Saturday, March 31, 2012

What I'm Reading: And The Pause

Bringing Up Bebe - The Pause

So, I’m going to attempt to summarize a few of Pamela Druckerman’s findings as she researched parenting in France, specifically Paris, in her book Bringing Up Bebe. The first of which she named, The Pause.

A few weeks after she and her husband brought their daughter “Bean” home, neighbors on her courtyard began asking if Bean was “doing her nights?” What they meant was, is she sleeping through the night? She felt quite irritated by this question, and then she realized that culturally it’s a hot topic.

A lot of parents she knew in the US don’t get a good nights sleep until their child is about a year old. This idea is absurd to French parents. They realize that allowing a child to learn to sleep is doing the child a favor. So she looks into how they go about this. Many of the mothers she talks with say they just listen to their child. It’s a natural rhythm. They speak of being very observant with their children. She later finds that they have certain “unspoken rules” that are just a given to them. She terms it “La Pause.” When your baby is born, don’t just go to them at their every move. Even from birth, give them a moment to self-soothe. A mother isn’t strictly “observing” if she jumps up and holds the baby the moment he cries. Young babies make a lot of movements and noise while they’re sleeping. This is normal and fine.

Another reason for pausing is that babies wake up between their sleep cycles, which lasts about two hours. It’s normal for them to cry a bit when they’re first learning to connect these cycles. If a parent interprets this cry as a demand for food or a sign of distress and rushes in to soothe the baby, the baby will have a hard time learning to connect the cycles on his own.

Alexandra, whose daughters slept through the night while they were still in the hospital, says that of course she didn’t rush over to them the second they cried. She sometimes waited five or ten minutes before picking them up. She wanted to see whether they needed to fall back to sleep between sleep cycles or whether something else was bothering them: hunger, a dirty diaper, or just anxiety.

Alexandra--who wears her curly blond hair in a ponytail--looks like a cross between an earth mother and a high school cheerleader. She’s extremely warm. She wasn’t ignoring her newborn babies. To the contrary, she was carefully observing them. She trusted that when they cried, they were telling her something. During The Pause, she watched and listened. (She adds that there’s another reason for The Pause: “to teach them patience.”)

Most of the French babies sleep through the night by 4 months, and if not, at that point the pediatrician recommends some version of crying it out.

French parents don’t have a name for The Pause, they just consider it common sense. They all seem to do it and to remind each other that it’s critical. It’s such a simple thing. It’s clearing out the clutter of competing ideas and focusing on one thing that truly makes a difference.

(book, photo.)

Hi, it's me again. I hesitated to "summarize" The Pause because there are more examples and further explanation in her book. I share it anyway because I love the simplicity in keeping the "sleeping baby topic" so basic. Happy sleep to you and your family!



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What I'm Reading: Intro

I'm reading a book with a different cultural perspective on parenting, and I love it. (Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman) Pamela, a journalist in NY, fell in love and married a swarthy British man who lived in Paris. She moved to Paris, they had a daughter, and she realized that young children in Paris, and other parts of France were not having tantrums, and could sit quietly at a restaurant and eat with adults. She found this quite different from what she had seen in NY and writes this book with the answers to her questions. 

(I get really excited about what I'm learning, and that is why I share it with you.)

She writes:

"For me, the evenings are for the parents," one Parisian mother tells me. "My daughter can be with us if she wants, but it's adult time."

"Within a few hours of meeting him, I realized that "love at first sight" just means feeling immediately and extremely calm with someone. (She shares her love story. There is much more to the book than dry parenting advice.)

"By the end of our ruined beach holiday, I've decided to figure out what French parents are doing differently. Why don't French children throw food? And why aren't their parents shouting? What is the invisible, civilizing force that the French have harnessed?"

"...there's something about the way the French parents make it less of a grind and more of a pleasure."

I've read into the first several chapters, and what she has discovered appears to be common sense to the French parent, but in the U.S. we have so many perspectives and parenting-styles that we don't follow the same basic unspoken rules. I'm excited to share these simple concepts and hopefully put them into practice with my children. Stay tuned for simple and straight forward thoughts on sleeping, eating, the art of waiting, and her findings on Parisians very different (from women in the US) take on pregnancy!

(All italicized text from the book Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, photo)

Monday, March 26, 2012

Vaca Part II: At It's Finest

Family time at it's finest. Our friends left this morning, and we had a blast with them. Instead of having this sadness that they were gone, Michael said..."Welp, it's just the four of us now..." and then I followed with "Let's put 'em in..." and we did a "Go Team," but instead said, "Teammmm Jones!" (like we were pumping up for the big game) After that we packed up and went fishin', boys fished and the girls played under the rain fly. Then lunch and relaxation. 

Michael packed the kids up in "the mule" to go get the tent on the back 40 acres and as they were getting back in the mule, Tegegne says he wants to run all the way back to the house! Michael agrees, but is unsure he can. It's a long way uphill and he has no shoes on. With permission Tegegne takes off running, Michael and Hensley following behind, honking and cheering. Tegegne ran and ran. I look out of the house to see what the honking was about and Tegegne is smiling from ear to ear, running my way! 

He ran all the way from the back pond to the house. I don't know the actual distance, but its a long way. Michael was blown away, not as much by what he did but by his determination. Tegegne was soooo proud of himself. He talked about it all night and it was seriously cute. 

The evening ended with gooey brownies, a bon fire, and the boys asleep in the tent. This is a great vacation.

Hensley is exploring so much as well. She had many walking spurts today, learned to climb back down the stairs, and loves the long mealtimes where she can eat at her pace. 

I had the itch to go to the beach, or do a real vacation...but I'm realizing that this totally counts. It's all in my perspective. Wherever we are on vacation, the point is to kick back and enjoy each other. Of  course that couldn't happen as well at Motel 6, but I'm just sayin'. 

Go Team Jones! Love you three. 


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Vaca Part I: Gourmet Food & Good Friends

Lemon zest...a special ingredient in Micah's blueberry scones!
Well, Taryn has the photos to prove of our great weekend. It was grand. Six married folk, two small children. Green grass in our toes, fine dining on the porch, huge blue sky and cool breeze, frisbee golf and reading books, a bon fire and baby guitar, discussing the stars, quiet and serene, full and fantastic.

In honor of Taryn's birthday Micah made melt-in-your-mouth blueberry scones + tomato, avocado omelets for Saturdays breakfast, smoked brisket + Jacob's baked beans for dinner, and a banana cream pie. Then this morning Taryn and Micah made french toast from a loaf of polenta I purchased at Fervere (the place to buy bread in Kansas City). All of their recipes came from the tried and true Cook's Illustrated.  

Happy Birthday, Taryn! We love you!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dear Owen: Then and Now

Dear Owen,

Back then you had doggie sleepovers, your very own birthday parties, many many walks, and lots of personal attention. Now you eat the food off the floor after our children's birthday parties, get chased by small children, but best of all your new playmate is Tegegne. Hensley is recently growing quite an affection for you as well. Thanks for being a part of our ever changing and growing family. We love you.

This weekend we get to be at your favorite place of all time. A place where you run wild and free. You drag very large sticks, or large tree branches, around all day and night. And you swim. Swim and swim.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Road Trip: And Shopping Tips

Where she wished she would have been when we were out shopping all day!
So it was a rainy day and Hens and I took a "road trip" out of the city into the fine county of Johnson...aka Johnson County. Where they are charging 9.something% sales tax. One of those things I never look at until I bought a pair of sandals and thought I'd just paid for shipping on a pair of shoes I purchased in the store! 

I got some great tips from sales associates today. We are in the midwest where folks are just plain friendly, but it was extra noticeable today! Or maybe they just worked off commission. Either way, they sold me! 

Did you know that when purchasing vitamins, capsules will get you more of the nutrients than hard pills? And of course the liquid form gives you the maximum percentage of vitamin absorption. 

The shoe salesman suggested that a slight heal (like just 1/2") would be much more comfortable and better for my feet than a flat shoe. I did not know this.

And this is not a tip, but have you tried Nature's Path Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon Cereal? Yum. A friend is doing a diet with no oil, and this is one of the few cereals that doesn't contain oil. It was a sampling item at Whole Foods, so after Hensley and I had nearly a cups worth of samples, I bought a box. I'm so glad I did. I mean the word Optimum is in bold capitol letters on the box!

On a less healthy note, I'd love to try these easy peasy cinnamon rolls soon!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Good Evening: And Good Night

Tegegne, Spring 2010
Good evening. There are many signs of spring here in the midwest, and we are so grateful. Folks are getting reacquainted with their neighbors and the grass is nearly all green. I'm wishing for a garden so badly, but then I remember that I've tried that before and I did not put forth the effort to make those poor plants grow. We do have a great farmers market a few blocks away. 

Things are well with the Joneses. Spring break for Michael next week and we are looking forward to a retreat to Big Sky with dear friends. Fishing, bon fires, reading, frisbee, and relaxation. We will hold down the fort while Grandpa Ben and Gramma Debby are in the Big Apple. 

I asked Tegegne if he thinks this baby in route is a boy or girl. Tonight he thought boy. I asked him if he still wanted to adopt, or just have 3...because 3 is plenty, right? He says for sure adopt. A boy and a girl and he wants to have bunk beds! Michael and I are thinking that if this baby is a girl, then we will adopt a boy between Hensley and Tegegne's ages. Someone for Tegegne to really wrestle with, because Hensley is only in the mood for that 1/3 of the time. We will find out the sex of our baby soon enough!

I go to the doctor for my 12 week check up Wednesday. This pregnancy has been pretty similar to my last one, aka, not a walk in the park. Not unbearable either. The nausea is lessening, and I do have energy during the day. I look forward feeling this growing baby's movements. And then I remember that we must name this baby, but where will I look for inspiration because we rarely go to movies and I used to write down so many names when the credits would roll! Neither of our kids were named via movie credits, but still. 

Michael and I have really enjoyed our small group. Last night we sat for 2 hours and had an informal marriage counseling session. A good discussion that spurred after reading this article found via A Cup of Jo's Articles Club

Well, good night.


P.S. Turn down the sound b/c it's a windy video, but look at that little guy run!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Flexibility: A Virtue

The Virtue of Flexibility 

Trees look strong compared with the wild reeds in the field.  But when the storm comes the trees are uprooted, whereas the wild reeds, while moved back and forth by the wind, remain rooted and are standing up again when the storm has calmed down.

Flexibility is a great virtue.  When we cling to our own positions and are not willing to let our hearts be moved back and forth a little by the ideas or actions of others, we may easily be broken.   Being like wild reeds does not mean being wishy-washy.  It means moving a little with the winds of the time while remaining solidly anchored in the ground.   A humorless, intense, opinionated rigidity about current issues might cause these issues to break our spirits and make us bitter people.  Let's be flexible while being deeply rooted.

- Henri J. M. Nouwen 

Daydream Friday: Getaways, Backyards, and Rooms

Floating House, Lake Huron
Floating House, Lake Huron
Montorosso Beach, Cinque Terre, Italy
The Sea Cave in Southern California!
Hanging trampoline tee pee cozy bed place!
Papafragas, Milos, Greece
Backyard party.
Romantic getaway!
Beautifully painted room!
It's Friday! Hooray! As you can tell, I wish I was packing four bags for a week at the beach. Instead I'm daydreaming about that aqua blue water and warm white sand in our toes. And I'm thinking that we should get brown sunscreen for Tegegne, because the thick white stuff takes forever to rub in...and then I'm picturing Michael teaching Tegegne how to boogie board, and I'm watching that little bottomed bikini on Hensley while she tries to run from the waves!  Okay Kristyn...snap back to reality, start to plan a vacation, and keep on task...purging winter clothes and pulling out spring/summer...and go get the kids some sandals!

With love and daydreams,

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Tegegne: Spring Break

Tegegne is spending the first half of his spring break with Gramma and Grandpa. This means he is playing hard, eating well, and enjoying himself on the land. Yesterday he called while in the haystack and said he was going to stay there all day! Grandpa Ben has a huge farm equipment sale, and Tegegne is testing out each tractor.  Then my mom sent the photo of him sitting under a car with George! And lastly, he's getting to play with his cousin Orien, Andie, and Great Grandma Ileen and Grandpa Orville. Hensley and I are headed there today to pick him up and stay overnight.

We'll miss you, Michael. Please take a long bike ride and enjoy yourself. See you tomorrow.


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Hensley: You Walked!

Hensley! You walked today! Your first 6 independent steps were at the library during story time. You were right in front of me standing, looking intently at a child with a snack nearby. Then you did it. 1 step, 2, 3, 4, and not just 5 but 6 steps toward that child with the snack. Then you stopped and stood there. I looked around so eager to interrupt the story and tell everyone, but I kept my mom cool. Just whispered it to a friend, and she shared in my delight!

Your dad got home and you walked for him. Then we thought...oh, we should document this! So I grabbed the camera and got these steps...

Here are some other photos to remind us of your personality at one!

On your birthday: your shy expression...tucking your chin in to your shoulder with a slightly furrowed brow. 
Yummy in my tummy. Must get every last bite. 
Here's the full furrowed brow. Watch out!
Those toes sneak up to your tray all of the time. Silly toes! Toes are not for eating.
Lovin' Uncle Eric and wearing his childhood sweater made by Great Grandma Cox.
Getting a ride from Grandpa Ben.

Different: But the Same

So I'm a little behind the rest of you, as I just finished reading The Help. Great story. I have a word for Miss Hilly and her Home Help Sanitation Initiative

Dear Miss Hilly,

I thought of you this morning as I was giving my children a bath. I had my African son and my American daughter in the same bath tub. I was thanking God that things here and now (in our family) are not the way they were in Mississippi in the 1960s. I mean, really ma'am. 



So Tegegne, you watched part of this movie with me and I explained it in very simple terms. I really dread you knowing the reality of the way people were treated. (Your dad and I) also look forward to difficult conversations such as these because we know you will be interested and you will care. You care about people and you take their feelings to heart. Son, you will do great things and I pray that you can be an example of loving people equally. 



Monday, March 12, 2012

Mom: Shops Sandals

Steve Madden
Minimarket, Urban Outfitters



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Happy Birthday: Mom and Dad

Our Twenties! Just one year left!

Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday Mommy and Ababayehhhhh,
Happy Birthday to You!

Taryn made me a birthday breakfast this morning! Delicious pancakes (blueberry yogurt multigrain) with the best chocolate milk!
Michael started his morning with 10 bags of gummy worms from his students! And we have a date tonight at a famous Italian restaurant in town. They give a complementary birthday chicken spiedini, which is what they are known for!

Some thoughts on being born. What a deal, huh? Everyone is born, yes? Born into a family. A mom and dad, or just a mom. Poverty, middle class, or wealth. Siblings or the first born. Some born into a country or race with privilege and freedom, others hardship and inequality. All born as teeny babies, that cry and sleep and want to be held. 

I'm thankful that I was born on the same day as my dear husband. Looking forward to our date tonight!



Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kony 2012: Invisible Children Campaign

KONY 2012 is a film and campaign by Invisible Children that aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Kids: Adventure and Not-So-Much

So it's too bad the key ingredient for a tree house is the actual tree. Too bad because this yard of ours has none, nada, nilch. Not even branches dangling over from a neighbors tree. But rest assured, we will build some plaything, climbable and with optimal adventure in mind for our 4-year-old-awesome-kid this summer!

I guess it's not so bad...because the not-so-adventurous Baby Hens is not up for climbing a tree anytime soon. She will climb to the second stair and plop herself there for a bit. No walking yet, but everyone and their brother tries to get her to take those first steps...and I think that's why she hasn't taken them! I know I'll see her out of the corner of my eye any day now...strutting across the room all by herself.

Tegegne still loves to read, aka be read to. I've been picking up Stage 1 books at the library with hopes he'll start reading to me soon! Sometimes he's interested, sometimes not. I've learned that forcing it is no fun for either of us!


Mom, who looks forward to a bit of backyard adventure herself

Kid Stuff: Fun with Food

Yogurt bites. Drop a dollop of yogurt onto a tray with waxed paper, freeze, and enjoy. 

Frozen grapes on a stick!

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