Finally, a funny co-sleeping video. By Dads too.

We still co-sleep, first with one kid, who comes in herself, and then, later, with the second kid, who I have to go get and carry in.  We believe strongly in this, that it is right for our children and right for us as parents.

Yet, despite that, it often, well, ummm, sucks.  So bad.

Over at How To Be A Dad, they’ve been putting out priceless graphics on the horrors of co-sleeping.  What I love about this is the acceptance of co-sleeping as the norm, so much that they can poke fun at it without getting all caught up in the parenting sleep wars.

Plus, they are funny.

And now they have a video:

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Monday links: French parents, the return of the Yellow Wiggle, the end of war and writing with children

Why French Parents Are Superior:  This is a Wall Street Journal story based on a book by Pamela Druckerman, an American mother who lives in Paris.  As of now, there are 571 comments on the WSJ story alone.  The essence is that the French raise better behaved, more respectful children than Americans.  She attributes this to more discipline and boundary setting.

Please.  I might buy this on face value except that she pushes the “cry it out” method with babies.  Huge red flag.  So that got me thinking, and I read the comments, and I realize that Swedish kids are also more respectful and better behaved than the imaginary, spoiled American kids she talks about.  And the Swedes co-sleep, stay at home with their kids longer, and value both mothers and fathers (umm, the French do not, well, not nearly as much).  So what’s the explanation then?  I have no idea.  A northern European conformity?  Just not being American?

Or maybe the book is just a good way to get the American chattering classes, well, chattering. Like with Tiger Mothers, and Wolf Fathers, and all that.

Writing with Children: A nice essay on one novelist – and mother – and her journey in her writing life as a new parent.  I happen to have the opposite experience of the author – having children opened up my writing life and forced me to focus (and I was home as much as many Moms) –  but that takes nothing away from it.

Welcome back, Yellow Wiggle: I sometimes ponder starting a blog about children’s TV shows: their mythic value, the songs, the pop references, the plot structure … the gossip.  And here is some good gossip.  The original Yellow Wiggle is back after years of absence due to illness.  It’s like Blue’s Clues going back to Steve, after Joe.  Except Steve would be old and bald.

I don’t know.  I don’t like it.  The new Yellow Wiggle, Sam, was just fine.  And do the Wiggles really have magic to rekindle?  What’s this about?  Are there money woes in Wiggle land?  Did Sam do something really, really awful to Henry the Octopus?

John Horgon on erasing war from the human condition: John Horgan just wrote a book called “The End of War,” and this is not the only book like this out there right now. This makes me happy. I used to work in post-war grassroots peace projects, and I always liked to think we could go this way as a species. It seems counterintuitive, what with Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, drone assassinations, the militarization of American life, but a good argument is made by both Horgan and the author of the other book, Steven Pinker, that an ever-more-connected and democratic humanity has the potential to move past violence, and, in fact, is already doing so (even if the results of the remaining violence are streamed ever more directly right onto all our various screens).

Happily Paying the Price of Co-Sleeping at YourTango.com

I am now writing once a week about Daddyland for YourTango.com.  It is a slightly different take than this blog, in that it focuses on couples and relationships, so I am writing about me and E and how our parenting choices impact us.

Here is the top of this week’s post:

My wife and I bed hop.

No, not like that.

Rather, we hop from our big bed to a toddler bed to a mattress on the floor of the living room. We hop from kid to kid, from the toddler to the baby and back. We stumble past each other in the night carrying our children, each of us sleeping in as many as three different beds on any given night.

You see, we co-sleep. It doesn’t help that we have two of the lightest-sleeping children around. They scratch, they nurse, they cry, they get growing pains. Even worse, they wake each other up. This makes co-sleeping hard.

The upshot of all this? I am desperate to sleep with my wife.

Again, no. Not that way. I just want to sleep next to her. And fall asleep. And then wake up. Next to her.

The impact of our sleep decisions echoes throughout the day.

Click here to finish reading …

the injuries of attachment parenting

We like to think we are attachment parents, particularly when it comes to baby sleep.  We co-sleep, and what is more, our 14-month-old is learning to walk, meaning he walks in his sleep, meaning he still needs me to hold him in the middle of the night to keep him asleep.  I also have to rock him to sleep for all his naps and other night wakings.  I also slept with him on my arm quite often.

And my arm hurts.  Like really hurts.   E thinks I have a repetitive stress injury and wants me to go to a physical therapist.

I’ve had all sorts of other baby injuries – mostly a sore back (the worst was bouncing NK to sleep on an exercise ball) – but every parent is bending and lifting and carrying, right?

This is different.  This is a strain from his head resting on my bicep, from the bouncing and rocking, as he gets heavier and heavier, and laying down with him on my arm.

I keep hoping that he will settle down once he learns to walk.  It is my mantra through the long nights.

But meanwhile, maybe I do need to see that physical therapist.  Or look up stretches online.

Do you think they have workman’s comp in Daddyland?

I need a healthy right arm too.  How else will I play catch with my American kids?

an expat Thanksgiving in Sweden with magically sleepy children

You hear rumors, urban legends.  But you don’t believe them.  Nah, that is not realistic, you say.  And if it does happen, well, there must be some cruel stuff going on.

I am talking about babies and toddlers that go to sleep early and then stay asleep all night.  You know, good sleepers.

Tonight is the third night in a row that both children went to bed before 7.  We have no idea what to do.  How do you have an adult life again?  We wander around, exhausted, talking, watching a little TV, waiting for the kids to get up.  They have to get up.  But they don’t.  They sleep. (Not until morning.  No, we don’t have kids like that.  But, for them, they sleep soundly.)

We made it happen to some degree.  We got real hard about no naps after daycare for NK – even 20 minute ones.  We are finally ready to pounce on the 6pm drowsiness, not waiting until the 7pm drowsiness.  As for the baby, he no longer has an ear infection, is not teething at the moment and is not learning any new skills.  So he can rest a bit.

Tonight, they went to sleep early after a big Thanksgiving dinner.  Here is an expat Thanksgiving for you.

Wake up.  Wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.

Take toddler to daycare.  Go to work.

Remember Thanksgiving occasionally.  Forget it completely most of the day.

Work.  Go to meetings.  Edit stuff.

Talk to the daycare teacher about Thanksgiving.

Come home to turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie made from scratch, among other things.

Almost cry of joy at the smell of the pie.  Thank your Swedish wife profusely.

Try to explain to the toddler that the turkey decorations and pilgrim candles are not for her birthday, but for everyone.

Eat.  Do a video call with grandma and grandpa.  With the cousins.

Watch the toddler obsess over the pumpkin pie, which she knows from the end of the second verse of “Over the hills and through the woods.”

“Hurrah for the fun.  Is the pudding done?  Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!”

Children sleep – magically and mysteriously.

Watch football.  Eat more pie.

Be happy.

family=healthy

I have strep throat, which means I am on antibiotics.  I have not been on antibiotics for five-and-a-half years.

Antibiotics are big in my story, though, probably one of the (many) reasons I value my family so deeply and one of the (many) reasons I have committed so deeply to parental leave and co-sleeping and time off with my wife.

Because I used to be on antibiotics all the time.

Starting in college, I developed chronic sinus infections.  Three, four, five, six a year.  Year after year.  I had a year break once in Croatia.  And a nine month break some other time.  And I never caught any other illness.  Just sinus infections, horrible draining low-level sinus infections.  I spent countless hours with my head over steaming pots, wearing hats in the summer, trying any and all folk remedies from Bosnia to Boston.

In January, 2004 – a burned out newspaper reporter in Middletown, New York – I got the worst infection yet.  I ended up at heart specialists and had yet more CT scans and ultrasounds.

Then in April, 2004, I moved to Sweden, in my with my then-girlfriend, now wife.  I went on antibiotics once in that first month, though I didn’t really need to.

And that was it.  No  more infections.  No more antibiotics.  (Though I now get all sorts of sick, unlike before, hit by a Swedish-small children wave of colds, stomach bugs and, now, strep.)

See the pattern?

Home with my parents.  No antibiotics.

Single and on my own.  Many antibiotics.

Very happily married with kids.  No antibiotics.

Think family is good for me?

the streaming rewards of cosleeping and sleep deprivation

We have two children; we have two light sleepers. Well, the toddler is sleeping pretty soundly. So, really, it is now all about baby sleep.

We also cosleep, meaning that we sleep in the same bed, or more accurately, a series of ever shifting beds in ever shifting combinations of parents and children (the toddler does go to sleep in her own bed in her own room, but usually with me beside her, and she never ends the night there).

We believe in this, really believe, if you know what I mean.

Which means we suffer, have suffered exquisitely on two continents, in a bat-infested house in New York and through the Swedish winter, through hard pregnancies and in a tiny apartment. We speed past the point of breaking, zoom around and go past that point again and then, just for fun, race past it again.

0ne constant – the kids have stayed in the bed with us.

In the latest chapter, I have spent hours in the past weeks walking around the apartment in the darkest night holding a baby with jangling, kicking, crawling legs. For long stretches, he simply cannot sleep on his own. Way too busy. So I am not just walking. I am high stepping or jogging or singing or turning on faucets for the noise (horrible, I know, I know – but we do not own a car, that is my answer to all enivronmental guilt).

His sister crawled in her sleep. I know babies do this. But he is in the middle of a months-long learning to sit, scoot, crawl, stand, walk continuum of poor sleep.

Then he wakes up at 4:30. This behavior we have tried to manipulate – early bedtimes, late bedtimes, extra naps, no naps.

It always comes back to about 4:30. It always comes back to choppy sleep at best, no sleep at worst.

More than three years of this.

But suddenly, there is a light in the night. Specifically, the light of a computer screen, the light of playoff baseball.

And in the mornings, if I want, there is the dim bulb of the NBA regular season, though I find I cannot actually watch the games, so boring that I can’t justify drawing the attention away from the baby, who is cute and charming even at 4:30 in the morning, even when I am pretty grumpy with him for waking up.

But the baseball. Glorious. I watched Johnny Damon steal two bases the other night. I have seen A-Rod strike out in the clutch and hit homers and doubles. I watched the Dodgers lose (always a pleasure to a San Francisco boy). I finally have watched the Phillies with regularity and realize how much I like that team, and not just because I went to college in Philly.

I kind of, sort of, even hope that the baby will be too fussy at 3am for me to put him down. Because if I do soothe him and he hits that blessed deep sleep, I can’t quite justify watching sports in the middle of the night. Sleep is too precious. The bones ache just a mite too much.

But game six of the World Series starts at 2am Central European Time.

Hmmm, he seemed awfully fussy tonight. I might just have to stay up and hold him an extra hour – as long as the Phillies don’t fall too far behind …