Monday, January 31, 2011

Sleep is An Urban Legend

When I had Ari, two and a half ago years ago, I told myself I was never going to sleep again. What did I know? I was a new parent, I'd heard babies didn't let you sleep because they constantly needed something or other, to be changed, held, fed and all that jazz.

I didn't like being deprived of sleep, but I knew that was part of the deal. Two and a half years later here is my reward for not sleeping:

Unfortunately, Ari has had some major sleep issues over the past six months. Read more about his insomnia here.

Those sleep issues have just gotten a whole lot worse because of this new arrival:

The lady pictured above, Ari's sister Samara (1 week old), fascinates him to no end. Now he doesn't want to sleep because he's afraid to miss out on helping with the baby. When Samara cries Ari says cute things like "Don't worry, Ari's here!"

I'm thrilled that Ari wants to be actively involved in his little sister's life, but frustrated by his lack of sleep.

Here's where you come in, dear readers:

What I know:
--Newborns, inherently, have a lack of routine. They may sleep two hours or four hours, depending on their mood.
--Ari needs a sleep routine desperately.
--How do I get Ari on a sleep schedule while caring for a newborn?

Please help a mama out!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Exciting Event of the Day

How she feels about it:

Behavioral Interpretation Please!

I was checking my email, Samara was napping and Ari was frolicking about playing with his toys. All of a sudden, he zooms by me and I notice that he is completely naked and laughing his head off.

"Where is your diaper?" - Me
"I don't know!" -Ari - Cackles uncontrollably
"Did you take it off?" -Me
"Yeah!" -Ari

He proceeds to run naked throughout the house and refuses to wear a diaper or underwear. I ask him if he wants to use the potty and he confidently spouts "No please!"

"Mommy!" -Ari
"Yes?" - Me
"I went poopie." -Ari
"Where did you poop?" - Me
"Right there!" Ari - points to the hallway

At this point I check the hallway prepared for the worst. There is a puddle of pee in the hallway. I clean it up.

He declines a diaper for the next hour. Eventually, Wil cajoles him into wearing Toy Story pull ups.

What does it all mean?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Ari-isms About Samara

Here are some funny/cute things Ari has said about Samara so far. I have no brain right now, and I'm sure in a year or two I'll forget all of this, so why not record it now!

1. "Samara's gotta eat you, Mommy!" At first I thought Ari was upset about Samara nursing, but it turns out that she has GOT to "eat me" according to my observant son.

2. "I want Samara!" Whenever Samara leaves the room to be changed or take a nap, Ari gets emotional (sad or angry) and wants to be with her. It's very cute.

3. "It's okay Samara, Ari's here!" He proclaims as he rubs her head.

4. "Samara's crying. HE want Grandma!" Despite the improper pronoun use (he calls Samara "he" all the time) Ari believes that Grandma needs to hold Samara to comfort her.

I'm sure there will be more Ari-isms to come!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

One Minute At a Time

After I had Samara, and was recovering in the hospital, I started to freak out. How could I love two kids? How could I handle both their needs at the same time. Thoughts were racing through my brain at an uncontrollable pace. My anxiety was compounded by the fact that I wasn't yet producing breast milk, only colostrum, and she was feeding frequently and getting frustrated shortly after latching on. She would eat for a few seconds and then scream. I felt like a failure. I had nursed Ari for a year, what was going on with this baby?

At some point, my OB's partner in her practice came to visit me. I told him about my nursing frustration, he said:

"Just remember, her stomach is the size of a grape right now, she's not going to starve." I started to use this mantra when I got upset about nursing: size of a grape, size of a grape.

I was extremely emotional about Ari. I was afraid if I loved this new baby, Ari would somehow disappear or not love me anymore. I was holding him and crying. Remember much of this was based on the fact that my hormones were throwing a massive keg party in my body.

My brother came to visit. I made everyone who was in the room leave so I could talk to him. I cried, I confessed that I didn't think I could do it. I was absolutely terrified to have two kids. I wanted to run away. I felt horribly guilty for having those feelings. I was afraid I'd fail at nursing this time. I was terrified that Ari wouldn't love me anymore.

He calmed me down. He said it was normal to have those feelings and that all I had to do is take it moment by moment, one minute at at a time. He said it was okay to accept help from my parents. I felt guilty. He told me not to.

When we were getting ready to leave the hospital, my hospital roommate stopped me on the way out the door. I already liked her from eavesdropping on her phone conversations with her kids who were at home:
"No Kool Aid until you finish your dinner! I heard you were chewing gum, you know if I were there you wouldn't being doing that!"
She said to me:
"I just want let you know, I overheard what you were saying before, and I felt the same way when my second child was born. You're not alone. Just remember to take time for yourself, even if it's just to go for a short walk. And you know what helped me the most? Keeping a journal. Write your feelings down even if they feel crazy. Let it out, otherwise you'll feel like you're going to explode."

When we arrived home from the hospital, my mom watched Samara at night and let me sleep until she needed to nurse. She did this for two nights. My body was so sleep deprived from being in early labor for a week, that I needed as much rest as possible to feel normal again.

I'm just starting to feel better. I'm taking my roommate's advice. I'm writing it down. I'm taking my brother's advice, one minute at a time.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Unintentional Natural Childbirth

On Saturday morning, I knew I'd had enough. I'd been having contractions all week long that led to nowhere. I'd been in constant pain, and sometimes for 6-8 hours at a time. So I called my midwife. I told her I couldn't take it anymore. She said she totally understood, and that she fully supported my decision. I decided to schedule a labor induction with my old OB, the one that delivered Ari.

I emailed my OB and told her the situation. She emailed me right back and told me to come to the hospital that day and they would induce me.

I got to the hospital and, as it turned out, I was having contractions that were 5-7 minutes apart for 35 seconds long. But the nurses determined they were due to dehydration, not labor. So they tried to send me home.

"Please, please don't send me home!" I begged them. "I can't take it anymore. Please can you induce my labor? I'm miserable. I can't care for my son properly. I can't sleep. Please."
"Sorry, but you're 38 weeks and 4 days, we can't induce you until you're 39 weeks. There are women with four children in your situation," the nurse said "they just have to deal with it."
So I scheduled an induction for Tuesday 1/25/11, when I would be exactly 39 weeks.

I got home and tried to go on with the day. But the contractions got worse. I called my OB.
"When the contractions start to get stronger and/or longer call me." She said confidently.
I sat in my parents apartment with my parents and Wil obsessively timing my contractions.

"Okay, they're really bad." I said. "I wanna go to the hospital."
"No, they're only 30 seconds," Wil said. "Let's wait another hour.
"NO NO NO NO! You don't understand I need to go to the hospital." I started to cry.
"Sarah, calm down," said my dad furthering the testosterone festival in the living room. "You heard what the doctor said, wait until the contractions are longer!"
All at once two grown men tried to physically restrain me like I was a mental patient.
I screamed. I sat down. My water broke.
"My water just broke." I said, in shock.
"That's her water! I see it!" Wil shouted.
Wil rushed to throw things in a bag so we could get to the hospital.

Meanwhile, the contractions were unbearable. I was screaming at the top of my lungs.
We got in the car and Wil ran every red light from Brooklyn to Manhattan until we got to the hospital.

Whenever I had a contraction in the car I screamed:
"I CAN DO THIS!!!!!" Over and over again. Because I needed to tell myself that or I thought I might die.

We got to the hospital, got out of the car (while it was double parked) and all of a sudden I had to pee.
"PEE BABE! LET IT OUT!" Wil yelled reassuringly.
So I peed all over the sidewalk and my snow boots.
There was no parking anywhere. It was the Upper East Side of Manhattan.
Wil begged a nurse who was going into the building to take me upstairs while he quickly parked in a parking lot.

I screamed and yelled my way into a wheelchair.
"I'm sorry," I cried and apologized to the nurse who reassured me it was okay and got us into elevator at warp speed.

We got up to Labor and Delivery and I managed to scream my way into a delivery room. The same nurses and doctor who saw me that morning were there, eyes popping out of their heads.

"We can't. You're really dehydrated ma'am. You have to go through this bag of fluids before we can give you the epidural." One nurse told me.
I cried and screamed. My friend and doula Livvy was there, thank goodness. She massaged my back and held my legs down.
"I HAVE TO PEE!!" I screamed.
"Not in the bed you don't!" Shouted the nurse.
"I'M INCONTINENT!!" I shouted back.
"Oh okay." She replied not knowing quite what to say.
I peed again.

They checked me.
"SHE'S 4-5." They meant centimeters dilated.
Wil still wasn't there. He was down registering me in the hospital office.
I screamed. I screamed some more. I remembered something my friend Cordy told me:
"Keep your eyes open during contractions. Pick a point on the wall and focus on it."
I focused on a picture hanging on the wall. I was still in mind numbing pain, but it was better than keeping my eyes closed.
10 minutes later...
"No, dizziness is a side effect of the epidural. Wait until you feel better." They retorted.
"I'm gonna vomit." I said.
"Lower the bed!" The nurses shouted. They did.
I rolled on my side.
All of a sudden, I had a sudden surging unbearable pain and I said
They checked me.
"SHE'S 9!!" I was nine centimeters dilated.
No response.
"WAIT WAIT!! HOLD IT DON'T PUSH!" Said the nurses.
"I CAN'T!!!!!!" I screamed and in one push the baby's head was out. All at once the nurses and the resident doctor rushed around me. I couldn't be sure, but it looked as if the resident might faint.
"I CAN'T!" I kept pushing through the contraction and the baby fell out of me. They removed the cord from the baby's neck and she cried. They wrapped her up. I held her.
"I'm AWESOME!!" I screamed. "I did it!!!!"
Wil still wasn't there. According to him, he got to the L&D floor (with my best friend Mint) and a doctor said to him:

All of a sudden Wil and Mint rushed into the room. They both had confused faces on as they saw me holding a new baby.
Wil cried. We held her.
We named her Samara.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Winner of The Little One Books $20 Gift Certificate Giveaway is...

I'd like to thank Little One Books for co-hosting another wonderful giveaway. Check out their site for age-appropriate books, movies and music for kids.

I enlisted the help of my niece, Francesca, again to choose the winner of this giveaway. She used a random number generator to select the winner:

CONGRATULATIONS Flowerchild! You've won the Little One Books $20 Gift Certificate GIVEAWAY! Post a comment with your reaction the win!

Thank you to everyone who entered!

I'm in Labor?

On January 17th, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I was sitting on the couch trying to relax. I closed my eyes and listened to "Screaming Infidelities" by Dashboard Confessional. All of a sudden I felt a warm gush of fluid fall out of me. As is my tradition, I immediately removed my pajama pants and stopped Wil on his way down the stairs, he was headed to work.


He stopped in his tracks.
"Are you sure?" He asked suspiciously.
"Yes, I'm sure." I answered audibly irritated by his doubt.
He returned to the apartment and called out of work.

I notified my doula and friend, Livvy and she came right over to support me. Then I called my midwife and said:
"I think my water broke, but I'm not sure."
"Put on a pad and call me in an hour. "
I followed these instructions. The fluid kept coming along with pretty consistent contractions, every five minutes lasting 35 seconds.

I had contractions on and off that evening and called my acupuncturist to come over and push the labor process further along. Billy the wonder acupuncturist arrived and did his magic. My contractions intensified but waned off enough that I was able to go to sleep.

I had the best sleep of life. Then I woke up. My mind was racing. Could this be labor?

The next day my contractions had died down. My midwife called and said she was on her way over to my place to check on me. After an excruciating exam, which included me crying out of frustration, it was determined that my water was not broken, but I was three centimeters dilated. But what was that suspicious fluid that was leaking out? My midwife speculated that it could be a "high leak" in the amniotic sack.

The next few days I continued to leak fluid and I experienced contractions on and off but active labor never came.

Today, my midwife asked to see me in her office to exam me once again. After she examined me it was concluded that my water was not broken, there was no high leak in the amniotic sack, in fact there was no fluid leaking at all. These bursts of fluid were none other than my bladder spontaneously emptying itself.

She told me that it's possible that I could wait another two weeks to go into labor. I sat in her office and cried. I cried and cried out of sheer frustration. I cried because the thought of continuing to pee on myself and look after Ari felt horrible and impossible. I cried because I didn't want to be pregnant anymore.

She suggested I buy a belly band to relieve pelvic pressure and potentially stop the spontaneous bladder rebellion.

I'm wearing the band now and it feels a bit more comfortable. I can't wait to have this baby.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Brush Your Teeth!

I know that kids generally dislike brushing their teeth, but Ari has an extreme aversion to it. When I tell him to brush his teeth, he takes the brush, opens his mouth, eats the toothpaste, turns to me and says "All done!"

Well, that's not my version of "All done." He won't dare let me brush his teeth. When I ask him to open his mouth he says:

"NO! I wanna do it! It's my turn!"

I've tried to force my way into his mouth, but this ends with him screaming and me crying out of utter frustration.

This is a big problem. I was concerned that his teeth were going to rot out of his head the way he "brushes" them, so I made him a pediatric dentist appointment, which Wil took him to today.

Like many health care professionals that I've lost faith in over the years, the dentist had no real advice. She offered the following suggestions:
1. Get a smaller toothbrush.
Yeah, his toothbrush is pretty damn small.
2. Brush them while he's in the bathtub.
What a great idea, if only he'd let me brush them!
3. Get a tastier flavored toothpaste. he can eat the entire tube!

Do your kids brush their teeth without a fight? What should I do to get this kid to brush his teeth?!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I've Decided

Lately I've been feeling anxious and ready to have this baby.

My doula and friend, Cori, gave me some words of wisdom. She said I should think about the baby coming late as opposed to early. That way, if the baby happens to come early, it will be a pleasant surprise. Otherwise, she noted, I'll keep thinking I'm in labor every single day, which (because I'm neurotic) I already do.

I'm 37 weeks now. I'm going to do something I never do, be patient.

Friday, January 14, 2011

There Should Be a Labor Test

I went to pee for the 3000th time today, and at the tail end of my time in the bathroom, a green slimy thing appeared. I called my midwife and asked her what it might be.

"It's your mucus plug." She said confidently.
"What does that mean?" I asked.
"Well, it could mean labor is starting in a few days or a few weeks. Either way, it's a sign that things are moving along in the right direction."

The loss of my mucus plug both comforts and disturbs me at the same time. I'm happy that things are progressing, but there is a huge difference between tomorrow and three weeks from now. I wish there was a test you could buy at the drugstore to tell you whether or not you're in labor.

There are pregnancy tests, there should be a labor test!


Capricorn or Aquarius

It's January 14th and I'm still pregnant. Technically my due date is February 1st, but Ari was three weeks early, so it is possible that this baby will choose to come early too...or not. Now, the important question to ask: will this baby be a Capricorn or an Aquarius?

If I give birth from today up until January 20th, I'll have a Capricorn girl. If I go into labor after the 20th, I'll have an Aquarius.

What do you guys think? Predictions?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

A long long time ago, in a village called Brooklyn, lived a new mother named Sarah Fader. She had a newborn named Ari and Pre-School was the furthest thing from her mind. She nursed her son, took walks with him, and enjoyed his smallness.

As he got older, she began to become more aware of Pre-Schools and how unaffordable they were.

Almost exactly two years after the birth of her son, she was with child again, and the idea of Pre-School returned to her mind.

Ari was no longer a sedentary being and craved social interaction. But alas, she did not have the financial means to tackle this Pre-School conundrum.

Then, she had a thought. She remembered that she wrote a blog. She thought that perhaps her readers might be able to suggest an affordable Pre-School option for her son who was growing bigger and more verbal by the minute.

So she turned to her readers and begged them to clue her in. Where should Ari go for Pre-School when he turns three?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Baby is Coming in Two Hours

I was having contractions last night, and (just for fun) I asked Ari:

"Ari, is the baby coming now?"
He replied: "No. In two hours."

This alarmed me so much that even though I've been on a good streak with regard to getting Ari to bed at a reasonable hour, I was so freaked out that I allowed him to stay up an extra two hours (watching Disney's Robin Hood) to make sure his oracle-like prediction didn't come true.

Thank goodness, he was wrong. The baby is still happily in my uterus.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Thank You Rudyard Kipling- An Update on Sleep Issue

I previously wrote about the issues I've had getting Ari to sleep and my fear that he may be an insomniac. Since that time, I received many wonderful suggestions from parents on another site that I write for, 5 Minute for Parenting.

I thought a lot about the sleep situation. I decided a few things:
1. Ari is definitely manipulating me into allowing him to stay up later and later.
2. Because he is being manipulative, he needs firm boundaries at bedtime.
3. He needs some kind of white nose to go to sleep.

So I took matters into my own maternal hands, and right before bedtime, I told him:
"Last chance! If you're hungry or thirsty, let me know now. Once you get into bed, no food and no drinks."

"Okay." He said benignly.

I warned him that I was going to read him three SHORT books, he could choose them himself, and then he would listen to some books on tape. We read the the books, but it was a struggle to keep him sitting still. He began jumping up and down on the bed during story time. I let him know if he was going to behave that way, there would be no more stories. He continued to maniacally jump on the bed, so I said:
"Fine, I'm turning the light out and you're going to sleep, no more books." And I did.
He cried.
I said "Are you going sit still now?" I asked.
He nodded tearfully.

We finished the books, and then my friend Rudyard Kipling:

came to the rescue. Through the voice of Boris Karloff:

Karloff read us "Just So Stories" on this fine CD that I purchased from

Special thanks to my wonderful friend Leah Greenwald for recommending these stories on CD. They are a lifesaver!

After we finished the physical books, I told Ari we were going to hear some "special stories" on CD. I popped the CD into the laptop and turned the light off. After threatening him several times, i.e "if you don't lay down, you'll have to sleep by yourself," he finally lay down, listened to the stories, and fell asleep.

This has gone on for the past three nights. Despite the fact that I have to be annoyingly firm with him, the process is working! He loves the audio stories, and he's asleep by 8:30-9pm! Hooray!
Now all I have to do is keep it up!

Thank you to everyone for your helpful suggestions!

One more thing! Enter my giveaway with Little One Books for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate to their fantastic site! Click on their button below for more info:

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Yes, I'm Ingesting My Placenta

I was talking with my midwife recently about my fear of getting Postpartum depression. I've been so depressed this pregnancy, that I am legitimately concerned about hitting a major low after giving birth. I would like to avoid taking anti-depressants, if possible, and breast feed for a year, like I did with Ari.

My midwife asked me this:

"Have you considered placenta encapsulation?"

I paused for a moment and then replied:

"I don't even know what that means."

She went on to tell me that it is possible to take one's placenta, after birth of course, dry it out, condense it into capsules, and take them like vitamins. My midwife has seen these placenta pills help women combat postpartum, and work wonders with PMS.

It makes sense, when you think about it, ingesting your placenta. With the exception of humans, mammals automatically eat their placenta after birth.

I'm not going to do this process on my own, but rather I've hired a doula who specializes in placenta encapsulation to prepare the capsules for me.

I will let you know if these placenta pills are magical mood lifters or not.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Know Thy Enemy

I've often heard people equate two-year-olds to adolescents, and now I'm starting to understand what they mean. Much like a teenager, Ari has pronounced likes and dislikes. For example, he has decided that he hates jeans.

This becomes a major battle when we are attempting to get dressed and leave the house. As a result of his denim hatred, I've purchased several pairs of non-jean pants such as fleece pants, sweatpants, running pants, corduroys, you get the idea. The only trouble is when we've gone through all the "comfortable pants" (as he calls them) all that's left are these:

They are the enemy. If I try to put them on his little legs, he'll scream "NO JEANS!"

But when they are the only option, I have to force him to wear them!

Anyone else's kid have fabric preferences?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Little One Books $20 Gift Certificate Giveaway & Corduroy DVD Review

Happy New Year everybody! In honor of the new year, I'm co-hosting a $20 gift certificate giveaway with Little One Books.

I did a previous giveaway with this fantastic grandparent owned company here.

But before I get to the giveaway, I want to talk about a DVD based on a classic children's book: Corduroy.

If you don't know the story, it's about a little girl who falls in love with a stuffed bear in a department store who is missing a button on his corduroy overalls. It's a wonderful story where, in the end, she saves up enough money to buy the bear, who she appropriately names Corduroy, and fixes his missing button.

Ari just heard Corduroy at a weekly story time at the Brooklyn Public Library and he loved it.

Recently, I was perusing the Little One Books website and found this:

It's a live action version of the classic book and it also has six other stories on it narrated by Laura Dern, Mia Farrow and others.

At first, I have to admit, I was a little scared of how they would pull off a "live action" version of Corduroy. In the book, Corduroy (the bear) comes to life and runs around the department store in search of his missing button.

But then I recalled this fellow from the 1980's:

Remember Teddy Ruxpin? He was a talking bear friend of mine from childhood. If I accepted him, I told myself, I could accept a live action Corduroy, who looked eerily similar to Ruxpin.

Ari was demanding to watch Max and Ruby today, but I told him we were going to watch Corduroy instead. He pouted for all of five minutes. Then, all of a sudden, he started to get into it:

Can you see his fascinated expression in the reflection of my laptop?

After Corduroy was over he demanded to watch it again even though I explained to him that there were six more stories on the DVD. Eventually, he got around to the remaining stories and decided that he also loves "Goose" and "The Happy Owls."

Now, time for the giveaway! If chosen, you will win a $20 gift certificate to Little One Books. They have fantastic children's books, DVDs and CDs!

To Enter:

1. Post a comment with what product(s) you'd like to buy from the Little One Books website
2. Follow my blog (either with feed reader, or Google Friend Connect)
3. Like Little One Books on Facebook here.
4. Like Old School/New School Mom on Facebook here
5. Follow Little One Books on Twitter here.
6. Finally, sign up for The Little One Books newsletter! The sign up is on the upper right hand corner of their site.

Also, when you purchase two or more items on the Little One Books site between 1/5/11 and 1/19/11, you get a free children's music CD!

Just enter the promotional code 'goodmorning' at checkout.

The winner to this giveaway will be selected at random and announced on Wednesday 1/19/11!

GOOD LUCK and HAPPY 2011!!!

Wordless Wednesday: Backpack

If only you knew what was inside...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I Have An Insomniac 2 1/2 Year old

I've dreaded writing this, because if the words come out they make it real, but I can't take it anymore, I have to let it out. My child is an insomniac.

There have been several nights that he's been up until midnight and slightly beyond.

Now, before you judge me, hear me out. We have a bedtime routine and it starts out around 6:30pm. We have dinner, we watch one episode of the insidious Max and Ruby or Blue's Clues (his choice), he has a bath, we read 1-3 books at which point he appears to be sleepy. But he's lying in bed next to me (because as I've mentioned in previously, we co-sleep) he starts off whispering:

"I hungry."

It gets progressively louder until he is audible and finally loud.
Then he says:

I've tried both giving him the sandwich or ignoring his pleas. But both result in further sleep rebellion.

In addition to saying he's hungry, he also demands to switch sleeping locations. He'll be in the bedroom and demand to sleep in the living room on the couch with me. I've recently flat out refused, made him stay in the bed.

He also will try to stay awake by demanding more and more books to be read to him.

Now, you might say:
"Get him in his own bed! He'll sleep better!"

My response:
1. Sure, that would be nice, but guess what? I'm nine months pregnant and too tired to deal with that process.
2. Many families successfully co-sleep, and their kids don't appear to be insomniacs. Why is my kid refusing to sleep?

You also might suggest, get him into bed at 8pm and ignore his pleas.

My response:
1. Could you ignore your kid who is right next to you and either screaming or asking the same question over and over again?

2. I've already done sleep-training and I don't have the emotional energy to do it again.
3. Please remember, once again, the constraints of my current physical condition. I'm 174 lbs and there is a human incubating in my uterus.

So I ask you, what are my options? And please don't judge me. I already feel like the worst parent. I need some practical advice to get my kid sleeping.