Who let the cat out of the bag??

At 6:53am this morning, the door to our bedroom slowly opens to reveal a small child in footie pajamas. Bailey just stands there in the doorway staring at us. So, which one of you jokers called him up and told him he should open the doors in the morning when he wakes up?? I mean I only told you about our little secret a week ago. And already, it’s out there. Thanks guys! He seemed a little surprised to find himself in our room and I always did wonder what he would do if he opened his door. Would he go downstairs and play or would he come find us? Us apparently. When I asked him if he wanted daddy to change his poopy diaper, he said “no, I want mommy” Sure, now he wants mommy! Well, I sent Lee to change his poopy diaper anyway. That’s the prerogative of a mother who needs her beauty rest 🙂

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Later, after breakfast, Bailey tried to give Malu (our cat) his sippy cup of milk. “Here Ma-wu” he said as he stood on a chair stretching up to reach her sitting on a ledge. He’s always trying to share his food, toys and drinks with the cats these days. When she did not take the milk that he handed her, it fell down and hit his knees. Bailey immediately burst into tears of grief, requested to lie down on the couch, and wailed “Why you do that Ma-wu? why you do that Ma-wu?”

After a few minutes, I explained to him that Malu didn’t have hands, she had paws, and so it was hard for her to take things when he handed them to her. After some obligatory kisses on his knees and a good face wipe, he appeared to recover and digest this information. In fact, he got up and apologized to Malu and asked her if she was okay. “Sorry Ma–wu, you okay? You okay?” She was unimpressed by the whole fiasco and remained slightly out of reach on her ledge, calmly licking a paw 🙂

 

the arrival of senor bossypants

Two cute boys hanging out
Two cute boys hanging out

Hey world, it’s been a long time since I last wrote a post. Sorry! Time got away from me and Bailey is already 2 years old. How did that happen?? In an effort to post more frequently, I’m going to start writing shorter vignettes of life as Bailey gets older.

In the last six months, Bailey’s verbal skills have skyrocketed, and with them, his opinions. For example, recently Bailey has taken to choosing a diaper from the diaper drawer. In my opinion, this has become a perfect activity in procrastination – especiallly leading up to bedtime. Last night, Bailey sorted through his diapers in search of the perfect diaper. And then he paused and looked at me sitting on the floor next to him. He suddenly says, “Mommy, you sit on big potty and go pee pee!” (pointing at the big toilet). I informed him that I didn’t have to pee and that I was perfectly happy sitting on the floor. After a long pause of reflection, he walked over to the toilet, put down the lid and told me that I needed to sit on the big potty. Bossypants!

He also has decided he does’t like to lie down for diaper changes. Our solution? If we are in the bathroom, he puts his hands on the edge of the bathtub and then we ask him to spread his legs. He jumps his legs apart and awaits the diaper. Half the time, as soon as the diaper touches his bum, he begins to shake his body side to side singing “I shake a body, I shake a body”. It’s pretty freaking adorable even if it makes it harder to get the diaper on. And it’s better than the times he decides to crouch down naked and hop around saying “Ribbit, Ribbit – I froggie!”

The evening ended with Lee coming home early and coming up to say goodnight during our bedtime routine. We were just settling under the covers to read a book when Lee came in. Bailey’s face lit up and then he said “Hi daddy! Um, Mommy, you go downstairs. Daddy read Bay-dey book?” At least he deigned to give me a hug, a kiss and bye bye as he waved me out the door. And now I end this post, listening to Bailey singing nursery rhymes at the top of his lungs when he should be asleep. sigh. At least, he’s cheerful and not crying. The hilarious part is that he can totally get out of bed and open his door to come downstairs, but he never tries to open his door at night or first thing in the morning. Shh, don’t mention this to him, I don’t want him getting any ideas…

xoxo Bailey’s mom

Super Simple Raw Berry Pie (vegan, DF, GF, PF)

ImageMy friend Sandra turned me on to this recipe a couple of months ago and it has soared to the top of my “super easy-to-make, but fancy looking dessert” list. Friends who stress that they can’t make a fancy dessert, pay close attention. I swear this recipe takes less than 15 minutes, doesn’t even require baking! and everyone will rave about how delicious it is.

Super Simple Raw Berry Pie (vegan, DF, GF, PF)

Crust:

  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 8-10 dates (you can also throw in some figs for added deliciousness)
  • a pinch of sea salt

Throw all ingredients into a Cuisinart or blender. Run for a few minutes until everything is pretty pulverized up. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a pie pan and press against the pan into a “crust”.

Filling:

  • 3-4 cups of fresh mixed berries (I do 1 carton of each of the following: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries)
  • 1 Tablespoon of honey or sweetener (you also use dates if you want to avoid processed sugar) – if your berries are super sweet, you may not even need sweetener.
  • Optional – fresh basil or mint (just a small handful)

Take half the berries and throw them into the blender with the mint/basil and honey. Puree for just a couple of minutes. Pour the berry mixture on top of the “crust”. Pour the whole berries on top of the pureed berries. And that’s pretty much it!

It is best to chill the “pie” until it is served. Simply pull the chilled pie out of the fridge and serve to your impressed guests. I like mine with a dollop of almond milk praline crunch ice cream.

Please note that the “pie crust” is more like a loose, delicious crumble – it will fall apart as you scoop it out of the pie dish. Another way to serve this would be to reverse the order of ingredients in your pie dish – berries on the bottom, puree and then crust on top – this will create more of a berry crumble presentation.

The best part about this recipe (other than it being ridiculously easy to make) is that it is really very healthy. It’s basically nuts and berries – so yes people, it is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and paleo-friendly 🙂

Enjoy!

To my grandpa

E.S. Goldman 1913-2013
E.S. Goldman 1913-2013

The day my grandfather died, it populated on to Facebook so quickly that the news went live before my brother woke up on the west coast. I remember confirming the news to him as I was picking up a chicken salad sandwich and hot tea from the Walnut café. It was Monday morning. We were sad.

My parents had flown back East just in time. My dad said he made eye contact and received a glorious smile from my grandpa. Grandpa closed his eyes and went to sleep. Susan and Dickie arrived to also be with him in his last hours. The next morning, he was gone. He was 99 years and 11 months old. That’s a long time to be alive. We knew it was coming, yet it was still shocking and hard to believe when it finally did.

I dropped my takeout lunch all over the parking lot as I tried to open my car door while juggling my cell phone. At least I didn’t hang up on my brother. And spilling everything else seemed oddly appropriate given the day.

It’s taken me awhile to come up with the words for this post and I apologize in advance if I seem to ramble.

It turns out that I don’t remember a whole lot of detail about his life. I know he was in the Navy and captained a minesweeper on the Chesapeake Bay. I know he started his career in advertising for a department store and that’s how he met my grandmother, Virginia Harris. They eloped because 1) interoffice romances were not allowed and 2) they came from different religions.

I found this amazing article from their company newsletter dated a week after they got married:

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Their first house burned to the ground and grandma’s sapphire engagement ring was lost in the fire. I know this because when I showed my grandpa my engagement ring, which I thought was the ring he bought my grandma, he acted like he’d never seen it before. He was in his early 90s, so at first I thought he just didn’t remember that it was his ring. But no, it really wasn’t his ring. Turned out it was my great grandmother’s engagement ring. My grandpa was actually quite sharp ‘til the very end. Certainly in the last few years of his life, he was more confused. But age only seemed to soften the sharp, witty edges of his mind to mildly more clever than anyone else. Oh, that man could be ever so clever with his words!

I think he was born with that beard! Grandpa and Jeff watering the garden.
I think he was born with that beard! Grandpa and Jeff watering the garden.

But back to his history, I know my grandpa opened a store on Cape Cod called Tree’s Place with my grandmother. I know he wrote many short stories that were published in the Atlantic Monthly. He was a prolific writer – poems, short stories, a few books including The Caregiver, which he wrote about caregiving for my grandmother during her long, slow decline into Alzheimers. My grandpa was also an inventor, though I’m sure anyone else in the family could go in to far greater detail about his adventures in inventing, so I’ll stop there.

My lovely grandma, Virginia
My lovely grandma, Virginia (1913-2002) – his nickname for her was Gin.

While I could go on about all the things E.S. Goldman has done in his life, I realize it’s even more important for me to tell you what his life meant to me. While a life of accomplishments is one important way to remember someone, I’m going to take this time to remember why I love my grandpa so much.

He was the best grandpa ever. I may be biased (okay I am), but I’m confident that he was one of the best if not the best. Why? Because I always felt like my grandpa accepted me for who I am and supported me unconditionally. I never felt judged and found lacking. He just plain loved me. He loved his family. I love my grandpa because when we would go bowling when I was young, he would cheer me on and proudly yell out, “that’s my girl!” I was terrible at bowling. Gutter ball after gutter ball. But my grandpa taught me to love trying and to not feel self conscious if I wasn’t the best…even if I came in last. I didn’t even think about quitting or giving up because he so enthusiastically cheered me on. I love my grandpa because he made me feel special. In case you didn’t know, having a birthday on Christmas Eve can often lead to feeling kind of like you don’t get to have a birthday at all. Everyone has other holiday parties to go to. Combination birthday/Christmas gifts become common at a pretty young age.  In fact, you may develop a lifelong complex about this issue 🙂 Anyway, somehow my grandpa knew that this could be a sensitive issue for a girl like me. The first year it started happening, my Grandpa spontaneously approached me and said that if I got skipped over, I should tell him and he would make sure I got more presents. I never took him up on it, but I loved him for asking.

my grandparents' bedroom on Cape Cod
my grandparents’ bedroom on Cape Cod

I love my grandpa because he was easy to talk to. In high school, I finally asked him a question that had festered for years. “Why do you and grandma sleep in separate twin beds – it’s just like the old movies but no one really does that except you?!” I was really tactful 🙂 Without hesitation, my grandpa explained that early on in the marriage they realized that they both tossed and turned so much that neither of them was getting much sleep in the same bed. So they decided on separate beds. There was a pause and then he finished by saying “but each night one of us always found our way into the others’ bed.” Grandpa!

Dick Goldman and Stanley Goldman circa 1999? note the bola tie.
Dick Goldman and Stanley Goldman circa 1999? note the bola tie.

I love my grandpa because when I was young he had the most delicious aroma about him of pipe smoke. I can’t stand cigar or cigarette smoke, but I somehow loved the smell of that pipe. I love my grandpa because he always had some kind of chocolate smeared on his glasses or lapels. I love my grandpa because every year he handed us a big fat LLBean catalog and had us pick a Christmas present. I loved my grandpa because he pretty religiously wore a bolo tie and suspenders. When we were younger, my brother thought that bolo was soo cool!

I love my grandpa for how he cared for my grandmother til the very, very end of her life. And how he had to teach himself to “cook” in his eighties when she could no longer cook for him. In the later years of his life, I sometimes felt that he was lonely and sad watching his wife and peers pass on. However, he always perked up and appeared serene and happy whenever his family gathered around him.

In December 2012, we flew back to Boston so Bailey could meet his great grandpa Goldman. A lot of the extended family came out to visit and although my grandpa seemed more tired and frail than ever, he looked damn good. I really thought I would see him again despite the fact that he was almost 100 years old. As he held Bailey on his lap, and they stared into each other’s eyes, Grandpa said to me,  “You done good kid.” He gave Bailey a thumbs up and said he was a great kid, as if he firmly believes he will be a great human being. An affirmation that somehow carries more promise than any other.

so happy they got to hang out together!
so happy they got to hang out together!

“You done good kid.” Throughout my life, he has said those words to me many times and they have always signified his highest praise. Four simple words, but said with such faith and clarity at all the right moments. Well Stan, you done good too. Your worth is clear as day in the amazing children, grand children and great grand children you leave behind.

I’m not one that really believes in god or a higher presence or whatnot, but I do believe that you are with grandma again, the greatest love of your life. I will always aspire to live and love the way I watched you live and love life.

Virginia and Stanley
Virginia and Stanley

The “Where did my friends go?” moment

I had a lovely lunch with a girl friend yesterday that is due with her first baby in a week and a half. Eek! I remember how that felt like it was just yesterday.  The conversation turned to the topic of how relationships with friends seem to change and shift when you become pregnant and then again after you’ve had the baby. As you move into this next phase of life, it seems like some friends begin to disappear. Looking back, I know that when I was back on the other side (what I tend to call single life now – since having a baby turns out to be a way bigger shift to your lifestyle than having a significant other), I remember feeling like when my friends had kids they were the ones that drifted away from me. The weird thing is that now that I’ve shifted to the “people with kids” side, I still feel like I was the one left behind. What’s up with that?

So here’s what I’ve decided, before you have a kid, you have no idea how you should treat your friends that become pregnant and have kids – especially if most of your friends don’t have kids.

In fact, you may assume that you need to give them space and time for all the “things they need to do now”. Looking back, that’s what I did. I thought I was being nice by giving space. But now that I’ve been through the experience, I realize that I wish my friends without kids had been more assertive with me because 1) I’m tired folks, it’s hard to wrap my brain around planning things, so do me a favor and invite me to stuff – and if I could turn back time, especially when I was pregnant! Now I’ve got naps and early bedtimes to ruin my mojo 2) I felt and feel very timid about “pushing” my kid on my kidless friends. I’m worried that they won’t enjoy hanging out with us.

This was especially true when I first had Bailey. I wanted people to meet him but I was mostly incapable of dialing the phone and speaking coherently. I was pretty decent at answering questions, terrible at asking questions and mostly a little bit lonely and freaked about this newfound responsibility cradled in my arms. When I would gain the courage to think about calling someone, I would feel awkward about what to say—“Hey there, so, I had a baby…um, wanna come over and see him?”

This all could just be a symptom of my lacking social skills, but I do think that new moms often feel isolated and that they do appreciate their friend network reaching out to them early as long as we can reserve the right to say that maybe tomorrow would be better a day to meet up.

I’d love to know what others think about this topic. Is it that your friends drift away because you don’t have things in common with each other any more or is it really because we just aren’t sure how to behave around each other?

That being said, to my friends who transitioned before I did, I’m truly sorry that I lost touch with you! Although schedules can be challenging with young kids of different ages, I hope we will find opportunities to hang out more often. xoxo.

To my friends without kids, I swear we’ll start having more dinner parties, etc. but remember I can always do lunches during the week and if you like breakfast on the early side, boy are we the right family for you to hang out with! And p.s. it’s never rude to suggest dinner at our house either potluck style or takeout style 😉 please consider these rules for other friends who are pregnant or have kids as well!

Now, on to building my friends with similar-aged kids network!

 

Average sleep needs: Year 1

Sleeping is for Suckers!
Sleeping is for suckers!

These resources are from the Baby Whisperer. I didn’t really find her book that useful overall, but these two charts have been really helpful for us. See, I read the book for you and now provide the only takeaways worth having 😉 …For the first few months, Bailey would sleep anywhere whenever he needed to sleep, but as he became more interested in the world, he became much worse at going to sleep when he needed the sleep. We had to implement a schedule to make sure he had the downtime to take naps – you may or may not have this issue. If you have this issue, read on.

Back when Bailey could sleep any where!
Back when Bailey could sleep anywhere!

I also didn’t understand that when they say 2 hours awake time, they mean baby should be asleep at the 2 hour mark. That means that for several months you may feel like you’re spending a lot of time winding down baby for naps. You may even feel like a prisoner to baby’s nap needs, but your reward should be more sleep at night and a more cheerful baby.

Average awake time for babies
Newborn 50-60 mins
1 month 60 mins-hour and 15
2 months 1 hour and 15 – 20 mins
3 months 1 hour and 20 – 30 mins
4 months 1 hour and 45 – 2 hours
5 months 2 hours – 2.30 hours
Late 5 months/early 6 months 2.25-3 hours
6.5 – 7 months 2.75-3.15 hours. Some are getting more.
8 – 10 months 3 – 4 hours. Some are getting more.
11 – 12 months 3.5 -4.5 hours. Some are getting more if moved early to 1 nap***Remember these are guidelines, NOT rules, so if you feel that your baby is not yet ready for these A times, please do not force them, as this will cause further problems. PLUS, if the wake time is 2 hours, that means baby should be asleep at the 2 hour mark not getting ready to go to sleep.***

Average sleep patterns

Age Total Sleep needs per day Typical Nap patterns Night patterns
Newborn 16-20 hours  Nap 1-2 hours in every three hours 5-6 hours at night#
1-3 months 15-18 hours Three naps, 1.5 hours each + catnap 8 hours at night#
4-6 months 15-18 hours Two naps, 2-3 hours each OR; 3 naps; 2 2hr naps & 1 45min catnap 10-12 hours at night
6-8 months 14-18 hours Two naps 1-2 hours each 10-12 hours at night
9 months old 14-17 hours 2 naps of 1.5 hours each 11-12 hours at night
1 year old 14-16 hours 2 naps, 1 of 1 hour and 1 of 1.25-1.5 hrs 11.5hrs at night

The 2-1 transition is over! I hope?

sleeping on a hike
sleeping on a hike

I think it’s official, Bailey is on a one-nap schedule that works for us. He takes one solid 2+hour nap each day, goes to bed around 7pm and wakes up around 6:30am for the day. For those of you who love your sleep, this may sound awful, but for me, this could be a glimpse of heaven. Of course everything seems to change from week to week but I’m hopeful that this schedule will become a longer term trend!!

We switched B to a one-nap-a-day schedule at month 13. The sleep experts all say this can be a rough transition that can last months. We made the shift pretty abruptly because 2 naps a day just weren’t working anymore. As in, he was fighting bedtime and waking up super early for the day.

For the first month or more of the one nap schedule, his naps were all over the place, lasting from 1-3 hours. To compensate for not enough daytime sleep, I kept him on a very early bedtime (like 6pm)  which typically resulted in a wake-up around 7am. If his bedtime ended up later, like 6:30pm, he would wake up at more like 4:45am (ugh!). Then there were the days that he woke up screaming at midnight or sometimes it was 4am…and could only be soothed with ibuprofen. Turns out he had a molar trying to poke through and come out…. I think you get the picture. It’s been rough. A year in, the hormones have faded away and the long-term sleep deprivation of the previous year has really kicked in. How you parents’ of multiple kids of different ages handle it, I just don’t know! But then again, I’ve always needed a lot of sleep to be a cheerful, functional person.

I really, really hoped that Bailey would follow in my footsteps. Or even better, my brother’s footsteps. Sadly, I ended up with a baby that basically didn’t sleep through the night consistently until the age of 1. And even then, it’s been sporadic thanks to fevers, ear infections,teething and poor naps…. The kid has actually always gotten tons of sleep, it’s just not typically concurrent with my sleep! Example, the day he turned 6 months, he slept from like 6:30pm to 7am and it was amazing. I thought, yes! this is the beginning of a wonderful new future. Yeah, that really didn’t last. He went on to mostly sleep a solid 8 hours but had to go to bed around 6pm – meaning he’d sleep to about 2 or 3am, nurse and then go back to sleep til 7. I guess I should be thankful that he always went back to sleep! But as he got older 7am became 6am and the night nursing shifted later to 3-4am. Did I mention it kind of sucks to wake up at 3/4am, feed a baby and then wake up 2 hours later to a super happy, excited baby that wants to crawl all over you and play? This mama does really well on 9/10 hours of continuous sleep!! You see the problem.

I’ve also officially joined the “early bedtime, routine is essential” camp. In fact, I may be the head counselor of said camp! Before I had a kid, I always thought, well duh, your kid is waking up at 5am for the day because he’s going to bed way too early. Just keep him up later! What did I know?! If we keep Bailey up too late and he’s overtired, he rewards us with like 2-3 nightwakings that night. It’s awesome, you turn off the light at 10pm and just as you drift into deeper sleep, your kids starts screaming and crying. It’s only 11:30pm and it really hurts. You get him resettled or you try to wait it out. Either way, you’re up for 20-30 min. minimum. A few hours later, repeat. A few hours later he wakes up extra early and he’s up for the day and you’re both kind of miserable. Yep. It’s definitely not worth keeping him up later because my single, solitary goal at night is to get as much sleep as possible myself!

P.s. remember that super cute photo at the top of this post? That was when B fell asleep on a morning hike to royal arch which pushed back his nap which pushed back his bedtime which resulted in a wake-up for the day at 4:45am. yawn.

p.p.s I’ve become much more of a morning person which is actually kind of nice. I like getting outside and maximizing my daylight. I just need to train myself to go to sleep by 9pm and all will be better. Speaking of which, it’s 4 minutes to 9pm. Time to go to bed.