Tuesday, February 8, 2011

True Blessings: White Noise and Grandparents

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
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When I first started thinking about my parenting essentials I was sure I didn't really have any. And then I realized I had too many! How to keep this short and simple? Well not sure, but I will try.

I cannot imagine parenting without....

baby-dose sleeping pills.

That was totally a {bad} joke. But I did make that joke with a point. I think most, if not all, my essentials revolve around sleep. I love sleeping. One of the hardest adjustments I had when I first became a mother was to get used to the lack of sleep. Before my life became about babies, I slept at least 9 hours at night, and sometimes I would even have a wee cat nap in the afternoon. On weekends we would sleep in until 10am or so and then start our day well-rested.

Oh My God. The memories.

But seriously, I don't dwell on it too much because giving up uninterrupted sleep is a small price to pay for the beautiful children I get to hug and cuddle.

But I do have some things that have come in handy to help maximize that precious sleep I do get. I will now chat about my favorite of these.

The most annoying and frustrating thing I discovered early on was that sometimes babies have super sensitive ears and wake up at the slightest sound. Maddie was like that. After being rocked to the point of deep sleep, we would lay her down and tip-toe out of the room. But living in an old house always meant that the floorboards would crack or the door would clank or even the sound of your feet making their way out the door would rouse her. And it would be over.

I didn't put up with this for long. Initially I tried playing a CD. But that didn't quite work. Then we tried a fan. Didn't work. Finally I came across my most treasured and loved possession: The Marpac Sleep Mate. People, this is awesome. It's a white noise machine that is discreet, yet effective. It uses simple technology so it lasts forever. And best of all, it helps babies and children sensitive to noise sleep through almost anything: neighbor mowing the lawn right at nap time? Yep. Snow plows going by in the middle of the night? Yep. Dishwasher going after bedtime? Yep. Parents coming up to bed on creaky stairs? Yep.

I'm sure fire alarms and big banging noises in their rooms would probably not be masked, but then again you probably wouldn't want them to sleep through something like that. 

And if you're wondering if the white noise impedes with you hearing baby calling out at night, then don't worry. The noise created by the sleep mate does not hide any noises they make. I can hear even the slightest whimper from their rooms at night.

We love this thing so much that we bought a second one just before Isaac joined our family. We used it in our room when he was co-sleeping with us to help mask some of the noise we made when we would come up to bed at night, or if we had to get up to go to the bathroom, or cough, or roll over in bed. It was really handy. And now that he's in his own room, it's moved in there with him.

I'm sure Maddie could probably sleep OK without it now, but we still use it as some nights Isaac wakes up crying quite loudly and we don't want to disrupt her. Another good thing about this is that it has 2 settings. One creates a bit more white noise and the lower setting is a bit more toned down. Maddie is on the lower setting so she is slowly getting used to having it less.

If I could afford to, I would buy one as a baby shower present for all my mom-to-be friends! Although it's not super expensive, considering the range of baby items out there. I have seen it on sale for as low as $40 but typically it ranges from $50-70.

But it's totally worth the price in my honest opinion (and no, I am not getting paid to say any of this! It's all tried, tested and true!).

Well that's my bit about my favorite product.

But for a topic like this I just cannot end without mentioning the blessing that grandparents are. I truly cannot imagine parenting without the support of my parents. They have been with us through thick and thin. They speak to the kiddos in Spanish, and have singlehandedly made them bilingual (I'd like to take credit but sadly I rarely speak to them in Spanish, something I am working on constantly). My mom helps me out so much that I honestly shudder to think what life will be like when we move away (she is going to have to come with me, no ifs ands or buts!). She looked after Maddie when I went back to work. And now that I am home full time, she still comes over to play with them a couple days a week to allow me some time to do stuff. On Sundays the kiddos go over to their house for a couple hours in the morning so Ken and I can deep-clean the house kid-free (makes it so much safer and faster!!!). And if Ken's on call my mom will sometimes come over and help me out with bedtime stuff. Not only does she help out with the kiddos but she's also full of emotional support and a wealth of information on things from how to treat a belly ache to acupressure points that help relax wound-up babies. 

I am spoiled. Truly and utterly spoiled!

But also, the kiddos are super lucky to have their grandparents be so involved in their lives. I just love that this is the way it has worked out in our family and I cherish all the memories and bonds my kiddos are making.

A topic that at first I thought I wouldn't have enough to say has proven to be one that I could write forever about. But I won't. I will leave it at that. My hodge podge of essentials: my white noise machine that helps everyone in my house sleep better and my amazing parents.

I love being a mom and I am sure this amazing journey will continue to amaze me and fill me with joy and I will continue to discover more essentials along the way.


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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things's relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can't imagine parenting without her husband's sense of humor - he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can't imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs "me time" in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer's Daughter doesn't appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn't imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It's More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can't imagine parenting without her breasts; here's why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family's needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama's next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn't even know you needed (and probably don't…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn't survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it's afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren't things at all.
  • I'm No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without...Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can't imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it's not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn't easy at first, Knocked Up - Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can't live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What "stuff" does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I'm a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship...and made life easier to boot.
  • It's Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can't imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin' Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us...
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter's perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles - come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.

8 comments:

  1. Kieran is the same as Maddie - he used to wake up if we made *any* noise after getting him to sleep. I think his stage 1 sleep was abnormally long . . . or something. It's gotten better though, or I've gotten better at reading when he's deep enough down to tiptoe away from.

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  2. I love our white noise machine!!! When Mikko was a newborn, we got the Happiest Baby on the Block CD out of the library — it has about 5 white noise tracks. We made a copy and played that thing NON-STOP.

    Then we were visiting family, and my sister-in-law was donating her daughter's outgrown white noise machine to Goodwill and asked if we wanted to have it. Heck, yes! Since we cosleep, it's seriously to the point that Sam and I can't sleep without it. :)

    Your parents sound amazing — I love hearing about that kind of intergenerational support!

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  3. That white noise machine sounds awesome! We did the fan thing and it worked okay. I wish I would have known! And the idea of giving a white noise machine as a gift is a good one-- at least telling new moms about it is a great idea!

    How lucky to have grandparents close by who are involved in the kids' lives. Such a blessing.

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  4. We have an air cleaner in our room that acts just like an air cleaner. My husband complains if I switch it off and forget to turn it back on, so it's not only babies that benefit from the white noise. :)

    And lucky you to have grandparents nearby! Ours are both too far away to help out, and I miss the help and the relationship the girls could have with them if they were closer.

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  5. I've never heard of the white noise machine - man I could have done with one of those! Why is it some people's kids sleep through everything and ours are wired to wake at the slightest sound! Sounds like you have awesome parents, I love that you appreciate them so much. Thanks for a lovely post.

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  6. I like the idea of the white noise machine!

    I also don't know what I'd do without grandparents. For the first year+ of Peanut's life, we lived in my in-law's basement. This meant I could actually shower once and a while and it was a blessing. It was bittersweet to move into our own house.

    Now, I'm going to school part-time and my parents and my in-laws take turns watching Peanut. I am so lucky that they are willing and able to do this because it helps me to be able to go to school, but still trust that Peanut is safe and happy.

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  7. Ella sleeps with both a sound machine and a fan on in her room, and Ben and I sleep with a very loud fan on - we all are hooked on white noise! When we travel, I have an iPhone white noise app that is simply necessary!! But you're right, Ella makes one peep and I hear her (I think it may also be due to supersonic mama-hearing!)

    As for having grandparents around, oh how I wish we lived closer to my family. I grew up just 1/8 mile from my grandparents and it was wonderful - a part of my life that I wouldn't trade for the world. Someday I hope we can move closer to them (right now we are an airplane ride away). That is sooo wonderful yours are so close and involved in such a positive way!

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