Browsing Category: Parenting

How Your Friend with the Colicky Baby Really Feels (And How You Can Support Her)

colicky baby

Hi, my name is Rachel and I had a colicky baby.

I’ve thought several times of writing a post with tips how to survive, tips for soothing a colicky baby, etc. But there are many good resources already, I’m sure. However, I didn’t have time to research them during our colicky baby “adventure”. I had my hands full – literally – with a crying baby nearly every waking minute of the day. Even the non-waking moments.

colicky baby

So I thought today, I would write about how having a colicky baby made me feel. If you know a mom with a colicky baby, read my tips in the bullet points. Maybe they will help you understand and support your friend a little better. 🙂

Looking back, that time for me is a blur. I don’t remember much except feeling miserable and alone. Now, I look at photos of my baby girl and I see how adorable she was. In that moment, my heart swells, and I remember the love and adoration I felt when I snapped that photo of her sweet face. But then I also see that tear, still fresh on her cheek, and I remember what a brief respite from the crying that moment was. That mostly I felt in that moment sweet relief, and an anxious fear that any moment she would resume crying. I felt a desperation to capture as many non-crying moments as I could, but there were so few!

Colic is supposed to last about 3 months, but in reality, I feel like ours lasted much longer. I didn’t relax or feel like I could take a deep, easy breath until she was one year old.

I didn’t have any family in the area to help me, so I never got a break. I was alone all day with a two year old and a crying baby.

If I went out into public, baby would taunt me by being on her best behavior. I felt ridiculous, like if I told people what our days were really like, they would never believe me. Probably the reason baby was so good in public is because I typically carried her in a ring sling or wrap. She loved to be held. While you were standing. And moving. But try doing that all day long on only four hours of sleep and see how you feel!

  • If your friend tells you she’s having a rough day, that her baby cries all the time, that she can’t take it anymore, pay attention. Don’t brush her off as being overly dramatic.

I don’t know how many times I tried to tell people I was struggling, and no one ever seemed to really understand the depths of my misery.

I received help just once. A friend saw a post of mine on Facebook and came over to show me some tips that worked for her colicky little guy. I was never so grateful when my baby slept for the next four hours – the longest stretch ever!! Except then the baby was up all night. I was damned if she slept, damned if she didn’t. Nothing I did mattered, nothing helped, nothing would make it better. I was at my wit’s end.

  • If your friend vents on Facebook once in a blue moon, don’t EVER tell her how blessed she is to have a baby in the first place. That it isn’t as easy for some people to get pregnant. That some people can’t have babies at all.  Chances are, she knows this full well, and feels like crap for not being capable enough, patient enough, or good enough to handle her own life and child.

When I had a colicky baby, I felt trapped. I wasn’t accomplishing anything, just barely surviving. My house was a mess, prepping healthy meals and snacks to get myself back to a normal pre-baby weight was nearly impossible, and I wasn’t able to do anything I enjoyed.

  • If your friend smiles and tells you she’s doing ok, don’t believe her. Never give her the benefit of the doubt. Offer to take hold baby. Get the woman a cup of coffee. Of course she can do it with one hand, but she would like to feel a surge of freedom now and then. 🙂

By evening, when hubby got home, I was exhausted. But my day wasn’t over because colic gets worse in the evening. And forget sleeping soundly…my baby was fussy even in her sleep. I could hear her rustling, crying out, whimpering during the night. And then she would wake to eat more often than necessary, sometimes only 45 minutes after her last meal. She didn’t like to take a bottle, even if I actually found the time to pump her milk.

Being on call 24/7, with never a restful night’s sleep takes a toll on you mentally, emotionally, and physically!

My daughter also liked to comfort nurse – I was her pacifier! More often than not, me and my boob were the only path to happiness and harmony. This is incredibly draining (no pun intended, ha!), and puts such a great weight on one’s shoulders.

What would have helped me back then was a listening, non-judgmental ear.

I also could have used a friend who let me dash out to the grocery alone while baby napped. Someone who would hold and walk with the baby while I took a shower. I was desperate for peace and quiet, with time to do something I loved – cooking or baking. I daydreamed about cooking giant meals and decadent desserts for anyone who would come and hold my baby for awhile.

  • Moms of colicky babies don’t need your judgment. They need your help to keep their sanity.

I loved my baby, but I couldn’t take her constant crying and need for attention. People would tell me, “They grow up so fast; enjoy the cuddles while you can!”. But how do you enjoy non-stop kisses and snuggles while your house falls down around your ears? When you never get to talk to your husband because you can’t hear each other over the noise? When you look in the mirror and all you see is a fat, tired, slob?

When people made those “enjoy this time!” remarks, it only made me feel guilty and even more downtrodden than I already was.

At age 2.5, my daughter is still a more difficult, dramatic child than my first born ever was. But she is also the sweetest, cuddliest little cupcake you ever did see. She is funny and spunky and full of life. And I can totally see how she was a colicky baby. She was a needy, high maintenance baby just as she is a needy, high maintenance toddler.

I wish I could have seen then what I see now, and comprehended her personality a little better. Because it all makes sense, now!

But what matters is that one way or another, we somehow made it through the colic. We all survived. And hopefully now, both you and I can help someone with a colicky baby someday. 🙂

It’s a….Gender Reveal Party!

It's a...Gender Reveal Party!!

Have you heard of the gender reveal party fad? In the past couple years, it seems like there has been a surge of people hosting gender reveal parties! I’m not normally one to jump on bandwagons, but I wanted to do something special and different for baby number 3! I thought a gender reveal would be the perfect way to share our excitement and celebrate our newest little one with people who are dear to us.

It's a...Gender Reveal Party!!

So we decided to find out the baby’s gender at the same time as our guests. Our ultrasound technician put the two most important photos of our baby in an envelope (which she sealed and STAPLED shut!! Do I not look trustworthy??). I was intently watching the ultrasound the entire time, but…I still had no idea what we were having when we left the hospital.

I drove to my cake lady’s house and dropped off our precious envelope.

She then made us this adorable cake, which she layered with pink or blue icing inside. We weren’t sure which. And no matter how much I texted her that night, she wouldn’t give me a single darn hint!

Gender reveal party cake

I went home and got to work decorating the house, mostly with repurposed decor we had laying around already. I had also made a trip to the Dollar Tree earlier in the week for pink and blue paper ware and balloons and glow sticks for the kids. 🙂

I made a couple signs that night…one for the front door…

Old Wive's Tales poster

And one I hung in the kitchen.

Old Wive's Tales Gender Predictions

I made a quick, easy garland with pink and blue ribbons from my craft stash. I used mini binder clips to hang our ultrasound pics (All but the ones with the “parts”.)

Ultrasound Pic Banner

I decorated our dining room table with a pink sparkly piece of material from JoAnn Fabrics and a blue polka dot table runner.

Gender Reveal Party decorations

I used a blue, antique cut glass bowl and put pink Good N Plentys in it. My girls and I enjoyed eating all the white ones. 🙂

gender party dining room decor

I love using photos for decorating at parties…so on the dining room table, I put photos of me and my husband while dating/engaged, a photo of us with our first baby, and a photo with our second. In front of the frames, I formed a question mark with heart rhinestones I picked up at the Dollar Tree. I don’t know if my guests picked up on the symbolism, but it made me happy. 🙂

gender party dining room table decor

I got to work early the next morning painting these pumpkins my mom gave me. I didn’t want my girls insisting on “helping” me, haha! These were not only cute decorations, but they also made cute photo props later on!

It's a....girl? Boy?

I incorporated the big question on everyone’s mind in our refreshment layout. 🙂

Gender Reveal Party M&M's

Finally, at 6:30pm, the day after we’d had our ultrasound, it was time to party! I was 98% sure that a third little girl would be joining our family…we have a total of 6 girls in the family on my husband’s side. None of Hubby’s siblings have had a boy, so what are the chances we would? Our friends were cheering and laughing, calling out their gender predictions as I sliced into the cake. The moment had arrived!

Cutting our gender reveal cake!!

And to my absolute shock, it was BLUE! I was speechless. I couldn’t stop staring at those blue layers.

The big moment!!

Moments later, I’m still staring at the cake wondering, “How can this be?”. But my four year old  simply shrugged, “I knew it was a boy!”. And somehow she did…she has stuck to her belief for months now.

Surprise! It's a boy!

Date night on the night after the party, I was officially 21 weeks. And the blue pumpkin makes for an adorable photo prop! Love my little man already!

Bump pic - 21 weeks!

If you’re planning a gender reveal party, check out my Reveal Party board on Pinterest!

How to Survive the Picky Eater Battle with No Tears!

Winning the picky eater battle with no tears on either side!

The Great Picky Eater Food Battle is not for the faint of heart.

Winning the picky eater battle with no tears on either side!

Lately, my two year old refuses to eat pretty much everything. Unless it is peanut butter, cheese, yogurt or her favorite fruits. She also likes ham, so regardless of what kind of meat I’m serving, I exclaim, “Eat! You like this; it’s ham!”. Sometimes, it even works! 😉

My picky eater refuses foods that aren’t aesthetically pleasing….

She turns up her nose at unfamiliar foods (unless they’re highly processed and full of artificial flavors)….

My toddler has even looked at her dinner plate and remarked, “Bleh!”. How rude! …

No matter how much I bribe her, or threaten time-outs, she Will. Not. Eat. She clenches her lips together, covers her mouth with her hand, and turns as far away from me as possible. And I know I have no course of action that doesn’t include handcuffs, straps, and pliers.

So what to do? I am a strict mom, but even I don’t believe in prying my daughter’s mouth open to shove food in it. 😉

Everyone says, “They’ll eat when they’re hungry!”. But what parent can stand there and watch their child starve nutritionally? While their child simultaneously grows unbearably crabby because, like their mama, they get HANGRY when they don’t eat.

Today, I am going to share what is helping us through this challenging time!

My mealtime tips for  dealing with a picky eater –

  • Serve several foods your child WILL EAT and one new food.
  • Serve small portions to avoid waste, frustration, or child getting overwhelmed at the sight of new food.
  • Encourage your child to try at least one bite.
  • Promise they don’t have to finish new food, or even swallow it. (My kids are big fans of spitting yucky foods in the trash after holding it their mouth for eons.)
  • If child still refuses to try even one bite, threaten to take away a privilege. For us, that’s tv time, which we often allow after dinner and before bed.
  • Follow through. No bite, no privilege.
  • Don’t get mad. Stay calm. Act like it’s no biggie if your kid is iron deficient because she refuses to eat her spinach.
  • Put cheese on it! My kids favorite food group – everything looks and tastes better with cheese!
  • Serve new foods at lunch, and familiar favorites at dinner. Your kids will have a full belly for bedtime and sleep soundly.
  • If kids don’t eat much of their lunch, don’t give them a snack. Or give them a small, but healthy snack to tide them over. NO TREATS! Go ahead, break out your secret stash of chocolate and eat it right in front of them. You deserve it for preparing food they didn’t want and washing a plate they wouldn’t eat off.
  • Keep trying!My mealtime tips for a picky eater

Our greatest success recently has been simply getting the food into my 2.5 year old daughter’s mouth. Whether or not she likes it, or will even swallow the food, at least she is opening her mouth! We accomplished this mainly by threatening a consequence (revoking tv privileges after dinner) and promising she can spit the offensive food in the trash if she so desires.

I trust that in time, her delicate palate will broaden itself from the repeated exposure to new flavors and textures. And if it doesn’t well…there’s always those sneaky veg recipes on Pinterest.

‘Fess Up Time: Parenting Fails and Newborn Tales

Parenting Fails and Newborn Tales

Parenting Fails – we’ve all been there, done that!

Parenting Fails and Newborn Tales

My general theory is that whether you make huge mistakes or simple parenting fails, your kid can still turn out either good or bad. Many successful people have emerged from a terrible home life. And sometimes kids from good, strong families lose their way. The Bible promises that if you train up a child in the way he should go, in the end he will not depart from it. So just do your best, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

With that being said, however….parenting fails can still make us feel like idiots! I’ll never forget the time I took my newborn first child to the pool in her adorable two piece baby bikini and shades. I laid her on a lounge chair on top of a beach towel and started snapping away with my camera. She was three months old and cute as a bug. I was beside myself with motherly pride and adoration, when all of a sudden she rolled off the lounge and onto the concrete! Luckily, the chair was very low to the ground and she was not injured, but I was so ashamed of myself for being stupid enough to let something like that happen. I didn’t tell anyone (besides hubby) for almost two years because I was so embarrassed!

Beach Babe - Don't Call Me Supermom
An adorable photo from the fateful day!

I also forgot the diaper bag the first time we ever took our newborn daughter to church, when she was a week old. Now that I’m a “seasoned” parent of four years, I realize that these things happen to everyone. We all experience parenting fails, and that doesn’t make us bad at what we do! In fact, it’s the guilt we feel afterwards that makes us good parents!

If you’re having a rough day, check out these stories and realize you’re not alone when you feel helpless, inadequate, or just plain stupid. We’re all in this together! 🙂

Jen from Heaven Not Harvard: One time in the Wal-mart parking lot, I was so busy making sure my daughter’s car seat was in correctly and tightly secured that she started to roll away in the shopping cart into the traffic flow! 😱😳 Luckily, there were no cars and I grabbed her in seconds. My husband was just coming out from buying something he’d forgotten when he saw my eyeballs about jump out of my skull and my legs road runner spiral into action.

Aditi from Silver Linings – My parents, hubby dearest, and two month old baby came home after an evening spent roaming around the shopping mall. We had just started getting ready for bed when the crying began. Desperate, never ending and extremely loud to four adults who were new to being around an infant. We tried everything, feeding, bathing, more clothes, less clothes, gripe water, steam etc. Panic had just started to seep in, when for some reason my brilliant husband got our industrial fan, switched it to low and put it bang in front of the little one lying in the bouncer. And lo and behold, the crying stopped. My hubby quipped, “He just needed to feel like the star of a Bollywood movie with the wind blowing his hair in the scene where he’s introduced.”

Bärbel from Simple Summit – My daughter was 5 days old when we went to the pediatrician’s office for her first check-up. When the nurse called her name, my husband and I just kept sitting in the waiting room. She called it again – this time, the full name and we both got up, embarrassed. “We are new at this, can you tell?”, was our excuse. 🙂
We have also left the diaper bag at home before, or ended up staying out longer than anticipated so I ran out of diapers. I shook out the poopie in her diapers so I could reuse them again. So embarrassing!

Crystal from Love More Live Blessed – I had my pack-n-play up way before I had my son. I would throw diapers in there until I could put them away. I know, I know, so lazy. Anyway, one day I threw a package of diapers across the room into the pack-n-play. A second later, I realized my newborn was in there too! Ahh!! He was fine, the diapers didn’t hit him – but I sure felt guilty.

Nikki from Healing Mama Remedies – I was nursing my son while looking on my phone, then I dropped my phone on his head! I felt horrible!

Ashli from The Million Dollar Mama – I thought squeaking the dog’s toy in front of my 8 week old might make him laugh – it terrified the crap out of him!

Hannah from Sunshine And Spoons – On my oldest daughter’s first Sunday in church, I took her downstairs to feed her a bottle and forgot to burp her. When we came back upstairs and sat down in our pew, she threw up her entire bottle all over my dress.

With my 3rd child, I forgot to bring any diapers to church and she uncharacteristically had TWO really messy diapers. The first time it happened, I begged a too-small diaper from my sister in law. The second time, I was too embarrassed to ask again. Church was almost over so when it finished, I put a rag in her carseat so she wouldn’t leak all over it and took my smelly, oozing child home to change! I left diapers in the church nursery after that.

When my 4th and youngest baby was just 3 months old, I took him to a Sunday School picnic. I thought I did a good job keeping him out of the sun. However, I let someone else hold him for a while and she forgot to do the same. He had THE worst sunburn on his forehead and nose that I’ve ever seen. Note to self: Always bring a hat for the baby!

 As always, thanks for reading! And remember, if you’re a parent, or parent-to-be, take it easy on yourself. We all make mistakes from time to time, but it will all be okay in the end!

Proverbs 22:6