Simple dresser update project – DIY

One of the many piece of furniture I have in the house is this old “vintage” dresser that I scapped up from my grandparents a few years ago.  I have no idea how old or “vintage” it really is, but since it’s of the grandparents era, I like to assume that its an antique of sorts. I think it’s adorable – although somewhere along the way of its past it lost it’s original stain and the locks were removed and all the original pulls and handles were replaced with random mis-matched brass and faux gold cheap-o ones.  Up until recently I haven’t had a real reason to update it at all, but now that I’ll be using the dresser in Baby Girl’s room, I figured why not at least spruce it up a little?  Since all the furniture in her room is of natural wood coloring(ish) I didn’t bother messing with re-staining it or painting it, but definitely wanted to update the pulls since they were atrocious.

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Dresser with old pulls and knobs…ugly, am I right? Doesn’t do the cuteness of the dresser any justice

So then I did the usual sear on Pinterest to see what I could come up with for cute purple drawer knobs and came across a posting that took white ceramic knobs and a sharpie and turned something drab into way cute (and way cheap).  Of course I thought about ordering hand painted or cutesy crystal knobs but at $6+ each knob it would have cost me over $60…ouch.

So, I went to Home Depot and found ceramic knobs for around $2.00 each x 9 pulls = $18 – sweet!

I had a lilac sharpie at home already – and the beauty is that you can use ANY color of sharpie that you want in any pattern or design that you want too.  I liked the general look of the Pinterest idea, so I stuck with that.

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I only colored the top part of the knob as opposed to the whole thing, I liked the “flower” look of it that way so I left it.  It was way easy to color it in the pattern I liked too.  Wasn’t really sure it would be as easy as they said…but it was.

Once you get them all colored, let them sit for an hour or overnight (however long to let the sharpie dry a little so it won’t smudge)  Then put them in a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Once done, leave them in the oven to cool.

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Wah-la! Not the greatest pictures as it doesn’t do it justice, but for $18 getting something custom and way cuter is totally worth it in my book!

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TV?

We’ve all met the parents that swear they will not let their child watch TV at all.  And we’ve all met the parents that use the TV as a 24-7 babysitter, too.  From one extreme to another.  I never gave it much thought really, until I became a parent of a toddler of my own.

The Hubs and I have the TV on fairly regularly whenever we are home.  Mainly as background noise – sometimes for music specifically – but generally it’s habit for us to turn it on when we get home from work and are making dinner etc.  Never really occurred to me that that may be considered a “lot” of TV time.  I don’t think that the shows that we choose are inappropriate for J to be around, so I’ve really not considered what our habit of TV time means for him.  Then again before he reached toddler-age J wasn’t really that aware of or interested in what was on the magic screen in the family room anyway.

When he got to about 15 months, we started to use cartoons as a way to keep J occupied for a few minutes at a time while we made dinner or needed a few minutes of adult conversation without interruption.  I also started using it as a tool at work for when J was having a hard time finding something to occupy himself and I needed a few solid minutes of “work” time.

Now, only a month or so after we introduced these kiddo shows to J, he’s starting to ask for TV time – especially when at work with me – but also at home.  Some days he seems really interested in the shows – singing or dancing along with them, and other days he goes between watching and playing.  His favorites are Bubble Guppies, Tickety-Toc, Peppa Pig, etc. on Nick Jr.  All of which I am totally OK with him watching 1 or 2 episodes at a time.  In my opinion as long as the show has a good message and isn’t followed by 1000 crazy commercials, it’s probably better than most of the things J may see anywhere else – in public, in books, etc.

I guess I’m finding a certain value to having another tool to use to help J focus on something for more than 30 second intervals.  At some point he will be in a child-care setting where he will need to be able to sit for 15-20 minutes at a time for circle time or a story and among the many other things that we do as parents to help teach him this skill, a cartoon here and there most days works too.

I try and stay aware of how much TV J is watching still – some days he gets to watch more than others – and some days I feel more or less guilty about using the TV as my “babysitter”.  But honestly, what parent hasn’t used TV as a babysitter at least a few times?  Why is it that as parents we second guess and worry so much about the ways that we choose to raise our kids?  Especially when it comes to something like TV that is present in almost every home & school in the nation?

A time for change

One of the biggest mistakes we made as first time parents was getting J in the habit of nursing to sleep.  Didn’t seem like that big of a deal until recently…but there’ve been a few things recently that have made this mistake very evident, and the consequences not so fun.

1 – as J gets older and I continue to nurse him, he doesn’t so much nurse for nutrition but more-so out of habit.  As part of that, he tends to “play” more than actually drink anything.  As my nips are quite sensitive now (yay pregnancy) this “play” tends to feel almost like torture – either being painful or just plain annoying.

2 – Since J doesn’t have much opportunity to socialize with other little ones being at work with me, the Hubs and I have discussed a few options – either childcare, or mommy/toddler classes – as a way for him to get this social interaction a few times a week.  If he does go into childcare, he has to be able to fall asleep on his own, and his nap schedule would change pretty significantly.  Likewise, if we do any toddler classes, they tend to fall right in the middle of his naptime as it is now.

3 – when the Baby comes, I won’t be as available at bedtime as J is used to now, as I will be splitting my time with Baby and Daddy will be helping with putting J to sleep as well.  I’d rather start to change J’s expectations around bedtime now then throw him another curveball when the baby comes and changes his whole life anyway.

So, we made the decision on Thurs. night to change a few of these things since I know that we’ll have a full 3 days in a row where we can implement these changes.
Change #1 – no nursing at bedtime.  We kept his bedtime routine the same otherwise, but instead of spending 5-10 minutes either nursing or rocking J to sleep, we simply snuggle him for a few minutes then lay him down in his bed and leave the room. This has worked spectacularly for the past 2 nights…I am simply amazed…
Change #2- only one nap a day instead of 2.  Today I  tried an 11am nap, but J wasn’t having it, so we did a 1pm nap instead after getting home from lunch with Daddy, and he slept for an hour and a half.  Plus he didn’t throw a huge fit earlier in the morning, which makes me feel better about only letting him take one nap.  I think this is still going to be the biggest transition though…and I’m kind of dreading it and how it will work at my office when I won’t be nursing him either…
Change #3 – less nursing in general.  Today J didn’t nurse at all.  He didn’t ask for it either.  Plus I’m OK with giving my sore nips a little break.  I don’t know that I am done with nursing J, but I certainly don’t intend on nursing him before naps or bedtime…we’ll see how that all works out going forward.

The fact that the last day and a half has gone so well with these changes makes me feel like my intuition as a Mama is working as it should.  Trust your gut! If you feel that it is time to make a change with the way you are doing something with your little one, why not give it a try?  In my case I have to be 99% convinced that it is the right time and the right decision, but so far my gut hasn’t led me astray when it comes to J and his needs.

Deciphering cries at 3 am…

As a strong dis-believer in the cry-it-out method of sleep training, there have been a few things that I’ve learned.

1. The journey in getting to a “normal” sleep pattern for your little one may be a longer road, but you will eventually get there
2. There are plenty of other methods out there that you can use or adapt to meet the needs of your own family
3. No matter what method you use, you’ll still struggle with the guilt or doubt over if what you are doing is best for your kiddo
4. You will try and try again no matter what method you use, until it all finally falls into place
5. Nothing will stop a little one from waking randomly in the middle of the night sometimes.

When I say that I don’t believe in the cry-it-out method this is my stance:  I want my children to always feel that their needs are being met.  I want my children to know that if they need comforting, that we will be there for them.  I never want my children to be forced to fall asleep after crying with no comfort – this perhaps is my biggest no-no, as an adult I’ve had my share of crying-myself-to-sleep and I’d never wish that on anyone in the world, least of all my children.  While I do believe that it is important to understand when it is time for sleep, I do not support the theory that allowing a little one (who doesn’t know any better) to cry into the darkness with no answer will eventually teach them a positive skill. For my family, there are other ways to build this skill.

I’m not saying that parents who do choose to use the CIO method are wrong in their choice.  I believe every parent makes the best decisions for their own family.  In this case, the CIO method does not fit my family or my mentality as a parent.

Once we were able to maintain a consistent napping and bedtime schedule, J’s sleeping patterns improved.  As first time parents, you are bound to make some mistakes along the way – in our case we made plenty of them with J’s sleep from the beginning.  But after 14 months J finally started sleeping through the night.  That doesn’t mean he always sleeps a solid 11 hours from 7pm to 6(ish)am, BUT we know that he is actually capable of doing so and he does quite regularly.  There are still random nights – maybe 2 out of every week – that he will wake enough in the middle of the night where he fusses enough that I will do in and help him settle back into sleep.  Being that I am still nursing him, I will nurse him for comfort (I know that’s mainly what he nurses for now) until he calms enough to either fall asleep again or I know he can self-sooth himself back to sleep from that point.  J has been known to randomly screech in the middle of the night though, and we’ve learned the differences between his “sleep” cries, his “waking” cries, and his “something’s wrong, I’m up” cries.

J recently got his 15 month shots (varicella and mmr) and he’s also sprouting 5 new teeth.  4 molars and a bottom tooth all at the same time…poor kiddo!  Needless to say, he’s had a mild temperature and been extra fussy and needy for the past week.  No wonder he’s been waking more than usual at night.  I suppose another reason when the CIO thing doesn’t sit right with me.  This week I’ve answered J’s midnight cries a little quicker than other times – if I was in pain or had a temp. and needed a little extra love, I’d want someone to come help me out – why wouldn’t I do the same for my little one?

That all being said, it doesn’t mean that when J cries at 3 am that I don’t groan and wish that he’d put himself back to sleep.  At 3 am no one is happy about being awake involuntarily!  But since when does being a parent mean you’ll get your full 10 hours of sleep? Ha…