Friday, August 31, 2012

Breastfeeding has been Downhill


Welcome to the August edition of Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Breastfeeding.

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by The Positive Parenting Connection and Authentic Parenting. As August is Breastfeeding awareness month, our participants are writing about this exact subject! Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


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I hadn't announced until the day my first was born that I planned to breastfeed her. My stepmother was a little annoyed that she hadn't been informed. The funny thing was that she and my dad each picked out a t-shirt for me that afternoon... not thinking about the breastfeeding factor. (You just wore button up shirts to breastfeed back then.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Mamatography - Week 33

Day 225

(08/12/12)

I got these grapes that are so big Sasha takes bites.
For some reason, she doesn't eat the middle.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What makes a favorite?


The Taboo Carnival
Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this summer is PLAYING FAVORITES! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on favoritism in relationships with children, parents, siblings, and more. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Everybody in our family knew that my grandmother's youngest child (of 2 boys and 2 girls) was her favorite. Her older son died after Vietnam, so that might have had something to do with it. Or maybe it was just because he was her baby. Her girls both had special needs, so that may have made her extra fond of him, too.

I moved in with my dad and his wife when I was about 15 years old. It was Dad, me (his youngest), my step mom (she has been for most of my life), and my little brother (her youngest). I think it was pretty clear that we were each of our parents' favorites. Boy did that cause for some stress!

sliding down stairs on a blanketAs the youngest, my brother & I were close in our own ways.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sad News, Indeed

I kept hoping that all the suspicions and the news that leaked was wrong. Surely the American Academy of Pediatrics couldn't be bought. Surely they couldn't support circumcision right when so many countries are making the opposite decision. Not when even the American Cancer Society denounced circumcision as a preventative.

And so I waited, with bated breath... for the news to come. And so it did.


My naked, whole son & I, protesting the AAP's Circumcision stance.

There is an awful lot of money to be had by the medical industry from circumcisions. So many mothers have had to battle their families to do what is right for their sons. Now they don't have the AAP to back them up. Shame on you, AAP!

Tonight while chatting with my fellow Natural Parents Network volunteers about the AAP’s abhorrent policy change on circumcision, Amanda of Let’s Take the Metro spouted off a witty retort:

Cut your hair, cut a tooth, cut your bush, cut him loose, but don't cut a boy's penis!

If you are confused by the issues, if you want more information or need help, please check out my Circumcision Link List. Educate yourself and be an informed parent.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Lick It

Our cocoa container is brightly colored. Sasha keeps asking for candy and pointing to it. She just would not believe that it wasn't candy so I finally gave her a little of it to taste. She first tried to tell me it was yummy, but did eventually admit it was yucky.

Do you ever let your kids taste stuff you know they won't like?
Do you encourage them to taste these things?


Once upon a time, I had some in-laws that encouraged a toddler in the family to eat jalapeno peppers. Everyone was so amused by the face he made as he spit them out. He looked up as if to say "what have you given me?!" (I've even heard of people using peppers for discipline.) What effect does this have on the trust the child has in the parent?


I think we've all had the moment when our child tries lemon and we anxiously await the adorable sour face. What is the difference? I feel like having lemon available and letting a child try it is different than coercing them into trying a spicy pepper. Lemons are brightly colored, too. They look like they'd be fun to eat! I think someone might also be more likely to enjoy lemons. But what do I know, I hate citrus and don't care for hot peppers on their own.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mamatography - Week 32

Day 218

(08/05/12)

My girl after my own heart. Setting up all these pieces of chalk looked like fun! I was busy tending to...

Our power source... melted! The replacement part was under $10, though, and the RV Park maintenance men were willing to do the labor for us. Whew!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Maintance & Tips, to blunt or not to blunt?

I fell behind on my maintenance at one point, but I've taken it back up. I stay really busy, so I often wind up doing some palm rolling before bed. I procrastinated even working on the tips. Some people prefer not to blunt their tips at all. I have given it some thought, though, and think I do want to blunt them. Water doesn't drain out as well if our tips are blunted, but I prefer the classic look of the dreadlock going all the way down the hair.

Knotty Boy has a tutorial especially all about blunting tips. Tabatha came up with a slight variation on the method shown here and then I changed that up a little bit, too. I'd like to film my own tutorial and then make sure it works before sharing it. We'll see. I'm bad about procrastinating this sort of project and it has been majorly hot outside (where I would likely "film"). Knotty Boy invites members to upload tutorials. Tutorials that get chosen for use earn a 10% discount on their next purchase!

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Maintenance - Damp Palm RollingWorking on my hair after a shower. When I'm trying to get all of the locks, I tend to start in the front and work my way back.

As for that neglected maintenance, there is also only so much I can do alone. No one in my household is interested in helping me. My friend, Tabatha, has agreed to help me touch up my hair. Some locks need more back combing and I could use some solid palm rolling in the back. It is really hard to palm roll the back of your own head!

Knotty Boy Dreadlock Maintenance - Damp Palm RollingYou're supposed to palm roll your hair after washing your dreadlocks. In this heat, my hair dries really fast. I have to come straight home (from the shower facilities) and get right on it!

Palm rolling your damp dreadlocks help them keep a cylindrical shape, as well as encouraging loose hairs to reintegrate back into the lock. It will also help separate and keep new locks from grabbing onto and growing into each other.

I have really enjoyed all the supportive feedback I've been getting about my dreadlocks, keep it comin'! I am especially amused when I get a comment on an unrelated post and you add "By the way, I love your dreadlocks!" I hope if you're considering dreadlocks for yourself, I hope you will consider Knotty Boy products. Their tutorials have been really great, too!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mamatography - Week 31

Day 211

(07/29/12)

Hot days are good for Splash Pad visits! It was actually not as hot this day, but it was still great fun! Sasha took a little warming up, despite this not being her first rodeo...

Don't let the stance fool you, I was absolutely soaked through and through!

She did warm up to it and didn't need me for long. She was running around getting all wet among even the big kids, all on her own! Also, I love this shot! Daddy did great taking pics for me!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Raw Local Milk


Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer's Markets

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they've learned about their local farmers.

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I've been wanting to take my kids out to the dairy. I know we have 2 or 3 in the surrounding towns, I've been to 2 of them. There is a dairy that sells at one of the Farmers Markets, too. We went to the one I know has been around forever: Swan Brothers Dairy.


Monday, August 13, 2012

First Taboo Carnival!

Jorje from Momma Jorje and Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama are pleased to announce The Taboo Carnival. This Carnival will be held four times yearly (February, May, August, and November). The topics will be wide and varied but focused on subjects that are typically not discussed in the natural parenting/mindful living world of bloggers.

The Taboo Carnival

The August 2012 Taboo Carnival topic is: PLAYING FAVORITES!

Favoritism. It is defined as a display of partiality toward a person or group OR the state of being held in special favor.

The idea of having a “favorite something” is quite prevalent these days. Great weight is places upon having a favorite color, a favorite food, a favorite vacation destination, a favorite season, and the list goes on. Chances are you get asked what your favorite something is on a weekly if not daily basis.

One taboo topic when it comes to playing favorites is familial relationships. How many times has someone asked you outright if you have a favorite child? If someone did ask you this, it would probably be seen as rather rude and invasive, possibly even completely out of line.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Birth Control Options

I am not a medical professional. This post (originally published on Diary of a First Child) is based on my own research and experience.

Condoms

Condoms are probably the most common form of barrier birth control. They're available in different materials, sizes, and textures! I have never met a man that would prefer this form of birth control if they had any option at all. I only dated one man that didn't seem to mind using condoms and I married him.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mamatography - Week 30

Day 204

(07/22/12)

After a very late night, Tyler got up, dressed, and napped on the couch before I drove her to the last day of her convention. Notice she's wearing a long wig this time.

A rare family bed shot of just the boys! Big thanks to Daddy for letting me get this photo! Our comforter got wet at the Drive-in so we were using a twin size Spongebob comforter.

While Tyler was at the convention, the rest of us attended the local RV expo. We climbed into travel trailers and RVs that fit our bunk needs, but also checked out the crazy luxury RVs. It was fun.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Dreadlock Sleep Solution +

Last week I promised to share my comfortable sleep solution. Here it is:


Please forgive that these were taken first thing in the morning.

This is a really easy solution and it is an upcycle project! I took an old t-shirt and cut off the sleeves just outside the seam. I put one sleeve on wrong side out so that the seam that goes down you arm doesn't press into my neck. The arm pit part is the shortest, so you put that in the back. Slide it over your head and pull your hair through. Then slide it over your face until you get it where you want it.


You can even see lines from the sheet imprints.

You could decorate this with fabric paint or dye. You could any sort of t-shirt you liked and add appliques or iron-on designs. This could be used as a fashion accessory, not just a dread sleep cover. I've worn mine out of the house, too. The only problem mine has is that my dye has rubbed off on it.

I actually have two of these (go figure), but the other one I snipped more. If your sleeve is too tight for your head you might need to try a larger size shirt. You can also just snip the band a little in the back to loosen it up. I tried that, but preferred the solid sleeve.

I'm still loving the Knotty Boy Dreadlock Wax Roll-up Stick. It is really easy to just rub it down my dreads. I'm sure I'll try the old style wax eventually... but probably not until this stick runs out. It is so easy to use!

Here's my latest favorite do!


This is a simple pony tail that I've pulled most of the way through a second time.
I like this style without dreadlocks, too.

I haven't had any more trouble with itchy scalp, despite the Summer heat, since using the vinegar spray one time. I've also gotten more thorough with the Knotty Boy Dreadlock Shampoo Bar and I make sure to let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Boundaries & Nursing

Nursing Limits was my last update on my nursing relationship with Sasha. At that time, I was allowing Sasha to nurse for 15 minutes at bedtime and 10 minutes for naps. She has since dropped naps almost entirely. She only takes a nap when she needs one. Usually that means she falls asleep on her own.

At bedtime... I found myself fighting not to short change her time. If 15 minutes was really 13-14, I went ahead and dropped it to 10. Then that got dropped incrementally until it was 5. We also started using a set bedtime every night. I hate schedules, so I have been really amazed at how well that has worked! We started with 9 o'clock, but I soon discovered she was ready to sleep at 8 o'clock! On days when she naps, I let her stay up a little later.

It was difficult to find a balance of meeting her needs as well as my own boundaries. We stuck with 5 minutes for a while. A few times her latch hurt so I'd have her stop to re-latch. She would usually let go, then just hold my nipple in her mouth.

Now, we're not even counting minutes. She got to where she'd only nurse for about 20 seconds, then she'd switch to just pressing her open mouth against my breast. I don't even think you could call it holding the nipple. She doesn't even touch it.

I've been obsessively wanting to make it to her 3rd birthday, but wasn't sure I could stand it. Our current system looks more like this: I hold her while she has my breast available to hold in her mouth (which she does) while I sing 2 lullabies. They're short, though I don't get the same aversion feelings anymore. Then I tuck her into bed and sing 1 more lullaby while stroking her hair. She has definitely mastered going to sleep on her own, though she usually wants a drink of water at some point.

Her birthday is next month! We'll make it and then I plan to ease her off the breast entirely. I feel a bit more confidence that we'll manage it with minimal trauma. We'll discuss it and probably switch to holding and singing or maybe to reading a book. While I love the idea of bedtime reading, I feel like holding and singing is more... bonding.

There are so many different tactics and approaches to weaning (or not). Take what works for you. Try different things. My biggest advice is not to discount your own boundaries. If you hate every second of nursing, that isn't a healthy situation for you or your nursling. I have definitely survived some very unhealthy nursing sessions! Meanwhile, Spencer is still EBF at 7 months old now.

I no longer offer the breast for booboos. Come to think of it, it doesn't even occur to me anymore. She doesn't ask for Mommy Milk all day anymore and I no longer feel guilty for nursing Spencer in front of her. These are all wonderful outcomes from setting my boundaries. We must value our own comfort level. Meeting our babies' needs doesn't have to have to come at such a great cost.

Please, for World Breastfeeding Week, share with me tales of your own gentle (or not so gentle) weaning experiences.

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celebrate world breastfeeding week on npn

I’m celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Natural Parents Network!

You can, too — link up your breastfeeding posts from August 1-7 in the linky below, and enjoy reading, commenting on, and sharing the posts collected here and on Natural Parents Network.

(Visit NPN for the code to place on your blog.)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Mamatography - Week 29

Day 197

(07/15/12)


After staying up way too late Saturday night and not getting enough sleep... Not only was a photograph the last thing on my mind, I wouldn't want a reminder of that friggin' day! It was awful!

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