Click on over to the Natural Parents Network Wordless Wednesday to see more Playgroup photographs and to link up your own Wordless Wednesday post!
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Here is yet another article on building small living space. This is more assembly line type, but they say the quality is higher (and give reasons). What do you think?
I have an appreciation for this bit, "I like to provide a large sink, so that the person who's using it doesn't feel like they're lacking or living smaller and everything is miniaturized."
Click here to read NPRs article: As Population, Consumption Rise, Builder Goes Small.
What size living space would be ideal for you & yours?
How many people does that include?
Click over to Anktangle for more Monday Minimalism! Let me know if you have a Monday Minimalist post to include in my link list.
Click the icon to grab the button for your MM posts or for details on how to join the movement.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
- A Brooklyn performance artist plans to give birth before a live audience at her new installation, "The Birth of Baby X." I was kind of following along and thought it was interesting until I reached this bit: “Raising Baby X,” in which she will "re-contextualize the everyday act of raising a child into a work of performance art,” the gallery says. Um... okay. It just seemed like it discredited the entire thing. Your thoughts?
- National Geographic Photo Contest 2011 includes a strong image of a woman after a home water birth. I think any woman that has gone through birth (consciously) can relate to the expression on the woman's face. Click over to being pregnant to see it.
- This next article is so good! Much like discovering Natural Parenting (the title for what I was already doing), this article backs up a lot of my thoughts. It covers delayed cord clamping as well as being gentle with a newborn (rather than drying them or scrubbing the vernix off of them). I was so irritated when Sasha was born because I couldn't get the nurse to stop rubbing it off. The article doesn't specifically refer to vernix, but rather goes over being gentle in general. Click over to read The Newborn Baby's First Moments of Life; Transitions After Birth.
Have you read anything shocking or beautiful lately?
Friday, November 25, 2011
I kind of admire parents that want to expose their children to many different religious beliefs without pushing their own. I was raised Catholic and even attended a couple of Catholic Schools. When I took the time to read the bible, it did not speak to me. Sermons did not speak to me. For me, church felt like a fashion show / popularity contest (much like school). For a while, I wanted to be Wiccan and I still feel that it is a beautifully romantic belief system. I don't share those beliefs either, though. What I believe shouldn't really matter to you and isn't really my point.
When Tyler was very young, just old enough to have play dates, I found myself to be a bit of an anti-Christian. You do find a lot of Christians as well as Pagans in the homeschooling community, especially right here in the buckle of the bible belt (Oklahoma). You would have thought I was protecting my child from... troublemakers, I guess. I didn't want her hanging out with "those kinds of people!" Yes, this is judgmental and awful. I also wound up becoming very close friends with people that have strong religious beliefs.
The other trouble with my attitude was that I did still want Tyler to make her own decisions regarding faith. I just didn't want it pushed on her. And as an Agnostic (at best), leaning toward Atheist, I probably didn't (deep down) want her to have faith. My sister has two daughters and they go to church every Sunday. Another close friend of Tyler's goes to church every Sunday. This complicated sleepovers. When she had her friend over on Saturday nights, she had to leave early for church. And when Tyler stayed over there or at my sister's? Well I finally gave in. Tyler really liked going to church. I don't think she has ever asked me to take her, but she does believe in God. And that is okay. Really.
I've made a point with her, when asked, to make it clear that what SHE believes is all that really matters. That carries over into other parts of our lives, such as Santa. When arguments came up with classmates about Santa and she asked me if Santa was real, I asked her what she thought, what she believed. She believed he was real. That was all that mattered. Her classmates opinions and beliefs didn't matter, so long as she knew in her heart what she believed.
I support my daughter's rights to believe whatever speaks to her. It doesn't have to be what speaks to me (or, more appropriately, doesn't speak to me). I still support her right. I want her to be able to discuss her beliefs with me, just as I can discuss my own with friends that don't share my viewpoint. It doesn't have to be a battle to convert each other. We aren't bad influences on each other. We can coexist.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
- I am thankful to have two healthy daughters.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
We actually have more stuff in the attic, but this was stuff in the extra room that really needed to be cleared. Elmo brought all of it into our tiny room and we went through it together. I got ruthless once again. I tossed my diaries dating back to 1982. I can't believe I was finally able to do it. I had been transcribing them into my online journal, but stopped some time ago. I couldn't see me getting back to the project any time soon and honestly found it humiliating.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
- While looking for hospital birth videos this week I stumbled upon this video about the breast crawl. I can not believe I had never heard of this! The poor woman delivers on her back, but otherwise... amazing! That lead me to seek out BreastCrawl.org. There is another video on their site that includes some instruction on how to initiate the crawl with a newborn. If you're expecting (or love birth stuff), you definitely want to check this out!
- Have you seen the recent ads coming out against cosleeping? Many are downright offended, especially by the misrepresentation of facts. Read the Kitchen Witch's post on Common Sense and Cosleeping for the gist as well as the real numbers.
- Did that cosleeping stuff get you fired up? Well if so, I'm sure you'll be interested to know that Monkey Butt Junction is hosting a Safe Cosleeping Carnival. Blog Carnivals are a lot of fun and a great way to "meet" other bloggers with similar ideals (and bring you new traffic).
- I'm sure you won't be surprised to "hear" that Pediatricians write more than 10 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions. Parents should not expect a scrip for an antibiotic every time their child has some sort of infection. I know a lot of doctors prescribe them just to shut moms up.
- You've surely seen videos of dancing Flash Mobs, right? Very cool! Well you should check out The Levity Project from The Levity Institute and their recent Grocery Store Dancing Micro-Movement. Find out how you can participate!
I hope you've enjoyed my whopping 5 or so links this week! Which of these links inspired you to click?
Friday, November 18, 2011
I was mostly a tease as a teenager. I got into a little trouble here and there, but nothing major. Then when I was 16 years old, I got knocked up during a one night stand with a guy upon whom I'd been crushing for some time. I hadn't even been living with my dad for a full year yet.
My very first reaction was that I had to abort. My best friend helped me research how you would go about it and what sort of legal rights I had as a minor. It turned out that I would have to have my parent's permission. Ooooh, that was not going to happen. My father liked telling people he was a heathen, but he'd turn right around and quote the bible to you. I've never considered him a religious man, but he certainly has a strong sense of morals and abortion would definitely be out of the question!
We figured out that I could pull off getting married without parental consent. Then I wouldn't need parental consent for the abortion. We even had a gay man chosen for the job! However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I just couldn't do it. At that point in my life I was just not capable of terminating a pregnancy.
Eventually I confessed to my father. He insisted I quit my job (he had noticed I'd been very tired) and got me in to see a doctor. He was amazingly supportive, something I hadn't expected. He even offered to break the news to his wife, another thing I was dreading. She wound up being my Lamaze coach for the birth!
Labor and delivery went very smoothly and I had a beautiful, healthy baby girl. I felt bonded to her pretty much immediately. Once home, there was some friction between my family and I. They were uncomfortable by my breastfeeding in the living room so I went up to my room to do it. Then they explained they didn't need me to leave, just cover myself. Then my stepmother would get irritated at me for offering my baby the breast before she cried. Any of you that have breastfed a baby know... sometimes you just know it is time to feed the baby!
There were just too many disagreements. I finished my Junior year of high school and then during the Summer I moved out of the house. I did it one day while my stepmother was at work and my dad was out to lunch. Cowardly, I know, but I made the best decision I could at the time.
I moved into a house I would rent from my stepfather for an insanely low amount. There were even renters in the house when I moved into it, but they were forced to accept me (and soon moved out themselves). I actually left on a trip to Louisiana that very afternoon (got the heck out of dodge!).
I had to get on Welfare to support myself and even got Food Stamps. I couldn't find a way to get a job because I had a kid and I couldn't get a sitter or day care because I didn't have a job. I felt pretty stuck. Living alone for the first time in my life, I also felt pretty lonely. Each night I would lie in front of a television with my baby until I fell asleep.
Meanwhile, my mother and her husband very much wanted a child of their own. My mother had difficulties with her pregnancies and had since gotten "fixed." Then I had this heart to heart with my mother. She pointed out how stuck I felt and how much they wanted a baby. Over lunch, I agreed to give up my daughter to them. I later even tried to conceive a surrogate child for them. (It only took one cycle of waiting to know to figure out that this was not the right decision for me.)
There were some difficult times in the following months, including a major falling out with my mother. When my daughter was 5, my mother told her my story - without using any of our names. My daughter knew exactly who was in the story. I think that was a good, timely approach. I've seen many adults get really messed up psychologically from finding out that their sibling was their parent. (This had more to do with the lies they'd been told for their entire lives.)
I floated in and out of my mother and daughter's lives. My mother and my stepfather separated. My mother has recently passed away and my daughter is now almost living on her own for the first time in her life (at 21 years old). My mother was pretty open with me about her parenting decisions and my daughter's development and problems. I can't say that I agree with everything she did and I definitely wonder sometimes how things might have been different for my daughter if I had kept her.
That said, I make a point of having no regrets in my life if I can help it at all. There is one concert (The Swans) I regret skipping. But major life choices? I wouldn't be the woman I am today with the children and life experience and perspective I have now if I hadn't taken the paths I took. I just hope I didn't wrong her in some way. I know she doesn't feel that way at this point in her life, but she has a different perspective on "our" mother than I do.
Giving her up was definitely one of the harder things I've had to do in my life, but I don't know if I would even say it was the hardest. In hindsight I have been convinced that I was manipulated into the decision. (Who decides to give up their child over lunch?!) But I've also considered being a surrogate mother for others. It has been something I've wanted to do for years. And now I fear I'm getting too old for it considering I'm currently pregnant with another of my own children! By the time I'm done nursing, I'll be in my mid-forties! My point, though, is that I've often considered giving up another child, but through surrogacy. It isn't the same thing. I don't know that I ever would have been alright giving her up for adoption to someone I didn't and would never know. At least my daughter has always been available to me.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
She now has an attic bedroom. The ceiling is slanted with a point down the middle. Anyway, she only has to have occasional traffic through her room to access the storage space in the attic. Otherwise, she is very out of the way and has a cool room. Her bed wouldn't make it up there, so she even wound up with a larger bed!
Now the problem part. She isn't
Sunday, November 13, 2011
- I have always had a hard time around perfumes, colognes and many "air fresheners." It seems the world is catching up to me! Check out Clear The Air: Scented Candles, Air Fresheners Can Be Irritating from NPR's Health Blog.
- Was anyone else made a bit nervous by the recent nation-wide test (the first of its kind) of the Emergency Broadcast System? As if that wasn't bad enough, take a peek at Potential loophole in vaccine law could mandate vaccines in children during declared emergency.
- Someone linked a blog this week: Free-Range Kids. I'll admit that the term does carry some negative connotation in my mind. I have known some families that never said no to their kids. One of said kids tried to convince my very small child to enter a storm drain in a park. It was an ugly issue. However, I get the idea behind Free Range Kids. More-so, I think I could benefit from letting go a bit more. I'm doing better with my teenager, whom I tended to Helicopter Parent when she was younger. Click over and read real life experiences with raising Free Range Kids and how those children react.
What caught your eye this week?
Friday, November 11, 2011
I first became pregnant at sixteen years old in 1989. I didn't know much and I didn't research much. I was an average student in school. I did attend the birthing classes provided through my hospital, which were Lamaze. Those classes consisted of three sessions. My stepmother was to be my birthing coach. I somehow knew, instinctually, that I would not want her to do the back massage. Sure enough, I experienced some back labor. She offered and the doctor even encouraged her to rub my back. He even reached for my back at one point and I nearly bit his head off, "Do NOT touch my back!"
I hadn't informed my stepmother until I was in labor that I intended to breastfeed. I should have known then that I was destined to be a hippie! With no research or any information, I just knew that breastfeeding was the right and natural option. She was a bit annoyed at the time, but I think that was due to the last minute notice. My first child was born in May of 1990 while I was seventeen. I gave healthy, natural birth to an 8 lb, 10 oz baby girl. I was only in labor for five hours! I awoke around 5:00 am as my stepmother poured her coffee and my water broke. She was born just after 10:00 am. I did accede to a shot of Demerol, but it was so late in the game that she was born before it had any effect.
I was given an episiotomy and then proceeded to tear. A lot. The doctor told me that I "tore the muscle you use to stop pooping." That would be the most difficult part of my recovery!
Eight years went by before I got pregnant again. In the interim, I got married. We had been married for five years before this surprise pregnancy. No longer in school, I was an avid researcher of anything that interested me. I read several books and decided I definitely wanted to attend Bradley Method childbirth classes. My husband, while not supportive of the pregnancy in general, was very supportive with our childbirth classes.
This time around, I came prepared with a Birth Plan. I wanted to avoid as many interventions as possible. The only thing I couldn't wriggle / argue out of the hospital was the Vitamin K shot. I gave birth in an Indian hospital and being state funded, they were required (or so I was told). To this day, that Vitamin K shot was the only shot my daughter has ever received.
But back to that birth, I awoke very early in the morning to labor pains. I did all the textbook things to make sure it was real labor (ate, drank, changed position, tried to sleep). As my husband's alarm went off, I told him "its time." He said he knew (that it was time to go to work). "No, honey, it's time." So bright and early Monday morning we were headed to the hospital, two towns over.
I don't think that the staff there was familiar with Bradley students. I had my husband, mother, and daughter (whom my mother had adopted) all in the room with me. All of my support knew that if I dropped my head back, eyes closed, regardless of conversation - silence was in order. We would pick things right back up once contractions passed. I did amazingly well relaxing through contractions! The staff did NOT think I was ready to birth because I was so calm and relaxed. Come to think of it, I may have skipped the transition phase in both of those labors!
I was rushed to the delivery room. My water was broken, though I would have liked to attempt birthing without that assistance. One big, hard push... One big, hard yell... Staff and husband reminded me that yelling pushes the wrong direction. One more big, hard push and Tyler was born with her hand on the side of her face. She came out so fast that her entire head was bruised purple! That speed also meant that I tore, though not as badly as last time.
The student doctor could not stop the bleeding to determine the damage (so he could repair it). He called in an older, more experienced, doctor. This doctor didn't know I hadn't been numbed yet and was quite rough with me. I then felt every "numbing" injection and every single stitch! All the while, the lactation consultant (or nurse, I don't recall) was manhandling my breast, trying to get our breastfeeding started. Tyler nursed for half an hour in the delivery room!
Another healthy, natural birth. This time to an 8 lb, 9 oz baby girl. Again, about five hours of labor. This time, with no drugs at all!
Another 10 years later, I'd divorced and fallen in love with someone new. We had our own surprise pregnancy. (For those keeping track, I was now 35 years old.) I knew I wanted to use the Bradley Method again. I wanted a refresher course and for my new coach to get the training as well.
We wrote our Birth Plan. (It is a class assignment anyway.) Our doctor supported and even requested the document. We went over it in advance. I learned, however, that many nurses see them as "failure plans." I found this very upsetting!
I went into labor late at night this time around and hadn't had much sleep the night before, either. This would turn out to be my longest labor yet (three times longer than the others!). In hindsight, the reasons were glaringly obvious. We were both so tired, though, that we just could not think straight. Sasha had turned to face the wrong direction. I was refusing to try more than two labor positions. After many hours and even having my water broken, our new nurse finally caught that I was having back labor.
No, she didn't try to rub my back. Instead, she insisted I get onto all fours. I didn't think it was possible with the hep-lock in the back of my hand. She arranged the bed perfectly, though. I was hooked up to an external monitor and as soon as I got into this position, we literally heard Sasha swoosh around and I was ready to push! I later told this nurse that she was my hero, regardless of my dislike for her bedside manner.
I don't recall how many pushes, but it wasn't a lot. My doctor was there and all of the staff encouraged me not to push too hard. I held back. Thanks to this (and probably her size), I didn't tear at all! Oh if only I'd had this doctor the first time around! I did suffer minor abrasion, but no actual tears. No repair necessary! Bradley Method served me well, but that was my longest, hardest labor ever! We were able to skip ALL shots with Sasha, but she did get lots of heel pricks for testing.
Between my Gestational Diabetes, the doctor's encouragement to induce (as naturally as possible), and my readiness to just stop being pregnant, my membranes were swept on two occasions. The second resulted in early labor, which is what the doctor wanted. He had said he was concerned with her getting too big, especially since I had a history of large babies. I gave another natural, healthy birth to a 7 lb 8 oz baby girl about one week early (based on my EDD). If I had it to do over again, I would not (and will not) opt for induction, however "natural" it may seem. Sasha obviously was not over-sized.
These three births were by three different women. No, not literally. But consider: at 17, 25, and 35 years old, we are very different people. I feel like these have been three entirely separate lifetimes. It is as though I were reincarnated between each pregnancy.
Now, for the first time ever, I am pregnant on purpose. Even though it has been a relatively short time since my last birth, there are definitely details I intend to change on our Birth Plan. I'm only 13 weeks pregnant, so I still have plenty of time to change my mind back and forth on details. I think, though, that this time around I will do a lotus birth, at least for a while. I'm also interested in possibly ingesting my placenta. At 38 years old, I could use all the help I can get!
How have your births differed from one another?
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Welcome to the November Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids in the Kitchen
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how kids get involved in cooking and feeding. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
One way to get your kids interested in what they eat and make eating fun is to learn and do Obento (aka Bento) meals together! I had been doing these lunches for myself for a while when my preteen daughter got into Japanese culture. She has since become a member of a Manga club at a local library branch and wanted to take a Bento with her for a contest. Here is her first Obento:
Monday, November 7, 2011
Moving into a 10 x 10 room as our main living space served as some severe inspiration! Something had to be done about this mountain of toys we still had! In the photo above (taken in our old apartment), you can see the ottoman in the back corner - it had become a play center where we kept all of Sasha's toys (or tried anyway). You can see it was overflowing. Then there were the random toys scattered about the place.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
- One common reason I hear about breastfeeding relationships failing early on is newborn weight loss. Well there is a new study that explains a lot of that newborn weight loss and will hopefully arm some more parents against unnecessary supplementing. Check out Newborn Weight Loss and IV Fluids in Labor.
- Code Name: Mama published a great article on the body autonomy of children specifically as it pertains to tickle games.I feel it is so important to respect our children's limits and boundaries. It is important to let them have some control and also let them learn that "no means no." Check out Tickle Me Not.
- Have you heard of the site End Routine Infant Circumcision (4ERIC.org)? Holy crap, this organization will send a card to your chosen physician or hospital - for free! You should click over and see the card (and send one yourself)! It is really cute and you can have it sent using your own return address or ERIC's return address.
Friday, November 4, 2011
Then I went through a short phase (only a couple of weeks, thankfully!) where nursing would sometimes send my body arousal signals. It took a little bit to figure out that this was likely because my breasts were bone dry. I hadn't been dry (as far as I know) since Tyler was born 13 years ago!