Tag Archives: dragonling 1.0

5 Ways Teething is Like Labor

Thus far, as a parent, I have never felt as helpless as when Dragonling started teething. All I could do was stand by and watch with feeble attempts at pain relief thrown in for good measure. I’ve never wanted to take away someone’s pain as much as during that time.

I think this may be how my husband felt when I was in labor and all he could do was be there for support, he couldn’t fix it and he couldn’t speed up the process.

I didn’t expect to be comparing the two situations 7 months down the road, but here I am. Teething and labor are a like in a few ways.

#1 – You don’t know when it’s going to start.

With teething, as with labor, no one knows exactly when it is going to start.  Doctors and other informed persons can give you a general timeline, but even experts cannot give you an exact start time.

This can cause a lot of stress for some people. You know… the type A kind. The ones who like to schedule their life. Completely.

Labor is a little easier to pin down, 9 months is pretty standard, but even then there are exceptions to the norm and, unless, you’re being induced or having a scheduled c-section you don’t know when it’s going to happen.

Teething is not quite so predictable.

According to BabyCenter.com, most babies get their first tooth when they are between 4 and 7 months old. That’s a pretty big time span. They then go on to say that some babies are late bloomers and could have to wait until after a year old to pop their first tooth. Still others, although quite rare, are born with a tooth!

#2 – You don’t know how long it will last.

For some women, labor is a very short, fast endeavor and for some it can last a few days. Teething is similar in that sometimes the tooth comes in days and sometimes it can take much, much longer.

Dragonling has been teething, off and on, for about 4 months with nothing to show.

This means that for 4 months no one has slept more than 3 hours at a time, we’re all a little (or a lot) crabby, and Momma and Papa are running out of methods for pain management that works. Which brings us to number three.

#3 – Pain management isn’t as easy as it sounds.

When a woman is in labor there are many different options for pain management. Some prefer to go all natural (no drugs), some want to be signed up for an epidural the moment they find out they’re pregnant, and there is a whole spectrum between the two. Even after choosing the type of pain management you want, there is no guarantee it will work.

That’s pretty much how teething works too.

Some parents want all natural pain relief. Some are all for dosing their child with pain medicine so that they are as comfortable as possible. And then there are a whole lot of us trying to find a workable balance between the two.

Since Dragonling started teething so early we only had one medicine option, acetaminophen, which we used sparingly.  Because our medical options were limited I went on a search for other methods we could employ at home. Some of the things we’ve tried include: teething toys, cold/frozen wash cloth, clove oil, teething gel (not Orajel), and teething tablets.

#4 – Everyone’s experience is different.

Try asking a room full of women what labor was like. None of them will give the exact same answer.

Then, try asking a room full of parents what teething was like for their children. Same problem.

Plus, not only will the answers be different they will vary by pregnancy and by child, respectively.

#5 – After it’s over you forget how bad it really was.

It’s pretty much common knowledge that women forget how bad labor was after they have children. (Yay hormones!) I mean, we’d have to forget or the human race would cease to exist, right?

I think the same must be true of teething because otherwise people would only have one child. I can’t completely attest to this point because we’re still in the throes of the worst, but it has to be true. (Please someone tell me it’s true…)





My Life is #MadeWithLove

So many things in my life have been #MadeWithLove it’s hard for me to even begin to talk about those that are most important to me. There are the objects that I have that were #MadeWithLove, of course, but there are also personal connections, family, and memories that were #MadeWithLove.

My kitchen is a mess

Growing up I was surrounded by people who took pride in creating things that were #MadeWithLove. My grandmother, my mother, and my aunts spent hours sewing and crafting things for gifts, craft fairs, and just for fun. They instilled in me the love of making things with my own hands and showing others the fun that can be had in creating things!

As I think back on all the things I have that were #MadeWithLove a few things stand out in my memory.

  • A doll cradle, #MadeWithLove by my grandfather filled with doll bedding #MadeWithLove by my grandmother. Definitely a favorite toy as a child and a wonderful keepsake that I can pass on to my children.
  • An afghan, #MadeWithLove by another grandmother for my childhood bedroom. It was various shades of pink with matching pillow. I loved it then and I still do. It was on my bed for years! Even now I it’s safely packed away for when I might be able to use it in my daughter’s room.

 iPhone 106

  • A quilt, #MadeWithLove by my mother. It was was assembled by my mother and then hand quilted by an older woman she knew. It also spent many years in my childhood bedroom and is now carefully stored for future use.

iPhone 104

Those are just a few of the things I have been given that were #MadeWithLove, but that’s really just the beginning of my life #MadeWithLove.

Love is the defining ingredient

I have a wonderful family that has been #MadeWithLove.

I was blessed with a large extended family with strong ties. My mother’s parents have been married 66 years, had eight children, and now have 24 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.  My father’s parents would have been married 57 years last September, had six children, and now have 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. All #MadeWithLove, giving me a wonderful example of unconditional love and acceptance.

Photo by Quattlebaum Photography

Photo by Quattlebaum Photography

My  husband and I have been married a little over a year. Our first child was born in July making us a family of three, #MadeWithLove. I thought I knew the definition of love when I married my husband, but our daughter has deepened the love I feel for my whole family.

The minute you were born IMG_0151

Since our daughter was born I have come to understand so much, but I have so much left to learn. One of the most important lessons so far is that I’m not perfect. I don’t have all the answers and I’m never going to, and that’s okay, because every minute of every day the things I do for my child are #MadeWithLove and that is what’s important.

I am a mother

 Along with the things they’ve given me and the unconditional love and acceptance they’ve modeled, my family instilled in me a love and deep appreciation for all things handmade. I greatly enjoy being able to give gifts to others that have been #MadeWithLove, because I feel it is easier to put meaning in something handmade than in something store bought .  I would love to be able to make all my gifts, but life is busy and time is short. Inevitably I do my best to find store bought items that are #MadeWithLove.


gDiapers is a company that truly understands that motherhood is #MadeWithLove.  They makes wonderful diapers that provide a balance between disposables and cloth.

In honor of their #MadeWithLove campaign, gDiapers is hosting a unique gift chain on Instagram. If you would like to take part in this gift chain, head over their Instagram post and join in the fun!

Along with the Instagram gift chain, there will also be an upcoming Twitter chat (date and time TBD) about how motherhood is #MadeWithLove. During the conversation there will be a chance for participants to win awesome prizes from gDiapers! (Don’t forget to subscribe to my blog, enter your email in the sidebar, so you don’t miss out on any of the details.)

Read more about  the #MadeWithLove campaign over on The American Mama, her post ‘Do Your Kids Think You Are an Imperfect Mother?’ is a great look into the little-talked about side of motherhood. It’s so easy to look at your actions as a mother and get discouraged because it’s impossible to do everything right.

Embrace the imperfect parts of your life, thrive on them. They are what make your life #MadeWithLove.

made with love pic


An Open Letter to My Mother (Now That I’m a Mother)

Dear Mom,

When I was still in high school, I recall a conversation where you said something like, ‘Someday you’ll realize I do know what I’m talking about and you’ll even call to ask my advice.’ Well, that time has officially come. There have been other times in the past that I have thought back on this conversation; like when I had to call to ask how to make baked potatoes, or for the last ingredient in your famous Rio Grande hot dish. (Yes, I called it a hot dish. My husband is silently celebrating right now. Silly Minnesotans.)

Now that I’m a mother I see many things in a different light.

I finally understand why you wanted us to clean the house before leaving for the weekend. There are few things that give me more anxiety than knowing that there are dirty dishes in the sink or a bag of garbage that didn’t get taken out  when I’m trying to enjoy a few days away.

Folded clothes sitting in piles on the couch, or even in a clothes basket, make me crazy. (Even if I don’t have time to put them away…)

That load of laundry that has been washed 3 times because I keep forgetting to switch it over… Yes, I know I used to forget, or sometimes deliberately not, move a load of laundry when it was on my chore list. I now understand your frustration.

There are a few things I still haven’t figured out though.

For instance, how in the world did you have enough energy to clean the house after we went to bed? I know you must have, and probably more often that I even noticed in my self-absorbed, teenage world.  You had four children, I can’t even muster the energy to do that with one!

Also, how did you have time to make us clothes. I have been trying for 7 months to make a wet bag and a few diapers for Dragonling. Finally, this week I have been able to cut out the wet bag and the cover of one diaper. Nothing is put together, I haven’t even cut out all the pieces of the diaper yet.  I mean, you made us matching Christmas outfits. How in the world did you find time to do that?

How did you have time to make things for all the multitude of craft shows that we attended? I was there. I mean, I know how you did it, I just can’t even begin to understand how to find that amount of time for myself.

When did you sleep?! You did sleep, didn’t you?

I’m amazed at all the things you did that I didn’t even notice at the time.

The clothes you washed for me when I was too busy with school activities to make time to do it myself. The dinner that was always in the oven when I got home from play practice. The family movie and game nights. Letting my friends and I hang out in the basement TV room without so much as a complaint about how many showed up, the mess we made, or how loud we were.

Thank you for being my mother. Thank you for all the things I never thanked you for growing up. (I will never begin to be able to think of them all…) Thank you for continuing to be there and for offering advice and support when I need it now.

Thank you.

I love you, and I can’t wait to share more of my adventures as a mother with you.

Your Daughter,

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In the First Six Months, I Have Learned…

One week ago marked six months of motherhood. Six glorious, sleep-deprived, challenging, beautiful months.

In the months of pregnancy people give you lots of advice, whether you want it or not. During that time, you take it all in stride and try to remember the big things while your pregnancy brain is trying to remember to put pants on before you leave for work.

Seriously, some days it was a miracle I got out the door fully clothed.

In the first six months of Drangonling’s life I have learned a plethora of things about myself, about parenting, and about children.

I have learned that despite my track record as a champion procrastinator, resulting in many nights of very little or no sleep in high school and college, I had NO IDEA what tired actually was.  In the first two weeks of Dragonling’s life, I very quickly learned that my previous understanding of exhausted would become my daily norm.  I now reserve “exhausted” for special occasions when I get less than 3 hours of sleep multiple days in a row.

I have learned that it is possible to function during the day without having completed a single REM cycle during the previous night. Not fun, but possible.

I have learned the art of napping during the day. Before Dragonling, I was always someone who rarely napped because when I did it ended up being three hours and I always had things I needed to do. I reserved naps for when I  had nothing that had to be done the rest of the day and when I was sick. Now, I’m just grateful for a few minutes of sleep when I can get them. These day naps are still irritating to me because I usually wake up feeling less rested than before but I still usually take them when I get a chance.

I have learned housework will always come second to baby snuggles.  A sink piled full of dishes, four loads of laundry to fold, and a vacuum collecting dust in the corner are just a few of the sights readily available to visitors in my home. I know as soon as we pass the ‘crawling’ milestone that vacuum will be used almost everyday, I wouldn’t want to wear it out too soon.

I have learned that you will have more beds/chairs for your child than you will for the rest of the family combined. I won’t even start counting the toys, how can one tiny person can amass so many things in such a short amount of time is amazing. Especially since they are just as happy playing with a pair of bright socks as a cute stuff toy that makes noise.

I have learned that my child’s bodily functions will be a regular part of at least one conversation my husband I have every day. Having a child will cure you of most discomfort about such topics. After six months, we could (and probably have) had such conversations while eating and not even bat an eye.

I have learned that cloth diapers really do contain the poo better. I find myself saying, after a blow out in a disposable, “If she had been in cloth that wouldn’t have happened.”

I have learned that lots of people think it’s weird that I use cloth diapers. I’m not exactly sure why they have this reaction. Cloth diapers have been around longer than disposables. Plus, with the trend towards sustainable living I’m surprised more people don’t use them. I don’t use cloth all the time but I definitely prefer it.

I have learned how to distinguish what my daughter needs by the sound of her cry. I know that is supposed to happen, but those first few weeks I was sure I would never figure it out. In those first few weeks all the cries sound the same, “Why aren’t you fixing this, you’re supposed to be the one to make it better!” Nothing makes you feel like a failure like a baby crying when you don’t know how to make it better.

I have learned that the sharpest object in the known universe are the slightly-too-long fingernails of an infant. They can peel your face off in mere seconds of tiny rage if her hands are too close to your cheek.

I have learned that fastening a snap, popping knees, squeaky floor boards, and refastening a nursing bra are all causes to wake the Dragonling. However, two cats racing through the house at top speed will not even cause a change in breathing. I will never understand…

The most important thing I have learned in the last six months is that nobody has all the answers. It doesn’t matter if they have one kid or seven, each one is different and will require a different tactic for each step of their development. They will still be happy to tell you what worked for them, even if you didn’t ask, but it does help to ask questions. Every parent has gone through the same major developmental stages, the details may be different but the big picture is generally the same. You never know who will have the right solution for you, maybe no one and then you’ll have to make your own solution but at least you are reaching out when there is the need.

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Today Brought to You by…

coffeeSo recently Dragonling 1.0 has not been sleeping well. Not falling asleep easily, doesn’t want to be put down, and not staying asleep long. Obviously this makes for a tired, crabby baby in the morning. It also makes a tired and crabby Mommy and Daddy…

Last night was the pinnacle, I hope, of bad sleep in recent memory.

Yesterday she hardly napped. A couple little 20 minute cat naps throughout the day, but nothing that would even come close to a quality sleeping experience. By the time Papa Dragon came home I was ready to hand off Dragonling for some father/daughter time.

The night started off like a normal night.

Around 6:00 PM we got out some squash and bananas for Dragonling’s supper. She ate well and seemed to be feeling pretty good but was pretty tired.

I’m sure the unusual burst of fresh air had something to do with that, however in January Iowans don’t turn down outdoor time when the weather is nice. We need all the Vitamin D we can get!

After she ate it was time for pjs and Momma snuggles while nursing. She fell asleep quickly and I laid her in her crib around 7:30 PM.

Like normal, she woke up about an hour later for the rest of her evening snack, but this time she would not go back to sleep.

Now, we have just started some sleep training in an attempt to get her to sleep better through the night. Our plan has been to try to lay her down still partially awake so she can learn to self-soothe herself to sleep the rest of the way.

We are also transitioning from a Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play to her crib. We might be insane.

Because we have a couple major changes going on at once our plan is to take things very gradually. So, for the time being, the goal is get her laid down in her crib, drowsy the first time she goes to bed each night. The second time she’s ready to go down, we will attempt to lay her in the crib while drowsy but limit the attempt to no more than a 30 minutes. After 30 minutes we will just lay her back in the Rock ‘N Play.

It seems good in theory, and in practice it worked yesterday…

Today, not so much.

It took me three hours to get her back to sleep and laid down.

Three hours.

Three. Hours.


During those three hours I nursed her twice (the first because she was hungry and the second was just for comfort), I changed her diaper, I rocked her, I walked with her, and every time I tried to lay her down she woke up the instant her head hit the bed. Screaming.

There was no build up. Just screaming.

Finally, after the second feeding she dozed off and I was able to put her down. I quickly jumped into bed also, because I knew that she would more than likely be up at least one more time before morning. (Actual morning, like 7:00 AM, not this 5:00 AM business.)

By this time it was about midnight.

At 2:30 AM she was up again.

Again she ate. Again she woke up the instant her head hit the bed. I tried, unsuccessfully, for 45 minutes to get her to sleep before I called in reinforcements.

Papa Dragon came in and got the Dragonling calmed down and, once again, tried to lay her down.

Instant. Screaming.

So I nursed her again.

Asleep. Dead asleep in less than 5 minutes.

I laid her down (4:00 AM) and again I slept.

At 6:30 AM she was up again, but this time I just had to nurse her and lay her in the bed next to me and she was out.

One more hour. I got one more hour.

At 7:30 AM she was up and ready for the day… I was not.

Thank God for Keurig machines and coffee. Copious amounts of coffee.


Oh, and did I mention she got her 6 month vaccine shots today…