Google+ Authentic Parenting: February 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote Of The Day

If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.
- Chinese Proverbs


African Kid in a White Men's World

This post has been written as a submission to the Blogging Carnival on Bilingualism, this month's edition is hosted by Verbosity Leads to Unclear, Inarticulate Things.

Image: Beineke library
My child is an African child. She has lived in Africa all her life, except for brief holidays. She has mostly African friends, she has been breasfed and worn on my back and in a wrap. She speaks French with an African accent. She is a community child, where a variety of adults are her caregivers, and that's normal to her. She shares... and thinks that's really normal. She goes to people and expects them to interact with her. She loves babies and will stop right in her track to give them a cuddle and talk to them. She eats anything anytime, preferably picked of the bush or tree. She's used to running around freely with a pack of other kids of various ages and hardly any adult supervision. She lives mainly outdoors.
We never realized how much of an African child she was until we came here for this period of almost four months that we'll be spending here.

Suddenly my daughter seems out of place and people don't understand her. Not only her language, but most ardently her behavior. People don't get what's going on with this little white child who seeks contact with others immediately, who runs around naked all day, who is on edge because there are too many people, too much noise and nobody seems to look after her but her mommy. Nobody gets why she is so connected and still sleeps with her parents and 'still' nurses at almost three years old...
It's not written on her face that she is in fact a little African child and she thinks and acts as a little African child would do.
She carries her dolls on her back and her stuff on her head. She dances the Makuka and seeks Zemblé behind closed doors.
It causes a lot of confusion.

She struggles to adapt to what is expected of her here. I didn't know how much she tried until she had our Ivorian driver on the phone and suddenly she was speaking with an accent again... I realized how much of the accent she had lost over the months here, how much she was trying to conform... How difficult it must be for her.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Surf

For more Sunday Surfing, visit Child OrganicsI Thought I knew MamaMonkey Butt JunctionMotherhood 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.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

What to do when your baby bites while nursing?

There comes a time when every breastfeeding mother dreads. It's that time when your sweet cuddly baby turns into a drooling, biting monster. Some women fear this moment so much, they stop nursing altogether just to avoid being bitten. And that's a pity.
True, most babies bite when they're teething, or at least attempt to bite, and it can be pretty scary. But with the right attitude, some vigilance and swift crisis management, biting should quickly become a thing of the past.

Even before those tiny whites appear, babies can start nibbling on the nipple, to soothe the ache of their gums. This is uncomfortable but not yet very painful. Still, it might be a good idea to take action already at this point. When your baby starts to nibble or takes your nipple into a jawlock, calmly take him off the boob and put him down. Explain to your child that nibbling and biting hurts mommy and that he can't continue this behavior if he wants to nurse some more.
I can't press enough that you should at all time remain calm! Crying out would either scare your child (which might result in biting down even harder) or make him/her laugh because mommy is making funny noises. Getting angry at your child for biting doesn't help either. Your baby doesn't do this to hurt you! He does it because he's uncomfortable and biting soothes him/her. Of course, this same attitude can be held when the baby already has teeth and still bites.
Observe your child closely when he nurses. Babies can't bite down when they're actively nursing, their tongue being over their bottom teeth prevents them too. Most babies bite at the end of a nursing session out of boredom or because they are feeling tired/uncomfortable. When you notice your child is no longer actively nursing, take them off the breast.
Some babies bite because they are impatient. Waiting for the let down just takes to long for them. Same applies here: be vigilant, take your child off the breast when you notice he pulls his tongue away off his lower teeth. In this case put them back on imediately after (and hope the let down has come).
If you watch your child closely, you will find out when he manifests the biting behavior and you will be able to foresee and prevent it.

For my daughter, the biting lasted about six months. She now has a full set of teeth and never bites any more. She did bite down very hard once (on her birthday! She got spooked because the phone rang), and I had blood in my milk for a day - very scary. But we both survived and we're still nursing away happily at almost 21 months.

With the full set of teeth, sometimes she makes me think of a shark when she latches on. How about you? Did the teething go smoothly without biting? Did those pearly whites scare you off?


Friday, February 25, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine."
– Ralph Waldo Emerson


The Crab and His Mother

This is a free translation of a fable in one of my daughter's books, you can find similar tales by looking for Aesop's fables.

Red Crabs, Tuli 100986

The crab and his mother walked along the beach. The sky was clear and you could see faraway over the sea. The crab kept bumping up against his mother.
"Stop walking crooked," yelled the mother, waiving her pincer in the air. "You keep clashing into me! Walk straight."
The crab didn't know his walk was crooked and asked his mother to show him how to walk straight.
The mother, trying to set an example, noticed that she too couldn't manage to walk in a straight line. Now she would bump into her son and was embarrassed that she had yelled at her son before.

Don't tell others how to act unless you can set an example.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quote Of The Day

If you don’t ask because you might be refused, you’ve already refused yourself.
~ Nisandeh Neta


On Feminism, Religion, Superiority, Kyriarchy and Women's Rights

One of the things that bothers me most about Western Society and its subject, is their continuous feeling of superiority. Wether it is superiority of thought, feelings, morals, in Western Society, the idea of being Ubermenschen is never far away. This may come as a shock to you, you might be offended, you probably think that I should be burnt at the stake for saying such a thing, but think about it.
How many times do Westerners think that they have the answers to all the world's problems? How many times do Westerners sprout opinions that validate their sense of superiority over other cultures.
The me fact that Western Society has take up the cause of 'helping' other parts of the world is proof of this.

Take the case of feminism.
Feminism is a big thing in the Western World. We, our mothers and our mothers mothers have fought long and hard to come to where we are. And we've come far, haven't we?
So we take pity in the poor veiled women in Arab countries, in the sad African women who have 13 children...

Yet do we have the right to judge these women? To call their culture backwards and their ways brainwashed?

Have we really come so far that we should feel better? Or is this feeling of superiority our brainwashing?  Kyriarchy's way of keeping us quiet, because our neighbor is way worse and we have nothing to complain about?

Image: NeoGaboX
How many women dreamed of big families but can't afford them or are judged when they have them? How many women have to work a job they hate because they wouldn't be able to feed their families if they didn't? How many women are being violated by their health care provider? How many are raped, beaten, discriminated? How big is the difference in salaries between men and women who do the exact same job?
How many women have had comments that made them feel uncomfortable, about their bodies, their intellect, their essence of being? How many women feel insecure and criticized? How many women hate themselves?

We have not come that far, we have just traded a set of freedoms and boundaries for another.

Don't judge what you don't understand.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
- Eleanor Roosevelt


Dear baby - Part II

Written by Carina Freeman 

This month's posts by monthly fertility contributor Carina Freeman is a series of "Dear baby" letters. This is part two of two. Read the first Dear baby letter here.

Dear baby,

I can't wait to meet you. I'm already the mother of a spirited fun-loving toddler who would make the greatest big brother. Your dad and I have been doing everything we can to help you arrive; eating right, exercising . . . your older brother is even trying to teach Mama Yoga. How exciting. I've started to buy you things. Cute hats, socks, and undershirts. Daddy is super excited and already wondering what we should call you. Maybe you'll be a twin. There's so much love in my heart . . . I could even handle triplets. I know that you'll come when the time is right and perhaps with a little help from a doctor. I know that you'll be the start of a much anticipated adventure. And worth any trouble or expense or medicine it takes to help you get here. I think of you every day. And wish for you on every falling star. And your family can't wait to meet you.


Dear Baby- By Elisha 

Image: Brad Brundage
Sometimes I dream about you, holding you in my arms, watching you while you sleep. Sometimes this dream is so real that when I wake I look for’re not there, you never were. Some days are harder than others baby, as much as I try to be strong my heart just won’t stay together.
As I watch all my friends go on to have babies, firsts, seconds, thirds and fourths I can't help but shed a tear as I wait patiently in line for my turn to come. The love that I have for you is greater than any love I have ever had before. 

Inside my heart is breaking, but on the outside I force a smile, because no one can understand how emotional it truly is to feel so incomplete. Part of me is missing still...that part is you. 

For all the many painful tests, ultra sounds, blood tests I’ve had to endure my hope and wishes have never changed, I'd do it over and over again a thousand times just to have you in my life, to be my forever and my proof that dreams really do come true.

Dear Baby, 

Every day I dream of you, of holding you in my arms and loving you. You aren't even here yet, not conceived yet... and yet I still love you so much. Sometimes the pain is so hard to endure knowing I may never get to see your face, hear your giggle, or kiss your boo boos. Mommy and daddy love you so much and we wish you were here with us. I hope that one day I'll get to hold you. If and when that day comes you will know love like no other child has known. You will be treasured and loved beyond words. I'm so ready to meet you, to feel you grow inside my tummy. Maybe our day will be soon. I hope so. Mommy and daddy are starting to get impatient and we're ready for you.


About Carina
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.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quote Of The Day

A hundred men may make an encampment, but it takes a woman to make a home.
- Chinese Proverbs


Don't Talk To Me About These Topics Three - Part II

This post is part of a three piece series, find the first part about my daughter's hair here and third part next week.

At seems as if lately, everywhere I am going, people only have three topics when talking to me... And they are all equally irritating.

1. My daughter's hair
2. Me not having a driver's license
3. Schooling

It doesn't matter if these are people I know intimately or vaguely, if I see them often or not, these three topics seem to pop up in just about any conversation I am having! And it seriously pisses me off, because people's attitudes about any of them tend to be very narrow minded and the goal of each of these conversations always turns out that they want to make me (or my daughter) do something, because obviously they know best!
So, you are warned. If you start about one of these topics, I may very well blow one day!

I don't have a driver's license
To be completely honest, when I was 18 I tried to get my driver's license. I did the theoretical exam and failed. The reason why is simple. My mom brought me to the testing centre and said it didn't have to take long, she had other stuff to do. So that and the pressure of a timed exam with a lot of trick questions made me fail the theory, never to return again.
Back then I would have given an arm and a leg to have that driver's license, just to be able to drive far far away from my home. I did have a mobile boyfriend back then so I wasn't home very much anyway.
Shortly after, I would start university, and found out I didn't really need to drive. I was living in Brussels and everything became a short walk or a couple of subway stops away. The world was my oyster.

I met my husband at uni and we moved abroad as soon as I had my thesis done (even before my proclamation). I never had the need to drive since I was 18.

  • In Africa, I always had a driver and wouldn't be tempted to drive, just because of the trouble a white woman on her own could get into.
  • I am always with my daughter and she doesn't like the car.
  • I have mild agoraphobia so I avoid going out on my own anyway
  • when we're in Belgium - which is the only place I could be tempted to drive - my daughter doesn't want to get out because she doesn't like it. She doesn't like the weather, the people, the crowds... she's pretty much an African child with white skin.
So getting a driver's license for me, is a lot of hassle for very little use. The only times I do wish I had one, is on the very rare occasions my husband and I get to go out, in Belgium. He likes to drink occasionally and I don't so I could be of help there. But that's it.
Furthermore, I would have to get or pass my license in Africa, since that's where we reside. Getting a license in Belgium is simply not a possibility.

And still, take into account that we lead a very atypical life, close to every adult I have a conversation with starts about the driver's license and is shocked/disgruntled or appalled that I don't have one. It seems to me that it is within the same line of feminist thinking that feels like every woman should have a job to lead a full life.

I get these platitudes thrown at me, and they are the same no matter who I am talking to.

Your car is your freedom
Frankly, I can't understand how anyone in their right mind can think that. If your freedom depends entirely on a smelly, noisy, polluting death machine that sucks our earth dry of its natural resources, than I am truly sorry, but you are deranged! You have been completely brainwashed by consumerist society.
What kind of freedom is this contraption acquiring for you?
  • The freedom to go away when you need to air out? Shouldn't you seek to create a situation where you don't feel like you should drive for miles to get away? How free are you if you feel like running from where you are?
  • The freedom to buy what and when you feel like it? Generally, this turns out as the result of the 'car is freedom'-discussion: a car gives you the 'freedom' to go and spend some more money somewhere else. This is not freedom. This is slavery to consumption.
I am completely fine not spending money 300 days of the year. When I do spend money, it is because I have to, because we need to eat or I went through all my pants and look like a tramp in my rags. I don't NEED to go shopping, frankly, I couldn't care less. When I do need stuff, I can get it online just as good, probably better, because it doesn't include rushing in a store trying to grab everything with a toddler in tow. 
Freedom is something you create in your mind, and if you are worried that much about my freedom, you should at least allow me the freedom NOT to want a car. 

And if 'something happens'? I can call an ambulance, go to the neighbors, get the bus, find someone to drive me...
And if I need something? I can get home delivery, someone to drop something of, online shopping...
And if someone comes when I'm ll alone to chop off my head because I'm living in *gasp* Africa? Probably anything I could do would be futile, but if I had to make an educated guess, running away on foot and hiding in the jungle is a much better option then driving around in a contraption that seriously stands out on roads that hardly exist.

Find out about the schooling topic next week.


Monday, February 21, 2011

The misconception of age groups (rerun)

Playdate this week was a bit crowdier than what I'd expected. Normally there's the three toddlers and a baby, but my friend not only brought somebody elses kids along with her two. Now I must admit I kind of freaked out when I saw them all arrive. Remember that I live a calm and secluded life, so six kids at a time is a lot for me. But what freaked me out even more was the enormous age difference.

In our playdate group there's not a lot of difference in age. There's a little boy who's almost two and a half, another girl who's 22 months old and then my daughter with almost 21 months. And the baby is about 8 months old, but she mostly plays on her own, with her mommy or her nanny. But the two other kids! They are 5 and 7... How the heck can I find an activity to keep them all busy, without having to run around like a crazy woman?
I had only gotten out toddler toys: a tunnel, a doll, some card games... Frantically, I ran into the house looking for what I could take to get all the kids to play together. I had playdough, but then I would have to unstick pieces of it for another week. The book, they are for too young an audience.

Then it hit me, let's have them draw!
I brought in pencils and wax crayons, some stickers and a bunch of paper, and there they all were, all six of them, drawing away.

So it dawned me... The idea of having to split up kids into age groups is madness, and moreover completely artificial. My toddler enjoyed drawing on the same paper the seven year old did. She might have even learned from it, as he told her what he was drawing and that he would like her to colour the sky blue instead of pink.
There are more then enough activities a mixed group of children can do together.
The age group thing is again a thing our society has doctored out of necessity. As a means to get both parents to work and have as little personnel possible to take care of the children left behind. It is a bit trickier to have diffferent age groups focused (or not so focused) enough around one activity, so it is possible to keep an eye on them all. But it is not impossible.
A lot of arts and crafts appeal to a wide age group. Story reading also works for small and bigger kids - just pick a story that's interesting enough for the older ones, and that has drawings enough for the small ones.

The idea that you have to divide kids up into age groups is a mindset after all. So if we detach ourselves from this, we might come up with some pretty nice ideas... And they might even pick up something from each other.
Playing with younger children teaches your child patience and communication skills, while the younger ones get a chance at learning a great deal, without their mommy holding their hands (a seven year old won't explain something the same way you would). So it's a win-win situation.


Quote Of The Day

It is not enough simply to wish that love and compassion should increase in us, we need to make a sustained effort to cultivate them.
- Dalai Lama


Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday Surf

For more Sunday Surfing, visit Monkey Butt JunctionMotherhood 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.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

The society of the disposable diaper (rerun)

Is there a rule somewhere, only known to those who are initiated into some secret society, that says that you should use disposable diapers for more than one pee... Or worse, until there's stool.
The first time I came into contact with this practise was upon a new acquantance. I had brought my daughter to a party and told that woman I didn't like to leave her at home.
After telling me she had two children, she confided in me that with the first one, she was overprotective like that too, but with the second she's already more relaxed. Which meant that with number one, she would run to change his diaper, but with number two, she thought it no harm to let him sit in it for a while.
I was appaled! I felt sick to my stomach! I didn't understand how you could admit to such a gross neglect, letting your baby macerate in his urine!
Yet I soon found out she was not alone at this practise. It is a widespread phenomenon and it touches people from all layers of society. They are all around us.

As schocked as I was that time, if I now had a penny for every time I hear a mother say: "oh, it's just a pee, she can sit in it for a while", I'd be rich.
Now, I'm already not such a big fan of disposables. They're very wasteful. bad for the environment and contain all sorts of chemicals. Plus I think it's a weird concept to make stuff to let your child comfortably sleep in his own excrements the entire night, but hey, that's just me. If anything, I think this only makes my case for cloth diapers stronger, because at least with cloth, you HAVE to change your child when he/she's wet!

So please, don't buy into it! It does matter if you let your child sit in his own pee, no matter how absorbant the diaper is. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Not only is it extremely uncomfortable for your child, it's harmful (what's next? complaining about their red bum?)!
Take the two minutes to change them, even with a small pee. Your child and his bum will thank you for it. And if you're worried about the money, go cloth!


Friday, February 18, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Only as high as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be.
- Karen Ravn


Confessions About Parental Overload

I've not had a childhood void of violence. Heck, I didn't have an adult life void of violence. My father hit me, even when I was married and out of the house.
Years of living in a violent home has grown a little demon in me, living with a tyrant for all these years has nurtured my inner tyrant... lurking... waiting for a moment to unleash.
I've been known to turn to violence when an argument turned wrong in my university years, especially when I felt I was being trampled on by a man.
I am physically strong for a woman.

Yet, when my sweet and innocent child was born, I have sworn I would protect her from harm. That I would do anything in my power to not parent her with the violence I was raised with. And that I would sweat and swear to exorcise my inner tyrant, so she would not have to face the fears I dealt with growing up.

Now my daughter has grown a little, and like any healthy 2 1/2-year old, she can be a little bit of a tyrant too.

Image: Sawnchin on Flickr
I struggle with my inner tyrant and I struggle with my tiny tyrant... and they struggle with each other. The tiny tyrant breaks me down emotionally, until there is no more me to deal with... and then my inner tyrant can come out and of course she wins.
And it hurts us both. And I feel dirty and a failure and sick.
I never hit my child.
But I have grabbed her a little too firmly sometimes too. I've sent her dirty looks. I have screamed, when the lack of control got too much and it felt like it was the only way to take back my power. I have grueled about my abuse of power. And it keeps happening.
I don't know how to stop it... sometimes there are no tools left. Sometimes I'm done too.

Parenting is reliving your own childhood and it can be very confrontational. Either you accept that and learn to work on it, or you run and avoid confrontation, despite your child.
If - like me - you have decided to confront your inner tyrant, congratulations, you are taking on what might be the hardest struggle of your life. But you are trying, and that means you have already halfway won.

You can't change the way you were parented, but you can sure as hell change the way you parent.

I wrote this as a reflection on Arwyn's post A Really Bad Day


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quote Of The Day

If you can control your breath, you can control your mind. If you can control your mind, you can control your life.
~ Yogi Bhajan


Don't Talk To Me About These Topics Three

This post is part of a three piece series, find the second and third part the following weeks.

At seems as if lately, everywhere I am going, people only have three topics when talking to me... And they are all equally irritating.

1. My daughter's hair
2. Me not having a driver's license
3. Schooling

It doesn't matter if these are people I know intimately or vaguely, if I see them often or not, these three topics seem to pop up in just about any conversation I am having! And it seriously pisses me off, because people's attitudes about any of them tend to be very narrow minded and the goal of each of these conversations always turns out that they want to make me (or my daughter) do something, because obviously they know best!
So, you are warned. If you start about one of these topics, I may very well blow one day!

My daughter's hair

Image: pawpaw67
It is very obvious my daughter's hair has never been cut. It looks a little ragged and it's very uneven (like worse then tectonic). Sometimes it even has *gasp* paint in it and we go through days without brushing.
Conversations about the hair can start gently: "Have you cut her hair yet?" Sorry, but I am onto you, obviously I haven't so you're just raising this question to open a conversation to push your thoughts on the topic.
Others will be less gentle and blatantly say it's about time I cut her hair.

I tend to respond to all the questions and the urging about her hair that we'll go if she asks me (or I'll cut it when she does). And she hasn't yet.
Generally people tend to come up with moronic arguments of hair pushing thicker when it's been cut or growing faster etc. These are all fables. Your hair will not grow thicker or longer once cut, it will simply appear so, because it's all the same length.

What bothers me most about the whole thing is that people don't respect that I respect my child and they don't understand, or can't even conceive of the idea that the child may just have a say in her own appearance.
Secondly, I am really ticked off by the fact that her appearance - and that of all little children, especially girls - is such a big deal. She's not even three years old. There is no reason why she would have to get the latest fashion in hairstyles, there is no need for her to look picture perfect. Why on earth should we be forcing small children to be preoccupied with their looks? The world is already tough enough on appearance when you get older, so please, give these kids a break already!

Worst of all (and here they are really pissing me off) sometimes they try to convince my daughter that she should go to the hairdresser by saying her hair doesn't look very good (!!!!) or by subliminal messaging (look, I went to the hairdresser, that was fun).

Find out about the driver's license topic next week.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Change your thoughts & you change your world.
-Norman Vincent Peale


Dear Baby - Part I

Written by Carina Freeman 

This month's posts by monthly fertility contributor Carina Freeman is a series of "Dear baby letters". This is part one of two. Visit us next week for the second part.

Dear baby,

I am starting this story as a journal of your travels to us. We have longed to meet and greet you for so long but have been held up by the slow process of IVF. You see mummy found her partner of her dreams 8 years ago and together we can’t bring you into this world alone. We need the assistance of a wonderful man, who will donate his sperm so we can bring you into this lovely world.

We started our journey for you back in September 2009. The doctors couldn’t find a reason for mummy not to be able to have you so mummy and partner had to wait for the law to change as without this change we would be doing a bad thing by having you as much as we really wanted you in our life.

In February 2010 mummy rang and was so happy the law had changed but along with that came more issues, lots of paper work, and more hold ups. So mummy waited months and months till finally we had passed all the tests and had proven our love for you.

Image: Jon Ovington on Flickr
November 2010 came around and mummy paid the 13,000 to bring you into the world. Your brothers were told of you coming and were so happy to have this opportunity. One brother really wants you to be a girl he really wants a sister but mummy doesn’t care if she gets a son or daughter as she will love you no matter what.

In December 2010 mummy was giving herself injections in the luck that she could finally meet you. However when it came time for the scans mummy's body had failed and let her down, the follicles were to small so mummy cried and cried for days because this meant she had to wait even longer to get the chance to meet you.

Mummy has paid 3,800 for the chance to see you again. Mummy will start again in February and will try her best for her body to give you a nice cozy nest to be in.

We have your room here its half set up we can’t wait to meet you, know you will always be loves and spoiled here. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of you in our family we have names for you. Please dear baby come bless us with your presences in February.

Lots and lots of love always

Mummy and family

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.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quote Of The Day

When one's expectations are reduced to zero, one really appreciates everything one does have.
-Stephen Hawking


Songs For Tots

The little Globetrotter and I have a fierce Youtube habit. We watch a lot of videos on there, of all different types, and over the weeks, we've managed to sift out the good ones, so I thought I would share, here are some nice songs for toddlers.

The dinosaur song
Funny animated song that will make you sing along! The tune is fun and it gives you a variety of dino's and their specifics in a fun way.

The Hippo and The Dog
A hippo performs "The Lion Sleeps Tonight", while a dog practices a funny little dance. I couldn't embed this one, but you can follow the link in the title.

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
If your little one is sleepy, this might do the trick. A cute animation with an owl and a star.

Osito Gominola
A gummibear who dances and drives a car! Success guaranteed with a tot! Exists in multiple colors and different languages, but we really like this spanish version. There are some themed songs by the gummibear too.

Crazy Frog
There's a whole series of songs by this frog, and for one reason or other, my daughter really likes him. A frog who sings and dances to techno music. In this one he pretends to be on a motorcycle. Follow the link on the title


Monday, February 14, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Forgive him, for he believes that the customs of his tribe are the laws of nature!
- George Bernard Shaw


Dealing With Aggression In Children

Image: mdanys on Flickr
Children can demonstrate aggressive behavior at any time in their little lives. Suddenly your sweet little angel doesn't seem so sweet any more. This can be very frustrating and can make us parents feel as if we went wrong somewhere. It can also cause the occasional awkward situation when in the company of others who do not know your child so well.

Children's aggression can be directed towards you, themselves, others or objects. It can come suddenly - you may not have seen it coming - or it can build up gradually.

Aggressive behavior can manifest in different ways:  biting, pulling, pushing, scratching, strangling, tearing, ripping... you name it.
All of these outbursts are very disconcerting and are perceived as undesirable manifestations of emotions, by you - the parent - and by society at large. Generally, even the child won't really benefit from the outburst, because more often than not, someone will end up hurt, physically or emotionally, and that isn't what the child was looking for.

The Why
Some people believe aggression is innate to mankind, but I prefer the line of thought that sees aggression as a reaction to aggression one has been subjected to earlier in life. Yet, even children who have never been punished can show violent behavior, does that not suggest the first paradigm is true?
Not necessarily.
The child could have be subject to aggression and violence on numerous occasions, without having experienced physical violence, or without you - the parent - having perceived it as such. Trauma at birth, negative emotions of the expecting mother, feelings of rejection can all lead to aggression. Even minor events can have a big impact on a small child (the smaller the child, the huger events and emotions appear to them).

Violence is a symptom of an underlying emotion. The child can feel rejected, irritated, frustrated, bored, hungry, sleepy, even love. Violence can also be a scientific experiment: what happens if I do X? And if I do it again? That doesn't mean they are manipulating or testing you, they are just being children: learning from experience. Another source of violence can be a lack of physical or mental activity, or doing the wrong ones.

How to deal with it
Personally, I don't think aggression is such a bad thing. If it's there, it's better to let it out than to let it consume them and feed and grow. Suppressing aggression in childhood will only lead to aggression in their adult life. The importance is to find healthy ways of getting it out their system.
As a parent, it is important to not see the behavior as negative, to not label your child because of it, and to deal with it in the same way as you would deal with any other strong emotion. Remember that the child that is violent needs as much love and comforting as the person or object that gets caught in the eye of the storm.

The first step should be to diagnose the underlying emotion of the behavior, and to try and find other ways of dealing with that emotion. Only you can find the plan of action that works for your child, as all children respond differently in this situation.

Here are some common tips that might work for you, but be creative and find something that works for all of you.

  • Punching Bunny: Give them a stuffed animal they can bite, kick, punch... 
  • Screaming box: when your child is prone to yelling and name calling: give the a box where they can yell into, and where they can confide all the angry words to. Afterwards the box can be closed and when they're ready, they can empty it in the wind.
  • Soothing corner: With older kids, create a little space somewhere, where they can have soothing objects of their choice (a doll, a book, a blanket, a pillow...) and where they can turn to when they feel overwhelmed. Choose the objects together and decorate the corner with your child so they grasp the idea and feel like they really have their own space. This needn't be big, just the size of a large tile, so they can sit there or stand there is enough.
  • Remain calm: If the violence does happen, do not respond emotionally, because things may only escalate. Respond calmly and with love. If a second party is involved, show you care for both of their sorts. If there are two parents present, tend to a child each. 
  • Take deep breaths together: Even if your child is too small to understand, the fact that you are breathing deeply will help you. When they get older, they'll start mimicking and benefit from the action.
  • Primal needs: hunger, thirst or lack of sleep will get the best of anyone, so make sure these are fullfilled at all time.
  • Talk: When the emotional roller coaster has come to an end, talk through the emotions. Ask your child how they feel, how their emotions made them feel. Tell them how it made you feel.
  • Redirect: When you see the aggression building in your child, try to turn their attention to something else. 
  • Balance in activity: Make sure your child gets to do a variety of physical activities, some that are soothing and some that are high energy, so they can achieve a balance in emotional and physical energy. Find out which activities provide the right mind-body connection for your child.
  • Change the scenery: Going out, or just stepping into another room can relieve the tension. If possible, remove your child from the 'location of the crime'. Then return the place together, when the aggression has subsided.

I hope these are helpful and I wish you all the best. You have taken the time to invest yourself into your child's healing, which is a beautiful gift, so congratulations!


Sunday, February 13, 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.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Running free (re-run)

Image: Pink Sherbet Photography
I think my and my husbands generation might have been the last generation of Belgian children who were able to roam free. And roaming free we did. I remember taking my bike when I was about 11 and driving around far far from home. No cell phones, no maps. Once me and my girlfriend drove away so far and got lost. We stopped at a restaurant to call my parents if they could come and pick us up. We were at a 20 minute car drive away from our house. Yet this was never a problem.
Sometimes we would leave just after lunch, only to come back for dinner. I remember another time, my brother, my neighbors and me were having so much fun playing in the fields behind our block, we only arrived after dark. My mom got angry at us because she didn’t know where we were. But that was it. She still allowed us to go where we wanted, as long as we came back before dark.

But even after dark, our parents didn’t fear. We have this tradition that is quite similar to trick or treating. Kids get dressed up and go from door to door. We used to do that unsupervised, and we’d stay away for hours. That was just my brother, me and a neighbors’ kid. My brother could have been no more then 12, which means I was not yet ten years old.
But when I was about 13, we had the Dutroux case. Young girls started disappearing and turned up dead. Fear of pedophiles got embedded into peoples minds and children were no longer safe on the streets. Not even in small towns or in broad daylight.
Another attack at the free range child came from a totally different angle. Noise! Suddenly out of the blue, class actions started appearing resulting in playgrounds being closed down, on account of being a nuisance.

Two more factors eroded the child’s roaming freedom: open space is becoming scarse. New constructions pop up everywhere you turn. The plots where we used to play in our childhood have become residential areas. What used to be farm land and protected natural ground is being transformed into building sites.

Traffic has become more dense. Even if you live in a quiet area, if there’s concrete on your street, no child will play carefree or be spared the sickening exhaust fumes of cars.

Children are being taken out of the public view, and become more and more isolated, locked inside houses, daycare centers, indoor playgrounds. To the extent that some kids have never even seen a cow and think the purple Milka cow is an accurate representation.
Nowadays, if they are lucky, they get to play in the garden, which of course is nicely closed off from the world. If possible with a wall and some barb wire. If the rare occasion presents itself that a child has to take a trip outside, unsupervised, then he gets an electronic chip implanted in his arm, a GPS stuffed in his backpack and a cell phone in his hand.
To the extent that children are being shunned from society. You can hardly go to a restaurant or a shop with a child without people looking at you funny. And heaven forbid that child makes a little rubble!
What kind of children are we creating? Will they be able to enjoy life? Enjoy nature? Are we creating tiny agoraphobics or antisocial snails? Isn’t this fear excessive? How much pleasure do we steal away from our kids in having them lead a sheltered, overprotected life? How to find the middle ground? With so many dangers out there, can we still be carefree?
I’m so happy my family had the luxury to choose a lifestyle where our children will still be able to roam free and enjoy nature. My best childhood memories are of times when I was lost in nature and far away from supervision, probably doing things that weren’t very kosher. How about you? Do you let your children roam free? Are you afraid of what might happen?


Friday, February 11, 2011

Quote Of The Day

“When I look back at all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.”
~ Paul Simon


Lessons from a Monkey

Written by Jessica

Recently, we've been learning more and more about Unschooling.

I practiced attatchment parenting with DD as a babe, and blended that approach with gentle discipline as she grew into a toddler. I fall on the side of "figuring something out together" rather than "this is what we're going to do." But, too often, what I end up saying is: "we have to do this." Followed by picking DD up, often hollering and squirming, and strapping her into the car/getting her into bed/pulling on/off her clothes/plunking her in the tub. Not very gentle, or respectful.

The past two days we've begun to really practice unschooling. If you know anything about unschooling, you know it has little to do with (deliberate) schooling. It's a way of life, a way of allowing children to follow their hearts, minds, and bodies in all that they do, coupled with the belief that children are beings who learn naturally when given the chance.

Our new way of living has taken the form of more freedom with snack choices (cookies for breakfast, anyone?), more flexibility with activities (including television viewing), a staggered bedtime ...

But today, I blew it. Big time.

I had an appointment and The Monkey had her sitter over to play, and when I got home, we had to drive said sitter home and go to the bank drive-thru, back to pay the sitter, and then home. When we got home DD was cranky (naptime is normally at one, it was almost two) and wanted to watch the rest of Black Beauty. I said okay. Halfway through she got up and started prowling around, pulling stuff off of shelves and talking to me in her cranky voice. She was obviously overtired and in need of a nap, but I'd asked her repeatedly if she wanted one, and she told me without question, No.

And I should have respected that.

But no. Despite the voice in my head that recognized the authoritarian (read: rude and disrespectful) action I was going to take, I turned off Black Beauty. The wailing began. After informing my little Monk that it was naptime, I picked her up (squirming) and carried her upstairs (screaming). By this point, she was very upset. She was obviously taken aback and horrified at the behavior I was exhibiting. Knowing she would open the door and leave the bedroom, I locked it behind us, sat down on the bed, and waited for her.

My poor darling flung herself at the door, red faced and bellowing in rage. She was in true tantrum mode, a rarity for her- it's happened really only a couple times, most notably when I was night weaning a few months back (without success).

My frail attempts to assure her that it was okay, it was naptime, to come lay down and have Boobietime (her favorite) were to no avail. My kiddo was majorly pissed.

When I went over to talk her down, and reached out to rub her back lightly, she gave me a look of "how dare you!" and whacked me in the face. (Can you really blame her?) She was in an animalistic, defensive mode, and I picked her up, laid down with her, and offered my breast to nurse. Still howling, she began to nurse, and soon quieted down.

In the quiet, I began to think. And realized how royally I had screwed this interaction up.

"I'm sorry," I told her softly. "You didn't want to take a nap, and Mommy didn't listen."

From her position at my boob, her eyes darted up to mine, a sliver of hope lighting up their azure depths.

"You wanted to stay downstairs and finish Black Beauty, but Mommy picked you up and brought you up to nap, and that made you angry."

The Monkey nodded, hiccuping a couple half-sobs.

"And then Mommy locked the door, and you couldn't get out. That must have been a bit scary for you."

The Monkey closed her eyes, let go of my boob, and wailed. My heart broke. I cuddled her closer as she cried, apologizing.

"Next time, I'll listen. I'm sorry."

The whole interaction was so intense, the Monkey couldn't help but fall asleep. And, as I slipped out of the door downstairs, where my computer and fresh-baked cookies and dishes-to-be-done waited, I felt how I felt when I was a kid and wanted something and was told no, and so tantrumed until I got it.


And that's how I should feel, for robbing my small, wonderfully assertive, all-herself Daughter of her right to choose what to do with her body; for disrespecting her preference and her internal clock. Yes, she was tired. Yes, she could use a nap. But it was not my choice to make: it was hers.

So I type this as an apology to my wonderful girl, and as a thank you: despite it's hardship, this interaction was a lesson for me, and so undoubtedly a gift.

Lesson learned, Monk.

Jessica is an attachment parenting and natural living junkie, and young mom to a free-spirited vivacious little girl. She's just started her blog, Mama √† la Crunch, in which she plans to write about her experience and opinions.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Quote Of The Day

If you look to others for fulfillment, you will never be truly fulfilled.
~ Lao Tzu


My View of Attachment Parenting

written by Jenny Binkowski

I was the last of my friends to have a child. This provided me with a lot of knowledge on what I did NOT want to do.

I never read many books during my pregnancy. I simply knew the following things:

  • My infant would not be put in a bed in another room to wonder what the heck happened to the warm person she shared the first (in my case) 38 weeks of her life with.
  • My infant would NOT cry it out in any fashion for any reason. I would wear her in a sling or carrier (Ergo and Maya Wrap) and attend to her every need, always. (A side note here, I hate those carrier car seats! Talk about detachment parenting!)
  • I would give her the breast for as long as I could. 
  • I would feed her everywhere we went no matter what.
All of the above was hard thing for my “friends” who already had kids to deal with because they didn’t nurse, didn’t co-sleep and didn’t babywear. [A side note here, I do have two friends on the same page as me and they are super supportive and inspiring to me] I also think some of my “friends” were jealous or envious. The way I parented created such a strong parent child bond that most never experienced. Motherhood to them meant something so different but to watch me do it our way they wanted a “do-over”.

Another “problem” was I would never force my infant or toddler or child for that matter to go hug or be held by someone she wasn’t comfortable with so that meant most of my “friends” were never able to hold her. Perhaps she has better taste in friends then I do (*smile*).

So this is what attachment parenting means to me.
No books or even advice were needed. I did what felt normal and natural and everyone else could just kiss my ……

Today my dear daughter is a spicy 3 year old who is weaned (went to 28 months) still sleeps in the family bed and is very affectionate. Not everyone likes her because I give her the freedom to be herself. I do discipline her but gently. She is a screamer/crier. She has to get that out, she has to feel her emotions in a safe a loving way.
So many of my “friends” don’t understand that. My daughter is perfect how she is I will gently guide her to be a helpful, loving, caring human being; which I started doing the minute she was born.

About Jenny
I am 36, a stay at home Mom in Chesapeake VA. My little girl is 3 and will always be an only child by our choice. 


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Quote Of The Day

"Today is a gift, that's why it is called 'the present'."
- Kung-Fu Panda


Gendering of Boys

A lot of thought and attention goes to the gendering of children, girls specifically, in our society. Western Society indeed imposes very strong and harmful stereotypes on children, and this from a young age onwards. Wether it is in the clothes they wear or the toys they play with, it is hard to find neutral things, even for a little baby.

But boys are just as gendered by toys and society at large, and it is just as harmful. They are pushed towards aggressive toys, towards gendered play. They are told not to do certain things because they are 'for girls'.
There is little to no room for different sexual orientations. Boys are told as soon as they can stand on two feet that they'll find a girl to marry. Many parents secretly stress at night that their boy might be gay, because they liked the pink T-shirt at the market. People shrug and say "well he's a boy" when they engage in aggressive behavior.

Image: Anyjazz65 on Flickr
Even though the stereotyping of boys is most often positive (boys are seen as strong, accomplished, athletic, intellectual...), there is little room for deviance. Less even than for girls (imagine the reactions you'd get when a boy is wearing a dress or lipstick, even when he's just two), and boys that do deviate from the path are queer, sissy's, wussy's... All this is more accepted for little girls. They can wear pants, they can be aggressive, they can play with lego, as well as with dolls.

Boys are not out of the loop when it comes to harmful gendering at all... and the fact that this problem is often forgotten, that we tend to focus on the girls, makes it even worse. It points out that we haven't even diagnosed it as a problem.

So next time you talk about the negative stereotyping and the bad influence of our gendering culture, please don't forget the boys!


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Love can never possess. Love is giving freedom to the other. Love is an unconditional gift, it is not a bargain.


Respect The Natural Rythmn Of The Child

Our modern society strains us. Parents and grandparents alike have to work hard and long hours and are hardly ever home. It is difficult to overcome the feeling of guilt about leaving the children behind when we are out all day and we'd rather be with the little ones.
If you're a parent who has to work late, or a grandparent who rarely gets to see his grandchild, you're probably thinking about that child throughout the day. You might feel like you're neglecting the child. Like you don't get enough time together.

I've seen this many times and the obvious reaction is to come home to that child and 'make the best of the time you do have'. So parents or grandparents come home at late hours and engage the child in play... Maybe try an exciting game like hide and seek or tickling... Because you think that's what the child would like to do with you, right?

But if you come home at that late hour, is the child really interested in active play? Are you listening to the cues he is giving you? Aren't you just trying to work through YOUR guilty feeling? Do you act upon request or upon personal emotion?

Image: bandita on Flickr
It is completely understandable that you have missed that child and have longed to be together, to play together, but if the child is tired or otherwise engaged, we should respect that.
We can't expect the child to play on our cue. Especially because late at night, the child would benefit more from quiet activities or reading a book. Maybe just cuddling.
Maybe late at night the child just wants to watch some TV or stick to his mommy.
If that is the case, don't go imposing your wants and needs on that child, because then you're just acting out of selfishness.

Respect their natural rhythm, respect their wishes and desires. if the child does not want to play now, he might be up for it some other time. Your presence alone is enough.


Monday, February 7, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Your worth consists in what you are and not in what you have.
~ Thomas Edison


Sunday, February 6, 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.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Toys (re-run)

I often thing about the toy question. Normally, it wouldn't really bother me, and I'd be kind of anti-toys, but since my child will not attend kindergarten, she will only have the toys, games and crafts I offer her (or the ones she will play with on occasion at her friends' houses).
I had a conversation with a friend about this topic a while ago and really liked what she said. She said she wasn't too keen on getting too many toys, but she added there cannot be enough creative material. By this she meant craft stuff: paint, clay, chalk, pencils, colorful paper etc...

Parents' attitudes towards toys seem to be greatly influenced by how they were raised, toy-wise.  Figuring this out is a huge step in the right direction.
I myself have been raised with a fairly minimal amount of toys, and more importantly, one of the rules was: no big toys. I remember going to my friends houses on play dates and oogling their fruit and vegetable shops, their big barbie houses etc... So for my daughter, I know I really want to get or make those big toys, so she doesn't feel like she's missing out as I felt when I was little. This being said, I am still quite reserved when it comes to toys. My daughter actually has quite few toys and when I set out to buy some, I always end up turning down most of them. Actually, for her first year of life, we bought no toys ourselves whatsoever, except for christmas and her birthday. I figured, with the gifts she got, she had more than enough. To be honest, most of the time she does just play with sticks and stones and flowers outside, so there is little use to get a huge pile of things she won't play with.
I am now slowly adjusting my attitude, because at 20 months, I see there are some toys and games she does get a lot of 'mileage' out. And when I went through her toys this weekend, I found out that most of the things in her boxes weren't adapted to her age any more.

When you end up buying a toy or game, bare in mind that you are buying it for your child, not for yourself or for your expectations of your child. Toys shouldn't fill a void in your life, they shouldn't make up for what you missed out on as a child. Nor will buying your child a heap of toys make up for your absence. The first and foremost thing your child needs is your presence, love and support. Toys can't replace that.
Neither should you buy toys because they will teach your kid math/motor skills/... Don't think of toys as something to 'occupy' your child.

A good way for me to buy the right toys is to look at what she plays with at friends' houses. I soon discovered she always goes for the same things, and really enjoys them, so we set out to get her those toys.
Another good thing to do is to take your child to the toy store. When you find something you would like to get, present it to them and see how they react. This week, I wanted to get her a stroller. So I took a look at some of the models the store had to offer, picked one and had her try it out. Good thing I did! We  ended up trying out all the strollers they had and found out they were all too small for her. Another thing I really loved was a rocking horse, but when I put her on it, she got really scared.
When they're a bit older, they can run free and pick what they like (my daughter also runs free, but she's too small still to get things off the racks).

Toys are there for play and for fun. But they aren't a necessity. It is equally - or even more - important for a child to be able to play with the things he finds in his/her surroundings. Fallen leaves, sand, stones... al make wonderful 'toys'. Children are extremely creative and find play wherever they are. Don't anguish about not having brought toys when you go out, let your child discover its surroundings, you'll be amazed at how nicely they can play without all those toys. Remember, toys are a fairly modern invention and only a small part of the world's children have access to them, yet, that doesn't prevent them to play.

I get the heeby jeebies from those modern day sound and light toys that drive you crazy after two minutes and leave no room for imagination and creativity. I'm not a fan of things like dining sets and fake fruit etc. To me, they can just as good play with the real kitchenware and a bag of rice. She does have a couple of electronic song toys (that don't drive me too crazy) and really enjoys them. Plus she has been playing with them for over a year now, which at that age, is quite a while.

I cannot, an will not give you a list of toys, games and craft stuff your child should have. There is no definitive list of such things. Yet again, every child is different and has different likes and interests. Choose their toys with that in mind.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Quote Of The Day

“Learn to respect this sacred moment of birth, as fragile, as fleeting, as elusive as dawn.”
~ Frederick Leboyer (via From Womb to Cradle Doula Services)


Peaceful Parenting toolbox: #4: Avoiding Negative Associations

Written by Angie Nixon

Last night we came home with a gallon (a few) of paint for our house; the entire house is in project status. I left it near the wall I was testing it on, after having opened the can to obtain a bit of paint to conduct the test.

My daughter watched me. She is 39 months.

A few minutes later I hear Papa putting a stop to some urgently concerning activity, and when I ventured around the corner to discover the plot, I found my daughter with cream colored fingers, a paint can that was expertly opened and only a tiny bit of paint where it didn't belong. I also found a little girl in a state of confusion.

Image: Ingvar Kollesdal

In our house, we don't believe in punishment the way most people understand it. Naturally occurring consequences are one thing, but punitive reaction isn't something we have chosen to pursue in our home. As such, being "in trouble" isn't something our daughter has any comprehension of, except if she's stuck in a bucket or has literally found herself in a sticky situation - that might seem like a problem or trouble.

So, in the split-second-moment I had to determine my response, I was fortunate enough to see a glimpse of my daughter's world through her eyes. I instantly became aware of her sense of accomplishment, pride in doing what Mama did and not making a mess of it, and her confusion in her activity being abruptly halted by her Papa (and then Mama). In her eyes, I saw her need for my appreciation of her curiosity, and her need for my respect of her, and her autonomy.

Instead of telling her to not touch, leave it alone, that what she had done caused a problem for her adults (parents), or some other form of scolding or admonishment, I decided to approach the situation on her level, as an equal. If I can have fun and indulge my need for a creative outlet through this method, why shouldn't she be able to as well.

I spoke to her gently, without even a hint of humoring or thinking "how cute she is, she's copying mama". I asked her if she thought it was fun to paint, and what else she thought/felt about her choice to take on the same task I had. I told her I really enjoyed it too, and that it was something we should and could do. Together.

I explained that using "that" paint was something that she should do again, but that I wanted to have fun doing it with her, that it was one of those jobs (a term we use that I can explain further if desired) that works best with a Mama included and that in the future, she must wait until we can do it together. She is young enough that I don't have to expound that statement. She doesn't know she is too little to handle it alone without making a mess (and honestly, she likely could handle it just fine, if but for my carpet), and I don't want her to think that I view a mess as a bad thing anyway.

Now, when I resume my efforts painting that (or any other) wall, I know that there will be no negative association for her. It won't bring up a difficult memory. This is the positive outcome instead of the alternative: Her associating disapproval, discouragement, diminished value, or other damaging and/or negative association inside upon the next time she sees me paint.

And you know what, I will quite likely hand her a paint brush the next time I pick one up myself, and let her go to town.

Angie eats a lot of cinnamon granola, which has turned her into a bit of a crunchy, spicy Mama. She's is also a musician, web developer, perpetual student, and is married to a musician and engineer. Yes, we
have fun. Together with her partner, she has set out to guide the exploration of a new little person, create music to tell about the journey, and find out just how far their collective creativity can take them.