This week I’m introducing you to a momma who had a few years stint in Austin pre-kids, but Austin still holds a special place in her heart. It has a way of doing that, doesn’t it? Now that she has her two California born and bred boys- River who is 12 and refuses to wear anything but shorts, and Cortland who is 8.5 and loves to talk- she has a heart for moms and their kids nationwide. Stef Tousignant recently wrote The Middle of the Night Book to help families far and wide with the all too familiar bedtime struggles, and middle of the night falling back to sleep struggles. Sleep regression is a real problem and Stef has a solution for exhausted parents!
Tell me a little about how long you lived in Austin, and what lead you to California…
I moved to Austin after I graduated from Rhode Island School of Design in 2003 – I was done with snow! I lived in the South Congress area before it was super hip like it is right now. I loved it and the people in Austin and of course the year I lived there it actually snowed just a bit which was amazing, but a little too familiar! I would have lived in Austin forever but my husband was offered a job at Apple and so we jumped at the opportunity to live in San Francisco – he’s been there 13 years now so it was a good choice, although I miss Texas all the time!
What was your favorite thing about living here?
The food! Being a New England girl, it was the first time I started using hot sauce on everything and I also learned that asking for a fried egg on anything from enchiladas to my burger was always the right move.
Anyone else get a hankering for breakfast tacos just now? What are your top favorite family activities?
I always end up living near water somehow! My kids and I go to the beach here in San Francisco on a regular basis, we love to find secret stairways around the Bay Area to climb, and are regulars at our local frozen yogurt joint.
I would love to hear about how The Middle of The Night Book came to be. What inspired you to write it?
I have been a professional nanny for 20 years now, I just love how babies and toddlers tick – and how they push us as parents to grow and learn on a regular basis.
After 12 years of being a parent I finally understand that I can honor my own instincts when it comes to parenting choices and that taking care of myself first is paramount.
The Middle of the Night Book is the book I wished I had when my youngest went through sleep regression after sleep regression. I felt helpless awake in the night with him – like no matter what choice I made one of us would still loose.
This book is important because it provides the anchor so many children need in their routines to regulate and calm themselves during the night. It also provides a tool for parents to turn to instead of second guessing themselves like I did.
So how can your book help these desperate-for-sleep parents?
The Middle of the Night Book is the first bedtime book to use a body scan meditation to help you child notice their sleepiness.
*Gasp* This sounds genius already.
Studies have shown time and again how valuable meditation is for adults and how body scans in particular can lower stress hormones like cortisol. These methods regulate your emotions and also the nervous system as a whole.
A body scan can provide an anchor point for your child to learn the foundational skill called ‘body awareness’ which will help them to notice their body’s sleepiness when they are babies and to down regulate from wiggles or tantrums when they are toddlers.
Hearing you talk about it makes me think I need this book just as much as my kids do. Thanks so much for sharing this with us. As we close, what is one thing people would be surprised to know about you…
This is my first book! I had it all written out but wasn’t sure how to find illustrators. We have a lot of fun Etsy-type craft fairs that come to SF that I love – artists and creative people just fill me up! Well that is actually where I found my illustration team Go Go Luna – they had a booth at West Coast Craft and as soon as I saw their illustration style I knew we had to work together!
I love that you waited to find that perfect fit. I think your book is going to be the perfect fit for so many families. At South Austin Moms, we wish you & your book good luck, and every heavy lidded parent the great night’s sleep they’ve been longing for.