We were at the cabin recently and got a ton of snow. And by a ton I mean check out the picture of the car. It was level with the ground when we pulled in.

This happened overnight. No joke.

Sadly, Mouse is not a huge fan of the snow. He doesn’t like to walk in it. As in, he screams and cries when we try to make him walk in it. But we were all getting a bit of cabin fever there in the cabin. There’s a television and we did have basic cable installed, but just turning on the tv is rather hit and miss. Plus we don’t allow Mouse to watch much tv at all. Prior to this trip, he really only watched Yo Gabba Gabba.

However, luckily for us, we did bring up a new Blue-Ray DVD player that can stream from Netflix, so we set out to find something other than Yo Gabba Gabba (which Mouse calls “Go Ga Ga”) to watch. We sort of stumbled up this British cartoon about a dog named Kipper.

It’s unbelievably wonderful. We are now huge Kipper fans. Kipper is originally a series of children’s books, but those are very hard to find nowadays, sadly. But Mouse is completely enthralled with Kipper, the messages are positive, the animation is gentle (that is, not a lot of fast and flashy movement), and the stories are all very straightforward.

If you’re looking for a new series that you can tolerate in the background, we highly recommend Kipper.

Silent Sunday

Happy 2nd Birthday Mouse!

I was 34 when we decided to try to conceive. Given my age, I assumed it would take us several months, maybe longer. I bought the 10,000,000 pack of pregnancy tests at Costco in anticipation. I read Taking Charge of Your Fertility to identify when I was ovulating (I cannot recommend that book highly enough to any woman, not just those trying to conceive). And then we decided to take the plunge and have my Mirena IUD (love!) removed. TWO WEEKS later I got pregnant. First try. Go figure.

The timing was impeccable (she said, rolling her eyes). I’d just been a bridesmaid at a good friend’s wedding in Philadelphia and yes, there was  a lot a bit of drinking going on. When I got home and hadn’t recovered from my “hangover,” I decided to take a test. Positive.

All I want for Christmas is you

And since I had all of those tests sitting around, I took two more. Positive, positive, positive. Train Guy had just gone to his parents to pick up our dogs. I know some people plan an elaborate and memorable way to reveal their pregnancy to the babydaddy, but I was so shocked I pretty much just met him at the door, speechless, holding one of the sticks out. He took one look at it and said, “The line looks kind of faint. Or is it one of those any line is a positive things?”

Bingo on the second one.

And then I did the math on my fingers. Due on Christmas!!! Poor kid! If I’d known I would get pregnant right away, I would have waited a few months to give him a fighting chance at a decent birthday. Throughout the whole pregnancy I lamented his Birthday of Doom. Combination gifts, no class parties, birthday forgotten altogether. What a major bummer.

Mouse’s official due date was December 23rd. It wasn’t an easy pregnancy by any means, and I ended up being induced. As the hours ticked by on Christmas Eve, I just kept looking at my belly, saying, “Look Kiddo, you better come out soon because you do NOT want to share a birthday with Jesus. Jesus wins that contest EVERY TIME.” I think he might have heard me because I did that 4cm to 10cm in an hour thing and he was born at 6:57pm on December 24th.

A special present on a special day

I had been rather down about the whole due date thing. Christmas is my favorite holiday and it would be such a hassle to celebrate a birthday too. Mouse would get the shaft every year. But once he was born, I changed my mind. When they returned him from the nursery with a stocking draped over him, my heart just melted. Train Guy pointed out that if you’re going to have a birthday near a holiday, you might as well go all-out and have it on a very special day. Whereas before I’d been hoping for an early delivery, I felt completely different looking at the best Christmas gift I ever got.

That was even how he got his nickname. He was always a noisy little eater, making these tiny mouse noises while eating and also while sleeping. Train Guy said, “He sounds just like a little mouse,” and I chimed in with, “‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, ‘cept our new little Mouse.” And the name stuck.

Now we celebrate his half-birthday in June and Christmas Eve is extremely low-key. Just the grandparents and great-grandparents come over with one birthday present (in birthday paper, NOT Christmas paper!). Tomorrow we’re having a small brunch with a delicious strata, some roasted potatoes, and a bit of ham. The day turns into Christmas after Mouse’s nap and we all enjoy our holiday, particularly with our perfect holiday gift. I could have asked for a better present.

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Silent Sunday

Sleeping: What Worked for Us Part 1

I’ve heard it said that sleep is the Holy Grail of parenting. We were lucky in that Mouse slept through the night very early on. But naps and getting him to go to bed, let alone sleeping in his crib? Yeah, good luck with that.

There are as many ways to get a child to go to bed and stay asleep as there are individual children. But for some reason, sleep techniques are about as controversial as it gets, with many sleep adherents believing that their way is the Right Way, and others are at best, foolish, and at worst, downright harmful.

Now first let me make this clear. Gen X Moms is a No Judgment Zone. All of us moms have different parenting styles and techniques, all of which are equally valid. What we all have in common is that we love our kids. There’s nothing like a vibrant conversation, and it’s only by listening to other voices that we all can understand each other. So if you’re looking for the One Right Way to do anything, you’ve come to the wrong blog, but if you’re looking to read and share ideas and support one-another, welcome! This entry and its soon to be posted companion are what worked for us to get Mouse to sleep, and I hope you find some helpful tips and share your own.

Shortly after I found out I was pregnant, I traveled to visit some friends in Northern California. One friend, whose daughter was 6 months old at the time, pressed a book into my hands and emphatically stated, “This book saved my life. I. Am. Not. Exaggerating.” The book was Dr. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby On The Block, and once Mouse arrived I knew just what my friend was talking about. It saved our lives too. And I’m not exaggerating either.

You can read some excerpts here, but as a quick overview, Dr. Karp’s premise is that babies have 5 different ways of calming themselves in our wombs, and if we re-create those 5 ways, we can help our babies calm themselves after they’re born. I know, my first reaction was “re-create the womb? Puh-lease!” but the more I read, the more sense it made to me. His approach is summed up in the “5S’s.”

S #1: Swaddling. Babies are curled up very tightly in our wombs and to set the stage for the other calming approaches, you swaddle them so they don’t jerk their arms, feel like they’re falling, or wake themselves up. I cannot tell you how well swaddling worked for Mouse. It was a true “off-switch” for him, and he couldn’t sleep without it. We swaddled him until about (a pediatrician-approved) 8-9 months. When he outgrew commercial swaddlers, I invented my own. The key to swaddling we found was swaddling tight. Mouse’s arms needed to be right by his side and the more tightly he was bundled, the calmer he got.

S #2: Side or Stomach-laying. Babies don’t sleep on their backs in the womb, and even though that’s the safest position for SIDS, it’s difficult for many babies (like ours) to fall and stay asleep flat on their backs. Rocking or holding the baby in a side or stomach position is another off-switch. Mouse ended up sleeping in his bouncy chair, but when he’d get really fussy, it was all about holding him in a side-lying position in our arms.

Binky Fail

S #3: Shhhhhh. It’s really noisy in the womb, what with all of that liquid sloshing around and noises from the outside coming in. In fact, Dr. Karp posits that this is why babies in the womb are so active at night–once it’s quiet, that’s when they wake up. Dr. Karp emphasizes that it’s okay to be really loud, since it’s really loud in the womb. Again, we got all up in Mouse’s grill and Shhhh’d at the top of our lungs (so to speak) and the louder we did it, the calmer he got.

S #4: Swinging. Pretty self-explanatory. Unfortunately for us, this didn’t work for Mouse no matter how hard we tried, but it works really well for a lot of babies.

S #5: Sucking, as in a finger or pacifier. Again, Mouse never went for this. He couldn’t keep the binky in his mouth but eventually didn’t seem to care much anyway. But it does work for lots of babies.

In short, read the book, and buy it for any new parents or parents-to-be. They will thank you profusely!

The Scrivener