes go. Great, but not reliable and I honestly wasn't anywhere near regular with it. The good of that is that she is used to sitting there, not afraid of the flush (she likes to do it herself), and understands what it's for.  We also have a fairly open-door policy (where she is concerned) with us using the bathroom. She sees Mum and Dad using the toilet and we talk about what we're doing, wiping, flushing, washing our hands, and so on.

Santa (a.k.a. Mummy) got her some fabulous Big Girl Underwear for Christmas, which made a big impression. She talks about her owl underwear often and I think she's pretty keen to wear it.

I also got this great book out of the library, Diapers Are Not Forever, which we have been reading daily. She is REALLY interested in it, and asks for it, sometimes twice in a row, at bedtime and nap time. I like the way it doesn't dumb things down, but explains how and why we go on the toilet instead of in a diaper. Just like the big kids! I strongly recommend this book, as I think it's really helping her understand and prepare for the change.

I have looked at the various lists for readiness (stays dry overnight or during naps, can pull pants up and down by herself, tells when she needs to go, etc) and I don't see it. She will stay dry for a nap (her naps are short anyway), but definitely not at night. She has trouble with her pants, but can do it if she puts her mind to it. She definitely won't tell us when she needs to pee, but is pretty obvious about pooping.

We have had a bit of a breakthrough lately because of that. She was (ahem, TMI maybe) a little constipated this past weekend so it was extremely apparent when she was trying to poop. So we made a bit of a point of taking her to the toilet to try. And we are using chocolate chips and lots of praise as an incentive for successful trips to the toilet.

We had a successful toilet poop on the weekend, and then yesterday caught another one. This morning we were cuddling and nursing in bed (hey, she wakes at 5:30 am.... I'm not ready to get out of bed yet and like to prolong the down time with nursing) when she told me, "I poop on toilet!"

"What?!" I nearly shouted with excitement, "Do you need to go?"

"Yes!" she said, and off we rushed to the bathroom, where she promptly peed on the toilet. Yeah, her diaper was already soaked from the night, and okay, so she hasn't quite got the lingo down. But wow, that's awesome!

And today I have caught her 'trying' to poop in her diaper twice and we made it to the bathroom to do it in the toilet both times.

So we are doing remarkably well with poop... now to figure out how to get her to pee there on a consistent basis!

I'm seriously not in a rush as I feel like the traveling we'll be doing might set us back and that would be frustrating and disappointing for her. I want her to feel proud of her success. That said, I'm not that fond of dealing with poopy cloth diapers - and I definitely want her to be well out of diapers by the time the new baby arrives in June! The time is coming!

My loose plan is go simply go without diapers and straight into underwear (or go Naked Baby style if I don't think she'll catch a chill) and hang out in our tiled (and therefore easy to clean up accidents) basement for a few days. Incentives and praise for success, no shame in misses. I've heard this can be a one- to seven- day process, so I want to be able to set aside and commit the time and effort to it.

What were your successes with toilet training? Did you get on it early, or late? I'd love to hear your experiences.

Note: the links for the book are affiliate links, meaning I get a few cents from Amazon if you choose to buy through these links. I'm not kidding though, this book has really made a difference in the way she perceives going on the toilet.