Category Archives: Child Development

Waiting.

How sad is it that this is the first chance I’ve had in a while to post, and I’m posting from my phone while waiting in line to get my passport renewed. Pretty sad.

No, I am not about to be whisked away on an international escapade. But I do work for an international organization, my passport is way out-of-date (I got it in 1999, when my last name was still Stapleton, and I didn’t smile in the photo so my braces wouldn’t show), and prices on passports go up tomorrow. So! Here I wait.

Things are great at our house. Sadie is now exactly half my height. She says “Sadie” sometimes when prompted, which is totally awesome. And she will cock her head to the side and say “peek!” She’s climbing now, resulting this morning in a “thwap”‘as she fell off the desk chair.

Whew, I finally got a seat. My legs are tired, because I did a whopping 80 equate last night. Okay, they weren’t great form, but still. I’ve added squats to my exercise regimen. Oh! And I’m taking ballet! I’m super excited about it. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to take ballet, and there’s a new studio opening in town with an adult class and very reasonable fees. I’m even going to do a little class Saturday mornings with Sadie.

Trevor’s got an out-of-town race this weekend, so it’ll be us girls Saturday. We’ve got Sadie’s BFF Margie’s first birthday party, and we are thrilled to celebrate with her family and our friends. Family vacation is coming up soon, too.

I guess that’s about it. I’ve been obsessing over preschool issues lately, so hopefully I’ll write a post about everything thats been rattling around in my head soon.

Also, I’m toying around with the idea of adding contributors to Parenting from Scratch. I’m clearly short on time these days, but I like what I’ve had going on here. If you’re interested, do let me know!

Water water. Water water.

So, I’m getting a little worried about something. Water. And Sadie. Not mixing so well anymore.

Apart from her first bath, Sadie has pretty well liked bath time, and I seem to remember her really digging the pool (and the lake) last summer. Now, not so much. I’ve tried to take her swimming twice, and neither time has gone well. And baths have become a struggle. One night this week, she refused to sit in the tub, so I just held her in my arms next to the tub and wiped her down with a washcloth.

So much mad for such a little baby.

Enjoying the lake.

Is this a phase? Gosh, I hope so. I was terriffically afraid of water for a really long time when I was a kid. My parents say it’s because my mom startled herself and me when giving me my first bath. My aunt says my dad tried to “cure” me of my fear by taking me in a boat and rocking it to show me it was no big deal. I have no memory of either. I do remember once, when I was little, taking my floaties off so I could get onto a foam surfboard in a swimming pool. I’d pulled the board over to the edge, because I couldn’t get on it from in the pool, as my floaties kept getting in the way. Of course, I fell straight in and couldn’t swim. I remember my little brother (a fish from the start) helped pull me out somehow, and my dad got me the rest of the way out. I didn’t need resuscitating or anything, but I think it definitely cemented my fear of the water. My aunt recalls, when I first came to stay with her and her family when I was 7, that I wouldn’t take a shower or a bath without screaming. I just stood in the tub while she bathed me. I kind of remember this, but I’m not sure if it was just that first night that I was like that, or if it continued.

I did eventually grow out of this fear, but it wasn’t until I was in the fifth grade that I learned to swim. My Girl Scout troop went to a dude ranch for a weekend, and my friend, Megan, got me to finally swim in the deep end. It took me another year before I’d jump off the diving board. To this day, I still can’t dive, and the best I can do is not drown.

I don’t want this for Sadie. I want this to be a phase. This is just a phase, right? What do I do? Can I do anything?

Baby love.

Everything I just typed disappeared into the Interwebs clouds. It’s 11:17, and I’m really tired and burned out from thinking. So here’s the bulleted version of a sweet post I wrote about Sadie and her 1991 Cabbage Patch Preemie doll.

  • Got him at a flea market this past weekend.
  • She wasn’t interested in him at all at first.
  • I got him anyway, because it made me nostalgic, and it made me feel better for not buying her all of the hideously ugly dolls she’d been drawn to (Mama has standards).
  • Now, she’s freaking in love with him. It’s the cutest thing ever.
  • She hugs him tight.
  • She pats his back.
  • She gives him kisses.
  • She shushes him.
  • She’s slept with him every night since.
  • We took them both to vote this morning.

I let her borrow my I Voted sticker for the photo. Then I took it back.

Notice the death grip she's got on him. She was a sad gal when we had to leave him behind after our walk home. We're not risking losing this guy at daycare.

Girlfriend wants my iPhone so bad.

P.S. If you’d told me five years ago I’d be standing over my kitchen sink at 10:30 at night, scraping digested food bits out of cloth diaper tabs, I’d have called you a lying whore.

I try.

I try to take pictures of Sadie in her cloth diaper; I fail, because she wants to take the diaper off.

I try to take pictures of Sadie’ 11curling hairs; I fail, because she wants to know what I’m doing behind her.

Maybe I should try taking pictures with something other than my phone.

At least I got a cute shot of loverman Tarzan bein the cutesy cat alive.

Our milk conundrum continues.

So remember when I was all, I’m grossed out at the thought of Sadie drinking cow’s milk? Right. Well, now I sure wish she would. I had my last pumping session last Friday. I had been considering it, and after 15 minutes of pumping, I had only a measly two ounces to show for it (yes, I do recognize that for some women, two ounces would be fantastic, but for me it was not). I used to feel really productive–in the most literal sense ever–in the Mother’s Room. So now Sadie only gets breastmilk straight from the source. That’s totally fine with me, as long as she’s still getting enough of what she needs, which I really don’t know how to tell. Her solids diet is pretty balanced, I believe. And she nurses twice in the morning, sometimes when I pick her up from daycare, and always at bedtime. In fact, she can now verbally request to nurse (“nuh nuh?”), and I almost always am able to nurse her within moments of her request (not, you know, in the checkout line, but once we get to the car or something). She likes drinking water, so I don’t think she’s at risk of becoming dehydrated.

I will not drink it from a cup. I will not drink it with my sup.

But every time Sadie takes a sip from her sippy cup and it has milk in it, she pretty much just dribbles it out of her mouth. We’re on probably our third half-gallon of whole milk (I’ve tried both organic from the grocery store and locally-sourced milk). She’s not a fan at all of soy milk, either. I know there are other nut/grain milk options, but they just don’t have enough calcium or protein by comparison. And something tells me she’d reject those anyway. Homegirl accepts no substitutes, apparently.

So what’s a mom to do? Do I have to go back to pumping? Is it alright if she just has water all day at daycare? Should I just try cow’s milk every couple of weeks, once a month, once a year, to see if she’s changed her mind?

Keeping up.

Every few months or so, whenever I notice how much Sadie has changed, progressed, developed, I kind of panic. About her toys. We’ve been very discriminating about what toys we keep in our home, in part because out house is quite small, but also because we don’t want her to be overloaded with plastic garbage. But I recently had what was probably my third moment of panic where I became practically obsessed with the idea that all of her toys were too babyish, that she’s probably bored out of her mind, and that we’re not paying close enough attention to helping her fulfill her developmental destiny (okay, that last part is admittedly a tad dramatic).

Is this happening to everyone else? Anyone?

I know the solution isn’t to rush out and buy a bunch of toys, but I can’t help but feel like her toy box needs a bit of a refresher. She’s always getting into something she shouldn’t in the kitchen, so I did get her some play food.

I’d really like to get her a play kitchen, but the wooden ones are expensive.

I don’t believe she NEEDS many toys at all, but what are other good toys for the 12-18 month range? The play food is actually for 3+, but there aren’t any parts small enough for her to swallow, so I suspect it’s because 3 is when they start “getting” the concepts this is supposed to “teach.” But I just think play food is fun. As in, I could amuse myself for hours playing with fake food. Hours.

Life from the couch

I’ll spare you the details, but this week I’ve either had some sort of stomach bug, or I have managed to give myself a touch of food poisoning. Twice.

Today I worked from home, which means I was glued to the couch pretty much all day. Two laptops open, a Gatorade (gag) by my side. It got me reminiscing, though, about this time last year. Sadie was just over a month old, and we spent all day every day on the couch, from what I can remember.

Other than the stomach yuckies, it’s been relatively uneventful around here. Sadie is learning new words all the time–we’ve got “hey,” “hi,” “bye, bye,” “dog,” “woof, woof,” “kitty” (sort of), “eye,” “ball” (but not eyeball), and probably a couple more I’m not thinking of. Sadie is increasingly demanding about going outside. She had two stroller rides today, which has us hopeful that Sadie will love (she’d better) the bike trailer that just came for her today.

It might rain on Sunday, but if not, we’ll be taking her for a spin!

Oh, and don’t worry, she’s also got one of these:

Now, here’s hoping her mama can find the energy to pedal (not to mention her padded bike shorts!).

Reply turned post: Sleeping in the Gray Area

As you know, we’ve been backandforth some (okay, a TON) over Sadie’s sleep. Well, I am happy to report that things are still going swimmingly. Even in the face of some major teething. Sure, there are nights like Tuesday where she wakes up a few times for a little cuddle and some teething tablets. But more often that not, Sadie goes to bed between 6:15 and 6:45 pm, wakes up to nurse around 5:30, and is up for the day around 6:30. AWESOME.

One of the blogs I follow is API Speaks, which is the blog of Attachment Parenting International. I would consider what Trevor and I are doing, for the most part, to be Attachment Parenting. There was a post recently, however, that I think highlights a need in many parenting styles, and that’s flexibility (something my Aunt Margie would say is NOT my strong suit). I hope you’ll go on over and read the post and that you’ll chime in on the discussion over there, over here, or both.

Here’s my response:

I think there’s a gray area that doesn’t get talked about enough in Attachment Parenting conversations. And that is what to do with your older baby who actually DOES need more sleep than she’s getting. There’s so much talk about how we shouldn’t “sleep train” our babies in order to satisfy our own needs for sleep. And I agree with that. I signed on to parenting and all the nitty-gritty that comes with it. I also agree that infants, especially those who are breastfed (and of those, especially ones with working-out-of-the-home mothers), may need to wake up often to eat throughout the night.

But a 12+-month-old very well may have different needs. A toddler who sleeps no longer than two or three hours at a time has a problem. It’s called sleep deprivation. Think about how hard it is to go about our daily lives on low-quality sleep. Sometimes we’re groggy, we’re grouchy, we’re sloppy. Most of the time, it’s not that big a deal. You can grocery shop on auto-pilot. But what if you’re learning to walk? And what if you’re learning your first language? These are some TOUGH things to learn, and being groggy, grouchy and sloppy HAS to make it harder.

I believe that the intensive nighttime parenting we did for our daughter was the right thing to do. We co-slept when it made sense; we never left her to cry. I believe it laid a strong foundation for her to know that sleep is good and safe, and that her parents are nearby when she needs them. I also believe, however, that the time had come for a change. Sure, I’ll admit the prospect of getting to sleep through the night sounded awesome for myself. It also felt like something my daughter truly needed. More than she needed hourly check-ins with her dad or me.

I’ve been practicing Attachment Parenting in all the ways that it fits my family since before my daughter was born. And it’s a great fit for us. But I think there’s a danger in black-and-white-only thinking: you either go along with your baby’s sleep routine, no matter the consequences; or you leave her to cry for hours at a time causing her to lose her trust in you completely. Again, I completely agree that sleep training is potentially harmful to a newborn or infant. And that eventually, pretty much everybody learns to sleep through the night, one way or another. But why isn’t anybody talking about the in-between?

After recognizing that my daughter’s needs had shifted—from needing to nurse frequently through the night to needing a full night’s sleep—I was able to see that what we’d created was a habit of waking that was no longer healthy for her. I also realized what I already knew—she’s older now and CAN understand the concept of lying herself back down and going to sleep.

You say:

“Baby trainers often state that it is important for an infant learn to pacify itself, but an infant, like stated before, has no way of understanding that they are supposed to comfort themselves. They have no tools to do that. Leaving an infant to himself will in fact do just that; it will teach him to take his emotions and, instead of expressing them, it will teach the infant to internalize all that anger need and fear. The infant will come to an understanding that their wants/needs will not be met and that they must fend for themselves. When this happens in an infant, many people believe that the sleep battle has been won and that the parent has been victorious. What they do not understand is that they may have won the battle but they have lost the war for trust.”

But, again, what about toddlers? Who haven’t “naturally” found their way to getting a healthy night’s sleep? I honestly believe that an AP-raised toddler is capable of putting herself to sleep—and staying asleep. And I do believe that for some, like my daughter, the presence of a parent throughout the night can become an interference. A hindrance to learning to sleep well.

Why does it have to be all battles and wars? I’m not saying what we did would work for anybody else, but it is disheartening to now feel like we’re not “AP” enough because we decided that our daughter was old enough to put herself to sleep with a minimal (no more than five minutes) amount of (non-distressed) crying. We tried it. It worked. And I am 100 percent confident that my daughter gets the sleep she needs to fuel her days of learning and growing and that she continues to trust in her parents.

I guess what I’m saying is, there’s a gray area, and we’re sleeping in it.

And here’s what I added a few minutes later:

Oh, and what I left out (can you believe it?) is this: had we not been willing to put our AP-ness aside and given our daughter five minutes to figure out how to put herself to sleep, who knows how much longer she’d have gone without getting a healthy amount of sleep?

So Sadie Sleeps

Okay, so remember how they always tell you never to say never?

Right. So I kept on reading about babies and sleep, trying to figure out what the best thing for Sadie truly was. And some of the conclusions I’d come to were these: Sadie no longer really needed to wake up every hour. No need at all, especially since she’d night weaned so easily. Sadie was waking up all the time out of habit. Yes, I’d gotten out of the night-duty rotation and had been getting sleep myself. And maybe that’s what helped me see things a little more clearly. Trevor had taken my place, but Sadie was still waking up, hour after hour, and she was still having some level of interaction with one of us.

At one year of age, it was no longer working for her. For any of us. I borrowed a book from a friend (one that I honestly thought I’d Never read, because it was one of those CIO books, and I’d Never let Sadie cry for a minute longer than she had to), and I read a little bit about the author and his ideas online, and I came away with this conclusion: Sadie’s sleep was no longer healthy for her, and her getting uninterrupted sleep for more than two or three hours at a stretch was much more important at this point than her getting regular visits from one of us throughout the night. I started thinking about how hard it’s been for Trevor and me to get by on lousy sleep. And I realized how hard it probably was for Sadie–she’s been learning to walk and learning her very first language. I can’t imagine doing all of that in a sleep-deprived state. I do believe that, during her infancy, she had a true need for all the night wakings–light sleep may protect against SIDS, and she definitely needed to nurse extra at night once I started working.

So here’s what I decided to try. Last Monday I fed Sadie dinner early and went straight into her bedtime routine. I nursed her and then put her in her crib. I told her I lived her and goodnight, and I left the room. I set the timer on my phone for five minutes. She fussed for exactly five minutes, and then she stopped. A couple of minutes later, she started fussing again, so I reset my timer. After four minutes, she was quiet. And I didn’t hear from her again for three hours. At that waking, I picked her up, bounced her, and then put her back. She fussed for ten minutes, I went back in. She fussed ten more minutes, and then was quiet. She slept for four hours. The rest of the night had a few more wakings, but she required very little interference.

Now, I know I keep saying “fussing” instead of “crying,” and that’s because it’s really been more of fussing than crying. When it’s crying, I intervene. Maybe she needs a diaper change. Or some teething tablets.

Aside from last Tuesday night, Sadies sleep has gotten better and better. She slept 11 hours without making a peep the other night. The past two nights Sadie has voluntarily laid down in her crib and not fussed or cried a second until the morning.

We are ALL feeling the difference! I’m not sorry we didn’t do this sooner…I don’t suspect I’d do it before a year if Sadie gets a sibling. But considering how EASY this has all been, and how not traumatic, and how successful (okay, so it’s only been one week, but she is Sleeping Through the Night while cutting four teeth at once, and that’s bug stuff in our book!), I feel very good about the decision.

So now you’re free to “I told you so” me or to hate my guts.

But isn’t she a doll?