IntroductionIf you’re reading this book, you’re no doubt dealing with the horrendous, life-altering, painful as a Brazilian bikini wax, aspect of parenthood. It’s the age-old problem of getting your child to sleep, and it’s a problem that has plagued sleep-deprived parents since the earliest life form crept out of the primordial ooze (or since Adam and Eve procreated for those of you who aren’t into the whole evolution thing).If you have a child with sleeping issues, you know first hand how horrific life can be. In fact, these difficulties are to blame for sleep deprivation, forgetfulness, marital problems, mood swings, lack of focus, and of course, millions of vasectomies. In fact, when dealing with the problems of getting your kid to sleep, it suddenly becomes clear to you why some parents go out for a pack of cigarettes and never come back. I myself was tempted to do so on numerous occasions, and I’m not even a smoker (although I was tempted to start on numerous occasions as well).That’s because getting your kid to sleep is filled with enough challenges, dilemmas, and strategies to fill a book, which is exactly what I’m going to do right here and now. And although some of you lucky parents may have only one or two challenges to deal with, many of you will have to deal with most of them at one time or another between your child’s newborn and toddler stages.I’m not saying this to scare you. I’m actually saying it to make you feel better. The only thing that’s worse than dealing with sleeping problems is thinking that you’re the only one that’s dealing with them. Having a kid that has trouble getting to sleep and staying that way is as common as buying a new computer and having it become obsolete the minute you get home.As you go through this difficult phase of parenting, I wish you two things. One, that you find this book to be filled with many useful tips, helpful hints, and loads of laughs to get you through these trying times. And two, that you’re so exhausted and numb to the pain that severe sleep deprivation can bring that you’ll remain in a deep fog until your kid can sleep through the night. On that note, happy reading and pleasant dreams!Hitting the bookstands in June, 2007: Potty Training Sucks and Grammar Sucks:Potty Training Sucks: What To Do When Diapers Make You Miserable
The Poop on Potty Training
You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension of both sight and sound, of unlimited amounts of Pull-Ups, potty books, and power struggles. A dimension where time and space have no meaning, and reason does not exist. You’ve made it through the birthing, the nursing, the endless sleepless nights, the teething, the weaning, and all the in-betweening. You’ve survived food fights in five-star restaurants, crayon drawing on newly painted walls, and all-out refusal to wear anything but a faded princess outfit or a too-tight Superman costume. And while you thought these dimensions were difficult to bear, the truth is that they pale in comparison to what lies ahead. So hang on tight, sister, for the next stop is—the Potty Zone!
Just when you thought you had this whole parenting thing handled, you realize that a whole new exhausting adventure awaits you. Around every corner there are new videos to buy, new stains to pretreat, and new cleansers to buy that will remove excrement from your beautiful new Pottery Barn rug. Your college-educated, once-articulate vocabulary will now consist of phrases like “Do you wanna make tinkle?” and “Is it poopie time?”
As frustrating as the potty-training phase may be, I promise that there will be an end. There will be a light at the end of this stinky, messy, smelly tunnel, and you will get through it. One day your shopping cart will be free of bulk-size containers of Huggies, half-ton boxes of diaper wipes, and gallon jugs of Desitin. No more pee-stained pants, poo-stained car seats, or Diaper Genie cartridges to wrangle. And no more physical therapy from having to lug around that oversized, back-straining diaper bag that weighs more than your big-boned Aunt Martha does after eating Thanksgiving dinner.
Yes, I know it’s dark now. Dare I say, dark as poo. But fear not, my friend. The Potty Zone is a mere pit stop in parenting. And after your toddler learns to excuse himself, go to the bathroom, and wipe himself so clean that his rear end sparkles without any assistance from you, it may just bring a tear to your eye. Believe it or not, after all the potty training is behind you, you might actually miss the days of the midnight diaper changes, pee fountains, and explosive poops. Ha! Just kidding! The truth is that the day that your child is successfully potty trained will be as memorable as your wedding day, the birth of your babies, and the final episode of Sex and the City when you find out that Mr. Big’s real name is John. So pull up a potty chair, and let’s get down to business.
Chapter One Introduction
Breastfeeding is a natural bodily function performed by every mammal in the animal kingdom. But only in the human animal is it as controversial as gay marriage. Everyone has an opinion on what’s the easiest way to do it, what products to have on hand to get it done, and how long you need to partake in the experience. And everyone is quite generous with their opinions, not unlike how they were during your pregnancy when perfect strangers would warn you about miscarriages, stretch marks, and pooping on the delivery room table.
But unlike the political aspects of gay marriage, breastfeeding is a very personal experience. Because of this, only you can decide what’s best for you… although your mother-in-law will most certainly chime in on the topic. You need to factor in all the various elements so you can make an informed decision. There is so much information on the topic that writers like myself have devoted entire books to the breastfeeding experience, all in an attempt to inform, enlighten, and okay, make a few bucks on as well (hey, I have my own kid to put through college).
Whether or not you want to breastfeed is a big decision. Fortunately, your nine month stint of pregnancy has prepared you for making such big decisions. You had to decide if you wanted to know the sex of the baby before it was born. You had to decide a name. And you had to decide if you wanted an epidural during delivery, although for me that was a no brainer since I think painkillers are the next best thing to bleach pens.
To make your decision even easier, and to help guide you through your path once your decision has been made, I’ll take you through every aspect of breastfeeding from colostrum through clogged ducts, and do so with baby steps. It’s like pressing the EASY button on lactation. Lord knows, you have enough stress to deal with already in your life and anything to reduce it is a good thing. You don’t need to be overwhelmed by another aspect of parenthood right now. Breastfeeding is like nothing you’ve ever experienced before, and just knowing that milk will start spewing from your breasts is a pretty freaky thought. It’s like blowing your nose and having Skittles fly out.
While I’m sure there are many of you who are already nursing, I’ll bet a vat of nipple cream the many more are still pregnant and reading ahead since you know that your leisure time will be severely limited once your baby makes his appearance (by the way, I’m going to refer to all babies as “he.” Not because I’m partial to boys, but because my “s” key tends to stick and anything that reduces my stress level is a good thing). Because of this, we’ll start at the very beginning of the lactating journey and work our way out from there. If you’ve already started nursing, just jump right in whenever you’d like. So let’s get to it before your desire to breastfeed fades or your contractions begin!