One nine-year-old Yoga Practice. Answers to the name "OM". Last consistently seen 18 months ago. Loves janu sirsasana, virabradhrasana II and supta baddha konasana. Often avoids salamba sarvangasana. Wouldn't be caught dead in a bikram class. Reward if found: eternal bliss. 

It took one year for me to establish a devoted, consistent practice, and it took eighteen months to break it down. Despite my best intentions, nurturing a baby, a home and a husband has taken over my carefully designed practice. The traps I used to warn my students of became the source of my own demise. Who can lay out their mat when the floor needs sweeping? Who wants to work out in the morning when you've been up all night trying to comfort a cranky baby? Who can fathom another forward fold, after forwarding folding this week's laundry? Plus there's all that hippie stuff I insisted upon: baby food doesn't make itself (oh, wait), and cloth diapers don't wash themselves, if you know what I mean (oh, but if they could... if they could...). Suffice it to say, there hasn't been a lot of asana happening in my house. (Insert your own "ass"-ana joke here...)

I tried a few of those Mommy & Me yoga classes. The first few, while delightful, fell right around nap time, so my relaxation was short-lived. Nothing can ruin one's self-composure like a drive home with an overtired, screaming infant in the backseat. When at 12 months Juna transitioned to one nap, we found a lovely morning class. However, some 3-year-old kept pushing my sweet little girl over, and his Mommy's soft and lilting "no, no, no's" did little to dissuade him from attacking my child. That was the end of that, I'm afraid. (Oh, and p.s., you can be a compassionate, kind, yogi parent and also set boundaries for your kids....)

Lately, I thought perhaps it would be nice to practice with Juna. Ha! She really doesn't like it when I bend over, and will run to my side and grab hold of my ponytail to pull me up. She and the pup take turns crawling under me in downward dog. Savasana confuses her, and she'll stand above my "final relaxation" patting my head and trying to sing the ABCs.

I also did that thing where I told myself that practicing yoga doesn't happen on the mat, and that is TRUE. Yoga is a lifestyle, and while washing the dishes with extreme attention and care can be a meditational and devotional act, it doesn't address my physical misalignments. I'm also not evolved enough to stay above the daily stresses of being a person in this society. I fall prey to gossip, negativity and tension. A physical practice, be it on the yoga mat or the spinning bike, clears my body and head of toxins and allows me to maintain equilibrium in the face of stress. As B.K.S. Iyengar says "Penetration of our mind is the goal but in the beginning to set things in motion, there is no substitute for sweat."

Of course, hitting bottom physically has come with its' own reward. For so many years, I've been flexible, fit, injury-free and able to practice at my own whim. As a teacher, it was very hard to relate to my students that can only practice sporadically, or have injuries or stiffness. Now, I practice with a bum hamstring, a tender lower back, less flexibility and a little more... um.... body than I used to have. It's been very instructive as I re-learn the practice in this new body. It's an opportunity to practice restraint, and to feel frustration when I am unable to do what used to be easy. Everyone says this, but it's true: after giving birth you have a completely different appreciation for your body. I would add that you also derive a lot of confidence from surviving the first year with a new baby. No matter what kind of experience you have, or how easy your baby is, the transition from carefree, hip, young married people to overtired, anxious, responsible parents is huge. 

After five months of insomnia, contracting every cold imaginable, injuring my back twice, and feeling run down physically and emotionally, I literally had no choice but to put more effort into my body. The excuses will always be there, right next to the dirty laundry, dust bunnies and dishes. Slowly, I'm getting back on track with some yoga, spinning, walks and some old fashioned stretching. It requires planning ahead, and leaving the little gal with my husband (Daddy's Girl never minds, and neither does he). I also recently discovered this Nike Fit app that has half-hour workouts that Juna finds incredibly entertaining. Apparently, I look ridiculous running in place and sumo squatting. But, hey, if I can break a sweat and get a smile from my little darling, that's good enough for me!

Yoga is a practice, not a perfect. It's a lifelong journey for me so this bump in the road isn't too concerning. All right, busy people out there, leave behind your excuses and let's get moving!


In Defense of Mothers Everywhere

It's been awhile since I've posted, though it's not for lack of topics, I assure you. This was composed weeks ago, but I was shy to share as it is sure to elicit some less-than-enthusiastic comments. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I have to admit we have had a difficult seven months. Because of this, friends, family and strangers alike have felt obligated to share their "advice" about how to solve Juna's issues. Often in the same day, I am given conflicting advice about infant care. Apparently, Juna sleeps too much and too little, eats too often and not often enough, is too big and too small. My decisions have been questioned on vaccinating, breast feeding, exploring formula, sleep training, attachment parenting, baby wearing, schedules, cloth diapering, t.v. exposure, and solid feeding. It seems that people have very specific ideas about the "right" way to do this whole mothering thing, and they are anxious to share it with you!

One of my favorite articles reminding me that I'm an awful mother was the post circulating on Facebook last month regarding the "cry it out" approach to sleep training. In it, the psychologist author insinuates that her "poor vagal tone" and "poor memory" are the result of parents who let her "cry it out". She categorizes her parents as "harsh," "depressed" and "emotionally unsupportive," which I'm guessing has more to do with her issues than anything else. Because if you do your research (and I am nothing if not overly researched), you will find that just as many doctors recommend "cry it out" as an effective sleep training method as those who don't. This method is not a cold-hearted, maniacal scheme to get your kid to sleep all night. Most parents do not toss their children in the crib, say "see ya later, sucker" and spend the rest of their evening drinking martinis and eating bon bons while their helpless infants scream into the night. Usually, parents are so sleep deprived and overwrought with worry over the lack of sleep their infant is getting that they use this approach as a last resort. What these anti-cry-it-outers always fail to recognize is sleep is one of the most important aspects of raising a healthy infant. It is during sleep that the baby's brain grows and reinforces lessons learned during the day. We are so quick to judge these parents, and label them as uncaring, without considering that these families might need our understanding. 

We are one such family. Are you making a judgment right now? Well, don't! After months of trying the "no cry" methods, which for us meant holding a screaming baby for hours until she fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion, we were advised by our pediatrician to use the Ferber method of progressive waiting. Or what some others call "cry it out". We were so hesitant to try this, as I have read the latest research about how crying raises cortisol levels and negatively impacts brain and emotional development. You can imagine how great that makes me feel as the mom of a formerly colicky baby. We finally decided that Juna was spending hours crying anyway, so we might as well try it! Thirty minutes of on-and-off crying (including two checks during which we console her) and we had a peacefully sleeping baby! She's been putting herself to sleep with little-to-no crying ever since. Make no mistake: this was not a cure-all for her sleep problems. She still wakes during the night to eat (or sometimes to talk or play), which I happily accommodate knowing she will be able to fall back asleep on her own once satiated. I've been feeling guilty and ashamed about this for months. It clearly worked well for our family (Juna has always been independent for such a tiny lady), but with the Mommy Mafia breathing down my neck about "abandonment issues," I have a hard time justifying our choice. 

Another hot-button topic in the Mommy community is breast feeding verses formula feeding. I am a very proud breast feeding mom, especially since it was incredibly challenging for us at first. But being a nursing momma is not always convenient, as there are very few places that provide comfortable areas to feed your baby. I have stood in stinky bathroom stalls so as to not offend anyone who is uncomfortable around breast feeding. Strangely, it's more acceptable to show off your breasts in a revealing outfit than while nursing your child. To preserve my modesty, it is recommended I cover up with a blanket while we feed. Next time you're out in public enjoying a meal, try eating with a blanket over your head. Juna doesn't appreciate this, and I'm guessing you wouldn't, either. 

So, here I am, up on my breast feeding soap box. Enter allergic colitis. 

Remember Juna, of the colic that wouldn't go away? We noticed a significant improvement when I quit eating dairy, but at the end of December, she was still exhibiting some mysterious symptoms. After a few visits with a pediatric gastroenterologist, it was concluded that Juna has allergic colitis. Which means, she's allergic to something and we're not sure what. I went on a crazy diet eliminating all dairy, soy, nuts and eggs, which for a vegetarian is no small feat. We weren't seeing all her symptoms improve, and frankly I was starving, so we decided to try a hypoallergenic formula for a week to see how Juna would do. 

Juna wasn't super excited about this change, and there were many tears (mostly mine) as we attempted to get her to take a bottle of formula. The physical struggle of getting her to accept the formula was nothing compared to my emotional struggle at having failed my daughter. It has been drilled into our heads that "breast is best," but how does that make women who formula feed feel? Terrible, I tell you! That simple phrase implies that women who use formula, whether by choice or necessity, do not want the best for their baby, which is ridiculous. I have a few friends who have to, or choose to, formula feed, for various reasons, and feel ashamed about it. 

Why are we making mothers feel guilty and embarrassed about the way they feed their child? In hindsight, I am so happy we had that experience with formula, though it ultimately didn't work out for us (turns out, Juna was way more allergic to the "hypoallergenic" formulas than she was to me). I am much more understanding of mommies who struggle with their formula feeding, and see that those moms face just as much, if not more, criticism than breast feeding moms! I was a formula fed baby. My mom had to go back to work only two weeks after I was born to provide for our family while my dad was finishing dental school. She couldn't pump bottles for me while teaching fourth grade. I have always been healthy as a horse. I also have an amazing relationship with both my parents, despite the fact they let me "cry it out" once or twice. I have never once questioned their intentions as parents: they have always done their absolute best, and have raised three healthy, well-adjusted and happy adults. Guess what? I don't even remember my infant years, and I'm certainly not going to blame any of my "problems" on that time in my life. I do remember two loving, committed parents who would do anything for the good of their children.

This is only the beginning of our journey, and I'm guessing that as Juna ages, we will be faced with more useless judgment and criticism. In case you think I am perfect, let me dispel that myth. I am guilty of getting caught up in parenting "shoulds" and "I'll nevers". It is hard to ignore all the amazing information available to us on the subject of childhood development. However, sometimes too much knowledge holds us back from being open to other perspectives. Instead of vilifying parents for making choices that are right for their individual family, let's provide compassion and support! I would wager a guess that most parents are ultimately caring and loving, and trying their best to raise happy people. I am doing my best. Mistakes will be made, but my intentions are good.

This week, maybe seek out a new mom you know and tell them they're doing a good job. They will appreciate that more than you know.



.... In with the new

One of my favorite 'eves' is upon us. It's almost the New Year! Yes, it is a night for merry-making and debauchery, but also an opportunity for reflection. I used to get giddy making resolutions, however the disappointment when I failed to make good on promises to myself was acute. Now I skip the resolutions and set a few gentle intentions instead. "To resolve" implies failure should you not achieve whatever it is you have set out to accomplish. Setting an intention, however, leaves room to adjust to whatever variables may be thrown your way.

This year, I had a tough time narrowing down what intentions to set for the coming months. I found inspiration in four amazing women in my life who have been my greatest friends and teachers.

My mother was and is the consummate homemaker. It always makes me laugh to hear people negate the importance of a stay-at-home mom. My mom worked tirelessly as a teacher to support our family while my dad finished school and built his dental practice. She then 'retired' to an even more challenging job: raising three spirited children! She volunteered for all of our after-school activities, kept a pristine house, checked our homework every day (woe to the child who didn't do their best job; he or she had to redo that assignment!),  and supported with gusto our individual passions and hobbies. She was a theatre mom, a soccer mom, a swimming mom, a rugby mom, a ballet mom, and whatever mom we needed her to be in the moment. Of all the wonderful qualities my Marmee has, the one I most want to emulate is her pride. She takes pride in her home, her family and herself. If cleanliness is next to godliness, my mother's a damn saint! This is no small thing: a clean and peaceful environment makes for happier, healthier children. She crafted a beautiful, cozy home for us, and I seek to do the same for my own little family this year.

Lauren and I met freshman year of college. We were friends, then roommates, then soulmates as we pounded the pavement, sometimes successfully, often not so, as actors in New York. While jobs and life decisions took us to opposite sides of the country, we held on to our friendship that began over 12 years ago. Lauren quit 'the biz' to move back to Colorado and become a teacher. She worked very hard to attain her degree and get credentialed, and landed an amazing job teaching drama at a high school. It was stable, steady work, with benefits. This summer, after much reflection, Lauren made the brave decision to return to acting. She quit her practical job, and has staged quite a comeback as an actress in Denver. I'm so proud of her, and inspired by her willingness to embrace the unknown. This year, I will take more risks and respect my intuition.

Two years ago, I began a 300-hour training program to bolster my yoga studies. It was in this program that I met Lindsay, a beautiful and sweet Canadian (aren't they all?!). We bonded over our mutual love of yoga, theatre and family, which we cemented taking walks on the beach in Santa Monica and long drives to our evening study sessions. Lindsay broke my heart when she and her partner Noah moved back to Canada last year. She was one of the first calls I made when I found out I was pregnant, as I knew how happy she would be for me. She cried tears of joy and I felt her love and excitement through the phone. Lindsay lives a heart-centered life, and approaches everything from this perspective. She makes deliberate decisions based on the yogic principle of ahimsa (non-violence), and treats everyone with respect and love. I miss her terribly, so in honor of her, I am going to set an intention this year to let my heart, and not my head, be my guide.

My Grama and I have always been close, and it was she who taught me how to smile (open mouth, with teeth!). As her "little butterfly", she encouraged me to fly east for college, even though I was scared and unsure. We took a long trip to Ireland together with my grandfather, where we were both challenged by the passing of my Grampa. I saw her strength first-hand as she dealt with the loss of her husband, with whom she had loved for over fifty years. My Grama has always been a dedicated church-goer, and not just on Sundays. Faith is incredibly important to her, but she has never used those convictions to exclude or demonize others. She parlays her faith in her God to her faith in people, and she has always lifted me up and made me believe in myself. This year, I am going to let go of my skepticism and embrace faith.

Yes, these are lofty aspirations I have, but not impossible, as I am bolstered every day by the presence of my little angel Juna. She makes me want to emulate all the beautiful, talented, hard-working, brilliant women I know. Beyond their individual achievements, these gals have shown me unconditional love when I needed it most, and that is the root of it all.

Pema Chodron says it best...

"Breathing in, breathing out, feeling resentful, feeling happy, being able to drop it, not being able to drop it, eating our food, brushing our teeth, walking, sitting - whatever we're doing could be done with one intention. That intention is that we want to wake up, we want to ripen our compassion, and we want to ripen our ability to let go, we want to realize our connection with all beings. Everything in our lives has the potential to wake us up or to put us to sleep. Allowing it to awaken us is up to us."

I wish you a safe, happy and healthy New Year!

My Juna, 5 months old.


On Dasher, On Dancer, On Southwest, On Highway....

.... If only Santa did round trips.

At the tender age of five months, Juna is already a seasoned traveler. We have made three trips by plane and one long drive so far, and through trial and error, I have learned a thing or two! I thought I might share what worked (and didn't...) for us in hopes of saving other mamas out there from the stress of the unknown.

Traveling by plane? Here's what to expect.... lap infants under 2 need proof of age in the form of a birth certificate or shot record (yep, even my little peanut needed this). Antibacterial wipes are essential for sanitizing the yucky plane so I don't worry when Juna inevitably decides she needs to touch everything within arms' reach. I love this Latch On Nursing Cover Strap that transforms any blanket into a nursing cover, so baby can be cozy while she eats. Our family likes to travel light, so we leave the heavy car seat and stroller at home. I put Juna in the Moby, which allows me to be hands free. The wrap also came in handy when I accidentally left my blanket in the car and needed a nursing cover. When going through security, baby can stay in the wrap/carrier but TSA will pull you aside to swipe your hands. They will also test your breastmilk or formula (over 3 ounces) so be prepared. We either rent a car with a car seat or use a car service and request a (rear-facing) infant car seat to get us to our hotel. We purchased a convertible car seat for my parents so we are covered any time we go to visit Marmee, JarJar and Nana. This seat is safe, inexpensive and will last through toddler-hood: Evenflow Car Seat. Dress baby in an all-in-one footie to avoid losing those teeny, tiny socks, and scope out the family restrooms so you can change baby (do so about ten minutes before boarding).

Timing is everything with infants, so if you can, book a flight that coincides with a nap time. Reserve seats in the back of the plane (louder, and closer to the bathrooms). If you're traveling with another adult, book an aisle and window seat in hopes that no one will take the middle (if they do, you can always ask to switch). I like to sit near the window so I can nurse more discreetly. If you're on Southwest or similar airline, take a whole row and put the baby on the aisle as people are choosing seats. Trust me, no one will want to sit next to what they assume will be a crying baby... When the plane takes off, either encourage baby to nurse, take a paci or bottle to help their little ears adjust. Juna usually will fall asleep in my arms at this point under her cozy blankie and will sleep for at least a couple hours. Yes, your back and arms will be sore the rest of the day from holding the little one, but trust me, you will not regret letting baby sleep for at least part of your flight. When baby is up, be sure to have her favorite toys or books handy. Save the big guns (for us, it's her Sophie) for when your baby gets really fussy. Offer a paci, bottle or nursing session when you start your descent to your destination. Our first flight, Juna cried pretty hard on the way down, so I learned to latch her on before her ears start to bother her. Since that first plane ride, we have had zero crying or fussing on the plane, and Juna loves to fly!

Traveling by car? TRAVEL AT NIGHT WHEN BABY USUALLY SLEEPS. My mom and I learned this the hard way when we left in the afternoon. Juna was only five weeks old and cried for four of our six hour drive to Sacramento (seriously). Now, we leave around bedtime so Juna slumbers for the full six hours. We have a white noise machine to attach to the car seat to assist Juna in falling asleep . Bring the car to the mechanic's before your drive so you know your vehicle is in good condition and not sans headlights (true story). Leave with a full tank of gas to avoid unnecessary stops. Be prepared: Baby may freak out. Don't take him or her out of the car seat while driving, as was recommended to me by an ill-informed driver. It isn't the end of the world if Baby cries; trust me, we survived 3.5 months of colic! Also, stock up on caffeinated beverages for your driver, or if you are behind the wheel and are a nursing mom, bring gum to help stay alert on your drive. A word to the wise.... don't drink too much to avoid unnecessary bathroom breaks.

Once you have reached your destination, do your best to stick with your baby's routine/schedule. If we miss a nap, Juna goes into full meltdown-mode, leading to some up-till-four-a.m debacles (yes, this happened. Twice.). I have an excellent app on my iPod to keep track of Juna's naps and feedings. We keep Pacific time when going back east as best we can. For a couple weeks before we left, I also put a soft blanket underneath Juna while she napped (tucking it into the crib of course) and brought that to Chicago with us. I put it under her for all her naps so it smelled like home and also swaddled Juna so she would feel safe in this new place. I only left the hotel once in order to protect Juna's naps. It was worth it. We were able to go easily back to her naptime schedule upon our return to LA. We co-sleep on the road, but also request a porta-crib for our room so she can play or relax in a safe place. If you can afford it, consider getting a two-room suite so baby can nap without both parents needing to sit silently in the dark for an hour or two. Remember to bring your baby monitor if you use one!

Cloth diapering presents an interesting conundrum while traveling. When in Sacramento, I bring our gDiapers with the compostable, flushable inserts. My mom doesn't mind if we use her washer/dryer for our dipes. When in Chicago, we went the disposable route. Juna got a diaper rash and I was seriously disturbed at the amount of garbage we left, so next time we're at a hotel, I'm going to try hand-washing and see how that goes. Pumping is also a challenge (who wants to travel with those heavy electric pumps??) so I got a manual pump for our trip as we had to leave Juna with a sitter for a few hours to attend a wedding. Practice with your manual pump before you leave; it took awhile for me to get the hang of it!

Traveling with a baby can be tricky, but being prepared can prevent many an issue. Juna can definitely sense when I am nervous, so I try to stay calm and remember that most of our fellow passengers are sympathetic to the travails of infant travel. My first flight with Juna was a solo trip, and I had two lovely people offer to help with the baby on the plane. One was a mommy of a two-year-old, who very generously reminded the people around me how challenging it is to travel alone with a baby during Juna's huge landing meltdown. Babies are so cute, even the fussiest ones are easily forgiven!

I wish you safe travels this holiday season. If you have any travel trips, feel free to comment and share! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a Joyous New Year to all!

Goodnight Moon, Virgin America Style.


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year....

The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing color and there's a nip in the air. You know what that means... Fall shipments are arriving from our wine clubs!!!

Every year at this time, Bradford and I eagerly await the sound of the UPS truck pulling up to our curb, and gleefully answer the door with open arms ready to receive our treats. Like kids on Christmas morning, we rip open the cardboard boxes and shout with wonder and joy at the new and exciting presents within. "An '08 Cabernet! A 2007 Zin! Is Petit Verdot the new Pinot???", we exclaim to one another while our dog and daughter look on, bemused.

On these colder days (ok, it's high 60's, but still) Bradford and I love to dip into our stash of bolder wines. Break out the cabernets, the syrahs and the blends! With Juna's new early bedtime, I am now free to enjoy a whole glass of wine before Juna wakes up to nurse six hours later. Just in time for our fall shipments!

Looking for a spectacular and unique holiday present? Why not gift a wine club membership? If you live in a wine-producing area, consider a membership to a local winery, where oftentimes members are treated to special events throughout the year. Our favorite wineries are in the Paso Robles/Santa Barbara area, which is just a quick trip up the 101 for us. It's been awhile since we've been able to take a vino vacation (wineries, pregnancy and new babies simply don't mix...) but we plan on revisiting some of our old haunts in the new year. If you are a fan of rich, bold, complex reds, try Tolo Cellars. Bradford and I sampled a wine from this exquisite producer during (yes, during...) our wedding ceremony. We love Tolo for blending Bradford's and my favorite characteristics into one show-stopping wine. Tolo Cellars is located off the beaten path in beautiful Paso Robles, where we spent Valentine's Day a few years back. If you are in the area, stop in and visit the farmhouse tasting room. The tasting rooms in Paso are filled with down to earth, wine-loving folk with no pretense. Don't worry if you're a newbie to viticulture, you will be lovingly and passionately guided into the world of wine by the winemakers, who often man the tasting rooms, and their staff.

For your more spontaneous, adventurous friends, look into Wandering Dog, a homey wine bar in scenic Solvang. I've spent several summers performing for PCPA in Solvang, and Bradford has spent those same summers camped out in wine bars and tasting rooms across the county! We love Wandering Dog in particular because you can sample wines from so many different producers, both local and not-so-local. Bradford and I love our California wineries so much, we sometimes need to be encouraged to try wines from other regions. CT, the purveyor of Wandering Dog, travels the globe in search of the best wines. At the bar, you can taste an array of wines by the glass, carafe or bottle, or dip into a wine flight created by the owner himself. This is without a doubt our most interesting shipment, as you never know what you're going to get or where it's going to come from! We've received wines from Spain, South America and Napa all in the same shipment. Oh, what fun!

I would be remiss if I didn't plug Carvalho Wines in Clarksburg, CA, the site of our nuptials and producers of delicious, universally pleasing wines. We enjoyed a Barbera just last night that was served at our wedding. The tasting room is located at The Old Sugar Mill which is also host to many other area wineries. It's a fun outing for Sacramento-area natives.

Bradford's new favorite store is K&L Wine Merchants here in Los Angeles. They also offer several wine club options. Bradford recently picked up several bottles of my new fall favorite, an '09 Bench Cabernet. He loves to peruse the store for new bottles and stock up on our old standbys.

Baby's up from her nap, so I'm back on mom-duty! Till next time, happy drinking!

A very pregnant me, keeping the wine safe! 


The End of an Era

So long, Colic. You will not be missed. For months, you have wreaked havoc on our daughter's well-being, despite the fact that we denied your very existence. Ten hours a day, seven days a week, we endured your cries and protestations channeled through the innocence of our baby girl. How rude.

You did not let Juna relax throughout the day. You decided she could only be comfortable swaddled, held on her side and bounced, and I have the sore back to prove it. You made sure she would like only to be in my arms and no one else's. You prevented her from sleeping soundly, and ensured her only respite be nursing, which she did for hours on end. Oh, you tried to make her cry and scream all day, but we found ways to circumvent your desire using all the tricks we could find (thank you, Happiest Baby on the Block!). Still, she fussed and squirmed, searching always for comfort and peace. She smiled through it all, so there.

You made us doubt our abilities as parents, and left us wide open to well-meaning, though misguided comments, regarding our natural instincts. We fielded many a remark insisting our daughter needed more food, less attention, medical intervention. We were told we simply didn't understand this baby, though no one spends more time learning and listening to their child than the parents of an infant with colic. You made us feel powerless, impotent. Our anxiety level was at an all-time high; you tested the bond of our marriage, as we struggled to find solutions and answers. Too bad for you, we're happier than ever.

You did, however, inspire empathy and understanding from those who had walked this path before us. We received an outpouring of support reassuring us that it would get better, that we weren't doing anything wrong, and that soon we would begin to enjoy, rather than fear, this process. We learned to lean on friends and family, who fielded many tearful phone calls, so saddened we were with Juna's struggle. Thank you to all the people who told us we were doing a good job.

It's been over a week, Colic, since you've reared your ugly head. You have lost your hold over Juna. She is too strong for you! Her natural personality is shining through, revealing a happy, alert, curious and easy baby. Yes, she's an easy baby. I knew we had seen the last of you when I took Juna to Sacramento on a plane, by myself, and she was a delight the whole time. She patiently relaxed against me in her wrap as we stood in the security line, and smiled at our fellow passengers while babbling to me about our day. Once on the plane, she stared out the window, fascinated by the view of the sky.

Colic, I wish I could wax philosophical about what we learned from you, but I can't. You are a miserable, dark force and we are happy to see you go. So, goodbye, Colic. May we never cross paths again.

Angel Baby


Sleep Training: The Saga Continues....

Just when you think you have it all figured out....

Juna's got our number. At three months old, she is already putting it together and making associations. She knows now that swaddling + shush/pat = the dreaded nap. After our week of sleep-educating her, she decided she would no longer respond to our program. It began taking longer and longer to get her down for naps. She'd cry and cry being held over the shoulder until finally, out of sheer exhaustion, she would quickly fall asleep. As soon as she felt a shift in gravity towards the crib, she'd cry, and as soon as you picked her back up again, she'd fall asleep, exhausted, on your shoulder. It took about four cycles of this before she'd stay asleep in the crib, but would wake thirty to forty minutes later, upset and miserable.

It only took a couple of days of this before I declared a cease-fire on the nap battle. Bradford and I decided we would do more rocking, walking and bouncing to see if we could get her into a peaceful drowsy state while putting her down. I would nurse her to drowsiness, then transition her. This worked beautifully. We got some wonderful, long naps and life seemed happy again. For three days. Until, of course, Juna figured out our ploy. She began to fight her naps even with the much gentler (more time consuming) ways of getting her to sleep. This has resulted in lots of crying (from the both of us!), and an overtired baby.

Even our nighttime routine, which I thought we had down-pat, has been disrupted. I used to be able to nurse her and put her in her crib awake or asleep and count on her sleeping four to six hours. It now takes about forty-five minutes to get her to sleep at night, and I have to go in usually thirty minutes later to resettle her. She is waking three to five times during the night to eat, play or get her diaper changed. What gives?? Growth spurt? Teething? Sheer determination to stay awake and take on the world? We are in the midst of an economic crisis after all...

Bradford and I have had many discussions about the best way to proceed. Juna needs sleep, and so do we. If she slept great in our bed, our arms, her vibrating chair, her swing, the car or the stroller, I would have no problems using those as tools to help our precious girl get some rest, but she fights sleep no matter where or when. Despite appearances, she sleeps best and deepest on her own and in her own space, so we persevere.

This weekend was particularly trying as Bradford was out of town for three days, leaving me to tackle all naps and nighttime sleeps by myself. I vowed to stay relaxed and calm, and go with the flow. Upon advice from a friend, I decided that whatever it took to get Juna and I some rest, I would do. My first full day, I nursed her down for every nap, and it worked brilliantly. She even slept for two hours in the afternoon. I was thrilled! I found something that worked! Bedtime was not as successful, and she woke four times in the night to eat. Sunday was less victorious; she took three twenty-minute naps, and was miserable for much of the day. We had the worst night we've had since she was born, with five wake-ups that took at least 45-minutes for her to eat and get back to sleep. Finally, at 5:30a.m. Juna decided it was time to get up for the day. So, I've been up since then, going on maybe four hours sleep, as I have been every day for the past few weeks. Thankfully, Bradford has returned to share the burden of naptime, and the joys of Juna's happy awake time.

I wish I had some philosophical insight to share on what we're learning from this experience, or why this is making me a better person and mother. Instead, I will just say that this sucks. It's hard and it's exhausting, and it's heart-breaking to watch a little person that you love so much in pain from lack of sleep. We feel like we are back at the beginning, and have no idea where to go from here, so we are going to work the original plan, adjusting as we see fit for special circumstances. It feels like something we are all going to have to just outgrow, and to stave off the extreme anxiety I feel over Juna's sleep habits, I tell myself that this will pass. In the meantime, we are enjoying Juna's new developments: her sweet little voice babbling all day (and night) long, her fascination with her hands and feet, laughing at the cute baby in the mirror, singing along to Mommy's silly songs...  As eager as I am for this sleep phase to be over with, I wouldn't mind if this little baby phase lasted awhile longer...

who could resist this sweet face???