My baby turned 1 this weekend! We celebrated at home with family and friends. She absolutely soaked up all of the attention being on her and enjoyed her party! Here's some snapshots I managed to get during all the chaos...
We wrapped up the party with a campfire in the backyard and roasted marshmallows while Klara zonked out after all the excitement.
Thank you to all those who celebrated with us! We are so blessed to have such amazing friends and family to share these moments with!
I have been lying to our pediatrician and her nurse. They are two of the sweetest women in healthcare and have my kids' best interest at heart, but I did it anyway.
When they go through their list of what I call "silly" questions I am always happy to answer.
No there's still no lead based paint in our home, nope no one smokes around them, yes the baby's still exclusively breastfed, no they don't go to daycare....
Towards the end I start to feel like a real champ, like I'm aceing some sort of test...until they ask the really rotten question.
Where does she sleep?
Kenzie-oh she sleeps in her own big girl bed. Not ENTIRELY a fabrication. She does...sometimes...for naps.
And Klara? Oh she sleeps in her expensive cosleeper that attaches right to our bed...not.
We tried, really we did. When Kenzie was born and I was still breastfeeding her I laid her in the cosleeper, and then I stared at her, and stared, and stared...and never slept. What if she stopped breathing? What if she suffered SIDS?! The possibility was all too horrifying to me, but so was everything I'd heard about cosleeping and moms rolling over on their babies.
So I just didn't sleep. I dozed, I snapped back awake, I touched her tiny little chest to make sure it was still moving up and down, and then I repeated. It was AWFUL. This couldn't be the sleep deprivation everyone warned me about. She still woke a gaziliion times a night to cluster feed, that seemed normal, but not this...
I'd heard the sage advice "sleep when the baby sleeps," but I was dumbfounded...how?! That's when she is most vulnerable and when I needed to protect her most!
And so it began...she would fall asleep on top of me and because I was so sleep deprived, after many nights of watching her slumber, I eventually fell unconscious as well...in the bed...with the baby. Ahhh! Thus began our cosleeping.
I endured endless nights of lower back discomfort, sleeping perfectly still and supine, so my darling baby could snore peacefully on my chest. Pretty soon Daddy was doing the same. Eventually, as she grew, she started sleeping in the crook of our arms, and then in the middle.
We carried on like this until she was 8 months old. Then Kenzie met her crib for the first time. She wasn't a fan. After a lot of work however, she grew accustomed to it and we "reclaimed" our bed.
Unfortunately, I let the secret slip to my husband that when he traveled for work, the crib was abandoned and I snuck her in with me. Instead of being upset, he was JEALOUS. This led to a compromise of sorts. Kenzie went to sleep in her crib/toddler bed, and when she woke in the night (and sometimes when Daddy simply missed her too much) she got an invite into our bed.
It worked for us. Kenzie was never a good sleeper and the saved trips to and from her room to soothe her seemed worth it....ok and maybe we liked it a little too (or a lot, to the point of arguing over who got to snuggle her).
Then came Klara. Klara doesn't know what a crib is, not even what her cosleeper is (sorry Doc). She sleeps in bed, with the three of us. It's a king, so yes, we all fit. She is still breastfeeding, and quite the clinger, but she sleeps THROUGH THE NGHT, and has from the very day we brought her home.
So there you have it..
We cosleep. Gasp, cringe, judgemental stares...
I have done my research on this just as I have everything else when it comes to my kids.
From what I've learned, a breastfeeding mother is exceptionally unlikely to ever roll onto or suffocate her baby. Why? Because we aren't capable of it. We are so in tuned to their little lives that our minds don't forget their existence and proximity to us even in our sleep. In fact, there is even a side lying nursing position every breastfeeding mother eventually finds herself naturally in that instinctively protects the baby through the night, both from rolling mom and dad, and from pillows and blankets etc.
Cosleeping and Biological Imperatives Research, and also the woman in the photo with her baby is in that magical breastfeeding position I mentioned.
I am also a huge proponent of attachment parenting and a lot of encouragement can be found in Martha Sears' books:
The Baby Sleep Book and The Attachment Parenting Book
- No pets are allowed in our bed. Period. While we love them, it is simply unhygienic and unsafe to have them share the bed with us.
- Bed rails are required. Yes, we did put toddler bed rails on our king sized bed, and have even joked about having a king size crib built if we could. The rails aren't so much for the baby as they are for our tossing and turning toddler, but they keep everyone on the bed, no matter the sleeping arrangement.
- We don't drink, and if by some off chance we ever did, we certainly would not sleep with the baby in our bed.
- Only mommy snuggles the baby.
Don't get me wrong, co sleeping is not for everyone. Not all husbands are fans of family beds (I'm quite lucky mine is), and not all moms want to share their space and sleep.
I am not trying to influence anyone or change any opinions, but if you're harboring the same secret as us, take comfort, you aren't alone.
If you are a cosleeping family, like us, stop hiding in shame. You'd be surprised how common, although not commonly talked about, a family bed is. And it has it's benefits you can brag about!
- Our kids sleep through the night. Without question. If we decide to join them at bedtime we are able to log 10 or more hours of sleep right along with them.
- Our kids feel safe and secure. Bedtime is NEVER a battle, it's a happy comforting, cuddly time. We also feel comfort in knowing they are right there beside us should some event take place. (long story short, we've woken up to earthquakes and lighting striking our house etc). Should there ever be a night time emergency, we are all together.
- Our kids will sleep ANYWHWERE, provided one of us is present. Hotel rooms, other family members houses, and foreign beds are of no consequence. As long as we are there at bedtime, they're off to sleep.
- It aids breastfeeding. What's easer than nursing with the baby lying right beside you?
- It allows bonding for both parents. Some of mine and my husband's favorite memories with our kids thus far include bedtime.
And as for the downfall you are all blushing but wondering about...
Thankfully we are able to afford multiple beds in our home. While the kids sleep in our bed every night, it is not at all necessary we remain in the bed with them. I believe that should answer any questions. Once they're peacefully asleep we crawl back out of bed and enjoy our evening until we are ready to join them.
And evidence that they do sleep in their own beds occasionally and for naps...
I have fallen majorly behind this week blogging.
We had an eventful weekend.
It was Klara's baptism weekend, which brought with it the Correia's and plenty of adventures.
The Correia's are our friends from back in Illinois, Jana-one of my very best friends (and now Klara's godmother!) and Bryan-Kenzie's best buddy.
Bryan and Kenzie were reunited and it was as if no time had passed. She grabbed him by the hand and off they were to tear up the house and yard for the rest of their visit.
Some events from the weekend I am sure none of us will ever forget:
The fastest and most efficient shopping trip to a mall ever accomplished. Jana, Klara and myself tore through the mall in record time, and even endured a few minutes all smashed in a dressing room while I tried on outfits and Klara screamed. Good news was Jana found a cardigan, and I found out I officially fit back into my pre any babies size. Bad news was this news made me want to buy a whole new wardrobe to congratulate myself.
The boys shooting guns on our land. (Really un-memorable for myself, but they sure looked like they'd had a lot of fun judging by the size of their grins and the small gash on Jay's forehead when they returned.)
The house getting struck by lightening, yes lightening, and yes...it hit the house, we are sure. Everyone was finally snug in bed, drifting off to sleep, after a loud evening of tv, laughter, and children running laps around the house. Just as I closed my eyes enjoying the thunder, a bomb went off, at least that's what it sounded like. The entire house lit up, the power went out, and then random lights came on accompanied by the loudest screeching of a fire alarm any of us had ever heard.
Thank you previous house owners for hooking up this automatic fire alarm system, I will now never worry about sleeping through a fire again, not possible. After my ninja-like leap over Kris and out of bed to "rescue" the kids, he calmly headed downstairs to reset the fuse on the fire alarm...crisis averted. Everyone was awake again now and discussing the possiblity of the house being on fire, what the lightening struck, and of course how scary it had been.
Post lightening strike, and back in our bedrooms, I decided to sneak one last peak out our bedroom window, should anything be ablaze. There was no smoke to report, but I did see an enormous raccoon making its way accross our deck. I grabbed Kris and pointed it out, causing him to fly down the stairs calling for Jay. Shirtless, tennis shoe clad, and sniper rifle in hand (a little overkill, I know), he headed outdoors. The kids curled up on the guest bed while I warned Jana just how loud these next few minutes were going to be. Eight or so shots later, after shouts of excitement and encouragement from Jay at the back door, our friend the raccoon was no more.
Most importantly, Sunday was our daughter, Klara's, baptism! It was a beautiful service and she did amazingly well in her five minutes center stage. She didn't shed a single tear, and by some unforseen miracle, she didn't freak out when I handed her over to Pastor John so he could introduce her to the congregation!
Klara and her Godmother, Jana
Kenzie was glad to see her little sister return after "the water splashing and giving Klara to God," as she referred to it. We said some sad goodbyes to our friends the Correia's and spent the week cleaning up the aftermath of a wonderful weekend.
We have come a long, long way since we brought Klara home from the hospital only 6 months ago.
While she turned our familiar lives upside down (her sister's especially), I can now, without a doubt, say that none of us can imagine our lives without her.
I have had the longest time to adjust, loving her from the moment I knew she was in my belly.
She had Daddy wrapped around her finger from the moment she took her first breath and looked into his eyes.
Her big sister however, was another story.
Kenzie didn't love her little sister immediately. She liked her well enough, agreed that she was pretty cute and all, but she certainly wasn't head over heels with this new little attention stealer.
I had done all I could think of to prep Kenzie for the arrival of her new little sibling. We read stories about pregnant mommies and little sisters, we bought the Dora (her favorite) DVD all about little brothers and sisters, we talked about the baby, brought her to doctors appointments, and involved her in as much as possible.
It was still a bit of a shock to my sweet little 2 year old though to spend her first night (EVER) at home without Mommy and Daddy (Nini came to babysit) because of course I just had to go into labor and head to the hospital at midnight. She was even less enthused to arrive at the hospital, giddy to reunite, only to find me holding this other little person in my lap.
She warmed up quickly but it has been a long road.
Kenzie has asked to give Klara back to the doctors (which is where she seems to think Klara came from.)
She has tried to turn me off to Klara, even going so far as to tell me she smelled like both a dinosaur AND a man. (Haha!)
She has also shed her fair share of tears while imploring me to please just put Klara away and hold her instead!
We stuck with it though, having her assist with diaper changes, feedings, and letting her "babysit" while we are steps away, and I am proud to announce that she finally LOVES her little sister!
I learned this yesterday as I was discussing Klara's baptism with Kris in front of Kenzie. We were planning for the weekend visit and stay of Klara's fabulous new godmom (Jana), when Kenzie asked what a baptism was.
I did my best to explain that we were essentially giving Klara to God and that it would involve church, Pastor John, and a little water on Klara's head.
All Kenzie seemed to hear was that we would be giving her little sister to God. She was beyond horrified.
"But I will miss her!" she cried, and my heart melted.
"Do you love your little sister?" I asked her. She nodded emphatically. I asked if she'd like to keep Klara, and the answer was a resounding YES.
So there it was, the first, and hopefully not last, time she realized she loves and can no longer live without that bothersome little sister of hers.
Don't get me wrong, our new pediatrician here is amazing. She is perpetually happy, soothing with the kids, and didn't give me "the look" when I told her my daughter would be on an alternative vaccine schedule, which makes her my favorite doctor ever. (Don't get me started on vaccines. No comments or e-mails please on the subject. I am entirely indifferent to opinions and what you choose to do or not do with your children's vaccinations.)
I dread these appointments because of what my older daughter calls "the poke."
There comes a point during the night, every evening prior to these scheduled doctor's visits, when I look down at my wiggling, giggling, drool puddle of a baby and realize she has no idea what's going to happen to her the following morning. She trusts me 100% to keep her happy and safe and free from all discomfort. I take this job very seriously. It makes my stomach churn to think about "the poke" and the inevitable tears to follow.
It doesn't help matters that my husband is equally as sensitive to this plight. At every doctor's appointment, for both our children, without question, I have had to be the bad guy and hold the baby/child for the shot. How I long to be the hero that sweeps in and scoops the kids up and away from those mean ol' nurses that hurt her while I wasn't looking...but instead I am the one to coo in their ears and restrain their little limbs while they stab away with a sharp objects. If I thought my husband could handle it, I'd make him trade jobs, but after seeing the pools of tears in his eyes at our eldest's first shot appointment, I knew this was going to have to be a mommy task.
The build up to "the poke" is unbearable. After a restless night of feeling guilty, I have to wake my children early and get everyone dressed, fed, and in the car. Without fail, the child being poked passes out in their carseat just as we reach our destination, and I am forced to jar them awake to carry them inside. There is a waiting room full of toys, a walk to the exam room, and a brief interview with a nurse, then comes some good stuff. We get to brag about baby!
"Yes ma'am she is doing all that and more! What's that you say??..AHEAD of most other babies her age?!...our little superstar!"
The doctor gives her a once over, makes her smile, and hands her back...moment of truth. In come the nurses with their alcohol swabs and instruments of torture. Then..."the poke." I cringe to even remember.
Sheer exhaustion overcomes my already sleepy, and now pained, child and the ride home is quiet as they sleep it off. The rest of the day is filled with tylenol, popsicles, and extra cuddles to prove we really do love them, despite forcing them to endure "the poke."
Maybe it is just me, but I don't think my dread of these doctor's visits will ever be lessened. It certinaly hasn't gotten easier as of yet with age. My two year old can now vocalize her fear and the "no mommy, please save me!" she squeals when the time for shots rolls around is enough to break my heart in two.
Of all the challenges of parenting, the "pokes" are certainly one of the most difficult for me.
Post "poke." We both survived. :)
If you know me, you know I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with living out here in the country. I hate living so far from everything, being surrounded by Amish, and not being able to do simple things like order a pizza for delivery.
Days like yesterday however, I can't help but love it...just a little....ok maybe a lot. :)
It's another beautiful day outside (75 today!) and we are going to get out and enjoy it as a family. Here are some pictures from our adventures yesterday, just us girls!
All ready to go!
My baby, my little Klara (Banana), is going to be 6 months old in just 2 days. Time seems to have flown by. While I look at her and wonder where the newborn went that I brought home, I also find myself wondering some things I never did with Kenzie.
Kenzie was a challenge. She was colicky and then suddenly she wasn't. She crawled early, she walked early, she hit pretty much every milestone early. Maybe it is because she was such a little overachiever, or maybe I became accustomed to the new freedoms she was starting to allow me with her independence, but I find myself often thinking "hurry up Klara."
When Klara hit 2 weeks and started down the path of colicky doom, I was devastated. I was determined to stick with breastfeeding this time and looking back I am glad I did. We made it (barely).
It was easier this time because I knew what I had to look forward to once I got her through this gassy rough patch in the beginning, I had Kenzie as an example. This comforting thought became a double edged sword. Soon instead of just consoling myself that the colic would in fact end at some point, I found myself counting down Klara's little life in other aspects.
When she was taking what seemed like 10 cat naps a day, I reminded myself that by 6 months Kenzie was on a perfect 2 a day nap schedule and I was able to set her down.
When she wanted to nurse every hour I reminded myself that in only a few months she would be starting solids and would slow down.
As I carry her on my hip all around the house, while I cook, while I clean, while I do laundry..and yes, even sometimes while I pee, I reminded myself that by 6 months Kenzie was sitting on her own and could play with a toy allowing me use of 2, yes BOTH, of my hands!
I keep subconsciously telling her to, "hurry up." Grow up already Klara! Yet this is the last thing that I want. I also have to remind myself how my arms ached to hold Kenzie once she preferred to explore the house on her own hands and knees. I remember my heart leaping to my throat when she took those first steps, and how I cried when she preferred her own crib to my bed when Daddy traveled. I also remember how longingly Kris and I stared at family portraits of ourselves and Kenzie when she was only 6 weeks old. How we swooned and smiled sentimentally as we wished and planned for our second baby, to hold a tiny little person in our arms once again.
That wish come true is Klara.
I recently read a book, that I recommend to everyone, called The Resolution For Women. While I won't ruin it for you, I will say that the first chapter struck a chord and had me in tears over this very topic.
The first resolution is about contentment, being SATISFIED. I don't mean in the sense that you look around yourself and shrug saying, "good enough." Contentment doesn't mean you stop pursuing your goals, or shove your dreams and aspirations to the wayside. The author spoke about finding contentment in your current stage of life. Not only being satisfied in it, but really LIVING in it, being present and enjoying it!
Instead of always dreaming of and counting down the time until the next best moment in your life, take the moment you're in and make it the best!
I have to stop wishing Klara was just a few months or a few years older, stop dreaming of the small freedoms I will regain with every milestone she hits. I need to enjoy my baby while she is just that, a BABY. I think this concept often gets lost on the second or third child, although maybe not on your very last. There is no garauntee that I am ever going to have another baby, and I know I certainly will never be 27 again. My older daughter will only be 2 for a few more months, and my husband will only ever be 32 this year. This is the moment I need to be living in and for.
While the use of 2 hands might make my life a little easier, there will come a day when I will only wish I had something to keep them both busy. She will only ride in my arms a few months longer and hold my hand a few years more. One hand, however inconvenient, is a small price to pay for this precious time she will spend as my baby.
My babies are light sleepers.
I mean LIGHT sleepers, as in I will shoot you the look of death should you even happen to sneeze 3 rooms and 4 closed doors away from my child that I FINALLY got to nap. That kind of light.
Our house goes on noise lock down when a baby goes to sleep. It has been like this since Kenzie was born. This isn't only for our baby's comfort, it is also for our sanity.
Besides being light sleepers, my kids are also sleep fighters. Sleep is not something they peacefully slip off into like so many of the cute little bundles I see snoozing in their car seats or stretched out in their cribs. My babies fight sleep with every ounce of will power their 25 inch bodies possess. They have to be coaxed, lulled, and outright tricked into unconsciousness and I use every tool known to moms. The bubble bath, the scented soaps, the lullabies, the white noise, the swings, the rocking, the nursing...as well as the shushing, begging, and pleading that sometimes follow.
To make matters worse, I am convinced that the universe is against me and all mothers with light sleeping babies. The moment I finally see my little one succumb to sleep and her eyelids flutter closed for the last time, wouldn't you know it, one of the following things happen every time (and I mean EVERY time) without fail:
I have heard the advice that if you simply are loud around your babies when they sleep, they will become accustomed to the noise and learn to sleep through it. I am convinced that anyone that gives me such advice should come spend a day in my house with me and see how well that works out for them. There seems to be an overabundance of noise around here, and as of yet, no baby has slept through any of it.
The light at the end of the tunnel helping me to take a deep breath and try and try again, is my almost 3 year old daughter. After 2.5 years of tip toeing around her sleep schedule, she finally sleeps like a champ. While she still doesn't sleep through a doorbell or dog bark, we have conquered thunderstorms, television and talking so there is hope. Anything beyond this age she will have to deal with at a sleep clinic in years to come.
I will have to sign off now, it is nearing bedtime in our house and the clicking of the keyboard is sure to wake my 6 month old a hallway away. Good luck to all you mommies with light sleeping babies, and to the rest of you...shhhhh!
Thought I would share some pictures of the most rare occurrences of peaceful slumber at our house to inspire those who know what I'm talking about.