Google+ Authentic Parenting: January 2011

Monday, January 31, 2011

Quote Of The Day

‎”Becoming a mother does not need to rob you of your selfhood. Stay away from martyrdom. Martyrs never make good mothers; what is gained in giving is taken away in guilt.”
– Gayle Peterson


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Medical Diagnosis in Pregnancy

Image: Daquella Manera on Flickr
In obstetric care - which is still the main from of care pregnant women in the Western world are getting, and which more and more women in the world are being pushed into - it seems as if a pregnant woman is a disease waiting to happen. Obstetric care for pregnant women is indeed focused on seeking out deviant results in an otherwise symptom-free patient. That's why 'regular' care in pregnancy includes this huge battery of tests (well, that and the fact that these tests mean big business for hospitals).
This is quite different from any other medical speciality. Generally doctors don't seek out illnesses, unless they manifest. Most forms of medicine are diagnostic or curative... seldom is medicine explorative or preventative.
Preventative care can even be refused by your doctor (like taking out a completely healthy appendix, because it might someday get inflamed), and preventative drugs - profylaxia - are mostly given only when the treat of disease is real and the cure is hard or non-existent (at least this is how it should be in an ideal medical situation, but we see that with things like vaccines - big business again - this bird doesn't fly either).

So back to obstetrics. Obstetric care looks for diseases that don't present itself, and uses preventative treatment and procedures and sometimes even surgery, without necessity. ANd most often without informed consent. When necessity does arise, it is most often created by the very profession that cures it - again all very lucrative. All under the motto that "we should think about the baby too". I'm sue if they would ask those babies, most of them would prefer to just be able to gestate at their own pace, and be perfectly well with that.

Image: Euthman on Flickr

So I wonder where this attitude comes from - especially since it has been proven time and again that this approach to pregnancy causes more harm than anything else.
There are two reasons I can see for this approach. One is financial, as you could have guessed from the text above: labour wards are often indeed one of the only wings of a hospital who make a profit (that and radiology or laboratory facilities). The other one is that OB/GYN in fact practice defensive medicine and a diagnosis in pregnancy gives them a sort of 'get out of jail free card' to get out all the possible tests and procedures in the book, and afterwards - if all would fail - leaves them to say "we tried everything we could".

Either one of these reasons seem very unethical to me... Is all this even legal? And who regulates this?


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Sunday, January 30, 2011

It's my blogoversary!!!

No Sunday Surf today because on this day, I have been blogging for exactly one year! And what a year it was.

In terms of blog, I really had the wind in the sails. I gained over 300 followers through Google Friend Connect and I passed 2000 likeronies on Facebook a while ago. If you're not only on there, like, follow... I wrote a couple of post that got shared all over the web (one of the first posts that really stirred the pot was "Lamest Reasons To Not Breastfeed"), and met great people in the blogosphere. I published 596 posts, of which many were great quotes I found here and there. I started a Peaceful Parenting Series that features every Friday, and also have a Coming of Age Series, and a series that focuses on positive NIP experiences. (If you want to contribute, read more)

On a personal level, this year was quite the emotional rollercoaster. We failed to have a second child, although I started blogging just about the time I got my first postpartum period (coincidence?). I had a cancer scare and was evacuated out of the country I was living in thus far. I shared my daughter's birth story.

If you have been reading here, now is the time to step into the light and let me know who you are.


Love to all of you, and thanks for your readership,


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Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's NEVER TOO SOON for respect and good manners!

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.


Situation: My toddler is playing with her little friend. I am sitting at the side looking at this, when the little boy pushes my daughter and yells: "Go over there!" My daughter shrieks and runs in a different direction, to the great dismay of her friend. I calmly say to the boy he might have a better result if he asked her nicely.   At this point, his mother intervenes and says he's only two and a half. I respond that they're never to young to learn how to be polite. She says:"I'll talk to you about that in six months!"

There is not a right age for a child to learn how to respect other people. Respect, politeness and good manners are attitudes that are being assimilated from birth! Your child will observe how you treat others, how his brothers, sisters and friends treat others. Your child learns from life. If your child sees that bullying, disrespect and dominating behavior is tolerated - even laughed with, than he can only aspire to and display such behavior.
Now that doesn't mean that you should get angry with your kid when he's a bit agressive or disrespectful. It doesn't make him/her a bad kid. All you can do is hand them the tools to be a respectful person.

Now here's the glitch. One must understand that a kid can only learn to respect others, if he himself is respected. A great part of respect is allowing the other person his/her own choices. How can we expect our children to respect another human beings' choice, if we don't allow that child to make choices of its own?
It all comes down to coercion again. If we tell our children what to do, how to eat, when to sleep etc... we're ultimately just teaching them that the stronger person can control the weaker. If you are constantly telling your kid what to do, your kid will only learn that he too may one day control another when he finds himself the stronger/older one.
Respecting your child means you acknowledge that they are human beings and that they have - and are entitled too - a mind of their own. It means that you accept that they can oppose to your judgement. It doesn't mean you should fold at their every whim!
If you want your child to do something, instead of telling them too, ask them! If they oppose, explain to them why you want them to do what you want them to do. Your child is not your prisoner, so torture and coercion should be rid of your parenting toolbox.


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Friday, January 28, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"In our own world today, motherhood is rarely sufficiently honored. One day each year, there are brunches and corsages and little gifts of love. But the rest of the time? As a culture, we do not respect the great gift of mothering. Women’s work in raising the next generation is taken for granted. Yet it is a vital service to humanity, one that deserves to be acknowledged continually.”
– Patricia Monaghan via Talk Birth


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Peaceful Parenting Toolbox: #3: Avoid Lengthy Explanations

In the heat of a difficult parenting situation, it is easy to fall into the trap of longwinded explanations. We as adults use these explanations to get our point across to other adults, but with children - even with teens - it doesn't work like that.

Image: Bixentro on Flickr
Even though your explanation may be completely rational, children will only 'hear' core words and aren't bothered by the larger context. Your lengthy remark will seem like preaching to them and in the best situation they'll just think you're whining.

Moreover, most parents expect their children to give short and to the point answers to the questions they ask, so why don't we give our children the courtesy to do the same?

I don't mean that there is never a place for explanation, but I feel they should be kept to a moment when the child is ready to receive them, ready to think with you, instead of being thought for. When your child has just spilled milk, there is no need to start an exposé about the economy of scarcity.

If you want to redirect your child, keep it short. If there is danger, act. Sometimes actions speak more than words.


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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quote Of The Day

“If the baby’s body is a joy and a delight in the mother’s arms, that same body will become a joy and a delight to its owner later on.”
– English & Pearson via Talk Birth


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Pathological?

My sister in law is studying to be a doctor. She's in her fifth year of med school, which makes her 22. She is a sweet natured girl, though a little naive.

A while back she asked my husband if I were to continue breastfeeding... He answered "But  of course". Then she told me if we'd continue, this might be becoming pathological.
My husband got very cross at her and told her she'd better look up recommendations about breastfeeding and the likes before she starts spilling such garbage.
She quickly shut up.

So I repeat again that this young girl is studying to become a doctor. She might one day be the one giving the advice about breastfeeding (she doesn't yet know what speciality she'll be doing). Clearly, she is completely uninformed - or maybe worse - misinformed.

How can it be that we are 'educating' entire classes of doctors-to-be without informing them about the natural functioning of the human being? How do we expect medicine to work that way?

And on a different note: pathological for whom? For me or for my child? And did she mean physical illness or mental illness? How many people think like this if that's how doctors think, who are still perceived as a person of notice, someone whom people trust and look up to...
How can you treat illness - which is a condition that deviates of normal and has negative consequences - when you don't even know what normal is?


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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Quote Of The Day

You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once. 
- Polish proverb


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Silly Remarks On Breastfeeding Older Children

When you're breastfeeding beyond a certain age mark (which is variable depending on the person you're talking to), you're bound to end up with some brow-frowning questions and remarks, ranging from silly, to stupid, to radically deranged. I gathered them here, so we all could have a laugh at them, and then sigh at the backwardness of society.


Image: Alexander Tundakov on Flickr

  1. You are forcing that child to nurse
  2. You are only doing it for your own pleasure
  3. People who nurse beyond "insert completely trivial age limit here" are perverts
  4. Should you still be doing that?
  5. Are you doing that to maintain the size of your breasts?
  6. When are you going to give that child real food/solids?
  7. When will you be weaning?
  8. She'll never stop if you don't wean her
  9. She'll still be nursing when she's seven
  10. How is he going to eat cereal?
  11. When will you be giving him real milk?
  12. Are you still breastfeeding that child? (while you are breastfeeding)
  13. Your milk doesn't contain any nutrients beyond "insert completely trivial age limit here"
  14. That will make him confused about his sexuality
  15. Once they can ask for it, they're too big for it
  16. That's really abnormal
  17. That's sick
  18. If you continue breastfeeding, it's going to become pathological

Thanks to everyone on Twitter and on Facebook for helping me put together this list.



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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try one more time.
- Thomas Edison


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Emotional Circle of Infertility - Part II

written by Carina Freeman

5 steps 
Communication
Communication is the key, and we must realize there's no right or wrong way to feel. Getting in touch with your feelings of anxiety, anger, and depression will help you know what you need. Once needs are identified, clearly and specifically tell your partner how to help you release those feelings. Some of us need a hug; others need to be alone, while some want a pint of rocky road ice cream. You know what is best for you. Ask your partner what they need rather than assuming that you cannot give it. This will also bring you closer to your partner with a deeper respect for each other.

Adopt a loving and accepting attitude. 
Despite your infertility you deserve love. Accept yourself just as you are. Stop the self blame and self guilt. Leave the "if only" and “what if’s” at the door and learn to accept yourself, your partner, and your relationship. This may not change the situation, but it will certainly change the way you look at it.

Try holistic treatments
Get a massage or try acupuncture. These treatments have been proven to increase fertility while decreasing stress.

Blow off some steam
Find ways to temporarily escape the day-to-day of infertility. Go shopping. Get a new pair of shoes or a purse. Take up a new hobby like a cooking or a quilting class. This will help balance the intensity of your journey. Try a two-month break from the routine of keeping ovulation charts and records. This can also be helpful in reducing stress. I know, couples are rarely open to taking such vacations, especially when there is a concern about the woman becoming less fertile with each passing month. However, keep in mind it’s almost guaranteed that the relationship of a couple will be affected by an infertility journey do not neglect your relationship. (see tip 5)

Bedtime stories
Resting Couple - Ernst Ludwig Kirchner
When it comes to intercourse, many couples often refrain from intercourse except during the time of the woman's ovulation - a practice that rarely has positive emotional consequences. During your two month break, have intercourse freely with no intentions of getting pregnant. Have intercourse in different places.  Change your hair for bed time. Wear something sexy to bed. Have some fun. Spice it up.

So to recap
Communication is key
Accept and love yourself
Give holistic treatments a try
Take a break
Don’t neglect your relationship, spice it up

Statistics

“Some of the most common emotions women experience due to infertility include:
Depression (77%)
Anger (72%)
Anxiety (56%)

“Women dealing with infertility have markedly higher anxiety and depression scores than other women. Their stress level correlates with the type and cost of treatment. The more complicated and expensive, the more anxiety these women reported.”

I hope this will help. If you need further assistance please don’t hesitate to contact me so we can begin to work on a personal mind and body plan for your fertility journey. Please understand my free trial ends Feb 15th. As I always say don’t underestimate the toll infertility is taking on your mind and personal relationships.


About Carina
I am a certified wellness fertility coach.
I am there for every aspect of a woman/couples infertility journey. If advice is needed, I give advice so they can become clear and centered in every aspect of their life...not just their fertility. I give suggestions about their next treatment so the couple can feel confident about what is ahead. I give positive encouragement when they are feeling down, or if they just someone to talk to who understands. My primary job is making sure they are ready for a baby mind and body...specializing on the mind and helping them "create" the life they deserve. www.holdyourhandfertilitycoach.com


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Monday, January 24, 2011

Quote Of The Day

To understand your parents' love you must raise children yourself.
- Chinese Proverb


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Facts About Motherhood

Before you become a mother, there a certain things you take for granted. Things you never think twice about when you are childless, things you just do... that’s it.
Then all of a sudden, there’s a tiny person in your life that’s there to change it all. Suddenly things you never thought about become luxuries, rarities, the stuff that dreams are made of.

Here is a list of things that become cherished moments when you have crossed over into motherhood:

  1. Bathroom autonomy: Every action that involves you being in the bathroom and doing something for yourself will be closely watched. Some of your previously routine actions will become obsolete. Some days you will wonder how you ever managed to pee, or brush your teeth... or if you will ever do any of these alone again. Yes, from now on, not only will someone else decide when you do what you do when you’re in the bathroom, they’ll probably tell you how to do it, or even lend you a hand, and interrupt you in the act.
  2. Grooming: next to personal hygiene, other fields of self preservation will die a torturous death. Getting dressed may become an adventurous and time consuming expedition, and let’s not even begin about more intimate self care, like shaving or waxing or tweezing. Hum, what are they again?
  3. Spare time: As soon as one enters the wondrous world of motherhood, these words become something known to you only in past tense. Some courageous octopus women do manage to find gaps in their busy schedule and gleefully fill them with glorious crafts and activities, while other mothers can only dream of it.
  4. Eating food at its intended temperature: Face it, wether it should have been hot food (or beverage) or cold food (or beverage) they will all be room temperature by the time you find the time to bring them to your mouth. You probably won’t be sharing these meals with your significant other anymore and they certainly won’t be uninterrupted (think: bite - care for child - bite - bite - care for child - bite - give up and decide that at least you’ll be losing weight)
  5. Going to bed on your own schedule: Are you kidding me? Your own schedule? Scrap this! You will sleep when there’s a gap in that busy schedule we already talked about, or else you won’t. Your child might love the crack of dawn, or do some tryouts for some extended partying he might do later in life. And even if you do get to go to sleep when you want to go to sleep... don’t you dare think that sleep will be in one stretch. There’ll always be a diaper to switch or a pee to catch or a boob to pop in a muttering mouth. On the positive side, you may wake up to massages by tiny hands or feet in your cavities.
  6. Image: Velo Steve on Flickr
  7. Everything else: Doing the dishes, reading a book, watching the birds nest... they’ll all be perilous and time consuming activities.


And yet we wouldn’t give it up for the world, because there is nothing that brings more joy, happiness and fun then our children... and isn’t life about interruptions?

Thanks for being the inspiration for this post, Murielle (fellow boob, friend and likeronie)




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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Surf


For more Sunday Surfing, visit Motherhood MomentsWife, 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, January 22, 2011

Medical necessity? (rerun)

I was reading this article this morning, which stated in its introduction that:
"Pregnant women tempted to induce labor for convenience rather than medical necessity may want to wait for nature to take its course."
First I thought: "Well, duh!". But then again, my mind wandered and I started wondering about "medical necessity" for induction and related procedures. To me that term is about as dubious as "high risk pregnancy", but maybe we'll save that for another post.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not claiming that there never is a medical reason for intervention, and I am very happy we live in a world where modern medicine is practiced and death in childdbirth has been reduced to a minimum. Yet I am all for a conservative approach in pregnancy and childbirth and against the overusing high-tech procedure with no evidence to back it up just because it's there, it's new, it's man-made, so it must be better than what nature designed. That's not medicine, that's Inspector Gadget.
The article ended by giving us a non-exhaustive list of conditions where induction is a "medical necessity":
"Try to reserve interventions for situations where risk outweighs benefit," said Glantz, such as in cases of diabetes, high blood pressure, problems with the placenta, a baby that is not growing well, or a woman being 10 days past her due date."
And this is where I was getting at!

Diabetes
Let's just assume that we're talking about true diabetes here, to not get into the "gestational diabetes might not be an illness"-debate for now (got to save something for a later post).
The main reason for induction with Type I diabetes is supposed macrosomia (large baby) and possible related problems (shoulder distocia and birth injuries), yet induction for the mere reason of macrosomia is being severely debated, because a) prognosis of macrosomia are iffy to say the least, b) induction for macrosomia fulfils none of its esteemed goals (to prevent shoulder distocia, c-section or birt injuries)
An underlying reason (which your doctor proably won't tell you) of induction for Type I diabetes is having the staff handy for the GLYC/INdrip, which regulate blood sugar levels during childbirth. (They need a diabetologist and an experienced midwife for this, and you couldn't expect them to get out of bed at your baby's terms). Now about the glucose-insuline drip: most women need to be administered no or very few insuline during labour, because labour is in itself an intense physical activity, which lowers bloodsuger levels. Glucose is often administered, but merely because of the fasting rule hospitals apply. (Yet again, even the glucose-insuline drip is not standard in all hospitals)
Another point worth considering is that there is no policy about induction for diabetes. Measures taken vary greatly between countries, even within countries and sometimes even within one and the same hospital, considering your physician. Some induce two or one week before due date, some at due date, some don't.
A 2002 article in Journal of Maternal-Fetal and Neonatal Medicine sums it up nicely:
"Currently available evidence suggests that, while induction of labor for women who have diabetes may not carry much maternal or fetal risk, the benefit of this procedure is unclear."
If there is no clear benefit, why do it?

Past due date
The 40 week gestation is a flawed system, based on a false interpretation of the bible, which stated that a pregnancy would last for 10 lunar months, which was then interpreted by Naegele around 1812.
"Strictly speaking, a lunar (or synodic - from new moon to new moon) month is actually 29.53 days, which makes 10 lunar months roughly 295 days, a full 15 days longer than the 280 days gestation we've been lead to believe is average. In fact, if left alone, 50-80% of mothers will gestate beyond 40 weeks."
Less than 5 percent of all women give birth on their due date.
Another problem calculaqting due dates is that not all women have a 28 day cycle, neither do all women ovulate on day 14 of their cycle.
If a baby is delivered at 40 weeks plus ten days, he might even be a couple days pre term.
The original article talks of 10 days overdue, yet the term one can go overdue without going into the "medical necessity" zone also varies among diferent countries. For the American College of Obstetrics and Gyneacologists, a pregnancy shouldn't be meddled with until it is at 42 weeks gestation.



Read more:
Induction for big baby
management of diabetes in pregnancy (schotland)
calculating due date


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Friday, January 21, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius & it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring. 
~Marilyn Monroe


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Don't They Love Their Children?

When parents do something to their children that seems so completely wrong and unnatural to you, it's very easy to wonder if those people even love their children at all. It's a trap we easily fall into in our dichotomous world of black and white, where parents either love their children, or they don't. I have to admit that I too have fallen into this trap, numerous times, because clearly, some parental behavior proves that some parents just don't love their children. Right?

Wrong! "Don't they love their children?" is something you should really really try to erase from your vocabulary. Most parents, even the most abusive, really do love their children. I think there are in fact a very few who are indifferent to their children, because even parents who hate their children, care for them. One cannot hate someone or something without having feelings for it/him in the first place.
But how? But why? but...

Yes, some things parents do to their children is hideous, incomprehensible, completely strange, but maybe these people don't know any better. Maybe that's how they were parented. If you've always seen the same pattern, growing up and all around you, you'll be conditioned to think that's the only way. Even if it does feel bad.
Maybe they think they are doing the right thing because that's what so-called experts are telling them. These are very confusing times to be a parent, and I bet many a parent is doing something against their hearts, just because he or she was told that's the way it has to be, or they'll be harming their child.
And in the western world, parents are alone with their children, and their subsequent struggles, which doesn't make it any easier. There is little or no social network or support to help them through the hard times.

Then why don't they try to change? Why don't they inform themselves?
Firstly, I think a lot of parents do think they are doing the right thing. Some parents don't see the need to change. Others may want to, but don't know how.
Even in Europe, there are still many mothers who aren't connected and who can't find their way to all this precious informations. Or they are connected, but they don't know it's out there.
The information is indeed not readily available. You need to look for it and you need to know where and what you're looking for.

And even people who actively try to change can meet a lot of road blocks. It is hard work to change the way we parent and thus to change the way we were parented. It gets little support and frankly, few people understand it.

So next time, instead of frowning and asking yourself if these people really love their children, smile at them, see if their is something you could do to help. Even if that something doesn't change what they do but just makes their existence a little lighter.




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Thursday, January 20, 2011

10 things to keep your toddler busy indoors (re-run)

I have a very active toddler at home, and there are days she really needs some cool activities to do. Yet there are days mommy has no inspiration, and I think I'm not alone at this. So I thought: let's share a list of activities you can easily do with your toddler indoors with everyday items.

1. Make an obstacle course: have your child roll on a carpet, crawl under a table, jump/step over obstacles, paddle through an inflatable pool filled with water, roll over a ball... let your imagination run free and use whatever you have handy
2. Fingerpainting is always fun with the little ones, but make sure they are naked or waring disposable clothes, and that you plan the activity somewhere they can do no harm to furniture/walls... Maybe give them some tools, like bits of string and cuetips, wooden spatulas, paintbrush...
3. Story telling
4. puppet theatre - you don't even need special puppets, just use bears and dolls, or make cardboard characters, you could even have fun with your toddler decorating them. For the theatre, you can cut out half the bottom of a big box, put the box on its side and hide behind it (again this can be decorated at will)
5. Cooking class - Crepes are easy and fun thing to make with toddlers, and afterwards they can have some. You just need two cups of flour, a pinch of salt, an egg, a cup of water and milk until the batter is very liquid. But of course there are many many other recipies you can make with your little one.
6. Playdough! You can even make your own
7. Fill an inflateable pool with plastic balls (of course you can fill it with water too, if you have an indoor space that can take the splattering)

8. Of course drawing and colouring can't be underestimated.
9. I find that my little girl can keep busy for quite a while with stickers (ok, I have to get them off the dog and my legs afterwards, but hey, whatever does the trick, right)
10. Building blocks are always fun, you could find a way to integrate it in imaginative play, like build a bed for the doll etc.

Some links that propose nice toddler activities:
Some crafts to do with toddlers: http://www.preschoolrainbow.org/toddler-theme.htm
http://www.preschoolexpress.com/toddler_station.shtml


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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quote Of The Day

“Few parents have the courage to care more for their children’s happiness than for their success” 
-Erich Fromm


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Ignorance is bliss - Silence is golden! (re-run)

Here's something my friend Erin Napper cooked up in response to some ignorant comments on an article. It doesn't cover all the bases, but I found it very well written and would like to share it with you.
To those who display such ignorance, close mindedness and arrogance in their posts when they feel the need to dish out advice to others without understanding the circumstances, dare compare breastfeeding to anything sexual or are just plain sick in their thoughts, read this and then tell me what you think. 
and for crying-out-loud, be mature about it.


...I would like to clear a number of things up:


1. Breastfeeding in public.


I am of the opinion “each to their own” in most aspects of this ongoing debate. HOWEVER one should be fully informed before they form their opinion. For those who don’t feel comfortable breastfeeding in public, I completely understand why you might feel this way, what with the sexualisation of breasts in many of today’s societies and the unpleasantness of many onlookers that breast feeding mothers are constantly subjected to. I am not about to push anyone to do something they’re not comfortable doing, but I would like to say one breast feeder to another that you have nothing to be ashamed of, what you are doing for your child is perhaps one of the most selfless and honoured parts of being a mother.
For those who are uncomfortable by the sight of a woman breastfeeding, I would like to point out that this is YOUR issue, not the mothers. If you are not comfortable with breastfeeding, then don’t look. Maybe you have some self education to do if you are so disgusted by this perfectly natural activity. In many parts of the world breastfeeding in public is protected by law. If you don’t like this, maybe it would be better to complain to your government than to a breastfeeding mother.


2. Expressing, bottles and pacifiers.


To some, expressing into a bottle is a preferred method of feeding their child when in public. This is fine, again “each to their own”. What you may not realise though, is that a woman tends to overflow as her breasts produce milk on the same time frame that her baby needs its meals. So even though she is feeding from the bottle, she still needs to go and empty her breasts anyway. So for many the logical thing to do would be to just breastfeed and not bother with bottles.
Some women simply can’t express. For some this is a very painful thing to do, and often not very productive. Women also need to do this in advance, starting often days or weeks in advance, and sometimes there simply isn’t an opportunity to express before needing to head out.
Bottle feeding and the use of pacifiers are known to confuse a baby, as bottles, pacifiers and breasts require different sucking methods. Some mothers don’t want to interfere with their baby’s “latch”, so they don’t use bottles or pacifiers. Some mothers also don’t see the point in using pacifiers if they have the real deal there anyway.


3. Breastfeeding and other “natural bodily functions”


This is a useless argument, but I am going to address it anyway since so many seem deluded in their thinking.
Breastfeeding does not even come close in comparison to urinating and defecating in public. Not only are these acts unhygienic, they are products of waste. Breastfeeding is perfectly hygienic, and breast milk is not a waste product. As for having sex in public, yes sex is a natural thing to do, but it can wait. Babies can’t wait. When they get hungry, they are hungry NOW!
If I saw someone having sex in public, and it made me uncomfortable, I could stand there and be disgusted by what I see, and comment, or I can look away. I personally don’t think that having sex in public for all to see is appropriate, but that’s my opinion, so I will choose to look away. Maybe if you’re uncomfortable seeing a baby feeding, you should look away.


4. Breastfeeding as a comforter


It is well known that sucking is a natural reflex that babies are born with, and that sucking on something is very comforting for them. So in order to soothe an upset baby, it is natural that a mother might choose to breastfeed. In the instance of the article, this is exactly what the mother has done while her husband attended to the child’s burns. I applaud her quick thinking. Many babies refuse to suck on pacifiers so this isn’t always an option, not to mention the nipple confusion that could occur.


5. “Flopping it out”


Although there are a few exhibitionists out there, the vast, vast majority of breast feeders don’t “flop it out for all to see”. In fact, if you were to observe many a breast feeder you would notice that a baby covers any bit of skin the mothers clothes don’t already hide. Women tend not to leave everything hanging out, for an experienced breast feeder it is only a matter of a couple of seconds between breasts being clothed and baby latching on. Many can do this quite easily without drawing attention to themselves. And if you do happen to catch sight of a little nipple, it’s not going to kill you, and it’s not like you’ve never seen one before. After all, whether functional or not, we all have them.


6. Breastfeeding in toilets/parenting rooms


There’s not a lot that repulses me more than the thought of breastfeeding in a toilet stall. All I have to say on the matter is if you think a breastfeeding mother should breastfeed in a public restroom, I encourage you to go and eat your own meal in one, and see how you like it. Not to mention the lack of elbow room. How dare anyone suggest such an atrocity!
Parenting rooms are provided for the convenience and comfort of those who find them necessary. If you don’t feel it is necessary to feed in one, then don’t. If you are comfortable with where you already are, then this is fine too.


7. Discretion


I am not a fan of this term, primarily because anyone can interpret it in what ever way they want. To some, discretion means to remove yourself to somewhere private. To others, discretion refers to covering up so people can’t see what you’re doing. To me, it simply means not drawing unnecessary attention to myself, and not taking off my entire top to breastfeed. I don’t feel that covering myself and my baby is necessary, or practical. Would you like to be wrapped from head to toe in a blanket for 10-45min in the heat of summer? Unlikely. Someone I know referred to covering up as using a “veil of shame”. Generally I would assume that covering yourself would draw even more attention to what you are doing as you might look odd with a big blanket over your shoulder or apron looking thing around your neck. If you feel that covering up/not covering up is what makes you comfortable, nobody has the right to make you feel inadequate because of your decision.


The most important thing I feel everyone should remember is that you don’t know the complete circumstances of a breastfeeding/bottle feeding mother. You don’t know what her baby is like, you don’t know where she has been or where she is going, you don’t know what her beliefs are or what her comfort levels are, you don’t know the reasons for her methods. And because you don’t know her, you don’t have any right to judge her. You can have your opinion, but that’s just what it is, YOUR opinion. What works for you might not work for someone else. It is important to respect others and respect differences (even if you don’t personally agree with them). If you can’t be respectful, then you shouldn’t expect respect, you shouldn’t expect to be taken seriously, and you shouldn’t expect to get your point across.


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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"Hatred will not cease by hatred, but by love alone. This is the ancient law." 
- Buddha


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Emotional Circle of Infertility - Part I

Written by Carina Freeman

This article will appear in two parts, the first part focuses on the differences in dealing with fertility problems between men and women and the second part gives you tips on breaking the cycle and learning to deal with the situation. Look for the second part next Tuesday.

My goal as a fertility coach is to empower couples to strengthen their mind and body for their infertility journey by giving information, guidance, and positive direction so they can feel confident about what’s ahead.

I have written several articles on infertility and have helped countless couples during their journey. I am very passionate about helping couples dealing with infertility. It is very important to not only prepare your body for conception but your mind as well. As your fertility coach I am here to encourage and educate you so you can take control of your mind, body, and your fertility. This leads to self empowerment, time and money saved, as well as less heartache by being informed and inspired to take ownership of your actions which will optimize your chance of having a healthy baby.

Differences
If you have ever struggled with infertility you know that men and woman are affected in different ways. We will be discussing in which the different ways men and women are affected. We will also talk about the emotional circle of infertility that most couples experience. To top this off, I'll share 5 ways to deal with this emotional circle as well as a few statistics.

Women typically see themselves as the emotional caretakers or providers of the relationship. We tend to feel responsible for negative events, as well as for other people's feelings, bad or good. When a woman has to deal with infertility, she experiences intense feelings, such as pain, anger, fear, etc. We are very good at repressing these feelings. Some women see their way of dealing with personal feelings as dysfunctional or "crazy", which may cause anxiety or even depression. Those emotions can become ominous. We feel out of control. Our emotions can become a monster about to swallow us whole.

Men however, typically see themselves as the financial providers of the relationship and feel responsible for protecting the family from real danger or anticipated dangers. They usually feel threatened if they express their feelings openly since they have been “taught” to repress their emotions. They are trained to take charge, to make decisions and to think without being sidetracked by emotions.

Image: Ian Britton on Freefoto.com

Circle of emotions 
Let’s say our cycle day 1 starts at the 1st of the month. It’s the “1st of the month” we have begun to take our ovulation prediction test, keeping a detailed record of our temperature, and keep a close eye on our cervical mucus. We are so excited and optimistic and we believe “this month is our month”. On our day to day travels we see women glowing with pregnant bellies, and smile because we see ourselves that way in just a few months. Finally everything points to ovulation; our temperature, cervical mucus, and ovulation prediction kits say it’s a go. We are sure to “baby dance” every day, maybe several times a day, for the next few days so we don’t miss our optimal chance. Just a few days later ovulation is done.

It’s time for the two week wait. We are very anxious watching for any signs that may point to pregnancy. We may yearn for an emotional connection, reaching out to others through chat rooms, forums, and blogs who are also in that two week wait. Listening to their stories and comparing symptoms. “Are my breast tender?” “Am I craving different foods?” “Am I starting to feel nauseous?” At one moment we want that connection and in the next it’s possible for us to withdraw emotionally from everyone including the most important person, our husband, due to the fear we may dissapoint him again this month. As the days pass, our optimism slowly dies as our hope for pregnancy this cycle begins to fade. It’s starting to look like another failed month. Depression and anger may start to show up. How could this have happened to me again? What's wrong with me? Just like clockwork, that dreaded day comes when our monthly cycle is here again. Are we being punished? Every month we get even angrier than the last. We have feelings of failure from the inability to perform life's most basic task - reproduction – and this can be overwhelming.

As these feelings come up, we may feel out of control and not sure how to ask for what we really want or what we really need, especially from the husband we are trying so hard to emotionally protect. At this time couples tend to cling together, feeling that they together have failed in the most basic of all roles: reproduction. What have we done wrong, as they examine all the evidence of ovulation and timed intercourse, but are faced with another failed cycle? Their marriage may also be at risk because of the tensions and the high emotions they are experiencing. The stress in a marriage associated with infertility is often overlooked and not fully appreciated. It’s time to pick ourselves back up day by day and get ready for another hopeful cycle.

Does this sound familiar? This cycle can continue and will continue until you achieve pregnancy or you learn to break the circle.

So how do we deal with this to save our mental stability as well as our marriage? Much attention is paid to the physical aspects of infertility, but there is a deep river of emotion that needs to be dealt with as well.


About Carina
I am a certified wellness fertility coach.
I am there for every aspect of a woman/couples infertility journey. If advice is needed, I give advice so they can become clear and centered in every aspect of their life...not just their fertility. I give suggestions about their next treatment so the couple can feel confident about what is ahead. I give positive encouragement when they are feeling down, or if they just someone to talk to who understands. My primary job is making sure they are ready for a baby mind and body...specializing on the mind and helping them "create" the life they deserve. www.holdyourhandfertilitycoach.com




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Monday, January 17, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. 
- Betty Smith


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Minimalist Parenting

Written by Rachel Jonat

When my son was 10 months old I decided to take a cue from the minimalist movement I kept hearing about and donate, sell or recycle half of our possessions. Sounds extreme but I was sick of the clutter and cleaning the clutter and maintaining the clutter. I’d held out hope for a long time that a miracle organizing system or a piece of furniture from IKEA would whip my home in to shape. But I finally realized I didn’t need more containers or pretty baskets, I just needed less of everything.

The process wasn’t easy or quick. After two months of sorting and purging I could see the back wall of my closet and a lot of empty shelves. It felt great. My home was easier to clean and there were no more ‘I’ll deal with that later’ drawers full of random items.

The best benefit to embracing minimalism has been clarity about what we prioritize as a family. At the top of the list is time together and our health. When I donated 80% of my wardrobe I had acute regret about mindless shopping and buying things I ended up never wearing much. Thousands of dollars in goods left our home and these were items we had spent weeks and months of our life working to pay for.

If time together as a family and my health were my top priorities why I had bought, and thus worked for, a lot of stuff we never used? Why had I spent long hours at an office working for things when my real priority was eating well, exercise and more good conversation and laughter with my husband and son?

As you might guess it’s pretty easy now for me to say no to an afternoon of shopping with friends or turn a blind eye to sales. 

I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I am fighting a losing battle. That my son will want lots of toys and television (we have one but don’t have cable) and video games as he gets older and we will cave. I’m told that my belief that the best thing I can give my son is my time will only last until he can say, Toys ’R’ Us. Then I’ll be hopping on the bandwagon of plastic toys galore.

Despite the pessimists I remain a believer. My husband and I have reduced our bills and paid off a lot of debt in the last year. We originally believed I would have to go back to work after having my son but with our new minimalist lifestyle we’re managing on just my husband’s salary. I’m getting to spend a lot of time with my son in these sweet early years. I’m grateful. If we can make more time in our life surely we can parent our son to lead an experience, rather than consumer, driven life.

I also have a secret weapon: my older brother. One of the main reasons I remain convinced that we will be able to raise our son in a home that is content with less, is that my brother has already done it. My two nephews and one niece don’t watch television and when Christmas rolls around they are often hard pressed to think of something they want. These children ice skate, swim, read, build snowmen and make home movies as a family. They go for hikes. They’re engaged and attached with their parents, not television or an overstuffed toy box.

My son also reminds me daily that it’s not about the stuff. We do have toys in our home but most don’t hold his attention for long. He prefers following me around our home, watching me as I cook or simple games like peek-a-boo. I hope the love of peek-a-boo turns into a love of laughter and the curiosity in the kitchen turns into a fascination with where our food comes from. If there is one thing I desperately want my son to grow up knowing, it’s that life is not about things, it’s about people.


Rachel Jonat is a minimalist and
AP mama living the car-free life in Vancouver, Canada. After donating
and selling half of her belongings she's found more room and time in
her life for herself and her family. She blogs about minimalist living
with kids at The Minimalist Mom.


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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Surf


For more Sunday Surfing, visit Motherhood MomentsWife, 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, January 15, 2011

Doggy Training (re-run)

Probably you are asking what an article about doggy training is doing on a parenting blog. Well, this isn't going to be about doggy training, really.
I read this article today, about how different birth is in the world of animal husbandry. It got me thinking... Actually, the same goes for treating and training animals. First of all, the first rule when getting any pet is to never hit or hurt it intentionally. There are probably hundreds of NGO's caring for mistreated animals. In most countries it is even illegal. Yet we would spank the stars out of our kids' bums when heaven forbid, they break something or even worse: don't listen to us! So physical punishment is out with you pets, but with your kids, well, you can do whatever you want? Really? Still not convinced spanking isn't the way to go, read on

Let's go even further: It's a known fact that when you do physically punish your dog, he might well turn vicious and act agressively toward you, your family or anyone outside his core group. What would that say about your kids being punished physically? You are wondering why they are acting up?
Modern day dog training doesn't stop there, it states you should forgo punishment altogether (or at least use it as little as imagineable). So let's put the toddler in the corner because he would rather play with his toys then listen to our story? 

When we got our dog, I asked the breeder if there was any advice he could give me, education-wise. He said that it was all well to prevent and correct undesired behaviour, but that you have to point out desired behaviour as well. (eg instead of jumping up, the dog should sit to have people greet him) The same applies to children, screaming 'NO!' all the time and not offering an alternative will soon reveal to be unsatisfactory.

In a book about dog training I recently read (Geert de Bolster - sorry it's in Dutch) a training method based on motivation and reward is portrayed, not one of correcting unwanted behaviour. Yet so many parents keep relying on punishment and thus answer to symptoms instead of searching for a cause.
De Bolster concludes his introduction stating the man/dog relationship should be one of communication, respect and trust, then why should it be otherwise between parents and their children?


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Friday, January 14, 2011

Quote Of The Day

I don't want to get 2 the end of my life & find I lived just the length of it. I want 2 have lived the width of it as well. 
-Diane Ackerman


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Non-Punitive Parenting Is A Mindset

Parents generally handle punitive measures from a disciplinary point of view. They genuinely think that punishing their child will teach the child something. They try to turn an already emotional moment into a teachable moment, which is - logically - a paradox.
Most often, they are not to blame for this way of reasoning, since that's the way they were raised and that's what society perpetuates: "Give them a time-out, they will learn." or "Put him in the corner for a while so he can think about his actions."
They start of from the paradigm that the child is deliberately acting up and that he is doing it to
- get on your nerves
- get your attention
- manipulate you
and that this behavior needs to be dealt with swiftly to nip it in the butt.

To their dissarray, the punitive measures don't give an immediate result, they don't even have a lasting result if used repetitively. But, by lack of other tools, and on public recommendation, parents 'stay strong' and 'do not cave in' and stick with the system...

People who want to make the conversion to peaceful parenting often sigh that they do not have the tools to deal with heir child.

Actually, making the switch is not that hard. It is not even about tools or tricks, it is about changing your mind about your child. It is about not seeing your child's behavior as bad or naughty. And about knowing your triggers.

Yes, punitive measures are mostly about the way you as a parent respond to situations, not about what your child is doing at the time.

The next time you find your child doing something you would label as 'naughty' or 'bad', try to see it in a different light, try to see it as something positive! Your child is exploring, your child enjoys his freedom, he is experimenting, he is completely absorbed by his play... Feel how different your reactions are when you turn the situation that way.
Become mindful about the way you label your child's actions and feel your triggers fade away.

You will quickly find that there is no need for 'teaching your kid a lesson', your child is already learning. He is simply experimenting and being a child.

Good luck with your journey towards peaceful parenting, you will find it very rewarding. If you are looking for more articles to set you on your way, push the peaceful parenting label. If you are in need of help, feel free to send me an email.


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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quote Of The Day

There are two things over which you have complete dominion, authority and control - your mind and your mouth 
~ African Proverb


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NIP Tips

Nursing in Public can be a pretty scary venture for a new mom. After giving birth, you're already in a vulnerable state, and with all the fuss about nursing in public, it's enough to give any woman cold feet.
Most often, fear or hesitation to nurse in public is more about a feeling indeed, and these can be highly improved by taking just a few simple measures.

Wear the right clothing
You will quickly find out if you’re more comfortable nursing over or under. Personally I am an over the top nurser, and I can’t bear to have to show my belly when breastfeeding. Dress according to your nursing style, so you won't be shy of nursing.
Nowadays shops offer a multitude of breastfeeding wear, that come in all designs and prices. You can either go to a shop that specializes in nursing gear or find stuff online. Even big stores (like H&M) hold nursing tops, though sometimes their selection is limited.
But you don't need special clothes to breastfeed successfully and comfortably in public. You can shop for regular clothes and make sure that the neckline is extendable, or you can choose to wear two tanks, so you can lift one up and pull one down.

Find a comfortable spot
If you're not sitting comfortably, you probably won't feel inclined to nurse as long as your child desires. You might even be worried that your uncomfortable position may attract negative attention. So when your child gets hungry, find a chair, a bench, a stool, or even a spot where you can sit on the floor with your back against a wall or a tree. Don't think you'll just quickly get it over with, because your child may have other intentions.

Image: viralbus on Flickr

Don't worry about what other people think
This may be the most valuable tip I can give you: it matters little what strangers think of you breastfeeding your child, what matters is that you are tending to your child's needs and you are giving him comfort in what may be a stressful situation, and this is the most beautiful and caring thing a mother can do.
Many women shy away from nursing in public, because of stories they have heard, but there are more positive stories than negative ones, they just don't get the same attention.

Get support
Surround yourself by breastfeeding enthousiasts to gain the strength and shed the shyness. I wouldn't be the loud and proud breastfeeder I am now, if it wasn't for all the wonderful women who have led the way.

Wear a scarf
Wether it's winter or summer, you will always find a scarf that fits the season. Scarfs are very convenient for the nursing mother. They can offer some coverage for the fiddling hand that inappropriately whips out the other boob. They can give a little warmth where you feel exposed, and they come in handy for babywearing or covering you or your child when you get chilly.
Now I'm not saying you have to cover up, but you can if that helps you nurse.

Find the right position
Every child has a position in which he loves to nurse, so does every mother have a position in which she is most comfortable. Try out every imaginable position at home and opt for the safe ones outdoors. If you are getting professional at nursing, after a while, this will come naturally, and you'll even find yourself nursing while standing in line.
If you are nursing an older child, an upright position might be most comfortable for the both of you and draw less attention then the cradle hold. (but again, if the both of you are most comfortable in that position, go ahead).

Be confident
This might need a little training, a little experience, but a confident breastfeeder raises much less 'suspicion' than a women who is desperately trying to hide. People tend to think that if you are trying to hide then it must remain hidden, even though you might just be hiding for your own comfort.

Every little thing is gonna be alright
Madre Guarani - Carla antonini
Last but not least, don't fear. Nursing in public is very rarely confrontational. Our fear of people's reactions is heightened by our own insecurity and with all the attention negative nurse in public experiences get, we feel as if they are prevalent. This isn't necessarily true. Women are breastfeeding there children all over the world in every possible setting without it raising an eyebrow.

I hope these tips help you to become a proud and fearless breastfeeder, and if you happen to have a positive NIP story, email it to me: mamapoekie at yahoo dot com

PS These are just tips, not musts. By no means do I think a nursing mother must fulfill all these requirements to nurse in public, you are free to do whatever makes you feel comfortable.


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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Quote Of The Day

When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure” 
Peter Marshall


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The Paradox Of Individualism

Image: misterjared on Flickr
Our modern world is highly focused on individuality. We try to push our children to be individuals as soon as possible: let them sleep on their own, have a bottle, let them cry, don’t pick them up too much, don’t spoil them... as long as - gasp - they don’t get to attached to you, their parent, anything goes.

We all pretend to be individuals, yet we are all so very dependent, wether it is on our status, our job, our financial situation, our wardrobe, our eating habits... So many of us are just clamping onto trivial things, to keep up our artificial sense of self, because we lack the true self-assurance and support we should be getting. And the very things we are fixating on: money, clothes, property... they further demonstrate our dependency, our sheeplike adherence to the mainstream. Our obsessive quest to belong.

This lack of basic and internal support has made us sheep. Sheep who just love to have some one dictate what to wear, how to live, what to eat...

Individualist society is a myth... We are in no way individuals, and neither should we strive to be. Man hasn’t evolved out of solitary specimens, it has evolved out of groups of people working and living closely together. We try to break this legacy with this false sense of individualism. We try to deny our need for company and closeness. Instead we look to other Gods, we worship the Big Brand and the Mega Movie star... All symptoms of our need to be attached... to something.

The saddest thing really, is that, although we aren’t the individuals we pretend to be, we do value the self more than anything, and especially more than anyone.
This manifests in the mother choosing not to breastfeed because it might mess up her schedule (let’s leave it wether she is culturally determined to make this choice), in things like scheduled feeding and sleep training, in elective c-sections and inductions and everything else that’s wrong with modern day child rearing, basically, our culture tricking generations of women into believing that she should value herself (and her consumerist tendencies) over her child.
Be as cross with me as you wish for saying this, but before you throw that rock, think long and hard if any of these so-called choices consider the child’s wants or even needs ever so slightly.

Mansel Lewis - Mother With Child (1878)
In traditional societies, these choices simply don’t exist, neither would one think of dream of creating them. When a baby is born, it’s about the baby’s survival, because, from an evolutionary perspective, that baby is more valuable than you are, that baby is the one who will be carrying along your genes, so the thought that you would rather go to the movies instead of feeding your child is simply not a question.
In traditional society, one would seek to ensure the infant’s safety and to fulfill it’s basic needs, and the best way to do both would be to keep that child close.

You can argue that the world has changed, that traditional society has it backwards. But is this so? Why would our hedonism be praised over decent childcare? Isn’t a society that values the current generation above all doomed to fail - eventually? If we do not invest in our future and couldn’t care less about our past, do we then have a future at all?



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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.
Dalai Lama


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20 Activities When The Temperature Is Dropping

Lack of ideas when it's cold outside? Feel like you're running up the walls? Your kids are bored? Here are some fun ideas for the entire family.
Image: Tobyotter on Flick
  1. Watch a movie
  2. Bake - cookies, pie, your grandmother’s waffle recipe, baking together is a lot of fun and your kids can join in from a very early age
  3. Take a walk - Get everybody wrapped in big sweaters and jackets and go explore nature
  4. Build a camp - use what’s around, pillows, blankets, clothes, chairs and turn your living room into a magical land of tunnels and hideouts
  5. Build a snowman
  6. Craft
  7. Draw & color - find some printable coloring pages here
  8. Read
  9. Dance
  10. Swim at a heated pool
  11. Visit an aquarium
  12. Go to a museum
  13. Make a movie - your kids can choose to be the actors or the directors or the cameramen
  14. Take pictures - Explore the world (even if you don’t want to get out) take pics and then enlarge them, print them, cut them out... let your creativity run wild
  15. Organize - this may sound strange, but organizing can be fun if everybody joins in; Empty some cupboards and label, select, throw away, place according to size and purpose
  16. Sew - If your child is a little older, they can be a pair of very helpful hands when you are cutting or placing patterns on your fabric, putting pins of sewing buttons on
  17. Make a photo album - depending on your preferences, make a pretty album with prints or make one on your computer, have your kids decorate it (if you are making an album with prints, have them decorate it scrapbook stye, or get software to scrapbook virtually)
  18. Sing - Get out the old songs, ask your family to join in. maybe someone plays an instrument? Or you can just tap the beat on your pots and pans
  19. Iceskating
  20. Make flower arrangements





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