Google+ Authentic Parenting: February 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A new look

How do you like the new template? Anything you would like to see here that isn't already there? Feel free to leave any suggestions...
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Happy reading!


Ever wonder it might be your parenting?

People often tell me that I have it easy, because my kid has such a gentle demeanor, such a sweet character; that gentle parenting techniques wouldn't work for them because their child is a handful/ has got character/ is very demanding. Ok, we could go into nature versus nurture debates for hours now, but that would be besides the point.
Do they ever wonder it might be just because they don't apply gentle parenting tactics that raising their child is such hard work.
Or they'll say their kid is so dominant and agressif, whereas my daughter is soft and paisible. Maybe it's because they are punishing their kids and I'm not. But don't dare to utter that thaught, because they'll tell you right away that agression is in their child's nature, there's nothing they can do about that and that's way they have to take corrective measures.
Now I don't think children can be agressif in nature. Nor do I think children often are born agressif (except in some cases where they have lived agressions in utero). I think children mimick behavior we show to them. Thus, if you are punishing your child on a regular basis, you are telling him that it is ok to dominate those weaker than himself. If you force your child to do things on a regular basis, instead of ask him, he himself will use force and coercion upon his friends.

For fuck sake, treat your children as people, not as cattle. Talk to them! Ask them for their opinion, even if they can't answer just yet. Say please! Stop ordering them around and putting them in dark corners! How would you feel if that was done to you, say in the office.

Take this situation: In the office, you are sitting at your desk, working hard, concentrating on a difficult task. Your boss comes along.
Boss: "Copy this for me! He puts a stack of papers on your desk."
You get a bit annoyed at his ordering you and disturbing you while you are so clearly very busy.
You: "Can I first finish this"
Boss: "Copy it. NOW!!!!!"
You get even more annoyed.
You: "I am almost done, I'll be right on it."
Boss: "I said now! Do I have to lock you in the hallway?"
You frown, thinking this is a strange course the discussion has taken. Your boss is now furious, he pulls you off your chair by the arm, you stumble. He pulls you into the halway and throws the door in your face. The door locks and you stay there, in the dark, until five minutes later, you boss comes back.

Would you tolerate this???

Boss: "Now are you ready to copy those files?"
You take the files and meekly go into the copy room. For reasons unaccountable to you, one page of the original gets stuck in the copier and comes out mangled. You bring the pile of documents back to your boss.
Your boss sees this and immediately starts yelling at you: "I told you to do it right! What have you done now? You never do anything right! Do I always need to supervise you?"
At this point he's taken you by the arms and is shaking you:"I've had enough of it! Are you doing this to annoy me?"
He smacks you on the bum repeatedly.

Hmm... now this isn't right, is it! That man should be locked up! He's facing a serious lawsuit, right!
Yet that's how many many parents treat their kids... and then they are wondering why they act up!

Tell me, how would you react?


Sunday, February 21, 2010


I live a fairly secluded life her in my golden cage. I only come in contact with few other parents and find the rest of my social parenting life online. This allows me to live in my own little utopia in my head.
It's quite obvious that I search for like-minded people online. I only read blogs from people who live by the same principles. So over time, in my mind, I create a world in which the majority of people are attachment parents, in which unschooling is a normal, reasonable thing to do. Living in this imaginary world deconnects me from reality most of the time.
Yet sometimes I get my nose pushed into the shit that is reality. When I google something, like say, baby sleep pattern, I get hundreds of results about CIO, and maybe one about more peaceful approaches. When I browse through mommy blogs, I instantly realize we're outnumbered! Shocking!
Damn, my utopia is so much better, I think I'm going to reside there until the world has seen its error!

Until then,


Feminism is more than working outside the house

French feminist author Elisabeth Badinter recently spoke out against the new model of mothering in France called maternage (which is basically the same as attachment parenting). She sees this style of parenting as a anti-feminist return to the dark ages, enslaving women on account of their children.

"Thanks to a new coalition of ecologists, breastfeeding advocates and behavioural specialists, she argued, young women are facing increasing pressure to be perfect mothers who adhere to strict guidelines for how to care for their babies."
Exactly for discours like this one, I refrain from calling myself a feminist. This kind of reasoning is the one that gives feminism a bad name.
Feminism isn't just about going to work outside the house. It used to be, after WWII, agreed, but it's so much more now. Feminism is also about a woman's right to stay at home and look after her children if she so desires. It is about a womans' choice in childbirth and childcare. A woman's CHOICE! How can you be calling yourself a feminist if in your point of view women HAVE to work? Where's the freedom of choice in that?
Moreover, how can wanting the best for your child be anti-feminist? I CHOSE to be a SAHM, my husband and I have made our entire lives around wanting several children. That's my choice and if it's feminist to want to take that from me, because I might make working mothers feel bad. Well fuck you! One more reason why I'm a humanist. I care for myself and I care for my children and I'm not just going to leave them hang in there because it's sometimes hard and I'd feel so much better about myself and so much more interesting if I'd be working. But that doesn't make me a perfect mom. There are days that I'm sick of it, that I'd want to quit, but frankly, it would probably be the same if I did work.
To be perfectly honest, I think working outside the house would be easier. But in no way more fulfilling.
"She says that the new image of the "ideal mother" – one who breastfeeds for six months, does not rush to return to full-time work, avoids painkillers in childbirth, rejects disposable nappies and occasionally lets her baby sleep in her bed – makes impossible demands on any woman who has a life outside of her child."
And how shortsighted is it to think that the only life outside of her child a woman can have is a working one? I have a life outside of my child. Agreed, I have to mold it to my child sometimes, but I do have a life! And probably a much more desirable one than the life of a woman who has to work. I can do what I want when I want, having a child doesn't stop me.
I think given the choice, and if there wasn't a huge decrease in salary, a lot of women would choose to be at home with their child. It's a biological imperative. It is why our species survived. Don't ignore that just because you want to be equal to men. Being equal doesn't mean you should be the same!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

What's in my diaper bag?

Jessika Bailey at Uncommon Momsense was wondering what's in people's diaper bags, so I decided to make a little list of what's in mine. I don't really have a diaper bag ready to go or anything, I just pick up what's needed for the occasion.
I hardly ever really use a standard diaper bag. I got one for free with the Chicco 'Trio for Me' stroller I never used, and hardly ever use it. If I'm not out for long, I just stuff things in my handbag (got one especially for that use, since I used to be the teeny handbag kind of gal, never understood the big bag thing until the daughter came along). And for longer outings, I have a weekend diaper bag, which I really like. It's lime green and black with a camouflage interior from Little Company and for me it is just the right size and enough seperate pockets. I actually bought it because I found it was the ideal handluggage size. (ooh, I just went over to their site to add the link and found out they have way too cool bags! Gotto stop looking... aargh!)

Diaper bag essentials
these are the things I always carry when I'm out and about with my 20 month old.

  • Cloth diapers and paper liners (unless we're gone for more then one night, then I switch to disposable)
    I have 5 AIO's for the occasion, they are supercute handmade things I ordered off a woman in Belgium
  • diaper bag (for the dirty diapers)
  • babywhipes
  • pagne (a piece of cloth I use to tie baby on my back when she's tired)
  • fruit (appel, banana, prune...)
  • thermometer and paracetamol 
  • bottle of water
  • ballpoint
  • hand sanitizer
  • toilet paper or tissuesHey, I live in Africa, you never know where your next toilet visit will be. also handy for runny noses etc.
I think that's about it for the essentials. So next up, the additionals:
  • Diaper creamI only put it in there when she has a rash, or when she'll be wearing disposables (rash assured!)
  • Toy or bookWhen I know we'll be waiting somewhere she can't play with dirt or stones
  • Nuts or pistaccios
  • Some cookiesOnly when we'll be out for a long while and she's craving for something other than fruit or nuts
  • Sippy cup
  • SunscreenI'm not really a big fan of sunscreen, but our skin is just not made for tropical sunshine
Of course there's a lot of stuff not on this list we need when we go to the beach or the pool, but I think that might be another post altogether.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Some more things you really don't need

I have found a few more things to add to the list of useless commercial detached parenting things that only exist to serve as a diet for your bank account.

Travel cot
Or a foldable crib for that matter. Same as with the crib, baby flat out refused to ever use it... Anyway it's quite useless if you're bedsharing anyway. Moreover, when you're sleeping in an unfamiliar environment, sharing a bed can be very comforting for your child. I often hear parents - who don't normally bedshare - end up sleeping in the same bed with the whole family for at least a part of the holidays, because their kids need time to adapt to the new surroundings.

Plastic baby bath
Even though this is one of those things all baby checklists mention esteem indispensable, we probably used our baby tub only once or twice. I have always found that an uncomfortable thing. It's either too big or too small, and just not handy. When she was teeny tiny, I much preferred an inflatable tub, because it's smaller and softer to the touch. And at about six weeks, she just went in the big bath with us (or I'd wash her in it with just a little bit of water). From the time she could walk, she would just shower herself. So that plastic tub that's gathering dust in the cupboard is the next thing to go.


Childbirth quotes

"To change birth, we need to change the mental image of birth." ~Michael Rosenthal
"Just as a woman's heart knows how and when to pump, her lungs to inhale, and her hand to pull back from fire, so she knows when and how to give birth." -Virginia Di Orio
"Women's bodies have near-perfect knowledge of childbirth; it's when their brains get involved that things can go wrong." - PEGGY VINCENT, Baby Catcher


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Don't ask for advice if you don't want any!

I'm not to keen on writing today... I'm feeling kind of blah due to interactions I am having with another mom. Bare in mind that interactions of any kind are scarse here and that we have to do with the people that are around, really.
You'd think that if two mothers have really (I mean REALLY) different parenting philosophies, you don't go to each other for parenting advice, right. Unless it's something that's rather generic and wouldn't touch the core of your parenting views (like say how to wash the diapers or something). I mean, I can easily name you a list of people to whom I wouldn't turn for sleep advice, or breastfeeding advice. I would deem it pretty useless to go to someone for baby sleep advice if I know that person is going to toss out Controlled Crying, to which I am clearly opposed.
Yet there's this mom I know who is really parenting way way way over the other end of the parenting spectrum (but baby in a corner, punishing, schedule-following, angry kind of person, who states that at seven months her kid should sleep though the night, and by that she means 12 hours in a row) and she comes to me with a shitload of questions, at least twice a week. It's really bugging me!
Scenario usually goes: she asks for advice, I give it to her, she rejects it. I say she does whatever seems right to her, she keeps asking... Then she says how she asesses the situation. (I usually disagree) I tell her that's not the way I would do it, but she should do what feels right. Rinse repeat.

Moral of the day: If you don't want advice, don't ask for it! If you ask for it, bare in mind you might not get what you expected. And if you don't want to argue, get your advice where you know people follow your view of things (and stop bugging me, &^^%!)


Monday, February 8, 2010

Ramblings of a lazy housewife

Yes, I'm a stay at home mom. No, I don't work. What I do with my time? Hell, nothing of course, that's why I have a cook/nanny, a gardener and a cleaner/ironer. What I have three people working for me? And I'm just sitting at home? I've got to do something...
No, that's pretty much it. I coordinate my threesome of employees. Oh and I swim, organise aquagym lessons, do workout DVD's. I get a beautician to come over every once in a while, for a mani/pedi, a facial etc. I also walk and play with the dog. I also wash him and check him for ticks. I do the shopping, groceries and other. We organise dinner parties and picnics. We do afternoons of organised play with the other mommies, sometimes we take the kids to the pool or the beach. I sew, knit and tricot - when I find some spare time. I blog, I read, I educate myself on how to raise my child. I do the occasional load of laundry and I organise the house. I plan the vegetable patch and teach my gardener how to plant. I'm designing the garden and I'm redecorating the house. (We had to put up new curtains, new paint and new furniture and we are fighting a big battle with the termites) I paint with the kid, bathe her, breastfeed her, read to her, take her for walks. I make the family albums. I make sure all the repairs are being done in the house. I prepare our holidays, so we don't have to run around like madmen all the time. I keep in touch with family and friends. I go and help out with the other women in our community, with their decorating projects etc.
Yes, I'm pretty much a lazy housewife and I sit at home doing nothing all the time. Now when will I ever have the time to play the Sims again???


Friday, February 5, 2010

Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!

My beloved facebook group is under siege. They are being accused of depicting nudity, sexually explicit material and sending harassing messages to members.

Before you jump to conclusions, I am talking about the “Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene! (official petition to Facebook)”-group. This group started out as a petition to stop breastfeeding pictures from being banned from Facebook on account of being in violation with their terms, i.e. being sexually explicit. Breastfeeding women’s accounts even got deleted because of the claimed ‘obscenity’ of pictures of their children nursing.
Yet the group, attracting more and more members every day, became much more than that for many mothers. It became a place to discuss everyday issues, to turn to for advice and support. It has been my support and saviour over the past year, and I know many, many others feel the same. As I said in my previous post, information is hard to come by when you walk a different path, but with this group, you were sure to find someone who had been in your situation, who could help you deal with the issues you were facing.

As you can imagine, I was shocked to hear my favourite group might be in danger, and might eventually be deleted! Imagine all the useful information getting lots, al those wonderful discussions we spent having for days in a row!
It just makes me wonder – yet again – how anybody can call a picture of a nursing baby sexually explicit, or a nursing mother obscene.

Let’s ponder on this for a while:
The legal definition of sexually explicit is: Actual or simulated sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; bestiality; masturbation; sadistic or masochistic abuse; or lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person. I don’t see how this applies to breastfeeding, as there are no genitals involved in breastfeeding, nor does it in any way have anything to do with intercourse.

Anyone who deems the normal, natural, biological process that is feeding your child sexual, should see a psychologist. If you do think breastfeeding is obscene and inherently sexual, then YOU are making that link, and there must be something wrong with YOUR education and the way your mind wanders. Breastfeeding is a biological imperative. Without it, our species simply wouldn’t have survived!



Monday, February 1, 2010

New guidelines for fetal monitoring

A July article in the New York Times brings the new guidelines for electronic fetal monitoring (US) to our attention.
You can find the complete article here

Electronic fetal monitoring was designed to reduce occurrence of cerebral palsy (which is basically a catch-all term for a series of physical disabilities due to brain injury) and fetal death, but has proven to make no difference in those areas. Moreover, electronic monitoring has often proven to be a good resource to prove malpractice in court and has considerably augmented cesareans and the use of forceps.
"Today, more than 85 percent of the four million babies born alive in this country each year are assessed by electronic fetal monitoring, amid continuing controversy over whether it does more harm than good."
Furthermore, research as early as 1990 has shown that there is little or no advantage in the field of neonatal outcome to using electronic fetal monitoring in stead of intermittent auscultation. (full article)

The new guidelines are designed to reduce misinterpretations of readings, but will probably fail to reduce the rate of cesareans or the occurrence of cerebral palsy. It might not even reduce the rate of malpractice cases based on fetal monitoring tracings.
In the case of cerebral palsy, research has shown only few cases (1 in 10) occur during childbirth. (more on cerebral palsy)

With previous guidelines, fetal monitoring tracings could read either reassuring or not reassuring, in the second case, it was left up to the OB to interpret the results and act accordingly. The new guidelines create three possible categories and a series of steps to be taken accordingly.