Google+ Authentic Parenting: March 2010

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Quote of the day

You raise your voice when you should reinforce your arguement.
- Samuel Johnson


Share/Bookmark

Respond With Sensitivity - Why Yelling Is Wrong And How You Can Avoid It


Intuitively, most of us know that yelling is wrong. It just doesn't feel right. In most cases, when a parent results to yelling, it's because he is tired or has used up other resources. It is not because you are in control.
When you have to raise your voice to communicate with your child, to get your message through, you are proving to them that you have run out of resources, that you can only get out of the current situation by dominating your child. When we raise our voices it can quickly become about who can scream the loudest or the longest, or worse- the most hurtful words. If it comes to a screaming contest, be sure that in most cases, your child will outdo you.
Yelling is never a solution to a problem. It might shut your child up immediately, but that would only be out of fright. So ask yourself if you want to be parenting your child through love or through fear.

Any type of punitive measure, like yelling, spanking, time-out... rises out of the parent's incapability of dealing with the situation in a loving manner, and is most often a result of false expectations or a reaction to a parent's judgement of the situation. In Non-Violent Communication, you see how to communicate in a way that does not involve judgement.

While in theory we might know that yelling is not the way to parent a child, it can be difficult to find an alternative when we are strung out and can't cope. In order to avoid yelling at your child, a good starter point might be to find out what triggers the need for yelling in the first pace. If you analyze your behavior, you will soon find out that similar situations lead to this behavior, and you will be able to predict and anticipate the yelling. Remember, yelling does not make the trigger go away. In fact, most often it will worsen the case.
My trigger is when my daughter's volume goes up, i.e. when she's angry, and I am trying to do something that requires a certain amount of concentration. What's yours?

Here's a list of things to do to make your house a yell-free zone:

  • Determine your triggers and anticipate the behavior that sets them off.
  • Use alternative loving behavior to ease out: holding, cuddling, kisses, soft tallking.
  • Look at your child. Look him in the eyes, you might be less compelled to yell.
  • Try to avoid stress and be wll rested (agreed, this might be the hardest part and often out of your control)
  • If you feel any attempts might be futile, leave the room and vocalise if necessary.

To scrap yelling from your behavioral patterns might be trialing. It takes a lot of introspection. Sometimes, you might be bullied into yelling. Yelling is a socially accepted parenting tool, and other might make you feel you have to yell at your child when he is doing something that they deem misbehavior or naughty. Don't fold to the peer pressure. It is your child, don't let anyone bully you into parenting in a way that  is counterintuitive.

An additional note I would like to add to this, is that the no-yelling rule also applies between partners. We sometimes forget that we owe our partners the same respect we try to approach our children with. More over, the way you and your partner treat eachother is the relationship model your child will carry with him for the rest of his life.

This post is part of the 2010 API Principles of Parenting blog carnival, a series of monthly parenting blog carnivals, hosted by API Speaks. Learn more about attachment parenting by visiting the API website.



Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Quote of the day

Don't blow it - good planets are hard to find.
- Anonymous


Share/Bookmark

Carbon Neutral Blogging

I received an email in my inbox this morning from a German team of environmentally friendly people to create awareness about the carbon emission of the internet. To counter these carbon emissions, they plant a tree in Plumas National Forest in Northern California, where 88 000 acres were destroyed by fires in 2007. They do this for each website or blog that signs up, and places their carbon neutral button in their sidebar.

carbon neutral coupons with kaufDA.de


Share/Bookmark

Monday, March 29, 2010

Quote of the day

We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.  
- Gloria Steinem


Share/Bookmark

Feminism, Career And Parenting

I have lost my cool with my old friends from university. I chatted with a good friend of mine who told me about a conversation he had with these girls from my university years. Apparently they are appaled and shocked by what I post on my Faceboob, i.e. articles about extended breastfeeding, breastfeeding when they are teething and the family bed. All this is so very appaling because I am valuing parenting as a full time job, which is anti-feminist. (And because frankly, none of them would want teeth close to their nipples).
I am talking about a bunch of single career-driven girls who still linger in the same bars they hung around in when they were students, with no family plans in the near future (yes it is also totaly anti-feminist to marry or have kids before your thirties - I got married at 23). Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against being career driven, except when it means you are doing something every day you don't like for the mere reason of moving op the corporate ladder, because that's what a liberated woman is supposed to do. If you are doing a job you love and you want to move forward in that, hurray to you! I celebrate that.

Yet, I think the idea that you can combine a career and parenting is an illusion. I agree that some of us do need a job to support our family. But, there is a difference between having a job and aspiring to a career. A career means you are completely devoted to moving up. If you are completely devoted to one thing, you cannot in any way be devoted to the same extent to another, so if you say you want a career and children, than you are neglecting at least one of them.

The arguement that being an attached parent is anti-feminist is just plain bullshit. Feminism as a means to liberate women from their furnace is a thing from the past. If you still think feminism is about working your ass off to 'make it' in a 'men's world', you have missed your train and should have been born in a different era. While this was a great cause for our post war grandmothers, it was a flawed cause and it is a mindset that should have expired a long time ago.
Feminism shouldn't be about trying to equal men in their careers, it should be all about choices. (Read Feminism is more than working outside the house) Feminism should be about creating a world in which a woman is allowed to choose her own path - wether it lies in parenting or in a job. How can you be feminist and only fight for the right of some women?
Bashing other women for the choices they make in life is simply anti-feminist. I think if women would grant each other the light of day just a little more, the feminist movement might just go forward, rather than backward.

To me, the single most feminist thing to do is parenting your children. For is it not in childhood that one's notions and conceptions of the world rise. So if you want to be a feminist in the sense that you want to create a difference in the lives of women of future generations, what better place to start then with your own children, and especially with your boys! Braking gender stereotyping that lead to biased treatment of men and women starts in childhood. How can you expect that to happen if you allow someone else to raise your child?

If this offends you, you are not a feminist, you are an egoist! All you really care about is wether your choices will be validated, not wether women have a choice.


Share/Bookmark

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Quote of the day

If you educate a woman, you have educated a population.
- Kiganda proverb


Share/Bookmark

Giveaway at Toddler Awesome

You can win a makeover for your blog by Indiechicks Designs (which I absolutely love) at Toddler Awesome!!! All you have to do is comment on this post. There's a possibility to get additional entries.


Share/Bookmark

Schedule Paralysis

I was reading this post by mamaTrue where she talks about how her life used to revolve around her husband and how little she really did things for herself or listen to her feelings. I get that completely. I am pretty much the same.

My husband and I met six and a half years ago at university and kind of started living together almost immediately. I think after about two weeks, we were already spending every night together, except on weekends, where he wouold go to his parents house and I would stay in Brussels.
Since we were both students and very active in student life, our schedules were easily adapted to one another. Anyhow, it wasn't really a big issue, we just went about our days and tried to be together as much as possible. After two years, we officially moved in together. My husband had finished his masters degree and was looking for a job, and I was finishing my thesis. He found a job quite quickly.
The period we were living in that appartment together, I hardly moved if he was not around. We had gotten more and more symbiotic over the years and I really revolved around him.
I still did my activities aside, I had to, but I refused to even go to the store without him. I had this numbing fear of being alone. The mere thought of going into a store alone, let alone buy something or go and sit down for a drink on my own made my stomach turn. So I didn't.
Once he started working, I waited at home until he came back to do the grocery shopping.
It has only been since we've been living here in Ivory Coast that I have become liberated from that fear. I do sit alone to have a drink sometimes now, I go into stores alone and I even buy stuff without a second opinion. But I had a hard time getting to where I am now.

Now this is what I was getting at: I don't think we have to blame ourselves or our husbands for this. I think this behavior arrives form being scheduled from birth. Through our education as early as infancy, we are being opposed schedules that are not of our own making. Scheduled feeding, scheduled sleeping. Later in life, we go to school and that schedule is being intensified: a time for play, a time for food, a time to talk. We are told where to sit, how to walk, when to shut up, what to think. When we start a job, we are told how to dress, when to come, when to go, when to eat, what to do...
We have been programmed to follow. We have been indoctrinated into having our lives lived for us. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that we are unable to take action in other parts of our lives. That we are unable to handle our time when we fall out of these rigid structures (like when you become a SAHM). We have to completely redesign our brains wiring in order to live our lives ourselves. This is hard work and it is so much easier to fold to the little structure that is left in our lives, given by our husbands.
Yet this behavior is numbing. It leaves room for little pleasure and most often makes us miserable. It bares the risk of leaving just a shell of a human being, with nothing inside.

So think about it! Are you living life? Are you pursuing your interests? What are you doing on a daily basis to feel you are alive? Can you do something to take control of your own life?


Share/Bookmark

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Quote of the day

Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.
- Chinese proverb


Share/Bookmark

How To Install A Healthy Degree Of Separation

Keeping your child close to you is very important. But one can go overboard on this matter too. It is equally important to open your children up to the world, which means gradually seperating yourself from them physically. Seperation is a matter of trust and respect. Allowing your child to venture outside the cocoon of his home and his mother's closeness means you respect the fact that your child has needs that cannot be met by you alone and to trust your child, but most often also to trust a caregiver other than yourself. Retaining your child from exploring the world and discovering different settings will result in an insecure child, afraid of what's 'out there'. A child that lacks the confidence to roam free and must always look back to his mother.
Often mothers cling onto their children out of selfishness or distrust, rather than for the benefit of the child. Again, this is a matter of respect: respecting the child for the unique being he is. Admitted, it is hard to let go. It means you will no longer be part of all aspects of your child's life. But being a parent is all about letting go - in the right amount and at the right times. I think the ultimate challenge of parenting is finding the right balance between closeness and seperation.

Being able to install a degree of separation is equally important as maintaining closeness. Creating seperation is something that should be done gradually and in a healthy manner. When either party shows signs of discomfort, steps towards separation should be ceased. Maybe the most important key to healthy seperation is to follow the child's lead.

  • As long as the child is exclusively breastfed and shows no intrest in solids, for as far as this is possible, mother and child should not be seperated. This is key to maintain on cue breastfeeding. 
  • Once solids have been introduced, it is possible to step out for short periods of time while leaving your child in someone else's care. Go easy, start with small errands not far from home, so you can always return quickly if it is to ard for you or your child. It might be a good idea to keep seperation at a minimum until your child has overcome seperation anxiety, which is mostly around nine months.
  • Especially when cosleeping, one should not leave overnight as long as the child has not nightweaned to some degree. 
  • Follow their lead: if they go towards another person and are so consumed in playing withthem, this might be a good time to benefit from a couple of stolen minutes.
  • Try to remain close the first couple of trials, for example: take a bath while leaving your child in the care  of your husband, so you can see how it goes and still be in the house.
  • A good sign that you might be able to sneak out for a couple hours is when they are able to settle themselves to sleep (for naps and at night, if you plan on staying out late) 
I cannot press enough that everything depends on the child. It would be very damaging to rush things, but it is equally damaging to retain your child when he is ready to venture out.

With my daughter, she never went out of the same room I was in until she was about seven months old. By that time, she had started on solids and we would be able to leave her with my parents or my in-laws once in a while for two hours tops. When she was nine months old, she decided she wanted to play with our cook every now and again. 
I took her everywhere until she was one year old. After that, I could go shopping for a couple of hours and she's be happily playing with my inlaws. After she started walking, I couldn't take her to do the grocery-shopping any more, so she stayed with our cook during the day.
We left her overnight for the first time when she was 19 months old - we had booked a two night romantic getaway - this was too early, since she was still feeding a couple of times a night (trial and error child, poor thing) and multiple times during the day. She is 21 months old and I think now she would be ready for a night without her parents.
This is just an example, every child is different. Just look out for your childs cues.

NOTE: I am in no way suggesting that you are a bad parent if you are working outside the house or if you have to leave overnight. I do think you should reconsider stepping out for your own amusement if your child is not ready.


Share/Bookmark

Friday, March 26, 2010

natural healing - intestinal infection

Even with a bacterial intestinal infection, one should not necessarily grab a bottle of antibiotics. Antibiotics also kill the healthy bacteria in the gut, which leaves you with a weakened immune system, so they should really only be used as a last resort.
Symptoms of bacterial intestinal infection are loss of appetite, cramps, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, vomiting, and loose motions. There are many ways in which we can treat ourselves with things we have in our kitchen any way. I treated myself from a bacterial intestinal infection that ran rampant for a week with severe nausea and diarrhea, with nothing more than what was in my fridge. Here's how:

  • No food outside your own home
  • Avoid irritative foods like coffee, red pepper and fried foods.
  • Consume a lot of liquids to stay hydrated
  • Lemon tea: peel and cut three lemons, boil in a liter of water and add some honey to soften the flavor
  • Ginger tea: peel and cut one rhizome of ginger, boil in one liter of water, add honey if you want. Chewing ginger is also possible, but some caution: very hot! Ginger is extremely potent in curing nausea, but also relieves cramps.
  • Banana's: two times a day I ate two crushed bananas
  • Garlic: I just upped the amount of garlic I usually put in food. Garlic is a natural antibiotic, gives a boost to your immune system and nourishes the stomach tissues.
There are a couple of other courses of treatment one can choose:
  • Staying on a liquid diet for one day, consuming buttermilk and fresh lime juice.
  • Peppermint oil: helps eradicate harmful bacteria in the small intestine. Peppermint oil is available in capsules in your health food store. Take one capsule after meals. Peppermint oil can cause some undesired side-effects. Peppermint tea is a valid alternative with less side effects.
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Oregano oil
  • Olive leaf, like garlic, is a natural alternative to antibiotics.
  • Tumeric root extract
Even when one decides on taking antibiotics, it is very important to follow an adapted diet on the side, which will help you restablish the natural bacteria.This diet will typically be low in carbohydrates and exclude sweet and starchy foods. You might also want to focus on fatty food to keep your caloric intake sufficient. Supplementing with probiotics is also highly recommended. 


Share/Bookmark

Quote of the day

Sweater, n.:  garment worn by child when its mother is feeling chilly.  
- Ambrose Bierce


Share/Bookmark

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Quote of the day


Before you were born I carried you under my heart. From the moment you arrived in this world until the moment I leave it, I will always carry you in my heart.
- Mandy Harrison


Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Non-violent communication

Non-violent communication (NVC) should really be the base of any communication in every household. More so, the only form of communication at home and beyond. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Guide to NVC
Non-violent communication is also called compassionate communication. NVC is a means to get our own needs met, without compromising other peoples feelings and needs, thus creating empathy.

"This approach to communication emphasizes compassion as the motivation for action rather than fear, guilt, shame, blame, coercion, threat or justification for punishment."(2)
The basics of non-violent communication are fairly simple. Instead of judging and interpreting situations, we are asking ourselves about the feelings and needs of our child (or partner) and expressing our own feelings and needs. From there on, the speaker makes a request. Making a request means opening yourself up towards a negative answer and being able to start a dialogue upon it. The basics of NVC look like this:
"I want to understand the needs that led to your actions, I want to express to you the feelings and needs that led to mine, and I want to find strategies that will meet both of our needs."(1)
Non violent communication uses positive action-based language. In making clear requests without attacking or agression, we minimize defensive mechanisms in our discussion partner. NVC is not about making somebody do what you want, it is about finding a solution that suits everyones needs.
Conflicts arise out of the way we try to meet those needs, not in the needs themselves, for they are the same for all human beings. Acknowledging the universality of needs is the step towards interhuman connection.

Bringing NVC home
NVC is a very efficient gentle parenting tool, in infancy and beyond (because attachment parenting doesn't stop at age two, or four).
"NVC shares two key premises with attachment parenting: Human actions are motivated by attempts to meet needs, and trusting relationships are built through attentiveness to those needs."(1)
In order for NVC to work, it involves a great deal of introspect and of course compassion. Applying NVC might not be easy, for yet again it means breaking a set of habits and behavioral patterns we have picked up in our childhood.
"Because the problem-solving model we follow so often relies on threat of consequences or promise of reward, it’s almost guaranteed that anger will crop up regularly. For what children learn from this model is not cooperation, harmony and mutual respect; it’s more often the hard lesson of domination: that whoever has more power gets to have his or her way, and that those who have less power can only submit or rebel. And so we continue the cycle of domination that is leading human beings close to self-destruction."(3)
Applying NVC at home teaches our children that all humans have a set of needs that are universal and creates a connection between your child and others. Teaching NVC's understanding of conflict breaks the dichotomy between good and bad, taking away the focus on our actions and diverting it to our needs. It might well be a small step towards social change.

Read on:
Articles
(1)non-violent communication within the family
(3)Parenting For Peace

Websites
(2)Center For Non-Violent Communication


Share/Bookmark

Quote of the day

Conflict is inevitable, but combat is optional.
- Max Lucade


Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Quote of the day

Women are the real architects of Society.
- Cher


Share/Bookmark

Monday, March 22, 2010

Quote of the day

The moment a child is born, the mother is also born.  She never existed before.  The woman existed, but the mother, never.  A mother is something absolutely new. 
- Rajneesh


Share/Bookmark

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Quote of the day

The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.
- Jill Churchill



Share/Bookmark

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Quote of the day

The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Share/Bookmark

Friday, March 19, 2010

Quote of the day

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.
- Stacia Tausher


Share/Bookmark

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Changing Pregnancy And Birth Every Day

Birth Activist is hosting a blog carnival about women in history who have changed pregnancy and birth. As I'm always up for a writing exercise, and love blog carnivals, I started thinking. Who could I write about? Who has changed the way I view pregnancy and birth?

So I have figured it out! I am not going to write about a famous OB or Midwife in this post. Neither will I tackle the life and works of some obscure philosopher or psychologist.
I would like to give credit in this tiny little post to all those women out there who change pregnancy and birth every single day, out of pure conviction. By blogging about it, by posting articles on their Facebook pages, by talking about it to anyone who will hear it.
The unknown woman who has a passion for birth and a taste for change and goes to the battle every day without the prospect of being paid (or just slightly, from those enormous adsense revenues) or being popular (because  advocating natural childbirth usually gets you the opposite of popularity). Those women who take the time to answer insecure women's questions on chat groups and forums online.

The way I see it, they are the ones who will change birth in the big sense. One mother at a time. They are the real driving force behind imminent social change. The ones who advocate by pure conviction.
Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of merit to the Ina May Gaskins and Jan Trittens of the world, and they should by no means remain in the shade, but if it weren't for the online activists, I would never have know they existed. The same goes for all those wonderful midwifes and Doulas out there. They are working marvels, for sure, but if it wasn't for online support, I would never attempt a homebirth for the next birth. I would have never become a birth advocate myself.

So to those women, who sometimes remain anonymous and some times become a little less anonymous... Thank you, thank you so very much for fighting for what you believe in with the mere incentive of maybe - just maybe - changing one person's opinion and experience of birth. I hope you know who you are, and know that you have changed me.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
If you would like to enter, there is still a little time:

  • Write a post featuring your heroine from pregnancy and childbirth history. (Your amazing woman does not have to be deceased to be included!)
  • Send us a link to your post at birthactivist@gmail.com by March 20
  • The blog carnival will run on March 25, 2010


Share/Bookmark

Quote of the day

Think of stretch marks as pregnancy service stripes.
- Joyce Armor


Share/Bookmark

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Co-Sleeping Essay Contest

Being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy made my daughter spend her first day on the neonatal ward, hospital policy! Severe blood loss left me unable to tend to her. That first day, I only saw her every four hours just enough time to feed her.
Having spent just one day in this life, my sweet little girl ignored the way co-sleeping is perceived in our Western culture. Trusting entirely upon her instincts, she was going to try everything in her power to not be separated again from the only one she knew. To her, having lived in my womb for nine months, she and I were one, and being separated from me must have been very confusing.

All this led to being up until 11 at night because every bone in my body - and every molecule of air in her lungs - screamed to hold her close to me. Yet reason and education shouted to put her alone, on her back, in the crib.
Luckily, a very kind nurse – to whom I shall remain forever grateful – ended our suffering and told us to just sleep together, showing me how to do it safely.
And thus we spent that second night, skin to skin, tummy to tummy. She nursed a little and dozed off. So did I. We slept soundly until her daddy arrived in the morning.
She has not spend a night in a crib ever since. She is now 21 months old and still nursing.


I submitted this post as an entry into the Co-Sleeping Essay Contest. You have a few more days to enter – entries must be received by March 23, 2010 (the deadline has been extended 3 days from the original!). If you submit an entry, please be sure to tell them you heard about the contest on mamapoekie.blogspot.com. Here are details:
In 2008, the Great Co-Sleeping Survey was initiated and in just a few months over 9000 parents from all over the world logged on to www.Co-SleepingSurvey.com. These parents relayed powerful statements and stories about their bed-sharing experience. The result is a new book titled, “Are You Co-Sleeping? Me Too!” With more than 30 chapters of specific bed-sharing topics, it will provide relief to parents who have been affected by the negativity that often surrounds the issue.
ESSAY CONTEST:
You have the opportunity to be included in the book by producing some short “feel good” essays to head 7 of the chapters. These essays should be written by parents who love or have loved bed-sharing with their babies or children. This opportunity will take the form of a contest/giveaway program. The 7 prospective winners will have their story included in the book. The top essayist will win the Dr. approved bed-sharing aid, The Humanity Family Sleeper, a $200.00 value!
RULES & ESSAY GUIDELINES:
Essays (250 words or less) should focus on the writer’s personal experience with one of the following topics. Bloggers are also invited to enter their own essays.  There are no international boundaries, all countries are invited to enter. Prizes will be shipped for free (essays need to be in English).
1.    Oppression or negativity they received (Mother-in-law, parents, media, doctors, general society).
2.    How bed-sharing enriched their parenting experience.
3.    How bed-sharing helped breastfeeding (extended duration, adverse physical limitations, etc.).
4.    How they got better sleep.
5.    A Dad’s perspective, written by a Dad.
6.    How it saved their child’s life.
7.    How they intended to use a crib, and chose not to.

Entries need to be received by March 23rd, 2010.  Winners will be chosen and announced by April 1st. The grand prize will be delivered to the winning entrant before April 20th. Contestants need to log their entries at http://cosleepingsurvey.com/cosleepingsurveyessay.html.
*I heard about the contest from Code Name: Mama. Thanks for spreading the word!


Share/Bookmark

Quote of the day

Education is a method whereby one acquires a higher grade of prejudices.
- Laurence Peter


Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quote of the day

A child who is carried on the back will not know how long the journey is.
- Nigerian proverb


Share/Bookmark

Monday, March 15, 2010

Quote of the day

Man's main task in life is to give birth to himself, to become what he potentially is. The most important product of his effort is his own personality.
- Erich Fromm


Share/Bookmark

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Giveaway at Hobo Mama

I found the cutest giveaway at Hobo Mama. It's Worldwide!!! It's a miniature Mei Tai for your baby to wear their doll in. My daughter is already very handy at the African backwear, so this could be the opportunity for her to learn other carrying styles!
Go check it out... Did I tell you it's worldwide!!!
http://www.hobomamareviews.com/2010/02/hobo-mama-giveaway-doll-sling-mini-mei.html


Share/Bookmark

Kids Indoor Activities

Children tend to get nervous when they can't go outside, often to great dismay of their parents. Yet staying in shouldn't be dreaded, because there are lots and lots of fun things we can do indoors. Just a few examples:

Reading
Now maybe reading doesn't tick the box for all children but a lot of them are avid readers, given the right reading material. Comic books can be a good read on a rainy day. Or the entire family can sit down to read to each other, kids books can be read by more than one person, each person taking on a different character.

TV
Maybe not the most educatinal choice, but what's better than lying down on the coach with the ntire family on a dreary day, watching a nice family movie or animation, with a cup of hot chocolate or some popcorn.

Board games
Any type of multiplayer game that can be an afternoons worth of fun for the entire family... even computer games.

Game consoles
Not every parent is a huge fan of gaming, yet given the right game, consoles can quickly become a fun and entertaining way to have siblings play together or even have parents involved in play.

Put up a play/make a movie
Maybe your kids want to create their own piece of theatre, or make a movie while they are at it. They can dress up, write little scenes or act out scenes from a book or move.

Night at the club
Darken a room, put in some mood lighting, put on some music and your kids will have a blast pretending they're out in the club.

Puppet theatre
If your kids are younger, they might enjoy a little puppet mastery from mom or dad, or you can ask the older kids to put up a puppet play for the younger ones.

Build a camp
Have them build camps with pillows and blankets and chairs

Obstacle course
Use what you have lying around. have them go under tables, over chairs, zigzag between pots... be creative, you can use the whole house or just one room.

Arts and crafts
These are a great way to keep your kids busy for an afternoon. Think outside the box, for example making floral arrangements is something a lot of kids really enjoy

Cooking
Have your child help out in the kitchen. You could bake a cake or pie or some crepes, and when it's finished, you can all enjoy what you made together.

There are of course many many more things kids can do indoors, it's enough to get a little creative Most often kids have enough imagination to find an activity on their own... and remember, it never hurt anyone to be just a little bored every once in a while. It might even spark their creativity.



Share/Bookmark

Quote of the day

The phrase "working mother" is redundant.
- Jane Sellman


Share/Bookmark

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quote of the day

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." 
- Nelson Mandela


Share/Bookmark

Friday, March 12, 2010

Dysfunctional

Gentle Parent - art by Erika Hastings at http://mudspice.wordpress.com/

I read a conversation between two facebook friends a while ago... and have felt I had to react to it, even though this might be hard to me. The one friend spoke out against punitive parenting but stated they weren't sure what road to take, seeing her husband was a believer (in corporal punishment). I have been paralyzed, wanting to answer, but unable too, but here goes.

I once read that there are two possible reaction children have to having grown up in a dysfunctional,abusive family. Either they decide to have the perfect family, and prove to the world they can do it better, or they decide to have no family at all, because all mariages are bound to be hell.

That first reaction is the one I had, and my brother chose door number two.
I come from a seriously dysfunctional family. I was hit by my father well into my teens (and even after being married) and the whole family got bullied and terrorized by him. My mother was no saint either, she threw the occasional garbage tin at my head and did some spanking of her own. More over, my mother gladly wallowed in the victim part, occasionally spinning it out in public so she could get pity and ultimately attention. I think my mother enjoyed the victim part that much, that she often tipped my father over the edge, knowing all too well his every trigger. She certainly did nothing to help her children. The best she did was turn a blind eye and a deaf ear, the worse was covering up and claiming loud and clear to everyone who could hear that if ever someone would hit her children, she would imediately leave that man, that that was something she would never tolerate... even though it happened for years and with her knowledge.
For years, my two brothers, me and even some friends and relatives, have been spectators in this theatre of madness and insanity in which they so eagerly perform. They have been publicly getting a divorce every six months or so ever since I can remember and they have lavished in getting as many spectators as possible.

I hate being the victim. Not only because of the way it makes me feel, but because of the way you are viewed as such and the total helplessness it creates. I am not writing this to get your pity. There is not much you readers can do to help me with this, it is something I have to wrestle through on my own.
I write this because I feel too many victims are lost in silence and this is why this violence can continue. All too often domestic abuse is laughed at, discarded as 'disciplining', a lesson needed to be thaught.
I share this because we victims need to stand up and show the scope of this culture of violence. Hitting and spanking a child does harm. Serious, irreparable harm. Think about it, an abused child has noone to trust, nowhere to turn too except to his abuser. No matter how hard that child will ever try, there is no way he or she can sever the bond made in blood to their parents. They shall bare the scars on their soul forever.
Spanking and hitting is wrong! Don't do it to your child, and don't let your partner use it against your child.

I think this is why I went for an entirely different approach to parenting. To break the cycle. (My father has been severely abused as a child and probably witnessed unspeakable atrocities and my mother got her share of 'disciplining').
I probably go overboard, calculating each step, thinking about how I react, selfreflecting, but I've got a lot of evil to exorcize. I truly think violence needs to be stopped at home.


Share/Bookmark

Quote of the day

Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs in my field, since the payment is pure love.  ~Mildred B. Vermont


Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Master of zen - lord of chaos

I might come off as totally in control, if you read my posts. I seem to have the answer to everything, right. Wrong. I try to be in control, I try to self reflect, I try to be a conscious parent. But it is a trial at best and sometimes I seriously fail.
Read this post at Raising my Boychick, and I could totally relate, hence this entry. She describes feeling like one day she's totally in control, and the next she's completely out of it. I feel the same way, thpugh for me, sometimes it even fluctuates the same day!
I think we are all capable to remain in control or a certain amount of time, and then we lose it again. Upon thinking about this a bit further, I found a number of variables influencing the amount of time one can stay on top of ones parenting game.

  • Hormonal state
  • Amount and quality of sleep
  • Length of your to do list
  • Noise level
    both general and the noise your children produce
  • Amount of time which has passed since you've had some quality alone time
    although this value is prone to further investigation, because there is the addiction factor of alone time and ultimately, as addictions go, you might have withdrawal effects right after alone time
  • Health
    It is quite logical we will be more irritable when we are sick or in pain
  • Degree of concentration
    When you are highly concentrated on something, you are more likely to get angry when being disturbed
  • Personality
    I think it speaks for itself that some people can cope better and longer than others
  • Time of day
    There's those moments of the day that are more difficult than others. Some like some quiet time in the morning, while others like to chill out after dinner, you get the picture.
  • External factors
    Of course there are days that are made even worse by things that are totally out of your control, like for example getting some bad news.
I think it would be quite possible to make a mathematical formula to calculate the amount of time you will be a zen parent, including all these variables, but I am hardly the mathematician to do so. For now, I think it is interesting to say the least to acknowledge these factors. While some of them are completely out of our control, other can be molded and modified, so considering them will be a good start in assessing how capable we are at any given moment.


And when it still gets to the boiling point, go and vent out, you might just come back exhilarated.
If you have any variables to add, feel free... maybe we'll get a formula out of this any way!



Share/Bookmark

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Car seat trouble

When our daughter was smaller, we never had any issues with the carseat. We'd just put her in and she would fall asleep as soon as we tookoff, and sleep for the entire drive. We used to take her everywhere, all the time. But when she was just over a year, and became mobile, it was hard taking her to go shopping, because she'd be running around everywhere, trying to touch things, pulling things off racks... so from then on, we decided to leave her at home - at least for the shopping trips. Result was that she wasn't in the car all that often any more, except for short trips on weekends.
That again led to her resenting the carseat. Imagine, this is a child who is never constrained against her will, and then suddenly, you want to strap her up in an uncomfortable carseat. It speaks for itself that she didn't like this one bit. It became so bad that even at the mere sight of that car seat, she started crying out, screaming, kicking and what not. We probably added a dose by taking her out of it when she cried during the drive.

I wasn't feeling comfortable with where this whole thing was headed... Having her cry in the seat hurt my hart, but holding her was dangerous and could eventually hurt her. What to do? We couldn't just not put her in the car anymore.
So last friday, enough was enough. I put her in the carseat, struggle and all, and went to sit next to her. I explained she had to be in the seat for her safety, that we wouldn't be letting her out until we got to our destination. That this was the only way we could get to the beach, and that I would be at her side the entire way.
Obviously, she cried. I sang some songs to her, until she asked to be nursed. So I leaned over to breastfeed her. She sobbed a little, suckled for about ten minutes and fell asleep. Ever since, she's been accepting to get in the carseat (although she's still not fully convinced).

I'm so very proud that we managed to get her back into the carseat, with little crying after all. Comes to show that there's a soft alternative for everything.
Ever experienced problems getting your child into the car? How did you handle it?


Share/Bookmark

Monday, March 1, 2010

colouring for mommy

Found this: http://www.colorpagesformom.com/
Now isn't that cool? I must admit that it has happened more than once that I found myself coloring an entire page out of my daughters coloring book, while she just plays with the crayons. Now we can each have our own!!


Share/Bookmark

Breastfeeding in a car

Ever had to breastfeed your child in a car? Those carseats really don't make it easy, do they. Yet you can't blame the kid for getting a little craving whilde driving. Most adults eat or drink on the road too.
I found myself kneeling on the backseat, bended over my daughters carseat, holding on to the head support, this weekend. I might have to add to this that we were driving 4x4 on a bumpy dirtroad and people were looking at me strange.
There are so many things out there for children which are not breastfeeding friendly, it is sickening. Would it be that much more difficult to make a carseat where you can easily bend over to nurse your child?


Share/Bookmark