Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Surf: Jinxed Myself

So I just HAD to go and suggest 7 per week, right? I jinxed myself into not having enough to fill 7 slots. Still, what I have was worth sharing...

  • The stories of 3 unschoolers and how they're making their dream careers into reality. This article also includes some examples of how unschoolers can get into college. This had been a concern of mine, so I really appreciated this one: Zero Tuition College: The TEDx Talk.

  • There has been lots of talk lately about traveling, probably with the upcoming holiday. First, there was a guest post (Natural parenting & air travel with young children) on HoboMama. Then there was a joint giveaway with Hobo Mama Reviews and Natural Parents Network: My Pocket Games or I Spy Sensory Stick (great for travel)! And finally, Hobo Mama wrote about her experience with the invasive new TSA screenings for children and pregnant women. All of these lead me to want to share the actual link (I'm getting to it!) here: 4th Amendment Wear. It is underclothes for children printed with "Read the 4th Amendment Perverts" in metallic ink. They also offer adult wear that has the entire 4th Amendment on it.
    The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, meant to prevent unwarranted search and seizure, is readable on TSA body scanners.
    This looks like great passive aggressive protesting, if you actually will go through the scanner.
Metallic Ink-Printed UnderwearMetallic Ink-Printed Underwear
Really, I managed to squeeze 6 links into the 2nd on the list, so officially I included 7 links, right? Just go with me on this one, k, thx!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: November Photos

Her Daddy's EyesShe has her Daddy's eyes.
Little ChefOur Little Chef
Sasha in ClosetSasha in her "Hooker Boots"
Asleep on the CouchDaddy & Sasha sleepin' on the couch
Asleep on her Taggies BearAsleep on her Taggies Bear
Sasha in Empty HamperLaundry Day
Box Full o' SashaBox Full o' Sasha

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Surf: 7 Days, 7 Links

Let's see, week 1 I posted six links. Last week (week 2) I posted seven links. Seven seems like a good number for a weekly link list - what with 7 days in a week and all. So today I have seven more for you. Feel free to come back every day and choose a new link. (Alright, I really do surf all your blogs every day, or at least watch for new entries.)

  • I tend to follow a blog to a blog to a blog. Saturday I followed to an entry (blog / post / article? I never know what to call these darned things!) that cracked me up! I so enjoy it when Mothers get down and dirty with the nasty truth online (or in person, for that matter)! Check out Secret Mommy-hood Confession Saturday for a good chuckle.

  • Last week I linked an article by Alfie Kohn. The topic sticks with me and apparently with Hobo Mama, too. Last week I followed one of her links on needing to be seen. It offers a touching real-life example of how to let kids know that you notice them, without offering your approval. I felt the link was worth passing along, obviously. It seems I have to steal one link from her every week, I think. Thanks Hobo Mama!

  • Then I often have to actually link directly to Hobo Mama as well. She has continued to think on this same topic and yesterday wrote why "good kid" bothers me. This praise and approval vs unconditional love thing is really quite the food for thought! It has me analyzing how I have interacted with my 12yo daughter as well as trying to improve my habits for both my girls' benefits. She goes on to express that our children really ARE good, so why shouldn't we express that to them as well? There are, of course, more links there to follow on this topic!

  • Do you know How to Spot a BPA-Free Store Receipt? I did not even know this was an issue! I guess we didn't know it about plastic until it hit the news, either. But seriously! They're crinkly, my baby loves to get her hands on the receipt! This also has me wondering about the weird paper we use at work. Oh dear.

  • My husband and I had already decided to eventually try for a boy (the plan has been to conceive this coming Summer). It has been discussed again recently, and I brought up circumcision. His attitude has been "my son will be cut!" He wanted me to argue my point immediately, while I wanted to wait for gender confirmation (we're not even pregnant!). He pressed. I told him I'd need to do my research first.

    prepuce circumcision
    That night I inundated him with links in his FB mail! He doesn't want to have to clean out smegma. Mind you, I do most of the "dirty work" when it comes to our baby. Also, as Paul M. Fleiss, M.D., M.P.H. points out in The Case Against Circumcision last year, that "cleaning" is a myth. You actually shouldn't pull back your son's foreskin at all. No one but your son should do that.

    In fact, I even argued that we don't clean under our daughter's prepuce. I thought this was quite the witty example, if I do say so myself! Dr. Fleiss wrote an entire book (What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Circumcision) on the subject. You may feel like you're reading a book from this one article, but there is an absolute wealth of knowledge offered there!

  • Seeing Past What it Seems... I got this link from The Organic Sister and I think she said it well, "If we could all read and remember this..." I just don't think I can preface it any more specifically than that. Go. Read. See.

  • Oooooh, Code Name: Mama, this is a good one! Gossiping About Our Children is short and to the point (so if you only have a few minutes today, pick this link). I am a bit of a gossip. This one makes a very important point.

I hope you've found something here that touched you and applies to your life. If not, I hope you at least had a good laugh or found some interesting stuff. Tune in next week for seven (?) more links!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Babies are the Theme of the Day

It occurs to us that if I am going to leave my job, then we don't need to plan a pregnancy around the industry peak season. Elmo thinks we should start trying right away and is not concerned with birth month in the slightest (even if that means multiple September babies).

This morning we were changing out cages for one of his tarantulas and found that several of our cages have tiny baby crickets. We learned a bit about cricket reproduction today. They apparently won't harm anything, so there is no concern. They'll likely die due to lack of food. Whew!

Meanwhile, we suspected that his Rose Hair (Grammostola rosea) had molted and rolled up her "garbage" into a bag. She has, however, been guarding this "garbage bag." Seemed strange, but we figured we'd just wait her out, then get it and dissect it! I have all the molts of my Anansi.

Tarantula guarding egg sacGhost guarding her treasure

Today she finally stepped away from her garbage for a bit, so my husband attempted to remove it. She kept coming back every time he tried. After 20 minutes, he finally got it! He set it aside in a little jar for me to check out when I got home. I poked it a little. It was very soft until a point, then it seemed... crunchy? It was hard to describe. I didn't have an exact-o, so I just gently (old shells are delicate) gripped the web and pulled apart. I tugged a good half inch or so apart, but there was still more. I gripped deeper and pulled apart. Imagine our surprise...

Tarantula Egg SacGrammostola rosea egg sac!

This particular species of tarantula can lay anywhere from 80-1000 eggs at a time! Oh dear. And Elmo feels SO awful about fighting to get her babies away from her. No wonder she was guarding it! I must say, he is so cute feeling guilty about doing this, but we really never dreamed it would be eggs! We got her from a pet store! It isn't likely she has been exposed to a male! Ca-razy!

For now, we've put the sac back, but a few eggs fell out. She is back to guarding it and I'm hoping she'll repair it. We don't know what we'll do next, but gestation period is 6 short weeks! Then those little slings (spiderlings) will be so tiny they might fit through the slots in the lid! I've emailed and posted questions about what we should do and now we wait.

So babies seem to be the theme today. I just completed my menstruation, so I'll be ovulating very soon! It seems like all signs point to NOW. So... who knows what the future may hold. I currently have an IUD, but have heard they're not difficult to remove. More discussion is definitely in order!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Surf: Same as the First (not really)

I think I did better this week gathering links to share! There still may be one or two that you've seen elsewhere already, but I'm sure each reader will find something new!

  • CrunchyVTMommy has a gift for rants. In her post, Is Motherhood a Prison? she goes off about a recent article in the Wall Street Journal by Erica Jong. The article argues strongly against Attachment Parenting so I stand with Crunchy when she calls Bullshit! The reasoning in the WSJ article is ridiculous and Crunchy points that out in detail.

  • A dear friend of mine gave me a DVD introducing me to Alfie Kohn a year ago. I was immediately a fan! There was one bit, though, that I had a little trouble grasping. It is the part where we shouldn't praise our children. I was trying, though, to just thank my daughter when she does what I want, rather than specifically praise her. This only fits so many situations and eventually feels like you're still praising, just with different words.

    Five Reasons to Stop Saying "Good Job!" by Alfie Kohn went into more detail than the DVD did and really helped me get a better grasp on the idea. I read bits to my husband (who is also on board) and this helped him, too. We're still working on adjusting our habits. I see my older daughter sometimes fish for praise or praise herself for little things and I wonder if I could have served her better if I'd learned this lesson sooner. And is it too late to fix it? I don't have full custody, either, which makes an effort to "fix it" even more difficult. (Hint: I welcome comments and suggestions!)

  • Oprah Sexpert - Buy Your Teen Daughter Her First Vibrator

    <pause>

    <blink>

    Um... yeah. I kept this link open for about a week, while I considered writing an entire post about it. I'm still not sure what I think. I firmly believe that you should answer your child's questions honestly, but only answer as much as they ask. If you go too far beyond the question, you most likely give them more information than they want or for which they are ready. So please, read this article. Let me know what you think about buying your daughter her first vibrator. And do you think Daddy would approve?

  • After my recent life-altering decision to change my work (and stop working FT outside the home), I have been hunting for work at home options. The Work at Home Woman looks to be a really good resource for this. So I thought I'd share it with you, in case any of my hundreds of readers (ha!) are also looking for some from-home income.

  • During my recent soul searching and research, I've mentioned Unjobbing. Unjobbing: The Untraditional Choice of Working for Oneself looks like a good explanation. Unjobbing seems like the perfect way to support unschooling. To set an example. It makes me wonder, though, am I at a disadvantage because I wasn't unschooled?

  • Grumbles and Grunts offered a great post this week titled breastfeeding a toddlby: the myths and the reality that could have easily been a part of a Carnival of Natural Parenting! In fact, she even links The Natural Parents Network! The title of this blog post is self-explanatory, but I will say that it is a great resource to women facing opposition to extended breastfeeding! You'll find replies to every argument you've received and some you might never have heard! (I know I hadn't heard all of the arguments there before.)

  • More School Randomness offers a beautiful and yet sad comparison between school and unschool (or even homeschool). I was additionally saddened, though, by "For her, unschooling is not an option." I didn't think leaving my current workplace was an option for me. I've recently opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart to the possibilities of the world. We should all be able to follow our dreams, including unschooling our children if that is what it takes to make us happy!

I hope you found some links here that interest YOU, too! And please, if you have links you think I would like, share them with me!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Following a Chain of Inspirations

I'd say it all started about a year ago. I was newly into Elimination Communication to go along with my new baby. Somehow I stumbled upon Hobo Mama's blog. I don't recall what search I did or what link I followed, but I immediately appreciated her honesty and writing style.

I soon created my own Blogspot, mostly so I could have a pic next to my comments on her blog! Then it evolved into a place to blog about Sasha's food experiences. Then I wanted it to evolve more, into something similar to Hobo Mama's blog. I already have a LiveJournal where I journal more personal stuff about all aspects of my life. I've had it for years and even have a project running (though currently paused) where I am entering my diary entries from my childhood! (Yes, this includes the extra embarrassing ones from my teen years.)

I half-jokingly volunteered to be a guest blogger (she was requesting volunteers!) on Hobo Mama's blog, thinking I surely didn't have enough experience or something. She gladly accepted my offer and I was SO excited and flattered!

Hobo Mama teamed up with Code Name: Mama to create the Carnival of Natural Parenting. Mind you, I don't think I had ever heard of this kind of "Carnival," though I recall when Web Rings were big. As I read Hobo Mama's Carnival posts, I also followed links to read (and comment!) on others. I also enjoyed her Wordless Wednesday posts and the links to others. I toyed with the idea of participating in a Carnival of Natural Parenting.

Finally, I did it. I signed up. Mind you, I wrote the piece (in one sitting!) and then submitted the form. After all, I didn't want to volunteer without knowing I could put out the material!

I have now participated in the last two carnivals. I post WW weekly and am starting to put together a weekly Sunday Surf. In the back of my mind, I hope Hobo Mama isn't creeped out thinking I'm stalking her. She simply inspires me!

Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama had another joint venture: The Natural Parents Network. I have been trying to volunteer, but haven't really had the time to commit to a project for them, though my nursing "better than candy" pic was featured on their first WW post!

Meanwhile, it seemed I kept stumbling onto blog entries and links about unschooling. I was doing some real soul searching about my current career path and the minimal time I am getting to spend with my family. I had all but decided to unschool, but didn't feel it was an option for us with me working FT outside the home. While reading on The NPN one night, I followed a link to someone's blog. As I said in my recent Educating Our Children - Huge Decision post, I came upon an article: It was 5 Things Your Unschooler Needs to Know on Enjoy Life Unschooling. This article was my final straw for this topic. I knew I needed to find another way to support my family, a way to do it from home, so I could unschool. It was time to stop accepting and assuming that I had no other option than that hell hole that steals me away from my family for 40 hours every week. I dove into researching my options. I have worked from home before (for 8 years), I was sure I could do it again now!

Then, in a recent Sunday Surf, Hobo Mama linked The Organic Sister's blog entry on Unjobbing. Wow. Very much like the Unschooling article had been a wake up call, so was this article. I had never even heard of Unjobbing, but it made sense! I linked both of these last articles in my Sunday Surf: First Edition. I think this makes the third time I've mentioned at least one of them.

Since then, I've contacted The Organic Sister, followed links to more blogs, and done research on how to do what she and her family do: unjob and unschool, from their adventure on the road! I have always envied people that were brave enough to pick up stakes and move to a new town. I've been jealous of people that make the time and save the money to travel. I want to see the country, too, and maybe even the world!

Based on so many things I have been reading, I knew I could find a way. I dug out some sticky notes and a highlighter and started making myself notes. I wanted a budget I could SEE, a visual representation of how much money we have flowing out of our account. I have these sticky notes of bills in groups of entertainment, utilities, etc. And then I have another area, my sticky notes of "to do's," ideas, and things to consider further. It is kind of like my living Vision Board. I got that idea from The Organic Sister, too. I've been reading her back-issues, if you will. I got to one of her monthly listings of sponsors and while I'd seen her links before, one caught my eye: Extended World Travel. (That link and the one in my side bar is my own affiliate link now.)

I read the entire page. It was a long ad! But I was... inspired. I'm trying to trim my spending, but something told me that this eBook was worth the cost. I hoped I was right! On a whim, I bought the book last night. I immediately began to devour it! I stayed up and read 2/3rds of it last night. I had to tear myself away to get some sleep, since today was my early day at work!

I finished the eBook in no time! This book has some amazing resources for making my dreams come true! I was right on that gamble, it was worth every penny! I am on the right path and now have more resources at my disposal. I've set myself a sort of deadline, though we've got to work out another pregnancy with that plan, too. Today I've added pictures of places I'd like to take my family: Oregon, Florida, and the Grand Canyon for starters!

biker tree hugger Oregon
for the huge trees!
Florida BeachFlorida
Sasha can meet Daddy's family
Grand CanyonGrand Canyon
a majestic view I want to share with my family

My current plan is to hit the road by next Fall. However, we have planned for me to be quite pregnant at that time. We have more research, saving, and decluttering to do! I've already started getting rid of things! Hopefully I'll have even more fans in the next couple of years and can start visiting YOU, too!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

WHY Attachment Parenting?


Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: What is natural parenting?

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our Carnival coincides with the launch of Natural Parents Network, a community of parents and parents-to-be who practice or are interested in attachment parenting and natural family living. Join us at Natural Parents Network to be informed, empowered, and inspired!

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

***



Obviously Attachment Parenting (AP) isn't for everyone. It doesn't seem to necessarily be the "norm" (except, perhaps, among us hippie types). So why did I choose AP? The short answer: it feels right. Lets break it down into parts for the long version. For convenience, I'm going to reference the awesome new Natural Parents Network:

  1. Prepare for pregnancy, birth, and parenting - I have been through an uneducated <teen> pregnancy. I still managed to learn a little about breastfeeding and chose to go that route! However, doesn't it make sense to research any and every major life change or experience? I guess I've never really been a "just go with the flow" kind of person anyway, but I want to know what to expect. I want to know that I'm choosing the best options for me (& mine). I can not imagine going about it any other way and I encourage others to research their choices. Often times you learn that there are a lot more options than you even knew existed!
  2. Feed with love and respect - Why would you offer anything less than love and respect to your little one? First, it just seems natural to me to breastfeed my children. It is what nature intended and while science has made lots of helpful advances, I don't think science can trump nature on this one. Then when it comes to introducing foods, I choose to introduce healthy foods because I want to instill healthy eating habits in my children. Do you know anyone that doesn't want their children to be healthy?

    Alright, this would be easy if I already ate really healthy, but honestly... I don't focus much on my eating habits until I'm pregnant. Then I make all sorts of lifestyle changes because it is no longer just my own body I'm affecting, it is a whole 'nother person. I hope my children will grow up and have an easier time of making healthy choices than I do, just from experience! And then there are servings! I have lived and seen many disturbing mealtime battles and poor choices made. I have never felt "clean your plate" was a good policy. In fact, it bothers me to share lunch with a friend who complains about their weight, but then won't stop eating when they are full. There, I said it. When your body says stop eating, stop eating! So... before our children can clearly communicate with us, it is important to watch for their cues and not overfeed (or underfeed). This doesn't lose importance as they get older, it is just (I hope) easier to "hear" them.
  3. Respond with sensitivity - I think "crying it out" is the hard way. Choosing to "spoil" my child is definitely the easy way! I know some people choose the CIO method, but honestly my heart breaks for the children as well as for the parents! Hearing my child cry hurts me and I want to make it all better. That said, I have a bit of a mothering complex in that regard. I can't read / watch the news because I want to fix the problems of every child. It makes me ill and haunts me when I see news of ill will toward children.

    In the early months, you kind of have to be sensitive to your baby's cries to learn when to fulfill what need. Why does this change when they get older? It does take some effort, but I'm learning to pause before reacting and try to see things from Sasha's perspective. I think if people would do this more in all human contact situations the world could be a more peaceful place!
  4. Use nurturing touch - If you need research to back this one up, I strongly recommend Googling / reading about how "Kangaroo Care" has saved preemies! I also recall hearing (folklore?) about a study done (by Nazis perhaps?) on infants. Some were held often and cooed over like normal babies are. Then another study group only had their basic physical needs (food, diaper change) met. The infants in that group failed to thrive and some even died. This is an extreme example and I do not know if it is true, but consider it a moment. (Go ahead, I'll wait.) Touch is a basic emotional need, even in adults.

    Aside from all the science of it, I think babies draw people to them. How many times have you had a stranger try to touch your baby at the supermarket? People just want to touch babies. They are amazing creatures! Why fight nature? I also recall reading (during a previous pregnancy) that an infant doesn't realize they are a separate entity from mother until about 9 months old. So how jarring it must be to not have her attached to you? (Again, trying to see things from the infant's perspective here.)
  5. Ensure safe sleep - My ex-husband was actually the first person to impress upon me the importance of co-sleeping. He heard on NPR that it is a great way to prevent SIDS because if the baby does stop breathing, having the mother's rhythmic breathing right there helps kick start them back into their own breathing. I like the poetry of that and it makes sense to me. Also, I strongly feel that we, as mothers, are keenly in tune with our babies, if we just let ourselves be.
    cosleeping on the couch
    Sasha & Mommy, sleeping together on the couch in November 2009
    I also choose the easy way out here. Even if I am walking, singing, rocking, and nursing my baby to sleep every night, it still seems a lot less stressful than sticking her into a crib and listening to her CIO! Plus it is SO much easier to roll over (actually, I sleep facing Sasha) and offer a breast than to get up, all groggy, to fetch the baby from another bed, possibly even in another room. I understand some people can't sleep with a baby next to them or feel they sleep too heavy for an infant's safety. Remember, this post is about why I chose AP.
  6. Provide consistent and loving care - This sounds simple and logical enough, but this principle is actually about not forcing schedules (eating or sleeping) on your child. I have heard parents talk about forcing their little ones into a particular sleep schedule specifically so they'll be ready for school. and real life. Why? Don't you let your schedule slack on the weekend? But you have to go back to your regular schedule on Monday. (Besides, we plan to homeschool.) I'm not one to force a crappy grown up life on my baby while she is just still a baby. I'm also paranoid about giving my children unhealthy attitudes about food. So I don't force my child to eat - ever. I share my own food with my 1yo daughter and also offer her healthy choices of her own in between my meals. This helps me keep my own food choices in check.

    The only reason I eat on any type of schedule is because of my work schedule. When I'm not at work, I let my own sleep and eating schedule relax into whatever comes naturally. This is what I want for my children as well.

    In general, I try to remember to "choose my battles." Sleep and meals just shouldn't be battles. (Really, why should much of anything be a "battle"? It shouldn't be "Us vs. Them.") Yes, I sometimes wind up staying up late myself because Sasha isn't asleep, but this is only one small sacrifice I chose to make when I became a parent.
  7. Practice gentle/positive discipline - I do not believe in harsh punishment. I don't think a child should fear their parent (the one or two people in the world they should completely trust). This one is a struggle for us because of how we were both raised. I don't even like to speak harshly to my daughter, but it sometimes slips when she is doing something "bad." When I stop to really put myself in her shoes, whatever she is doing is never malicious. How could a 1 year old possibly be malicious?? She doesn't even understand mischief and likely won't until we expose her to it ourselves. She is simply exploring her world. Why wouldn't she want to play with the DVD remote - it has colorful buttons, much like toys!

    It can also be very difficult for me to refrain from manipulating her into what I want. My mother was very good at manipulation and I think I gained a bit of that from her. It has proven handy in life. However, I don't think it is a healthy relationship to encourage with my child.
  8. Strive for balance in personal and family life - It is important for every human to find balance in their lives. I recently wrote about my own balance as it relates to parenting (and everything else in my life) as a part of the October Carnival of Natural Parenting. I feel that finding (and hopefully keeping) some balance in our lives helps us to avoid those emotional breakdowns and burnouts. Without balance it is easy to become overwhelmed by life.

    I personally have an obsessive personality so I feel it is somehow extra important that I find balance in my life. I need to remember this when I'm regretting not being at home with our daughter. When I was home with my now-12-year-old daughter, she was my LIFE. She was everything. I didn't have balance. It was not a healthy place to be. I recognize that now. So I do what I can to avoid being completely obsessed with any one thing. That means creating balance in my life.
All of these ideals just come naturally to me, though occasionally they take a little effort to put into practice. I can't imagine why anyone would do things any other way, but sure enough, just last night I saw a woman leaning into a car yelling and hitting her child who was still young enough to be in a car seat at the supermarket. Scenes such as this make my physically ill. They don't effect my husband so strongly because that is how he was raised. I don't think that sort of behavior / relationship encourages closeness or trust between a child and their parent.

And who knows, maybe there are some other ways of parenting that I haven't even discovered yet! I try to keep an open mind, but I won't go against what feels right to me, as a parent and as a human being.


***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaStop by Natural Parents Network today to see excerpts from everyone's posts, and please visit a few to read more! Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants. Three of the participants below will instead be featured on Natural Parents Network throughout the month, so check back at NPN!

This list will be updated by afternoon November 9 with all the carnival links. We've arranged it this month according to the categories of our NPN resource pages on "What Is Natural Parenting?"

Attachment/Responsive Parenting

Attachment/responsive parenting is generally considered to include the following (descriptions/lists are not exhaustive; please follow each link to learn more):
  1. PREPARE FOR PREGNANCY, BIRTH, AND PARENTING:
  2. FEED WITH LOVE AND RESPECT:
  3. RESPOND WITH SENSITIVITY:
    • "Attachment Parenting Chose Us" — For a child who is born "sensitive," attachment parenting is more a way of life than a parenting "choice." Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares her experiences. (@CodeNameMama)
    • "Parenting in the Present" — Acacia at Be Present Mama parents naturally by being fully present.
    • "Parenting With Heart" — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment parents naturally because healthy attachments early in life help our little ones grow into healthy, functioning adults.
  4. USE NURTURING TOUCH:
  5. ENSURE SAFE SLEEP:
    • "Sometimes I Wish We Coslept" — Sheila at A Gift Universe has started to add cosleeping into her sleep routines and has found frequently unspoken benefits. Watch for her post, which will be featured on Natural Parents Network on Tuesday, November 30. (@agiftuniverse)
  6. PROVIDE CONSISTENT AND LOVING CARE:
  7. PRACTICE GENTLE/POSITIVE DISCIPLINE:
    • "Unconditional Parenting" — The philosophy of Alfie Kohn resonates with Erin at Multiple Musings, who does not want to parent (or teach) using rewards and punishment. (@ErinLittle)
  8. STRIVE FOR BALANCE IN PERSONAL AND FAMILY LIFE:

Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature

Holistic Health Practices

  • "Supporting Natural Immunity" — If you have decided against the traditional vaccination schedule, Starr at Earth Mama has some helpful tips for strengthening your children's immune systems naturally.

Natural Learning

  • "Acceptance as a Key to Natural Parenting" — Because Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog values accepting and responding to her daughter's needs, she was able to unravel the mystery of her daughter's learning "challenges." (@myzerowaste)
  • "Let Them Look" — Betsy at Honest 2 Betsy makes time to look at, to touch, and to drool on the pinecones.
  • "Why I Love Unschooling" — Unschooling isn't just about learning for Darcel at The Mahogany Way — it is a way of life. (@MahoganyWayMama)
  • "Is He Already Behind?"Ever worry that your baby or toddler is behind the curve? Danielle at born.in.japan will reassure you about the many ways your little one is learning — naturally — every day. Watch for her post, which will be featured on Natural Parents Network on Tuesday, November 16. (@borninjp)
  • "How to Help Your Child through Natural Learning" — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now offers tips on how to understand and nurture your child's natural learning style. (@DebChitwood)

Healthy Living

Parenting Philosophies

Political and Social Activism

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sunday Surf: First Edition

I've been wanting to pull off a Sunday Surf and have been working towards the idea. I started a "Weekly Link List?" folder for bookmarks that might make the cut. This list may be short, but I like this idea... not only for sharing, but also as a reference back to the links for myself! This first list also took me more than a week to put together, but I would like to try to do this regularly, so I hope I get better at it!

  • The Natural Parents Network just launched and I'm excited about it! The site offers great articles and links as well as an actual forum for connecting with our community!

  • Each time I've had a new baby, I've had to lower my standards. This post by Goofy Mama is another of many where I've seen other mothers confess how rarely they shower after having a baby. This is a thing I'd found fairly embarrassing, so all the posts I've seen lately on this topic have been very reassuring. And now I can call it being green, too! Thanks go out to Hobo Mama for this one.

  • I've recently taken up making bento lunches as a hobby. I've been reading so many sites and looking at pics and checking out recipes... I'll probably share some of those links eventually unless I create a separate blog for bento. That said, this recipe for Sandwich Sushi is so cool! It is one of those ways to make veggies fun for kids. My 12yo, however, didn't care for it. I love it! It is a great bento ingredient!

  • 5 Things Your Unschooler Needs to Know was included in my post Monday night. However, it bears mentioning again. I'm in a phase right now where I am reevaluating my priorities. I feel like I've made some pretty big decisions this week to make some major changes in my life and my plans. This post helped me along this path.

  • I am subscribed to a LiveJournal community for hand made gift ideas. And Giftmas is right around the corner! However, I followed a link on Hobo Mama's blog tonight and then clicked on a link there... I often surf around the world one link at a time like this! Anyway, this felt fairy house (tutorial) is such a neat and easy-looking project! I think my niece might love one for Giftmas!

  • To go right along with my big decisions of late, Hobo Mama shared an awesome link today about Unjobbing. I had never heard the term, but it makes sense to me. You can, of course, read more at the link, but it sounds a bit like unschooling. I think I'll be researching this more as I try to find a solution to my 40-hours-away-from-home issue.

Not so terribly short after all! You can find other Sunday Surfs at Hobo Mama including a list of other others at the bottom of her post.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

Educating Our Children - Huge Decision

In September, I read Hobo Mama's September Carnival of Natural Parenting submission titled Too lazy to unschool? At the time, I could so relate to what she was saying. I actively homeschooled Tyler through first and second grade. It was a lot of work! I didn't use any set curriculum across the board, but rather researched each subject. I chose a different curricula for several subjects, but with others I chose to "wing it." So yeah, it was a lot of work! I worked from home full time. So while I was busy working, I was also present. That is a very key word in my head these days.

I currently work full time outside our home. My husband works part time for the same company. I get insurance benefits which are a must for my not-so-healthy husband as well as our plans to reproduce again, though I do also have an Indian Health Card available to me.

Sometimes it breaks my heart to leave home for work. Sometimes I see that it affords me the sanity of not becoming entirely obsessed with my family. I believe I may have been overly obsessed with my older child when she was a baby. Also, I make more money than my husband. My plan since Sasha was born is for us to get to the point that he can quit work entirely and be a full time stay at home dad. I have hoped that he would be willing to learn how to cook at that point. :-P (He already does most of the cleaning around here!)

However, our workplace is about to start offering insurance benefits to the part time people! That still leaves my salary. I've worked from home before. It is difficult to find situations that will allow for that, but it can be done. Sometimes I think I've given up too easily on the dream of working from home.

This evening, I was reading an article on the new Natural Parents Network and followed a link to a commenter's blog. From there, I followed another link and wound up reading 5 Things Your Unschooler Needs to Know on Enjoy Life Unschooling. No shit, this single post (and the comments) may change my life. Enjoy Life Unschooling Why NOT look for ways to change my (and my family's) life in big ways? I WANT to spend more time with my family, but I let work get in the way. It is harder to find ways to change that, but not impossible.

Very specifically, though, I'm quite interested in unschooling. I worry that we'd be lazy and never do anything. But at the same time, I know how I am. I know I enjoy presenting opportunities to my children. Opportunities for new interests. Maybe it really would be okay for us. I've submitted a question to the writers regarding grown-up unschoolers. I look forward to their response and will likely broach the topic to my always-very-supportive husband soon.

Unschooling just seems to be such a natural progression of all the hippy choices I've already made in our lives: breastfeeding, child-led weaning, child-led introduction to solid foods, elimination communication, even the way I approach signing with her. I already *know* we don't want to send her (or any future child) to school, but... is unschooling for us? I'm going to figure that out.

In the meantime... is there a career change in my future? can we find a way to live further away from town? might we even leave the state?! I am always in awe of people that make these kinds of major changes in their lives, especially moving across state lines. I have lived in the Tulsa area for my entire life! Is it time for a some changes?
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