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Dec 19 2013

All Three Kids Are Asleep & Happy. How Did This Happen?

By at 9:37 am

cara

I woke up sounding like a frog again. Remnants from my cold on Thanksgiving, I suppose. But as I sit here in bed, sipping my coffee that my husband has brought me, with my son ensconced in my lap playing on his iPad, my thoughts are not on this nasty scratchy throat I cannot get rid of, but rather, on how, for the first time in a long time, I feel like I have done something right in this world of parenting. That somehow, something I did, or didn’t do, was actually a good decision. The sacrifice was worth it. My children, at this exact moment, are all happy.

I don’t recall this feeling. It is foreign to me. But it feels damn good.

You see, my 3-year-old son has never liked to sleep. Never even seemed to actually need sleep. At least not like all the other kids I know. Parents would roll their eyes at me when I said he didn’t go to sleep at night until 10 or 11 p.m. Surely I must be a terrible parent, or a push-over, I could see their judgment in their eyes. But his teachers and caregivers have continuously told us he has more energy than any other child in his class. Whether or not that is a good thing is up for debate, but clearly, not sleeping 12 hours a night worked just fine for him. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 18 2013

Sleep Training Gets a Bad Rap

By at 2:13 pm

sleep

After reading Mayim Bialik’s recent article on why she disagrees with sleep training, I felt I had to write a response to show everyone the second side of the sleep-deprived coin.

I want to start out by saying that I think Mayim’s take on parenting is so refreshing and honest. She is so in tune with herself and what her needs are as a mother–which is the single most important aspect in parenting our children. I am not writing this response to “battle” anything she has written, or to contribute to the “Mommy Wars” that exists today. I just want every mother to feel true to herself…

Unfortunately, sleep training has a very negative connotation these days. It is often wrongly associated with leaving Baby to cry for endless hours alone, leaving him emotionally and physically traumatized. Although there are many methods out there, amongst them are also gentle, holistic ideas. Sleep training doesn’t always mean teaching your baby how to sleep. It also means teaching your baby when to sleep or how to become less irritable. There are so many factors included in the blanket of helping improve sleep habits that I could write a 20-page article alone just discussing that!

But don’t worry, I won’t bore you. I also won’t spend time addressing what sleep training is in more detail. I just want to share my thoughts on why it isn’t necessarily a disciplined, last-resort measure. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 9 2013

Getting Over My “Not Enough” Syndrome

By at 2:03 pm

shutterstock_99633347

“Please God, help me sleep!” That was my prayer, my urgent plea, while lying in bed wide awake three days after the birth of my son. I was beyond exhausted and I knew I only had a short window before I’d have to wake up again to feed him. My baby boy had just fallen asleep after his middle of the night feeding, and I desperately wanted to fall back asleep before he woke up again. My body ached with exhaustion and the pains of a still-healing episiotomy.

The problem was, I was wide awake. And in this state of being wide awake, I found myself contemplating the worthiness of bothering God with my desperate plea to sleep. I’ve asked for, and received, a lot of things over the years, big and small: a good job; a husband; a short line at the airport so I don’t miss my connecting flight; warm weather for my week of holidays. I had prayed like crazy for a child. At the age of 38, there was no way I took for granted a healthy pregnancy and now, the arrival of a healthy, eight pound baby boy.

I admit that over the years I have suffered from what I like to call the “not enough” syndrome. I’m not pretty enough; I’m not talented enough; I’m not ambitious enough; I’m not spontaneous enough; I don’t earn enough. There are even competing “not enough’s” such as: I don’t work hard enough and I don’t spend enough time with my family. I relate to this as a syndrome that disproportionately affects Jews, kind of like lactose intolerance (yes, I am lactose intolerant) although I’m sure we Jews haven’t cornered the market on feelings of inadequacy (or on lactose intolerance, for that matter). Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 4 2013

Ask a Sleep Coach: What to Do About Your Early (Reeeally Early) Riser

By at 10:01 am

sunrise

The following question for Batya, our resident sleep coach, comes from contributing editor Jordana Horn:

Hi, Batya. I am hoping you can help me out. My 2-year-old, whom we’ll call G, is an early riser. I mean EARLY, to the tune of 4:30-5:30 a.m. She naps two hours a day from 1-3. She goes to bed around 7 p.m. She wakes up totally chipper and raring to go. Sadly, my husband and I are not the same way. We have decided to say we will not get her from her crib until 6 a.m. and have gotten her a clock that turns green when it is 6 a.m. In other words, you don’t have to be asleep, but you can’t yell for us till 6 a.m. We put books in her bed that she can read by the light of her night light (“read” = look at pictures). 

Unfortunately, 95% of the time, she yells for us well before 6 a.m. We have tried telling her to stop. We have tried reward systems. We have tried punishments. We have tried going in and shushing/holding her. We have tried not going in and letting her scream her head off, waking up the rest of the house in the process. She wakes the whole house up every morning. It isn’t fair to the other kids, let alone us. 

I asked our pediatrician what to do and she said there is nothing we can do: some kids are just early risers. That’s fine by me but I want to make sure she knows that before 6 a.m., she’s gotta keep the early morning love to herself. What to do? Please help! Thank you!!! Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 13 2013

Ask a Sleep Coach: How Do I Get My 4-Year-Old to Sleep On Her Own?

By at 8:01 pm

babymama

Anyone with kids knows that getting them to sleep is no easy feat. Luckily, there are people who specialize in these things, like Israeli sleep coach Batya Sherizen. Below she takes on a question from Kveller editor, Deborah Kolben. Do you have a sleep question for Batya? Send them into info@kveller.com with the subject line “Sleep coach.”

My 4-year-old still wakes up and wants us to sleep in her bed every night. How do we get her to sleep on her own?

As parents, we obviously want to ensure that our children feel emotionally secure at all times. Sometimes, however, we find ourselves sacrificing that “security” at our own expense and sleep deprivation.

Your 4-year-old wants your presence to fall back asleep at night and she is developmentally at a place where she can understand cause and affect. Until now, she has learned that if she protests enough, Mommy and/or Daddy WILL come and sleep in her bed. Therefore, she has no reason to change her current behavior. In her eyes, she is getting what she wants! Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 19 2013

Finding the Perfect Lullabies for My Daughter

By at 10:11 am

lullabies illustrationAfter reading Elissa Strauss’ recent post, The Best Lullabies Turn Out to Be Jewish, I got to thinking about the songs I sing to my daughter when she goes to bed.

Before my little girl was born, I set out on a mission to find non-traditional lullabies. I didn’t want to croon about bows breaking and cradles falling or trying to buy my daughter’s peace and quiet with diamond rings. And really… who’s buying their babies diamond rings? And that’s the consolation prize only if the mocking bird doesn’t sing? Sheesh.

Anyway, I wanted to sing songs that meant something to me. See, my family instilled a love of music in me and I want to do the same for my daughter.

My mom always sang non-traditional lullabies from Peter, Paul and Mary’s “500 Miles” to “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 22 2013

Making the Switch to a Big Girl Bed

By at 10:30 am

big girl bedMy 2-year-old daughter celebrated Independence Day in style: she got a big girl bed. She had asked about a bed for months. I was resistant. Her 4-year-old brother had only gotten his early because we were pregnant with her. And we had no concerns about him getting out of bed; that was not the case with her. Knowing she was in the crib meant I didn’t have to worry about her getting out of bed, wandering around, looking for her brother, for us, or for the nearest thing she could crack her head on. Her crib was the ticket to a little bit of extra time to get ready in the morning. She didn’t need a bed yet.

Around her 2nd birthday, my son made her an art project representing a bed which she clung to and very clearly said, “I want a bed.” Her requests got more insistent after that. My husband and I finally decided what to do: our son would give her his low-to-the-ground Ikea bed that we had inherited from a friend and he would get a new bed (the one we anticipate he’ll have until he leaves the house). They were beyond ecstatic; I was trepidatious. Every night and morning, my daughter would tell us the plan, sometimes before saying good morning.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 28 2013

Sleep Training with the Shema

By at 10:08 am

baby lying awake on bedSleep training. Like just about every other parenting decision, the controversy rages about how to get an infant to go to sleep. I’ve heard that some babies snuggle down for a night of uninterrupted sleep, and will even take naps during the day. But my 4-month-old daughter seemed afraid that if she went to sleep, she might miss something exciting. She thought that a nap meant resting on my lap with her eyes open for 20 minutes, and that sleeping from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. with a wake-up call for snuggles every two hours was “sleeping through the night.”

With such an overtired baby and no longer able to get through the day ourselves, my husband and I knew something had to change. Like many first-time parents, we had imagined a calm bedtime routine. She had her bath, got a short massage, read a story, nursed, and then was supposed to go quietly into her crib as we sang the Shema and Adon Olam. For a while, everything went according to plan, except for the part about going “quietly into her crib.” Instead, we would finish the routine with a baby who appeared to be well on her way to dreamland, but who, as soon as she was placed in her crib, began to cry as though she was being tortured. It wasn’t gas. She wasn’t still hungry. She had been sleeping in her crib by herself for several weeks, so it wasn’t a scary or unfamiliar place. She just did not want to go to sleep.  Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 6 2013

Free Stuff Alert: Lyla Tov Monsters

By at 5:01 pm
lyla tov monsters

Ahhhh!

If you want help ensuring your kids get a good night’s sleep, you ought to be looking to the monsters. That’s right, monsters.

6-year-old Lyla Black has become quite the entrepreneur with her line of Lyla Tov Monsters, friendly adorable monsters meant to keep the bad ones away. With the help of her mom, who got her start as a costume designer for Sesame Street (and now has two Emmys under her belt) Lyla has designed a whole line of these adorable monsters and now needs your help to produce them for the masses.

Check out the just launched Lyla Tov Monsters Kickstarter Campaign to learn more about the monsters and help the company get on its feet. And then be sure to fill out the form below to enter our giveaway. A lucky random winner will receive the spunky monster featured above, named Ahhhh (though we’ve been assured it’s totally kosher for Ahhhh’s new owner to rename it whatever he/she wants).

**Head over to the Lyla Tov Monsters Kickstarter here and enter our giveaway below.**

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway has now ended. Congrats to the winner, Elisha!

Apr 4 2013

Hello, My Name is Janel & I Hate Co-Sleeping

By at 9:46 am
parents sleeping with child in bed

Co-sleeping has NEVER looked like this for us.

Let me start by saying that I know a lot of people think co-sleeping is fantastic including some of my close friends. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and this is mine. I’m not trying to convince anyone to change their view.

That being said, I know some parents who share my opinion and they are afraid to speak up for fear of being negatively judged by anyone who is in favor of co-sleeping. Doing things differently from others don’t make you a bad parent; it just means it doesn’t work for your family.

For a couple of months, my 4-year-old has thought her place at night is in our queen-sized bed and my husband’s position in the same bed is rather arbitrary. She’s said that he should sleep in the spare room. She starts out in her own bed, but comes to ours sometime in the middle of the night. I think she knows she has a better chance of getting to actually stay there if it’s so late that we won’t want to argue with her. I give her kudos on that one. The other night, it happened that we went to bed later than usual and she came to our room earlier than usual, so I got zero sleep. ZERO. I was so exhausted that I couldn’t think straight and ended up taking a half day off work because of it. Read the rest of this entry →

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