True creativity cannot be forced to conform to society's unnatural time constraints. The insistence on pushing in labor is simply a reflection of our cultural attitude that force and haste are superior to trust and patience.
Monday, October 31, 2011
When we first adopted the idea of unschooling for our family, one of my greatest fears was that we live in places without a library. How would we be able to help our children closely follow their interests without access to cheap reading material on very diverse topics. For me - an obsessive reader - books are the easiest way to gain access to the topics you want more info about, at least if you’re looking for thorough documentation.
|Image: Heza on Flickr|
The idea that all knowledge comes from books is probably just a remains of being schooled for 20 years myself. The reality is that there are so many sources of knowledge available: the internet is probably the vastest one we have access to, but people and nature itself aren’t to be underestimated either.
Now that doesn’t mean that we’ll be unschooling without books, not in any way. As myself, my daughter is a big fan of books, and she already - at age three - has an extensive and diverse collection. She has lots of storybooks and picture books, but also child-directed info/doc-type books, and she can be found fidgeting one or more every day. Like me, she can’t travel without having at least one book with her.
It’s just that I - personally - have come to see that even without permanent access to a library, we’ll get unschooling to work. If my child will ever need a specific book, we’ll make sure she’ll get access to it. If the time comes that she gets interested in a certain topic, w’ll get online subscriptions to magazines about the topic, we’ll try to find people who are knowledgeable about the topic, we might even get a library card to go while we are on holiday.
The options are vast and with a bit of willpower, I think you can make unschooling work in any kind of situation, wether you have access to a library, or the internet, or television, or not.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
- The 10 secret reasons why you should breastfeed your children, sure to make you smile
- How to achieve stress-free parenting, at least for the larger part of time, on Huffington Post.
- The changes the umbilical cord goes through after birth, in pictures!
- Awesome fall crafts for kids, and really easy too! on Babble
- A very extensive list of holistic tips to keep your family's health optimal during the cold season on Recipes To Nourish.
- Is there an upside to childhood illness? Loving Earth Mama brings us an interesting perspective on sickness
- Cow's milk at 12 months, is it necessary, or something to avoid? Some reflections on Breastfeedingarts
Saturday, October 29, 2011
All arguments are in favor of routine nose removal. Routine nose removal prevents:
- nose bleeds
- broken noses
- congested noses, especially in the small child, this can be a serious pain in the nose, because they are unable to clean or blow their noses
- having to remove foreign objects from the nose
- itching and irritations of the nose
- pimples and blemishes on the nose
- unhappiness and depression due to an ugly nose, and subsequent rhinoplasty
- nasal tumors
- nasal infections
- skin cancer in the nose area
- some say it might even prevent air born bacteria to enter the system
Friday, October 28, 2011
Suggestion of pain is conveyed by the atmosphere of the labor room; it emanates from doctors, nurses and relatives. They believe in pain; subconsciously or consciously they suggest, expect and even presume pain. Upon the sensitive mind of a woman in labor such authoritative (suggestions are) a powerful adjuvant to painful sensations.
Originally published at SQUAT! Birth Journal.
A Leboyer bath is a gentle way to welcome your newborn into the world. The technique was first described by French obstetrician Frederick Leboyer in his book “Birth Without Violence” and used in order to ease the baby into the world.
Leboyer believed that the crying and dramatic body tension we have come to see as normal, even desired, is not normal or healthy in a newborn and is a sign of severe birth trauma.
A traumatic birth leaves a lasting impression on an infant's mind, setting the tone for future experiences.
Even a peaceful birth will leave your baby somewhat dazzled - imagine the physical and emotional turmoil they have just gone through! This makes the Leboyer bath a wonderful welcome into the world for any baby.
The Leboyer bath is generally taken about an hour after birth (or any time when it is possible) in order to reintroduce the baby into a watery environment, as a reminder of the womb, but it can take place at any time during the first three days postpartum when the mother feels ready for it. Mother and baby are to be immersed into a warm bath together. Lights need to be dimmed and the room should be comfortably warm.
Mothers will need some assistance, so it is a good idea to have someone around to lay out some towels and clothes, and hand the baby to the mother after she has gotten into the bath.
The bath has an immediate relaxing effect on the baby: the baby may open his eyes or even smile, fall asleep. It has been show to have positive physical effects, pinking up the baby and relaxing any muscle tension. The event will take about 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the baby's reactions. (Giving a Leboyer Bath Successfully)
Unassisted Childbirth, Laura Kaplan Shanley
Birthing From Within, Pam England and Rob Hororwitz (1998)
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Originally published at Dirt and Diapers
|Image: ejhogbin on Flickr|
Moving with children can be challenging, not in the least because it is stressful for the parents too. Here are a few suggestions for making the transition and the work in entrails as peaceful as possible.
- Prepare! Preparation is the most important thing when it comes to moving. I’m not only talking about the boxing and taping and de-cluttering, I’m talking mental preparation. Start talking to your child about the move - no matter how small she is - well in advance. Make the move more sensible by discussing the region/country/neighborhood you’ll be moving into. if it is possible to have a visit there, bring your kids so they can see where they are going. Show them pictures, read up on the place. Talk to them about the house and how it will be.
- Careful about the rosy glasses! Don’t try to depict the move as all positive, which might be setting yourself and your child up for disappointment. You are probably (hopefully) looking forward to the move, but calculate that there might be downsides too, don’t ignore this, but talk about it. Your child might not see some of his friends anymore, you might be moving away from family... Try to find a balance between the positive and the negative sides of this move when you talk to your child, so he has a good idea of what’s going to happen.
- Involve your child. Have your child pick out the toy and clothing he wants to keep aside for the day(s) you’ll be traveling. Ask her to rummage through her things and sort out what she doesn’t need anymore. If she is willing, she can fill a box of toys and personal belongings to ship to the new destination.
- Everything goes Make sure your child understands that you are de-cluttering too, and that your personal stuff goes in boxes too.
- While you were sleeping Try to keep the more tricky stuff for when your child is sleeping or out playing. It can be a handful to pack when your child keeps unpacking the boxes. This might also be a good idea for some of their affairs.
- Keep things in their room/area as long as possible Pack the things your child uses most often last. You could organise that on the last day, your child is out with a relative or your significant other, so you cab pack up the things he can play with until the end.
- Pack the things you never or rarely use first We tend to pack things in order of use. We’d first pack things we have in storage, then the things we only use on occasion, then the things you don’t need like decorations, and then we start cutting into the things we do need until we’ve reached the bare minimum (like only leave two towels at the end...).
- Start well in advance If you take your time moving, just picking and boxing things as you find a moment, you won’t be as stressed when you reach D-Day, and you’ll avoid the ‘I’ll never get it all done’ stress.
- Keep some entertainment aside Do not make the mistake to end up in an empty house with nothing to do. Keep something aside for everyone in the family to pass the last moments in peace and entertained. You might like a book or a few DVD’s and art supplies are a good idea to keep aside for your children.
I hope these tips will help you prepare your move in all serenity.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Wise Woman Herbal by Susun Weed guides you through herbalism for the childbearing woman, from child wish through pregnancy to a couple of months postpartum. Not only the mother and her ailments or discomforts are highlighted, there’s also a significant deal of attention devoted to the newborn. The book does not only offer herbal concoctions, but shares a great deal of wisdom and empowerment on womanhood in general.
“Women are the carriers of life. We hold the fruit of our loving beneath our hearts.”
I read this book from cover to cover (almost) in one stretch and I am sure to read it again a couple times more, this time taking notes, before this next baby comes. It is a beautiful and wise guide to pregnancy and womanhood, reconnecting you to nature and ancestral female traditions of healing.
This is the first book on herbalism I actually read, although the topic has always tickled my interest, and even though it will take significant more volumes to get to the bottom of the topic, I think this book might indeed have been the best place to start for a young mother. It sure has urged me to read more extensively on the subject.
Susun Weed guides you through all the common and less common discomforts of pregnancy, and how to first prevent them and eventually cure them. She also includes a guide on how to start your herbal pharmacy and make your own concoctions, al the while paying attention to the way herbs should be picked and treated, or what you have to pay attention to when buying herbs.
Through her words you can feel her enthusiasm and it can’t but spark from the pages and light yours as well.
The book was published by Ash Tree Publishing, New York, and is part of a collection by the same author.
Monday, October 24, 2011
We want what we consider to be "best" for our children, but in seeking to bring this about, we can easily forget that the most important issue is their right to be their own person and lead their own life in accord with their unique spirit.
Written by Helen Lingard
Hi, my name is Helen Lingard. Im a former nurse from the UK who moved to New Zealand in the late 80s. About a year later I met my ex husband had our daughter, returned to the UK for 6 years during which time we had our son, married and then returned to New Zealand in 1999.
In 2002 our 4 year marriage and 13 year old relationship was sadly over. I was the one who called it a day on my marriage – the usual reasons – we had grown apart – forgot how to communicate with each other and I just felt there had to be more. So I did what I thought was the best thing for all concerned and ended it.
So here I was a 40 something year old single mum, living in New Zealand, originally from Wales, UK and with all my family still living there.
My kids were 9 and 4 at the time. The hardest thing I found was in the evenings – doing the dinner, homework bath and bed on my own. However I have to say - because my ex and I had argued a lot in the time leading up to our split – I was somewhat relieved to have the peace and quiet despite the exhausting time I was having.
Once I had the kids in bed – I would have a hot bath with candles and a glass of wine. It was my treat!
I also found when we split that our friends deserted us too, most of them. Rather than rally round you – they don’t seem to realize what to do, so they just desert you. At least that was my experience.
With no family around (although on reflection going through the marriage break without my family was a blessing really – I dearly love my family but some things are better coped with without family) – I needed to get out there and find a support network. I moved right out of my comfort zone and talked to other parents at school – slowly finding out who was in the same boat as me.
One of the friends I made at this time was Sarah – who turned out to be the absolute best friend anyone could possibly have. I do believe Everything happens for a reason and I do believe Sarah came into my life at that time for a purpose.
Sarah was there for me through some incredible times. I had arranged to go back and see my family at Xmas time (we split in the February), and whilst we were over in the UK our family house sold, so Sarah moved my stuff out of the house and into storage. She was also looking after our family dog at the time. She then found us a place to live on our return that would take a dog AND helped us move us in on our return.
Everyone needs a wonderful friend like Sarah when they go through trauma.
I had been working from home as well as working a night shift at the local rest home (my previous occupation before coming to NZ was a nurse). When my marriage broke up I realized that the money I was earning was just ‘pin’ money so with the split I needed to find a job and find child care for before and after school.
Whilst looking for work – I trotted along to WINZ… (the Dole office in the UK) and signed on for DPB – Single Parent benefit. I was about to learn a lot about WINZ during the next few years! It was never my choice to go on benefit, I would personally much prefer to work – but the lady at WINZ who I happened to know from cricket years ago – advised me that whilst in this ‘newly separated’ state I should just relax – take care of myself and the children and not worry too much about working. It was great advice.
Within a few months – I found some work, sorted out before and after school care. Exhausting though it was, it was nice to have my independence back.
I made a lot of new friends at my kid’s school that year – lots of single mums – we kind of banded together: had laughs, moans and were just there for each other.
I’ve always been one of the lucky ones – their dad is very much in the picture, has them regularly and pays child support but our relationship isn’t easy.
In the early years – I HATED being single – I would sit in cafes/restaurants with my children and look at all the ‘happy’ families – hating them for being ‘happy’. I have since learnt that you really don’t know whats going on in other people’s lives, so its far better not to judge and just concentrate on YOU and yours.
I also used to hate my FREE time and would ensure I was out on my Free time, I would feel if I wasn’t out I was missing out on finding myself a new man ;0). Now, I LOVE my Free time. Im very self sufficient. I have had a few relationships but I have grown very fussy. I learnt what I do and don’t want from my 13 year relationship/marriage from which I have my gorgeous children. Therefore I know what I want from a relationship in the future and whilst I'm willing to compromise on some things, I know that until that special man comes along I'm very happy on my own.
I have always been a pretty positive person but in 2009 I really began to invest in my own personal development – I became part of a wonderful business community of like minded people on the internet and I also met them at conferences. I cannot tell you what this has done for me. Some 9 ¾ years on from my marriage breaking up I am a different person: confident, independent, very happy, self empowered and loving my life.
I know now from experience, we Can and Will get through anything – its all about attitude. Focussing on the outcome and belief in yourself.
If you’re a single parent and wanting some guidiance/tips/help, please feel free to contact me or check out my blog.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
- A myriad of pumpkin recipes to make you drool and turn to your furnace, by Hybrid Rasta Mama
- A very nice article on Free Your Parenting about introducing babies to music.
- "How Kids Learn to Control Their Emotions", on AHA! Parenting
- All that matters is a healthy baby... or is it. Mama Birth questions the attitude of obstetrics towards birth experience.
- 9 Healing Herbs and How to Use Them in Your Cooking. The pics accompanying this article alone are enough to make you drool, and I'm proud to say that I use most of them on a daily basis.
- 5 Tips to take lovely pics of your children. A great article, documented by the photographers pic of her daughter over time, by Babymoon Photography
Saturday, October 22, 2011
I recently got a request on my Facebook page about parenting peacefully when you have a teen. Now, I think much of peaceful parenting is the same no matter the age of your child. Respect and trust need to be the basics of your parenting toolbox.
As I have a toddler right now, I went searching for links by bloggers who have teens themselves.
- The site Parenting Teenagers offers a vast amount of articles on different topic (e.g. Guiding your teen in his dealing with peer pressure)
- Sandra Dodd's list of links on teens and some more
- Parenting Teens on Peaceful Parenting dot com"Accept the reality that you cannot control your child’s behavior. You can only influence it. You have never been able to control your child’s behavior, it just appeared otherwise."
- The Zombie Princess addresses the issue of Trust and how it is deformed in mainstream parenting: "what a traditional parent really means when she says she trusts her kid to make good choices is that she trusts her teen to make the same choices she would choose for him."
- A beautiful example of Non-Violent Communication with teens on Aha Parenting
- Unlearnt At Last writes about adult reactions to teens and respect.
- The Freedom To Make Mistakes follows up on the article by The Zombie Princess, mentioned above
- The Importance of Family Dinner
- Chores: Great Idea or Epic Fail and a post about the same topic on Just A Bald Man: The Cleaning/chores Question
- A guest post by Diane Janis with an exercise on the importance of modeling desired behavior
- The Case Against Coercion
- Non-Violent Communication
Friday, October 21, 2011
Yesterday, my daughter saw me looking at a color palette and came to sit next to me. “I like his yellow,” she said, pointing to a bright and sunny hue, “but this blue is great too!”. This time she was aiming for a primary blue.
My daughter loves colors and she loves to inquire about them. She specifically likes the special names like ‘purple’ or ‘magenta’ and loves to compare colors: “these two are the same! This is somewhat the color of my doggies nose, but not really.” Then she proudly brings the color samples forward and asks me how I call this color. I’ll say something like old pink, and then she’ll go to my husband and ask the same question, probably getting a different answer (he’ll probably say just red or pink).
|Image: Capture Queen on Flickr|
Yet when quizzed about colors, she will say anything that makes your head spin. ANd people so like to quiz children about color, because when a three year old doesn’t ‘know her colors’, obviously, this can only mean one of two things:
- she is not being instructed correctly
- she is colorblind
So quite often, I end up having a discussion that goes a little something like this:
- Little monster seems to have trouble with colors.
- No, she knows them well. She just doesn’t like it when people quiz her about it.
- But are you sure she sees them correctly? I mean, she might not be seeing them well.
- She sees them alright, she just thinks it’s annoying when people ask her about it.
- But are you actively teaching her about colors?
- No, I think she’ll pick it up well without having to sit down and look at a color wheel to define the primary colors.
It makes me wonder why people are so concerned with children, up from the time they become verbal ‘knowing their colors’. Sure, even a colorblind person will end up knowing the sky is blue and the grass is (usually) green. moreover, colors are something so personal! You can see terra cotta where I see orange. Isn’t it much better to let our children discover the full specter, the beauty of color, it’s intensities and mixture and adaptation through light, on their own pace. Why is it so important for a child to answer ‘red’ when you show them a red dot in a picture book?
And what if the child is indeed colorblind? Aren’t you shaming and frustrating him with the constant testing and quizzing? You don’t ask a paralyzed child to ‘grab the bear’ every time you see them either, because that would be insensitive.
If I were in doubt that my child was colorblind, I would present her with a suitable test (which are available online) in due time. In the mean time, we’re all happy when she marvels about similar colors and changing colors.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
It has been usual for men to think and say, "Many men are slaves because one is an oppressor; let us hate the oppressor." Now, however, there is among an increasing few a tendency to reverse the judgement, and to say, "One man is an oppressor because many are slaves; let us despise the slaves." The truth is that oppressor and slave are cooperators in ignorance, and, while seeming to afflict each other, are in reality afflicting themselves. A perfect Knowledge perceives the action of law in the weakness of the oppressed and the misapplied power of the oppressor. A perfect Love, seeing the suffering which both states entail, condemns neither. A perfect Compassion embraces both oppressor and oppressed. He who has conquered weakness, and has put away all selfish thoughts, belongs neither to oppressor nor oppressed. He is free.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Controlling of children isn't just about the relationship between an adult and a child. It happens within a broader societal dynamic that is influenced by how we, as a culture, see children and the experience of childhood.
Article first published as Book Review: Natural Life Magazines Green and Healthy Homes by Wendy Priesnitz on Blogcritics.
The book takes you on a tour along the most polluting things around your house, cites the latest studies on their health hazards, and offers options to avoid all these toxins and hazardous chemicals.
From cleaning to gardening to construction, the author leaves no stone unturned to green up your house. She discusses pro’s and cons of alternatives and the environmental impact of their production process, transportation and much more. The book does not dwell on theory alone, but offers real practical tips you can readily apply at your home.
Offering ideas for small changes to drastic improvements, this book is a real recommendation for anyone who wants sounder air and a smaller ecological impact.
The book is mostly aimed at homeowners, since a lot of attention goes to construction material and renovation, but there are quite some tips for people who live in a rental. For people who are well read on the subject, there are still lots of new and refreshing ideas (like the use of window quilts to insulate your windows, or the application of rooftop gardens).
Priesnitz’ writing never lets down, and like her many articles and blogs, this book too is very well written and reads fluently. The only downside for me was the books is obviously targeted at an American audience, which makes some things irrelevant to readers from other territories. However, the baseline of the book is appealing for all audiences.
You can purchase a copy of this book by visiting Natural Life Books, the book is available in softcover as well as in e-book. I received a copy for review purposes.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Getting away for vacation in the summer is pretty standard, but I also enjoy traveling in the fall. It's a great way to appreciate the changing seasons and offers me some late-year fun before the holidays arrive. The Midwest offers many destinations for the travel-minded – locales that offer culture, fresh food, and a variety of entertainment that will suit families from all backgrounds. Here are some of my family's favorite places to visit.
Conner Prairie – Fishers, IN
Going to Conner Prairie Interactive History Park has been a longstanding tradition for my family. No matter how old the members of our party, we're all children when the Headless Horseman rides through the woods during a haunted hayride. Our visit offers the chance to make S'Mores, sing "Scary-o-ke," and see the Legend of Sleepy Hollow puppet show. It's a great way to celebrate fall before the weather turns wintry and it offers interactivity for younger folks.
Roosevelt Theatre – Chicago, IL
When deciding what to do in Chicago, options abound. In the past, my family has enjoyed touring the city by trolley, visiting Navy Pier, the Planetarium, or admiring the changing foliage after a walk through a local park. Consider taking in a show at the Roosevelt Theatre. It's a great place to see a dance company perform, such as The Joffrey Ballet or Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and a wonderful way to take the chill off after a day of sightseeing.
Soulard Farmers' Market – St. Louis, MO
If you're looking for local history and good food, visit Soulard Farmers' Market in St. Louis. Open year-round, the market is a great place to pick up seasonal foods, sample baked goods, and grab a bite. A great place to teach kids about proper nutrition, the indoor/outdoor market also offers the adults in my family the chance to sample local brews and wines.
Crazy Wisdom Bookstore & Tea Room – Ann Arbor, MI
Located near the University of Michigan, Crazy Wisdom is a great landing place after crunching through the leaves on campus. Stop in for gifts and books about spirituality, holistic health, and raising your consciousness, and make time to go upstairs to the tea room where you can sample more than 100 varieties of tea. This year's Halloween bash includes folk music and a costume contest with prizes.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts – Nashville, TN
Along with an exhibit about Egypt, the Frist's fall offerings include chances for family members of all ages to make art during the Habitat for Humanity Fall Festival. A great chance to introduce people of all ages to the wonderful world of museums, visiting the Frist also exposes visitors to art that celebrates photography, video, and multimedia.
Getting away for a fall trip is generally pretty easy to do, especially when so many great cities are only a few hours' drive away. I like that I can enjoy art, culture, and incredible scenery without spending every last cent in my wallet, something I think all families can appreciate. What are some of your favorite fall destinations?
Sunday, October 16, 2011
- What can bring on premature weaning in a child? Analytical Armadillo investigates the topic.
- "Thriving, Not Just Surviving Childhood", a very true post by The Organic Sister.
- Why do children battle bedtime? The answer on Psychology Today: "In all other cultures, infants and young children sleep in the same room and usually in the same bed with one or more adult caregivers, and bedtime protest is non-existent. What infants and young children protest, apparently, is not going to bed per se, but going to bed alone, in the dark, at night."
- New recommendations on the approach to Shoulder Dystocia, on Birth Sense
- Another article advocating delayed cord clamping
- Make fall leaves with broken crayons! Cool little project! on McCrenshaw.
- Making sparkly monsters out of PlayDoh, an activity my daughter will certainly appreciate.
- With the cold times coming to the northern hemisphere, I thought it was a good idea to share this lovely chicken stock recipe with you.
Friday, October 14, 2011
What always amazes me is that while there is so much talk all around about love and sex and building healthy relationships, there is so little said about birth. It's as if birth wasn't a natural part of this beautiful process of falling in love and having sex, but rather as if it were some scary, dangerous disease that one can get by talking about it.
written by Danielle
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) is not as specific a term as those unaffected may think. The erectile dysfunction umbrella covers everything from psychological impotence to
peyronies disease. All types of ED vary in level of severity and permanence. With differing levels of success, each form of ED does come with treatment options. But when a heterosexual couple is trying to get pregnant, the stresses of ED become spotlighted.
Unfortunately, ED is not only a stumbling block for a healthy sex life, because it is tied so closely to the idea of physical wellness it can create a lot of emotional baggage for a couple when they start to feel "unhealthy" or "unfit."
We like to pretend otherwise, but when a man and woman are trying to get pregnant sex stops being a spontaneous act of affection, and it transitions to more of a math equation.
The likelihood of ovulation + sperm count multiplied by the frequency of sex + a fertility friendly diet and lifestyle = baby-making optimization.
A lot of women start mapping their ovulation cycles while a lot of men start worrying about their performance. With men any inability to impregnate (whether it is a low sperm count, libido plaguing stress, or ED) can make him feel inadequate. The idea of sex manifests into a feeling of failure instead of joy. The delicacy of this issue makes it a difficult discussion topic for many couples, but shirking communication is the last thing one should do.
|Image: Jenny Downing on Flickr|
Talking openly helps. Validating each other is extremely important so that neither partner starts to feel inadequate. Explore options together, making the entire process more logical and mechanical than emotional. The biggest battle is figuring out exactly what you are dealing with. Of course, the aid of a doctor is a valuable resource, but couples can do a lot of exploring on their own as well.
ED can occur for a variety of reasons. Low amounts of testosterone, issues with blood circulation or diabetes and neurological problems are all possible causes. If someone experiencing ED already suffers from one of these, then their problem is most likely a side effect of the previously discovered condition.
Many medications have sexual side effects. Peyronie's disease (a bent or curved penis) and complications with radiation therapy, colon, prostate, bladder or rectum surgery can also cause ED. Smoking is another factor that has been shown to have a negative influence on performance.
If you or your partners have experienced any of the items above then it may be the result of ED. All of these causes should be addressed between a couple sensitively; however, the psychological causes of ED are probably the most sensitive. Performance anxiety, depression, stress and fatigue can all have huge effects on someone's performance. In this case single or couples therapy may be more valuable than medication or lifestyle adjustment, but an open and communicative relationship is the most important thing. In all cases, sensitivity is the best policy.
Danielle is a free spirit who tries to consider Mother Nature in all decisions she makes. From eating organics to rigorous recycling habits, Danielle offers advice and tips for healthy living on eatbreatheblog
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Article first published as Book Review: A Rule is To Break by John and Jana on Blogcritics.
The least you can say about “A Rule is to Break” is that it’s a children’s book unlike any other, that’s miles away from the overly moralizing children’s book.
The book is a set of non-rules, tips to achieving anarchy and creating mayhem, accompanied by fresh, modern drawings of a small blue-haired child. The little leading lady is anything but miss goody two shoes and follows her own whims and impulses. The lovely artwork in this book were done by Jana, who previously worked with big publishing houses such as Penguin, Random House, Harper Collins and many others.
Most of the tips in this book are things my daughter lives by, so I found myself smiling and nodding throughout the pages. Some of the suggestions made me frown, which is a good thing, because it also makes us parents question our attitudes.
“There are no rules. Do. What. You. Want.”
“A Rule is to Break” is a refreshing children’s. I recommend it strongly for children who don’t want to fall in line and parents who are looking for something different that is not about getting your child to conform. If you are done with moralistic children’s books who just want to mold your child into the ‘good kid’, “A Rule is to Break” is a great place to start. With humorous suggestions and fresh, lively drawings.
You can get your own copy of this book by visiting www.auntyunclebooks.com, for only 9,99 USD. I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
In Europe, five hundred years ago, men tortured and burned the Wise Women who healed with herbs, the midwives, the ones who celebrated the cyclical ways. Calling them witches, they burned them in the millions and broke the flow of mother to daughter transmission. In the Americas, their sons down the way killed the medicine women and curanderas, the Wise Women of the New World. Then they denied the existence of Wise Women in history.
Without our connection to each other and the earth, without our mother’s wisdom, we forgot our power. When we were told that we had no souls, and no minds, and no sisters, we believed it was true. When they told us that childbearing was too dangerous and difficult for women, midwives, and herbs, we believed it was true.
Welcome to the October Carnival of Natural Parenting: Money Matters
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how finances affect their parenting choices. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
Ah Money... another one of those topics that can bring many a parent to a cringe. Because how do you approach the subject with your child? How do you ensure they don’t become spoiled or wasteful?
For our family, something we really want to avoid in our parenting is to overvalue money. Money is such a big thing in Western Society, and tends to become overvalued. Instead of happiness or joy, people seek monetary success. So much general speech is already value or money laden, think only about sayings like : “if the price is right”, “money makes the world go round”... To counter all that artificial value placed on money, we deliberately avoid phrases like: “that was expensive” when our child is being wasteful. Instead, we talk about emotional value of objects or the impact of being wasteful on the environment and the scarcity of things, maybe even the difficulty we had to acquire it (and believe me, here in DRC, everything is difficult to acquire.
But the way your child learns to think about money isn’t only about what you say about it, it’s also how you act about it.
Our living situation largely helps in our vision on monetary issues, as we live really really remotely, money isn’t a big part of our daily lives. We don’t go on buy nothing days, we can go for weeks without spending any cash. We use insurance comparison shopping to save money. We get some supplies once a month and harvest the rest from our garden. Sometimes we get lucky and we can buy a banana alongside the road.
Now that she’s three, she gets to ‘purchase’ and pay for certain things when we happen to be in a store (mostly when we’re away on holiday). She’ll be able to pick out something she likes and then we’ll give her the money to give to the store clerk.
All things put together, I think as a family we try to put little value on money. We don’t live frugally, but we can’t be called wasteful either. I think it’s more important to instill economical values on my child for environmental reasons than for budgetary reasons.
Code Name: Mama and Hobo
Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Money Matter$ — Jenny at I'm a full-time
mummy shares her experiences on several ways to save money as a parent.
- A different kind of life... — Mrs Green from Little Green
Blog shares her utopian life and how it differs from her current one!
- Show Me The Money! — Arpita of Up, Down &
Natural shares her experience of planning for parenting costs while also balancing the
financial aspect of infertility treatments.
- Material v Spiritual
Wealth - Living a Very Frugal Life with Kids — Amy at Peace 4
Parents shares her family's realizations about the differences between material and
- If I Had a Money Tree — Sheila at A Gift
Universe lists the things she would buy for her children if money were no object.
- Financial Sacrifices, Budgets, and the Single Income
Family — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the
importance of living within your means, the basics of crafting a budget, and the "real cost" of
working outside of the home.
- Overcoming My Fear of All Things Financial — Christine at
African Babies Don't Cry shares how she is currently overcoming her fear of
money and trying to rectify her ignorance of all things financial.
- Confessions of a Cheapskate — Adrienne at
Mommying My Way admits that her cheapskate tendencies that were present
pre-motherhood only compounded post-baby.
- Money Matters — Witch
Mom hates money; here's why.
- Money? What Money?! — Alicia C. at McCrenshaw's Newest Thoughts describes how decisions she's made have resulted in little income, yet a green lifestyle for her and her family.
- What matters. — Laura at Our Messy Messy
Life might worry about spending too much money on the grocery budget, but she will
not sacrifice quality to save a dollar.
- Making Ends
Meet — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter shares about being a
working mom and natural parent.
- Poor People, Wealthy Ways — Sylvia at
MaMammalia discusses how existing on very little money allows her to set an
example of how to live conscientiously and with love.
- The Green Stuff — Amyables at Toddler In
Tow shares how natural parenting has bettered her budget - and her perspective on
creating and mothering.
- Jemma's Money — Take a sneak peek at That Mama
Gretchen's monthly budget and how Jemma fits into it.
- 5 Tips for How to Save Time and Money by Eating Healthier —
Family meal prep can be expensive and time-consuming without a plan! Dionna at
Code Name: Mama shares five easy tips for how to make your cooking life
(and budget) easier.
- Belonging in the Countryside — Lack of money led Phoebe at
Little Tinker Tales towards natural parenting, but it also hinders her from
realizing her dream.
- Total Disclosure and Total
Reform — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl gets
down to the nitty gritty of her money problems with hopes that you all can help her get her budget
- Save Money by Using What You Have — Gaby at
Tmuffin is only good with money because she's lazy, has trouble throwing
things away, and is indecisive. Here are some money-saving tips that helped her manage to quit
her job and save enough money to become a WAHM.
- Two Hippos & Ten Euros: A Lesson in Budgeting —
MudpieMama shares all about how her boys managed a tight budget at a
recent zoo outing.
- ABBA said it — Laura from A Pug in the
Kitchen ponders where her family has come from, where they are now and her hopes
for her children's financial future.
- Money vs. Time — Momma Jorje writes about
cutting back on junk, bills, and then ultimately on income as well ~ to gain something of greater
- An Unexpected Cost of Parenting — Moorea at
MamaLady shares how medical crises changed how she feels about
planning for parenthood.
- 5 Ways This Stay at Home Mom Saves Money — Charise at
I Thought I Knew Mama shares 5 self-imposed guidelines that help her spend
as little money as possible.
- Frugal Parenting — Lisa at My World
Edenwild shares 8 ways she saves money and enriches her family's lives at the same
- Conscious Cash Conscious — Zoie at
TouchstoneZ shares her 5 money-conscious considerations that balance her
family’s joy with their eco-friendly ideals.
- Money, Sex and Having it All — Patti at Jazzy
Mama explains how she's willing to give up one thing to get another. (And just for fun,
she pretends to give advice on how to build capital in the bedroom.)
- Money could buy me ... a clone? — With no local family to help
out, Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wants childcare so she can
take care of her health.
- Spending Intentionally — CatholicMommy
loves to budget! Join her to learn what to buy, what not to buy, and, most importantly, where to
- New lessons from an allowance — Lauren at Hobo
Mama welcomes a follow-up guest post from Sam about the latest lessons their
four-year-old's learned from having his own spending money.
- How to Homeschool without Spending a Fortune — Deb
Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares tips and links to many resources
for saving money while homeschooling from preschool through high school.
- It's Not a Baby Crisis. It's Not Even a Professional Crisis. —
Why paid maternity leave, you may ask? Rachael at The Variegated Life has
- "Making" Money — Do you like to do-it-yourself? Amy at
Anktangle uses her crafty skills to save her family money and live a little
- Money On My Mind — Luschka at Diary of a First
Child has been thinking about money and her relationship with it, specifically how it
impacts on her parenting, her parenting choices, and ultimately her lifestyle.
- Spending, Saving, and Finding a Balance — Melissa at
The New Mommy Files discusses the various choices she and her family
have made that affect their finances, and finds it all to be worth it in the end.
- Accounting for Taste — Cassie at There's a Pickle in
My Life shares their budget and talks about how they decided food is the most
important item to budget for.
- Money Matters... But Not Too Much — Mamapoekie at
Authentic Parenting shares how her family approaches money without putting
too much of a focus onto it.
- Parenting While Owning a Home Business — In a guest post at
Natural Parents Network, Lauren at Hobo Mama lays out
the pros and cons of balancing parenting with working from home.
- Crunchy Living is SO Expensive...Or Is It? — Kelly at
Becoming Crunchy talks about her biggest objection to natural living - and her
surprise at what she learned.
- Mo' Money, Mo' Problems — Sarah at Parenting God's
Children shares how a financial accountability partner changed her family's
- The Importance of Food Planning — Amanda at Let's
Take the Metro discusses how food budgeting and planning has helped her, even if
she doesn't always do it.
- Kids & Money: Starting an Allowance for Preschoolers —
Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses her family's approach and
experiences with starting an allowance for preschoolers.
Monday, October 10, 2011
It's been a while since I wrote a non-informational post and wasted some cyberspace on blabbing about the exiting changes on my blog! So without further ado:
I also added a couple of affiliates, again on the left sidebar. So if you shop there, my efforts will be rewarded. If you check out the left sidebar, from top to bottom:
The first Affiliate is Dreamstime, a stock imagery site, where I get lots of the beautiful pics on this website. Registration is free and they offer a huge selection of free images.
The second one is the Birth Relaxation Kit. It's a hypnosis and relaxation program, offering some music, some hypnosis recordings and a booklet. I am currently following the program and will let you know how it helped me along when this baby is born. So far, I can say that it's really relaxing and it helped me become more positive, and deal with the stress and anger I had harbored so far.
Below that, you can find a link to an ebook with lots and lots of DIY beauty recipes.
And the last one is the shop for Placenta Benefits, where you can find placenta encapsulation kits, but also lots of pregnancy, birth and postpartum products.
Things To Come
After the birth of this baby, I'll be unloading a storm of giveaways on you! I'll be reviewing lots of postpartum pads, and will do a big 'Post Partum Pad Showdown' with awards (Most Comfortable, Prettiest, Best Washable...). If you want a sneak peek at some of the brands I'll be reviewing, check out their sites!
If you make or sell post partum pads, or know someone who does, it's not to late to enter a product (this baby is due at the end of December), contact me: mamapoekie at yahoo dot com
Sunday, October 9, 2011
- Essential oil remedies for children, on NPN, written by Dionna Ford, a very comprehensive and extensive list.
- Dealing with your own overcoming emotions when your child blows a fuse is something I struggle with gravely. Some lovely tips on Aha! Parenting.
- So now we know that crying it out and crying alone is bad for our babies, what about crying when they are held? Clare from Free Your Parenting answers this question for us.
- It is often said that you can spoil your child by showing too much affection, and some children to feel smothered by their parent's outpours of love. Can you cuddle you child to much? Free Your Parenting investigates the topic.
- Birth Trauma is a difficult topic as it is, but what about the baby's experience? A thought provoking article from Juno Magazine.
- I don't generally post this kind of articles, but I saw this homemade, recycled Dry Easy Board and just thought: wow!
- Ever wonder why clothes never seem to fit? Here's the answer.
Saturday, October 8, 2011
An older expat friend, who had travelled and lived all over the world, once told us that, upon visiting some Asian country - which one it was, I can't quite remember - he was invited to a feast in a small village. All the guests were served a broth-style soup, which was by far the most awful thing he had ever eaten. When inquiring after the ingredients, he was pointed to a young woman, sitting by the side, holding a tiny newborn.
Turns out in this village, when an infant was born, tradition perscribed that the entire village would feast upon a soup which main ingredient is the newborn's placenta (yet there were other probably much more disgusting ingredients added).
|Image: lunar caustic on Flickr|
Now I must admit, when I gave birth, safe from glancing at it for a moment, the placenta wasn't something I spent much time considering. Yet lately, I have been reading articles about placenta encapsulation, stir-frying, burrying the placenta...
Placenta in the animal kingdom
With just a few exceptions, most mammals eat the placenta immediately after birth, this behavior is called placentophagy.Even herbivores eat the afterbirth (except for the camel). In Marsupials, the placenta is resorbed.
For long it was believed that animals ate the placenta to hide the smell for possible predators. Yet this theory is being refuted because they do not ingest the amniotic fluid released at the birth. Research has shown there are a multitude of reasons why placentaphagy exists in animals.
One of the main reasons the placenta is eaten in the animal world, is because of his high nutritive value.
A second explanation for this behavior is for the effect of the prostaglandin it contains on the uterus, i.e. the retraction of the uterus to its original size (involution). Third, the placenta also contains oxytocin, which soothes stress from the birth and eases milk ejection.
Recent research has shown that the most important reason why the placenta is ingested, might be it's effect on post-partum pain (by enhancement of the body's natural opiates).
Rites and traditions
Eventhough the placenta is mostly discarded in Western society, other cultures have rites and traditions when handling the placenta. Much like previosly mentioned with chimpansees, some cultures leave the placenta attached to the umbilical cord and the child until the cord dries up, which is called Lotus Birth.
In a lot of those rites, the placenta is either burned or buried with some extent of ceremony (Maori, Navajo, Costa Rica, Cambodia,...). Ibo people in Nigeria consider the placenta to be the deceased twin of their child and bury it with full funeral rites.
"In most cultures childbirth is very important and the child is cherished. The placenta is a very important issue that must be disposed of properly or the child will not have a good life." (*)When the placenta is buried, it is often done close to the child's home. The reason therefor is to prevent children from scattering too far from home and to always have them come back to their maternal home. Often a tree or shrub is planted in the spot the placenta has been buried. If one opts for planting a tree, one must wait up until a year after the placenta burial, because the hormones and nutrients it contains are too strong and most firts be broken down. (If it has been frozen for an amount of time this problem does not occur.)
"After digging an appropriately sized hole, score the sides of the hole so the soil is more amenable to tender roots. Put the placenta in, and cover it with a half to a full inch of soil before placing the plant on top of it. Hold the plant steady while the rest of the hole is filled. Water the plant well after planting. Newly planted trees and shrubs need to be watered on a regular basis the first year until they form a good root system. As the placenta breaks down in the soil, the tree or shrub will reap the benefits of all the nutrients packed in that placenta."(*)
Here in Ivory Coast the placenta is considered as something very potent. Not just anybody can handle it after birth. In small villages, most often the birthing woman's mother (or trusted person) retrieves the placenta after birth and quickly goes off to hide it. It is then buried on a place only the mother and the trusted person know about. This is done so because they believe that the placenta could be used to do harm to the mother or the child.
Even in Western society, some return to some form of ceremony concerning the placenta, which often involves burial. The rites involved are the family's personal choice and can be based on other traditional ceremonies.
Other people use the placenta for art projects (placenta prints or membrane art), in a way to commemorate the birth. These artworks are done either by posing the placenta on a sheet of paper as is, or adding paint or ink. I also came across alternative rituals like naming it or hanging it in a tree.
Placentophagy in humans
While most culture believe the placenta to be of enormous spiritual value, only few cultures eat the placenta. Yet even in the Western there are those that advocate ingestion, here's a list of supposed benefits from placentophagy:
- prevent post-partum depression
- prevent post partum hemmorage
- prevent insomnia and sleep disorders
- increase energy level
- gives the mother a nutritional boost
- recover quickly from childbirth
- optimize lactation
- blood stem cells
- Vitamins and minerals (B6)
- rich in iron and protein
Another scientifically proven use of human placenta is to reduce menopausal symptoms and fatigue.
If even modern day science can prove these uses of human placenta, than I wonder why it isn't propagated more.
Preparing the placenta for ingestion
If one chooses to take the plunge and consume the placenta, there are many ways in which this can be done.
- cooked or steamed
"...the fresh placenta should be eaten within the first few days after the birth (refrigeration is a necessity). Any time beyond this, it should be preserved by freezing it, dehydrating it into "placenta jerky" or by making it into a placenta tincture using 100 proof vodka as a preservative..."(*)Cooking:
A variety of recipes exist for cooking the placenta, from sandwiches to lasagne. You can find some here.
Dehydrating a placenta can simply be done by drying it in the oven and afterwards grinding it up in a mortar. This is also what's been done previos to encapsulation.
Encapsulation can either be done at home with and encapsulating kit, which you can order online at the Placenta Benefits website.
Or you can have it professionally done. On Fruit of the Womb, the process is described as follows:
"This process includes steaming, drying, grinding and encapsulating the placenta. Every placenta varies in size and substance, therefore the average amount of capsules ranges, between 50-200. The capsules are taken 1-3 times per day for the first 1-3 weeks, or until strength has been restored, and as needed thereafter." (**)Find a specialist in your area. If you want to learn more about encapsulation, you can read my article "Everything You Want To Know About Placenta Encapsulation".
Even though it's use post-partum as preventive treatment for baby blues hasn't been fully researched, the ingestion of human placenta has been proven scientifically to increase milk supply, fight fatigue and decrease menopausal symptoms. In animals it helps the uterus to retract to its original size. Yet it is onknown how cooking or dehydration influences the active substances of the placenta. If the placenta is correctly stored before any cooking, encapsulation or dehydration, there is, however, no risk involved in ingestion. So I'm thinking it might very well be worth the shot.
- One should always check with ones midwife or caregiver if the placenta is healthy, before proceeding with preparation. With some birth practices (for example Lotus Birth) placentophagia will not be possible due to the treatment of the placenta.
- Upon researching this and discussing it with others I found that anything concerning the placenta is pretty much taboo among Westerners, yet Africans have no problem whatsoever discussing it.
What do you think? Tried it? Willing to try it? How would you prepare it? Or have you performed a ritual? Please share!
Friday, October 7, 2011
Actually, all education is self-education. A teacher is only a guide, to point out the way, and no school, no matter how excellent, can give you education. What you receive is like the outlines in a child's coloring book. You must fill in the colors yourself.
Some time ago, I was watching America’s Next Top Model. On the rare occasions I get to watch cable, reality TV is one of my not so guilty pleasures. Especially the kind of shows with a spunk of glamour and glitter.
My father walked in and watched about one second of it, where the girls in the show were acting more than stereotypical, screaming and jumping around because of the arrival of “Tyra Mail”.
“Women are so stupid. Look at them. Aren’t you more intelligent than to watch this? Guess you’re not, you’re just a woman too.”
Just a few things he exclaimed while he stayed put to watch the rest of the episode with me.
I grew up around such comments. But it never was as clear as this time, as I had been away from home for so long and came to the house this time with an altered mindset.
I grew up hating women, even my own mother, because they were silly and ignorant. Intelligent women were rare. Probably I assumed this attitude to gain my father’s love or attention.
For a long while I have thought this. I have lived by it. I didn’t get along well with women, because I felt superior to them, because I had them figured out.
Comments from a university professor that I was “funny and that proves my intelligence, since humor is a rare quality in women, only the intelligent ones possess” actually made me proud, instead of angry and frustrated at the slandering of my gender.
The women I did look up to, were the ones who had made it in a mens world, by becoming cold and bitchy and anti-feminist. That was what I aspired to and thought it took to gain my father’s approval.
Now I know that my father’s approval and unconditional love are simply non-existent and I am not looking for them any more. The couple of years I have spend in the presence of all these intelligent, enlightened women in the birth and parenting community have changed me. Have opened my eyes and have reversed my brainwashing.
It is possible to undo an entire childhood and adolescence of conditioning.
But it got me thinking... How many girls grow up with these comments day in day out, and don’t even notice how harmful they are. How many of these girls grow up to be feminists, renouncing everything that is feminine about themselves and thinking they are the superior for it?
Feminism is about enlightening each other, caring for all females, no matter what their situation is. Instead of aspiring to change all that is feminine, to ‘overcome’ such statements.