Sunday, December 18, 2011

parenting quandary

so my friend posted this article on facebook tonight, and as someone who has found great success with the Babywise method for getting your kids to sleep through the night very early on, I was a little concerned as I read it. Especially when it also referred to this other article which references lots of research which seems to show that letting your child cry will inflict irreparable psychological damage on them.

It's not like I've ever left my kids for hours on end while they screamed at the top of their lungs for comfort. I think between the two of them I have let them "cry it out" less than 10 times total, only at nap/bedtime, never for more than about 15-20 minutes without checking on and comforting them, and they've never cried longer than 45 minutes total before falling asleep. Both were sleeping 7-8hrs/night by the time they were 8wks old, and we've never had a problem since. They both seem to be handling stressful situations well these days, and I'm not anticipating any negative outcomes in the future based on actions taken when they were newborns.

I'll admit, the articles freaked me out a little bit as I started reading them, I got anxious at the beginning of each of them - obviously, if science says it's bad, then what if I'm messing up my kids, even if it works? Or what happens if we end up having a baby one day who isn't so easy going about sleep? But then I calmed down, read each article slowly, thoughtfully, and came to the following conclusions:

1. Even with science to back you up - the frequency with which parenting recommendations and practices change is ridiculous; just like in dieting/nutrition or any other arena that involves a propensity towards strong opinions and fads.

2. One of the scholars that the Yahoo! article quotes from frequently seems inherently biased in the matter, considering that she herself "shows signs of undercare". I read her quotes with a pretty negative air toward the idea of letting children cry in general, even before she provided her personal background. Also, I don't know much about Dr. Sears, but by a quick look through his website, he would seem to be a big proponent of Attachment Parenting, which is often portrayed as the antithesis of Babywise or "cry it out"

3. Neither article clearly defines what is considered "too long" for a child to cry. "Excessive crying" is mentioned excessively, but there is not a single attempt at saying what is excessive. There are frequent references to "crying it out" in the Yahoo! article, but the Ask Dr. Sears article sounds like it's referring more to neglectful treatment of a child, leaving him/her alone for hours on end or ignoring any expressed needs to the point of cruelty, which is most definitely not suggested by adherents of "cry it out" or Babywise. This article did conclude "that caregivers should answer cries swiftly, consistently, and comprehensively," which sounds like crying it out would not be an option, but that doesn't actually go against Babywise philosophy; of COURSE you're supposed to check on your kids if they're crying. Make sure they don't need a diaper, or some food, or are in pain in some way, but if they're ok, then they're ok to be left to themselves for a little bit.

So I think my final analysis is this: I'll stick with what I know and what has worked, but I'm not above altering it or trying something new if what has worked stops working. I'm curious, tho, what other parents think. If you have time to read the articles and comment, I would really appreciate it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

cuteness times 3

How was it that I posted 2 days after Naomi's birthday and didn't mention it? Well, let's just fix that now.
Naomi turned 1 on 9/10/11. I still feel a little bad that we didn't go crazy all out and invite half the city like we did for Josephine, but knowing what a stressful experience that would have been, I'm getting over it.

We just did family and a few friends who are pretty close to the girls, who've done a lot of babysitting or who just love them (and us) to bits. It was mostly just for cake and ice cream and presents, and she got plenty of cute and fun things, but obviously the best part is the pictures of a 1yr old demolishing a birthday cake, so here we go:

Take that, cake!

Update #2 comes in the form of Halloween, and fun times had with that. Josephine tried on her costume close to a month ahead of time to see if it would fit, and then was unwilling to wait until Halloween to wear it again. So she ended up wearing it around the house a few times, which was fine, because I figure that the more use we can get out of it, the better! Plus, it was a bit big on her, which hopefully means we have a costume for next year as well. Here are some pictures! For clarification, Josephine was a fairy of some sort with wings and a wand, and Naomi was Princess Leia, circa Episode 4.

And then the final big deal around here has been that Josephine has once again upgraded her sleeping arrangement. We got ourselves a bunk bed from a gal who works with Seth's sister in-law, pretty sweet deal. We just had to get ourselves a mattress (a 2nd one will come eventually), which took about a week after Seth got the beds set up in the girls' room. Needless to say, there was much anticipation, and once the mattress was actually delivered, Seth and Jo headed out to pick it up, and she got to pick out her very own sheets to go with it. The end result has been one very excited girlie (make that two very excited girlies) who really loves bed time these days.

Monday, September 12, 2011

definitely growing up

I know it's just part of life - those times when you look at your kid and realize that they've gotten so much bigger without you really noticing. It's unsettling at times, but it's just how it works. Today Josephine decided for both naptime and bedtime that she would get her own pullup, and so she did, just walked over to the dresser, opened the top drawer and grabbed one. She had to decide which design she liked best, and went for the castle, because "it's cute".

I wasn't watching her at naptime, so I was a little surprised when she came back to me with pullup in hand - she's been able to look into the top drawer, but I didn't think she was tall enough to actually reach in and grab anything. And then tonight I watched her walk right over, open it up, look in while just barely tip-toeing, and do her thing. It was not so startling, I had noticed earlier today that her striped dress seemed just a bit shorter on her than I was used to seeing it, but still, it was kind of confirming my suspicions that she just keeps getting bigger. 

The other thing that I noticed today is how helpful she is getting. She's been responsive to me asking for her to do small stuff - bring Naomi's sippy to me, take this to the laundry, etc, but often needed a little bit of help. Tonight she picked up all the books that Naomi daily enjoys pulling down off their bookshelf. I grabbed Naomi to brush her teeth and asked Jo to get the books. She did ask several times for help, but I kept encouraging her to just do her best. I walked back into the bedroom to a clear floor where the pile of books had been, and Josephine was even going across the room to pick up other books that were left out. She's pretty wonderful, this girl of ours...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


looking through some of my old drafts of posts that didn't quite get finished, this was one from last summer that I really liked, so I just decided to finish it and post it, so that's why I'm talking about being pregnant - it's not an update, it's just really old new thoughts are Bolded, like this right here.

we were at housechurch last night, and there was a really good verse shared with regard to communion, Phillipians 3:4-11 -
4 Yet I could have confidence in myself if anyone could. If others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! 5 For I was circumcised when I was eight days old, having been born into a pure-blooded Jewish family that is a branch of the tribe of Benjamin. So I am a real Jew if there ever was one! What's more, I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 And zealous? Yes, in fact, I harshly persecuted the church. And I obeyed the Jewish law so carefully that I was never accused of any fault. 7 I once thought all these things were so very important, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God's law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God's way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!

The challenge was given to lay down whatever type of identity or reasoning we have to be proud of ourselves or assured of salvation outside of Jesus, to be identified only with Christ. It made me think of how I've been identifying myself lately.

The obvious answer is as a pregnant woman, a mother to-be. I've found that the title brings with it a certain stature, almost an innate right to certain things. I'm carrying a child, therefore I should be pampered, I shouldn't be allowed to carry heavy things, to exert myself too much. I shouldn't be expected to do the same things I used to before being pregnant. There are some who have treated me as if I were made of glass, or similarly very fragile.

While yes, there are certain aspects of pregnancy that require additional care in how one handles oneself, in a lot of ways, I'm just as capable and just as able to do most of what I could before. It used to bother me that Seth wouldn't let me shovel the snow. Then I tried it, just once. And I think there's a part of me that really needs to be careful about the sleep I'm getting or the food I'm eating, but I have also noticed that I'm sort of buying into the entitlement of pregnancy in some ways, too. I've seen in certain areas where I've used it to not try as hard get things done, or to maybe beg off of things I wasn't crazy about doing, even when I probably could have. As much as I joke with friends and my husband about using the baby as an excuse to do or not do certain things, I really didn't actually want to use pregnancy as an excuse to get out of anything, ministry or otherwise...and yet it's happened, here and there. And it doesn't make me very proud to see it or admit it.

Being a mother has a certain status and expectation that comes with it, especially at the Rock. By no means am I trying to belittle that status or the importance of the role. I really believe that to an extent mothers (especially the new ones) probably need more grace and support than many other groups of people might need. I'm finding that out pretty much daily for myself. But I don't want to go around expecting that people will do things for me, will serve me, will care for me. It's such a blessing when they do, and there's something that sours in me when I somehow think that I deserve it, or can't believe it took someone so long to notice I needed help, or some equally as silly thought.

I also currently would say I identify myself mostly with being a wife. That carries with it a burden (sometimes heavy, sometimes light) of many responsibilities and duties. It's easy to get dragged down and defeated as a wife (I'm sure it's easy as a husband, too). My shortcomings are obvious to see, and triumphs, especially the small ones that are difficult to obtain but mean the most, often go unnoticed.

This particular group of verses used to give me the chills when I first really looked at it back in college. The idea of throwing everything aside to know only Jesus and to truly experience his life and power in my own is an amazing one, awe inspiring, and not a little bit scary. I really don't have much to add to that, it's kind of as much as I can take in, in this regard. But I still want it. And I think I have opportunities every day to experience this, it's just a matter of being aware and taking advantage. Some things are easy - sharing a beloved treat with a small child or slowing down to make sure that some important information is accurately passed on to small ears. Some things are harder - trying to be compassionate and see from the point of view of someone who happens to be hurting you at the moment, for instance, but all of it brings breaths of Jesus' life into mine. Putting my rights and preferences aside to take on His burden, the one to love God and love people, and that's all.

potty training!!

This past Saturday we took the leap from occasionally sitting on the potty chair or toilet for fun (or an attempt at playing video games) to seriously working on making it a way of life.

After thinking about it for at least a month, I finally made the decision I think on Thursday of last week, when we were at Target and I decided to get some "prizes" and treats to help with the project, and also made a pretty big deal of getting underwear for Jo. She helped pick them out, and from then on was talking just about nonstop about her "undies".  We talked it up for the next couple of days, how she was going to learn how to use the potty chair and wear undies, and she was definitely interested. I had read The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training For Toddlers by Suzanne Riffel and mostly followed her program, with a few other ideas I tossed in from other sources I've looked at along the way.

So Saturday morning started and, not for the first time in the last 2+ years, I was so thankful for the disposition that God has given my Josephine, she is very easy to work with, is quite patient and very compliant. I explained the situation and she took it all in cheerfully, I know she especially liked the idea of getting juice and pretzels all day long. No horror stories to report, she had 5 accidents in 5 hours, she cleaned all of them up by herself and withstood the cold bath water to clean herself and her soiled pants (mostly) on her own, she actually thought the drills of going to the potty chair, pulling down pants, sitting down, pulling pants back up to practice the process over and over were fun (the idea is that it gets really tedious and helps dissuade your kid from having an accident and thus incurring more drills), she maybe got tired of them at the very end of the day when she was just tired in general. She had no problem sitting on the chair and reading for 5-10min at a time which, according to Riffel, could be where bribes and cajoling could be quite necessary. She got through the afternoon and evening with only one more accident and actually deciding by herself that she needed to go, and she went!

In the days following, we've had lots of false alarms, she'll sit on the potty to pass gas, and we've had accidents on our hardwood, outside on the sidewalk, and on a bench at Grandad's work today (happy birthday, Dad!), but it's been very encouraging. I'm glad that the process is at least started, I was getting so tired of hauling her 35+lbs up and down from the changing table, and all those diapers! It'll probably save us $40-$60/month in diaper costs. We're still using Pullups for nap and bedtime, but hopefully that won't be for too long. She's been dry waking up from naps at least twice now, I think she's really getting the hang of it all.

I am seriously considering that we'll start this with Naomi by the time she's 18months. Right now she's working on pulling herself up on things, taking a couple steps with a lot of help, and turning 1; but the clock's ticking, and Mama likes the idea of 2 potty trained girls...

Monday, February 28, 2011

makes a mama proud

Each of the girls had a pretty big moment today, just thought I'd share...

I've been periodically checking Naomi's mouth for any signs of teeth, I've been suspicious that she's been teething for a little bit now, what with all the chewing on anything available and all. I was playing with her today and noticed that I could see a little something on her bottom gums. After trying to get a steady look and feeling around with my finger, I think I can confirm that there are two teeth just waiting to pop on out!

Josephine's big moment came at dinner tonight, I was busy trying to get sweet potatoes into Naomi and noticed that Josephine was singing a song. As I listened, I started to understand what she was singing and caught the end of "Jesus Loves Me". So we sang it a few times and I was absolutely in love.

And then, to top off the evening, as I picked up Naomi to get ready for bed, I noticed that she had a little explosion out the backside of her diaper. No big deal, it happens. As I got her upstairs I noticed that it didn't just come out the top of the diaper, but down her legs, onto my shirt, on my hand....that's when I decided the bathtub was going to be the best place to change her diaper. It was an impressive feat, rivaled only by the time Josephine  blew out onto Seth's leg when she was only a few weeks old, and ended up being bathed in our friends' bathroom sink. Today was a totally noteworthy day in the Rosenzweig household.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

My Helpful Girl

Josephine has been at the age for awhile now where she likes to be involved and help do stuff around the house. Her favorite thing for awhile has been helping me unload the dishwasher. Then at Faithwalkers she was seen "cleaning up" with a burp cloth, wiping various spots on the auditorium floor. She has also started helping "wash" the dishes too, which coincides with her newfound love of our step stool. She'll happily move the dishes from one sink to the next as quickly as she can while I try to rinse things off and keep her from sipping grimy water from dishes left to soak or generally splashing water everywhere. I'm fairly unsuccessful, but it's only water, right?

Last week she came up with a new way in which to help out mama. She saw me sit down with a bowl of rice cereal for Naomi and instantly wanted in. We're slowly getting Naomi onto solid food, she's not taking to it nearly as quickly as Josephine did, but she's getting there. So I sat Jo on my lap, told her I would hold on to her hand while she fed her sister, and hilarity ensued.

I tend to try keeping things clean while feeding the baby, but you know, we're not all as well practiced with our gross motor skills.

My method with Naomi has been to wait for her mouth to be open with no obstructions in order to successfully get food into it - Josephine apparently sees no need for such strategy.

Toward the end, I think Naomi decided to start helping to get the food into her mouth too.

Saturday, January 08, 2011


because it's been a whole month since I mentioned anything about my girls, here's the update:
Naomi is still smiley and sweet and likes to play with toys she can grab. She just had her 4 month appointment and is doing great, except for sharing her sister's propensity towards ear infections. Boo. She's got the ok to start on the solid foods, but I don't know if I'm quite ready for that yet.

Josephine got lots of fun things for Christmas that she *loves* to play with - fake food, and a cart to wheel it all around in, a non-name brand MagnaDoodle (just don't know what else to call it), a backpack that she likes to carry around but doesn't think about unless we give it to her, a Leapfrog laptop that says her name, sings her songs, and sends her emails, and a Winnie the Pooh doll that's almost the size of her. I started to understand this year about how parents can easily go overboard buying gifts for their kids. It's so much fun to see her play, and there are a lot of things that I know she would really enjoy or would help her learn things. Every time we go to Target now, I easily find things I would like to buy for her. This is actually a heart (and wallet) check for me, since the last time we went to Target we came home with 2 new things for Jo that she didn't actually need, but REALLY likes. Bubble bath that she is pretty crazy about, and a CD set that includes songs from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, and also a story. We've listened to it upwards of a dozen times in the last couple of days (including right now!)

Also in Jo news, she is enjoying music in general more than ever, she'll even sing along for bits that she knows for songs like Twinkle Twinkle and her ABCs. She is also getting pretty good at counting to 3 and starting to identify her colors. We are talking just a little bit about using the potty and possible toilet training. She's interested, but I'm pretty sure we're not quite there yet. I've been kind of hoping she'd be ready by her birthday, but I'm learning it's really ok to wait.

Finally, we have new words just about every day. Last I heard, between 18-24 months kids will pick up about 10 words a day - how's that for a reminder to watch what you say around them? Latest ones include "Jesus" and "Zombies". The former is from listening to our Pandora station of Christian music for kids, and the latter is from Seth and my affinity for our Plants vs Zombies game, which Josephine loves to watch. It used to be that any time she got near the laptop we would hear "pooh" as her request to watch the Winnie the Pooh movie, now Pooh has to share time with "zombies" when she thinks it's time for someone to play. Still not sure if it's funny and cute that she knows about zombies, or it's a frightening look into how mom and dad are spending their time these days...

Anyway, that's all. As soon as I get around to putting pictures from Christmas and later on the computer, I'll post some here.