Google+ Authentic Parenting: May 2011

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quote Of The Day

“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial appearance of being right.”
- Thomas Paine


You're Looking Lovely Today

I was watching the sixth season of Grey's Anatomy last week and had an epiphany.

There was this scene where a couple, parents of a very ill child with a rare bowel disease, steps into the chief's office because they want to make a donation to the hospital.
The husband comes in first, then the wife. The chief says hello to the man and then goes on to say something along the lines of "You're looking good today" to the wife. I had to pause the episode.

I stared at my husband and asked him if he had noticed that. He looked at me puzzled, because this is the way it works. This is common 'courtesy', this is what is seen as polite in our society. Not only is it accepted to make comments about a woman's appearance, it is a social code. We can freely state that a woman looks lovely, stunning, beautiful, good... that she has lost weight. However we do not do such a thing with men.

And women expect these comments, as they are part of social convention. When they are not made, does she feel ugly? Does she wonder if she's looking bad, or that she's too fat?

How can we live in a society where commenting on a person's appearance is part of the social code? Where people can assess women like they were cattle and it is accepted as a compliment?

We don't just have to undermine the evil images in the media. Yes, they have negative effects, but the core is negative too. The very attitude of society at large towards women is not so far away from the 1900s. And that potentially is much more far reaching and influential. You can shelter your daughter from Vogue, but you can't shelter her from society. (Unless you move to Africa like we did)


Monday, May 30, 2011

Quote Of The Day

We should talk while we are still alive
- Kenyan Proverb


Children's Guide to African Culture

This post was written as a submission to the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism.

Multiculturalism is a very big thing in our family. We all like to travel and take in new cultures. Now for us, assimilating and learning about African culture isn't very hard work, because it is all around us. But I thought it might be fun to write about how you can introduce Africa to your child, through activities and play.


Image: Saleeha on Flickr
You can make music yourself by getting African instruments and playing them. A Djembé and some shakers shouldn't be so hard to find. You could even make some of these instruments yourself. Here are links to kid's craft projects for drums and shekere. If you want to read more about African instruments, this post on CltureBlog gives explanations and pictures for a small selection.
You could also opt for listening to African Music. Putumayo's African Playground is a really nice CD for children, with lots of african children's songs in different languages. Youssou N'Dour is also a good choice. Magic System is an Ivorian band who make very fun and upbeat music, they're also international, so it should be easy to procure some of their work. There are of course many many more great African artists, but this is what we listen to at home.

There is a lot of delicious African food, I wouldn't be able to give you an exhaustive list, so I'll stick with what might be easy to make anywhere in the world and what kids would like.`

Chicken Yassa
Chicken Yassa is a senegalese recipe with lemon and onion. It is really easy to make and very delicious. Here's one recipe for it, but if you google it, you are bound to find hundreds of variations, as it is a signature dish that's eaten all over Western Africa.

Futu is a dish that exists in different countries, and made through various recipes, the one we prefer is the Ivorian recipe. It is made with equal parts of maniok (cassave root) and plantain banana (baking banana). Both are boiled in salted water separately until they are easily pricked with a fork. Then the real work starts. Both products need to be mashed in a mortar until they give a elastic paste, then they are mixed together bit by bit. Keep a recipient of water handy to humidify the mixture whenever you turn it over. Don't squish your fingers!
Form a big ball with the mixed paste.
This is a side dish for many african dishes, like "poulet arachide" (peanut chicken). The paste is taken with the fingers and used to scoop up the sauce.

Plantain Fritters
Generally African cuisine is really time-consuming. These fritters however are very simple. Just put one or two plantain banana's, an egg and a spoon of flour in a food processor and mix it. Put in a pinch of salt and some pepper. The original recipe would require half an red pepper, but I think that would put your child off from eating it, because they are very, very hot!
With the aid of two spoons, roll balls and fry them in hot oil. (Preferably red palm oil or coconut oil)

I have mentioned a couple of Africa themed books before, like Kirikou or Baobonbon. We read very little English books, so I can't really make recommendations to that extent. However, nowadays, there are so many great children's books on various themes, and for all ages, that with some googling or skimming through them in libraries or bookstores, I am sure you can quickly get a nice collection.

There are a lot of Africa themed movies, for all ages. Kirikou is a great example and speaks to a wide audience, and it's available in English. It is also very true to African village life (beware of things like 'Out of Africa' where AFrica is only the decor of a romantic story). There are also numerous lovely documentaries about African nature and African tribes. Children tend to like documentaries a lot.
You can also find a lot of nice clips on youtube for traditional African singing or dancing, or nature scenes.

Build a Roundhouse
Roundhouses are one story round structures made out of natural materials with a roof in straw or leaf. It is actually rather easy to do yourself, so it could make a fun project for a playhouse.
The structure of a roundhouse is made of branches and twigs. First place all the vertical ones, tightly secured in the ground, then weaving twigs through the structure. The vertical branches are put in a double row to make a fillable wall.  Leave room for the door and a window.
Before the walls are filled, a rudimentary bearing structure is made for the roof. The walls are the filled.
Walls would be filled with any type of local material, depending on the area, that will be stone, straw, clay, sand or wood. Here you have a few examples of stone ones in Lesotho. And here is a big variety of African dwellings from all over the continent.
The roof is covered with whatever isolating leafy material is on hand, straw, palm leaves, ...
I'll have a more extensive post on this topic in a while, because we plan on building some playhouses like this for our daughter.
Image: Gbaku on Flickr
As a little sidenote: not all regions build round houses. Most West-African countries build square or rectangular dwellings.

Wear your child African style, to show them how African babies spend the first year of their lives. Or show them how to do it with their dolls, it works perfectly with a dishcloth or small towel, but small piece of fabric is great.

How do you introduce other cultures to your child?


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Surf

Arts, craft and activities
Peaceful Parenting
  • A little something about soothing corners as a non-punitive alternative to time-out
      Visit the newest Sunday Surfers: Love Notes MamaKaren's Healthy LifestyleBecoming CrunchyAdventures of a Thrifty Mama and Touchstonez. If you want to find out who else is surfing, go to the Sunday Surf page.
      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. Newest Surfers will be added to the following Surf, older Surfers are listed on the Sunday Surf page. If you're Surfing and you have a button for me, email it to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.


      Friday, May 27, 2011

      Quote Of The Day

      A man's errors are his portals of discovery.
      - James Joyce


      Non-coercion Through Math and Science Adventures - With Toddlers

      Written by Dr. Maria Droujkova

      Would you drive with your toddler not wearing seat belts? I found myself doing just that, and moreover, using brakes suddenly to make my two and a half year old "fly." We were engaged in a scientific experiment. Katherine claimed, like too many adults still do, that she does not need belts now that she's "big and strong": she could just hold onto the seat. I claimed that the forces involved are stronger. Her claim was wrong, but rational and based on some evidence: she did have a growth spurt recently, and started Kung Fu, and said she never noticed what belts did for her in the car anyway.

      I drove in our very quiet cul-de-sac, very slowly. My first attempts to brake suddenly, at something like .5 and 1 mph, seemed to support Katherine's theory. We chatted about forces I mentioned earlier, with delicious long words like "sudden deceleration" now making sense to her. I moved to higher speeds. At around 2 mph, she could barely hold on when I applied the brakes, but still her claim stood. At around 4 mph, still a crawl as cars go, her hands gave and she bumped into the seat in front of her - not hurting herself, of course, but very obviously, unpleasantly losing control of her body. Katherine concluded her theory worked at lower speeds, but not at high speeds we use in real driving. We went home to watch some movies about dummy crash tests. We looked at pictures of cars after accidents, showing broken windows where people without seat belts flew out. Over the next weeks, I pointed out more situations where acceleration was creating forces, and soon Katherine started to point them out herself.

      My husband and I value rationalism and love games. That's why we resolved many disagreements with our daughter through little "science adventures" rather than coercion. Yes, it took us about an hour, all told, to work out what happens with seat belts. But that time wasn't wasted on empty arguing. I did not override Katherine rational arguments with my authority, but helped her to gain more knowledge of the situation and the world in general - which kept her safer in many other situations since. And it was fun!

      Past adventures and promises of new ones made Katherine more interested in our "science lectures" - explanations of what to do, and most importantly, why. It was hard to figure out explanations or experiments to show some ideas. For example, I asked Katherine not to roll a vase around, since it could break. Reasonably, she replied that she had already rolled the vase around for a while and it had not broken so far. I was unpleasantly reminded of the clueless, "My uncle smoked all his life and he is fine" argument. How do you show chance and probability to a toddler?

      We ended up repeatedly rolling a cheap glass down the stairs. It banged amusingly and landed without a scratch for a while, but broke to pieces at the attempt number five. Katherine wanted to experiment with other breakable objects, so we used another glass and a light bulb, since we were already making a mess. Ever since, when a situation with random elements came up, we could recall our simple "glass experiment" as a powerful demonstration of probability.

      There are many more educational resources on the internet now than there were ten years ago when Katherine was a toddler. You can find good people from MythBusters to MIT physicists sharing their work on YouTube or their sites. Even if a good experiment of your own does not come to mind, you can always invite the kid to watch some movies of what others did on the subject, and then repeat some of their adventures. As a kid, it’s more fun to do research than to fuss, and as a parent, it feels infinitely better to help kids learn rather than to coerce them.

      About the author:
      I like to stage math adventures and invite others to share the journey. I built two networks for the purpose: Natural Math for kids and parents, and Math Future for researchers and developers. I live in Research Triangle, North Carolina with my husband Dmitri and our daughter Katherine.


      Thursday, May 26, 2011

      Quote Of The Day

      Every society honors its live conformists, and its dead troublemakers. 
       ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960


      The World Is Full Of Bullies... So Conform! And Quick!

      I have been talking a lot about physical integrity and gender lately. On here and on my Facebook page (If you're not on there yet, come join, there's a lot of activity and debate). I strongly believe that a child's appearance is theirs and theirs alone, and I believe it is a healthy turf to experiment with. I also believe that mainstream culture tends to meddle too much when it comes to gender and we should try to strip gender stereotyping from our vocabulary.

      Every time I raise these questions, however, I get at least one response that sounds something like: What about bullying?

      So here, I'll finally answer what I think about bullying.

      Bullying is certainly real. I have had to deal with it to it for much of my life, until I went to university. So I know what it is and I know how little you can do to stop it from happening. I also know that it can happen to everyone who falls out of the norm (wether it is for physical appearance or for mental state, or convictions), but it especially happens to kids who are insecure. And it's those insecure kids who have most trouble to deal with bullying.

      Oana Hogrefe Photography
      Children who have not been forced into acting or looking like something they're not, who have had the freedom to explore their bodies and their minds, within the safety and unconditionality of their homes are not insecure. They may make different choices than the average kid, they may look differently, but they do it because they are true to themselves, not to fit in or fit out, so they are generally able to take the consequences.
      Yes, they may get negative reactions. But if they are not even safe to express themselves and find themselves at home, where do you suggest they will? In therapy when they are in their thirties?

      Bullying often starts at home, as gruesome a reality as this may seem, by the parents. In the so-called bully argument is the hidden statement that they too do not accept their child's otherness. Otherwise they wouldn't be worried.
      If parents would embrace their child, no matter what it looks like or aspires to, they would not worry about the reactions of the outer world. They would offer the structure to endure those reactions.

      Children who have been 'allowed' to be authentic to their emotions are generally very sensitive too. If it is their aim to fit in, they will adapt, if not, they will seek different company.

      Oana Hogrefe Photography
      And then a last point on the matter: we are unschoolers. The bullying question is not really an issue, lest I do the bullying myself, which I try not too. The bully culture is indeed created by the specific nature of schools. This does not mean that my child does not deal with reactions from the world outside of our family, and they are indeed sometimes negative. But she deals with them (mostly by laughing them off) and if she cannot, she comes to me for guidance.


      Wednesday, May 25, 2011

      Quote Of The Day

      I see my body as an instrument, rather than an ornament.
      ~ Alanis Morissette, quoted in Reader's Digest, March 2000


      The Outdoors as an Extension of the Home

      This post was written as a submission to the Teach/Learn blogging carnival, hosted by Science@home. This month's theme is "Outdoors". Submissions are due by May 29th.

      Easter Teach/Learn Blogging Carnival

      My daughter and I spend most of our time outdoors. That's one of the perks of living in Africa where the weather permits it year round. One of the best ways to ensure outdoor time is to make sure that everyone's wants can be fulfilled outdoors just as well as indoors. For this to be possible, you have to make some arrangements in your outdoor space. Even if your outdoor space is limited, there are ways to apply some of these ideas.
      Image: Tanya Little
      1. Get electrical outlets. This way you can do any electronic activity outdoors too. Want to watch a movie, work on the laptop? No problem.
      2. Provide lighting. Nothing more pleasing then to sit outside when night falls (maybe you'll have t put up some citronella bushes and candles to keep those annoying disease spreaders away.
      3. Covered area. Playing outside when it rains is fun, but not all activities are adapted to the humidity. If you're setting up living spaces, it's better to have them covered, so there's shade and protection from the weather.
      4. Set up living spaces. If you've got the room, set up a variety of seating, maybe a table or daybed for naps.
      5. Image: Kathleen Steegmans
      6. The outdoors gives you an appetite. This is where the table comes in (or you could opt for a more close to the earth dinner space, some pillows and a blanket or rug would do the trick). Put up a barbeque or organize frequent picnics.
      7. Veggie patch. Cultivating your own vegetables makes eating greens way more appealing, and it gives you a reason to step in the garden on a regular basis. If you have limited space, you can do vertical gardening or container gardening.
      8. Specific outdoor activities. Now we can take all the indoor activities outside, it's also interesting to have specific play that is only possible outdoors, so the outdoors becomes extra appealing. A little tree house, a sandpit, a puddle pool, a swing. Some outdoor play units don't take up a lot of room; we have a climber that you just hang in a tree or on a beam, it takes up very little space and my daughter loves it. She can climb it and swing it, pretend its a tunnel... It doesn't have to be expensive to arrange outdoor play areas. All you need is a few logs, some pebbles, a heap of sand, a rope tied to a branch...

      I have to congratulation the Teach/Learn participants this month, due to all the insane things happening around here there weren't little reminders sent out. It's nice to know people remembered on their own! But they have come up with some great ideas for getting outside while you teach and learn.
      Have you been getting outside? Add some ideas in the comments or check out these great posts.


      Tuesday, May 24, 2011

      Quote Of The Day

      Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one.
      - Gloria Steinem


      Feminism, Medicine, Consumerism and Vampires

      I often wonder how we have come to a time where birth is no longer sacred and female, but medical and male. Where intervention is a bigger part of childbirth than trust.

      A lot of modern medicine, not just in childbirth and pregnancy, but specifically when women are concerned, is like the clove of garlic for vampires: they're not sure it will help, there's no danger just yet, but at least they're doing something! At least they have that wondrous clove of garlic that has yet to be double blind tested...
      And because women are inferior, there's no issue in butchering their cervix, squishing their mammary glands, cutting and prodding.
      It's also a direct result of consumer society: if a product exists, we must use it. Doctors and hospitals are being 'persuaded' by pharmaceutical and medical industries that this is the top of the line product, if they don't have it, they're behind, they're not state of the art anymore. And since their primary concern is to attract as many customers - ahum patients - as possible, being the most impressive, state of the art institution is a big concern.
      That's why some hospitals now do offer waterbirth or baby friendly labels. Not because they actually care, but because they generate media and traffic.

      This is why birth is definitely a feminist issue. Any medicine aimed at women should be a feminist issue. Any part of society where women are supposed to give up their voice, their rights and their uniqueness should be a feminist issue. And the medical world is probably the most ardent at this. Women shouldn't have to be butchered just for the care provider's mental wellbeing, or for his fear of litigation.


      Monday, May 23, 2011

      Quote Of The Day

      ‎"A person's a person. No matter how small."
      ~ Dr Seuss


      Joy of Eating... Family Style

      written by Ariadne Brill aka Mudpiemama, read her post about clean up time 

      I strive to serve healthy yet yummy and appealing meals everyday. The goal being to not to create kitchen master pieces worthy of Top Chef (what an awesome show) but rather to capitalize on my children’ s adventurous nature and allow them a chance to explore tastes and textures.

      To have fun and exciting family meals, and create an overall joy of eating, we focus on portion awareness, respecting individual tastes, opportunity, modeling healthy choices and relaxed table manners.

      Portion Awareness

      Sometimes its easy to forget that the tummy of a toddler/preschooler is tiny – a great way to remember is to look at their hands. A child’s stomach is roughly the same size as it’s hand curled into a fist. Aside from the small stomach, a child’s internal satiation cue (that’s the fancy name for the “the I’m full now” signal from the stomach to the brain – yay nutrition class paid off), are very reliable – especially for children who were fed on cue as infants (regardless of it was breastmilk or formula milk). So think small portions. I can be overheard at just about every meal saying “eat what you have and you can always ask for more.”

      Yum or Yuck

      Image: Oana Hogrefe Photography
      Bread with butter, peach jelly and salami. I’ll admit this is not my ideal meal – but for my three year old it was today’s perfect lunch. Combined with a heaping glass of milk, cucumber sticks and watermelon for dessert – he ate from each food group and cleaned his plate. Are you still stuck on the jelly and salami combination? At three years this combination is deemed excellent and why not allow that taste exploration? My five year old and I ate lots of tomatoes today – nobody else went near them. My baby girl chomped on a pickle dipped in vanilla yogurt…What I’m getting at is that each one of us is an individual with different tastes and we respect that at every meal.


      So how have these tastes developed you might wonder – afterall how do we come about the whole jelly and salami or pickles with vanilla? Creating opportunities for my children to explore food - when serving a new food I make sure there is a familiar food on the table as a possible alternative. This way they can try the new food but there is no need to worry if they will eat enough because that familiar food is right there in case the new stuff did not pass muster. I also invite my children to shop and cook with me so they can see and be curious about ingredients. If an interest comes about to mix flavors it’s allowed to happen – it might seem like a waste of food but remember we are working with small portions.


      I believe children learn a lot from observation, trial and error. So aside from letting them make their own choices, I am hopefully inspiring them in those choices as well with what I am choosing to eat or put on the table. From eating vegetables to trying new foods, my attitude at meals (with anything really) will make an impact on my children. My husband is an avid Sushi eater and around 18 months my boys were really interested. Now at 3yrs and 5yrs it is by far their most favorite dish – yes raw fish and sea weed – it’s wierd and wonderful all in one…

      Relax and Enjoy

      If you ever join us for a meal,( I promise the main course shall not be jellied salami) you will not find stiff place settings, dimmed lighting and an atmosphere of the fine dinning kind but rather relaxed happy children being —-Children! Yes there silliness, spilled juice on occasion, and some food may even land on the floor. “Don’t worry, murphy (our dog) is a vacuum cleaner” was one of our boys first full sentences. Beyond the slight mess, you will also see three children eating vegetables, grains, dairy, fish, whatever it may be with a true love and enjoyment of food and family style meals!

      So, what is your family’s favorite meal?

      About the author
      Ariadne has three children, two boys (three and five years) and a baby girl. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication and creative expression. After many years living in the United States,Brazil, and Germany, Ariadne and her family are currently living in Switzerland. Pre-kids, Ariadne worked among other things as a marketing exec and as a ballet dancer. Now as a stay at home mama, she practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. She is a breastfeeding, baby wearing, co-sleeping, VBAC and natural births mama. Not only through parenting at home but also working as a playgroup facilitator and with International MOMS Club, Ariadne has enjoyed creating solutions to everyday parenting challenges and sharing these ideas with other families. She believes parents and children should try to have fun everyday and love life.


      Sunday, May 22, 2011

      Sunday Surf

      Peaceful Parenting
        Visit the newest Sunday Surfers: Love Notes MamaKaren's Healthy LifestyleBecoming CrunchyAdventures of a Thrifty Mama and Touchstonez. If you want to find out who else is surfing, go to the Sunday Surf page.
        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. Newest Surfers will be added to the following Surf, older Surfers are listed on the Sunday Surf page. If you're Surfing and you have a button for me, email it to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.


        Saturday, May 21, 2011

        How To: African Babywearing

        To practice African-style babywearing, one only needs a piece of (non-stretch) cloth of an average 1m70 long and 90cm wide (a little smaller works too, especially if you are particulary thin), about the size of a large beach towel (which actually works just as good). Any type of non stretch fabric will do, I have worn my daughter in a beach towel on many occasion if nothing else was at hand.
        Ask someone to stand aside for a first couple of trials until you feel secure. They can help you put your baby and on your back check if the cloth is well positioned.
        I'm not sure it works for men, my husband once try but didn't succeed. I have seen young children carrying their siblings like that, though. It is done from two weeks old and onward, and I've even seen four year olds being carried. I have only started doing it when the little one was 10 months old, so you'll have to await a second baby for a small baby tutorial :)
        It might seem a little scary the first time around, but it is really rather safe and millions of babies are worn that way from dusk til down without accidents. Once you get the hang of it, you might come to love it, as I do, as there is no strain on your shoulders or arms like other ways of carrying might involve.

        Wrap the piece of fabric around your waist
        Tuck the end under the fabric wrapped around your hips
        Put your baby on your hip
        Slide baby from hip to back
        Lift your arm over your baby's head and lean forward. If you practice this often, your baby will learn to 'assume position', which will help you along.

        Detach the fabric and lift over your baby's bum either under their arms or up to their neck (smaller babies are better worn with the fabric up to the neck, a bigger child can also like this if he/she wants to sleep)
        Tuck one end of the fabric (left) under the other side, pull it closely to your body.

        Pull the loose (right) side of the fabric over to your left armpit, pull tightly

        Tuck the upper part of the right side under the lowest piece of fabric

        This is what it looks like: the upper part is lodged under the lower part of the piece of cloth. It might seem scary, but it is actually rather secure. The weight of the baby and the tissue of your breast keep everything nicely in its place.
        While it is already very secure by attaching just the upper part, the bottom part can be attached by pulling the ends across and under at the other side

        This is what the bottom looks like. I have covered her legs entirely, but it is equally possible to leave the legs dangling from the knee.

        This is the end result. 

        I hope you liked the tutorial. If you have any remaining questions, feel free to leave them in the comment  box below.


        Friday, May 20, 2011

        Quote Of The Day

        Each child is an adventure into a better life - an opportunity to change the old pattern and make it new. 
        - Hubert Humphrey


        Can Parenting and Partnering Go Hand in Hand

        Inspired by a discussion on Hybrid Rasta Mama's Facebook page

        Image: Courtney Carmody
        When I first got pregnant with my daughter, I immediately went to the bookstore to buy a pregnancy book. I found one that appealed to me, called "Pregnant Together" (it was a Dutch book). We were very much a connected couple, my husband and I, sharing most of our interests and spending every spare moment together. We were also deeply in love after having been together for 5 years already.
        I started reading that book and with every page I turned I was more and more appalled. Basically, this was a book about how to keep your partner from cheating on you. It started from the premises that every relationship is deeply flawed, that men can't be trusted and that partnership is an illusion.
        This book also believed that once the baby was born, you had to put your mothering on pause every so often, again to make sure that your partner doesn't cheat on you.

        This was not the book for us.
        My husband and I have been together for 8 years, married for 5. As natural parents, we believe that parenting is a lifelong journey, on that doesn't stop at night or in the weekend, or when the kids are asleep.
        We haven't spent the lot of those 8 years on a pink cloud. We have had hard times. There have been doubts. Parenting sure changed the paradigms of our relationships and has us searching for new ways to enjoy each other. And yes, we have put our relationship on the back burner a little. We don't get to spend long weekends in luxurious hotels with nothing but each other, we don't get to play the Playstation for hours in a row. No more TV marathons and very few romantic candle light dinners.

        But you can't put parenting on hold. Your child needs you every minute of the day, it is time consuming, especially when they are still tiny. They will need you less and less over the years.

        Yes, relationships tend to be put a little in the fridge, or on thebackburner, but if you're relationship is strong, built on trust, love and friendship, then that isn't much of a problem. You'll be happy with the sparse moment you do have. That doesn't mean you don't have to create these moments and actively work on them, but that means that there is enough trust and understanding and enough mutual marvell in those kids, that it doesn't matter. You learn to enjoy each other through the kids, with the kids. Your relationship evolves to something new. You can't expect it to remain the same when there is an new human being in the mix. It has to change. Then one day when the kids get a bit older, the spark will be lit again, because it never fades.

        I think a huge problem is that a lot of people who have kids don't have a strong relationship, that are together for lust or power or money or what not and then indeed, it can be a problem, a partner can start to feel neglected. So if a relationship dies because of children - in my opinion - it just wasn't meant to survive.


        Thursday, May 19, 2011

        Quote Of The Day

        In the kind of world we have today, transformation of humanity might well be our only real hope for survival.
        ~ Stanislav Grof


        Youth, Violence and Society

        Image: foto Rajith
        Every so often, you hear people sigh: "Our youth is going down the drain, never before were times so violent". People tend to blame it on parents who have become less authoritarian, on the absence of spanking, on the lack of discipline. In the 'good old days', a delinquent boy would be 'smacked until he knew better'. Never was there as much rape and murder and senseless violence then right now... Or was there?
        The fact is that not the occurrence of violence has augmented (quite on the contrary), but that it's span has gotten bigger, the weapons have gotten badder and our tolerance has lessened.
        "Interestingly, the overall rate of juvenile crime has been decreasing since 1995. When people see gruesome images on television, such as the Columbine High School shootings in Littleton, Colorado, or the Springfield, Oregon, rampage of 15-year-old Kip Kinkel (who shot both his parents and two classmates), their impression is that juvenile crime is out of control."

        A small century ago, violence and petty crime was a regular outlet for young men. Lives meant less and were easily disposed of. Crime fighting wasn't at the level it was right now, and many crimes went unreported and thus unseen. Bar fights were daily business, factory brawls were an oft seen display.
        In my grandmother's day, many a girl would end up in a ditch for falling pregnant with the wrong man. But there weren't TV stations to cover these tragedies, so they were local stories that died an equally fast dead.

        Guns and weapons have become more and more 'efficient' and easier available, so now when young people turn to violence, the casualties are often bigger numbers, so is the body count.

        Violence does not spring out of less punished parenting, quite the contrary. (...) the major factors affecting adolescent antisocial behaviour were family dynamics, poor school performance, and early childhood aggression. (1)

        So next time you hear someone sigh about how rotten our youth is, ask them how many fights he got into in his life, how many acts of vandalism he has committed, and if he has known a person who was seriously injured or murdered. And then do the same for yourself.

        (1) Upbringing rather than neighborhood determines delinquency
        (2) Juvenile Law - History


        Wednesday, May 18, 2011

        Quote Of The Day

        "Any time we forsake our own needs for the needs of another, we ultimately damage our relationship with that person"
        - Debbie Ford


        Fresh Air Fund

        This is something I got in my inbox a while back, so I'm just passing it on.

        The Fresh Air Fund is in need of host families for this summer of 2011. Host families are volunteers who open their hearts and homes to children from the city to give them a Fresh Air experience that can change lives. It's only for up to two weeks, but it's an experience that can change their lives forever.
        The Fresh Air Fund operates in 13 northeastern states and Canada.
        You can find out more about The Fresh Air Fund by clicking the link.


        Tuesday, May 17, 2011

        Quote Of The Day

        "Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel."
        - Socrates


        Quick Healthy Recipies For Busy Mommas (rerun)

        I know, recipies are not my regular cup of tea, but this is a special request and I do love to cook. New momma to a second son, one of my FB likeronies has little time left to cook and asked if I could give her some healthy pointers for her toddler. Now I can't let a toddler go hungry, so here are five very hands-off heatlthy recipies.

        First of all, we only cook a meal for the whole family, no seperate pots here! We have done so ever since dd was ten months old and with the next baby, we won't even bother to ever make something seperate (baby led weaning rocks). It's enough to pick healthy ingredients and keep the salt for on table use.
        When it comes to toddlers, I don't see why they would have to eat different from adults, given they eat healthy. I even urge parents to have their chidren eat the same as they do as soon as possible, because it teaches them to eat a variety of foods and tastes and makes them feel a part of the family.

        A last note before I commence, we eat paleo, so there are no tubers, legumes or cereal grains in our diet. You could make a potatoe mash or rice or past with either of these recipies, or whatever pleases you.

        Fish Burgers
        Chuck fish filet, chives and parsley, oniontomatoegggarlic and seasoning to your taste (pepper, paprika...) in your food processor (amount of ingredients depends on your eating habits and number of people eating, you probably know best how much fish your familie eats. 1 egg and one tomatoe are enough for 4 people), chop it all up and form small burgers. Cook in olive oil until the fish is thoroughly cooked. 

        Prawn tempura
        Dab large prawns (or shrimps) in a beaten egg and then in either almond powder or grinded sunflower seeds. Fry them in some olive or coconut oil. Serve with a little salad or some raw vegetables. This recipe is equally delicious with octopus or calamares (both of which the little one adores). 

        Vegetable Tian
        Cut rounds of courgette, eggplant, onion, tomato (if either is lackng you can easily leave them out), place them in slightly tipped over stacks in an oven dish. Drizzle with olive oil, some rosemary pepper and thyme and put in a hot oven for about 20 minutes. Serve with some fried meat (steak, escaloppe, or chicken breast).

        Fish 'en papillotte'
        Place a fish filet in the center of a large piece of baking paper. Add slices of vegetables (what you have lying around: carrots, tomato, onion, green/yellow or red pepper, leek, celery...), garlic, one cup of chicken stock and a dribble of olive oil, season to your liking. You can also add some fresh herbs, or a slice of lemon or orange. Close the paper into a neat package and slide in the oven for 30 minutes.

        Hasjepot/ hutsepot (Belgian recipe)
        Colour ant type of roast on all sides in a bit of olive or coconut oil. Take it out and colour onion and garlic with some additional oil if needed. Throw in some wintery vegetables (leek, celery, white cabbage, carrots, turnips, if you would like you can add potatoes and green beans). Cover the lot in chicken stock and let it simmer for 1 hour.

        Let me know if you liked it. What recipies do you make when you're in a hurry?



        Monday, May 16, 2011

        Quote Of The Day

        “A new baby is like the beginning of all things–wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.”
        ~ Eda J. Le Shan via Talk Birth


        Like Planting A Seed

        In your attempt to be an authentic parent, to parent with respect and to regain inherent trust and unconditional love, there will be times that you fail. There will be moments where you are bum struck and fall back on the old patterns.
        Or maybe you've come to authentic parenting only later in your child's life, and you feel guilty about the years you have lost, the years you failed to 'know better'.

        It is easy to get stuck in the guilt. To notice the flaws and errors. To worry about it's effect on our child.

        Image: Rev Stan on Flickr
        Do not fret about these things, don't be consumed with guilt. Think that in your -albeit flawed - effort, you may have planted a seed. A seed that will grow and blossom, when your child has children, and when they have their children. A seed encounters bumps on the road too, but if it is adequately nurtured, it will grow and flourish. Think not of what is not, but think of what can become.

        Maybe, your child will face the world with love and trust, rather than with fear and hate. Maybe he'll grow up to be someone who deeply values life and connection.

        If you transpose the possible impact of authentically parenting your child to a nationwide level, a global level, towards a future view rather then past regrets, the effects will be massive.

        So be grateful to yourself for everything you do right. And make a bigger effort to undo the wrong another time.


        Sunday, May 15, 2011

        Sunday Surf

          Visit the newest Sunday Surfers: Karen's Healthy LifestyleBecoming CrunchyAdventures of a Thrifty MamaTouchstonezThe New Mommy Files. If you want to find out who else is surfing, go to the Sunday Surf page.
          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. Newest Surfers will be added to the following Surf, older Surfers are listed on the Sunday Surf page. If you're Surfing and you have a button for me, email it to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.


          Saturday, May 14, 2011

          Witty Responses To Cosleeping Remarks

          Some of my Facebook Likeronies were looking for witty responses that stop people questioning your cosleepng right in their tracks. Since I couldn't find any, I thought I'd write some up myself.

          You'll never get her out of your bed

          • Cool, then I can give her pointers on her wedding night!
          • Well, I guess we'll have to move out then, one day
          • If only that were true
          • Oh so you met a lot of college students who still sleep in the same bed there parents do, do you?
          What about your intimacy as a couple?
          • You haven't lived until you've tried the kitchen counter
          • Co-sleepers do it on the couch
          • Babies like to be rocked to sleep
          • You don't have to be asleep to be intimate.
          • It's great! Thanks for asking, how's you sex-life?
          Aren't you afraid it might affect him?
          • Boy, I hope so!
          • Aren't you afraid your child sleeping alone might affect him?
          • Afraid? No. I actually want him to grow up a confident person.
          Isn't she too old for that?
          • Yes, I bet she passed that magic marker where she doesn't need love and comfort any more.
          • Aren't you too old to be sleeping in the same bed as your husband?
          Aren't you scared you'll roll over and suffocate him?
          • How often do you still fall out of your bed? You know the edge is there so you avoid it. Same goes for baby.
          • I'd be much more scared if she was laying in another room, all alone.
          • NO.
          Won't that make her too dependant?
          • It's a baby! She's supposed to be dependant!
          • Boy, I hope so.
          • If only that were true
          What stupid remarks do/did you get? And how did you handle them?



          Friday, May 13, 2011

          Quote Of The Day

          “Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.”
          - Anonymous 


          Just When I thought It Wouldn't happen

          I am pregnant!!

          Image: Mahalie
          I thought that it wouldn't be for the near future, as we were moving and running around like crazy people and really don't have time for each other. Frankly, I started thinking that we wouldn't conceive another child unassisted. I had lost hope and expectations...
          And then my daughter started nursing like a newborn. And I'm sure I should have had my period already. And I'm starting to feel nauseous - I was never nauseous with our daughter. And I'm tired and cranky and frustrated... could this just be a late period? No... No it is not.
          So I find myself almost 8 weeks pregnant.

          I must say that I am happy that I took us a while. I'm not just saying this because I am now pregnant, I actually wanted to write about this before I knew I was. I am happy I got to spend all this time with just my daughter, I learned not to take anything for granted, I learned to be patient. I learned to have faith in my body and nature.
          And now I am bestowed with this wonderful gift. A second pregnancy. The timing is off and yet again it couldn't be better. Everything is hard but it is also so wonderfully easy.

          My daughter burns with anticipation and talks to the baby every night, she gives the baby massages and washes my belly in the shower. She is truly ready to have a baby sister or brother. It is as it should be.