Google+ Authentic Parenting: November 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Quote of the Day

To a child, often the box a toy came in is more appealing than the toy itself. - Allen Klein


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Some of the Best Toys for Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers


The fun of Christmas morning is a moment I truly look forward to each and every year. Our traditional pancake breakfast, cuddles with Christmas stories, opening presents, playing with new toys. Ah toys, so many toys! The amount of toys available for sale is mind boggling. Plastic, wood, electronic, green, educational, so many types and categories of toys. Every year, I try to
search for exciting and truly engaging playthings for my three children. Often they turn out to be “non” toys but some regular toys come into the mix too. For our family the toys that get most playtime are the open ended kind.

Here are some of our favorite, kid powered, time tested playthings we may be finding under our tree this year:
Cardboard boxes: What’s not to love about a giant cardboard box? It can be a fort, a train, a race car, a space shuttle…the possibilities are endless. When my first was eighteen months old we started a tradition that the youngest child is gifted with the biggest cardboard box we can find inside of which we place a flashlight and a box of crayons. Every year since this has been the “toy” that has gotten the most play time on Christmas day and many, many days afterwards.
Pillow Case: Another great item for open ended play possibilities; we have used a pillow case as a "hobo sack" to go on pretend journeys, to fill with books to read in a fort, to transport pirate gold treasure. It’s also great for sensory play games such as filling it up with objects of different textures, shapes and sizes and guessing what they are. My five year old recently made up a game where he hides inside a large pillow case and crawls around the house as a “sneaky pillow” that needs to be returned to the couch.
Tunnel: One of the first toys I ever purchased for my first born was a nylon pop up tunnel when he was just starting to crawl. We still own the same tunnel and have used it nearly daily in the last five years. We use it for obstacle races, crawling games, to build forts and walk like monsters, to divide play spaces. It has been a great investment and a much loved plaything. A bonus is that it can be folded and stored away so easily.
Play mats: A wonderful way to spend some one on one time with a child can be to roll out a play mat and invite them to play along. At my house we love to drive around a street play mat that we have, talking, telling stories as we play. My friend Sarah, the mom of three boys, created these very engaging play mats out of felt and fabric. The colors are vibrant and the scenery is very inviting to the imagination, a great plaything for a rainy or snowy day. What I also love about play mats is that they create an instant closeness of the players since the play area is pre-determined but without really constricting the play.
Blocks: Large or small construction blocks, magnetic, foam or wood, really any type of construction block can be a fantastic toy for babies, and beyond. We have a large set of plastic construction blocks that has been handed down through our family over the last ten years. We also have a set of wooden blocks that are great for building towers, cities around the railroad tracks, walls for dinosaurs to knock down. This year we will be adding giant foam blocks to our collection and hoping to spend many hours building bridges, towers and more.
Kitchen Items: Cups, strainers, mixing bowls and spoons, add in some imagination, the hours spent with these items are endless. Stacking cups, pouring beans, sorting spoons the kitchen items are inexpensive and provide excellent learning opportunities too.
Blanket: Perfect for snuggling on a cold winter day, we also love to use a large blanket to create a fort, to take “magic carpet” rides, to shake like a parachute, to fill with cotton balls and make snow, to sit on and have a teddy bear picnic, to play ghost and peek-a-boo.
We have lots of the more "traditional" toys like a doll house, rail set, a play kitchen, board games and a collection of playmobil that is very loved too.
So what toys will you be getting for your child(ren) this year? What has been your child’s all time favorite toy?
Peace & Be Well,
MudpieMama

Edited to add this special offer!! Sarahdesigns has offered one lucky reader the chance to purchase any ONE item from her shop* with a special 15% off discount. If you are interested - check out her store here: Sarahdesigns on Etsy - Sarah is the mom of three boys and very creative and talented. (Neither Authentic Parenting or I have received compensation to promote sarahdesigns playmats, I just really like them!) Leave a comment bellow to enter. Winner will be chosen at random on December 5th and notified via email. *purchase must be made via etsy at the sarahdesigns store.
Ariadne (aka Mudpiemama) has three children, she practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. She believes parents and children should try to have fun everyday and love life.


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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Birthing Wisdom from a Three Year Old

My daughter and I sitting in the bathroom, when she asks me:
“Mommy, how is the baby going to be born?”
“Through my vagina, honey... Is that what you are asking about?” I wonder because we have talked about birth quite often and she has seen lots of birth movies.
She thinks for a while: “Yes. It is...”
She hops of the stool with a twinkle in her eye: “so your vagina is going to open and become big, big, BIG, like this!” Opening her arms as if to embrace the world.
“Yes it is”, I say, with a big smile.

My daughter has not yet been spoiled by modern birth culture (or at least not too much) and she has inherent trust in my body’s ability to birth this baby and in nature.
We could all learn from our toddlers... so for this birth, I’m holding on to the visualization of my vagina opening and becoming big, big, BIG... Large enough to embrace the world.


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Monday, November 28, 2011

Down To Earth Toys Giveaway (12/18, US & Can)

Down to Earth Toys is a US-based online toy shop, offering a nice selection of natural Toys, and over 90% of the toys are made in the USA. They offer a large selection of toys for babies as well as for children, each one unique and stimulating.
The shop is run by Carrin, a stay at home mother who cares deeply about nature.


For this giveaway, you can win a wooden Bath Tub Boat, like this one (Value 22,95 USD). Make sure to mention in the comment if the boat is intended for a boy or a girl. (There are different sails)

To win this lovely Bathtub Boat, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

Contest is open to United States and Canadian addresses only.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Down To Earth Toys and tell us which products you liked and specify if the boat is intended for a boy or girl! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box. Give it a try or visit the Rafflecopter tutorial, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!







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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Surf


Arts and Crafts
Pregnancy and Birth
Food

Visit the newest Sunday Surfers: Liberated FamilyMy Semi-Crunchy LifeAnktangleTmuffin and Love Notes Mama. If you want to find out who else is surfing, go to the Sunday Surf page.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab. Newest Surfers will be added to the following Surf, older Surfers are listed on the Sunday Surf page. If you're Surfing and you have a button for me, email it to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.


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Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Influence Of Birth Experience (rerun)

This post was written for the Mother's Day Blog Carnival, hosted by Birth Activist.  If you are interested in participating, write a post about your thoughts on the relation between motherhood and birth, send your entry to birthactivist @ gmail. com by May 7. 


Does birth experience matter to the way we parent our child? It is a question I have been asking myself even before Birth Activist raised it in honor of the Mother's Day Blog Carnival,. Or better: would I have parented differently if I had given birth in any other way? 
I am sure that our birth and the subsequent events have thoroughly influenced the way my daughter 'childs' me (ain't it silly that there is a verb for parenting and not a verb for being someone's child, that shows again that children are seen as mere objects with no course or direction, to be guided by parents alone, but that is totally deviating from the subject - I'll get back to you on this).

For her to have been taken into observation for 24 hours, while I was to weak to be with her, thus leaving us separated for those first important hours of our new life together, certainly made a difference. After mere earthbound moments, she already knew what to do to be able to stay with her mommy when the nurse came around to get her. She would have been unlatched and lying peacefully in my arm, but fiercely resumed suckling when a hospital staff member entered the room. It eventually led to us cosleeping, which was something I was opposed to before she was born. And her stubbornness made us continue down that road.
If she hadn't been taken into obeservation, would we have coslept? 

Moreover, since our birth didn't go exactly as I had wanted, or dreamed it to happen, I think I have been even more focused on doing everything the right way. As much as I read and researched when I was pregnant, I think I have doubled, then tripled and now tenfolded the effort.

But I think what influenced our parenting more than anything was the diagnose of gestational diabetes. For that is what led my OB into urging me to breastfeed for at least a year. I don't think he would have bothered to do so if I hadn't had GD. And maybe I wouldn't have breastfed for as long as I am now. The breastfeeding in turn has led to me finding a wonderful online community, which snowballed me into a lot of the other 'crunchy' parenting choices. 

So all in all, even though it wasn't how I wanted it to turn out, even though there are so many things that went wrong, even through all the man handling (ok womanhandling), it all resulted in positive empowering choices. Would I have gone down the same road if our birth would have been any different? Probably, but I bet it would have taken me longer to find my path.
I am fortunate, for I have found the right path rather quickly, and lucky that the less than perfect birth experience had positive results, but I think it can easily be otherwise. Birth experience does matter. Probably more than we can imagine.


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Friday, November 25, 2011

Uncommon Goods Giveaway (12/16, US)

Uncommon Goods is an online shop that gathers 'unique gifts and creative design', ideal for the holidays, right! They have a huge selection of products for everyone in the family. They also hold handmade and recycled goods.


To have an idea of their products, visit their website. Here are just a few ideas:
- The construction plate: a dinner plate for your tiny Bob the Builder, with trucks and tractors for knife and fork.
- The Mimijumi Baby bottle, designed with the input of mothers, doctors and lactation experts.
- Check out their Top Gifts, which features a selection of the hottest gift items of the moment.


Uncommon Goods is giving away a 50 USD gift certificate!

To take your chance to win this gift certificate, enter by leaving a comment and using our new Rafflecopter system below.

Contest is open to United States addresses only.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Uncommon Goods and tell us something you've learned! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on the blog post.

Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries. If on Blogger, you can enter it like this to foil spambots: mamapoekie {at} yahoo {dot} com

BONUS ENTRIES:
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Just click "Click for instructions" for guidance and then "I did this" — any comments or extra information such as URLs can be entered into the "Extra Info" box.






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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.
~ Christopher Morley


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Shameful Nudity

My daughter is a naked child. She’ll much rather run around the way she was created than in a fancy dress. She tends to spend most of her time naked, in the house, outside the house and when we go out.
Since we’re living in rather ‘untamed’ parts of the world (I’m saying this with an ironic wink, this is not how I see it), this is not much of an issue. Many children here in Congo are naked or barely dressed, and one can even catch adults bathing in the river for anyone to see. It’s just a part of life, nakedness, as much as eating or drinking - and we also do that in public, even in the Western world (shame on us!).
So aside from the occasional comment because our daughter is white and we whites are supposed to be dressed, her nakedness does not cause us a lot of trouble, so we leave her be.

Upon our returning to Belgium for the holidays, it has however often been a source of frustration. How is one to explain to a small child that while it’s perfectly ok to be undressed all the time at home, here, the rules are different? Now she’s almost 3,5, she gets the rules and knows that in Europe, she should dress - at least when she goes out of the house.

It is strange though, that even within this country, when we go to the city, the rules change. All of a sudden, this innocent little naked child creates shock and upheaval. It’s like the more ‘civilized’ people are, the more they become savage.
There is nothing more natural than a naked body, no matter the age or shape or size. So what is the big deal here?
Shamefulness is only in our minds and - as I gave you a taste above - is highly dependent on culture. A great many cultures will look upon our western style of dressing with dismay, there was a time when an ankle was unspeakable.

Nakedness and the tolerance thereof - is not about sexuality. There are a great many cultures where parts we see as inherently sexual are just as commonly shown as legs or arms in the Western World. Our attitude towards the exposed human body is nothing more than culture.

What is covered and undisclosed becomes the object of fantasy, of lust, it is pushed to the marginal brims of our mind. The unspeakable, the unimaginable. It is a gateway into perversion, shamefulness, guilt doubt and sin. SOmething we can clearly see in the nature/sexuality mixup when it comes to breastfeeding.
This has lead to huge disproportions in Western Society, where starlets are being sexualized in glossy ads the size of houses, where (a highly distorted version of) sexuality has been banned to the curtained parts of the DVD-rental shop. Where adolescent men’s only view of the female body come from cosmetically and digitally enhanced movie stars and playboy type magazines.

This is a grim reality for the true human form, and for the cultivation of natural sexuality in our young people (and ourselves for that matter).
Instead of shaming the naked child, we should celebrate her for the beauty and naturally of her body. Instead of less naked we should have more of it, but less of the conceal-reveal kind we see in magazines and advertisements.
The world might just be a better place if we could all be naked, unashamed, the way we were made.


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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

One kind word can warm three winter months. - Japanese proverb


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Holidays, Family & Conflict: 7 Ideas to Maintain Inner Peace.

This Thursday is the American Thanksgiving, marking for many families the official start of the Winter Holiday Season. The love, the laughter, gratitude, parenting conflicts, singing, the delicious foods, the family get-togethers. Wait a minute, parenting conflicts just managed to sneak into all these great holiday things didn’t it. Nothing like the holiday season and festivities to bring about parenting centered conflicts when families get together.

Questions about feeding, advice on sleeping, reccomendations on dealing with tantrums and everything in between, maybe it’s well meaning, maybe it’s small talk, whatever it may be sometimes all those comments and questions from friends, relatives and even strangers can make us parents feel a bit shaken up and lead to conflicts and hurt feelings.

How to cope with annoying questions, how to deal with horrible advice, how to keep your inner peace and not lose your cool at family gathering and festive occasions?


1. Know your triggers: Just knowing which topics or behaviours can have a way of knocking you off balance is already a great step towards keeping your inner peace. When the topics come up, or behaviours surface, breathe and relax in your own inner confidence.

2. Keep yourself grounded: Should anyone start asking, commenting or criticizing on your parenting choices focus your thoughts on you and your family. Think of your wonderful children and all the sweet things they do.

3. Think positively: Remember the reasons you have made your parenting decisions and think of a time when your choices worked so well for you. Maybe there was a time when baby wearing made playing with your toddler so easy or maybe it was that smile from your child when he helped you clean up spilled juice.

4. Stay in neutral: When you are receiving unsolicited advice or worse even admonishment instead of jumping into an argument, try to say something neutral. For example “I will think about that” does not imply acceptance but can help the other party feel acknowledged. Conflicts can lead to learning and growth so it’s not that we should avoid conflicts all together or ignore our feelings, but adding stress to festive events seldomly results in positive feelings.

5. Be Authentic: Don’t try to change your parenting style to please others. If Johnny Jr. spits out hot gravy, it is probably not going to do any good to try using a time out for the first time ever just because you think everyone else expects you to. You and your children will probably be happiest and calmest if you stick with “your normal” regardless of how “un-normal” it may seem to others.

6. Take care: Joy is not going to easily surface in a moment when you feel defensive or attacked. If you feel the need to step away, take a moment to yourself, find another room, breathe and return to yourself fully.

7. Seek perspective: Try to weigh the words that are bothering you, perhaps the intention is truly genuine or the information of that generation is simply different from your own. Maybe asking if your baby is sleeping through the night is really just curiosity, maybe asking if you are *still* breastfeeding is coming from a point of admiration for your commitment.

The holiday season is a fantastic time to build relationships and connection. Staying positive and learning to manage conflict can help keep the peace. The idea is not to ignore our feelings but to acknowledge our state of being, when we receive unwanted advice or difficult questions, when faced with conflict, to stop and feel the warm fuzzy anger riling inside, feel the defensive stance of our feet and then breathe. Instead of jumping into winded explanations, find your center; be in that moment fully grounded in your parenting principles. Trust in yourself to be authentically you.

Are you looking forward to the holiday season? What is difficult for you at family or festive gatherings? How do you deal?

Peace & Be Well,

MudpieMama

Ariadne (aka Mudpiemama) has three children, she practices peaceful,

playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. She believes parents and children should try to have fun everyday and love life.

*Image Credit: Michal Marcol on Freedigitalfotos


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Monday, November 21, 2011

Quote Of The Day

This is the perfect opportunity to touch your own deep emotional truths... to acknowledge and resolve your inner disharmonies, and to recreate your life as you create another life. The emotional changes experienced during pregnancy are not to be avoided, but valued; they are cathartic and valid.
- Midwife quoted in Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year by Susun S. Weed


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Natural Mama Birth and Postpartum Kit

I have been thinking about all that I have to prepare and the things I still have to purchase for this baby’s upcoming birth, and why not make a post of it while we’re at it. Share the wisdom ;)

For the birth
This is a list for homebirth, if you are planning a hospital birth, you will need much less and probably different things. This list may look extensive, but most of the things you’ll probably already have in your home, so it’s just a matter of putting them together in a convenient spot. And all you really need to birth this child is yourself, so everything else is about what makes you comfortable. Some of these items are already grouped if you’re buying a homebirth kit. Make sure to check with your midwife if she has any specific wishes.

for your comfort
  • lots of towels (preferably dark colored ones so you don’t have to work yourself into sweat getting stains out when all you should do is cuddle up with your baby)
  • sweet drinks to keep your blood sugar up during labor, e.g. coconut juice, honey sweetened RRL tea, sweetened nettle tea... Orange juice seems to make lots of birthing women nauseous some women prefer sports drinks, if you’re going with that option, make sure they’re organic
  • aromatherapy oils, homeopathic birth kit or herbal supplies
  • candles
  • nice music
  • ice
  • straws
  • birth ball
  • flannels for cooling your forehead
  • a little note for yourself or your husband with the numbers of who to call (doula, midwives, photographer... whomever you want around)
  • a crock pot or thermos with hot water (for compresses) and fresh ginger root - ginger on the compresses helps the blood flow to the perineal region to facilitate stretching
  • snacks and drinks - ready made, no fuss ones for you and the people attending your birth
  • your birth plan - if you have one
  • a camera
  • mirror - to follow the birth yourself
  • labor outfit - even if you’ll end up birthing naked, you might want to spend the first moments of labor in a comfy outfit
  • warm socks
  • hot water bottle or cherry pit pillow - for relief and pre-heating the baby’s clothes
  • bed in the room you want to give birth in - even if you’re planning a waterbirth, you can’t know in advance where you’ll end up birthing, and it might be nice to lay down afterwards to snuggle with your baby
  • soft toilet paper
  • sweet almond oil
  • extra set of sheets
medical supplies
  • baby scales - check with your midwife if you’re having an assisted birth, because she might have them available.
  • cotton squares, sterilized and bagged - to hold up against the vulva for relief
  • 2 small pots/buckets - for birthing the placenta etc
  • plastic sheet for covering the floor of wherever you’re standing
  • water resistant sheet for the bed
  • arnica pills
  • good lighting source + extension cable - if there need to be some stitches
  • soap in a pump and towel - for doctor or midwife
  • sponge and kitchen towel - for cleaning everything up
  • 2 large garbage bags
  • 1 box of sterile gauze
  • roll of non-sterile gauze
  • bottle of disinfectant
  • soft cream (cf. calendulacream)
  • balm - for the baby and yourself
  • cold-hotpack
  • cord clamp
Make sure the birth room can be well heated, cold has a negative effect on labor and birth


Image: Oana Hogrefe Photography
If you’re having a waterbirth
  • a birth pool and supplies - it’s best to buy/rent a kit that comes with a pump, waterbirth net etc.
  • waterproof torch
  • bathrobe


Overnight bag for hospital transfer
  • disposable underwear
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • soap
  • any other toiletries you may need
  • towel
  • comfortable pajama/nightgown and bathrobe


Postpartum


For baby
  • cloth wipes
  • newborn cloth diapers
  • some clothes for the baby, size newborn and 1 month
  • cloth diaper stash size small
  • cotton newborn hat
  • receiving blankets
Other
  • placenta encapsulation supplies or lotus birth supplies if you decide to go with either
  • postpartum tea
  • nursing tea
  • fennel seeds - for you to drink as an infusion, if your baby has cramps or colic
  • postpartum cloth pads
  • sitz bath mix
  • post-partum pain relief of your choice
  • fresh set of comfortable clothes for the mother
  • comfortable nightwear with front buttons
  • frozen meals for the week after birth (or you can ask a friend to set up a food tree)
  • peri bottle - for spraying the vaginal area after using the toilet
Keep everything packed neatly until the day of birth in three boxes (post partum, baby and birth) and a suitcase (for transfer).

If you find anything missing on this list, or have any remarks, please share, so I can update it.


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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Surf


Parenting
Pregnancy and Birth
Arts and Crafts
Visit the newest Sunday Surfers: Liberated FamilyMy Semi-Crunchy LifeAnktangleTmuffin and Love Notes Mama. If you want to find out who else is surfing, go to the Sunday Surf page.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab. Newest Surfers will be added to the following Surf, older Surfers are listed on the Sunday Surf page. If you're Surfing and you have a button for me, email it to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.


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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Calming the Storm - Rerun

Relaxation & visualization techniques dressed in play.

It’s the end of a long, rainy morning; we have waited in lines and in traffic. We enter the house, damp and cold, jackets hit the floor and shoes fly. Small feet are running wild. The block tower in the middle of the carpet gets leveled with one precise kick and baby is startled. Cries, screams, whining - Three little creatures need me - now! It’s time to squelch the chaos.

How to reconnect with three little ones, at once, meaningfully and calm the storm? Time to pull out some time tested tricks; massage, relaxation and visualization all dressed up in play.

First I invite everyone aboard the massage train. This is a favorite with my three-year-old and five-year-old alike and something easily played while nursing. It is all about imitating massage moves and paying forward to the person sitting in front of you. We sit in a line, first me, baby in my lap nursing, the boys in front of us, ahead of each other. We play this often enough; we have names for various massage strokes.

We start with a simple circular motion with a flat hand, which I announce with “warm up.” We move onto “kitty-cat”, a light scratching in a vertical motion. Next is “circles”, which is making circles with finger tips and then move on to “hacking”, which is a light chopping motion with the sides of the hands and everyone says “aaahhh” including baby (while still nursing) which makes everyone giggle.

The boys ring a pretend bell by saying “ding-ding-ding” which means the person in the very front moves to the back of the line. My five year old is now leading. “Warm up”, then “poking” and “water fall” which is moving hands from the persons hair all the way down their back in a swooping motion. The bell comes again, my three year old is now choosing actions, baby has moved from nursing to sitting and happily being “spider crawled” upon.

Once each child has had a chance to lead the train, I invite them to lay down next to each other. I sit so I can reach their faces and hair for what we call a Reboot. I encourage them to breathe and imagine themselves being tall and still like the mountains, flowing like a river, soft like the fresh grass. Meanwhile, I stroke their hair and face, tug gently on their ears and continue with other gentle touches to their faces and head. Often, the boys will suggest other items to visualize like “say we are strong like gorillas” or “say we can be melted like popsicles.” Baby is laying down on one of my legs, discovering her feet and occasionally patting me and saying “hi mama”.

We breathe "big lion’s breaths" and we relax. The cold and damp has been replaced with warmth and giggles. The traffic jam and errands are history. We are in synch, connected and calm.

How do you reconnect after a storm?


Peace & Be Well
Mudpiemama

Ariadne (aka Mudpiemama) has three children, she practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. She believes parents and children should try to have fun everyday and love life. Check out her previous posts on AP here:

Introducing Mudpiemama - New Contributing Writer

Joy of Eating...Family Style

I am a cleaning robot beep!beep!


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Friday, November 18, 2011

Raising a Paleo Child

Originally posted at Give an Earthly

Image: Egan Snow on Flickr
My family has been on the paleo diet for almost two years now. The paleo diet (also primal or caveman diet) is not so much a diet as a way of life. It is basically a modernized version of the hunter-gatherer diet, renouncing grains, legumes and all processed foods. Some versions of the diet exclude dairy, but as my family has no digestive issues with dairy, we do eat a small amounts of cheese, butter and the occasional yoghurt.
The main goal is to eat food as close to nature as possible in order to retain nutrients and maintain a healthy body, though, unlike the raw foods movement, cooking is involved. It also involves a healthy amount of the right kind of activity, like our caveman ancestors would have had.
The diet is based on the idea that our bodies have not adapted to our fairly recent sedentary eating style, that of agriculture, with grains and legumes as staple foods, which only exists for about 10 000 years (depending on where you live) - which is, given man’s long evolution, a fairly short amount of time.
Proof of our failure to adapt to this regime is the high amount of gluten intolerance found today (30% of all people in the Western World are said to be gluten intolerant), lactose intolerance and the many many ‘prosperity ilnesses’.

As we’re also unschoolers, enforcing a diet upon all the people in our household is not an option. Neither do we see the paleo diet as a religion, we get to wander out of it a little if it so pleases us, and when we’re invited to people’s houses, we won’t frown upon a piece of cake. Whenever we’re on holiday, we indulge ourselves with the occasional pastry, or chocolate (we are Belgians after all), but by now, we have learned that swarming outside of the paleo diet does us more wrong than the short pleasure of munching down on non-paleo foods.
Before we lived in Congo, the rule was: no non-paleo foods at home and outside, everyone could get what they desire, we did get the odd cookie or candy for our daughter when she asked for it.
Right now, all meals are paleo, except the occasional pizza or pasta dish (about once a month) and we still have some cookies and candies available for our daughter when she wants them. Wherever possible though, I try to bake paleo cookies.

We feel it’s important for her to make her own choices concerning food, and have the occasional talk about which foods do what to our bodies. Even though cookies, some chocolate and candies are available, she rarely eats them anymore, and is happy to watch a movie while munching down on a stick of cauliflower.
As we’ve always been very relaxed about who eats what, we’ve never had any issues regarding food. My daughter is a healthy eater and in great shape. As she grows older, she might want to eat paleo only, or she might not... That will be up to her.


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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Quote Of The Day

While we believe we hold the power to raise our children, the reality is that our children hold the power to raise us into the parents they need us to become.
- Shefali Tsabary


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The Parenting Mirror

Image: Oana Hogrefe Photography
Parenting can offer the ultimate opportunity of overwriting the mistakes in your own education. If you open yourself up to change, in time, and with a lot of conscious effort, you can become a totally different person. Becoming a parent is a life altering experience in itself, no matter how you approach it.
I think that becoming a mother or a father always has a positive effect on a person. I have yet to meet someone who became a lesser man or woman because he or she had a child.

But if you allow yourself to open up, to experience parenting fully, to be fully present and conscious, then it can be very confrontational. For many people, this confrontation is too scary to face.

Every person in your surrounding mirrors your true self to you, but nobody does it better then our children. After all, they are around to see every detail, even the ones you wish would go unnoticed. They echo the words you speak and they mimic your behavior. What they pick up easiest are often the things you don’t know about yourself.

So the next time your child behaves in a manner that bothers you, try to figure out if it is not something that bothers you about yourself. If he says something you dislike, maybe it’s time to revise the way you speak to him.
Accept your child’s behavior, not as a critique on your character, but as an act of affection. After all, he only mimics you because you mean the world to him.

“If there is anything we wish to change in the child, we should examine it and see that it is not something that could be better changed in ourselves.”
- C.G. Jung


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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quote Of The Day

‎”The way a society views a pregnant and birthing woman, reflects how that society views women as a whole. If women are considered weak in their most powerful moments, what does that mean?”
– Marcie Macari


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Monday, November 14, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Natural childbirth is NOT a cult, nor does it have any religious, political, or racial affiliation or bias.
- Grantly Dick-Read 


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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Surf


Breastfeeding

Parenting
Pregnancy and Birth
  • Nuchal cord management, breaking a couple of myths on Delayed Cord Clamping: "Practitioners should know routinely checking, unlooping or cutting a nuchal cord is unnecessary and can have serious consequences for the baby."
Arts and Crafts
Health

Visit the newest Sunday Surfers: Liberated FamilyMy Semi-Crunchy LifeAnktangleTmuffin and Love Notes Mama. If you want to find out who else is surfing, go to the Sunday Surf page.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab. Newest Surfers will be added to the following Surf, older Surfers are listed on the Sunday Surf page. If you're Surfing and you have a button for me, email it to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.


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Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fatherhood, Gendering and Feminism (rerun)

My dear friend Jeff Sabo asked on FB a while back why there isn't a 'Fathering' magazine. He is completely right. Parenting from the father's side is still a complete obscure subject. While there are some dad bloggers out there, they are still a minority, and in general, when it comes to dads blogging, they are mostly profiled as professionals (doctors, psychologists...) instead of fathers.

When it comes to parenting, men are still completely out of the picture... It goes as far that when men are implied in parenting, they get scrutinized. If men want to share a family bed, they are perverts, if they want to stay at home with the kids, they are slackers, they lack ambition, there must be something wrong with them...
When we talk about stranger danger, aren't we specifically implying male strangers? A woman looking at a stranger's child with soft eyes is endearing, but an unknown man doing the same must be a pedophile.

Anyway, if men want to be present in their children's lives, there must be something wrong with them. If men have any interest in children at all, they are looked upon with a strange eye. The only way a man can legitimize an interest in children is by making it into his profession, becoming a so-called expert.

Yet on the other hand, women in general keep complaining about male absence in the home... All very contradictory once again.
Feminists have strived to free themselves of the role of the house-slave and have pushed their men behind the dishwasher. They have battled to get the diaper changed by those same men. They will sigh in frustration about their men not being present, but when those men show a genuine interest, when they do create an intimate bond with their child, they are stepping too far?

Image: Difei Li
I often think that men suffer more from gendering, because their gender is much more closely defined, specifically when it comes to parenting. Yet, if we want to make a change where it comes to gender, aren't our kids the first ones we should start with. If we want to change gender roles, isn't the home the first place to make an impression?
How can you wave the flag of feminism when you talk about women wearing veils in faraway countries, yet have a husband who fills a completely archaic gender pattern? How does one scream about equal pay and then tell their boy child that make-up is for girls? Why do we fight for our girl's freedom, yet enforce masculinity on our boys?

I think a lot of men want to be closer. I think many men are struggling with their feelings because they are deemed inappropriate by society.
If you are a father and you are reading this: it is ok to feel, to connect, to be close, to unconditionally love. If you are a woman reading this, encourage your man to show this closeness. Break these patterns together. Show your children there is another way. Actively engage in changing the father role!

Who knows, maybe a couple years from now we can have a Fathering magazine.


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Friday, November 11, 2011

Quote Of The Day

“This is the really great art – to educate without revealing the purpose of the education.”
- Joseph Goebbels


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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quote Of The Day

As a group, children are defined in contrast to adults; we make assumptions and reinforce stereotypes about youth and children that define their differences as deficiencies that must be overcome through a long socialization process carried out by parents, teachers, schools and other individuals and institutions.
- Doris Buhler-Niederberg, paraphrased in "Parenting for Social Change" by Teresa Graham Brett


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Book Review: "Life Learning. Lessons From the Educational Frontier" edited by Wendy Priesnitz

Article first published as Book Review: Life Learning. Lessons From the Educational Frontier, Edited by Wendy Priesnitz on Blogcritics.

Natural Life Books
When I read the teaser for “Life Learning. Lessons From the Educational Frontier.”, I wondered what this book would bring to me that I did not already get from a couple years of reading hundreds of articles, blog posts and books about life learning. I picked up the book rather skeptically but found myself immediately hooked.

The book is composed of well-selected and well written article, by a variety of authors, some known to me, some a little more obscure. It contains the writings of, among others, Wendy Priesnitz herself, Dayna Martin, Ann Lloyd, Beatrice Ekwa Ekoko and Naomi Aldort. They each give an insight in how they live their life learning life, the problems they encountered, the joy and marvel this brings. Some essays dig up deeper concerns about education.
Some thought provoking, some eye-opening and others enticing, the selected essays bring a beautiful array of everything life learning is and is not. The book has left me with innumerable wonderful quotes, many new insights and lines of thought and an eagerness to continue this life learning journey with my child and those to come.
I strongly recommend this book to everyone who is critical towards formal schooling, and all those who want to read about alternative education, even those who don’t unschool their children.

(...) life learning is a lifestyle, even a worldview, a way of looking at the world, at children and at knowledge, rather than a method of education or a place where an education is expected to happen.
- Wendy Priesnitz

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 from the publisher for review purposes.


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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Babies never just play; they are always learning.
- Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, Baby Led Weaning


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Monday, November 7, 2011

Quote Of The Day

Of all the beautiful truths pertaining to the soul which have been restored and brought to light in this age, none is more gladdening or fruitful of divine promise and confidence than this - that man is the master of thought, the molder of character, and the maker and shaper of condition, environment, and destiny. As a being of Power, Intelligence and Love, and the lord of his own thought, man holds the key to every situation, and contains within himself that transforming and regenerative agency which he may make himself what he wills.
- James Allen


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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday Surf


Babies and Toddlers
Parenting
Pregnancy and Birth
Arts and Crafts
Natural Healing

Visit the newest Sunday Surfers: Liberated FamilyMy Semi-Crunchy LifeAnktangleTmuffin and Love Notes Mama. If you want to find out who else is surfing, go to the Sunday Surf page.
If you've joined the surfing fun over at your blog, leave a comment below, and I will add a link to it in the next edition of Sunday Surf. Feel free to add the Sunday Surf button to your blog, you can find it on the right side of this page or under the Sunday Surf tab. Newest Surfers will be added to the following Surf, older Surfers are listed on the Sunday Surf page. If you're Surfing and you have a button for me, email it to mamapoekie at yahoo dot com.


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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Green Living: 25 Tips On Waste Reduction (rerun)

One of the most important steps to living more ecologically sound is waste reduction. The Westerner is a very wasteful animal, leaving behind tons of things that are just clogging up the earth. Yet waste reduction is something we all can achieve, without dramatically changing our lives, just by adopting some simple gestures. Here are some things you can do to reduce the pile of rubbish you leave behind. As a bonus, by diminishing our wastefulness, you are often saving a penny too. Ecology and economy often go hand in hand.


Chickens, Fenced, Gavin Schaefer
  1. Get Chickens (or pigs): they only require a small space and a shelter, but they'll eat all your food leftovers and peels. In return you get some delicious free range eggs and your child gets a pet. Two to three chickens are enough to turnover the edible waste of a family of 4 and will give you plenty of eggs to never have to buy them anymore (see, you'll even be saving money). If you don't have the room to keep chickens in your garden, or you travel a lot, try to get some chickens as a community project. It just takes some upkeep of their shelter and someone to share the eggs. Everyone can drop off their edible waste, which makes a little daily walk too. Don't forget that chickens also eat fresh greens, so when you're picking the weeds, you can toss them in too.
  2. Compost: If you have a larger garden, you might read up on composting. It's actually not so difficult and gives you great fertilizer for your precious plants. You can toss in lots of stuff: garden clippings, used soap nuts, cloth diaper liner (make sure they're biologically degradable)...
  3. Use cloth diapers or EC: Washing stuff is better then throwing it away, and not having anything to wash is even better. And yet again it saves you money.
  4. Choose an ecological alternative for your moon flow. There are lots of options nowadays: the DivaCup or Lunette replace boxes and boxes of tampons and you just have to buy them once. Then there are many many options to replace menstrual pads, they come in all sizes and colors and price ranges.
  5. Washable baby wipes are easy to make yourself, just cut out squares of cloth you don't use any more. You can finish the edges or not. If you're not up for making them yourself, you can get them in different materials and colors. 
  6. If you're up for it, you can even make/buy toilet wipes
  7. or if that's a bridge too far, you can just make a collective effort as a family to use less toilet paper, check what's the least amount of paper you need to get the job done. Again, you'll be saving money while at it.
  8. Buy family packages: buying big bottles not only reduces the amount of packaging, it also reduces your trips to the shop.
  9. Buy solid soaps: for washing your hands, as well as your body and hair, there are soap bars available in any scent and for all skin and hair types. Another bonus, next to being package free, is that they last a lot longer then liquid soaps.
  10. Get your liquids in glass bottles. Glass is a sounder option then plastic and can easily be reused (if not by the manufacturer, then by your family). You can get on the round of your milk man, he'll be happy to pick up empty bottles when he comes back, this will save you some trips to the shop too.
  11. Buy Bulk:  Buying bulk not only gives you the opportunity of buying just the right amount of produce, it also drastically reduces the amount of packaging.
  12. Buy local: shopping at your local farmer and butcher not only gives you better produce then your supermarket does, it again gives you the opportunity to pick exactly the right amount of produce.
  13. If you shop this way for your fruit and vegetables, you could get a pretty basket or crate to hold your food.
  14. Buy Seasonal fruit and vegetables. Some farms even have a "mailing list" where you can get a monthly/weekly basket of produce. They just get put in a crate per family, so they don't have to be packaged and shipped and repackaged etc.
  15. Cook your own! Try and make the things you would normally buy ready made yourself (I'm thinking stocks and ketchup...). It might be more time consuming, but it will be a lot more yummy and gratifying.
  16. Make your own. Making stuff yourself cuts out lost of middlemen and lots of wasteful steps. Get creative, explore your talents. You can make toys, sew clothes and linens, build furniture...
  17. Make or buy a cotton shopping bag: you can get some online or you can let your creativity go wild and make your own, it's really not hard and just requires some sturdy canvas and a sewing machine. You can also decorate a plain cotton one. Have them with you every time you go out and say no to plastic bags: everything will go neatly in your gorgeous creation. 
  18. Upcycle: reuse everything, get online and find creative solutions to use your waste. Get crafty!
  19. Hoard like a pack rat! Thing that we would normally toss away make gorgeous suppleis for children's crafts, store everything in marked boxes and get them out when creativity calls.
  20. Barter and trade: one man's waste is the other's treasure! Either online or in your community, trade off the things you want to get rid of.
  21. Sell: Ebay and comparable sites offer a great opportunity to get rid of what you don't use any more. Or you can organise a yardsale. Drop things of at a second hand store... The options of making money out of your junk are limitless, it just takes a moment of your time.
  22. Donate: If there is still plenty of mileage on your old clothes, shoes, toys... why not donate them to people who will be happy to receive them?
  23. Repair: Many things that land on the landfill are still perfectly usable, if we would just have them repaired. Even if you won't be using it again, get it repaired and then you can give it away or sell it.
  24. Reuse: Boxes, bottles, containers... lots of things can find a new purpose in your house without even having to change them. Again, it will save you one buying storage boxes
  25. Recycle: If all else fails, many things can be recycled, so pay attention when you are throwing away. Don't forget to sort!



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