Sleep scams

Can we all please just cut the bologna and admit that – there is just no easy way of getting a child to sleep until they’re old enough to appreciate bribery?

All those books – LIES!! They’re praying on the weak and sleep deprived parents! Sound machines, music boxes, etc etc – they make you sleepy more than they affect the child! Oh and – mobiles for babies? By the time their vision is good enough to see the thing – it’s considered a hazard and you have to remove it! My 3 week old slept through the fire alarm! You seriously think that Mozart tune is doing something?

I thought – it shouldn’t be this hard! Modern society is imposing non-biological standards of making kids sleep separately, creating extra stress, anxiety, yada yada… I figured – if I go back to basics, I’ll be smarter. Pre-literate societies had to put their babies to sleep, so there must be a way that doesn’t require reading all those books (which I have read, by the way, and tried, and don’t feel like trying anymore!)

So with my second one – we co-sleep and I have no problem nursing him to sleep, because yes – his bed time lines up with when I’m exhausted and don’t mind having to lie with him for a while. I had no problem until he got top and bottom sets of teeth! And now he’s looking for a more substantial snack, and my screams from pain apparently don’t help him fall asleep… So I’ve hit a wall with my super clever tactics.

Even before this experience I felt like the whole sleep training business was a scam – because you’re basically just going from one “crisis” to another, and they have all these proper behavioral science terms for them – you see, they’re these developmental stages that prevent them from sleeping well..

Basically – it is expected that your child will be difficult to put to sleep anytime they have a developmental leap – learning to roll over, learning to sit, crawl, stand up, and walk. That usually happens in the first year. That’s 5 times, let’s say it takes you about a week to get back on your sleeping track. That’s 5 weeks out of 52.

Teething. Some babies make it to their 1st birthday with no teeth, but usually you’ll have at least 12 by their first birthday. Lets say each tooth is a 3 day ordeal, that’s about right? so – that’s over a month of sleep lost just to teething.

Heaven forbid you travel with your baby, because that’s going to throw off all your sleep training as well, any time zone change, seeing family overseas… Daylight savings will affect your baby too. So – that’s almost 2 weeks out of the year (as it happens twice) just for daylight savings time. You will have holidays and trips, let’s just throw another 2 weeks for good measure.

So that’s now 3 months out of 12 of guaranteed bad sleep. Also – any time your baby gets shots, which is like 2 or 3 times I think? Let’s round that up to just one week total. When your baby has physical growth spurts their sleep gets affected too, they have two or three of those within the first year, so – that’s another week.

The average child gets around 10 colds a year. Let’s say you’re a super careful parent, your kid doesn’t go to daycare and you make everyone wash their hands and your kid gets sick only 5 times. Maybe you’ll have 2-3 sleepless nights each time due to stuffy noses, etc, which amounts to 2 weeks in that first year.

4 months, best case scenario. That’s one third of their first year of life that they have some kind of stuff going on when they will not be sleeping well. And no matter what kind of magic voodoo stuff you do, unless it consists of rocking, nursing/feeding and holding – it ain’t gonna work! That baby will be crying his or her little head off!

And any sleep training method that you do, aside from crying-it-out which we will not consider here and don’t need to talk about any further at this point – will tell you that after each of the events mentioned above it is normal for the baby to have a sleep regression and for you to have to do the training AGAIN. That’s about one to two weeks of active sleep training for you to get back to “normal”. But – how is it normal if over half of the year your baby isn’t sleeping well?!?!? Am I missing something here????

So, we know that infants sleep best next to mom for a multitude of reasons, it is also the more natural configuration. Can we get some research about 6-12 month olds? 1 year olds? Toddlers? What’s more natural there? What did our ancestors used to do? Considering that in some countries maternity leave lasts for 3 years – I’m gonna guess they used to prioritize the child and not their own sleep.. So I guess I’ve got some rocking, and holding and sitting coming up for the next year and a half.

And yes – I totally regret every bit of sleep training that we did with Niko. If I could take it all back, and instead I would have to lay next to him for 1-2 hours every night for him to go to sleep, and keep him in our bed – I would. Absolutely. Not even a question. Wish I had…

Niko’s birthday

Before we get too far down the road, let me share with you some of the details from Niko’s party!


Dear friend, thank you for sharing this photo!

All decorations – I got on amazon, of course. I used evite for the guest list, you can send a link directly to people, doesn’t have to be just through the site, and you’ll still be able to receive their reply. Also – you can link it to the amazon wishlist, but apparently it will not be set to ship to your address by default – which I didn’t know right away.

And as for the cupcakes:

As you can see – I’m not a pro and I learned the piping stuff as I went.

I used this recipe from a blog that I found: (copying the text so I can find it later too =)

Banana Cupcakes with Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

yield: 18 CUPCAKES

prep time: 30 MINUTES



The ultimate trio of your favorite flavors! Super-moist banana chocolate chip cupcakes topped with milk chocolate and peanut butter swirled frosting.



  • ½ cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • ½ cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 and ½ cups mashed banana (about 3 large very ripe bananas)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (careful not to overmeasure)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (120ml) buttermilk1
  • 1 cup (180g) mini or regular semi-sweet chocolate chips


  • 1 and 3/4 cups (210g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup (21g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or half-and-half2
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • salt, to taste


  • 3/4 cup (185g) creamy peanut butter
  • 4 Tablespoons (60g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (90g) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) heavy cream or half-and-half2


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two 12-count muffin pans with 18 cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Make the cupcakes: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together in a large bowl on medium speed until creamed. About 2-3 minutes. With the mixer running on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the mashed bananas and vanilla, beating on low speed for about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 additions, stirring by hand after each addition.  Add the milk and stir until combined.  The batter will be lumpy.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon the batter evenly into 18 cupcake liners. Fill the unused cups one-third full with water to prevent warping. Bake each batch for 17-19 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  5. Make the chocolate frosting: sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy – about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Once all added, beat on high speed until creamy and combined for at least 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  6. Make the peanut butter frosting: With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the peanut butter and butter on medium speed until creamy and completely smooth – about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Mix on medium until combined. Add the cream and mix on high until creamy, at least 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet.
  7. Frost cooled cupcakes with a knife or with a piping bag/tip. If you’d like to just make 1 kind of frosting and not both, make sure you double the frosting recipe of your choice to make sure there is enough for all cupcakes. To swirl the two frostings like I did, here is how I made the swirl frosting. There may be leftover frosting depending how much you use on each cupcake. Decorate with banana slices and/or more chocolate chips if desired. Store cupcakes in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refrigerator up to 5.
  8. Make ahead tip: Prepare cupcakes and frosting 1 day in advance. Keep cupcakes covered tightly at room temperature and the frosting covered tightly in the refrigerator. Unfrosted cupcakes can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before frosting and serving.

And I also made a batch of non-chocolate cupcakes because apparently there are people in this world that don’t like chocolate, and they turned out to be a bigger hit than the banana chocolate ones!

I tried to shortcut to the max, and I used this recipe for the actual cake part adding in some extra lemon juice because it didn’t seem like it had enough to me, and this recipe for the frosting.  They were eaten too fast for me to get a picture!

Oh, and I bet you didn’t know – you can order a pinata and the candy to fill it with – on Amazon as well!

Monday update

Round 5 of chemo done. And we are home a day early – because we started a day early since we had scans last week and didn’t want to be going back and forth.

This time was significantly better than last time in terms of vomiting. And I’ll take every win we can get. His scans showed “mixed” progress, and what does that mean exactly – we should find out tomorrow, after his case is presented at the “Tumor board” at UCSF.  That’s when we’ll know what’s next, and what’s further down the road.

We are still opening birthday presents and sending out our thanks! =)

For now we are home, being goofy, and hopefully soon we will start cooking up things per Niko’s requests (he’s not very hungry yet).


Monday update

First off – Niko’s birthday was so perfect!! Just wanted to again say an enormous thank you to everyone that took part!! And even though there was no real trained monkey, or man in yellow suit, or someone dressed as Postman Pat delivering all his gifts, or a real firetruck taking him around the block (yes, I seriously entertained all of those ideas and then some) – I don’t think he could have had a better day!

Unfortunately – all that just makes this week that much harder. He’s got new scans on Wednesday. And if before I was confident and looking forward to seeing progress – now I’m queasy and increasingly stressed out…
And then the scans are going to turn into his next round of chemo – we asked for it to be moved up a day so we aren’t going back and forth… If last time was any indication – he will be miserable for at least a week after.. :( and this time we are also doing something different – Luka is getting bigger and harder to contain in a tiny room, and he won’t be allowed in the hospital when Niko is recovering from his transplant (which is expected to be about 6 weeks) so – Luka is staying home, at least for the most part. And I will be coming home at night, and going back in the morning.
Which means that for the next week (and then for those 6 weeks) every minute of every day I will be actively choosing one child over the other… And I don’t really know how to do that.. :( it’s like – if you could only have one – heart or lungs – which one would you take? There’s no right answer… Also doesn’t help that he is teething and has some serious separation anxiety.

Besides all that – Niko is doing great! He has a job now – he is a responsible, full grown 3 year old adult after all. Today was his first day. He gets to sort the silverware from the dishwasher into the drawer. And for his first day, his performance was remarkable! ;)

August 15th

This week I cried at the Disney Store… It wasn’t like an hour long sob fest, but it also wasn’t a little tear I could easily hide..  Guess I can’t go to that place anymore. At least for a while.. Because even when Niko is not neutropenic – I don’t want to bring him there and have other people wonder about the Broviac dressing sticking out of his shirt.. Or you know – the obvious at this point lack of hair and eye lashes…
And it also fills me with fear – fear of stories he might not get to hear and like and enjoy. It encompasses the purest joy of my childhood for me – and the thought that I might not get to pass that on to him is what makes me queasy.

During our first hospitalization I set up little milestones in my mind. The first one was coming home all together. The second one was making it to his birthday. And now here we are!!! I don’t think any birthday ever has meant this much to me. And every birthday after will be increasingly more special. The next milestone is Christmas… The point of the milestones to me is “if we make it that far, we’ll be alright”. And for now – that’s how we are. We are alright.

3 months ago exactly we were all in the car, driving down to the hospital, not knowing what to expect… Definitely not expecting what happened.. But now – we are alright! And tomorrow – I hope he has a wonderful day. I know he won’t remember it when he’s like.. 20, 35, etc. But if he enjoys it just tomorrow – that will already be fantastic. And such a big thank you to everyone that is helping us make it special. I know it’s probably more for me than for him, and in any case – I really really appreciate and cherish it all!

From the very beginning, for some reason, I knew and felt that – he didn’t belong to me, he belonged to the world, and I have to share him and prepare him for what lies ahead… I don’t know, is that crazy?

The cupcakes are showing promise btw, thank you all so much to those that offered help! :) stay tuned for the final result!
And I have to be up at 6am tomorrow because I’m sure no one else wants to be on balloon duty. :)
So – just wanted to return some love back to the universe. So many people have been so incredibly wonderful!

Our little monkey is now 3!! What a big world of awesome toys has opened up to him! I seriously feel for that poor little baby that’s 0-3 and all the cool toys say he can’t play with them!