So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

Mamas are experts when it comes to knowing their babies. It’s never easy, however, trying to figure out why your munchkin has been crying for the past two hours.

Once the usual suspects; gas, fatigue, fever and teething have been ruled out, what’s left to try that might soothe the wails and Mama’s frustration?

Here are five little tricks that you most likely will not read in any parenting manual or expert childcare book.

Some go against conventional wisdom, some sound downright silly and still others absurd.

All of them have worked on numerous occasions including with my own two butterballs who are now grown and using the same techniques with their littles.

When desperate, in doubt, and in need of some sleep and quiet you might want to try;

1. Gentle scratching
Use a gentle up-and-down scratching motion on baby’s forearm. Start with one arm and if you see no immediate result scratch both simultaneously. Of course, I use the word “scratch” gingerly, when in reality it’s more of a “don’t allow your nails to come in contact with baby’s skin so you’re sort of rubbing” motion.

It’s possible that baby has an itch and we grown-ups know what it’s like to want relief; we use walls and rulers and try contortionist-type maneuvers because it gets pretty uncomfortable.

2. Ice cubes
Wrap one ice cube in a washcloth and make small circular motions on the bottom of baby’s foot. Once the ice begins to melt discard immediately and replace. Check to be sure baby’s foot is not on the verge of acquiring frostbite. If crying stops you can use the rest of the cube for your drink.

3. The bathroom
Relegate yourself and baby to the bathroom. Close the door. Turn on the shower (cold water so you don’t steam up the room), also the faucets in the sink and then flush the toilet. Close the lid and sit atop with baby on your lap. Flush repeatedly each time water level reaches the top. Use a gently bouncing motion with your knees once baby becomes accustomed to the white noise of the “waterfalls”. If you’re worried the water bill will increase exponentially, perform at 10-minute intervals.

4. Barbara Streisand/Andrea Bocelli/Josh Groban/Michael Buble 
These songsters have a way with babies that’s nothing short of magical. Blast the music in the next room and cradle baby on your shoulder while rocking softly back and forth. If wails turn to whimpers then ask Alexa to play more. Their dulcet voices and melodious melodies join forces to create the best lullabies. Be careful that you don’t fall asleep standing up.

5. Imitate animal sounds
Remember when you were little and parents asked you, “What sound does a cow make?”

Pretend you’ve been asked that question as a grown-up and recite as many animal noises as you can recall.

WARNING: If you do a good rooster impression, save it until the end. When all else fails, a strong and reliable “cock-a-doodle-doo” usually does the trick.

If numbers 1-5 fall short, tomorrow’s another day and you’ll be able to see and count your blessings a bit more clearly!

Lisa Leshaw

Lisa Leshaw has worked as a mental health professional for the past 31 years. She currently conducts Parenting Skills Workshops, Group Counseling for Blended Families and Empowerment Circles for Women. As a consultant, Lisa travels throughout teaching Communication and Listening Skills, Behavioral Management Techniques and Motivational Strategies. To de-stress she performs in children's theatre and plays piano whenever requested. She is hoping to either write the next memorable musical composition or Great American Novel!

Summer Goes by Too Fast

In: Kids
Boy lying on bench at park, color photo

To my oldest, As our summer vacation nears an end and we begin school supply shopping, I think about all the things we didn’t get to do together this summer. I instantly feel mom guilt. All the plans I had made? Only half of them done—if that. RELATED: Remember When Summer Lasted Forever? All the books I was going to read to you at bedtime? Only a couple short ones. All the creative art we would do? Maybe just one time. The fact is, I let time slip away from me. I was too focused and anxiety-ridden about work, my...

Keep Reading

Going on Family Vacation with Young Kids is Work That’s Worth It

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mom with two young kids on airplane

Our routine will be a mess. Our toddler won’t sleep in a new environment. Our baby needs all of the gear. The flight could be a disaster. I went through a mental checklist of reasons why this kind of family vacation would be hard. It was a pretty convincing list if I’m being honest. I considered throwing a pity party dedicated to the concerns I shoulder as a mother. A few days later I felt a wave of conviction wash over me. I was dreading a trip that was meant to be a blessing to our family. Any kind of...

Keep Reading

I Want To Raise Good Sisters

In: Kids, Motherhood
Four girls sitting on a rock in the forest, color photo

My current dilemma: how to teach four little girls how to be good sisters when I have no idea what I’m doing? I was an only child growing up, and a tomboy at that. It was a lonely, quiet childhood. I remember wishing for a sister, but knowing that with my single mom, it wasn’t going to happen. So, the sister thing is a big mystery to me. I’ve noticed (admittedly with some envy) adult sisters together and their inside jokes, shared history, and language known only to each other. I’ve read about sisters in books. The relationships between the four...

Keep Reading

I Don’t Just Love You, I Like You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Young boy standing at bridge, color photo

My growing child, my heart often aches when I look at how big you have gotten. You aren’t a baby anymore, you’re a whole kid. You are your own person, with your own thoughts and feelings. You have your own friendships, and interests.  Parts of me realize you don’t need me the same, but deep down I know you need me all the same. And I’m realizing, that in all of these changes, my love for you is also a like.  RELATED: Being Your Mom is the Greatest Honor of My Life Because now we can connect in a whole...

Keep Reading

Dear Kindergartner, I’ll Always Remember You This Way

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and child touch foreheads

The first magical flickers of your strong heartbeat on a black and white screen— the reassuring evidence I needed to know you were gaining strength for this world. My belly grew, and I proudly went shopping for maternity clothes to cover it. I felt the first dances of your little feet, and it reminded me of butterflies taking flight— the movement of a true miracle. I’ll always remember you this way. The sounds of your first cries—music ringing in my ears. You were real, Earth-side, and wanting only to be loved. The softness of your skin, the way you smelled,...

Keep Reading

Having the Tools To Parent a Child with Sensory Processing Disorder Changes Everything

In: Kids, Motherhood
Child playing with water in tube

My heart leaped into my mouth as Soccer Mom, with her matching foldable chairs and ice-cold Gatorade, glared at me. I wanted to explain how hard I tried to be a good mom, to raise a kind human, but I swallowed the words so I could vomit them at my 5-year-old son on the ride home.   Didn’t he know that pushing another child was unacceptable? Hadn’t I taught him to use gentle hands?   RELATED: To the Special Needs Mom Who Sits Alone Despite implementing the parenting books that promised me a new kid by the week’s end, I often wondered...

Keep Reading

There’s No Instruction Manual for These Middle Years

In: Kids
Little girl smiling on porch

As a preschool teacher and a mom, I’ve always felt pretty confident in my parenting from ages birth to 5 years old.  I by no means am perfect, and I silently rejoiced the day my kids could pour their own cereal and turn on Netflix for themselves while I caught some extra sleep. Even though that’s probably not a proud mama moment to celebrate, it’s just the reality of parenting.  We both celebrate and mourn independence as our children need us less. And let’s be honest, oftentimes independence makes our daily lives easier. Yet it is bittersweet.  It feels like...

Keep Reading

I’m Halfway Through Raising Little Kids

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two girls smiling outside

Today I stayed in my car a few minutes more than usual as my kids hopped out onto the hot driveway and ran inside. The cold air conditioning felt amazing after a long day at the local water park; so did the silence. Then it felt odd, so I turned on the radio. The song that started playing hit my soul: “Woah, we’re halfway there/Woah, livin’ on a prayer.” I’m always living on a prayer, but I also noticed we are halfway there. RELATED: Growing Up, You First Then Me Halfway through the year, more than halfway through summer, and...

Keep Reading

Kindergarten is the Start of Letting You Go

In: Kids, Motherhood

We’re physically ready for kindergarten. We’ve got the backpack, the school supplies, the school clothes, and the new shoes. We’ve talked about it all summer. We’ve practiced the skills he will need, and how to open everything inside of a cold lunch box. We’ve talked positively about it and imagined all the friends he will meet and the places he will go, and how kind and caring the teacher will be. We’re physically ready for kindergarten. But here’s a little secret . . . My heart? My heart can’t fully be ready for him to go to kindergarten. I know...

Keep Reading

The Truth about Puddle Jumpers and Toddler Drowning, From a Grieving Mom

In: Kids
Little boy in Puddle Jumper on waterslide

The very last video I have of my 3-year-old son, Levi, is of him bobbing up and down in a Puddle Jumper.  His little legs kicking underwater, his eyes the spitting image of his daddy, and his older sisters, his happy grin, and his little voice saying “Cheese!” This time-stamped video, counting down the precious minutes we had left until he would end up in this very same pool, less than two hours later.  But this time, it was without the Puddle Jumper. I understand the sense of panic building inside you to avoid my story or read it just...

Keep Reading