Month: December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Day has come and gone and it’s hard to believe that we put so much effort into preparing for an event that flies by! It’s worth it though. We had an amazing Christmas. We stayed home Christmas Eve and enjoyed some home-made pizza. It was delicious. 

After Diego had gone to bed we watched some television before finally heading to bed. Diego gifted me with the best present of all: he slept all night. When he woke up at 6am I was excited to open presents but he fell asleep again and snoozed for another hour. 

Opening presents was fun, well, watching Diego open his presents was really the best part of Christmas. He still doesn’t understand the concept of receiving gifts but he does enjoy tearing wrapping paper off. He became overwhelmed by the amount of presents so it was hard to keep his attention on any one thing. He had a lot of goodies mailed in by friends and family. He got so much stuff that I am now faced with the necessity of putting some away and rotating them throughout the year. The good news is that he won’t get bored. 

After a little nap we drove to West Palm Beach to visit family. 

Christmas has left our house messy with new toys and the aftermath of cooking and eating. It’s wonderful 🙂

I love the festive spirit of Christmas and now that I have a little boy to shop for it’s even more exciting. As much as I love gift giving, I am not a fan of excess and I hope to be able to reign myself in whenever I am tempted to overspend and spoil Diego.

I love wooden toys and prefer any toy that isn’t battery powered over one that is. These open ended toys have lots of possibilities when it comes to play. They’re not uni-taskers.  They can be more expensive than their flashy counterparts but they last a lot longer. They grow with the child, and as a result you end up buying less toys. My toy philosophy is that if it runs on batteries I am not going to buy it. That’s not to say that those toys don’t have their place in our lives because they do. Diego has enjoyed a few of these, mostly they have been gifts, and they’re great! We’ve certainly had a lot of fun with some of them.

When I started thinking about what to get Diego for Christmas I knew in the direction in which I wanted to go. We have bought very few toys for Diego as he has been kept fully stocked by generous family and friends. The first thing I picked up was a set of toy cans by Melissa and Doug. These are plastic and have removable lids that allow you to fill them up, etc. I like these because Diego loves to be in the kitchen and he now has his own designated drawer. I know these cans will entertain him. 

I also picked up a set of stacking plastic cups. I got these because Diego loves his nesting cardboard cubes but he’s taken to peeling them and so I wanted something more durable than paper. The cups are meant to be played with in many different scenarios, such as sand and water. 

The last present I picked up is a band in a box by Melissa and Doug. 

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Now that the presents are bought and wrapped I feel charged with establishing our own family traditions. Growing up, my parents saved the big presents for Three Kings Day, and while I still want to honor the day for its cultural and sentimental value to me I am unsure as to what role it will play in our lives. I recently heard about a family that does Christmas a little different, instead of receiving gifts from Santa they GIVE by donating toys to charity. This is great because it allows you to thin out your collection and also shop for the less fortunate. I think it’s an important lesson for children of all ages and once Diego is old enough to understand I will definitely incorporate this not just into our holiday traditions but into our lives in general. We already donate throughout the year but this will be something he will be actively involved in. 

It isn’t until Three Kings day that the aforementioned family exchanges gifts. Their rule is one present from each king. I really like this idea, even though I am a nonbeliever so the religious aspect isn’t what interests me. I really like the notion of becoming involved in the community and teaching children about the realities of life. Teaching them about their own privilege is important and it’s never too soon to start raising self aware and socially conscious members of society. 

Even though it seems as though it’s far off, I have already started to think about what I will do once Diego starts asking for specific things for Christmas. I may have mentioned this before; one thing he wants, one thing he needs, one thing to wear and one thing to read. This limits the amount of gifts but it also serves as a guide. I think it would be a good idea to have Diego write down a few things in each category and then receive one of each. That way he will be surprised. It’s also good to teach him that he can’t have everything he wants. 

Hopefully this will be of interest to some and a reminder for me in the future when maybe I’ve forgotten all this levelheaded planning. 

Sleep training

If you’ve been reading my blog then you know that sleeping through the night has been a struggle for Diego. I haven’t been able to figure out why exactly it’s taking him so long to master this. The fact that he has slept 10-11 hours straight on occasion tells me that he is capable. My question is, how do I create an environment that encourages repeat performances? 

For many months, his bedtime routine has been consistent. He has a bath, followed by a massage with moisturizer before putting on his pajamas. He then has a bottle before falling asleep. 

Up until mid November he was accustomed to falling asleep in our arms before we made the precarious journey from chair to crib. A lot of the time he would awaken, and then take a bit of time to settle again. This, coupled with the fact that he now weighs enough where your arm hurts from supporting his head, prompted me to finally break this cycle. 

I have always been aware of parents who choose to teach their babies to put themselves to sleep as early as six months. I am of the opinion that sleep training prior to their first birthday is a bit cruel and because I had no reason to do so I waited until I felt comfortable with it. And so it was that after his usual night time routine I placed him in his crib and left the room. 

The hysterics that ensued were awful! He cried his little heart out for almost two hours. I would pop into his room every twenty minutes or so, whispered soothingly as I laid him back down and told him to go to sleep. It was frustrating more than upsetting to me and I considered throwing in the towel only to preserve my sanity. He fell asleep that night and slept straight through. An auspicious beginning if I ever saw one. The next night wasn’t much better but he cried for a lot less before succumbing to exhaustion. He didn’t sleep all night, however, and awoke maybe once or twice. 

When my husband got involved in this new routine I had established he altered it. Instead of giving him his bottle well before his bath he started giving it to him once he was in his crib. This is of course creating something else I will have to take away. Diego doesn’t get a bottle during the day and getting him used to falling asleep with a full belly will only cause more problems. For now, he still gets the bottle and is asleep within minutes. 

Of course I can’t discount this as a small victory because he is falling asleep in his crib rather than in our arms. That alone is cause for celebration. Now if only he’d stay there. Whenever he wakes up during the night he will scream until one of us goes to him and once we are there there is a 75% chance that he will refuse to remain in his crib. I usually end up bringing him into our bed. 

Letting him cry it out is difficult for me when it’s the middle of the night. By the time he’s finished, which takes at least an hour, I am wide awake and unable to fall asleep. Just last night he cried from 3am to well past 4am. I am hoping that by sticking it out for a week or so he will improve. 

Where have you been?

It seems as though my best laid plans have been thwarted yet again. I am not a very good blogger. I have never been able to successfully keep a journal. I suppose that having any entries at all counts for something but I meant to document more of our lives than I have. No matter, at least I have lots of photos and videos. 

I read an interesting article in the last week about how taking pictures actually impairs memory. I can’t remember exactly but it basically said that by being more interested in capturing moments on film we spend less time in the moment, so our memory is not as sharp. 

There are only five more days until Christmas and I still haven’t sent out my Christmas cards! I will later today, I’m just waiting for the glue to dry. Making my own Christmas cards has been fun but I do wish I had started my project earlier. Christmas shopping is mostly done, thanks in part to Amazon Prime. I love the free shipping and the wide selection of merchandise. It’s really been helpful. 

We somehow ended up at Toys R Us today and let me just say that it was a zoo! So many rowdy kids running around destroying the store along with parents trying to match their kid’s selections to whatever was on the shelves. I can’t even imagine the bedlam that will ensue next week. We found what we were looking for and paid in the electronics department so we were spared the long lines up front. I don’t understand why they only had two registers open. 

I will be posting everyday until the new year but in the mean time here’s a picture of our Christmas tree!