Raising an Introverted Child in an Extroverted World

Last year, we cancelled Noelle’s 3rd birthday party because she kept shaking her head, saying, “I don’t want to blow out my birthday cake. I don’t want everyone to watch me.” So we stooped down to her level, looked her in the eye, and asked if she wanted a birthday party. She shook her head no, and that was that. It wasn’t going to be a very big affair either way, but we wanted her to feel comfortable and at ease on her special day.  She didn’t want any fanfare, so we obliged.

That is just one example of the introversion that has characterized Noelle since she was born. Not only is she introverted, but she is also incredibly sensitive, keen, and aware – I noticed this even at the tender age of 3 months. She is what can be described as an orchid child.

Orchid children, in contrast, are highly sensitive to their environment, especially to the quality of parenting they receive. If neglected, orchid children promptly wither—but if they are nurtured, they not only survive but flourish. In the authors’ poetic language, an orchid child becomes “a flower of unusual delicacy and beauty.” (source)

I especially love that sentence at the very end. It’s exactly how I see Noelle – as someone with unusual delicacy, thoughtfulness, and grace. I can just sit and stare at her for hours sometimes, observing her gentle, precise movements since she puts obvious thought into every move she makes.

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11 Non-Candy Halloween Favors

I recently learned about the Teal Pumpkin Project from a friend of mine with a daughter with a severe peanut allergies. Mrs. Paintbrush also blogged about the movement, where if you decide to hand out non-candy favors during Halloween for children with allergies, you paint and place a teal pumpkin outside letting families know.

As a mom with a child without allergies, it was very eye opening when my friend told me about the Teal Pumpkin Project, as I never realized how difficult Halloween can be for a child with allergies and for their parents who don’t want to disappoint their children on such a special day. Coupled with the fact that Drake’s school has a strict food policy (no candy, no chips, etc.) and has requested that any favors being handed out during Halloween for the kids adhere to their rules, I thought it might be nice to compile a list of non-food favors that can be handed out to children in schools and homes during Halloween.


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Adventures in Nap Training

I wrote here about our adventures with sleep training. It went incredibly well, and I was shocked at how quickly bedtime got better. I realize that’s not the case for everyone, and for those of you cursing me, here is where you get your retribution. The dreaded nap.

Nap training is a completely different beast. Little Oats has always struggled with her naps; she would only nap on my chest for the first two months, then exclusively in the swing for another 2 -3 months. She has always had a problem joining sleep cycles together, so naps had been exclusively in 40-minute segments. By six months, I could count on my fingers the number of times naps had been longer than 90 minutes.

We decided to nap train at the same time as sleep training; I figured we’d tackle it all at once, and hopefully just have a few awful sleep-deprived days. Like I wrote about earlier, it took about three nights before Little Oats settled into a great bedtime routine, but naps were an entirely different story.

As with night-time sleep training, our schedule looked a little something like this:

1. Notice Little Oats’ sleepy signs (rubbing eyes, yawning, getting cranky)
2. Make sure she’s fed and changed
3. Put her in the Zipadee-Zip
4. Lay her down in her crib and walk away.

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If I Could Register Today, Part One

…well, I suppose, I could register today, but this poor little guy I’m cooking is likely going to inherit all of his big brother’s baby gear. But of course, because this pregnancy has me nesting like a mad woman, my late night lack of sleeping abilities leads me to Amazon more often than I’d care to admit. If I were registering for my first baby (and I were blessed enough to know what I know now, after surviving the baby stage once), here is what I would register for:

1) Graco Pack n Play  |  2) Fisher Price Snugabunny Cradle Swing  |  3) Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer  |  4) Fisher Price Luminosity Rock n Play  |  5) Chicco Keyfit Infant Car Seat  |  6) JJ Cole Car Seat Cover  |  7) Britax Marathon Convertible Car Seat  |  8) Baby Jogger City Mini GT  |  9) Baby Jogger City Mini Double  |  10) Ergo  |  11) Boba Wrap  |  12) Maya Wrap Ring Sling  |  13) Summer Infant Touchscreen Digital Monitor  |  14) Marpac Sound Machine  |  15) The First Years Tub  | 16) Honeywell Humidifier  |    17) Ubbi Diaper Pail

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Transitioning To a Montessori Bed and Nursery (Part 1)

Roman’s sleep journey has followed its own long and winding path.

At 15 months he now naps once a day for 2-3 hours and sleeps through the night for almost 12, most of the time. After months of relying on motion to fall asleep, he will now squirm himself to sleep in bed with us at night and at nap time. In our bed, which we now keep on the floor. With us. He has co-slept, for the most part, since birth, which was not something we had planned for or anticipated in the least, but I must say, for us it felt very natural.

With the new baby due to arrive in less than 3 months, our move to a 2 bedroom home is happening just in time to make one last sleep transition for Roman before her arrival. We decided that the simplest way to transition him to sleeping alone in his own room will be to buy him a mattress to place on the floor, Montessori style, and continue our current routine… except that after he falls asleep we end up in our own bed in our room, and he stays in his. I don’t worry about him waking up alone because this is something he’s accustomed to and comfortable with at nap time. I just love hearing him wake up and play in bed, and seeing his smiling face when he wanders out into the living room on his own. Most nights I put Roman to sleep myself before his father gets home from work, but when we are both home we usually make it a whole family event. We plan to adjust to only one parent at bedtime every night now, since that is how it will have to be when the new baby arrives.

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D’s journey, part 11 – Eating by Mouth

Just like in many aspects of his life, D has come a long way in eating! Let’s start back in the beginning… but first please note that I do not have a medical background and none of this should be taken as medical advice!

A few weeks old / 13+ months old

To recap, due to his brain injury, D couldn’t safely swallow – not even his own spit – which is why we chose to get a feeding tube surgically placed when he was 6 weeks old. Shortly before the feeding tube decision, D did two “swallow studies,” and has had three afterwards to measure his progress. A swallow study (aka modified barium swallow study) is when they give the patient some barium mixed in either liquid or food, and then watch under x-ray video where it goes in their mouth/throat. The barium makes the food show up bright white, and (at least for us) there is a radiologist, tech, and a speech therapist there watching what happens. They take account of:

  • How easily they can manipulate the food around their mouth
  • When or if the swallow reflex is triggered to close off the airway and let the food go down into the tummy – could be when the fluid hits the back of the tongue, seconds after, or never
  • If they let anything go into their lungs (“aspirate”), or go up their nasal cavity
  • If they let the fluid hang around dangerously in the back of the throat

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10 graphic tees and more from Uniqlo

UNIQLO is my go-to place in Hong Kong to buy fun $10 graphic tees for adults, and I would call it something to the effect of a Japanese Gap, but with rights to Disney, Peanuts, and many artists – from Andy Warhol, to Keith Haring, to Michel Basquiat and more. Their children’s section always has great things each season and I’m excited that UNIQLO is now available in the US. They have locations in New York, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Connecticut, Boston, LA, and San Francisco, and free shipping on online orders of $50 or more. Here are some of my current favorites – and their prices are always affordable. 

Peanuts Graphic Tee  |  Michael Bastian Polos

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