Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sharing a Give Away

I have never linked to another page's giveaway before, but I am really impressed by this giveaway and figured it's a great way to share - also, I may blog future giveaways and promo codes in order to share the love with other mommies.

But, The Leaky Boob is having this giveaway of TWO awesome diaper bags. And, well, to call them diaper bags is actually offensive since they're way better than awesome! The Leaky Boob is partnering with Ness bags to give away 2 gorgeous bags for mommy. And, heck, even if you're not a mommy, it's a great bag and I wouldn't fault you for entering either.

You can enter twice - and only twice - now through January 2nd. Hey, if you win, let me know. So I can come to your house and steal it. I mean, so I can congratulate you!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Crying It Out

So, recently Psychology Today posted this article about crying it out and blames all sorts of adult mental health issues on parents who choose do follow Dr. Ferber's methods of what he calls "sleep training" and "self-soothing". I actually read a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child when Gage was first born - recommended by our pediatrician. So, needless to say, I have done my research and have my own "experiment" happily running around at home. Let me launch into what will probably make you mad.

I was really incensed by the article in Psychology Today, and was equally PLEASED with this article on Shine as a sort of response. One important thing to pull from this second article "Even Dr. Richard Ferber, whose sleep-training method is commonly called the Cry It Out Method, says that he never intended parents to completely ignore their babies nighttime tears."

There's a term called "gradual extinction" that is used in sleep training/self-soothing. It basically means that once your child is "of age" - let's say 6 months, just to be generous (The "Sleep Habits" book says you can start training around 4 months - gestationally - which means if your baby was born three weeks early, please add three weeks to the 16 week age of 4 months) - you can put them to bed, after a normal bedtime routine which should take about 30 minutes or what we called "bath, bottle, bedtime". You spend time prepping your baby for sleep. Turn down the lights, take them to their room, nurse/bottle feed them - make something thats personal to you and your child that helps them wind down for the day. We still do a routine - bath, cup of milk, read books, bed for Gage. He knows that its time to relax and get ready for sleep.

STEP 1: So, bedtime routine and then you lay them in their beds and tell them goodnight. Here's where your baby will likely start crying - after 5 minutes, you can return to their room, soothe them WITHOUT PICKING THEM UP. Rub their belly, or back or whatever. And, then leave. Maybe they'll cry again - this time wait 10 minutes. And, return to soothe, but without picking them up. Repeat the process adding 5 minutes each time. I can honestly say, it took less than a week to get Gage to go to sleep without crying.

STEP 2: During the night, your child will wake up. Just like adults do. We all have sleep patterns. You wake up, roll over, and go back to sleep, right?  If they're 6 months old and your pediatrician hasn't specifically told you to keep feeding your baby at night due to low weight, etc. then you will start training your baby to be able to accomplish that same task - roll over and go back to sleep. Step 2 can take more time than step 1, of course.

Each author (Ferber & Weissbluth) specifically points out the use of COMMON SENSE and something most moms have - Maternal Instinct. As a parent, you can tell the difference in your baby's cries. "Protest crying" is what they do when you put them to bed clean, fed and burped. You know if something is wrong with your kid and they're crying because they really need something. There's also references to sickness, changes like moving, vacation, etc. Nothing about parenting is black and white. But, somehow, people seem to think we mean to dump our kids in their bed and close the door, and go enjoy our lives (and sleep) til morning.

I hate the criticism that comes from parents who don't allow their children to sleep well and sleep enough. P.S. What kind of sex life do you really have if your kid keeps you up all the time, and/or sleeps in your bed all the time? Parenting is a huge responsibility, but so is balancing being a parent with being a spouse, being a friend, being a person.

My son is outgoing, independent, very smart, has a great memory, he's not anxious, he doesn't feel abandoned, and he's a great sleeper. Our relationship isn't lacking because I didn't get up with him every single time he cried over the last year and a half (presuming you started at 6 months) during the night. In fact, he's very affectionate and sweet. He plays by himself and with other children extremely well.

I won't take credit for everything - no, I firmly believe that the advice I received through the books I read helped me raise a child who is well-rested and will therefore NOT suffer from ADHD, social anxieties or require Prozac; at least not because he didn't get enough sleep, or because I "forced" him to self-soothe at an age appropriate stage. (Disclaimer - those are all symptoms/issues named by Darcia Narvaez in the Shine article)

And, guess what?! You may find this apalling, but I am having ANOTHER kid and I will do the EXACT same thing with him. You can thank me when my kid isn't screaming at the grocery store because he's tired. And you can be jealous that I get to sleep through the night too.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Gage - Twenty Four Month Letter

Dear Captain Underpants,
You are TWO! This is where we have another celebration commemorating our survival of another year! We made it! It was such an awesome year for you as a person, and such a year of changes. I went back to work, and it broke my heart because I missed you so much. Then you started THRIVING at the babysitter's house and I realized that it takes a village to raise a child because that's what benefits THE CHILD the most. Getting you out, socializing, learning new things, growing close to friends outside of our family - you've just sprouted into a little boy with so much excitement for life.

This past month you've officially switched to big boy underwear. You're wearing diapers at night at at naptime, but doing REALLY well when you're awake. You let us know you've got to go, and then don't feel too embarrassed about announcing it out loud in public when you've successfully gone. It's very cute...for now. I have decided I'm going to have to carry around some antibacterial wipes for the bathroom. I'm so grossed out by putting your sweet little bottom on the toilets out in public that I am willing to wipe down a public toilet with germ killing wipes beforehand.

You're asking questions and explaining things in complete sentences now. You've been watching Toy Story 3 repeatedly over the last two or three weeks. I see Toy Story 1 & 2 showing up under the Christmas tree this year. My favorite quote this month: Your daddy was trying to play with you while you were sitting in the big chair and you said "No, Daddy. I watching Woody." You also refer to him as "Daddy Curtis" if you don't get his attention the first couple of times with just "Daddy". Quite hilarious.

We decided to get you a big boy bed this Christmas and Aunt Suzanne and Uncle Dean generously bought it for you. Now, we're just hoping to find some sheets and a bedding set that you'll like and rearrange the furniture in your room to allow for the twin sized bed. Your dad really wanted to get you a super fun toddler bed, but I'm too practical for that and convinced him that you'll be happier with the bigger bed and awesome sheets that we can change out each week. (What, you change your sheets more often than weekly? If there's no pee-pee in the bed, I don't change them more often than that.) I just know we need to get you out of the crib sooner rather than later so you don't feel like we stole it for the new baby. Out of sight, out of mind for a few months.

You've started being a bit more rambunctious and rowdy since you've turned two. But, you're still so sweet. One morning on the way to My's house, I heard you singing "Rock-a-bye Baby" and I looked back and you were rocking a football. Such a perfect combination of little boy and sweetness.

I can't believe you're two. And, I keep thinking it can't get any more fun than this, but it does. We are constantly impressed by you. You do so much to make us proud. I know you're going to be a great big brother and I can't wait for your little brother to meet you.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy!

Love, Mommy