Google+ Authentic Parenting: November 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quote Of The Day

In fact it may be said with some accuracy that amongst the most primitive people of which any record exists, help, according to the customs of the time, was given to women in labour.
- Grantly Dick-Read, Childbirth Without Fear


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Spiral of Negativity, Part II: Parenting

I talked about spirals of negativity in a previous post and I wanted to take it one step further in this one and apply it to parenting.

I see a lot of people getting into these downward spirals about their parenting choices too. And it is easy to fall into that trap, because there are so many options and so many people doing it differently than the way you are parenting. Especially if you have chosen a less mainstream parenting course, you will be prone to ask yourself questions every once in a while. To ask yourself if you and your child wouldn’t have been better off if you’d chosen X, and see Y’s child, he’s not doing Z and the kid is a genius...

Of course, I urge all parents to revise their choices every once in a while. To make up a balance of what is working, what is not, what could go better and change accordingly, but this needn't be done in negativity or in ‘the grass is greener’ kind of reasoning.

A Woman Thinking, Awa

Think first of what you do/have and love about your parenting (if you feel the need, you can even make this into an exercise and jot this down). Then think of what frustrates you, what you miss, what you wish you had or did. Then rationally, consider all of the negative points and either
discover they are just useless frustrations, that they wouldn’t really change a whole lot or don’t matter all that much in the big picture
find solutions for integrating these things in your parenting style.

If you spend your time in useless frustration and pondering, you will loose precious time and send yourself into a negative state that could easily be avoided. You and your family will benefit from trying to avoid these spirals of negative - and unproductive - thinking.


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Monday, November 29, 2010

Quote Of The Day

Masses are always breeding grounds of psychic epidemics. 

~ Carl Jung


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Before You Wean

Before anyone jumps to conclusions, I want to say that there are perfectly good reasons for weaning your child, and the only one who is able to judge the validity of these reasons, is you, the nursing mom.

Rottneros Asmundur Moder jord

I do want to say that if you consider weaning your child, think about it carefully, because once it's done, going back will be nearly impossible, and there's only this short span in your child's life where you will be able to have this close physical relationship. You might grow to miss it.

Ask yourself why you want to wean. Is it societal pressure? Is it fatigue?
Is weaning truly the only option?

Maybe you are just being a little impatient. You might want your fertility to come back fast.
Maybe you lack support and you should seek a community to help you deal with your problems.
Maybe yoou just need a good chat. Call up an old friend, maybe go out together, grab a meal.
Maybe only partial weaning will help you achieve your goals.

Before you wean, consider if your child is ready to take this step. Will weaning be in the best interest of the both of you?

And if after all these considerations, you still find that weaning is the only option, wean him gently.


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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Surf


For more Sunday Surfing, visit Wife, Mom And MoreMama and Baby LoveGems of DelightEnjoy BirthBreastfeeding Moms Unite, Domesticated Women, This Adventure Life, Maman A Droit, Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab.


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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Keeping Your Baby Close After Birth (rerun)

I could write about a million benefits of keeping your child close after birth, but I'll leave that up to the experts and stretch your imagination a little.

Imagine that you are an unborn child. You have been floating happily in lukewarm liquid for nine months now, you experienced taste through it. You felt vibrations and heard your mother speak, and you heard other, more muffled noises too. You sensed your mother's touch through the womb that hugs you. You have been really comfortable.
But right now, that womb, which is all you have know for all eternity, is getting a little tighter, you have little space left and it is getting harder to move. You may have engaged, you may not., anyway, you are ready for some change.
And so it happens, you start to feel hugged ever more tightly by that uterus, your home. Irregular at first, and short, but after a while, these sensations get more intense. Something is about to happen! You feel slightly pressed downward with every contraction. You are excited. You feel how your mother feels and you hear her voice, maybe she's a little frightened, should you be? Maybe she's excited too, and happy, so you feel happy too.
Let's just assume you are all well and she is indeed happy and excited to meet you - after all, she did wait nine months for this moment. Let's assume that this engaging thing and the contractions work well.
So you feel it's time to put in some effort of your own, after all, your mommy - who you have felt and heard and tasted all this time, but have yet to meet - is putting in so much effort.
So you twist and wriggle and turn. You feel really squeezed. Your head is a little sore, you feel like you can't take much of this for too long.

And then it happens...

[[[ I am sorry to take you out of the imaginative trip for a moment, but I just want to show you two possible scenarios and you pick the one you would like to have as the second half of this story ]]]

SCENARIO 1
The pressure on your head is relieved and you feel a rush of - what is this, it's fresh, cold even, and it smells so different - air on your face. A big human pulls you out rather rudely and holds you upside down. There are all these things around, and so many people and noises and smells and everything happens so quickly and you don't see well, but the light stings your eyes.
"Hey, why are they cutting off my lifeline? I like that, I played with it all this time! Don't take it away!"
You are being pulled away from the one smell and feel you knew to again another entirely different setting. They prick you and it hurts and they rub you down and put stuff in your eyes, it stings even more than the light! You are starting to feel very desperate, very helpless. Maybe this wasn't as exciting as you though it would be. Frankly, you wish you were back in that warm - albeit tight - uterus. You start to cry - "Hey what's this noise, it's loud and it hurts my ears, wait... it's me!" - you are kind of freaking out.
Someone else puts you on a cold metal thingy and starts measuring you. By this time you are tired and desperate.
But then they bring you over to the one creature you know. She looks kind of desperate too. And she's cold and tired, just as you are.
You want to look, you want to taste and smell. But you're still a little freaked out, scared, and very very tired. Will they come and take you away again?

SCENARIO 2
The pressure on your head is finally gone and you are in a lukewarm environment, just as you were in utero, but vast and less tasty, though it does taste and smells the same, just less pronounced. You open your eyes and see a beautiful face radiating love. You feel two strong but tired hands on your back. They pull you up - "Hey what is this? This smells great! I want to have a taste of this!!!" - and put you at the breast.
While you enjoy this liquid gold, you dare another glance. "Wow, mommy is really beautiful and look at how happy she is!"
You hear an emotion filled mutter, and look to the side. You've heard that voice before, but a lot more muffled. Hey, look at that, that's a totally different face than mommy's! A hand that belongs with the second face caresses your back and the face speaks gentle words to you, ever so softly. Mommy hums, and cries tears of joy.
"It was all worth it!" you think, as you doze off into a wonderful little slumber.

[[[ Take your time to wake up out of that soft dreamless sleep ]]]

Which one would you pick?


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Friday, November 26, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." 
- Martin Luther King, Jr.


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Gently Disciplining Ourselves - Part II



Written by Dulce

This post is part of a series which focuses on setting up a toolbox to cope with our personal emotional overflows and parental short circuits. Read about the other parental coping tools here and look out for a follow up post next Friday.

Image: Candace Morris on Picasa
There are several things that can help us as we strive to grow into the parents we desire to be. In fact, many of the same tools you use to gently guide your children into becoming the people they are meant to be work for you, as well.

Eliminate useless tools.  
Don't mentally save them for a last resort.  I used to justify yelling or shaming my kids since I wasn't actually calling them names or saying terrible words. I tried not to do it often, but it was still in my toolbox for "really big things".  One day, I saw my daughter's eyes and really looked.  Despite my internal justification, she saw it exactly for what it really was, and it hurt her.  Toss out even the possibility of hitting your children. 

Find appropriate ways to express your big feelings. 
Write. Paint. Dance.  Exercise.  (OK, I threw exercise in because I've heard good things about it and it seemed to fit.  Have I personally tried it?  No way!  I've got four kids and a paycheck job--do you honestly think I have energy or motivation to work out???   Just pass me some chocolate, please).

Use your words. 
Well, depends on which ones.  Finding words that are accurate and powerful enough to convey your feelings takes thought and practice and perhaps creativity, particularly if your children are going to be imitating you ;). Nonviolent Communication is a great resource.  Another way to use your words is to talk to another adult who can listen and encourage you.  Particularly if you didn't have a healthy model of parenting as a child, this can be a great way to learn what healthy relationships look like and how to help them grow. 

Expand your toolbox.  
If you have the tools you need to discipline your children, you are less likely to find yourself pushed to the edge.  Some of my favorites are here: http://dulcefamily.blogspot.com/2010/04/our-toolbox.html  This is another place where your support circle can help you to see things from a fresh perspective and find something that will work for all of you.

Look at the big picture.  
Remind yourself of your long-term goals, both for yourself and your kids.  Look back at your own growth as a parent.  Like a child's growth, it may not be obvious from a single day to another, but look back a few months and you might be happily surprised at how much you have grown.  Also, like a toddler, sometimes we regress a bit in times of stress.  Be patient and repeat what you want to do and how you want to parent over and over to yourself.  These are skills that take practice.  If you screw up, apologize, forgive yourself and try again.






More about Dulce:
My name is Dulce (my parents were optimists ;)) and I've been nursing at least one child (currently three) for nearly seven years, hence Dulce de leche. I have been blessed with an amazing husband and four wonderful kidlets, ages 6, 4, 2 and 4 months.  We are gradually learning to unschool.  I also have taught Spanish for over a decade, love to travel and delight in chocolate and coffee.  Each day brings something new to learn and enjoy, and a fresh lesson in trusting my children, myself and the Love that surrounds and fills us.  Sometimes it feels like we're livin' a vida loca, but overall, life is incredibly sweet.  My blog addy is: www.dulcefamily.blogspot.com


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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Quote Of The Day

The problem with being a parent is that by the time you are experienced, you are usually unemployed. 
~ Author Unknown


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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Quote Of The Day

“As doulas, midwives, nurses, and doctors, it’s important to never underestimate how deeply entrusted we are with someone’s most vulnerable, raw, authentic self. We witness their heroic journeys, see them emerge with their babies, hearts wide open…” 
–Lesley Everest (MotherWit Doula) via Talk Birth


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Spiral of Negativity

Everything about this consumerist, capitalist infusion Westerners are brought up in drives people to always wanting more. Now, there’s no harm in being ambitious and wanting to achieve your goals, but the way I see this urge manifested in many of my relatives and friends is not a positive quality whatsoever.

It’s like nothing can ever be good enough and there’s alway something missing, something lacking, something that could have been there to make the picture perfect, but is not, so now it’s ruined.

It’s like my mom who always used to say she wished my father was home more often, and then when he retired, she said she wished he did more around the house, and when he started cooking her meals every once in a while, she said she wished he cleaned up afterward, and when he’d clean up, she says she wished he put things in the right place and didn’t do such an awful job cleaning...

I see this downward spiral of negativity in so many people I know... And I wonder why.

Image: qthomasbower on Flickr

People always seem to be weighing their lives against other options and only seem to see the negative of where they are right now, they are so focused on what they are missing, on what they wish they had, they forget that they have so much already and that life is great and wonderful as it is.

You can still be ambitions and want stuff, but be happy and grateful about what you DO have. It’s not such a difficult switch to go from an attitude of negativity and resentment to one of appreciation and positive thinking.

When you find yourself wishing things in a way that make you unhappy, when you feel that you start comparing your life to someone else’s or one you could have had if you’d only ... (fill in the blank), just pause for a moment, and turn it around: see what you wouldn’t have if you ... (fill in the blank). Find a couple of things that are unique about you and your life, summon up the things that make you feel grateful. You’ll quickly feel much better.
If you practice this often, you will find that these spirals of negativity will show up less and less frequently.

So tell me, what are you grateful for?


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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Quote Of The Day

It is not without interest that the more civilised the people, the more the pain of labour appears to become intensified.
- Grantly Dick-Read, Childbirth Without Fear 


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Towards A Language Switch?

This post has been written as a submission to the Blogging Carnival On Bilingualism. If you want to learn more about the carnival, subscribe to their email list.

We'll be moving to DRC Congo in a couple of months. With my husband's work schedule, this means that I'll be spending over three months in Belgium.
Now you might remember that my daughter's primary language is French, even though it is only the second language in our household.

As we will be spending such a long time in an almost monolingual Dutch setting, I am wondering if somewhere along this period my daughter will switch - and start to talk more Dutch then French.

Her Dutch right now is limited to inserting one or two words into a French sentence, but I have noticed that, since we've been spending a lot of time together, her Dutch is really advancing, and multiple Dutch words in one phrase become rather common.
I have also noticed that she often tries to speak as many Dutch words to me as she can recall, whereas before se just said what came first when talking to me.

Will three months flip her over? How much progress will she make in Dutch? Will her French be affected as she will get to hear and speak little of it during these months?

It's a very exciting little experiment! I'll be sure to let you know how it went along.


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Monday, November 22, 2010

Quote Of The Day

”I think one of the best things we could do would be to help women/parents/families discover their own birth power, from within themselves. And to let them know it’s always been there, they just needed to tap into it.” 

– John H. Kennell, MD via Talk Birth


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Eats On Feets: Official Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :


CONTACT :
Emma Kwasnica
Eats On Feets GLOBAL
(514) 656 1560
Montreal, CANADA
emma.kwasnica@gmail.com


World's Largest Breast Milk Sharing Network Spreads Across Facebook: "Eats On Feets" Goes Global

Within a matter of days, women around the world have mobilized on the social networking site Facebook to organize an international, woman-to-woman milk sharing network. Human milk is for human babies, and formula-feeding is associated with risks to both the mother and infant. Women today are aware of this fact and are taking their life-sustaining power back into their own hands --they are now converging on Facebook to freely share their breastmilk with one another.

Montreal, Canada, November 7, 2010 - The announcement last month from internet health guru, Dr. Joseph Mercola, of his plans to launch his own brand of powdered infant formula onto the US market, has spawned the Eats On Feets GLOBAL breastmilk sharing network. In retaliation against yet another needless and harmful artificial breastmilk substitute to hit the market, mothers on Facebook from around the world have come together to take a stand for infant health. They have now established the world's largest human milk sharing network, an initiative spearheaded by Canadian lactating mother and passionate breastfeeding activist, Emma Kwasnica.

The "Eats On Feets" name is the brainchild of Phoenix, AZ midwife, Shell Walker. A mother to young children in the '90s, Walker and her friends had this thought: "Hey, why don't we just become wet-nurses? Instead of 'Meals on Wheels', we can call our business 'Eats On Feets'." Walker took this idea and made it a reality in July, 2010, when she created a Facebook profile page under the same name, and began a free, community-based breastmilk sharing network for mothers in Phoenix. She has since been successful at matching up local women who have an excess, or are in need of, human breastmilk.

Meanwhile, Kwasnica has also been using her personal profile page and her large network of international birth and breastfeeding activists on Facebook, in order to match up human milk donors and recipients around the world. One such story involves a fellow Canadian friend, living in Bandung, Indonesia; the school teacher and single father to a newborn son wondered if he could source human milk for his baby instead of feeding his son a powdered breastmilk substitute. Aware of his situation, Kwasnica put the call out to her vast network via a simple status update on Facebook, and a breastfeeding peer counselor in a neighbouring city in Indonesia responded. A string of lactating women on the ground was assembled to provide human milk locally for the infant boy. Now three months old, this baby has never tasted anything other than human milk.

The announcement of Dr. Mercola's plans to market formula was the final catalyst that spurred Emma Kwasnica on to convene with Shell Walker and launch Eats On Feets GLOBAL. Regarding the inception of this initiative, she states: "Shell Walker is a friend and the midwife in Phoenix, AZ who came up with the name 'Eats On Feets'. She graciously allowed me to use her catchy name in order to launch the global initiative: a woman-to-woman, grassroots milk sharing network here on Facebook. As for Dr. Mercola, he should be injecting his burgeoning wealth into breastfeeding support, not trying to make more money off a product that is harmful to infants and their lifelong health."

With the help of nearly 200 women online from the global mothering Facebook community, the initiative has taken off. Donor and recipient milk matches are being made right now all over the world on the pages of Facebook. There are now 87 Eats On Feets chapter pages spanning 18 countries (a quick Facebook search for "Eats On Feets" yields dozens of results). This movement is proof that Facebook can, indeed, be used for the good of humanity. By encouraging the biologically normal way of feeding babies, and reviving an age-old practice of human milk sharing, it is clear that social networking has the power to revolutionize infant health.


ABOUT Eats On Feets GLOBAL - The Eats On Feets GLOBAL network chapter pages on Facebook provide an online space to facilitate woman-to-woman milk sharing. We assert that women are capable of making informed choices and of sharing human milk with one another in a safe and ethical manner. Eats On Feets GLOBAL does NOT support the selling or corporatism of human breastmilk.

For a current list of all of the Eats On Feets chapter locations in operation around the globe, or to find your local Eats On Feets Facebook chapter page, please see this document at the following URL:http://tinyurl.com/EatsOnFeetsGLOBAL

To listen to the radio show podcast (from October 30) where Emma Kwasnica discusses the events that lead to the launch of Eats On Feets GLOBAL, and how the ethics of Dr. Mercola were the catalyst for this initiative, visit: http://kopn.org/archive and click on "Momma Rap".
Eats On Feets Global Logo, Vanessa Corazon


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Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday Surf


For more Sunday Surfing, visit Wife, Mom And MoreMama and Baby LoveGems of DelightEnjoy BirthBreastfeeding Moms Unite, Domesticated Women, This Adventure Life, Maman A Droit, Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab.


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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Quick tips to keep your sanity (rerun)

Some days can be harder than others... Guess we all know that. There's those days that we just. Can't. Cope! When everything is too much and nothing works out the way we want it to. Of course those sweet little ones seem to pick up on that and act up even more; or maybe it's just our strung-out nerves that are more sensitive and can't handle behaviour that might otherwise even be dealt with swiftly. Whatever the case, being frustrated or angry is not a good place to be for positive parenting (remember: everything you portray, they learn - not that I want to stress you out even more ;) ) So I decided to try and make up a list of things that might help you - either on the short or the long run - overcome and maybe even prevent this frustration. These are things I actually practice, and they have helped me (most days) so far.

1) Plan nothing - or as little as possible - take everything as it comes. When you are not expecting anything, you are more likely to enjoy what is thrown in your path. To give you an example: the days I set off thinking I have to write this or that post, and sit my behind down in front of the computer, is inevitably the day that little one is going to come pull my skirt, try to climb up my chair and scream for my attention. But when I don't plan on blogging, there's always a few minutes that can be stolen away (when she's sleeping or playing quietly, or goes for a walk with our cook)
2) Scrap NO from your vocabulary, or at least keep it for special - read dangerous - occasions. There are other ways to get your little one to stop doing what you want them to stop doing. Distracting them might help - calling them over for a drink, a snack or with a fun toy. Or you might go and play with the things you would like him/her to play with, without paying any attention to your little one. Diversion also works: like saying: 'instead of throwing knives at your sister, why don't you throw stones at the tree? LOL
3) For your own sanity, don't place that Ming vase where they can knock it down! That's just making it hard on yourself. Just don't put anything irreplaceable in their path of destruction (because destroyed it will be!)
4) It's just an object... It's just an object... It's just an object (just keep saying that to yourself!)
5) VENT! If nothing's working, get out of there! Go for a walk, if possible. If that's not possible, call someone you can scream at until you feel good enough to care for your child again.
6) Get some You-time every once in a while, get a nanny, babysitter, pin down the grandmother, or dump them on your husband.
7) Take them outside (or do some other activity they really like), even if it doesn't fit YOUR schedule, it might be the quickest way to get them (and eventually you too) to calm down.
8) Try not to scream or spank them... ever. It's hurtful, harmful, and it won't fix anything.
9) If you give them your full attention for a short while, both you and your kid will profit more than with your half-spanned attention half a day. After just a little time, they often just go play on their own again.

As a quick side-note, I have been so busy lately it took me five days to write this post!!! And I have a list of other topics I still have to write out... Let's hope next week will bring a bit more serenity (but I'm afraid not).


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.


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Friday, November 19, 2010

Quote Of The Day

If evolution really works, how come mothers only have two hands? 
~ Milton Berle


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Gently Disciplining Ourselves - Part I

Written by Dulce


This post is part of a series which focuses on setting up a toolbox to cope with our personal emotional overflows and parental short circuits. Look out for a follow up post next friday.


One might think that having more than a decade of experience as children ourselves should make us experts at raising our own kids.  We know how they think, how they respond, and what works or doesn't and why.   At least in theory.   In many cases, it creates some strong ideals.  How many of us remember vowing, "When *I* have kids, I'll...".  Yet there is often a gap between our ideal and our reality.  In our idealized world, we are patient, we don't yell, we are confident and truly enjoy our precious and amazing children.  Then we get trampled by real-life days when we are grouchy, exhausted, and all we want is a few moments of uninterrupted *anything*, a chance to use the bathroom alone, and clothing that doesn't have unidentified sticky substances smeared on it or smell like sour milk.  Days where despite our conscience, we feel like screaming or hitting or ignoring or shaming.  

There are several things that can help us as we strive to grow into the parents we desire to be. In fact, many of the same tools you use to gently guide your children into becoming the people they are meant to be work for you, as well.

Nourish yourself.  

Image: Chin Yan Keat on Picasa
We all know that hungry, tired kidlets are prone to meltdowns.  So are hungry, tired parents.  Try to get plenty of protein, especially if you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding. Stay hydrated!  As for sleep, I tend to snort rather unbecomingly when I read advice to sleep when your baby sleeps.  Sure, that is nice if your baby actually sleeps in stretches long enough for you to fall asleep, too, and if your house is quiet and peaceful, etc.  I have four kidlets at home, and I shudder to think what would happen if I tried that, even for the incredibly brief segments in which my baby sleeps.  However, cosleeping at night has been a lifesaver for me.  My children's night-time needs are met and honored and my need for sleep is met.   

Limit negative influences.  
I am surrounded by people close to me who disagree with many of our choices, such as homebirth, child-led weaning, non-punitive discipline, etc.  I know that despite the intensive amount of research I've done and the strong convictions I have, raised eyebrows and disapproving comments from the Babywising moms in the church nursery can leave me subconsciously second-guessing myself or my children.  The pediatrician who questioned why my three year old was still breastfeeding left me shaking, even though I know all the recommendations and stats.  Intellectually, I throw out the garbage. But on some emotional level, I internalize it. I find myself slipping into an adversarial mindset and resenting childish behavior that didn't bother me before.  I need to limit some of my exposure to those who would influence me in a negative way.  Which leads me to...

Create a support community. 
Especially if your choices are going to be met with resistance by people around you.  I've learned to seek out loving and gentle mamas who shower me with grace and acceptance and encourage me to extend that same mercy and peace toward my children.  If you don't know people who support your beliefs in real life, find message boards, blogs and other sources. They can encourage you, brainstorm solutions, and listen when you need an ear.  

Study.  
We spend a significant amount of time studying for our careers.  Being a parent is far more important than anything I will accomplish in my job--shouldn't I at least show the same diligence?  Some believe that it should be instinctual.  I agree that most of it is.  But sometimes our instincts get clouded by our upbringing or culture.  There are many books available by authors with wisdom and experience. If what you read goes against your own heart, then toss it out.  One of the most helpful things in my parenting journey has been studying child development.  It can save your sanity when you realize that your child is not deliberately trying to push your buttons, and that what they are doing is completely normal for their age.  Naomi Aldort's Raising our Children, Raising Ourselves, Alfie Kohn's Unconditional Parenting, Pam Leo's Connection Parenting, Crystal Lutton's Biblical Parenting, Lawrence Cohen's Playful Parenting and Margot Sunderlund's The Science of Parenting have all been valuable resources to me. 

Don't act on your old recordings.  
Most of us have grown up with a litany of mental recordings that pop into our heads any time our children do something we think they shouldn't.  Often the are the same shaming words that we heard as children.  I can't believe you did that!  How stupid/dumb!  Why on earth would you do that?  You always/never...   If we let those thoughts pass through our mind without acting on them (because it is almost impossible to eliminate a mental recording that has been active for years) then we can dismiss them and replace them with Truth.  Let the thought play out, then replace it with a new, true thought.  Operate with the mindset that your children are doing the best they can in any given situation.  They aren't your adversaries.  You are on the same team. Beware the Defiance Boogeyman or the Myth of the Manipulative Monster Baby that presumes a negative motive on the part of your child.  Your children love you and any misbehavior is just a misguided attempt to get their needs met the best the can.

Shame off you
Just as they are with your child, your anger and frustration are expressions of unmet needs.  *Shaming yourself because you get upset won't make those needs go away.*  Guilt is only useful in the sense that, like the pain of touching a hot stove, it alerts us to a problem.  Rather than berating yourself because you feel like hitting your child, stop.  Examine where those feelings are coming from, especially when they are out of proportion to what is actually going on.  A friend used to feel enraged when her daughter created a mess or spilled something.  Upon reflection, she recalled how angry her own mother would become and how harshly she was scolded as a little girl for similar incidents.  As she dealt with her own feelings she was able to view her daughter's accidents from a much more reasonable place.  If there are ongoing needs that aren't being met for you, work on a plan to get what you need.  Ask for help!  Apologize when you fall short of your ideals, and accept the same grace and forgiveness that you show your children.

There are no perfect parents, of course.  Yet there is a lot we can do to acquire the skills we need to be the parents we want to be for our children, to eliminate deliberately hurtful actions, and to nourish and strengthen our bond.  I love Pam Leo's thought, "Let's raise children who won't have to recover from their childhood!"



More about Dulce:
My name is Dulce (my parents were optimists ;)) and I've been nursing at least one child (currently three) for nearly seven years, hence Dulce de leche. I have been blessed with an amazing husband and four wonderful kidlets, ages 6, 4, 2 and 4 months.  We are gradually learning to unschool.  I also have taught Spanish for over a decade, love to travel and delight in chocolate and coffee.  Each day brings something new to learn and enjoy, and a fresh lesson in trusting my children, myself and the Love that surrounds and fills us.  Sometimes it feels like we're livin' a vida loca, but overall, life is incredibly sweet.  My blog addy is: www.dulcefamily.blogspot.com


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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quote Of The Day

‎"However we treat the child, the child will treat the world." 
- Pam Leo


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What Do We Say?

In order to “teach” children politeness, many parents result to prompting their children. Some go even further, by instating punitive measures when the prompt isn’t followed through.
This approach to politeness is understandable, because it is how many of us have been brought up and because we have been led to believe that no child can grow up to be polite if we don’t force politeness onto him.

This is a disbelief.

Children are naturally good natured and kind to their environment and they easily pick up on social structures and conventions, if they are modeled to them.

I ask myself: how can we intend children to learn anything when we tell them “What do we say?”. Surely, the child must think that if you need to ask him what we should say in such a situation, there is little need to say it, since it can be so easily forgotten.

Your child will learn oodles more from a kind ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ that comes from the heart, than he will from a coerced word out of his mouth.

If at every occasion, you prompt your child to say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’, he will never feel the need to thank or pleased when asking or receiving. You will notice that when you stop prompting, out of the blue you will have a polite child, who does say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, but this time out of the bottom of his heart. And there’s not much cuter than this.

And don’t worry too much about the rare occasion where your child does not say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ or ‘hello’. His lack in doing so will be forgiven according to his age, and you can make it up by giving courtesy to the one these courtesies were intended.


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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Quote Of The Day

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. 
~ Honoré de Balzac


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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Quote Of The Day

In an ideal world, our mother is the prototype of the person with whom one can feel secure, with no feeling of being observed or judged.
- Michel Odent, Foreword to "Childbirth Without Fear" 


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The End Of Babywearing

Image: I Should Be Folding Laundry on Flickr
I last wore my child when we were in the airport, leaving for Belgium for our emergency medical visit. That’s a month and a half ago.
She hasn’t been on my back since that occasion. She does want to be carried, but not in the ‘pagne’ (to the extent that I had to result to the stroller again).
Does this mean that we’re done? She’s almost two and a half and she has been wanting less and less to be worn, but are we completely through?

Will it be like this with everything we do: nursing, cosleeping... that it all slowly becomes less and then suddenly it’s gone... And I hardly noticed?

I must say I had been attentive to the babywearing thing, because I felt like she was about to stop. But still. It is over so quickly. She is growing up so fast.

So a little message to you all: enjoy it while it lasts and don’t listen to the ‘you’ll never’ comments. When it gets hard and you feel like you’ve had enough, consider that it might soon be over and you’ll probably miss it.


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Monday, November 15, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"Let's raise children who won't have to recover from their childhood" 

- Pam Leo


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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Surf


  • The Organic Sister writes a very comprehensive post about unjobbing: "our sense of worthiness is so strongly tied to our salary it’s a wonder Big Pharma hasn’t created a disorder for it and patented a drug already." More about unjobbing by Wendy Priesnitz.
  • When it comes to introducing solids, watch the baby, not the calendar seems about the soundest advice I have heard so far.
  • An article on ParentCentral focuses on the reality of Birth Trauma
  • The implications of spanking: "The only "lessons" we teach children when we hit them are to hit, fear, and distrust those who hit them.", by Pam Leo.
  • The Leaky Boob tells us to try and avoid the lure of artificially induced nightrest: "If your baby is waking often at night to feed it is because he/she needs to, needs the comfort, needs the nutrition, needs you and needs to wake up."
  • A magnificent poem about enjoying reality and shunning striving, expectations and urging at The Essential Parenting Blog.
For more Sunday Surfing, visit Wife, Mom And MoreMama and Baby LoveGems of DelightEnjoy BirthBreastfeeding Moms Unite, Domesticated Women, This Adventure Life, Maman A Droit, Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab.


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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Reach out! (rerun)

Considering the way we are living (i.e. a very remote setting with few other people around) it is very hard for me to find like-minded people. But even if you’re not miles away from your closest neighbour, it’s not easy to find people with the same parenting philosophy when you take the road less travelled.
Being a parent can sometimes be frustrating and infinitely lonely for anybody, but even more so if your beliefs don’t concur with the people next to you. There will be times when you might be filled with doubt and don’t know where to turn to.
The best advice I can give you today is to reach out! Don’t stay locked up at home, go out and find people who think alike. (Or at least people who don’t mind your opinions and don’t try to convince you to change… hmm) And if you cannot go out and join a community or organisation that shares your beliefs, organise one yourself. And if even that is not an option, thank evolution (or God) for the internet. Google the things that make you tick and you’ll be sure to find an online community where you can go and share your doubts and frustrations, but also your joys and revelations. If you’re on facebook, try to find groups about your interests, there are some really active ones out there. Yoyu can also join Authentic Parenting on Facebook
Don’t wait until someone takes you by the hand, because that will most likely never happen.


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Friday, November 12, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"As we read the school reports on our children, we realize a sense of relief that can rise to delight that thank Heaven nobody is reporting in this fashion on us." 
- J. B. Priestley


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Achieving Effective Discipline

written by Suzy

In many areas of life, the most direct way to something is likely the quickest, but it's not always the most effective. In certain cases, it's not the safest either – an action characterized by violence, neglect or manipulation can bring unwelcome, or even damaging, results. For many parents, this principle is incredibly important when raising children authentically and with respect for their individual growth.
However, the path of least resistance is not always a smooth path to follow, especially when it comes to discipline. Learn some ways to keep the balance between acceptable behavior and a freedom to explore without harming your children physically or emotionally.

Focusing on Cause Instead of Effect

Image: Tacuma on Picasa
When behavioral issues like aggression, resistance and mischief become more than you can endure, you may find yourself reacting rashly and emotionally. While that's a common reaction to an intolerable situation, impatience does not help to resolve anything. In fact, an impatient response is often unclear to a child, plus it fails to address what caused the child to act out in the first place.
An excellent parenting tip is this: always remember that a child's actions can be traced back to a specific cause or feeling. Hunger, jealousy, frustration, imitation and illness are all factors that can lead a toddler or older child to act out, bite or yell. Often, a loud reaction will only encourage your child to repeat the behavior, since your yell is evidence that their actions are indeed powerful. Instead, use plain, clear language and short sentences along with loving, physical contact to prevent future incidents more effectively. If the incident is repeated, be consistent in your approach and your language, and be sure to lead by example.


Redirect and Resolve
One way to deter unwanted behavior is to offer another satisfying action in its place. If your child likes to tear books, replace the book in their hand with an old magazine; if they like to bite, be alert to what brings on the urge to bite and distract with another activity like playing with a favorite toy or even the light switch on the wall. Acting swiftly and consistently will avoid any upsetting conflicts and can modify patterns of behavior more naturally.
Resolution comes when children are content with themselves and their surroundings. This means that you should attune yourself to their emotional needs: stay close, connected and affectionate to provide them with the comfort and attention they want. If you are aggressive, you are teaching them that it's alright to be aggressive, which will only prolong the behavior. When you abandon a controlling method of parenting for a more trusting approach, you may find that you'll learn as much from your child as they learn from you.
As sure as you need to be patient when dealing with your pregnancy symptoms, you need to be patient with your children. Happy parenting!

This article was written by Suzy from SureBaby.com. Suzy has been writing about pregnancy and parenting for years, and loves to contribute her knowledge to others.


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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"Children need to be enjoyed and valued, not managed."
- Daniel J. Siegel


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Book Review: Childbirth Without Fear

After long months of interrupted reading (yes, well, I am a mother, so uninterrupted reading is much a thing of the past)I have finally finished Grantly Dick-Read's classic, "Childbirth Without Fear", which to this day remains a noteworthy book for those who are passionate about childbirth. E
At the turn of almost every page, a memorable quote lurks, which makes reading a slow endeavor. Not because the book is tedious, but because you just want to let everything sink in.

To fully enjoy "childbirth Without Fear" one must read past certain plattitudes about gender and relationships, which we can understand if the book is placed within its historical context.

Some of its chapters might not seem very new to the more advanced 'birth junky'-type reader. Yet even for the experienced birth reader, this book is an interesting and liberating read.

One cannot read 'Childbirth Without Fear' without a bittersweet aftertaste. Most of the problems birthing women encounter, as described in this book - of which the first edition was written as early as 1942 - remain an issue to this day. While caregiver's methods may have changed, the root of the problem still remains. Birthing women are rarely heard and remain uninformed.

For a novice, looking for an intro into the world of childbirth publishings, this might not be the lightest work to start with. Yet "Childbirth Without Fear" remains a Grand Book in its genre, despite it's long history, and its ideas have not withered with age.




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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." 
- Frederick Douglass


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Parenting In Pain

I have a rhumatoïd condition that causes joint pain and lower back ache. This sometimes makes it impossible for me to walk, let alone carry my daughter, especially because now - with her 13 kg - she’s gotten quite heavy.
Yet ever since we had that medical scare a while back, my daughter is inseparable from me, doesn’t want to walk and doesn’t even want to go on my back.
She has to be carried in my arms, or else... A big ginormous tantrum arises.

Yes. My previously tantrum free daughter has grown intro the tantrum hurricane whenever she’s around me ever since the medical scare. Add to that that we’ve had the emergency trip to Belgium (for medical testing) and that we have found out recently that we’ll be moving to another country, and you get one very emotionally destabilized, tantrum prone sweetheart.

She does sense our stress. She is scared all the time (could she be thinking I’m dying because the chickens all got ill and eventually died). She is insecure and feels her foundations trembling.

Image: The Alieness Gisela Giardino On Flickr

But what I wanted to write about is how to remain an Authentic parent when it hurts?
How to stay gentle when you just can’t fulfill their requests? How not to get sucked into the emotion of a tantrum when she’s coping with my umprecedented - yet recurring - no?

We already had to result to the pushchair, because of her refusal to go on my back (which I would sometimes be able to bare).

And when she’s tantruming because of my refusal to carry her - which she must sense is aginst what I would want to do - how do I refrain from falling apart and crying too.
How do I stop myself from getting angry in frustration, since she’s only tantruming with me?

Basically, how can you be in pain and yet remain attuned to your child? Tend to another while you ache to be tended to yourself.

My husband says I manage it very well, that I am an image of calm and gentle parenting. But I feel like I am lacking. I hate that my body lets me down in so many ways. I hate that my body refuses service when I just want to tend to my daughter.



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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Quote Of The Day

In a wild environment a female mammal cannot give birth while there is a predator around. Thanks to a release of adrenalin - associated with fear - she can fight or flee. She will give birth later, when her adrenalin level has dropped; that is, when danger has gone and she feels secure.
- Michel Odent, Foreword to "Childbirth Without Fear"


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NIP Scare Stories

Every so often, a horrible NIP story catches the attention of the media. Breastfeeding mothers get thrown out of restaurants, off busses, get shunned or called names. These stories are generally widely shared over the web among young mothers and generate heated debates among their readers about the ‘appropriateness’ of breastfeeding. They often end up inciting mothers to tell their own scare stories.

But what effect do these stories have?

Do they scare women out of breastfeeding in public? Do they make us think twice before we bring our baby to the boob? Aren’t they doing us more harm than good?
Having heard so many of these stories makes one wary of other people’s opinions. Makes us look around before we nurse our child and makes us fear the public opinion or face it with a defensive attitude.

Image: blmurch on Flickr

Aren’t these stories just creating collective fear about nursing in pubic?

Yes, there are people who behave negatively around breastfeeding mothers. Yes, these stories are true. Yes, almost every nursing mother can tell you of a negative experience while NIP.

But there are also the good moments. The stranger who passes by and smiles. The store manager who offers you a drink. The woman who walks up to you and tells you how great it is that you are nursing a toddler.

We don’t talk of these because we live in a culture of fear and negativity. Positive things don’t make the news. But they’re just as important. They do happen.

The thought of Nursing In Public shouldn’t instill fear. We shouldn’t be worried about people’s looks. We should only encourage each other to do so. Nursing in Public isn’t about public opinion, it’s about feeding your child, so don’t think twice.

And to my fellow bloggers: yes, we must react to negative attitudes towards breastfeeding, but please, give us the positive stories every once in a while too. Encourage mothers to NIP instead of scaring them out of it.

Have you had a positive NIP experience? Feel free to send your story to me: mamapoekie at yahoo dot com



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Monday, November 8, 2010

Quote Of The Day

"Giving birth and being born brings us into the essence of creation, where the human spirit is courageous and bold and the body, a miracle of wisdom." 
- Harriette Hartigan


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Age Recommendations

Many a time have I heard a parent sigh that they have bought a game or book for their child which clearly stated it was designed for their age group, and the child just didn’t enjoy it. Either the game is too difficult or too easy, or it simply doesn’t catch their interest.

Age recommendations are simply that: recommendations (and for toys, often a way for the company to avoid liability). No company can decide what toy your child is ready to play with. Toys for bigger kids can be perfectly safe for your child, and there is no shame in a child playing with a toy that is designed for a younger age group.

You are the best judge of where your child is in his development and what might catch his interest. And it isn’t a competition of which kid gets to play with the most advanced toy either. Getting in touch with your child’s fine and gross motor skills and his passions and interests will put you on the way of buying the right toys.

If you do get your child a toy which is intended for older children, make sure there are no small parts he can’t quite handle, or keep the game for when you are there to supervise.


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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sunday Surf


  • Natural Papa shares a great post about creative thinking, and how we lose that ability through schooling.
  • Everything you need to know about gluten, a very interesting read on Experience Life
  • How to prevent and treat mastitis, naturally, on Keeper of The Home
  • You're spoiling your child, you will reap the seeds. Really? "Fear of Spoiling" by John Holt discusses this common misconception: "The revelation that people were saying almost exactly the same things a century ago ought to make us stop talking in mid-sentence and sit down – hard.  In fact, the more carefully we look at the cranky-wistful conventional wisdom about how children are raised, the less there is to be said in its favor."
  • How putting up restriction backfires on Sandra Dodd's site
  • A very complete gentle parenting toolbox on a recently discovered blog 'Dulce De Leche'
For more Sunday Surfing, visit Mama and Baby LoveGems of DelightEnjoy BirthBreastfeeding Moms Unite, Domesticated Women, This Adventure Life, Maman A Droit, Hobo Mama and Baby Dust Diaries.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab.


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