Nap Strike!

For three days in a row, RJ stayed awake in the crib during her regular morning nap time (she is currently 11 months old and naps twice per day at 930am and 230pm). I wondered if maybe she didn’t need two naps anymore and already started feeling sad about the loss of personal free time that will mean for me.

Fortunately, I consulted my copy of The Happy Sleeper because I remembered that there was a sub-heading in there called “Wait, Don’t Drop that Nap Too Early!” The book suggested that if baby goes on a nap strike, continue to put them down at their regular nap time. It might take a week for them to go back to napping normally, but often their nap strike is a disruption caused by reaching a new developmental milestone. In RJ’s case I think it was learning how to go up stairs and getting more proficient at pulling up on the furniture.

After only 3 days of nap strike, RJ was back to her regular nap schedule yesterday.

I love The Happy Sleeper! So far, it has never steered me wrong. Here you can see the book’s handy napping chart (notice I dog-eared the page because I refer to it so often).

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Dangers of sleep deprivation for kids

I just finished reading this article from the May 2015 issue of the Walrus Magazine about the prevalence of sleep deprivation among children. This article cited research that has shown that ” [sleep] deprivation early in life can affect later cognitive performance and neuro-developmental functioning” and also have negative social and behavioural consequences.

So as much as it felt cruel to sleep-train RJ, now that she is regularly sleeping 11-12 hours at night and napping during the day I feel like I did the right thing when I come across information like the studies referenced in this article.

Book Review: French Kids Eat Everything (And Yours Can Too)

Do you fantasize about moving your entire family to France? I know I do. And Le Billon, a Canadian who married a French man, did just that and then wrote a memoir about it (I just started typing “momoir” which I have just discovered is an actual word that would also describe this book).

This book was a bit of a downer actually. In reality, being a foreigner is France is not always that great (I related to this because I have also spent a year living in France). France is culturally very different than Canada. Do they have a better food culture? Yes. I felt that this was the case before I read this book, and reading it confirmed it for me, while elucidating the methods whereby this food culture is promulgated.

At the end of the book Le Billon talks about her return to Canada and how certain aspects of French food culture were pretty much impossible to continue in Canada. Farmers markets and local produce are harder to come by and more expensive (although the French spend a higher percentage of their income on food than we do: check out this nifty diagram). French schools and workplaces are equipped with cafeterias with high quality food, and it would be unusual (and probably considered antisocial) for people to bring their own food from home and eat alone.

There are some food habits that Le Billon’s family picked up in France that they were able to continue in Canada. Some of these were: making time for sit down meals, making meals feel special (I liked the idea that tablecloths were used regularly and setting the table was part of setting the mood), not snacking in between meals, not feeding “kid’s food” to kids but having the whole family eat the same thing, and not using food as a reward or pacifier.

This book also had some tasty looking recipes. It was an interesting read, and like Bringing up Bebe, Parenting without Borders, and How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm, it is a good reminder that as authoritative as those BabyCenter emails or your mother-in-law sounds, the North American parenting way is not the only, and perhaps not even the best, way to parent your child.

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The Bumbo

I had an appointment with my baby’s nurse practitioner this week: always an unpleasant experience because she is always nitpicking issues about my seemingly healthy baby. So for several days afterwards I am worrying and trying to be hyper vigilant about the things she has criticized.

For example: RJ is six months old and doesn’t really sit up well. The NP suggested if I knew someone with a bumbo baby seat I could borrow it, or she told me that she used to prop her baby up in a laundry basket with a phone book (which I thought sounded kind of weird and unsafe). Today I started looking on kijiji for a bumbo, but after reading this really great article by a pediatrics physical therapist on why bumbos are NOT good for baby’s development, I am going to forget about tracking one down. And possibly going to try to find a different health care practitioner for my child who won’t give bad advice…