This year, Mother’s Day has taken on a whole new meaning for me. When I became a mom on Halloween, I never thought I could love someone as much as deeply as I loved my child. I would lay my life down for this kid, who honestly, isn’t capable of doing much more than sleeping, pooping and crying right now, yet, I would go to the ends of the earth for her. And that’s when I was humbled by the realization that that’s how exactly how my mom feels about me. I’m so blessed to have a mom who truly lives and breathes for my happiness.
To my mom: Thank you for showing me what it means to be the ultimate mother. I have never felt more gratitude towards you than I have this past year. Since becoming a mom myself, I have a new deeper appreciation and understanding of the love and sacrifices you made for me and my siblings. My hope is that I can be as good of a mother to Zoey as you are to me. I love you!
To my daughter: Thank you for making my dreams come true and making me a mom this year. You are the daughter that I’ve been praying for and I still can’t believe I get the privilege of being your mom. You make my heart soar with joy and pride. I love you!
And a special salute to all the new mommies celebrating their first Mother’s Day!
ps. Thank you for all the kind comments this past week! You bolstered my spirits and reminded me that there are so many kind people out there. I have the best readers. Thank you!
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On negative comments: One comment left on my last blog entry about sleep training really stung. Believe it or not, mean comments hurt my feelings. They get me down and they make me want to stop blogging. I find as a new mom that I face a surprising amount of judgement on the choices that I make for me and my family. (Sadly, fellow moms seem to be the harshest critics, too.) People seem to have an opinion on everything: working vs. being a stay at home mom, epidural vs. no epidural, breastfeeding vs. formula, homemade vs. store-bought baby food, private vs. public schooling, discipline vs. permissive parenting styles… the judgement never ends! Parenting is hard enough as it is without people looking down on you, especially anonymous commenters who don’t know you at all. Thank you to readers who left supportive comments and messages, I really appreciated that. I’ve always felt that the people who follow my blog are the nicest audience and I mentioned before that it’s one of the main reasons why I continue to write. Let’s continue to lift each other up and encourage each other because we parents are doing our best to raise our kids in a world that is harsh enough as it is. Hurtful comments are not welcomed here!
And now onto a less controversial topic… Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies!!! Hopefully this recipe will spark far less debate. Everyone’s gotta love cookies, right? Especially when the perfect duo of PB and chocolate are combined into one chewy, highly addictive cookie!
These cookies are great if you like chewy cookies. Peanut butter already makes the dough chewy but the addition of corn syrup makes it even chewier. (You can also substitute honey for the corn syrup if you don’t have corn syrup.)
Chewy Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (original recipe from here)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup (or honey)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chopped semisweet chocolate or chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the corn syrup, water, and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Fold in chocolate chunks. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake for 12 to 14 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are golden. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
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Since a few readers asked last week how we managed to sleep train Zoey, I thought I’d write about our experience in hopes that it may encourage other sleep-deprived parents out there. I am in no way an expert in this area, but I can share how Jeff and I managed it and what we found helpful.
We decided to sleep train Zoey at the 5.5 month old mark. At that point, she was waking up 10-20 times a night (no joke) and had to be swaddled with her right hand in her mouth in order to fall asleep. She had always slept in her bassinet near my bed and would not sleep in her crib, even for naps. I would wake up wrecked each day, every morning more tired than the night before. I was so sleep deprived, I was having trouble formulating complete sentences (which explains my lack of blogging the past few months). I was desperate to sleep train her earlier but we were traveling in March and we had a slew of overnight guests in April whom I didn’t want to subject to her crying, so the night that our last house guest left was the night that we started sleep training. I’ve already decided that my next child will be sleep trained at the 3 month mark.
The goal for us was to teach Zoey how to soothe herself to sleep in her own crib without any assistance from us. The month before we started sleep training, I read up on a bunch of different books on the subject – On Becoming Baby Wise, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby, The No Cry Sleep Solution and Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems. (I was able to check the books out from the local library or borrow them from friends so I didn’t have to purchase any of them) I know parents have strong opinions on what method is best (sleep training and breastfeeding seem to be the two topics that spark the most judgement from people!) but every parent has to decide what they feel more comfortable with and what is best for their child. We ultimately went with the Ferber method (aka “Cry It Out” or progressive waiting method) because a lot of our friends swore by it and we thought it’d be most effective. I know it gets a bad rap but its not as cruel as it sounds. You do not let your child crying alone endlessly all night but rather you calm her at timed intervals and gradually increase the intervals until she learns to soothe herself. Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems details this method step-by-step (you can also read a summary here) so I won’t go into detail how to do it here. If you choose to Ferberize your child, I would definitely recommend reading Richard Ferber’s entire book first because its helpful to know all about the body’s basic sleep patterns. The first night of sleep training was the roughest, but we were prepared for that. We kept a sleep log and she woke up crying 17 times that first night with the longest crying period being 45 minutes. Each subsequent night, as she learned that we weren’t going to come in and pick her up, she slowly learned to self-soothe and put herself to sleep. The next night, despite a late night fire alarm that almost foiled everything, Zoey woke up 12 times. The 3rd night, Zoey work up only 5 times. By the fourth night, she “got it” and she slept through the whole night! It was a miracle!!! I cannot tell you how freeing it was to be able to put her down in her crib in her room and not have to get her until the next morning. It truly is life changing!!!
A couple notes:
- Before we started sleep training, we actually took some gradual steps to get Zoey ready for the ordeal. We first had to get her comfortable sleeping in her own crib so a couple weeks beforehand, we had her start sleeping in her crib in her room while I slept next to her on a futon. Then, we had to get her used to sleeping unswaddled, so we started unswaddling her left arm and kept her right arm swaddled tightly with her right hand in her mouth. After she adjusted to that, I needed to eliminate her night feedings (at that point she was getting up around 4am every morning to feed) so whenever she woke up for her usual night feeding, I did whatever I could to soothe her back to sleep in hopes of stretching out her feeding period to 12 hours. The next step was to introduce a “lovey” in her crib so that she would have something comforting to calm her when she is alone at night. I started placing the lovey in her hands whenever she napped and when she was in her carseat so that she would get used to it. Lastly, since the Ferber method does not allow you to pick up your baby to soothe her, I started just patting her whenever she cried at night instead of picking her up unless she was hysterical and inconsolable (which then I would pick her up as the last resort). After we did all these steps, we felt that she was finally ready to be sleep trained. I don’t think we could have done it “cold turkey”, but because we sort of gradually started the process, we felt comfortable the first night knowing that we prepared Zoey the best that we could.
- I know a lot of parents feel guilt while they are sleep training their children; it never feels good to hear your child crying out for you. I had to keep reminding myself that I was teaching Zoey to learn good sleeping habits early and sleeping well at night will make her a happier and healthier baby during the day. Also, she would benefit much more by having happy, well-rested mother than one that was sleep-deprived, frustrated, resentful and grumpy with disheveled hair. In retrospect, it only took us three nights for her to learn, and yes, those three nights were long and difficult but totally worth what I gained out of it: my sanity back.
- It was really helpful for me that Jeff was on board with everything because you really need the support of your partner the first few nights. It’s heart wrenching to hear your child cry for long periods of times, so I was really glad that Jeff was there for encouragement. He kept me from abandoning the whole thing, running back into her bedroom, swooping her in my arms and yelling “I’m so sorry!! Mommy will never let go of you again!”
- Now that Zoey is sleeping about 10 hrs a night, it doesn’t mean that I also sleep straight through the night now. I wish!! I still wake up every few hours to check on her and to pump milk. I also wake up at the slightest sound of her stirring through our baby monitor so even though the baby is sleeping soundly, I still haven’t gotten a whole night where I’ve slept through peacefully!! She also now wakes up at 5am every morning (sometimes as early as 4:30am) so days are still really tiring! But I’m not complaining, I’ll take it!
- And even though she is sleeping through the night, her naps are a whole different story. Naptimes are still a struggle and I have no idea what to do. The girl will not sleep for more than 15 minutes chunks and that is usually preceded by a half hour of crying. Sigh. You win some, you lose some. We are also traveling again this week to LA so I’m sure any gains that we have made this past month will all be undone and we will have to sleep train her all over again. And I’m sure as luck will have it, the moment I publish this post, Zoey will wake up and cry the rest of the night. If there is one thing I learned from parenting is that the moment you *think* you got something figured out, you don’t. Its quite humbling.
- As I was reading through the ”Sleepy Child” section of Dr. Ferber’s book, I realized that Jeff actually suffers from so many of the sleep disorders that were described!!! If you know my husband at all, you know what I am talking about. His sleep talking, night terrors, extremely loud snoring, obstructive sleep apea and narcolepsy make him the WORST bedmate. The guy has also started “sleep yelling” recently in the middle of the night. He has terrible sleeping habits! Now my next mission is to SLEEP TRAIN JEFF!! HA!!
My funny little munchkin doing a rotation in her sleep:
I hope you all are getting a good night’s rest wherever you are!! My baby is sound asleep so I’m scurrying off to bed now! Hooray!!
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