It's hard to believe, but my little baby ...
Â is 3 today!
We spent her birthday at Key Lime Cove, or what she prefers to call "The Princess House." She chose to believe that princesses live there and swim and sleep and eat junk food all day every day, and she got a taste of the princess lifestyle for a whole weekend!
She also got her first solo pedicure at the children's spa, designed her very own yummy smelling (and super sparkly) glitter lotion, picked out a Barbie for a birthday present, and spent a TON of time swimming.Â
Â By the end of the trip, our big girl had even mastered this slide by herself without Daddy there to catch her and had mommy sprinting a few times as she decided to brave a few more unexpectedly.Â
It has been the fastest 3 years of my life, but I am thankful each and every day that I get to call this beautiful, silly, smart, amazing little girl my daughter.Â
We love you Kenzie!
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...
Kenzie got herself dressed today. This isn't a big deal.
She can put on her own shirts, pants and occasionally shoes (although usually on the wrong feet). This was different...
because this time it wasn't an outfit I had already picked out and laid out for her.
As always I hauled the kids upstairs after breakfast so I could jump in the shower. After mommy is dressed it's their turn. We put on their clothes, brush Kenzie's teeth and hair and head back downstairs to start our day.
Today as I rinsed and repeated, Kenzie burst into the bathroom.
"How's this mommy?" she asked.
I poked my head out expecting to find a mess: make up she'd found and applied to her face, lotion slathered on her baby sister, hair gel on the dog again...something really cringe-worthy...
You can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was then to peek out and find her fully clothed, granted not in an outfit I would have chosen, but an outfit nontheless (see above.)
It included all of the necessities, which was impressive. Undies (sadly she chose her undies that say Sunday and not Wednesday, so I can't boast that she can read and is a genius as well), pants (princess pj pants count) and a pink t-shirt. Not exactly her fanciest apparel, but it matched!
I have deduced from this spectacular accomplishment of hers today that my daughter is clearly going to to be a fashion guru. Laugh all you want, but how many of you were mixing patterns and matching outfits at 2? Didn't think so.
While we still need to work on her ABC's and colors, at least I can relax knowing that no matter what my daughter becomes in her lifetime, she is going to become it while impeccably dressed.
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.
Kenzie impressed me today.
She can now sing me her ABC's (mispronouncing only a few letters), Old MacDonald, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, The Wheels on the Bus, and recite the days of the week. Pretty good for a 2 year old.
It dawned on me as her sweet little voice sang me her little songs just how good her memory has gotten. While these songs and bits of information were important, what else could I be teaching her and allowing her to memorize?
I decided it was time for her to learn to pray.
While I don't expect her to pour her heart out to God just yet, I thought it was time she learn a few children's prayers that she can recite at different times of the day to start making her aware of and more comfortable with praying.
I was not a fan of the prayer I recited before bed growing up, as it involved a line about my possible death before I woke, so I decided to do some research. Here are a few prayers I liked and will be teaching to my daughter. Feel free to share some of your own or comment on different versions!
"I will travel where you lead;
I will help my friends in need.
Where you send me I will go;
With your help I'll learn and grow."-Author Unknown
"Help us to do the things we should
To be to others kind and good
In all we do and all we say
To grow more loving every day."
Meal Time Prayers:
"Thank you for the food we eat,
Thank you for the friends we meet,
Thank you for the birds that sing,
Thank you, God, for everything." Amen
"Be present at our table, Lord
Be here and everywhere adored.
Thy mercies bless and grant that we
May strengthened for thy service be."
"Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
Guard me Jesus through the night
and wake me with the morning light."
"Father in heaven hear my prayer
Keep me in they loving care
Be my guide in all I do
And bless all those who love me too."
Like every other Sunday, we went to church today. We have a small congregation (and I mean SMALL, less than 30 people attending.)
Church is always interesting with two kids under 3. Typically the baby cries and needs to be taken to the cry room or foyer so she doesn't disturb the service, or our 2 year old decides to release some energy by doing laps around the pews during the sermon. Today was no exception.
My older daughter followed me out to the lobby where I was walking her fussy little sister and she began to get restless. After a bit she decided to rejoin Daddy amongst the congregation and headed up the center aisle. Being 2, she didn't exactly tip toe slowly while looking for Daddy in each row. It was more of a full out sprint with little to no regard as to whether she located her father or not.
Usually, being that our congregation is made up primarily of people over the age of 60, Kenzie's antics are simply met with laughter, "awww's," and good humor as I scold her and get her under control again.
I never imagined anyone would get upset about a toddler merrily running up an aisle during a hymn most people were only mouthing the words to anyway, but to my horror, today a hand shot out from the end of a pew to grab her. Not just any hand, but a strong hand attached to the body of a very grumpy looking older gentleman with quite a scowl on his face.
Thankfully she was too quick for him, but his attempt did not go unnoticed. I came in and grabbed her by the hand to lead her back out to the lobby and have yet another chat about appropriate behavior in church, but not until after I shot that man the dirtiest look I could manage.
Who did he think he was? Besides being a complete stranger to my shy but rambunctious toddler, he was prepared to reprimand and/or scare her with his look and probably the words that would follow. Needless to say, I was upset. The rest of the service I couldn't stop glancing in his direction. Every giggle emitted from my toddler, and every whimper out of the baby earned me a glare from him. Really? Did he never have kids of his own to control during a drawn out church service? We had just as much right to attend, children and all.
I was, and still am, a bit miffed about the entire situation. It got me thinking about how I interact with children I don't know and how I would like people to interact with mine. He will probably never read this blog, if he's ever even heard of the internet, but he is certainly someone who could use the help of this list.
Do NOT, under any circumstances, touch my child. Unless it is a life threatening situation in which I am not present or capable of performing CPR. Hands off buddy!
Do not scold my children. If their behavior is becoming an issue or bothering you, ask their father or I to handle the situation.
Do not scare my children. They don't know you, and while they lookfriendly and playful, they are actually quite shy. One look from you and she will run like the wind to hide behind my legs..there is no need for the mean mugging mister.
And a few more general rules to follow for everyone else:
Please don't give my children something without seeking my approval first. Be it a dollar, a cookie, or a toy....all things go through me.
Please watch your language around my children.
Please refer my children to their parents when they are seeking an explanation about something complicated. Your best efforts may still not be what I would like her to hear, or may be more than I wished her to know at this age.
If you can't say something nice, please don't say anything at all around them.
Snuggling with Daddy after church
I can't begin to tell you how insane these 2 words are starting to drive my husband and I.
The list of her so called "fears" is rather overwhelming. I've decided to start compiling a list and doing a little research. Here is a small taste of my daughter's new found phobias and my notes. (Can't wait to read this to her first serious boyfriend someday.)
Entomophobia: Fear of bugs. Our little tomboy who used to love to collect bugs, now shrieks with sheer terror at the sight of a lady bug or ant. Seriously...
Amaxophobia: Fear of riding in the car...specifically when she would rather stay home and play on the swings.
Cibophobia: Fear of food. Any food she doesn't want to eat. This list tends to include all things green or nutritious. Phobia never seems to affect popsicles, cookies, cheese or pizza. Hmmm..
Nyctophobia: Fear of the dark. Common enough among kids her age I suppose.
Mastigophobia: Fear of punishment. Now this one she SHOULD fear. :)
Cynophobia: Fear of dogs. Only one dog...our boxer, and only when she wants to shift the focus and/or blame from herself to the dog. "Coco bit me," has been thrown out more than once when the dog hasn't even been in the house.
Somniphobia: Fear of going to sleep. Convenient right? Doesn't seem to affect her when she passes out in her car seat or zonks out in her Dora jammies on the couch...but bed time...watch out!
Ablutophobia: Fear of bathing. Because nothing is quite as scary as a bath tub filled to the brim with bubbles and your favorite rubber duckies.
Amychophobia: Fear of scratches or being scratched. In relation to her kitty. Oddly enough, said scratches only occur after she attempts to make kitty do "tricks," ride in a stroller, or throw her down a flight of stairs.
Isolophobia: Fear of being alone. Even for a minute, but only on her schedule. When she wants your attention she will follow you from room to room crying that you "left her" in whatever room you were last in...sigh.
Teratophobia: Fear of monsters. Enough said.
And my favorite...
Anemophobia: Fear of the air. Sounds weird right? Well, while feeling beyond exhasperated with her many fears my husband asked her one night, "What are you afraid of now? The AIR?!" This started a whole new onslaught of tears and her newest phobia. Yes, my daughter even says she is now afraid of the air.
*As a disclaimer, I'd like to say that I do understand that these phobias are real conditions that people truly do struggle with. My daughter, however, is not one of these unfortunate individuals. Her phobias are conditional and typical ironically convenient...which is why I poke fun.