walk past the boxed crackers with ease ::::
I co-sleep. There, I said it.
Since each of the kids were babies, they have always been in our bed in some form (or sleeping next to an adult). As a young mother in medical residency training when Peach was a baby, this was the only way I could emotionally survive my job while missing bonding time with my baby. I would often leave the house by 6:30AM, Peach bundled up in her car seat to be dropped off at daycare near where I worked, and arrive home after dark, basically ready to make dinner, bathe Peach, and go to bed. So what better time to bond than at night? When she was nursing, it made it really easy for me and her to fall back to sleep without a movement into a crib, something that was a godsend to my already sleep-deprived self. Our condo was small, the bed too, but the slow, smooth breaths, the pink, round cheeks next me, and awakening to more snuggles seemed hard to give up.
After we moved to California and Grub was born, he followed suit with the bed arrangements we had used for infant Peach. We tried to acclimate Peach to her new bedroom, which was a fair try despite needing a parent to go into the bedroom at least once a night to calm her screaming and sometimes sleeping next to her part of the time. I took a graduated approach over a few weeks to wean her, then almost 3 years old, from co-sleeping: first I would lie down with her to help her sleep, then I would only sit at the edge of the bed, then the foot of the bed, then I’d sleep on the floor (when very pregnant, I could barely get up!), then stand in the doorway (with an infant Grub), then the hallway. Peach, stubborn and strong-willed wasn’t keen on the wean, but I did it anyway, aware that it could take months. And Eat still spent many a night in her bedroom trying to keep her asleep in her own bed. It was when Eat was on call one night, managing patients over the phone, my trying to nurse an always-hungry infant in my bed, and Peach freaking out about not having a parent in the room with her, that Eat brought her into our once-off limits bedroom and bed. Then she never went back her room. Ever. My process of keeping Peach in her beautifully decorated bedroom, toys abounding, a shelf of books, stuffed animals in each corner, was negated. I was back at square one. While she sleeps through the night, and doesn’t always need to have a parent next to her, Peach still prefers to have a parent help her go to sleep. This is where I have been deemed the to-go parent.
I have no regrets about my choices, even with the kicks in the face or gut, the early awakenings, the sometimes crowded bed or floor, depending on where we are sleeping. Co-sleeping helped me bond with my kids. Here is where Eat and I strongly disagree. Co-sleeping has been the bane of our parenting for him, he not really making a choice to do it, but also accepting it here and there. I know there are a multitude of studies supporting each side. Proponents for one side adamantly oppose the other. You should Ferberize your kid. No, you shouldn’t. Co-sleeping is harmful. No, it’s not. Attachment parenting / co-sleeping is the sign of a bad parent with co-dependency issues. It screws up your kids, and they never leave you bedroom, sleeping next to you in their adulthood, never able to find a mate or a home for themselves. Or not.
Whatever your views, it’s obvious that everyone has a different opinion and no one person is right. Every family is different, and they do what works for them. Given, I do what has worked for me, but Eat grew out of this arrangement much earlier than did anyone else.
I may be weak. Screwed up. Whatever you want to think. But I also know babies aren’t babies for long, kids are not cuddly for long, and they soon crave the independence of an child in their own room, their own bed, and their own life away from parents. The day that Peach stops holding my hand, when she feels too “big” for that, I will mourn the loss of that part of her childhood. Sometimes I don’t want to wait for 30 minutes for her to fall asleep when I have patient charting to finish, or need to clean up the kitchen, or just want to write. But the time will come, sooner that I think, that she will think she needs me no more, if only to send her money, visit occasionally, or take care of a future grandchild. Her hand in mine will seem an abstract thing, some dissolving memory. The same for Grub. No pre-teen boy holds his mom’s hand when crossing the street. It’s just not cool, even after a now-forgotten history of preferring Mommy over anyone else (mostly for her boob).
How do we solve this? Do we even need to “solve” it? We wait. We enjoy this time, the older generation says. Often older patients tell me this with an “Ahhhh…” and a knowing eyebrow lift and smile. They get it. They forget the bad stuff, remember the good things. The pink cheeks. Like the time in the park when Peach ran around the track and kept up with a nine-year-old girl. The time Grub leaned down and gently kissed the cat on his forehead instead of hitting him with a toy truck. The time Peach said, “Mommy, you are the most beautifulest!” when I was wearing a new skirt. When Grub would call for his sister across a crowded playground so he climb up the slide to hug her. These are things I will remember, along with those ephemeral snuggle times at night.
So you are waiting for the connection to today’s recipe, I’m sure. There really isn’t one except that this is a good recipe to enlist kid help, when they are kids, maybe older. Peach did a great job cutting up her own mini crackers. It’s a forgiving dough and eggless, so it’s workable for little fingers and if those fingers get licked, there isn’t a risk of Salmonella from the uncooked ingredients. Peach and I first made these when she was just 3 years old and the Grub was still hanging around in the Bjorn carrier. Although the oven time is a little intense with little ones running around (hot oven, watch for browning, flip the crackers, watch for more browning), it is worth it if your kids like crackers. These last in an airtight container for about a week. They are portable for lunches, snacks, whatever. And maybe this is the answer to our co-sleeping: if I eat these in bed, maybe the prickly little crumbs will move the kids into the other room. Aha!
- 1 cup oats
- 1¼ cup whole milk, hot
- ¼ c unsalted butter, softened
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt (+ more for sprinkling)
- 1¼ cup rye flour
- 1½ cup flour
- spices/seeds (optional)
- Heat milk to almost boiling, then take off heat. Add oatmeal and allow to sit to cool completely (or lukewarm -- rewarding my impatience).
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Add butter, sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and rye flour. Mix well to incorporate.
- Stir in all-purpose flour little by little to make a stiff dough. Knead to incorporate completely.
- Divide dough into two equal parts. Roll to about ⅛-inch thickness. Try to be consistent with thickness to ensure even baking time on the crackers. This thickness, or less, will give you a crispy cracker.
- Use cookie cutters or cut out dough in designs/shapes with a pizza wheel. Place shapes on parchment- or silicon-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with sea salt (and spices, if using) before placing in oven.
- Baking time will change depending on the size of your crackers as well and the thickness. My small crackers took about 9-10 minutes total (I flipped them over halfway for more browning).
- These keep for about a week in an airtight container.