Happy Thanksgivukkah!

I’m a bit late with this post, I realize that. The entire extended Thanksgiving/Chanukah weekend was a whirlwind, one that didn’t stop when we came home from Florida. Here are a few photos to make up for it, though, interspersed with eight things for which I’m thankful, in spirit of the combined holiday weekend. :) (I’ll admit, I totally got that idea in particular from Mayim Bialik’s blog on Kveller.)

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1. I love that we have all these family traditions. Traditions, no matter what they are, just feel important to me, and I’m thankful that we have so many already to pass along to our son.

2. My friends are so supportive and have such wonderful advice. This parenting thing is HARD, and I’m glad to have friends who have either been there, done that or are currently there and doing that. It makes it easier knowing that there’s someone else going through blowouts, teething, and learning to crawl at 2am.

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3. My family — old and new — is very diverse in its beliefs, practices, and personalities. While they don’t always get along, I’m thankful for each one of my family members, as they make a very rich environment for my son. I’ve learned a lot about tolerance, acceptance, and finding joy in our differences, and I know these will pass down to Tycho.

4. We had Chanukah at Matt’s parents’ house, then Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. I love that we can share time with each of our families, due in part to how close they are in proximity to one another. I have to admit, I also love and am thankful for their food and hospitality. But mainly the food. ;)

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5. I am grateful for YOU. I know I don’t say this often enough, but I’m eternally grateful for your readership and, most of all, your friendship. I hope you continue to become an influence in our lives, and I hope that we can provide some helpful tidbits along the way, too!

6. I am thankful for my job, and for Matt’s job, and that we can and continue to create a rich life together. I’m not talking “rich” in terms of money, but in terms of time spent, which has always been more valuable to us than any money we could make. But having good jobs and good health thanks to good insurance definitely helps, and I’m grateful that we have these.

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7. Thank you Spirit for providing for us, and for giving us our greatest blessing, Tycho. I probably don’t thank Spirit enough, either, but I really am grateful for everything that has been provided to us. I’m sure that hard work and dedication aren’t the only things driving our lives, and if there’s anything out there giving us that extra boost, well… how can you not be thankful for that. :)

8. I’mma steal this in part from Mayim: The last night of Hanukkah contains the most light of the entire holiday: eight candles and a shamash (leader candle). While we didn’t get to the eighth night (bad Jew and worse pseudo-Jew!), we did get a chance to celebrate the first night surrounded by family, and you could seriously feel the light and love in the house that night. My only hope is that we can share that light and love with the world. <3

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It’s okay to just have one! Even just to think about it!

“Is this your first?”

“When are you going to give him a sibling?”

“Are you trying again yet?”

“He’s too cute, you MUST make more babies!”

Not long after Tycho’s birth, and probably because my pregnancy and delivery went so well, people started assuming that we were going to continue having more children. We’ve been asked these questions (or told that we had to make more!) nonstop, and I don’t see an end to them anytime soon.

So it’s no wonder that, after only a year for most couples, I’ve seen them getting to work on Baby #2. In fact, I know a few families who are in the process of or who have already conceived or who have already given birth to their seconds, and for some of these families, the gap is no wider than a couple years.

People around me have waxed poetic about the alleged importance of giving your first baby a sibling of his or her very own, saying that it will cause harm if there are no siblings, and they must be close together – two years apart at most – so they can play together. Heaven forbid your only child be spoiled and socially stunted without a brother or sister!

I’m the oldest of three, and while I definitely love my siblings, our upbringing wasn’t always rosy. There were a few times when I wished I was an only child, or at least had a sister who wasn’t so close in age as to cramp my style. As advanced as it was, you see, considering we were 11 months apart.

Matt, on the other hand, is an only child, and he has told me that there were a few periods when he was growing up when he wanted a sibling, but for the most part, he is happy having been an only child. Discussions with other only children seem to prove his point over and over – maybe they miss having a brother or sister, but they generally are happy being a singleton.

Why this post, especially since Tycho isn’t even a year old yet? Why am I thinking about second children and Tycho’s possible future with and without a sibling? Because even at his age, people look at me as if I’d sprung three heads when I say I’m not sure if I want another baby. “But he’ll be so lonely!” “Only children are so spoiled!” “He’ll need a sibling!” “Do you not like being a mom?”

Truth be told, I don’t feel compelled to have another baby because of societal pressure, because I might be “hurting” Tycho if he grows up as an only, or because I’d be less of a mom by having only one. I love Tycho so much that it seems unfathomable sometimes, and as challenging as motherhood can be, I love being his mom. Right now, I can’t imagine a second in our lives; I rather like things as they are!

We haven’t ruled out the possibility, but we’re not going to seriously reconsider having more than one until Tycho is at least two – so yes, we’d be missing that “magical” two-year age gap, too. But I feel like I need more time to enjoy him and, yes, to recover a bit from babyhood before thinking about whether I want to jump into it all over again.

Plus, we want to do it not because we feel like we need to prove anything, or because Tycho “needs” a brother or a sister. If we have a second, it’ll be because we can’t imagine not being a family of four.

Tycho being cute

We do make some cute kids, though, don’t we. ;)

Photoshop Elements 12 for just $49.99?!

When I got our new iMac to replace my MacBook and Matt’s Dell, I excitedly thought of all the new possibilities that awaited me, including working on Photoshop without the whole darn computer crashing. Imagine my disappointment when I tried to transfer PS to the iMac, only for it to be incompatible because it was too old. :(

Enter probably the only shopping day I ever venture outside my comfort zone to “attend”: Cyber Monday. Thanks to Amazon’s amazing deal, I scored PSE 12 for $49.99! I’ve got a link waiting in my inbox for when I get home.

Go on and grab it yourself!

Relactation Journey: A new high! <3

I was just thinking to myself about a week ago, how awesome would it be if I never had to travel along the relactation road. How great to not have to worry about my supply, to maybe even have an oversupply, to pump what my son needed without effort, to generally not waste these months of my life for what.

Then… I have a day like this:

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And all doubt goes flying out the window!

(Okay, so I still wish I hadn’t stopped, but I’m glad to have both our breastfeeding relationship AND my sanity back. ;) )

People. That’s 12oz right there, only 3oz short of what my son takes in on a daily basis while at daycare. That’s enough for almost three whole bottles, and considering I have about 2oz left at home, I only need to make up a tiny bit with formula.

Or, since he’s really digging food right about now, bring an extra snack to daycare:

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I am beyond thrilled by where this journey has taken me. It has been a long, difficult, and for the first month, seemingly unproductive test of my patience and my perseverance. And here we are today: Pumping almost everything he needs, breastfeeding full-time at home, and giving my all to this little charmer.

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My regimen is ever strict, is never bending, and is as follows:

  • 80mg Domperidone, spread 3/3/2
  • 6 Fenugreek pills, spread 2/2/2
  • 4 More Milk Special Blend, spread 1/2/1
  • lactation cookies from Miracles for Mommy, 1 during my first morning pump
  • pumping with my Spectra Dew 350 hospital-grade pump

I pump three times a day at work, then breastfeed at least three times while at home on weekdays and exclusively (so 5-7 times) over the weekend.

Guys. I seriously went from absolutely nothing — to not even a hint of milk — to making almost everything my son needs. Can you even imagine?!

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This is what just one dose looks like.

This is NOT a journey for the weak-willed, and I have to admit that it’s not the right journey for everyone (I’m thinking mainly about those who can’t breastfeed for whatever reason, be it medical or physical or mental or any combination thereof), but I’m incredibly glad I took it.

And judging by how readily he breastfeeds, I imagine he is, too. :)

Though at this point, he eats just about anything... LOL

Though at this point, he eats just about anything… LOL

And finally, I can’t NOT post this picture:

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Progressive waiting, comfort nursing, and the battle of the ZZZZzzzz’s… (Part 2)

Yesterday we discussed the Progressive Waiting technique for getting your baby down to sleep. It’s a method that, for crib training, worked incredibly well for us: Within two days, Tycho had transitioned to the crib, and now he happily falls asleep and stays asleep in the crib for naps and nighttime. I think he actually enjoys being able to spread out, and now that he’s rolling in his sleep, we find him comfortably snoozing on his stomach most nights.

There are several other sleep training methods out there, including some purported “no-cry” techniques (though in my experience, any kind of training involves tears at some point!), but I won’t get into them as I’m not familiar with nor have we tried them. Some of those methods include:

One that I recently came across isn’t really a method at all, but a way of thinking about sleep, our associations with sleep, and how we come to sleep as we do today.

I started doing some research on the “cry it out” method with respect to breastfeeding; it was interesting how I hadn’t really thought about it before, but when Matt recently suggested that we return to Ferberizing during this fussy phase Tycho is going through, I couldn’t help but feel a little unease about the prospect. It’s nothing against Matt — after all, I get the want for a fast fix, especially since both our sleep was suffering — but my own preconceived notion of what “healthy” sleep is and how Tycho has been responding to nursing to sleep.

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That’s when I came across this KellyMom.com article about nursing to sleep and comfort nursing, both things that Tycho has been doing for the past month or so. I knew this was the right article for me when I read the very first line:

Many moms feel guilty for nursing their baby to sleep.

… then continued to read this:

Nursing your baby to sleep is not a bad thing to do! It’s very normal and developmentally appropriate for babies to nurse to sleep and to wake 1-3 times during the night for the first year or so.

Phew! Let me tell you. As much as I already knew that was the case (that night-wakings are common at this age), it was reassuring to read it in black and white. Even if it did very little for my psyche — I do enjoy my sleep, after all. ;)

So what’s the deal with nursing to sleep, anyway? Am I going to create a boob monster who can only be calmed down with “nursies” (our affectionate term for breastfeeding, often used with the sign for “milk“), or who has to night-nurse until he’s six, or who won’t be able to sleep if I’m not around?

In short, no. Daycare has already proven those false, as they obviously can’t nurse him down for a nap or use it as a calming mechanism, but they manage to get him through the day with adequate naps and happiness abound. I’ve also seen him fall asleep at home without nursing, though those moments are few and far between because, let’s face it, if I have that in my back pocket? I’m going to use it!

Falling asleep after a snack of apple slices. ;)

Falling asleep after a snack of apple slices. ;)

I started to think about my own bedtime rituals. They’re short and sweet, but typically involve something like gathering the covers around me as I lay on my back, getting all warm, creating extra space for my feet with the covers (I hate the sensation of covers pressing down on my feet), and sometimes doing a progressive relaxation from my toes to my head, though I rarely get to my torso before I’m fast asleep. These are things that are comforting to me, and I find that doing that each night, with some exceptions, can get me down pretty easily.

KellyMom explains baby’s sleep in the same fashion: Nursing to sleep is a normal thing, not a bad habit that has been fostered, as the breast is a comforting and familiar place to be. I can tell already that Tycho has associated breastfeeding or comfort nursing as a way to slow down, relax, and snuggle in — his nursing is my progressive relaxation.

But what about those night-wakings where he will only be soothed by me and the breast? If you think about it, when you wake up and discover that you’re having a hard time falling back to sleep, you revert back to those comforting habits you have to go back out, right? While Tycho does have the capability to put himself back to sleep*, there are some times when, especially during a Wonder Week, that might prove difficult and the only way to fall asleep again is to get that sleep association. There will come a time when he can do it without nursing, but in the interim, I’m okay with him needing something — or someone! — to fall back asleep.

*He actually does do this, and quite well! On Wednesday while Matt was out of town this past week, I heard Tycho stirring and babbling in his crib somewhere around 5am, and instead of getting him, I put the pillow over my head and tried to drown him out a bit. I could still hear him if he started crying, but if he was just entertaining himself, I wanted that extra hour! When my alarm went off at 6am, I noticed he had stopped talking, and he must have for a while, as I had to actually wake him up that morning at 6:30am. So he can do it!

The article goes further into depth on topics such as falling asleep without the boob (or transitioning to sleeping without the boob), naptime and the light nurser, and how baby will fall asleep without mom there, so I encourage you to check those out. I won’t bother rehashing here! ;) I did just want to point out that, while Ferberizing worked for crib-training’s sake, that doesn’t mean that nursing to sleep is a bad thing, even if it means only I can take care of it.

So for the time being, it’s going to be all about mommy, all about nursies, and all about getting him (and hopefully us) some good-quality sleep.

Wish us luck and lots of ZZZzzzz’s, everyone… :)

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Progressive waiting, comfort nursing, and the battle of the ZZZZzzzz’s… (Part 1)

It’s been a long couple weeks — between Halloween (for which I’ll have pictures!), getting sick, my 29th birthday (during which I was still sick), Matt traveling for work, and Tycho going through a fussy phase, I haven’t really had the chance to blog lately. Which is a shame, as I have lots of things planned, including a handful of giveaways!

These past few days have really inspired me to get back to y’all, though, my faithful readers. Because of Tycho’s fussiness lately, he’s been sleeping rather poorly, often waking up three or four times a night screaming. Not even one of those whimper-for-a-few-moments-and-increase-to-ear-splitting, but going straight to ear-splitting. It’s been a trying time, and both Matt and I have lost our shit at least once.

I started to think that this was a developmental thing, especially since it was happening during the daytime, too, where he would start to fuss when I left a room. After the first two nights of piss-poor sleep, I checked my Wonder Weeks baby app and happened to read this:

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No shit, Sherlock. :P But thanks for the confirmation!

It’s been really difficult on me in particular, as it doesn’t seem to be daddy-centric at all: Tycho continues to scream and wail when Matt goes in to soothe him, but the moment I take Tycho (and usually upon offering the boob), he instantly starts calming down. It has meant a lot of comfort nursing, a lot of my getting up in the middle of the night, and probably most importantly, a lot of my patience. Which is hard to come by when it’s 3am and you’re up for the third time and you have work in the morning and the only thing that will do it is you and a boob.

When we were formula-feeding and transitioning Tycho to his crib, we were actually doing a form of Progressive Waiting, known on the street as “Cry It Out” or “Ferberizing”, the method introduced by Dr. Richard Ferber in his book Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems. According to Dr. Ferber, the method involves a series of waiting-it-out and checking on your child to reassure him that you’re still there, but not introducing any crutches like holding, feeding, pacifying, and so forth. The building blocks can be put into place as early as 3-4 months, but “training” really shouldn’t begin until 5-6 months, when baby is theoretically able to go 10 hours without a feeding, provided baby is developmentally ready and at a healthy weight.

Progressive Waiting

The chart above may be modified to fit the parent’s and the child’s need (for instance, starting at 1 minute 1st wait intervals). Other rules include:

  • Putting the child in the crib or bed awake, in the place where you want him to sleep. No rocking, swaying, swinging, etc. while training. He should be able to fall asleep with the same circumstances under which he would he be when waking normally through the night.
  • Checking him briefly at the intervals described above (or adjusted to your or baby’s own comfort level), and staying no more than one or two minutes when checking in. No picking up, rocking, swaying, swinging, etc., and some even say no touching. The purpose is to reassure him, not help him fall back asleep. A fallen blanket or toy may be replaced once, and only once.
  • The schedule should be repeated if the baby wakes in the night, to last until 5am or 6am when the baby wakes for good. If he’s still asleep at his usual waking time in the morning, baby should be woken up.

Dr. Ferber notes that, by the third or fourth day, the baby “will most likely be sleeping very well. If further work is necessary, continue following the chart down to day 7.” There are alternatives in another chapter to explore, as well as throughout the internet, if things don’t improve or get worse.

Naptimes are treated the same way, but if the baby hasn’t fallen asleep after a half-hour or is awake again and either calling out or crying vigorously, end the nap. Falling asleep in another room is okay, so long as there are no associations that the parent is trying to break. Naps should also stop around 4pm so as not to interfere with nighttime sleep.

This actually worked really well when we transitioned Tycho to his crib. After only two days, he was sleeping pretty easily and would go until the wee hours of the morning, when he would wake up hungry (he was still young, so cutting out night feedings was out of the question). Even still, we have a very good sleeper on our hands; a good night is one where he sleeps until 2-4am, then wakes hungry, nurses, and goes back to sleep until 6am or 6:30.

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But things, they have a-changed since relactating. Our routine has shifted from trading off duties every night — mommy would bathe, daddy would feed to bed, and we’d switch off the next night — to only daddy bathing and only mommy nursing to bed. While this works great most of the time, during this fussy period in particular, Tycho wakes one or two additional times during the night needing mommy (and only mommy) (and, probably more poignantly, nursies) to fall back to sleep.

So… do we change what we’re doing? Do we go back to Ferberizing? Or do we maybe adopt something new?

(This is a two-part series — check in tomorrow for Part 2, where I talk about nursing to sleep and other such things that would make Dr. Ferber’s skin crawl!)

Guest Post – Susan Katz Miller, Reasons to Celebrate an Interfaith Baby

I’ve been following Susan Katz Miller’s blog on their interfaith family for quite a while. As a Jewish-Pagan interfaith family ourselves, it’s awesome to see it in action and working beautifully, especially with the most difficult part of the whole relationship: Children! Susan’s children are raised in both the Jewish and Christian communities, and her blog discusses the challenges and rewards of celebrating both parents’ and their own religions.

This post is a very special one. To celebrate Susan’s recent book  Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family, Susan has offered to write a guest blog on celebrating a baby born into an interfaith family! Thank you so much, Susan, for this post and for all you do to support and educate the interfaith community. :)

For interfaith couples with a plan to celebrate both religions in the family, the arrival of a baby should be a source of creativity and joy, not cause for conflict. This is an opportunity to make a statement to yourselves, and to the world, that your child will benefit from both family traditions. Some interfaith couples hold back on performing baby-welcoming ceremonies, feeling that they did not have the right to claim these rituals, given the interfaith nature of their families. In contrast, I encourage the celebration of any and all welcoming rituals represented in your family tree. In my experience, and in my research, far more people end up regretting that they did nothing, than regretting that they celebrated.

I know, you’re exhausted, and the family patterns have been thrown into chaos. Do not feel you have to accomplish a full roster of traditional welcoming rituals on anyone else’s timetable, or to anyone else’s specifications. One of the wonderful aspects of being an interfaith family is that you have already been released from the tyranny of doing everything according to a single religious book. We can claim ancient religious rituals, while also reinventing them.

So if you have a Jewish baby-naming ceremony at six months, rather than at eight days, it can still have elements of tradition, and profound meaning for all in attendance. Children love the idea of having a Hebrew name: it can seem like a sort of secret alias, and an invitation to strengthen their connection to Judaism. One of the Christian rituals I really appreciate is the idea of godparents: adults who will serve as guides and protectors, as special unofficial aunts and uncles. We were living overseas when my daughter was a baby and toddler, so we didn’t get around to choosing godparents. When she was in elementary school, we finally created an interfaith godmothering ceremony for her. In fact, she was old enough to help choose her own godmother. It seemed very fitting, and resonant, that the godmother she chose happened to also have a Jewish and Christian background.

If you have close relationships with clergy, they can help facilitate or lead welcoming ceremonies, as long as they understand your religious intentions and support your choices as an interfaith family. If you cannot find supportive clergy, you can still create meaningful welcoming ceremonies for babies (or older children, if you never did them), drawing on the elements that have most meaning to you from both family religions. Part of the joy of being an interfaith family, is the joy of giving yourself permission to innovate, while respecting and honoring family roots.

Baby-Led Weaning

Now that Tycho is six months old, we’ve toyed with the idea of introducing solids. Since his diet should still be primarily breastmilk and formula, we’re not putting too much emphasis on the solids, but we are slowly starting to introduce them. Rather than strictly do purees, though, which we may add at a later date, we’re doing baby-led weaning to introduce new foods.

Baby-led weaning (BLW) is the process of adding complementary foods to a baby’s diet by “self-feeding”, or allowing the baby to explore new foods in a way that suits the individual baby and his personal development. The idea is that, instead of introducing purees via a spoon to the mouth, the baby is presented a finger food to explore and “eat” – it’s mainly licking and sucking on a food at first, but eventually turns to biting and chewing.

(Note that “weaning” does not imply that the baby should actually be weaned from breastmilk or formula, but simply means the introduction of foods other than breastmilk or formula. In the UK, this is referred to as “weaning”, which is obviously very different from the US’s definition!)

Tycho has been watching us eat for a while, and has recently shown interest in some of our foods, lunging for them or fussing a bit when we don’t offer any. So this past weekend, after a few attempts to grab a sweet potato fry out of my hands, I finally handed him one. And this was the result:

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He went nuts over it! Over the course of about twenty minutes, he ate the equivalent of half a fry, and was more than happy to have had it. (Further offers were rejected, which showed that he was done, so we didn’t force the issue.)

We didn’t really offer solids after that until just last night. Tycho was sitting in his high chair, banging around some toys, when we noticed he was watching me intently as I ate some food. Teriyaki stir fry with rice noodles, in case you were wondering. ;) We had some baby broccoli in the fridge, so I cut off a stalk, boiled it for a few minutes to get it soft, cooled it down with some cold water, then offered it.

And again, he went crazy!

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I think at some point, he was frustrated that he wasn’t actually eating anything; I had made it to the point where no little bits would come off, but man, was he determined:

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We’ll be playing with a few other things as we continue adding solids to his diet. Some basic principles to remember if you do decide to try out BLW:

  • At the start of the process, the baby is allowed to reject food; it may be offered again at a later date
  • The child is allowed to decide how much he wants to eat; no “fill-ups” are offered at the end of the meal with a spoon
  • The meals should not be hurried
  • Sips of water are offered with meals (better for older babies)
  • Initially, soft fruits and vegetables are given; harder foods are lightly cooked to make them soft enough to chew, even with bare gums
  • Foods with clear danger, such as peanuts, are not offered
  • Non-finger-foods, such as oatmeal and yogurt, may be offered with a spoon so baby can learn to self-feed with a spoon (and if we do decide to incorporate purees, we may offer them this way)
  • More information is offered at BabyLedWeaning.com

Introducing solids is a fun, if messy, way for your baby to explore new tastes and textures. BLW is especially fun as baby explores the food firsthand, and becomes useful when chewing and swallowing become learned skills and are applied to the foods being offered. As noted, “That’s the essence of [BLW]. No purees, no ice cube trays, no food processor, no potato masher, no baby rice, no weird fruit and veg combos… just you and your child, eating food that you enjoy with you and your family.” :)

The Wonder Weeks

I’m incredibly fortunate to have other mama friends whose babies were born around the time Tycho was; not only do I have a lot of women to ask for opinions and to share funny stories, but we love to share what we’ve found that may help us in raising our children.

One of the biggest things that was found by a fellow mama was a concept called the Wonder Weeks. There are, of course, well-known “growth spurts” and other milestones that happen with every baby, but these describe more than what’s going on physically; instead, it goes into the mental leaps a baby makes at certain points in his development, and while they may coincide with growth spurts, they’re not defined by physical growth.

In a nutshell, there are periods in a baby’s development where he will become more clingy and fussy, and when his sleeping and eating patterns will be (for no better choice of words) shot to shit. They’re narrowed down to the three Cs: Clinginess, Crankiness, and Crying. The good news is that they definitely have a start and an end — meaning, a light at the end of the tunnel! — and the baby emerges from the “stormy” periods having learned new skills that he starts trying out.

I strongly suggest you get the book linked above, as there’s so much great information about when each leap starts and ends (and yes, the periods are pretty definite, off by only as much as two weeks), what the baby will learn when he emerges from the leap, and what to try to foster those new-found skills. There’s also an app, available through the iTunes store and Google Play store.

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Lookit those little storm clouds!

Tycho is 27.5 weeks old and now firmly in the fifth leap, the World of Relationships, where he starts to perceive distance between objects. He’s been really clingy lately, not wanting to be put down, and is getting really fussy when we change his diapers and his clothes, preferring instead to be naked or just in the same clothes. The past few nights have been rough, too, as his sleep is (as I said before) shot to shit, waking every 45 minutes to two hours at night. It’s not unbearable, but we got used to putting him down at 7:30 or so and not hearing from him until 3am when he wakes from hunger.

But like I said, there’s hope! The end of each leap has been great, and he’s been the happy-go-lucky, smiley baby that we all know and love. So, like every other leap… this too shall pass.

Have you noticed that your own child is going through his or her own periods of crankiness, too? Maybe he’s acting a bit fussy, super clingy, a bit unlike himself? It may be a leap! Check out the chart below to see where your baby falls; it may give you some insight as to how to handle these fussy periods and when you may see an end.

(Note that Wonder Weeks are from a baby’s estimated due date, and not the day he or she was born. So Tycho’s would be as of 25 April, his due date, and not as of his 13 April birthday.)

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33 Tips for Writers

It’s been a while since I’ve written. I obviously don’t follow these rules. But you should.

Write because you have something to say.

Write because you’ve always wanted to.

Write because you only just realized that you might die next week, or tomorrow, or five minutes from now, and you want to leave something behind for posterity.

Write because you have a secret fire burning inside of you and the only way that you can fan the flames is by sharing your thoughts with someone else.

Write because you’re bored and don’t have anything better to do.

Write for yourself.

Write for other someone else, or maybe everyone else.

Write because you love seeing your stats counter surge every time you post something. Write because nothing satisfies you quite so much as seeing others share what you’ve written. Write because you like the attention; there’s nothing wrong with liking the attention.

Write because it fills the emptiness in your heart or your soul or your pancreas or wherever your particular emptiness happens to be.

Write because nothing will ever fill that emptiness, and you want to find a way to connect with someone, anyone who might understand.

Write because your tenth grade English teacher told you that you had potential.

Write because your ex told you that your characters were dull and your dialogue stilted, as it’s a well-known fact that there’s nothing better in life than proving someone else wrong.

Write because you have a calling for it, you were born for it, because it’s the only thing you’ve ever wanted to do for your entire life.

Write because you only just decided yesterday that it might be neat to try to stringing a few pretty words together.

Write because even though your imagery might be clichéd and your metaphors weak and your reasoning best described as childish and unsound, you still have a noted talent fur cussing and it’s a scientifically-proven fact that a well-placed f bomb can make or break a paragraph.

Write a thousand words every day.

Write ten words every day, even if those words are nothing more than, “I hope you have a good at school, honey.”

Write one word every day. Today’s word is perigee; tomorrow’s will be sesquipedalian.

Write a book so strange and obscure that no major publisher will ever touch it.

Write something because you know that it will be commercially-viable.

Write serious fiction.

Write romance novels.

Write an epic fantasy series that’s actually a thinly-disguised takedown of your toxic workplace, starring your awful cubicle mate as vile R’hakhnae, the Insect Queen.

Write a review of the movie you saw last night.

Write a grocery list.

Write anything and everything, if writing is what you want to do. Don’t listen to people who want to peddle some kind of elite ideal of what it means to write; don’t buy into the idea that you can only refer to yourself as a writer if you’ve been published in the New Yorker or you have a stack of rejection letters a foot deep or you frequently stay up all night weeping softly into a glass of scotch because you can’t arrange exactly the right words in exactly the right order to say exactly whatever it is you want to stay. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’re only a writer if you’ve spent a decade or more suffering for your art, starving in a garret in London or maybe Paris. Try to steer clear of the folks who will want to tell you that only one particular genre or style is real writing.

Write.

Just write.

In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say please write, because I promise you that there’s someone out there who’s dying to hear what you have to say, someone whose life might be changed by whatever sentiment you’re about to commit to paper or screen or cardboard-back-of-the-cereal-box. Write because you are the only person who has lived your particular life, and this has shaped your thoughts in such a way that you are the only one on this planet capable of expressing a thought in your own particular way.

Write because no other person who came before you or who will come after to you will ever, ever be able to do it in quite the same way that you can.

Write because if you don’t tell that story, the one that’s been slowly burning inside of you for the past year, the one that sits like a lump in your throat that never goes away or plays incessantly in the back of your head like a bad song with a good hook, will never be told if you don’t tell it.

Write because you’re the only one who can do this and we’re all counting on you.

Write because.