My Honey's B-day

yay! Today is my honey, Dan's birthday! The kids are just having so much fun this morning celebrating with him! Parents' birthdays are so great for the kids. It's an important lesson to learn about celebrating someone else. Young kids are so wrapped up in their "self" that's it's nice to see them celebrating their dad.

I just made his fave breakfast - eggs benedict.  Last night we went out to dinner for the family birthday party at Red Lobster and tonight Dan wants to get a babysitter. We are still working on that as 2 girlsI called have already told me they can't do it. Mind you, getting a babysitter still means that we will go out with baby Indigo. She's still not ready for a sitter because she just loves "the boob" all the time.  My BFF, Susie said she'll watch the kids but I feel bad to rely on her. She's already got 4 kids of her own and she already does so much for us. I'll figure it out.

Well baby needs her nap now so i have to cut this one short...


To Cry or Not To Cry

I haven't had a full night's sleep in 6 1/2 months. Without a doubt, the hardest, absolute toughest things about being a mama is the lack of sleep. I would give my right arm, heck both my arms (and maybe even my 2 legs, my sight, my hearing) for a full night's sleep.  With my first, I was not at all prepared for the total lack of sleep. I was so niave; no one told me babies were up all night. So 10 years & 4 kids later, you'd think I would be prepared and used to the sleepless nights. I'M NOT. It's every bit as hard.

My sweet Dan, who hates to see me suffering through the tiredness wants to "do" something about it. Guys just always want to "fix" things, bless their hearts. Is sleep training the answer?

Holding, rocking, comforting your baby, your baby is one of the most pure, uncomplicated things in the world.  Why do we have to make it complicated with all this "sleep training" malarchy (love that word). Is going against the purest act of nature the right thing to do?

Needs Vs. Wants = The Same Thing
How do you fix a baby to sleep through the night? Others say, "let her cry" or "she's developing a bad habit if you nurse her every time she wakes" or "she's manipulating you". Let me tell you all something. Babies are not manipulative; they don't even know their hands belong to their bodies yet!
They do not have bad habits, they do not have "wants". They only have needs. What babies "want", they "need".

Unrealistic Expectations
People in American society have expectations for babies that they should be sleeping through the night (STTN) at let's say, 3 months old. People in our society say that we need to fit our babies into our lives. The truth is, we need to fit our lives' to the needs of our baby. 
Sleeping is a developmental milestone. It's not something that can be taught or trained. Just like sitting, walking, first tooth, sleeping through the night is one of these milestones. Sleep training is like trying to teach for baby to cut his first tooth. Doesn't work too well.
Most people think the newborn period is when parents get the least sleep. And yup, not much sleep that first month.  People expect the mama to be getting back to "normal"(what's that?) by the time baby is like 6 months old. Nope! Truth is, babies at 6-10 months roughly wake more often in the night than newborns. Teething and new milestones just rock baby's world! In fact, at 3 months, Indigo was sleeping great at night. Now, at almost 7 months, she is up hourly. I'm expected to be "normal" by now. I am utterly exausted. Like I said, I would give my right arm and more to have Indigo STTN. But the truth is, there some serious dangers to the "cry it out" (CIO) method.

What will "Crying It Out" Teach My Baby?
Moms say this is the hardest thing they ever have to do. That's because it goes against your instincts. A mama's most basic instinct is to nurture your crying baby. Nothing is more pure, more uncomplicated. Does CIO teach baby to "self-soothe"? or does it teach baby that they have giving up all hope that Mama is not coming?  What are we teaching our babies about themselves when we respond to their cries? What are we teaching them when we respond to their cries?  What are the long-term consequences of CIO? Does CIO even work anyway? Remember babies only have "needs". Their need to be comforted and held is just as crucial as their need for food and air.

"When the caregiver is consistently responsive and sensitive, the child gradually learns and believes that she is worthy of love, and that other people can be trusted to provide it."

If you were writing a resume for your baby to apply for the job of being his/her mama, what would your objective be?  
For me, I would say something like "To raise a loving, caring self-secure person who will make a positive difference in our world." Most mamas would say something like that.. I hope anyway.  Well Indigo gave me the job! I better stay true to my resume! :)

"Children who do not have consistently responsive and sensitive caregivers often develop into insecure individuals, characterized by anxious, avoidant, and/or ambivalent interactions. Long-term studies have shown that secure individuals, compared to insecure individuals, are more likely to be outgoing, popular, well-adjusted, compassionate, and altruistic." An abundance of research shows that regular physical contact, reassurance, and prompt responses to distress in infancy and childhood results in secure and confident adults who are better able to form functional relationships."  

Well Like I said, I'd do almost anything for a full night's sleep right now, but I would not risk my child's future for it.

Good for the Lungs?
What the...? Hogwash! (I like that word too) Total wives' tale. The truth is, it's the exact opposite!
"A recent study looking at the immediate and long-term physiologic consequences of infant crying suggests otherwise. The following changes due to infant crying have been documented: increased heart rate and blood pressure, reduced oxygen level, elevated cerebral blood pressure, depleted energy reserves and oxygen, interrupted mother-infant interaction, brain injury, and cardiac dysfunction"

There is solid evidence that crying it out can actualy permanantly damage a baby's brain. CIO actually destroys nerve connections because of the high levels of cortisol (stress hormone) according to a study from UCLA School of Medicine.

Another study at Baylor University found "when chronic stress over-stimulates an infant’s brain stem (the part of the brain that controls adrenaline release), and the portions of the brain that thrive on physical and emotional input are neglected (such as CIO), the child will grow up with an over-active adrenaline system. Such a child will display increased aggression, impulsivity, and violence later in life because the brainstem floods the body with adrenaline and other stress hormones at inappropriate and frequent times"

That's pretty scary and for me, not worth a full night's sleep. We are turning out people here...hopefully good ones that will positively impact the Universe. Okay, that's a little dramatic, but honestly that's how I feel.
Another study showed infants who experienced persistent crying episodes were 10 times more likely to have ADHD as a child, along with poor school performance and antisocial behavior.

Does "Crying It Out' even Work?
Not really. I hate to admit it, but with Ezrah 10 years ago, I dutily followed my pediatrician's advice to do the "gradual" method of CIO. Checking in on him every 15 minutes, rubbing his back, then leaving him for 20 minutes, etc.  I did this only one night when he was 8 months old. I felt in my heart that being this feels so abnormal as a mother, it can't be right.

Other parents I know that have let their baby CIO say "yeah, it works for a few nights". The problem is that babies the first year are constantly going through major things. When another tooth comes in, he get's sick, or he's meeting a new developmental milestone, baby is up all night needing his mama. So you comfort the baby when he's sick and then you have to do the whole CIO thing again. So no, it doesn't even work. So why let baby even cry in the first place?

I remember the show "Mad about You" did an episode of them as new parents going through the struggle of letting their new baby cry and truly thinking they were doing the "best" thing for their baby. The entire episode was one shot with them in front of the nursery door listening to baby's cry, helping eachother to get "through it". But what about the baby's point of view? That wasn't even considered.

The Trust Cycle
The book, 'Love & Logic" by Dr. Jim Fay talks a lot about how the "trust cycle" is so crucial to your child's self-esteem, thus behavior, as they grow up. Think about a baby's point of view. You are lying in your crib looking up at the ceiling. Life is good. Then you don't feel so good; your diaper is wet. You cry out and mama picks you up, changes you. Life is pretty good again. A little bit later, you are lying in your crib and you don't feel so good again. You have a strange feeling, you're hungry. You cry out. Mama comes, smiles at you & feeds you. Life is good again. Every time you baby's needs are met, a seed of trust and kindness is implanted in your baby's mind and heart. So remember that what babies want, they need.

ALL baby's needs are basic needs. It's not just hunger, it could be just the need to be held. After all, "man does not live by bread alone". On an instinctual level, your baby feels that if their need is not met, they will die. What would you do if you knew you were going to die, but could not walk or speak? Just as food is essential to keep baby alive, so is your touch, your comforting, your eye contact.
"Man does not live by bread alone"

So once you baby's needs are met; fed, cleaned, held, nursed, you feel like , "whew - this person just saved my life. What a great world. People can be trusted. I must really be loved".  Let me tell you that self-esteem has EVERYTHING to do with behavior. A child who is secure views the world as a great place, with people that can be trusted, and develop healthy friendships.  It's hard to imagine, but yes, our baby will one day be a teenager. As teenagers, an unhealthy friendship or relationship can led to some dire consequences. Just use your imagination on that one.
But I'm still Exausted!
So this is my journey of attachment parenting. It is not easy. Even though I am walking into walls, my house is a mess, my older kids get hot lunch at school more than I would like, I will battle this out. "This too shall pass." When looking at my 8 and 10 year-olds, I know all too well that this time is like a blink of an eye. Our babies are babies for such a short time. Soon they're talking back, complaining about chores and embarressed when I yell "I love you" out of the car window when dropping them at school. But I have to say that attachment parenting does pay off. They are well-adjusted, happy, secure kids who all sleep through the night.

When I look back and how I raised my kiddos, I want to have no regrets. My goal is to raise good people. It starts now. I'm exausted, but I know how short this time is. This will pass and my little nursling will be all grown up in just a blink of an eye.

Please Please Please check out my references if you are thinking about letting baby CIO. No matter what you decide, at least you'll be schooled.

'Science Says Excessice Crying Could Be Harmful to Babies"

"Cry It Out - The Potential dangers of Leaving Your Baby To Cry"
By Margaret Chuong-Kim M.A.

What parents and caregivers need to know!
by Phyllis Porter, M.A.
The Science of Attachment:
The Biological Roots of Love
by Lauren Lindsey Porter

Dr Sears

"Love and Logic Magic for early Childhood: Practical Parenting from Birth to Six Years"
by Jim Fay and Charles Fay, Ph.D.


happy easter

Well Indigo was up a lot last night. Basically she nursed the whole night. Latch on...latch off...latch on...latch off. Pretty tiring. I was so tired I missed my kids egg hunt! Bummer, but I know they had fun because as I was laying with Indigo I hear "There's one!...Over here!...Look another one!" We are gearing up to go to church and then over to Dan's parents house in denver for a yummy Easter dinner. Dan's stepmom always does beautiful Holidays. She is like Martha Stewart and holidays are always so picture-perfect. I need to iron the girls' Easter dresses and the boys' shirts. I have no idea what I'm wearing. I'm still planning on making pancakes for the fam as soon as I get my butt away from the computer and finish this yummy cup of coffee. 


Prepping for Easter

Having a lot of kids around any holiday is just so much fun! It makes all the sleepless nights, broken arms, whining, tantrums, sore nipples(sorry TMI there), etc.  all worth it. To see your kids so excited to wake up in the morn to see that Santa came, or in tomorrow's case, the Easter bunny!

So, unlike Christmas, Dan and I don't really go "all out" for Easter, present-wise. Easter is about the chocolate. Oh and of course the day our savior, Jesus rose from the dead. But back to the chocolate. So everybody does it different, but in our house, the EB (Easter bunny) hides chocolate eggs all over the house and each kid gets a basket of goodies complete with a chocolate bunny. My kids absolutely LOVE searching for chocolate eggs and "the Easter bunny" has a really fun time hiding them all in such creative places! Of course there are some tears when the older kids find so many more than the younger ones.

To offset this, the EB also hides chocolate eggs in their bedrooms and the bedroom eggs only belong to that kid's particular bedroom. They'll be hidden in shoes, underwear drawers and such. The kitchen is super fun because there are lots of fun places to hide the eggs. (EB told me so)

I don't believe in those pre-made baskets and I, I mean EB likes to make them himself. So I did forget to get fake grass for their baskets, but just as well, because that grass gets everywhere. I'll just bottom them out with some green tissue paper I have on hand. 

There will be a chocolate bunny in each, except for baby Indigo, she's getting a pink baby sock monkey. We've Cadbury caramel eggs for all and Reeses eggs for all (unless I get to those late night tonight). Madi got a barrel of monkeys, a new bathing suit, and sidewalk chalk. Jack's getting this watch he really liked that can go under water and has a lot of gadgets on it. Ezrah's getting a cool kite and a spin catcher thing. Maybe the kite should be for all of them, because as I'm writing this i'm not sure these baskets are going to be even. The EB will figure it out. He's a smart little bunny.

I better get these monkeys in bed so EB can come!

APing the older kids

Well Attachment parenting is basically a very easy approach when taking care of our babies. Really it's just following your instincts. Meeting their needs in the most basic way. APing the older kids is much more of a challenge; it takes some skill. As a mama of 4, I am feeling like there just isn't enough of me to go around. I aim to change that. Just because I have baby Indigo and am APing her, doesn't mean my older kids should suffer any neglect of my parenting style. Let's take a look at what exactly attachment parenting is from Dr. Sears who coined the AP approach: The 7 "Bs"
  •  bonding
  •  babywearing
  •  breastfeeding
  •  bedsharing
  •  belief in the language of baby's cry
  •  beware of baby trainers, and balance
So attachment parenting isn't something you ever stop. I mean, what's the cut-off day? Obviously breastfeeding has a cut-off point and no, I don't BF my 8 & 10 year-olds. So what I aim to do is to adapt the Bs with  my older kids. I am going to explore how I can adapt these approaches to my growing children. Let's start with bonding.

Obvioulsy "birth bonding" is what happens naturally when you stare into your baby's eyes for the first time and they lovingly look back at you and magic starts to happen. Love is instant and love is tangible.
How can I continue to bond every day? Can I hold my 10-year-old in the fetal position? Well, I would, but chances are, he'll start laughing and think that was very weird.  I think some alone separate time with Mommy will help to extend the bonding. I am going to start "dates with Mommy" where each of my kids will have some alone time with Mom. Maybe I'll take them out for ice cream, or the movies, or even just helping with homework.  "Bonding is a series of steps in your lifelong growing together with your child"



I'm feeling completly stretched beyond my capabilities past few days. Feeling like there is just not enough of Mommy to go around. Baby was up all night again and will not sleep unless she has my nipple in her mouth! The second I unlatch her, she is crying. Dan had to take her for a 3am drive to get her to sleep because I was just totally "nursed out". My house is a mess, my dog is sick, Madi is a Mommy-cling-monster and my Jack is needing more and more attention as he is having some probs in school. My Ezrah is just so "together" that I worry about that too! He needs me too and he has to dictate his homework to me because he can't write with his cast on. Meanwhile, Indigo starts to literally eat his homework! Sigh.


I'm missing a chicken carcass

yeah, you read that right. I'm missing a chicken carcass. I just got home from parent-teacher conference with Madi belle's preschool teacher. All was well. After that, the girls and I did a little shopping at BB&B and got a new area rug and a toothpaste dispenser. I'll talk about that later. Let me get back to the missing chicken carcass. So we get home and I had to run and nurse Indy because she was hungry. So when I came out of the bedroom, I walked into the kitchen and my garbage was strung across the floor, complete with coffee grounds everywhere. I have a weird thing about used coffee grounds; its just gross. My dog, Breezy is to blame obviously. So last night I made a delicious dinner with the main course being a whole chicken flavored with fresh rosemary. Well last night I threw out the carcass in a Target bag and stuffed it in my trash.
Mind you, I asked Jack to take out the trash several times last night. Now, me practicing my "Love & Logic" techniques, I am not supposed to do his chore or remind him (even though I did several times). But mainly if I do take out the trash, he will need to pay me for doing his chore, with either money or one of his toys.
Well the trash stayed. I'm just too busy and never took it out and walla! The Target bag lays ripped on the floor with no chicken carcass anywhere! I looked for it, but perhaps she ate the whole darn thing! Is she going to be okay? She obviously didn't choke, but jeez. I should probably call the vet, but let me keep looking around tyhe house for it. So gross.


The Family Bed Gets Bigger!

So finally, Dan and I got our new bed! It's a king, so sleeping with the kids can be way more comfortable. For those of you who don't know, since Indy was born, Dan has been in guest room most nights because I bed-share with Indigo and basically nurse her all night. And Madi likes to get in there too...most nights.  So now there's room for us all!
Last night was our first night sleeping in it! We got such a great deal. It's an organic pillow-top mattress too! I answered a craigslist ad for a new organic mattress and the guy gave us the address and it was a storage unit filled with brand new mattresses and furniture! My first thought was that these mattresses were "hot", but I think this guy just doesn't pay for retail space and just sells them out of a storage unit. Thus, the cheap price.  He has a business card and everything..The Sleep Broker. So, late last night we set it up and just HAD to sleep on it, so we went for a late night Target run and got king sheets and all the fixins. We stopped for sushi too! BTW, Mt. Fuji has great sushi but terribly slow service. By the time our sushi came, I was walking around with Indy in the Ergo and had to eat standing up because everytime I sat, she was fussy. Hence, the conversation evolved into Dan scheduling a vasectomy appointment.
 I'd like to say I had the best sleep of my life in our new king bed, but I do have a teething 6-month-old and nurse her  on demand, so...yeah...


First broken bone of our kids!

We had our first broken bone of our kids! Probably not the last, but at least we know are kids are getting outside to play! Just a few weeks ago I was worried that we hadn't had any broken bones yet. Are the kids playing too many video games? Are they not playing outside enough? As a Mom, I can always find something to feel guilty about! He's fine though and loves having his friends and family sign his cast.

Indigo is almost sitting up with the help of a boppy. She's still BFing away and doesn't show much interest in solid foods yet. She is NOT sleeping through the night and in fact, is waking up more now than when she was a newborn. I have discovered "5-Hour Energy" drink and I am swearing by it!
Madi is as sassy as ever...Jack is as sweet as ever. baby's up from nap...gotta go!