April, 2012 Archive

Sleeping Beauty

by Bryan Friedman in Baby Land, Daddy's Corner

Before Madelyn was born, you may remember that Alison and I were consumed with reading about all things baby. Well, after Madelyn was born, we didn’t stop reading — it turns out the questions only multiply after the baby shows up! I picked up the sequel to my favorite pre-baby dad book and have enjoyed following Madelyn’s growth month-by-month instead of tracking my insanity month-by-month (though I know it’s still there).

However, there’s one book I began reading before Madelyn that I continue to reference pretty frequently. It was a recommendation from multiple fellow parents called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. I’ve really become something of a convert after reading it, and I seem to always find myself trying to enforce M’s sleep habits and push her “schedule.” Apparently, because of this, amongst Alison’s mommy-and-me friends, I’ve become known as the “Sleep Gestapo”, but I prefer “Nap Nazi” (because of the alliteration of course). This book about healthy sleep is the reason why though… well this book, and the fact that it was worked wonders for us so far.

A good sleeper from the beginning!

Honestly, Madelyn has always been a good sleeper, so we’ve definitely had an easier time than many other parents I know. But some of her great sleeping, I’d like to believe, has a lot to do with what I learned from reading this book. I won’t lie though — I haven’t exactly read it cover to cover. It’s not exactly riveting, at least not the same way my “being a dad” books are. But I’ve read enough of the important parts to gather the information we have needed as parents to make sure that Madelyn is getting all the beauty sleep she needs…and so are we. And it’s not just about us getting sleep too. For me, it’s about having time to ourselves and creating a good balance of time being parents and time being spouses.

There is one caveat to all my carrying on. I’ve come to realize that no matter what we read or hear from other parents, nothing can replace our instincts as Madelyn’s mom and dad. Alison and I know her pretty well at this point, definitely better than anybody else, so we are usually pretty good at figuring out what she needs. But we’re still pretty new parents, and things change so quickly, it’s nice to have some reference points and that’s what books and web sites and Alison’s “mommy boards” provide us.

So between Weissbluth’s pages, other parent experiences, and our own Madelyn-sense, we’ve been able to come up with a really great sleep plan that works for us. A little bit of this…a little bit of that. I know it wouldn’t work for everybody, but it’s been really great for us.

One thing I like about our sleep philosophy with Madelyn is that, even though I have a reputation as the enforcer of a sleep schedule, we really aren’t that tied to specific nap times. It’s really more about reading M’s tired signals (when she yawns or rubs her eyes) and being more conscious of the stretch of times she’s awake. It’s about consistency in the sleep routine (yay Sleep Sheep and Lovey!) and realizing the importance of sleep in her growth and development. Sometimes, I get home from work late and Madelyn’s already asleep. Sure I’d love to see her and play and have fun, but parenting sometimes requires a degree of unselfishness, and her sleep is important.

The other thing that’s great for Alison and me is that, sometimes, we just have to throw everything – nap schedule, bed time, consistent routine – completely out the window. Maybe she has to stay up for a baby naming, go with us to dinner at a restaurant, or wake up early and skip a nap for mommy-and-me. It’s okay! We know we can get her sleep schedule back in order after a day or two of being out of whack.

Asleep on Daddy's shoulder on the beach of Hawaii. She was soooo tired!

We just recently got back from a week long vacation in Hawaii where, needless to say, M’s schedule was pretty messed up. But looking back, she was actually kind of a rock star. I mean, she never really adjusted to the time change, but given her lack of naps of all her abnormal night wakings, she did pretty well. And now that we’re back, she’s adjusted pretty well. Heck, she’s asleep as I write this! Yes, yes, I know…she’s a good baby. We’re so lucky. I get it. But I think it’s also because Alison and I have sleep-trained her so well. It’s important to us.

Aaaaah, I love watching her sleep in her crib. Sometimes I look at her on the monitor and all I can think is, “I love her.” Is there anything better than the sight of a sleeping baby? I think not.

  1. 4/30/2012 6:27 AM

    Awwwwww!! Absolute sweetness!!!

    Hi! Stopping by from MBC. Great blog!
    Have a nice day!

Our Little Chocolate Bunny

The same day we hosted our Passover seder, we also attended our family’s annual Spring Celebration! While my brisket was cooking during the day, we were enjoying the prettiest afternoon at Debbie and Fred’s, frolicking around their resort-like backyard.

Getting ready to enjoy a day in the sun with family and fun! Yay rhyming!

We enjoyed chowing down from a yummy and gourmet panini bar while Madelyn chugged her bottle. Lots of catching up with family from all over made the hours pass quickly. After lunch, the youngest group of cousins were chompin’ at the bit to go swimming and who could blame them on such a beautiful day?

Bryan and I followed suit and got us and Madelyn in our swim gear so we could join the kiddos in the pool. It literally took us 20 minutes to get Madelyn in her swim diaper and bathing suit, and slathered in sunscreen. Dear Baby Swimwear Designers: Why oh WHY do you not make bathing suits with snaps like every. other. single. piece. of. baby. clothing.?? Are none of the baby bathing suit designers parents? Or humans with a single brain cell? Madelyn did not like the getting-ready process, but we marched on and did our best to wiggle her in without accidentally breaking any limbs.

At least the final product is a-dorable.

Big Cousin Jaimie holds her baby Ocean and his 3-week-older cousin Madelyn

Once we were in the pool, it was all about making sure Madelyn was comfortable. She looked a little bit concerned that her bathtub got a thousand times bigger and palm trees and children replaced her rubber duckie and funnel toy.

She watched her older cousins play and then some of them came to entertain her. She loved being held by her daddy in the pool while her mommy avoided getting splashed because it would ruin her hair would mess up her contact lenses.

Mommy & Daddy with our future Olympic swimmer

Madelyn plays Bumper Floaties with her cute cousin Remy

Madelyn and her adorable cousin Carsyn (aka, the one who got my bio clock ticking almost 2 years ago! Seriously!)

Happy Maddie likes the water!

Once all the kids were water logged, we dried off and got ready for a very special visitor. The visitor, The Easter Bunny, comes every year to the Spring Celebration and a few years ago, I got verrrrrry intimiate with The Easter Bunny in a way that I used to get verrrrrry intimate with Wilma Wildcat in college. This year’s Easter Bunny was a little taller, and he made all the kids very happy (well, except Carsyn who was still afraid of the big rabbit) with all the eggs he gave to the moms to hide before making his appearance.

The most mysterious thing about the Bunny’s visit was we kept trying to find my dad so he could see Madelyn with her first Bunny, but he was nowhere to be found! We looked everywhere for him, but there was no sign of Madelyn’s Poppa. He was probably right in front of our faces, but we’ll never know, I guess.

Hmm... This Bunny smells like M&Ms and French fries...

New mamas and the new babies with the new bunny!

All the cousins together with The Bunny!

Madelyn finds The Bunny's knee very familiar.

Our lovely hosts with the Bunny and my mom getting frisky with the Bunny. Gross.

All the candy-eager kids went nuts hunting for eggs. Madelyn and I sat with her new personalized bag and watched the madness. It was so fun to see the kids so excited about their loot. I had a mini breakdown thinking about next year’s party and that Madelyn (and Ocean!) will be toddling around and joining them in the hunt. I can’t wait to see it. As for the sugar high that follows, I think I’ll enjoy this year’s stationary style of hunting for eggs.

Maddie and I enjoy the scene.

Bryan, Madelyn and I started to make the rounds and give Jewish goodbyes (which is funny at this Easter Eggstravaganza) and snapped a couple more photos of Madelyn with my first cousin, Justin, and Madelyn with his daughter, Carsyn. She’s the youngest of his three girls and all of my favorite cousin childhood memories are with him. Not surprising, he’s a great dad.

Madelyn looks up -- literally -- to her big cousin, Carsyn. Just like I would look up to big big cousin, Justin.

It was such a fun day! Thank you, Debbie and Fred, for being such amazing hosts and having us all over for family time in your beautiful home. And maybe next year, we’ll solve the mystery of my dad’s strange disappearance. Or not.

  1. Stefanie
    4/19/2012 8:33 AM

    I saw these on BabySteals. I think it might be just what you’re looking for. http://snapmeswimwear.com/

  2. Auntie Pattie
    4/13/2012 7:37 PM

    All because your uncle married a “Shitska”… Haha
    It’s a beautiful thing. Endless happy faces!!

Our Little Matzah Ball

Last year when I was five months pregnant, Bryan and I hosted a Passover seder — our first one — in our tiny little condo and we made lots of jokes about how “next year, we’ll have one more person at this seder and we’re not talkin’ about Elijah!” (If you’re not Jewish, that’s not funny. And if you are Jewish, that’s probably still not that funny).

Well, my mind is blown, because that “next year” just happened. Past tense. Last weekend. And Elijah didn’t actually come, but Madelyn did!

It was a lot of work to prepare and cook for the seder when I was pregnant, especially since my belly was three feet from the kitchen counter and I could hear my feet as I walked. I thought it would be even more difficult to host a seder with an infant, but I did a lot of prep work while Madelyn napped and I put my Seder assistant to work and my assistant’s name is Crock Pot. I’d like to cuddle with my assistant. Is that an HR issue?

The Seder turned out lovely! The food was good and the company was even better. Both sets of grandparents and Madelyn’s great grandparents were over and I’m not sure what I loved more: their gushing over my matzah ball soup or their gushing over our little matzah ball. I made both, you know.

Our reading from the Haggadah was fairly quick and painless thanks to Bryan’s genius adoption of The 30-Minute Seder book that he printed for everyone. We got to the food, inhaled it, and followed the meal with a little song session for Madelyn. She loved hearing her Grandpa Jay play guitar and we all enjoyed singing some of Madelyn’s favorite hits. A little lullaby ended the set and the little matzah munchkin went to sleep.

And then after everyone left, Bryan and I collapsed and joined Princeton on the couch. He’s a lazy dog. A smart dog, but a lazy dog.

Our second Seder was a success and we are glad that we started the tradition for Madelyn, who is, of course, the new reason for celebrating holidays. Guess every day is a holiday since we celebrate Madelyn every day.

Happy Passover, everyone!

  1. Linda
    4/13/2012 12:03 PM

    Loved your blog, and I LAUGHED at the Elija comment, and I am not Jewish, but us Mormons know about that.

    I gave a seder for our study group a few years ago with the help of my Jewish friend . It was a beautiful experience, reading almost the whole thing. She helped me reduce it slightly, but not much. I had SUCH fun researching the food and preparing it. It gave us all a MUCH deeper understanding of the Passover, and I think it is important to learn about and share with others.

  2. Auntie Pattie
    4/13/2012 8:08 AM

    I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone who cam make laugh and cry all within two paragraphs!
    You have such a gift Alison. Not to mention a beautiful and TASTY little matzo ball!!!
    Madelyn will treasure these posts her whole life. Lucky little girl.. BEAUTIFUL little family.
    Aloha!! Can’t wait for posts and pictures about next week!!!

  3. Mimi
    4/12/2012 11:39 PM

    Thank you for the wonderful & delicious seder. It was perfect in every way. We’ll always remember that this night was different from every other night because your garbage disposal decided to quit working when it was time to clean up the dishes. But everything worked out & turned out just fine. And the best part was Madelyn getting to take it all in–her family, the food, the seder, the songs. Can’t wait to do it again next year and Madelyn will be able to eat the matzoh and the feast in your crock pot. xoxox

Party Animal

by Alison Friedman in Madelyn & Friends, Mommy's Musings

Madelyn runs with an older crowd. A handful of her friends just turned one or are about to hit the one year mark, so this spring has been filled with birthday parties.

We enjoy chaperoning her to these parties because, really, they’re more for the grown ups than the babies anyway. The kids, including the birthday guest of honor, are absolutely clueless about the party and that their parents have done a lot of work to produce such a big shindig all in their name. As parents, we enjoy attending the birthday parties because it’s a chance to hang with the babes and other adults. It’s a safe haven that makes it socially acceptable to fill conversation with stroller comparisons and bed time routine suggestions. The moms love it because dads come to help with the baby and also meet the other dads.

But as the host of the party? Oh my! As we enter Madelyn’s final third of her first year, it’s already time to start thinking about her birthday party! But the pressure is on. It seems like it’s a total faux pas to copy other party ideas within the same social circle. The stress that goes into the planning of “What should I do?” and the costs that add up are already making me nervous. Finding a venue, nailing down food, providing a novel activity, sending the kids home with party favors… there’s just so much to think about. Gone are the days of the one-year birthday party that entails pizza and a pinata and a “theme” that’s threaded only through the Sesame Street paper plates and wall character cut outs. The first-year birthday party circuit is maybe even more intense than the wedding industry, and I should know! {insert shameless plug for The Wedding Yentas, a Guide for the Jewish Bride, here}.

And then there’s the pressure for the baby! It’s all about the smash cake. The parents wheel out the baby in a high chair that suddenly resembles a throne among the throng, and the expectation is that at the end of listening to a recital of “Happy Birthday” sung by the chorus of guests, the baby will smash a personal size cake, delight in its mush-ness, and shove a fistful in the mouth and light up at the new sugary sensation. The performance anxiety has got to be paralyzing. And confusing. Parents spend meal after meal trying to get the baby to eat healthy and enjoy green beans, yet suddenly, mom and dad change their tune and the baby absolutely must! eat! cake! So when the baby is kinda “meh” about the whole thing, everyone’s disappointed and the “Happy Birthday” recital is followed by an encore of “awwwww, man….” It’s so funny. Parents are so funny. The whole thing is just ridiculous. But guess what? Madelyn will be wheeled out on her high chair throne and be forced to eat dessert. It’s just how it goes.

Baby Alison at her first birthday party, June 1984.

If there's going to be a smash, it's going to be on the shared community cake at my first birthday party.

One of the parties we went to was a circus theme celebrating one of our favorite cuties, Gavin, and it really was a fun day with the other mommies in our group, the dads, and our babies. Gavin’s parents had a photo booth and we all enjoyed sitting in front of the camera and taking silly photos that we could bring home with us. It really was a great idea and I think some moms may have been thinking that they wish they’d thought of that or they can’t have a photo booth at their TBD parties because it’s already been done. But I say pish posh! One-year-old birthday parties have been enjoyed for generations and I think as long as it’s fun, it doesn’t matter if it’s been done. If it’s a good idea, mutual guests will enjoy it again, and new guests will have a blast, too!

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still thinking about Madelyn’s first birthday and cataloging ideas in my head. From the moment I finished decorating her nursery, my next thought was about how I might design her first birthday. And that was before her original birth day! Yes, I’m crazy, but I think all of us moms are. We just want the best for our babies, especially when we’re celebrating them. Acting crazy about the ones we’re crazy about isn’t so crazy after all.

Friedmans Gone Wild... in a photobooth.

It's like we're 13 again... except we have babies and we're almost 30.

The Friedmans and The Franks aka Ali and Stefanie bring their husbands into their shenanigans.

Shaye, Madelyn, and Brielle are the girls of our Mommy & Me group babies, and just like their mamas, girls just wanna have fun... in the photobooth.

Eight Months!

Today Madelyn is eight months old. That sounds so old. I feel like everything past six months and on the other end of that half year mark is basically almost a year. She’s starting out her final third of her first year and I’m a little sentimental about it.

What I’m also not okay with is that if she’s eight months today, there’s only one month left until she’s nine months old. And you know what’s unnerving about the nine-month mark? As soon as I start to complain about the post partum mother’s body I currently possess, people say, “Oh, but it took your body nine months to grow and stretch while you were pregnant! Don’t worry! It takes nine months to get your body back.”

Well shit.

I have a measly four weeks from now to have a body whose reflection I last saw in November of 2010. No pressure.

Oy vey. Don’t worry: I’m still boot camping and eating all the good-for-you foods. Definitely making progress, but I’ll tell ya what, I’m not done. You know how I know? I bought a bathing suit with Spanx. ‘Nuff said.

Oh, right, this is about Madelyn turning eight months old.

She’s just such a joy. I can’t even gush and do her justice. We just adore this little matzo ball to pieces and I still can’t believe even after eight months that this little nugget is a masterpiece that I had anything to do with. Bryan, well, he’s a gem. But me? Psshhh.

This month, Madelyn:

  • Is a crawling machine!! When she started to crawl on March 15th, it took her no time at all to master this new skill. The first couple days she’d go a few scooches before losing her balance and starting over again, but after that, boy oh boy, she zig zags around the room with no fear at all. She’s definitely enjoying her new freedom and is finding ways to get into everything!
  • Stands up with a little help from her inanimate friends. Ottoman, crib, chair, dresser — you name it — she is scaling these things like Spider Woman and pulling herself up. She doesn’t always stay up or even finish off on flat feet, but she’s a strong one and gets pretty vertical. This means we had to lower the crib on its lowest setting so in order to accommodate Miss Curious, I now have a broken back from leaning so far in to get her down and out. Also, I’m sad about this because now the really cute dust ruffle is too low and long for the crib, so we had to remove it from the ensemble. C’mon, Madelyn. Stop these new tricks. That dust ruffle from Pottery Barn Kids wasn’t cheap!
  • Can make consonant sounds. It’s only a matter of time until our innocent little mute starts to talk back and use whiney attitude on us. Oh dear. She makes “g,” “y,” and “d” sounds. Waiting for the “m” and “aw” sound combined and repeated once… hint hint.
  • Discovered the pincer grip! She feeds herself puffs and Mum Mums and string cheese bits using her thumb and pointer fingers. It’s really adorable because she still puts her entire fist in her mouth after she’s picked up the food and brought it to her lips. I had been feeding the puffs to her myself and then as soon as I put them on her high chair tray, she was able to pick them up herself. She seems to proud of this accomplishment. Well it does involve food, so I guess I don’t blame her.
  • Got ticklish! Play time is so much more fun now that she giggles when tickled. Madelyn is ticklish under her arms, her neck, and on her sides. We wiggle our fingers over her and say “I’m gonna… I’m gonna… I’m… gonnagetyoooooou!!!!” and then tickle, tickle, tickle. The belly laugh comes from her toes! She laughs so hard and smiles so big, we can’t even see her eyes. She really enjoys being tickled and likes to be teased.
  • Puts evvvvverything in her mouth. Be careful and fair warning: nothing is safe from her curious gums. Toys, shoes (ew no! I don’t let that happen, but she’s TRIED), my appendages, the couch, Princeton’s tail (ew no! HE doesn’t let that happen!), and the most coveted item of all, our iPhones. This kid wants to taste it all. However peas and green beans, still not a total fan of putting THOSE in her mouth.
  • Still sleeps like a champ. She goes to bed at 6:30 p.m. and wakes up between 7:30 and 8 in the morning. It’s quite glorious. I don’t mean to brag since I know not all parents are sailing this dream boat (no pun intended), but we worked hard to get her on a schedule that works for all of us. She still takes two to three naps per day which she usually doesn’t fight and they last about 90 minutes to two hours each. Sleeping Beauty indeed!

Cuddle time with my girl after she had just pulled my hair.

Because every post needs a handsome dog...

Madelyn has experienced a lot of fun things this month and I will be writing about them individually in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Happy Eight Months to our little Maddie poo.

  1. Auntie Pattie
    4/12/2012 2:10 PM

    I love love love this wonderful tribute to that little matzo ball!!! HAHAHAHA! And I have to say… That sleeping thing! OMGOSH!!! SO NOT FAIR to all other parents out there!!!!!!!
    Love you, love the blog, LOVE the matzo ball!!

  2. Mimi
    4/10/2012 8:49 AM

    Little lovely Madelyn–Happy Eight Months to you!
    So far it has been a joy!
    love Mimi

  3. Cathy
    4/9/2012 9:30 PM

    Princeton….muah, I’d put his tail in my mouth..really.