Tag Archives: parenting

Tea and Trouble Brewing, by Dorcas Smucker

Product DetailsI wish Dorcas Smucker lived next door. I would drop by regularly to steep myself in the vibrant activity of her household, the warmth and wisdom of her conversation, and the rhythms of rural life, while sharing sharing a pot of tea with Dorcas, of course.

In the absence of this opportunity, reading Tea and Trouble Brewing is not a bad substitute. I even had company at times, as Dorcas’s wit was too good not to share. Like this, from the opening essay, “The Perfect Cup of Tea”: Continue reading


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Infant Sleep, Part IV: The No-Cry Sleep Solution

I wish I could say that The No-Cry Sleep Solution solved all our sleep problems and we now sleep a peaceful and uninterrupted eight hours every night, while our daughter–now 18 months–sleeps for ten. Unfortunately, that is not the case. But we’ve made some progress from the days when I used to spend about half our nights sleeping on the guest bed with the baby because she woke every time I put her in her crib. Among other signs of improvement, she now takes a consistent daily nap–two to three hours–and I don’t have to rock her for an hour to get her to fall asleep.

I also can’t say how much of this progress is due to Elizabeth Pantley’s advice. But her book is worth perusing by any parent who wants to get more sleep. Above all, I appreciate Pantley because she acknowledges that every child is different and doesn’t expect parents to follow a one-size-fits-all plan. Continue reading

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Infant Sleep: The Experts Compared

In my two previous posts, I reviewed three popular books on infant sleep habits. My preferred author for general parenting philosophy is William Sears, as explained in the last post (Infant Sleep and the Experts, Part II). However, all three experts have merit, and different approaches are better suited to different families. Below, for the sake of comparison, I have identified a few of the issues common to the three books and briefly described each author’s position. Continue reading

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Infant Sleep and the Experts, Part II

When my daughter was first born, I thought she would never wake up. She seemed to sleep all the time. Then at three months it seemed she opened her eyes, saw the world, and decided she liked it so much she never wanted to sleep again. Thus the sleep battles began. In spite of much yawning and rubbing of eyes, she would alternately writhe in our laps in the rocking chair or lie smiling and cooing and swiping at our faces. Once soundly asleep, we would put her down and she would wake up ten minutes later.

This led to much frustration and reading of books on my part. At six months we are making some progress toward restful sleep for the whole family, though this may be due in equal parts to our daughter’s developmental maturation and implementation of the knowledge gained through my research. But having invested so much time and energy in the pursuit, I decided to share my thoughts in the hope that others might profit from it as well.

In the previous post, I discussed helpful information I gleaned from March Weissbluth’s Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child and Tracy Hogg’s Secrets of the Baby Whisperer, as well as the points on which I differed from each author’s position. The parenting author whose overall philosophy I have found most helpful, intuitive, and sensible is William Sears. (His wife, Martha Spears, RN, is listed as co-author on most of his books, but as they are written primarily in the first-person from his perspective, I will refer to him as the author.) I appreciate Sears because he emphasizes attachment and respect for natural processes, while he has the scientific background and knowledge of an experienced MD.1 Continue reading

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Infant Sleep and the Experts, Part I

Many parents have told me they found sleep deprivation to be the hardest part of new parenting. And indeed, being tired and, potentially, grouchy (and having a tired and grouchy spouse … not that I would know anything about that…but my husband might) makes every other aspect of life more challenging. The proliferation of books and articles promising to help babies sleep better is thus no surprise. We, too, have fought the sleep battle with our now six-month-old, and I have had a chance to review a few of the popular publications on the subject. Continue reading


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