Choosing My Son’s Name

Rocco Gavin Oliver ~ 22 June 2009My son is named for my favorite Catholic saint.  Saint Rocco was a French nobleman, born into wealth and privilege in the 14th century.  He is most commonly referred to by the Italian form of his name because he performed the majority of his works  in Italy, and is highly venerated by the Italian people.  In fact, the body of Saint Rocco is encased in a glass tomb in the Church of Saint Rocco in Venice, Italy.   My son’s paternal grandmother is French Catholic (LeBlanc) and his paternal grandfather was Italian Catholic (DeTora).  A single name that could represent our Catholic faith, as well as both the French and Italian ethnic backgrounds of the paternal side seemed the perfect fit for our son’s first name.  It was a strong, masculine name, and I loved it.  In fact, I had the name Rocco on my mind for eight years before my son was born.  I took a religious education class in 1998 about the Catholic saints and wrote a report on Saint Rocco. I learned everything known about his life and works and he became my favorite saint.  I decided if I ever had another son and the name  flowed nicely with his surname, I would call him Rocco.  As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started collecting Rocco things, from stuffed animals named Rocco (there are quite a few), to personalized keepsakes, such as silver rattles and embroidered blankets, for his nursery.  I had no idea if I was even having a boy so early in the pregnancy, but I was hoping for a Rocco.

Saint Rocco is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as the protector against the plague and all contagious diseases, especially of the skin.  My Irish side has very sensitive skin and this was the saint we really needed :). His image is very unique because of his pose and the fact that he is always depicted pointing to a sore on his leg. It is extremely rare for images of saints to expose any afflictions or handicaps.  I loved that vulnerability and humanness of the depictions of Saint Rocco.  He is highly venerated through Italy, but especially in the southern part of Italy and in Sicily.  The body of Saint Rocco is enclosed in a glass tomb in Saint Rocco Catholic Church in Venice, Italy. He is remembered each year on the 16th of August.  He is my son’s namesake, and the 16th of August is my son’s Onomastico, or “name day,” because it is the day that Saint Rocco passed away.

My son has three names and I put a great deal of thought into choosing each of them.  Perhaps I went overboard, but considering that I say his name about 100 times a day, I did not want to choose it on a whim from a television character or a list of popular baby names.  I liked the fact that the name Rocco “matched” his sister’s name, which is Luca.  Perhaps I am a little unusual in my thinking that a sibling set should have names that sound like they belong together, but it was an important consideration in choosing a name for my son.  I do not mean that they need to rhyme or all begin with the same letter.  Some examples would be length, syllables, origins.  I know a family with three boys, Jake, Mark, and Luke.  I know another family with old-fashioned names, Beatrice and Violet.  My older son went to school with brothers named Nicholas, Christopher, and Alexander.  Those are all excellent examples of what I mean by sibling sets that just sound like they belong together.  There was a problem, however, and that was the fact that this baby would be born into a blended family.  In addition to having a sister named Luca, he also had a brother named Austin.  Rocco and Austin did not sound at all like a sibling set, and there was my Irish Catholic background to consider as well.  I was not going to find one name that matched both of his siblings’ names, so I gave him two first names.  Rocco matched Luca, and his second name would match Austin.  When choosing his second name, I did a lot of research on origin, history, and meaning of each name I considered.  In addition to origin and meaning, the history of the name was another important consideration.  I am 75% Irish and found some great names in my family tree.  The name I chose, Gavin, actually came from a Galvin several generations back on my father’s side of the family.  I preferred Gavin, a Welsh variation of the Gaelic name, Galvin.  Gavin and Austin sounded like a sibling set to me, so it was chosen, my son would be called Rocco Gavin.  As a bonus, the meaning of Gavin fit well with the name Rocco, so that all came together nicely.  Gavin means “white hawk of battle,” while Rocco means “battle cry; rest.” My family has a strong military background, both in Europe and the United States.  Several men on my side of the family served in the United States Army, United States Navy, and the British Royal Navy.  One fought in the Korean War, and another fought in Vietnam, both on the front lines of battle.  I felt that the meanings of Rocco and Gavin honored the military service of my father, uncle, and grandfather, as well as representing the ethnic and religious backgrounds of both sides of our family quite well.

I treated Gavin as a second first name, rather than a middle name, so that there would be a connection to both sides of his family and both of his siblings’ names.  He was Rocco Gavin, brother of Luca and Austin.  I still needed a middle name for Rocco Gavin, and wanted to use a name my mom had always wanted to give a son, but she never had one.  She would have loved it if I had named my first son Oliver, but it did not fit well with Austin as a middle name.  When my second son was born on my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, the final decision was made for Rocco Gavin’s middle name to be Oliver in honor of my mother.  Oliver is of French origin, which is another connection to the LeBlanc side of the family.  Imagine my surprise when I looked up the meaning and found that Oliver means “elf army” The name is also associated with the olive tree and therefore peace, which I really liked.  It was a perfect fit and a perfect name for my son.  I hope that he will grow to love his name and how much it means to me, as well as the thought I put into to choosing it for him.

Thanks for reading.


Published in: on July 11, 2009 at 7:39 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Versatile Vinegar!

Today's Vinegar

I buy several gallons of vinegar each week and I use it throughout my home for everything from laundry, to bathroom and kitchen cleaning, to killing weeds in my yard.  Versatile is an understatement.  With dozens of uses, vinegar gets the job done quickly, safely, thoroughly, and inexpensively.  I love it and I wanted to share this information with all of you.  If you are looking to cut corners in your budget or interested in greener living, vinegar is the perfect product.  Read on for dozens of amazing uses for vinegar in and around your home.

Throughout history, vinegar has proved to be the most versatile of products. The dictionary defines versatile as “capable of turning with ease from one thing to another,” and from more than 10,000 years ago to today, consumers continue to use vinegar in a variety of ways.

The vinegar produced and used today is much like the product of years past, but with newly discovered flavors and uses. The mainstays of the category – white distilled, cider, wine and malt have now been joined by balsamic, rice, rice wine, raspberry, pineapple, chardonnay, flavored and seasoned vinegars and more.

From the kitchen to the bathroom and beyond, vinegar is the most flexible of products sure to have a daily use in your home and life.


No-wax floors:
To wash no-wax floors, add ½ cup of white distilled vinegar to a half-gallon of warm water.

Carpet stain removal:
A mixture of 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent and 1 teaspoon of white distilled vinegar in a pint of lukewarm water will remove non-oily stains from carpets. Apply it to the stain with a soft brush or towel and rub gently. Rinse with a towel moistened with clean water and blot dry. Repeat this procedure until the stain is gone. Then dry quickly, using a fan or hair dryer. This should be done as soon as the stain is discovered.

Windows & Walls

Streakless windows:
Simply wash with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and warm water. Dry with a soft cloth. This solution will make your windows gleam and will not leave the usual film or streaks on the glass.

Washing woodwork:
You can ease the job of washing painted walls, woodwork and Venetian blinds by using a mixture of 1 cup ammonia, ½ cup white distilled or cider vinegar and ¼ cup baking soda with 1 gallon of warm water. Wipe this solution over walls or blinds with a sponge or cloth and rinse with clear water. Dirt and grime comes off easily and the solution will not dull the painted finish or leave streaks.

Water or alcohol marks on wood:
Stubborn rings resulting from wet glasses being placed on wood furniture may be removed by rubbing with a mixture of equal parts of white distilled vinegar and olive oil. Rub with the grain and polish for the best results.


Garbage disposal cleaner:
Garbage disposals may be kept clean and odor free with vinegar cubes. Vinegar cubes are made by filling an ice tray with a mixture of 1 cup of vinegar and enough water to fill the ice tray and then freezing it. Run the mixture through the disposal, and then flush it with cold water for a minute or so.

Coffee maker cleaner (automatic):
White distilled vinegar can help to dissolve mineral deposits that collect in automatic drip coffee makers from hard water. Fill the reservoir with white distilled vinegar and run it through a brewing cycle. Rinse thoroughly with water when the cycle is finished. (Be sure to check the owner’s manual for specific instructions.)

Clean the microwave:
Boil a solution of 1/4 cup of white distilled vinegar and 1 cup of water in the microwave. Will loosen splattered on food and deodorize.

Deodorize the kitchen drain:
Pour a cup of white distilled vinegar down the drain once a week. Let stand 30 minutes and then flush with cold water.

Clean the refrigerator:
Wash with a solution of equal parts water and white distilled vinegar.

Clean and disinfect wood cutting boards:
Wipe with full strength white distilled vinegar.

Brass polish:
Brass, copper and pewter will shine if cleaned with the following mixture. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of white distilled vinegar and stir in flour until it becomes a paste. Apply paste to the metals and let it stand for about 15 minutes. Rinse with clean warm water and polish until dry.

Ant deterrent:
Ant invasions can sometimes be deterred by washing counter tops, cabinets and floors with white distilled vinegar.

Getting Rid of Fruit Flies/Gnats in Your Kitchen
Place a bowl filled with ½ quart water, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar and a couple of drops of dish soap to attract the fruit flies.  Always eliminate the source of attraction, i.e., ripened produce.

Cleaning Stainless Steel Appliances
Apply vinegar with a soft cloth to remove streaks from stainless steel appliances.  Try in an inconspicuous place first.

Cleaner Dishes and Glasses
Pour 1 ½ cup to 2 cups white distilled vinegar in the bottom of dishwasher, along with regular dishwasher soap.  Wash full cycle.

Remove Refrigerator Smells
Place 1 cup apple cider vinegar in a glass and set in refrigerator.  Within 2 days, any smell is gone!


Bathtub film:
Bathtub film can be removed by wiping with white distilled vinegar and then with soda. Rinse clean with water.

Shower doors:
Rub down shower doors with a sponge soaked in white distilled vinegar to remove soap residue.

Toilet bowl cleaner:
Stubborn stains can be removed from the toilet by spraying them with white distilled vinegar and brushing vigorously. The bowl may be deodorized by adding 3 cups of white distilled vinegar. Allow it to remain for a half hour, then flush.

Unclog the showerhead:
Corrosion may be removed from showerheads or faucets by soaking them in white distilled vinegar overnight. This may be easily accomplished by saturating a terry cloth towel in vinegar and wrapping it around the showerhead or faucet.


Kill grass:
To kill grass on sidewalks and driveways, pour full strength white distilled vinegar on it.

Kill weeds:
Spray white distilled vinegar full strength on tops of weeds. Reapply on any new growth until plants have starved.

Increase soil acidity:
In hard water areas, add a cup of vinegar to a gallon of tap water for watering acid loving plants like rhododendrons, gardenias or azaleas. The vinegar will release iron in the soil for the plants to use.

Neutralize garden lime:
Rinse your hands liberally with white distilled vinegar after working with garden lime to avoid rough and flaking skin. Clean pots before repotting, rinse with vinegar to remove excess lime.

Keep Flowers Longer
Keep flowers fresh longer.  Add 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons white vinegar in a 1-quart vase of water.  Trim stems and change water every five days.

Plant Nutrients
Mix vinegar and water in a ratio of 1:8.  Mix a separate solution of sugar and water in a mixture of 1:8.  Combine the vinegar and sugar mixtures.  Add to plant as long as needed.


Pest fighter:
A teaspoon of white distilled vinegar for each quart bowl of drinking water helps keep your pet free of fleas and ticks. The ratio of one teaspoon to one quart is for a forty-pound animal.

Pet accident:
Test the color fastness of the carpet with white distilled vinegar in an inconspicuous place. Then sprinkle distilled vinegar over the fresh pet accident. Wait a few minutes and sponge from the center outward. Blot up with a dry cloth. This procedure may need to be repeated for stubborn stains.

Get Rid of Odor on a Smelly Dog
Wet the dog down with fresh water.  Use a mixture of 1 cup white distilled vinegar and 2 gallons water.  Saturate the dog’s coat with this solution.  Dry the dog off without rinsing the solution.  The smell will be gone!


Bumper stickers:
Remove bumper stickers by repeatedly wiping the sticker with white distilled vinegar until it is soaked.  In a few minutes, it should peel off easily.  Test on a small invisible area of the car to ensure there will be no damage to the paint.

Paintbrush softener:
Soak the paintbrush in hot white distilled vinegar, and then wash out with warm, sudsy water.

Cleaning the Radiator Vent
Turn down the thermostat.  Unscrew the air vent, soak it in vinegar to clean it, then turn the thermostat all the way up.  After a few minutes, you’ll hear a hissing sound followed by a little bit of water spurting out.  Finally, steam will start exiting that hole.  Turn off the radiator valve and replace the vent.  It should be straight up and hand tight.  You should not need or use a wrench.

Frosted windows:
For those rare winter mornings when there is frost on the car, wipe the windows the night before with a solution of one part water to three parts white distilled vinegar.  They won’t frost over.

Mix olive oil and vinegar in a one-to-one ratio and polish with a soft cloth.  Try in an inconspicuous place first.

Cleaning Leather Shoes
Make a solution of one part water to one part white vinegar, and use it sparingly on the shoes. Dip a cloth into the solution, and dab it over the salt-streaked parts of your shoes.
May have to repeat the cleaning a few times before all the salt is removed.  Salt actually can damage leather, so it’s best to clean shoes as quickly as possible. Don’t let the salt stains build up.

Wash fireplaces with a 50/50 ratio of water and vinegar to remove the blackened soot on glass front doors. If the doors have a spring-loaded clip, remove it, then take out the doors.

Lay them flat on newspapers, spray with the vinegar/water solution and soak.  Wipe it off with newspaper.

Cleaner for Gold Jewelry (Winner of June 2007 Vinegar Online Use Contest)
Use one cup apple cider vinegar.  Submerge solid gold jewelry item in vinegar for 15 minutes.  Remove and dry with cloth.

Remove Lime Stains from Car
Pour a small amount of white vinegar on a clean cloth.  Gently rub the area of lime staining with the cloth until the stain is gone.  Test a small are first to ensure no discoloration.

Worn DVDs:
If you have a worn DVD that has begun to stick or suffers from the occasional freeze-frame, wipe it down with white distilled vinegar applied to a soft cloth.  Ensure the DVD is completely dry before re-inserting in the DVD player.  (Note:  This only works on DVDs that are scratched of dirty through normal wear.)

Laundry Hints

Wine stains:
Spots caused by wine can be removed from 100 percent cotton, cotton polyester and permanent press fabrics if done so within 24 hours. To do it, sponge white distilled vinegar directly onto the stain and rub away the spots. Then clean according to the directions on the manufacturer’s care tag.

Freshen baby clothes:
The addition of 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to each load of baby clothes during the rinse cycle will naturally break down uric acid and soapy residue leaving the clothes soft and fresh.

Clothes washing magic:
Clothes will rinse better if 1 cup of white distilled vinegar is added to the last rinse water. The acid in vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, but strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents.

Blanket renewal:
Cotton and wool blankets become soft, fluffy and free of soap odor if 2 cups of white distilled vinegar are added to the rinse cycle of the wash.

Deodorant stains:
Deodorant and antiperspirant stains may be removed from clothing by lightly rubbing with white distilled vinegar and laundering as usual.

Hole removal:
After a hem or seam is removed, there are often unsightly holes left in the fabric. These holes can be removed by placing a cloth, moistened with white distilled vinegar, under the fabric and ironing.

Keeping colors fast:
To hold colors in fabrics, which tend to run, soak them for a few minutes in white distilled vinegar before washing.

Leather cleaning:
Leather articles can be cleaned with a mixture of white distilled vinegar and linseed oil. Rub the mixture into the leather and then polish with a soft cloth.

Scorch marks:
Lightly rub white distilled vinegar on fabric that has been slightly scorched. Wipe with a clean cloth.

Setting colors:
When you are color dyeing, add about a cupful of white distilled vinegar to the last rinse water to help set the color.

Shower curtains:
Add 1 cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse water when you launder your shower curtain.  Do not spin dry or wash out.  Just hang immediately to dry.

Unclog steam iron:
Pour equal amounts of white distilled vinegar and water into the iron’s water chamber. Turn to steam and leave the iron on for 5 minutes in an upright position. Then unplug and allow to cool. Any loose particles should come out when you empty the water.

Clean a scorched iron plate:
Heat equal parts white distilled vinegar and salt in a small pan. Rub solution on the cooled iron surface to remove dark or burned stains.

Cleaning Vintage Lace
Soak the lace in cold water, rinsing it several times.  Next, hand-wash the lace gently with a wool detergent, such as Woolite.  If rust spots are a problem, try removing them with a mixture of white vinegar and hot water.

Food Preparation

Getting the last drops:
When you can’t get the last bit of mayonnaise or salad dressing out of the jar, try dribbling a little of your favorite vinegar into it, put the cap on tightly and shake well. You’ll be amazed at how much you’ve been wasting.

Cooking fish:
Try soaking fish in vinegar and water before cooking it. It will be sweeter, more tender and hold its shape better. When boiling or poaching fish, a tablespoon of vinegar added to the water will keep it from crumbling so easily.

Cake icing:
Cake icing can be prevented from becoming sugary if a little vinegar is added to the ingredients before cooking. The same is true when making homemade candy.

Boiling eggs:
When boiling an egg and it’s cracked, a little vinegar in the water will keep the white from running out.

Keeping potatoes white:
A teaspoon of white distilled or cider vinegar added to the water in which you boil potatoes will keep them nice and white. You can keep peeled potatoes from turning dark by covering them with water and adding 2 teaspoons of vinegar.

Freshen vegetables:
Freshen up slightly wilted vegetables by soaking them in cold water and vinegar.

Fruit and vegetable wash:
Add 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar to 1 pint water and use to wash fresh fruits and vegetables, then rinse thoroughly.  Research has shown that vinegar helps kill bacteria on fruits and vegetables.

Frying doughnuts:
Before frying doughnuts, add ½ teaspoon of vinegar to hot oil to prevent doughnuts soaking up extra grease.  Use caution when adding the vinegar to the hot oil.

Flavor booster:
Perk up a can of soup, gravy or sauce with a teaspoon of your favorite specialty vinegar. It adds flavor and taster fresher.

Meat tenderizer:
As a tenderizer for tough meat or game, make a marinade in the proportion of half a cup of your favorite vinegar to a cup of heated liquid, such as bouillon; or for steak, you may prefer to a mix of vinegar and oil, rubbed in well and allowed to stand for two hours.

Fruit stains:
Remove fruit or berry stains from your hands by cleaning them with vinegar.

Fresh lunch box:
It is easy to take out the heavy stale smell often found in lunch boxes. Dampen a piece of fresh bread with white distilled vinegar and leave it in the lunch box overnight.

Get rid of cooking smells:
Let simmer a small pot of vinegar and water solution.

Fluffy Egg Whites
Soak a paper towel with 1-2 Tablespoons of white distilled vinegar.  Wipe mixing bowl and beaters or whisk with the vinegar-soaked paper towel, then dry with a cloth or paper towel prior to whipping egg whites.

Fluffier Rice
For fluffier and great tasting rice, add a teaspoon of white distilled vinegar to the boiling water before adding rice.  Rice will be easier to spoon and less sticky.


Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machine for Sleep Apnea:
To clean the calcium deposit of the humidifier reservoir, heat 450 ml (1 ¾ cups) of vinegar in the microwave for 2 minutes. Pour vinegar into reservoir and replace cap. Let sit for 1 hour. Remove vinegar. Reservoir should be clean and calcium free. Contact manufacturer before cleaning with this method or review manufacturer’s directions.

Soothe a bee or jellyfish sting:
Douse with vinegar. It will soothe irritation and relieve itching.

Relieve sunburn:
Lightly rub white distilled or cider vinegar on skin. Reapply as needed.

Relieve dry and itchy skin:
Add 2 tablespoons of vinegar to your bath water.

Fight dandruff:
After shampooing, rinse with a solution of ½ cup vinegar and 2 cups of warm water.

Soothe a sore throat:
Put a teaspoon of vinegar in a glass of water. Gargle, then swallow. For another great gargle: 1 cup hot water, 2 tablespoons honey, 1 teaspoon vinegar, gargle then drink.

Treat sinus infections and chest colds:
Add 1/4 cup or more vinegar to the vaporizer. (Be sure to check vaporizer instructions for additional water measurement.)

Skin burns:
Apply ice-cold vinegar right away for fast relief. Will prevent burn blisters.

Chest congestion:
To clear up respiratory congestion, inhale a vapor mist from steaming pot containing water and several spoonfuls of vinegar.

Toenail fungus:
Soak toes in a solution of vinegar and water, using 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water, 15 minutes per day.

Arthritis Relief
Mix a teaspoon of half apple cider vinegar, half honey in a glass of water with a teaspoon of orange flavored Knox gelatin.

Lessen Morning Sickness
Drink some apple cider vinegar in water, with honey added.  This concoction can help calm a queasy stomach.

Stop Itching
Apply a paste made from vinegar and cornstarch.  Keep on until itch disappears.

Cleaning Heavily Soiled Hands
Moisten cornmeal with apple cider vinegar.  Scrub hands, rinse in cold water and pat dry.

Soft Feet
Combine 1 cup white distilled vinegar to 2 gallons warm water.  Soak feet for 45 minutes then use a pumice stone or file to remove dead skin from heels and callused areas of feet.

Wart Remover
Mix lukewarm/warm water with a cup of white distilled vinegar.  Immerse area with wart and soak 20 minutes everyday until wart disappears.

Bug Spray
Combine equal amounts of water, white distilled vinegar and liquid dish soap in a spray bottle.  Use on skin, as needed.

Truly Sleeping All Night

Rocco Gavin~2 years old

Rocco Gavin~2 years old

I have come to realize that there are many different opinions as to what it really means for a baby or toddler to sleep through the night.  For me, if I am comfortable and sleeping all night and the baby’s eyes are closed and there’s no crying, we’re both sleeping through the night.  This was accomplished for us at birth.  Rocco let me know exactly what he wanted from day one.  As long as we were co-sleeping and he had access to a nipple every four hours, he never made a peep and we both slept very well from about 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.  Most mornings, I had no memory of nursing him during the night.

Rocco would have nothing to do with sleeping in a crib, bassinet, swing, or car seat for more than five minutes from the day he came home from the hospital.  I could not put him down to do anything without listening to his heart-wrenching, “I’ve been abandoned and nobody loves me” cries.  I would put him in the swing and rush to the bathroom.  Laundry was piling up.  I could not believe how all-consuming this tiny person was from the moment he was born.  He quickly taught me the definition of Attachment Parenting, a term I had never even heard before his birth.  My first son was a very content “container” baby.  He was happy in everything, from car seat, to playpen, to crib, to swing.  I had every contraption available and got a lot of use out of everything.  I could put him in a swing and take a 20-minute shower everyday.  He was happy to be put down whenever I was hungry or needed to use the restroom.  He napped for two hours, twice a day, in his crib, and loved it so much, he did not get a regular bed until his fourth birthday.  I did whatever I wanted and he was happy to come along for the ride.

Well, Rocco could not have been more different.  They do say that every child is different, and my boys are a perfect example.  Rocco was very attached to me and there was no acceptable substitute.  Even being held by Grandma, his Godmother, and other family members did not help, so I quickly researched slings and carriers.  I found the Ergo carrier, and was able to resume a relatively normal life.  I was officially a breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, attachment-parenting mom and things were going well.  Because of my job, co-sleeping was our only option for getting adequate rest, although it became increasingly less than ideal as Rocco became more mobile.  When I stopped working, Rocco was 14 months old, and it was time to make some major changes in our sleeping arrangements.  He no longer slept in my arms, cuddled up against my body.  I was waking up a dozen times a night with his feet in my face, his head hanging off the bed, his leg stuck at the foot of the bed, his body across my face smothering me, and my pajamas being ripped open.  I lost buttons on every single top, and now sleep in tee shirts.  He also seemed to have a lot of dreams and would moan, whimper, and cry out in his sleep a dozen times a night.  His sleep was restless at best.  Several times, despite buying a bed rail and securing pillows around all four sides of the bed, I woke to the thud of him falling to the floor, and I could not take it anymore.  Lack of sleep turned me into a bad mom.  While I wanted the closeness and bond of co-sleeping to continue, and I wanted to “engage in nighttime parenting,” as recommended by Dr. Sears, it was creating other, very serious problems.  I was becoming one of “those” mothers.  You know, the impatient ones that scream at their children for every little thing.  Lack of sleep was to blame, and I took immediate steps to work on a solution.  I read every book I could find and researched online for alternatives to the cry-it-out methods.  Despite months of effort, we had very little success at actually sleeping all night for nearly a year.  If you’ve read my toddler bed blog, you already know that sleeping in the crib was not for Rocco.  He has never liked to be contained and left alone.  It makes a lot of sense to me, and honestly, I started feeling sorry for all the babies going from crib, to playpen, to high chair, to bath ring, to car seat, to stroller.  What a horrible existence to spend so much time strapped into different contraptions.  My son was physically close to me all the time, saw the world at my level all day, and had constant interaction with me when he was awake.  The only time he was in a car seat was in a moving vehicle.  I couldn’t imagine going grocery shopping with him in anything but the Ergo carrier until he was close to two years old.  I learned so much from Rocco.  He truly enlightened me to a better parenting style and I’ll never go back!

At 17 months, for safety and sanity reasons, he was sleeping well in a toddler bed.  Within weeks, he was falling asleep on his own, calmly and quietly, and staying asleep for an average of eight hours.  That still meant partial co-sleeping from about 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.  Putting him to bed later did not change the pattern.  He just slept fewer hours in his bed and still joined me around 3 a.m.  I had read that sleep patterns improve around a toddler’s second birthday, so I did my best to work with the situation until we got closer to two-year mark.  When he woke up at 3 a.m., I tried nursing him back to sleep and putting him back in the toddler bed.  The result was a very restless sleep that never lasted more than an hour.  I tried having him come into my bed and telling him to go back to sleep, but that caused a lot of crying out and restless sleep, even after nursing him.  As the early morning hours became more difficult, so did our days.  As his birthday approached, my bed became a trampoline at 4 a.m. and he was grumpy and ready to take a nap as early as eight o’clock in the morning.  There were other problems too.  He was manipulating me with the “I need to go potty” excuse several times a night, and then started developing fears to just about everything in his room at night, especially shadows.  I remember my toys and stuffed animals, and even furniture transforming into monsters and ghosts when I was little, so I was understanding.

Out of desperation and complete exasperation, I turned off his nightlight.  Of course, he freaked out about the tiny green light on the baby monitor and the tiny red light on his noise machine, so I covered the noise machine and wrapped the monitor with baby blankets.  Something absolutely amazing happened.  The typical pattern every night was for Rocco to wake up, get out of bed, and come running across the hall to my room.  Suddenly, with his room pitch black, he moaned and fussed, but did not come out of his room.  I think it was about 5 a.m. when I woke up the first night.  He had slept 10 hours in his bed!  This was a very exciting milestone for us.  I was a new person after sleeping all night.  I had the patience of a saint and did not feel frustrated or exasperated when Rocco climbed on the dining room table 57 times, or the kitchen counter 23 times, or threw away my car keys in the kitchen trash.  I actually enjoyed him and realized that I had stumbled upon a great solution to our problem.  Throughout the day I spoke with him about how wonderful it was that he had slept so well in his bed all night.  I reassured him that he was safe and that I was close by and would be there if he really needed me.  At bedtime, I explained to him that it was good to stay in bed and go back to sleep in the dark, and that he was doing a great job and I was very pleased with him.  I told him that when the sun came up again, Mommy would come get him and give him milk.  I was sure he understood.  The second night was a little more difficult, but I watched him on the video monitor and there was an interesting change.  He cried for 12 minutes at 3:40 a.m., but he was lying down, eyes closed, and appeared to be trying to sleep.  Let me stress that it was not constant, nor hard crying.  He was moaning, whining, and whimpering.  He did not call for me, sit up, or even lift up his head, so I watched and waited.  He went back to sleep and slept until 6:30 a.m., 11 ½ hours!  The third night, he did not make a peep and slept 11 hours until 6 a.m.  Although I am personally opposed to cry-it-out methods for teaching babies and toddlers to sleep at night, I had reached a point where I had become a mean witch and desperately needed to get more sleep at night.  I was willing to let Rocco learn to settle himself and get back to sleep without my comfort, if the benefit was being a much better mom during the day.  As it turned out, he only cried for more than 30 seconds once.  There were a few nights where he let out single cries in his sleep up to a dozen times throughout the night, but that became less and less until it stopped completely during the first week.  I am very pleased to say that Rocco now goes to sleep on his own without a fuss between six and seven o’clock every night in a dark room and sleeps an average of 10 hours.

Thanks for reading~Sid

Falling Asleep On His Own

Excited About His New Bed

Excited About His New Bed

Rocco spent the first 17 months of his life sleeping with me about 90% of the time.  Between 14 and 17 months, I researched every alternative to the Ferber CIO (cry it out) method and tried them all with very little progress.  I was able to get him to fall asleep without nursing him, but I spent an hour or more each day bent over his crib rubbing his back and soothing him to sleep.  Within a few hours he would wake up screaming and trembling with fear.  Even though I rushed to him every time he woke up, I would spend the next 30 minutes with a scared toddler clingy to me for dear life.  I thought he just disliked being in his own bedroom alone, because he was happy to play in there during the day, and was fine in the crib with me in the room.  We had a nice bedtime routine established, which took place in his room as well.  I nursed him, read him stories, rocked him, and sang him lullabies.  I reassured him daily that I was always in the house and would come to him whenever he needed me.  Nothing helped.  Soon, he started regressing and would become upset at the sight of the crib.  I went back to nursing him to sleep.  Within about a week, he started waking up and literally flying out of the crib before I could get into his room.  The mattress spring was in the third and lowest position, so I took it off and dropped it another three inches to the frame of the bed.  That did not help and he was out the second night at midnight, less than three hours after going to sleep.  That was the 31st of May, 2008.  He was 17 months old.  On the 1st of June, I removed the side of the bed and decided to use it as little love seat/daybed.  We would sit and read books and cuddle with stuffed animals, and I would co-sleep with him until he went off to college.

Rocco “helped” me take off the side, which was very exciting to him.  He helped me put blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals on our new love seat/daybed.  At that point, I was not even thinking about having him use this as a bed.  To my surprise he loved it.  He played on or around it for the next two hours, and even pretended to sleep with his blanket covering him and his eyes closed.  When nap time came, he didn’t want to get out of the bed, so I climbed in there with him, which was very uncomfortable, and nursed him to sleep.  He slept 90 minutes, a nap time record for Rocco.  He had never napped for more than 30 minutes in his crib, and always finished him nap in my lap in the living room chair.

That first night, I decided to give bedtime a try in the new toddler bed.  It went as smoothly as nap time had gone and he was asleep at the regular time.  He had never slept alone in his room for more than three hours, and I did not expect the toddler bed to change that.  Well, it did, and he slept over four hours the first night.  After a few weeks, he was sleeping six to seven hours straight in his bed, and I was thrilled!  Soon, I moved his bedtime two hours earlier, which I have written about in another blog, and he was sleeping eight to nine hours straight in his bed most nights.

Now, for how I got him to fall asleep alone without fussing or crying and without me in the bed nursing him to sleep.  The first step was nursing him into a groggy state in the rocking chair, laying him in the bed, and rubbing his back until he drifted off to sleep.  That worked almost immediately.  When it didn’t work, I repeated the process until it did.  In other words, if he got upset and sat up or tried to get out of bed, it was back to the rocking chair to nurse until he finally drifted off to being nearly asleep.

I moved to the next step after about four days.  With each step, if it did not work, I went back to the last step that worked, and kept trying.  On the fifth day, I rubbed his back for a very short time and then stopped, but continued to sit next to his bed.  If he started getting up, I’d lay him back down and rub his back more. That happened a few times.   Within a week, I was able to lay him down, rub his back for less than a minute, and he would go to sleep.  A week or so after that, I stopped sitting next to his bed and sat across the room in the rocking chair as soon as I put him in his bed.  If he got upset, I simply moved back to his bedside, settled him down, and went back to the rocking chair reassuring him that I was close by.  Once he was comfortable with that, I stood at the doorway.  That was the longest step, and it took Rocco over two weeks to become comfortable with not having me in the room.  Finally, I tucked him in his bed, gave him and hug and kiss, and walked out of the room.  It was about six weeks to complete the entire process.  The last step was the longest.  The first night, he got out of his bed no fewer than 50 times and followed me into the hallway.  I clearly and firmly told him that it was bedtime, and that he needed to close his eyes and go to sleep.  After putting him back in bed the first time, I did not say a word to him when I put him back to bed.  That was an exhausting process, but thankfully, there was no crying. I took a very long time, making sure he was comfortable with the routine and never felt scared or anxious.  He did not cry or have tantrums during this process, which was very important to me.  It took a lot of patience on my part, but it was priceless for me to have Rocco learn to fall asleep on his own without it being traumatic for either of us.

Thanks for reading~Sid

Thank You Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek and Valentina

Salma Hayek and Valentina

Recently, ABC’s “Nightline” aired a story about humanitarian Salma Hayek’s goodwill trip to Sierra Leone.  The reason for her trip was to help fight tetanus.  What has the world buzzing about this story is the brief footage of Hayek breastfeeding a hungry infant boy.  I was compelled to write about this story because it is an issue I am very passionate about.  My mother started boycotting Nestle in the 1970s, and her explanation about introducing formula into third world countries and the problems it caused is one of my earliest memories.  I want to stress that am not anti-formula.  In a culture where formula is not readily available, cannot not prepared properly due to contaminated water, it is tantamount to killing children.  After introducing formula, a mother’s milk supply dries up, her infant loses the precious immunities provided by the mother’s milk, and then the child becomes sick, malnourished, and often dies because of the introduction of formula.  Because of this terrible situation, Salma Hayek’s gesture brought me to tears, and I am very emotional just writing about.  I am not sure that I can find the words to express how moved I am by this.  Salma Hayek is my new hero … well heroine.  I would have done the same thing without hesitation.  In fact, I would love to go on a goodwill mission with an army of breastfeeding mothers, feed villages of hungry babies, and encourage mothers to breastfeed.  Celebrities have enormous power in our culture, and when I see it used for something this important, it helps restore my faith in humanity.  I have never been a fan of the celebrity machine, which is usually hard at work influencing us to be thin, beautiful, perfect, and ageless.  I have to admit that I never paid attention to Salma Hayek before this story aired.  I am paying attention now, and hope to see more celebrities following her courageous lead.

Sierra Leone has the highest infant mortality rate in the world.  This is in large part due to malnutrition and starvation.  While doctors encourage mothers to breastfeed for two years, it is not commonly done, due to pressure from their husbands to stop.  In their culture, men are forbidden to have sexual relations with breastfeeding women.  It is certainly unrealistic for a married couple to abstain for two years, however, education is needed about the benefits of breast feeding.  Salma Hayek’s decision to breastfeed another woman’s infant was made in part to help diminish this stigma.  At the time of her trip, Hayek was breastfeeding her own daughter, Valentina.  Ironically, the infant boy she breastfed shared her daughter’s birthday.

Personally, I found this gesture beyond beautiful.  I love Salma Hayek for doing this, and using her celebrity power to make a positive difference in the world.  She is an amazing woman and I have an enormous amount of respect for her.

Video Link:

Thanks for reading ~ Sid

Published in: on February 13, 2009 at 9:33 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Early Bedtime Routine, Better Sleep

A consistent bedtime routine is a great way to end the day, and helps your baby or toddler relax and prepare himself for sleep.  Our bedtime routine has changed quite a few times as Rocco has grown from a newborn into a toddler over the last two years.  We have it down to a science now, and it works brilliantly about 90% of the time.

Sleeping Rocco

Sleeping Rocco

When Rocco was a bit younger, I made the common mistake of keeping him up until he showed obvious signs of being tired.  I was not putting him down for naps or bedtime until the whining started.  He would start getting upset about every little thing that went wrong.  His balance was off and he would start rubbing his eyes and yawning.  Some days, he did not take a nap until two o’clock, which started pushing bedtime as late as ten o’clock.  Although I had read dozens of books, I was regularly reminded that waiting for my toddler to show obvious signs of tiredness meant that he was overtired and I had waited much too long.  Several sources mentioned that very young children need to go to sleep much earlier, and that the ideal bedtime was around seven o’clock.  I wanted my evenings back.  Rocco was not the only grumpy one.

Several months ago, I decided to put Rocco on a better sleep schedule and follow a consistent bedtime routine for 30 days and see what happened.  The results were amazing and had a positive impact on every part of our day.  He was happier and much easier to deal with all day long.  He was getting the sleep he really needed and I was getting an extra three hours to myself.  I felt like a new person, and a much better mom.  Changing his sleep schedule was an excellent decision.  My only regret is not having done it months earlier.

The first day, I got him up an hour early, so he would nap before noon.  Surprisingly, he did very well with that and was asleep at 11:45 a.m.  I made a commitment to be home by five o’clock to start our new bedtime routine.  I gave him dinner in his high chair at five o’clock sharp.  He watched a PBS Sprout cartoon, which kept him happy in the high chair for 30 minutes and he ate most of his dinner.  Usually, he put a fight about eating and tried to climb out several times.  Television can be a wonderful tool when used wisely.  After dinner, Rocco had a bubble bath with a tub full of toys.  This had not happened since he was under a year old.  I usually gave a tired, crying toddler a quick three-minute shower.  He loved his bath and stayed in there until six o’clock.  After his bath, I dressed him in cozy pajamas, sat with him in the rocking chair in his nursery, and nursed him for about 15 minutes.  Everything was so much easier because it was early and he did not seem tired.  Before, everything was a battle because he was overtired.  After I nursed him, I explained that we needed to clean the milk off of his teeth, so we went back to the bathroom where I brushed his teeth and swabbed them with mouthwash.  Normally, he resisted and cried when I tried to clean his teeth.  He could not have been more cooperative.  With a full tummy and clean teeth, we returned to the rocking chair for three bedtime stories.  Before, he was wiggling out of my lap and whining while I tried to read to him.  After his stories, it was time to sit on the potty chair (he had just gotten out of diapers at the time).  Again, no resistance.  I showed him two more bedtime books and told him that I would read them as soon as he was in his bed.  He happily climbed into his bed and put his head down on the pillow!  This was a first at bedtime, and it was only about 6:40 p.m. at this point.  Again, this step was usually a big struggle and I felt like I was wrestling an alligator to get him into bed most nights.  I tucked him in and read him two more books.  I expected it to take him a long time to fall asleep so early.  He was sound asleep halfway through the second book, at 6:50 p.m.

It took about ten days for Rocco to adjust to going to sleep that early.  At first, he woke up several times a night before two o’clock.  After two weeks, he was sleeping nine hours in his bed, getting up to use the potty at four o’clock and coming in my bed to nurse and go right back to sleep until seven o’clock most mornings.  When he used to go to bed as late as ten o’clock, he was still up at four o’clock to nurse and never slept later than eight o’clock.  By making his bedtime earlier, his sleep increased from ten hours a night to twelve on average.  The length of the nap never changed, and has been an hour a day since he was 14 months old.

Putting Rocco on an early nap and bedtime schedule has been a totally positive experience.  I highly recommend this to all parents of toddlers.  It’s worth a try and hopefully many parents will find that it improves their child’s moods.

Thanks for reading ~ Sid

Published in: on February 13, 2009 at 1:18 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,

Saint Rocco ~ My Son’s Namesake

Saint Rocco
Saint Rocco

I never realized what a negative association many Americans had with the name Rocco until I began receiving looks of horror and disgust from people when they heard my son’s name.  I will admit that it did not fit him when he was an infant, but by some of the expressions, you would have thought I told people his name was Adolph Hitler.  I do not live in an area with a large Italian population, so I had never met anyone named Rocco. We have a Rocco’s Pizza in town though, as well as restaurants named Dario’s, Stefano’s, Gianni’s, and Fabrizio’s. My first association with all of those names was great Italian food. Mafia thugs never crossed my mind. Apparently, the character, Rocco Lampone, from Mario Puzo’s The Godfather left quite a negative impression on the minds of many Americans. I wondered about the other Godfather characters like Michael, Anthony, Vincent, Sonny, Paulie, Joe, and Carlo. Perhaps those are common enough that people have made many other associations with them. What about the name Luca? My son has a sister named Luca.  She was 13 years old when Rocco was born. Neither name is very common, but both were in the top 500 the year Rocco was born. I was curious as to why no one associated it with the character Luca Brasi, described as ruthless, brutish, slow-witted, and the only man feared by Vito Corleone, with a reputation as a savage killer. In general, people love that name, so what happened with Rocco? I simply do not accept that The Godfather had such a powerful influence over people’s opinions of a name. Rocco is a perfectly good name that’s been around since at least the 14th century. It has very special meaning to me, and I am writing this to share my personal reasons for naming my son Rocco.

My son is not named for a movie character, and mobster movies were the furthest thing on my mind when I chose the name. Rocco is named for a Catholic saint.  Saint Rocco was French, although the name is Italian.  My son’s paternal grandmother was French (LeBlanc) and his paternal grandfather was Italian (DeTora).  It was great to have an Italian name with a French connection for our son.  In 1998, I took a religious education class about the Catholic saints and wrote a report on Saint Rocco. I learned everything known about his life and works.  He became my favorite saint and I decided if I ever had another son and the name flowed with his surname, he would be called Rocco.

The life of Saint Rocco was very interesting to me.  He was born into a wealthy family about 1340 A.D. in Montpellier, France. At birth, he had a red cross shaped birthmark on the left side of his chest. From a very young age, Rocco was very devoted to God and the Blessed Mother, Mary. He was quite young when his parents died and was left in the care of his uncle, the Duke of Montpellier. As a very young man, Rocco took a vow of poverty and gave all of his money to the poor.

Dressed in the clothes of a pilgrim, he went to Rome. On his journey, he traveled through Aquapendente, Cesena, and other neighboring cities before reaching Rome. These cities were stricken by the plague. Rocco devoted himself to these plague victims and healed them with prayer and the sign of the cross. Legend has it that everywhere Rocco visited, his miraculous power healed entire cities. After leaving Rome, he traveled through Mantua, Modena, and Parma, all with the same amazing results.

During this time, Rocco contracted the plague, which was evident by a sore on his right leg. This caused him to be banished from the city. He took refuge in a cave, sleeping on leaves and drinking from a stream. Legend has it that a dog owned by a lord refused to eat and would faithfully bring Rocco bread each day.  Out of curiosity, the lord followed his dog one day and discovered Rocco in the cave. Taking pity on him, he brought Rocco back to his castle where he was healed.

Rocco continued to travel through northern Italy for about three more years. When he returned to his birthplace in France, he was very ill and unrecognizable to the townspeople. He was thrown into prison.  He had been imprisoned for five years when a guard found him near death and his cell illuminated with a blue light radiating from his body. His uncle, the governor heard of this, went to the jail cell, and demanded to know his identity.  When asked, he replied “I am your nephew, Rocco.” When the governor saw the birthmark on his chest, he knew this to be true. Rocco passed away on that day, the 16th of August in 1378. After his passing, those present in his cell heard a voice announcing that the soul of Saint Rocco had merited immortal glory in Heaven.

Saint Rocco continued to perform miracles after his death. He is venerated in the Roman Catholic Church as the protector of the plague and all contagious diseases. His image is very unique because of his pose and that he is depicted pointing to a sore on his leg. It is extremely rare for images of saints to expose any afflictions or handicaps. The body of Saint Rocco is enclosed in a glass tomb in Saint Rocco Catholic Church in Venice, Italy. He is remembered each year on the 16th of August. Saint Rocco is greatly venerated throughout Italy, but especially in Southern Italy and Sicily.  He is my son’s namesake.

Thanks for reading ~ Sid

Published in: on February 2, 2009 at 10:20 pm  Comments (9)  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Delivery Room Surprise

Rocco Gavin Oliver

Rocco Gavin Oliver~Two Hours Old

I went into the hospital expecting to give birth to a big baby, weighing between eight and nine pounds. I was planning to name her Amelia Elizabeth Grace. Based on three ultrasounds, I was told that I was carrying a girl. Three different doctors at the end of the pregnancy estimated the birth weight to be over eight pounds. Taking into consideration the size of my first child, my birth weight, and the father’s birth weight, this seemed within reason. The baby’s father is Italian, with dark hair and eyes, so I envisioned a dark-haired baby girl.

I was admitted to Kaiser Foundation Hospital in San Francisco just after eleven o’clock at night on the 21st of December, after it was confirmed that my water had broken. My estimated due date was December 24th or 25th based on both my last missed period and the date of conception, so the baby was going to be two or three days early. My first contraction on the monitor came at 3:03 a.m. on Friday, the 22nd of December, 2006. I opted for natural child birth because of my horrible experience with an epidural during my first labor.  That is a topic for another blog. At 7:02 a.m., I was 10 cm and the doctor told me to push. I pushed twice on the next contraction at 7:03 a.m. The baby’s heart rate dropped sharply after that second push. My nurse yelled “The baby’s heart rate is down! Get that baby out on the next push!” When the next contraction came, I pushed with all my strength and the baby was born at 7:05 a.m. I saw a bright pink face and heard a strong cry. I couldn’t wait to see my baby and make sure she was healthy. As the doctor was suctioning the baby’s mouth, my nurse looked at me and said “You have a perfect, healthy baby boy!” If I’d been standing up, I would have fallen over. They took him over to weigh him and the scale read just six pounds and seven ounces! Then came the third shock when they cleaned him up and he had a head full of blond hair! Rocco Gavin Oliver was born at 7:05 a.m. on Friday, the 22nd of December, 2006 in San Francisco, California.

I had gone into the hospital expecting a very different baby. I was thrilled beyond words when I had a son. When I conceived at the beginning of April, we were trying for a boy. I had his name picked out, and I was sure that I was having a boy, so I purchased a lot of boy things during the first half of my pregnancy. After the results of my 20-week ultrasound, I packed up all my baby boy things and put them in the garage. Thankfully, I already had a gender neutral nursery, but when I brought my son home, his closet was full of pink newborn clothes, all washed and ready to wear *sigh*. It took me a few months to pack them all away, mainly because life was so busy with a newborn.

Thanks for reading ~ Sid

Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 10:54 pm  Comments (1)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Advanced Maternal Age

Eating Healthy ~ Living Well

When I first heard those words, “advanced maternal age,” I felt sick to my stomach.  What a truly offensive and vulgar term to use for a vibrant, healthy, fit woman in her thirties!  It was May 2006, and I was sitting in the office of a new obstetrician.  I was eight weeks pregnant and had just seen my little duck on an ultrasound for the first time, beating heart and all.  What a crushing blow to such an amazing experience to listen to this woman.  She went on to lecture me about genetic testing and recommended a very long list of tests.  When I declined without hesitation, she looked at me as if I were the most irresponsible, idiot on the planet and did not deserve to have a healthy baby.  She then had the audacity to tell me that my eggs were old and that I should not be taking this so lightly.  I was really rattled by this experience.  I never saw her again.  I continued my prenatal care with a different doctor whom respected my choices.  I kept telling myself that I was much healthier than I had been eighteen years earlier with my first child.  I was walking five miles every single day on hiking trails that gave me a great cardiovascular workout.  I started taking prenatal vitamins a full year before I became pregnant.  I had also lost about thirty pounds two years earlier and kept it off.  I really had never felt better and was taking great care of myself.  I understand that our eggs are older than we are, and that the majority of them are damaged.  I read that a perfectly healthy 25-year-old woman only has a 20% of conceiving each month because four out of five of her eggs are already unsuitable for fertilization.  Well, I got pregnant too quickly and too easily, but that is a story for another time.  I chose to have a positive attitude and tell myself that my healthy egg was fertilized because it was perfect and that my baby would be fine.  He would be healthy and I did not need any of those tests.  After reading about the odds of miscarriage from the invasive tests, there was no doubt in my mind that I was making the best decision.  Although not invasive or dangerous, I declined the maternal serum screening, which is just a blood test, and the nuchal translucency.  It simply tells you if there is an increased chance that your baby has a problem.  Because I was unwilling to do the invasive tests, including the chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or the amniocentisis, the blood test results would only cause me more worry and stress if anything negative was indicated.  I was not going to consider aborting, so why risk miscarriage?

Looking back on my pregnancy, I had nothing to worry about.  If only I’d had a crystal ball.  I worked full-time in a physically demanding job up until the night before I gave birth.  I continued walking five miles a day up until I delivered.  I never had heartburn.  I never had aches and pains.  I never had swollen ankles.  I passed the glucose test for gestational diabetes with flying colors.  I never went into premature labor.  I had a painful, but very fast labor and delivery with no epidural or pain medication.  I was up and ready to leave the hospital the same day I gave birth.  In one day, I shed every pound I had gained during the pregnancy and wore my pre-pregnancy jeans home from the hospital.

In the end, my Christmas baby boy was born several days early and could not have been healthier.  I did the best I could, kept a positive attitude, and the outcome could not have been better.

Thanks for reading ~ Sid

Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 10:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , ,

From Co-Sleeping to Toddler Bed at 17 Months

Rocco's First Night in the Toddler Bed

Rocco's First Night in the Toddler Bed

Rocco never slept in his crib for very long.  During his first year, he slept between five minutes and maybe three hours at a time.  Between 14 and 17 months, I struggled to help him become comfortable with sleeping in his crib.  I read a million books about toddlers and sleep.  I tried every non-CIO method of getting him to go to sleep and stay asleep.  Nothing worked, and he became increasingly freaked out by the “cage” we called his crib.  As a nanny, I had helped dozens of infants and toddlers sleep in their cribs.  I had never dealt with such a difficult infant or toddler when it came to sleeping in a crib.  My first son loved his crib and we couldn’t get him in a regular bed until he was four years old.  Rocco disliked his crib from the day he came home from the hospital.  Well, it turned out that his main objection was the confinement of the crib.  If only I had known earlier, I would have converted it to a toddler bed as soon as he started walking.  At 17 months, he began climbing out of the crib after sleeping just a few hours at bedtime.  I could not get to him quickly enough, even with a monitor, so I converted the crib into a toddler bed.  I was concerned that he would really hurt himself.  I thought it would be nice to use as a place to read books in his room and his stuffed animals could sleep there.  As soon as he saw his new bed, he climbed in and would not get out.  That day, we played in his room until nap time and he went right to sleep in his new bed.  He was very calm and comfortable with the knowledge that he could easily get in and out of the bed.  He seemed to love that I could sit right next to him on the floor and give him full hugs too.  To my absolute shock and surprise, naps and bedtime became almost effortless from the beginning.

Thanks for reading ~ Sid

Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 4:33 am  Comments (2)  
Tags: , , , , , , , ,