02 March 2010

Baking While Baby Sleeps

It has been nearly a week since Matthias and I tried used controlled crying with Eva.  From my last post, I am sure you gathered just how awful I felt about doing it. I am happy to report she didn't wake up the next morning to tell me what a horrible mother or what a failure at attachment parenting I am. As a matter a fact, she has only been waking once between midnight and 1am to let out a few brief whimpers and cries (to which my DH promptly responds). At least she can still nurse to sleep at bedtime and I don't plan on changing that for a while.


In a strangely sadistic way, I enjoyed those silent moonlit moments we shared in the middle of the night. But I also know I (and so many other mothers) cannot function without sleep. Thanks to all you who acknowledge this.


We have been putting Eva to bed now at 9pm to prevent her waking up at 5am. Matthias had been taking the morning shift, but it is so much more enjoyable when we can all share some time together playing before bedtime. After putting her down tonight, I whipped up a batch of some super easy, no bake Swedish coffee pastries called Chokladbollar. We have a play date tomorrow and I didn't have any 'biscuits' to serve with the tea. This is the perfect recipe for the busy new mom (or anyone else wanting something sweet really quick):


Ingredients:

  • dL (3 1/4 cups) oats
  • 3 dL (1 1/4 cups) sugar
  • Tbsp (90 mL) cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) vanilla sugar (or 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract, added with the coffee)
  • 150 g (2/3 cup) butter or margarine
  • 6 Tbsp (90 mL) cold coffee
  • flaked coconut or pearl sugar

Remove butter from fridge to bring to room temperature or pop in the microwave for a minute to soften. Brew and chill the coffee (chilling optional in my opinion). Mix all the dry ingredients and the add the butter vanilla mixture using a potato masher (it really works) or your bare hands until the dough has a smooth consistency. Form into balls, dip in the remain coffee and roll in the coconut or sugar. Chill or freeze before serving. 

These little Swedish beauties are irresistible. Enjoy!


26 February 2010

Rain and Ferberization

It is raining today in Manchester. And to many of you that doesn't really come as a surprise. But it is, at least for this winter, an unusual occurrence. There have been so many gloriously sunny days and so much one-day-snow that the normal gloom of the place is nearly non-existent - except for today.

It is cold and wet and I don't even dare dawn my galoshes (wellies that is) and bundle my baby to make the pilgrimage to the post office. I want to stay inside, snuggled up in bed and drinking tea and dozing off occasionally.

The gloomy weather seems fitting today. I feel gloomy. It was a long night and I had to do something I was dead against the last nine months, if not more: letting my sweet baby scream her head of until she fell asleep. Some people call this cry-it-out (CIO), experts call it Ferberization after the man who developed the technique. The two actually differ in that Ferberization is more of a controlled crying with periodical checking and soothing of the baby, whereas pure CIO has parents leave the baby to cry until it falls asleep.

Not unlike my visions of a completely natural childbirth with no pain medication, I also bought into the ideal of never letting baby cry from all those books on Attachment Parenting I gravitate to. But like many ideals one has pre-parenthood (cloth diapers and no TV to be exact), I had to let this one go too.

It was an excruciating hour and a half. I was sweating, crying and could have downed an entire bottle of Bach's Rescue Remedy like a shot of Jagermeister. Yes, it was that bad. The physiology of a mother is amazing and last night is proof of how survival of the species is preserved. It took every ounce of will power not to immediately run into her room, cradle her in my arms and nurse her. But I have to sleep. And since I already prone to martyrdom, I don't need another opportunity to crucify myself for the sake of someone else's well-being. However, this is totally against the biological inclinations of a mother.

Mothers are also creatures of habit, who, must learn to constantly readjust their approach while rearing their children. Just when you think you have it all figured out, your baby makes a complete 180 and you are forced to rethink the way you have done things, sometimes from the beginning. And that is where I stand. I no longer have a newborn who needs to be nursed every two hours. She is growing so quickly and I can't hold back the hands of time. Letting grow means letting go. And it breaks my heart a little every day and a lot on others.

I feel really disappointed, that yet again, I wasn't able to stand by my convictions in the face of practicality. Convenience and ease have eroded my ideals. The cloth diapers were the first thing to go. Disposables are just too damn convenient. Then, the eco disposables made way for the store brand disposables at half the price. Next came the television which was constantly on everywhere we stayed in States for six weeks. And then of course, the jars of baby food which Eva seems to like them better anyway. The one time I did cook up a batch of baby delicacies, she only liked two of six things I toiled over for an entire weekend from some baby food guru's cookbook. Finally, there is the dreaded wipe-bath. Other mothers will know exactly what I am talking about.

24 February 2010

Back in the Saddle Again

I think it is just shy on one year since I have actually blogged. One year. That is a long time considering writing courses through my veins. But my muse (and my knitting needles) had to make way for a beautiful baby girl who was born in June of last year. One could say that all my creative juices were flowing to one place and one place only. But that only just sounds nice.

The truth is that I wanted to be selfish and enjoy the last months I had left as a childless woman doing whatever my 5-year-old heart fancied at any given moment: sleeping in, staying in my pyjamas all day; knitting, reading and not moving from the couch until my husband got home from work at night.

And once again I find myself in front of my laptop now that a nap routine has finally been established. Since I have a 90-minute window, I have to work and write fast. It forces me to use my time wisely. Having a baby does. 

I am conceptualizing a new blog about something I can write about every day and that I am actually 'qualified' (I hate that word btw) to write about: Germany. This week I will be working on its layout with Steph, a good friend of mine at The Creative Identity. As soon as it is live, you can expect a link. Much love to you.