A Guilt-Free Thanksgiving

I will never forget the year that our family discovered the very popular green bean casserole.  I think I ate five helpings (maybe more) and was stuck on the couch for the rest of the night.  I’m sure the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, stuffing, and pies didn’t help either.  Or maybe it was all of the cheese and olives that I ate before dinner.  I really don’t like that overly stuffed feeling and I certainly don’t care for the aftertaste of antacid tablets. And who wants to feel guilty about consuming thousands of calories in just a few hours?  Let’s face it, we say it’s just one day but come Friday afternoon, very few things taste better than a leftover turkey sandwich. Before you know it, it’s time for the next holiday and this time you have a counter full of cookies eyeing you down from across the room.

So here are some tips that I plan on using this Thanksgiving:

– Don’t stand or sit by the appetizers.  Take a few and walk away.  It’s ok to return a couple of times.
– Before you dig into the main course, take a deep breath, and remind yourself to go slow and actually taste the food!
– If you’re anything like me, your favorite part of dinner is the gravy and you take it personally when people mess it up.  With that being said, don’t pour it over everything.  You can always put it on a side plate and dip your food into it.
– Workout in the morning.  You will feel like you earned your rights to Thanksgiving.  While your at it, bring your sneaks and be sure to take a walk after dinner or before dessert.  Despite all of the tryptophan that is running through your veins, the couch is not your friend.
– When it comes time for dessert, it’s ok to make a mini sample plate.  If you love pumpkin, apple, and cherry pie and can’t say “no thanks” to the pumpkin roll either, then have a sliver of each. Keyword being “sliver”.
– Take your time while eating.  Give yourself about 5-10 minutes before going in for round two.
– Stay hydrated and limit your beverages to water.  Don’t fill up on empty calories from pop or beer.  It’s not worth it!
– Don’t let your mother talk you into taking home all of the leftovers.  Bring a tupperware ahead of time and allow yourself to fill it and nothing else.  Remind yourself that having it the first day is satisfying. Anything you eat after this day is probably because you feel bad that there is so much in your fridge and you don’t want to throw it away.

Above all, enjoy time with family and friends. I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!



To Cry or Not to Cry…

When my pediatrician told me to let our 6 month old cry for 20 minutes before picking her up, I told him it was going to be tough.  On the car ride home, I silently questioned whether our bedtime rituals were creating what some people consider to be bad habits.  My husband and I had been battling with letting her cry it out for a very long time. I kept wondering–is it healthy for the baby? Is it healthy for us?  What about everything I read on having to begin the process all over again if the normal bed time routine gets disrupted?

At seven months, she usually sleeps from 8:30-5:30, nurses, and then sleeps in to at least 7:00. There are some nights that don’t go quite so well.  If she falls asleep while nursing or drinking her bottle, she almost always wakes up about 40 minutes later.  A couple of pats on the back and she rolls over to fall asleep again. It took a lot of work to get us to this point.  I hope that one day, she will pass that 40 minute mark every single night and make it to the next morning.

Then there are the nights when she doesn’t fall asleep while eating and she thinks it is still time to play.  I lay her in the crib and she goes right to all fours and starts crawling around.  If I leave the room, she begins to cry–separation anxiety has definitely kicked in!  One night, it took 15 minutes of her wailing (we gave the pediatrician’s suggestion a try) and me going in to find a crib full of vomit, to determine that “crying it out” wasn’t going to work for us.  So, on the nights when she refuses to fall asleep without being held, I leave the room for a few minutes at a time before I go back in and I do my best not to pick her up.

I haven’t found any one single method that works perfectly or a book that has all of the answers.  That’s the thing about being a first-time mom.  You realize that sometimes it’s like a big science experiment with a lot of trial and error.  You also learn that many outside factors have an impact on sleep.  For instance, as I write this article, she has been sleeping for over two hours!  While yesterday, her afternoon nap was broken into sessions.  I blame that one on the evils of gas.

I try my best not to read too many articles where moms talk about how their babies have been sleeping through the night since three months.  Or wonder what I could have done differently so that my baby would fall asleep on her own night after night.  Our little girl has her own personality.  And you know what, even I sometimes struggle to fall asleep.  Some nights, I find myself chatting my husband’s ear off in bed until I pass out.  Maybe she just wants to do the same thing, too.