Viewing posts from April, 2016

How I got both babies to sleep through the night- Tips and Tricks

Ever since my babies were three months old I got them to successfully sleep in their cribs through the night. Unless they are ill or teething, both of them will gladly sleep a full night without waking up. I remember when I was a kid I would gladly sleep up to 13 hours a night. I don't get as much sleep as I would like now, but I'm just so glad that at least the kiddos do. Maybe it's a genetic thing that they inherited from me? I don't know, but I'm definitely not complaining. 

During the first three months, however, I got my @$$ handed to me. They killed me. I was chronically exhausted. I would go days without sleep. 

When Valentino was a newborn he had his days and nights mixed up. This meant that I was up through the night from 11pm until 8am attempting to soothe him while he screamed and cried for hours and hours. It took over two months to get Valentino to sleep through the night.  

It took a lot of time and patience to fix his day and night mix up. This is what helped when he was a newborn:

  • Not letting him nap after 6pm
  • At 10pm give him a bath with lavendar baby wash
  • At 11pm give a full bottle of formula. I would make sure to change him before feeding him because he would sometimes fall asleep while drinking from the bottle. 
  • When he falls asleep while drinking from the bottle, I will take him to the crib, hold him, and VERY SLOWLY put him down on his back in the crib. I would keep my upper body against his for a few minutes after I put him in his crib (this was very uncomfortable for me, to try to make him feel like I was still holding him even when he was laying down) It's all about the warmth of your body. They like that. 
  • I actually wouldn't swaddle. I found that falling asleep in my arms and then very slowly putting baby in the crib was better than waking baby up to get a perfect swaddle.
  • Sometimes he would wake up after 10 minutes, and sometimes after 2 hours. I would get up from my bed EVERY time I heard him cry and do it all over again (change him, bottle, and SLOWLY put him in crib once he fell asleep) 
  • I would NOT bring him to sleep in our bed. Even if it meant getting up every 20 minutes to get him content again. I also wouldn't let him cry for more than ten minutes. This meant that most nights I was lucky to get a full hour of sleep. 

So I did all this every night for about two months. Hubby would help me on weekends, but on weekdays I wouldn't let him so that he could be alert during the day to work. After 2 months of doing this every day we finally got him to sleep through the night. When Caspian was born he gave me less trouble than Valentino. He knew that nights were for sleeping, but I would still wake up every 2 to 3 hours for feedings. For about a week I co slept with Caspian, but that was because he had surgery when he was a newborn and I wanted to constantly check on his breathing after the surgery. Other than that, I made sure both kids slept in their own cribs every night. 

Before being pregnant I was a big advocate of co sleeping and I wanted all the benefits like attachment and bonding that it comes with. However, I changed my mind because I wanted them to get used to sleeping by themselves in their own cribs. Babies are creatures of habit. I didn't want them to get used to sleeping in our bed because then they will probably still want to do that when they are 12 years old, and that just wouldn't work for us. Sorry kiddos. 

Even though my kids are heavy sleepers for the most part, once in a while they will throw a big tantrum or wake up through the night if something is bothering them- like a bad tummy or teething issues. When this happens I will get a little help from technology. Don't judge me:

  • I would turn on the iPad, put on peppa pig on youtube and fast forward it to the last 15 minutes of the cartoon. I turn off the lights, close their door and leave. The iPad is on a shelf directly opposite of their cribs so they just sit in their crib and enjoy some cartoons and then by the time the cartoon is over they will always be content and fall back asleep. 
  • Caspian has this thing (I don't know what it's called) that plays music and has glowing lights that we hang from his crib. It fascinates him, and after 15 to 20 minutes it stops playing. Once it stops he will fall back asleep.

how to get baby to sleep alone in crib

One of the biggest reasons I originally wanted to co-sleep with my babies was because studies have shown that doing so decreases the risk of SIDS by nearly half! So because I am super paranoid I got this special kind of monitor to alleviate my fears.

It comes with a sensor pad that you put under your baby's mattress that detects if baby has stopped moving/breathing. Does it prevent SIDS? Probably not, but it does makes me feel a bit better about not being right next to my baby all night. 

There's this new monitor that didn't exist when my kids were infants that I recently found out about. It's this slipper that you put on your baby's foot and it monitors your baby's vitals and alerts you if baby stops breathing. Had it existed only a few years ago I would have definitely used it.

We also have baby cams in each of their rooms so that we can constantly check on them without waking them up.

And no, this isn't a sponsored post :) 

Because I had gotten both babies used to sleeping in their own cribs when they were infants, they now associate sleep time with their own cribs and being by themselves. A few months ago when Valentino got sick with the flu, I tried to have him sleep in our bed so that I could make sure he continued breathing through the night (because, you know, I'm kind of paranoid). All throughout the night he wouldn't sleep, kept tossing and turning, and couldn't seem to find a comfortable position. So in the middle of the night I took him back to his crib, and as soon as I put him down he put his head on his pillow and just fell asleep. Ya, just like that! I couldn't believe it! He actually prefers to sleep alone! What?!??

So my single best piece of advice for getting your baby used to sleeping in their own cribs is: START EARLY. If you co-sleep until your baby becomes a toddler and then you want to transition them into sleeping in their own beds, be prepared for a long difficult battle. But then again, I hate offering unsolicited advice, so really though, do your own thing. 

Anyways, when it comes to parenting styles, people have so many strong opinions on the best way to do things. These were just some tips based on what has worked for me, but every kid and family is different. Do what works for you. 

On 31

Last weekend I turned 31. I've only just started to wrap my head around turning 30! How does time fly by so fast? I don't understand!?!?!!

What I want for my birthday is more TIME. Time is a luxury. Time is money. I'm constantly running short of it. 

One thing I've learned about time, is that it doesn't wait for you. It doesn't wait for you to get your $h!t together. it doesn't care if you're ready or not. It just soldiers on.  

So while I cannot make a day 26 hours, I can work on prioritizing my time. That is my birthday gift to me.

leila rahmanian

We celebrated at Flemings, Morton's, and Cafe Renaissance. They all did special things for my birthday. Flemings gave a box of truffles with a $25 gift card and a picture of us. Morton's gave a picture of us and a free dessert (which we just gave to the kids), and Cafe Renaissance / my parents, gave a bouquet of flowers, balloons and a Ketogenic friendly sugar free jello birthday cake. Hubby took me on a shopping spree and splurged on nice clothes. Hubby also watched the kids so that I could shower for as long as I wanted (one whole hour!!!!) Overall, it was a great birthday and I was definitely spoiled. 

cafe renaissance vienna va

cafe renaissance vienna va

Non candy Easter Basket Ideas for Toddlers

Making Easter baskets for the kids is as fun for me as it is for them opening it. When I'm putting gifts together and wrapping up presents I am in my element. Because our kids are toddlers, we didn't want any candy in their Easter baskets. I don't think I will ever put candy in their Easter baskets. I'm that mom who hands out toothbrushes for Halloween and considers fruit a dessert. The kiddos may hate me as they get older, but at least they won't get cavities :)  

As Easter was fast approaching I was thinking about how to make their Easter baskets and searching the web for ideas. I really couldn't find a single basket to give me inspiration. I looked through stores and couldn't stand those ready made Easter baskets in filled with candy, wrapped in plastic and look cheap... or the overpriced customized pottery barn baskets. What to do!  

So last minute I went to some stores to collect some Easter goodies. 

Some basket stuffers I got:

  • Toddler friendly board books
  • Bunny ears
  • Stickers
  • Peppa Pig little figurines
  • Stuffed animal bunnies
  • Plastic eggs

Other toddler friendly and non candy Easter basket stuffer ideas:

  • Crayons, colored pencils, markers
  • Paint
  • Craft supplies
  • Puzzles
  • Kaleidoscope
  • Legos
  • Coloring books
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Fun rain boots
  • Sunglasses
  • Bath toys
  • Mini cars 
  • Little play figurines
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Hats
  • Clothes
  • Barbies or Superheroes
  • Pinwheels
  • Slinky
  • Yoyo
  • Shoes
  • Bubbles
  • Fun bandaids
  • Play dough
  • Silly putty
  • Eggs stuffed with small toys
  • Eggs stuffed with Cheerios
  • Frizbee
  • Pajamas
  • Jump rope
  • Fun socks
  • Stuffed animals
  • Board games

non candy easter basket ideas toddlers

non candy easter basket ideas for toddlers 

non candy easter basket ideas

Instead of filling the plastic eggs with candy, I cut up some stickers and stuffed the eggs with fake grass and stickers. If sugar weren't the devil I would have filled them instead with jelly beans, m&ms and those pretty mini chocolate eggs. Then I would have stolen them from the kids and ate them all whilst hiding in the closet. Sigh. 

stuffed easter egg ideas non candy

All in all these baskets pretty much cost me nothing. I purchased everything from Giant and Walmart, and they still turned out looking fabulous! 

To prettify the baskets I wrapped them up in mesh. It is just all about the presentation to me. I have buckets and buckets filled with mesh, wired ribbons, tulle, wrapping paper, tissue paper and all types of gift wrapping necessities. Slightly obsessed. Just slightly. 

decorating easter basket ideas tulle mesh pretty

easter basket and cupcakes ideas

pretty easter baskets ideas

pretty easter basket ideas

Another fun idea that can work instead of making an Easter basket is to put together an Easter box. Just prettify the box with mesh or tulle, add some colorful ribbons and you're good to go. 

easter basket mesh presents wrapping

How cute are these Easter boxes??!! 

easter basket ideas

easter box basket how to

easter box basket

Easter Fun

Happy Easter everyone! This year we celebrated Easter with a family brunch at Flemings, opening Easter baskets and a visit from out of town friends! 

easter brunch flemings tysons va

Why is that toddlers never look at the camera when you want them to? Staring at the bread basket instead.

matching toddler suits easter brothers

Dressed in their Easter best. They are so handsome they melt my heart. If only I could capture a smile.....

There we go! Just waiting patiently for his steak.

So the Easter bunny paid us a visit. They had a great time opening their Easter baskets. 

opening easter baskets boys toddler ideas

boy easter basket ideas pretty easter baskets

boy easter basket ideas toddler

boy toddler easter basket ideas no sugar

toddler boy easter basket ideas no sugar

So much fun stuff they don't even know what to do with themselves!! 

toddler boy easter basket ideas no sugar

Valentino collected some Easter eggs at his school egg hunt. He was super excited to open them and collect a bunch of little surprises.

easter eggs in easter basket stuffed eggs toddler ideas

easter eggs stuffed basket toddler ideas

Our Persian New Year (Norooz) 2016

Every year we celebrate the Persian New Year, or Norooz, on the first day of Spring. I have no idea what year it is in Iran, but celebrating 2016 again is good enough for me. 

We set up this table called the "haft seen" that translates to "7 S's". We put things on it that start with the letter S that symbolize the coming of Spring and all sorts of good stuff. 

This year we made 2 haft seens, a grown up one and a toddler-proof one so Valentino and Caspian could feel part of it and hopefully learn something. 

Norooz haft seen persian new year table spread

Happy Norooz to all our family and friends (we are so late on this....oops) We love you all and send you good wishes.

norooz haft seen persian new year table spread 

persian new year haft seen tablescape spring

persian new year table spread haft seen 7 S

family picture persian new year haft seen

norooz haft seen persian new year table spread

persian new year

Ringing in the New Year at Cafe Renaissance. I love this place. 

Also- check out what Valentino made.......

His very own sabzeh! He watered it every day too!

toddler haft seen children sabzeh

He also made his own eggs at school! Caspian was a bit too small to make anything for their haft seen, but maybe next year! 

toddler haft seen child

Valentino's sabzeh! Ok it was kind of a bust, but we love it anyway.

child sabzeh toddler norooz children

Instead of putting any religious book on our haft seen we opted for poetry books, like this tiny antique one we found in a book store in London. How cute is this? It's a story from the book of kings, or Shahnameh, by Ferdowsi. On the adult haft seen we put the poetry book Divan by Hafez. We named both kids's middle names after these two poets (Valentino's middle name is Hafez and Caspian's middle name is Ferdowsi). 

divan of hafez poetry norooz persian new year

Wishing everyone a happy healthy and wealthy New Year!