Sleeping In The Suburbs :: Part 5

After scaring expecting or brand new parents with Part 1 and Part 2 of my series ‘Sleepless In The Suburbs’, then leading them on with a slightly more positive Part 3 and Part 4, it’s time to proclaim the good news of victory over all sleep demons.

Snoozing with her best friend.

Back in July/August of last year, after we started with the CIO (Crying It Out) method, Emma quickly showed that she was very well capable of sleeping for 12 hours in one stretch without the need for extra fuel or attention. She was 6 months old at that time. All this nursing in the middle of the night was simply because she wanted the comfort of Mama’s boobies. (Mr. Thrasher says, he can relate.)

For the first few months as new parents it seemed like a never-ending story and I kept asking God why He had to punish test us with such a difficult baby. Today, I can barely remember when Emma decided that napping in her crib is absolutely refreshing and that she would be ok if I just put her down in her own bed, said ‘Gute Nacht’ and left her in her room to fall asleep. After six stressful, sleepless, exhausting months for all family members, Emma had finally learned to not only go to sleep without fussing at night, she was also cooperating during daytime naps.

As lots of wise (wo)men, doctors, sleep experts and research confirms, babies need the predictability of a daily routine - including naps. (Thrasher Home is not a scientific or medical blog so you won’t find the facts here. But I encourage you to read more about it if you doubt it.) Therefore, we decided that Emma’s sleep schedule, especially bedtime at night, would take priority over our social life. And if that required for either Paul or me to stay home in the evening while Emma was sleeping or getting a babysitter, so shall it be.

The reward for our sacrifice is priceless. Let me share a summary of Emma’s sleeping habits as of the age of 6 months:

  • We do feed her before bedtime/naps but she’s always awake when we put her in her bed.
  • Emma doesn’t cry when put in her crib and left in her room to fall asleep on her own. Only when she thinks she doesn’t need a nap, she objects loudly. However, this doesn’t happen at night.
  • Bedtime is 6.30pm. She is fast asleep by 7pm.
  • She mostly goes down for her naps during the day without fussing.
  • At almost a year, she still naps twice during the day: around 9.30am and 2pm. I always try to be home or in the car around these times to give her an opportunity to sleep. (She refuses to fall asleep in her stroller.)
  • Starting at 6 1/2 months, Emma was sleeping through the night from 6pm to 6am. She usually woke up once around 11pm, fussed softly for less than five minutes and went right back to sleep.
  • Emma often plays quietly with her toys after waking up from a nap.
I know some of you have been exploring CIO? How has it been going for you? Tell me.

Family – A Guest Post By The Truthful Mom :: The Adoption Awareness Blog Project

For the month of November, several talented, witty, smart, funny and real bloggers will be joining me here on Thrasher Home to support the Adoption Awareness Blog Project. Every Wednesday, I’ll be welcoming a guest blogger who will share their thoughts about ‘Family’.

 

By Sarah of The Truthful Mom:

At my best friend’s wedding the minister spoke about how the bride and groom were coming together to join as a family. He reminded them that even if they did not go on to have children; God had created this family of two for them. I love that. I believe that.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. ~Genesis 2:24

It was very soon after we were married that my husband and I were bombarded with questions about when we would “start a family.” While the sentiment was sweet (and likely fueled by my mother’s friends wanting her to have grandchildren), it always bothered me that somehow marriage wasn’t deemed enough to be a family. You see, when I took my vows and committed to marry my husband I very much believed that I had “started” my family. It may only have been a family of two – but it was two people dedicated to each other in love.

So, stemming from my thoughts about “starting” a family, I guess my definition of family would expand even further. In my life I have been blessed to be surrounded by good friends who I love dearly and who encourage me to be my better self. I definitely consider these people to be part of my family because in my heart I have dedicated myself to them in support and love. These wonderful people have come in all shapes, sizes, colors, ages and backgrounds – but these are the people with whom I share the joys and sorrows of my life and love.

Family is the people God put in your life to love you, commit to you, challenge you and support you along your path. Some of these people you may know from birth but some of these people you accumulate along the way.

When I think of adoption and family I smile. I see bringing a child into your family – pledging to commit to each other and sharing love together – as a beautiful part of God’s plan. How we find each other isn’t the important part of being a family. How we appreciate each other in our family is what should be important to us as we live our lives.

Chopped :: Introducing Finger Food

After introducing solids at the age of 5 1/2 months, we’ve moved to the next culinary adventure in baby land: self-feeding and fingerfood.

"Sooo...how do I get those Cheerios out?"

I’m thankful to say that Emma has not rejected any food or category so far nor has she developed any allergies. Actually, she even added food categories like books, paper, plush toys, and mommy’s arm to her diet. She also doesn’t really mind whether her meal is warm or not. She has pretty much been devouring anything we have ever served her including:

  • Vegetables: carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, zucchini, peas, black beans, green beans
  • Fruit: mango, avocado, blueberries, nectarine, banana, pear, apple, peaches
  • Meat: chicken
  • Dairy: baby yogurt, salt-free cottage cheese
Unconventional combinations:
  • Cinnamon carrots with chicken
  • Chicken with cilantro and apple sauce
  • Black beans with avocado and cottage cheese
  • Guacamole

Emma is demonstrating excellent motor skills.

Recently we started project “I Can So Eat By Myself” which takes meal time to a whole new level. First of all, the splash mat we put under her high chair to protect our carpet is no longer large enough to cover the danger zone. I do have to say though that she is not really a messy eater. She even picks up the food she drops into her lap. Secondly, meal time now takes at least twice as long – from prep to feeding to cleaning up afterwards. Third, I am once again swerving between sadness to see my baby grow up to get more and more independent and pride that she’s developing so well.

  • Fingerfood: cheerios, veggie puffs, Monterey Jack cheese (cubes), whole wheat bagel (cubes), broccoli (small pieces of florets only). assortment of easily gum-able fruits, chicken
I also put a bowl with mashed sweet potatoes in front of her, gave her a spoon and asked her politely not to spill it everywhere. Not much landed in her mouth but she will have plenty of time to figure it out.
I am committed to using organic produce and fruit for baby’s meals. If I can’t find organic apples, she’ll get organic peaches. Meats are organic only. Same goes for Mama since I’m still breastfeeding (well, pumping).

Stay-At-Home Mom :: A Job Description

A not-too-serious job description. (Get yourself a latte – it’s a long read but worth it. Promise.)

The position
The SAHM is charged with the responsibility of

  1. the care and development of a brand new human being,
  2. the care of the family dog,
  3. the maintenance and staging of the family home,
  4. the beautification and maintenance of self.

Some major tasks include:

  • Feeding baby healthy and balanced age-appropriate meals including fresh breast milk – bottled or straight up.
  • Entertaining baby with safe, non-toxic toys that spark creativity, imagination and curiosity.
  • Protecting baby from harm, pain and disappointment.
  • Assisting with hygienic care including but not limited to diaper changes, hair and body wash, ear cleaning, teeth brushing, application of moisturizer, sunscreen, band aids and ointments when necessary.
  • Teaching Sign Language and German.
  • Cultivating German traditions.
  • Executing the following activities: Soothing, singing, reading, educating, making funny faces, laughing out loud, commenting, demonstrating, disciplining, cuddling, kissing, carrying, strolling and gently wrestling.
  • Facilitating attendance of swim lessons, ballet classes, soccer practice and piano lessons.

Other essential duties include:

  • Present baby and her progress during standing meetings with pediatrician.
  • Ensure baby’s mile stones are met in a timely manner.
  • Provide feedback on baby and her development to all family members, god parents and friends who care enough to listen.
  • Maintain an online photo sharing site, a mommy blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter and Pinterest profile for personal aspiration and in pursuit of own dream to write professionally.
  • Show every attempt to keep up with a handwritten baby memory book.

Additional duties include:

  • Nurture existing relationships with close girlfriends.
  • Pursue and build new friendships with like-minded mommy friends.
  • Implement and manage efficient household budgets and processes.
  • Leverage and enhance culinary skills.
  • Create a clean, cozy and well-designed home for the whole family using houses featured in Coastal Living, Martha Stewart Living and House Beautiful as examples.
  • Manage communications with landlord, property manager, vendors and contractors.
  • Manage supplies and utilities.
  • Coordinate and research opportunities for family outings, trips and vacations.
  • Develop and explore strategies for additional (legal) revenue generation.
  • Create warm meals for hardworking husband and serve with chilled beer upon his return from the office while offering an understanding and welcoming attitude towards him.
  • Plan, decorate and host parties and events.
  • Remember and celebrate child’s birthdays, Fathers Day and wedding anniversary.
  • Execute date nights and other marriage duties.
  • Stay up to date on CPR and emergency preparedness.

Success of the above will be strongly dependent upon the SAHM’s ability to:

  • Build and maintain a healthy, loving and trusting relationship with her husband, her daughter, MIL, own mother and self.
  • Understand the husband’s need for respect.
  • Understand the baby’s needs for love, food and attention.
  • Understand the dog’s needs for food, attention and more food.
  • Understand that she will no longer have any needs.
  • Manage every family member’s expectations and forget her own.
  • Obtain from feeling resentful should Mothers Day not be celebrated with breakfast in bed, extra sleep, spa treatments, a gift card for Anthropologie and handwritten cards by husband and daughter.
  • Provide clear, precise and properly detailed description of own feelings to husband.

Required skills:

  • Seeking God, worshipping Him and praying to Him.
  • Previous experience in Motherhood & Parenting is not required but beneficial.
  • Degree from the Martha Stewart School of Everything is not required but also beneficial.
  • Knowledge of best (grocery) shopping deals, couponing and bargaining are highly preferred.
  • Strong comfort level on the phone, excellent organization, communication and interpersonal skills, to include networking, friendship building, small talking at social gatherings, play groups, and family functions.
  • Works well independently.
  • Is capable of working overtime with limited opportunities to feed self, sleep or rest.
  • Strong project and budget management skills to ensure that family activities and events are implemented on time and within budget.
  • Demonstrates gratitude towards husband for providing for the family so she can be a SAHM.

Benefits:

  • Spending precious time with baby, watching her grow up, never missing a mile stone, being present when she sits up, pulls herself up, cruises, makes her first steps, says ‘Mama’ for the first time or witnessing every other tiny new thing she does.
  • Strong attachment to mother instead of nanny or babysitter.
  • Feeling proud of what she does.
  • Most rewarding investment of her skills and knowledge as she teaches and raises her own child.
  • Opportunities for craft and DIY projects (pending nap schedules).
  • Flexible schedule (pending nap schedules).
  • Health insurance through husband’s employer.
  • Vacation without child and/or husband negotiable.
  • No sick days.
  • Choice of fuel efficient SUV with bluetooth and navigation system.

Compensation:

Contact:

Please send your resume, references, checks, words of wisdom and encouragement, prayers and offers to babysit to thrasherhomeblog [at] gmail [dot] com.

Stay-At-Home Mom :: How Much Time Do You Really Spend With Your Baby?

So, I had another revelation over this past Labor Day weekend: I am a stay-at-home mom. I mean, realizing that wasn’t a major break through. What I’m trying to say is I am a stay-at-home MOM, not a stay-at-home blogger or (graphic) designer or crafter or house stager or maid. Just as if I had a job outside my house in an office somewhere, I wouldn’t be able to blog or answer personal emails all day either. Or do laundry or clean all day while Emma chills in her play pen all by herself.

"Mama, Mama, come and play with me!"

Since I am incredibly blessed to be able to just be home with my baby and not having to work – neither from home nor part time anywhere else – I believe I should honor my husband and give back. He works hard and sacrifices a lot so that Emma gets her mommy all day. I don’t think Mr Thrasher envisioned for me to stay home but not spend lots of time with our daughter.

Instead of hiding my face behind my computer all day to write, blog, research, design, IM or browser window shop and then spend the rest of the day cleaning our house, I’ve come to realize that my daily activities should look something like this:

  • chase Emma crawling through the living room
  • make up songs whose lyrics make no sense whatsoever
  • make funny faces that would make you look ridiculous in photos but cracks your little one up every time
  • clap your hands a lot
  • play ball
  • explain what you do while you do it
  • make meal time fun and exciting
  • cuddle
  • go for a walk with baby and dog
  • cuddle some more
  • play music and sing along
  • give her plenty of opportunity to learn new things
  • talk a lot with her
On that note, I’m gonna log off now and get down on the floor to boogie with my baby.
What do you think a SAHM’s responsibilities are? Do you think she should max out the day with as much fun and play time with baby as possible? Do tell – we don’t judge!

Emma’s Closet :: Baby Fashion

Emma and I are proud to introduce a new category on the Thrasher Home blog: Emma’s Closet.

You don’t have to shop at fancy, overpriced baby boutiques in hip San Francisco neighborhoods to dress baby in style and avoid the “all-babies-seem-to-look-the-same-in-Carter’s” outfits. We’ve been finding lots of affordable, fashionable garments all over the place: From Old Navy to H&M to Target combined with a couple of funky online retailers and only an occasional splurge every here and there. And by splurge we mean Janie & Jack’s sales rack.

Emma totally loves the fun clothes her Mama finds for her (no, really, she does) and thought it would be fun to share her latest finds in baby fashion with you. So this is not for you, mommies. This is for your trendy tots. All you have to do is navigate your mini van to the next mall.

Collection "Casual Crawling & Cruising"

Sources:

Ruffled Henley, Old Navy

Leggings, Pumpkin Patch

Metallic High Top, Old Navy

Striped Dress, Old Navy

Country Kids Organic Big Dot Tights, Amazon

Sweet Shoes Wave Slip-Ons, My Baby Rocks

Denim Vest, Old Navy

There’s A Nap For That Onesie, ThinkGeek

Shorts, Janie & Jack

Striped Tights, Pumpkin Patch

Where Did My Baby Go? :: Looking Back At My Pregnancy

She used to be swaddled and didn't move at all when in her crib. Now she's standing up and moving around as if it was the Olympics.

About eight months ago, I went through the most scary, intimate, stressful, exciting, happy, ecstatic, nerve-wrecking, painful, thrilling experience in my life: giving birth to my daughter Emma.

You may expect a post like this around Emma’s first birthday. But I’m sure by then I’ll be writing posts about planning and decorating her first birthday bash and more importantly how insanely fast my baby grew up to be a toddler. Yes, they do tell you that. Yes, you hear and read it everywhere: “Cherish those baby months, they go by too fast and before you know it they want to be independent, push you away when you want to cuddle and pick their own outfits.” And you as a rookie mom are like: “Yeah, I know.”

No, you don’t! You have no idea how fast they really grow up. I mean, all of your mommy girlfriends have told you. But there is no way to truly grasp what it really means. Until you see it for yourself.

When you finally take a break from cleaning the house, preparing dinner, folding laundry, planning the next party and blogging about all this, and you’re actually getting down on the floor to play with your baby it is too late. You realize that she has learned to roll over, sit up, crawl, pull herself up and get back down, cruise around, eat solids. She has grown not one or two but six teeth. She makes these sounds that have significantly evolved from just cooing and making bubbles. Her face has several expressions that just crack you up. A million times over and over again. Instead of onesies and rompers, she suddenly wears jeans, jackets and shoes. Nursing feels like wrestling because she’s way too antsy to get back down and explore stuff. The car seat adapter has long been retired and she doesn’t look ‘lost’ in her stroller seat anymore. Even crawling is not exciting anymore. Instead, she just wants you to help her walk.

As proud as I am, it hurts to watch her grow up like that. Of course, I’m grateful that she is healthy and develops so fast but, come on, give her (and me) a break!

Yesterday, for the first time since that day I birthed my baby, I actually started to consider getting pregnant again. There it is! I said it out loud. I even confessed it publicly. And I’m totally sober.

A few weeks ago, while we test drove an SUV to make space for our uebertall baby, large stroller and restless puppy, I wanted to strangle my DH when he kept talking about how the car had enough space for “Emma and her two brothers on the backseat”. We’ve had that conversation a gazillion times – I did not want to go through another pregnancy. Never ever ever never. All that pain, discomfort, nausea, lack of sleep, dietary restrictions, the swollen feet, swollen face, swollen everything. Thanks but no thanks.

Despite the warnings in our hospital birthing class, Mr Thrasher showed suicidal tendencies when suggesting to make another baby only 48 hours after Emma was born. Seriously? Thankfully, I was still drowsy from the Epidural and thus unable to take him down.

Did I give you a pretty good idea of how strongly I felt against having another baby? I was ready to have my tubes tied.

But the other day all that changed. I was in the process of taking Emma out of her stroller to move her into the car seat when I suddenly realized that a) we will have to upgrade her infant car seat very soon, b) she looks like a toddler in her jeans (size 12-18 months) and c) my back aches from lifting her up.

What happened? Where did that fragile newborn go that was 100% dependent on me? That tiny human that was too small to fit into her newborn sized pajamas? That little baby girl that wanted to nurse all day and later just lay content on her activity gym and play with dangling toys and rattles?

I was thunderstruck. I wanted to have those moments back. And the only way of getting them back would be to get pregnant again. (We are hoping to adopt a baby eventually but that wouldn’t allow me to nurse again. Well, that’s a story for another day…)

I’m not saying that I will get pregnant again. I’m just saying that I’m open to reconsider.

I suppose Mr Thrasher was glad to hear that he is not playing with his life every time he mentioned the ‘P-word’ (as in Pregnancy) in my presence.

Let me close by quoting the great Justin Bieber – “Never Say Never.”

Leaving My Baby Overnight

After months of putting baby first and marriage second, it was time to spark a bit of Thrasher romance away from home. The hubs and I were planning to take a much needed, long overdue break and (insert gasp) stay at a nice hotel in the city for the night. Without baby. Oh my.

The thought of leaving our DD behind and no parents nearby to jump to her rescue should she need comforting, a warm boob or Papa’s strong shoulders sent shivers down my spine.

Photo: Bend the Light Photography

Yet the circumstances seemed perfect:

  • Grandma is visiting for the week and has proven herself to be worthy, capable and proud to take care of our most precious family member all by herself.
  • A friend of ours works at a nice hotel downtown and helped us get a good deal for the night.
  • Mr Thrasher had a business meeting the next morning at the same hotel. How random is that? (Well, I know it’s not chance but God encouraging us to actually go through with this plan.)

Of course, Emma had to start teething pretty badly a few days ago. Not that she did it on purpose. Poor thing. Despite having been sleeping from 6pm to 5.30am the next morning she’s recently been waking up frequently at night again and hasn’t fallen back asleep without any help. The other night (basically our test drive for grandma) nothing worked: nursing, Ibuprofen, Orajel, chilled pacifier, rocking, lullabies. I ended up padding her back and soothing her (Emma, not grandma) for over an hour while she was lying in her crib fighting sleep. I eventually left the room and left her whimpering for a little while until she finally drifted off.

Sorry, I’m getting distracted. Ha, see how that goes? From starting to write about my marriage and Mr Thrasher, I switch back into mommy mode and write about Baby Thrasher. So how did I prepare for my first overnight stay without baby? Glad you asked.

  • I left a manual or detailed instructions for the babysitter. This is not about being controlling. This is about peace of mind for you AND the person taking care of your baby. Giving them advice on how to manage certain situations or when and what to feed her will make it easier for them to take care of baby.
  • Ready. Set. Pump. I left enough breast milk for the evening, nightly emergency feedings and the next morning.
  • I chose a babysitter who watched baby before. It makes you feel more comfortable and won’t frighten confuse baby when she wakes up and neither Mama nor Papa are around.
  • Communicate. Share your worries, fears and anything that’s on your heart with the babysitter. It will help you get it out of your system.
  • Talk to your husband. Ask him to be patient and understanding.
  • Define what an ‘emergency situation’ entails and when the babysitter should call you.
  • Don’t stress over turning this overnight date with your lover into the sequel to your wedding night. Your only goal should be to have fun and enjoy some quality time. This is not about finding the most romantic restaurant for dinner, looking drop dead gorgeous in a fancy neglige or performing the best sex of your married life. This is simply about being together without any distractions.
I’m gonna spare you the juicy details of our nightly getaway. The only thing I’m gonna say is: It was absofrickinglutely worth it and my husband is HOT!

The Ultimate Baby Registry Check List

And here it is…Inspired by recent news of another pregnant girlfriend (keep ‘em babies coming, girls), I’ve compiled the ultimate baby registry check list.

Download printable PDF here

 

Obviously, this is MY perfect list, based on MY experience and MY personal preferences. I have neither received any of the products mentioned (unfortunately) nor have I been paid for saying how much I love those products (unfortunately). But if you have been reading my blog for a while, it’s probably no secret to you that I am quite opinionated and therefore feel obliged to tell you what I think is best.

 
 

(And if you’re working for Medela USAUPPAbabySTOKKE or Boppy, you can contact me here and tell me how awesome I am for promoting your products.)

What else is on your list? Any fun gadgets you had on your registry? Leave a comment and tell us.

Breastfeeding Doesn’t Suck!

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Time to celebrate the boobies and join the boob-olution!

A Happy Meal for Baby Emma. Photo: Paco and Betty

I don’t think I can express (pun intended) how much I love breastfeeding my baby so I’m just gonna leave it up to these hip’n'hot celebrity moms to share their message in a bottle. Click here to view the video: Join the Boob-olution!

(Thank to the bump: the inside scoop on pregnancy for sharing!)

Back to burping!