For one boob nap, a second child becomes an only child

As I tap this one-handed on my phone, I’m nap trapped. My toddler has fallen asleep breastfeeding, leaving me unable to put away all the kids’ new toys, go through unopened mail, unpack our suitcases or do any of the other things on my list. But I am not complaining. Today, I’m happy for this boob nap.

Kiwi rarely falls asleep on me these days. And on the occasions she does, I can’t let her snooze on me. I don’t have that flexibility; I have a preschooler.

But Peeper went down to Eugene with her dad to pick up our dog, so for today I am mom of only one kid. And that “only child” has a doozy of a cold. So it’s really not that shocking she fell asleep at the breast—and why I let her keep sleeping on me, boob nap style.

When my toddler fell asleep in a boob nap, I stayed put. She and I both got exactly what we needed. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Preparing kids for Daylight Savings Time

I keep forgetting about daylight savings time—and then remembering with a sick feeling, as if our agricultural forbears hit me in the gut with a bushel of corn. And as a planner, I’ve been reading oodles of online articles about preparing kids for daylight savings time.

Consensus is clear: Gradually adjust kids’ bedtimes and wake times so that when DST hits this Sunday, they’re already on the new clock.

Naturally, then, my girls are helping by preparing us parents for daylight savings time.

Preparing kids for Daylight Savings Time to get more sleep? Watch out; your kids might turn the tables on you. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more

Nap hikes: The gift of silence

When Baby wouldn't sleep, I set off into the woods—and she fell asleep! Nap hikes are a blessing for both of us. Ten Thousand Hour Mama

We recently went camping for the first time as a family of four. It was Kiwi’s first time sleeping in a tent. And as I feared, my notoriously terrible sleeper slept pretty much not at all.

We stayed at Stub Stewart State Park just one night—a compromise to our usually longer trips since we figured sleep would be such a nightmare—and it’s a good thing, since I sat upright in our Forester with Kiwi alternately breastfeeding and dozing on me the entire night. I didn’t even attempt to get her to nap in the tent because I was tired, not insane.

So for each of her naps, I buckled her into my baby carrier and set off on a hike.

But even in my bleary, exhausted state, I treasured those nap hikes. Read more

7 tips to enjoy a hotel stay—with a baby!

7 tips to enjoy a hotel stay with a baby

Not long ago I traveled up to Seattle for my younger sister’s baby shower. We spent just one night in the emerald city to the north and stayed in the Alexis, a boutique hotel blocks from Pike Place Market with gorgeous, spacious rooms and a fantastic restaurant downstairs.

Hotel stays used to excite me—a night away, new and luxurious toiletries, someone else to make my bed. But now? Not so much.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in feeling a wee bit anxious bringing a baby to a hotel. Will the guests next door call the front desk if my little cries? Will the guests next door throw a raging party and prompt me to call the front desk?

You can take some of the uncertainty out of the travel—and even enjoy a hotel stay with a baby. Read more

Kiwi is 7 months: Sisterhood

Baby fox toy Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Everybody’s doing a brand new dance now,
I know you’ll like it if you give it a chance now,
Come on baby, do the Locomotion!

The last month Kiwi has been all about moving around!

She’s not crawling, although she’s made it to all fours and is occasionally rocking, the first steps toward that milestone. But she intentionally rolls toward a destination where she’s set her sights—a beach ball, her toy piano, and especially Finn.

Baby fox toy Ten Thousand Hour MamaBaby and dog Ten Thousand Hour MamaShe also moves by whale tale splash, a special move she’s waiting to patent. While on her back, she lifts her entire body up to her shoulders and slams it back down on the ground. She swivels around like this and, by all measures, looks very proud of herself.

Sisters forever

Kiwi has also started the Peeper Fan Club. She is, of course, President. The two of them have also started a band. Kiwi does solo side projects, too.

Kiwi Rock from Catherine Ryan Gregory on Vimeo.

Sisters band Ten Thousand Hour MamaSisters band guitar Ten Thousand Hour MamaSisters Ten Thousand Hour MamaShe’s pretty much obsessed with Big Sister. Peeper can do no wrong. Even when she is hitting Kiwi in the face with a pom pom or grabbing toys away, Kiwi stares and giggles.

Sisters Ten Thousand Hour MamaSisters Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Oh so tired

Over the last few weeks, everyone in the house has been passing a cold back and forth. Kiwi has been sniffling for what seems like forever. During the day she’s still her usual cheerful self, but the nights have been brutal.

Every night is worse than the last. My euphoria over her successful sleep training has been replaced by despair as I feed her to sleep every two hours. And the last few nights, she has been awake in the deep, dark hours when everyone else is snuggled safely in their dreams.

Motherhood is not for the faint of heart; parenting two is even harder. But when I’m living in a sleep-deprived fog no quantity of caffeine can touch, beautiful rays of light break through: the love these girls share.

Shine on, sisters.

Sisters Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Kiwi is six months

I haven’t been this thrilled with Kiwi getting older since, well, she was born.

Six months marks a watershed in her short life.

Sweet, sweet sleep

Most important in her development, of course, was the sleep training. Kiwi transformed from a sleep-shunning infant who never slept longer than two hours at a time to a Ferber-ized champ who puts herself to sleep (no more bouncing!!) and snoozes for up to six hours at a go.

Getting more sleep means I feel less like a hollowed out shell of myself—and means I get to enjoy this dumpling much, much more.IMG_5307

Read more

I have bounced all the bounces: When sleep training works

When I graduated high school, a group of friends and I went camping alongside the sand dunes at Honeyman State Park. We went skinny dipping, we played drinking games, we flirted—and, gathered around a campfire, we burned the spiral notebooks and three-punch paper we had filled with notes on biology, history and literature.

As remnants of high school went up in smoke, I felt ready for a new chapter to begin.

I’m considering doing the same with our giant stability ball—because that’s apparently what I do when sleep training works.

Don't let anyone mommy guilt you about sleep training your baby. Ferber works—and it gave me my life back. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more