Friday, June 27, 2008


Tom's graduation dinner fell the night before the 6-year anniversary of our first date. To celebrate, I took Peter to Nana and Papa's for his first overnight away from me (he had a blast), and Tom and I returned to the very hotel room where we spent our wedding night. I wore the shoes and earrings that I wore with my wedding dress, but checking into the bridal suite I realized why white maternity dresses are hard to come by. I call this shot "It's Not Too Late":


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

D-Day... Well, Night

I knew The Day would come, and while many sources promised it would go easily, part of me always doubted just a little... How would Peter transition to sleeping in his own room? We spent our luck cards on the nightweaning, which went uncharacteristically smoothly, so surely we were due for a battle. Apparently, though, Peter is picking his battles these days, and he's reserved his energy for tantrums over broken granola bars and halogen lightbulbs.

He slept his first night in the Big Boy Room as if he'd been doing it all his life. I left him sleepy but awake, and he went to sleep. At 6:00 a.m., I went in and woke him. Since then, that's basically the story. Sometimes he wakes earlier, and I'll hear him talking to his animals in bed, but he stays there. The whole thing has been anticlimatic. Downright boring.

I, on the other hand, am sleeping with the video monitor beside me on the pillow, sensitive to every sound as if listening in on a newborn. I didn't realize what a change this would be for me. I'm still not opposed to Peter's return (there's a toddler bed in the garage waiting to be put together, and it looks like a bench so it won't look too out of place in our room) but I just don't know that he's going to need it.

Only one night did I worry about bedtime battles. Soon after I left him, Peter got out of bed and opened the door. I told him to get back into bed, and he did. Then I heard him get up again, though he didn't open the door. Since I didn't want to turn this into a game, I waited to see what he would do. He "read" some books to himself. Then he picked up his baby, and I watched on the monitor as he undressed him and picked him up and talked to him... and brought him into bed. He giggled with the baby on the pillow beside him, then went to sleep. I couldn't resist taking his picture before going to bed myself:


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

We're out of boxes...

But I'm not sure how much that's worth when all of our belongings are piled on top of each other in various rooms. I left town soon after the movers did. In fact, for the past week and a half, I haven't spent more than two nights in the same town.

It's been an eventful time, and there's much I want to share. First, I've got to get a handle on this clutterbox I call home. The anxious, unsettled feeling is back. I'm trying to remind myself, though, of how fortunate we are. So many moves are the result of loss: death, divorce, financial setbacks...

I may feel overwhelmed, but this is a golden time.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

What Would Dave Ramsey Think?

I discovered this afternoon that I've worn out the strip on my credit card. When I told Tom, I prefaced it with, "The funniest thing happened today," but he still didn't think it was funny.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

So, I'm Moving

I could go on for another month about things I will do differently as I parent again. But you know what? I've realized my preoccupation with this is either innocently ill-timed or a subconscious attempt to procrastinate. I mean, I'm MOVING in exactly one week!

Yeah, we have movers, but I'm sure they'd appreciate not having to pack the junk mail piled on my kitchen counter or place cd's back in their cases or deal with my piles of dirty laundry.

And if I don't post for a long time, it's because I never got around to setting up cable in our new house.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Parenting Again: Bonding with Daddy

When I tell him that Daddy will be home soon, Peter runs to the front window, waiting and watching for his car. Then he runs out the door, down the steps and sidewalk, yelling "Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" until he lands in his arms. It's one of those things I need to catch on video.

It's refreshing after all the time I spent worrying about the father-child bond. Peter has always been such a Mama's boy, particularly during his first 18 months of life, that I was constantly looking for ways to force-- uh "forge," the bond with his father. Our attempt at a daily "Daddy's bottle" was excrutiating for all three of us-- something we won't bother with next time around. Bathtime with Daddy has always helped me clean up after dinner but never stopped Peter from crying like a banshee if Tom tried to put him to bed instead of me.

Oh, he definitely preferred his dad to strangers, friends and babysitters. But still, he wasn't going to run to Daddy for a booboo if I were in the same room.

I imagine all mothers have this same concern that their spouse and child do not reject one another. I mean, who in the world do you love more than those two? And with Peter so attached to me, I sometimes worried that it came at the cost of attachments to others.

Silly me. Time and perspective, as always, change everything. Perhaps it was learning to love and receive love from me that taught Peter how to love and receive love from his Daddy (and Nana, Papa, Mimi, Grandpa, and various friends and all his cousins) as well as he does today. Peter's turning out to be quite the outgoing and affectionate child. Boy, you could've fooled me-- but I'll take it!

As for bonding with Daddy... It was such a gradual thing, it's hard to pinpoint when the transition began. I do know that Peter sometimes urges me to go out at night so he can have a date with Daddy to their favorite restaurant, which ends with Daddy putting him to bed by holding hands.

So the next time around, I'm just not going to sweat it. My husband is not an ogre, and as long as my infant learns how to love, he or she is going to love Daddy too. They will bond. Sooner, later, in their own time, and I'm not facilitator. I'll just sit back watch.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Parenting Again: Food

The responsibility of nourishing an infant and toddler used to petrify me. I stocked up on baby food books, determined to let my little man be the "best he could be." Or a superhuman.

Maybe that's why it ticked me off when Peter refused solids until he was almost 9 months. After all, the books said I was to start with cereal at exactly six months, moving on to fruits and veggies with at least 3 days spaced between each new food to pinpoint any allergies. We were seriously behind the clock.

I talked to a couple of pediatricians about our horrific dilemma, but they didn't share my alarm. "He's getting the good stuff," they'd say. "There's not a solid to beat it... Breastmilk satisfies every nutritional need for the first year of life, as long as you are feeding on demand... He'll eat when he's ready... I'd say the same thing to you even if he was in the 15th percentile instead of off the chart." (Yeah, I guess I should mention that throughout this time when I was certain that my child was starving, his height and weight were still above the 100th percentile.)

As it turned out, Peter did eat when he was ready. Imagine that! I guess he was holding out for the real stuff, since the first food he willingly put into his mouth was rosemary garlic potato. He never did eat anything but table food. Even then, he was over a year old before he wanted solids every day.

I look back at those months and wonder what I was smoking. I mean, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble. Less food to prepare, no one to spoon-feed during dinner, and no ghastly "solid poos" to change. (Really, someone needed to warn me what solids do to that sweet, inoffensive breastfed poo).

So this next baby will eat when he or she can put food to his or her mouth indepentdently. That's how it is in many parts of the world, and I don't see going to the trouble of purees or expensive jarred food when I can just whip out a boob.

Lazy mom. I am such a lazy mom.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Parenting Again: Sleep

If there is one thing I thoroughly understood before Peter was born, it was infant sleep. After all, I'd read Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.* "Lay them down drowsy but awake." "Do not allow them to become overtired." "Understand their sleep cues." I had it down.

But, as they say, reality bites.

The first book I read after Peter was born was Ferber's Solve Your Child's Sleep Problem. My child had to sleep, whatever it took.... as long as it wasn't in my bed where, if it didn't smother him, it would surely destroy my marriage.

Well, here's the long story short: we're failed Ferberizers. We worked for months, with increasingly less success. (Unless you count three hours of crying to get one hour of sleep successful, but I sort of don't.) In desperation I read Sears' Nighttime Parenting. And for the first time in my life, I learned that bringing a baby into my bed can be safely done.

Two years later, I have a new perspective. Much to my surprise, my husband and I both liked co-sleeping. Whaddya know? It didn't kill our marriage, nor did it prevent Peter's ability to sleep independently in his own time (he now sleeps through the night in his own bed). I was able to feed my child and help him to sleep as much as he needed it without losing any sleep myself. What a miracle!

So as I look at parenting another infant, I've gone from what Weissbluth calls a "reactive co-sleeper" to one who will do it by choice. If this next child is, unlike Peter, a baby who sleeps deeply and easily, I'm glad to know that having me breathing beside him can help him to regulate his own breathing patterns and help prevent SIDS. And if this next kid is like Peter-- well, I'm far too lazy to be back and forth between my bed and the nursery all night long.

It's freeing, really.

* Incidentally, I still think HSHHC is an excellent book. While Weissbluth and I don't necessarily agree on how a child "must" go to sleep, his understanding of a child's sleep needs at various ages has been an invaluable resource for me.