Monday, August 26, 2013

Weekend Round-Up

Boy, did we ever have a busy weekend! With a good dose of being lazy thrown in as well.

Saturday we were honored to be able to visit a friends little boy for the first time since his birth. He is so sweet! They have a little girl who loves to play with Dino Man, so it was fun for the older two to hang out as well.

We also went to an attachment parenting group lunch where Dino Man ran around for a solid hour playing in the sand at the park playground. That ended up with a bath right before naptime to get all the sand off.

After nap we attended the 4th Annual Breastival of Nursing, held locally. This is an interesting idea, which should be franchised or something. Three professional photographers make themselves available for short, 15-minute shoots for mom and baby(ies) for a low-fee, $20. Ours was even cheaper because we got in on the early deal. Unfortunately, Dino Man does NOT nurse on my demand (hasn't ever really), so we got some nice family pics and belly pics and then just some of him. Maybe one of him possibly close to my breast, but not likely. He wanted to play on the swing set instead.

Sunday we attended church, par usuale, and heard a nice homily (we're Catholic, so they aren't just sermons). We have an older priest who is in charge and some people argue that he needs to retire, but I find that when I ask God for guidance to hear His words for me, I always hear nuggets from the homily. This weekend, I was reminded to reset my goal daily using my internal "God-compass", and to practice spiritual discipline in my life daily.

As a woman who detests regularity, discipline is especially hard for me to enthusiastically embrace. However, as I age and become more other-focused and less me-focused, I find daily disciplines can be very comforting, especially in times of upheaval.

Sunday afternoon was spent lazing on the couch catching up with Lost (I am aware it's been off the air for awhile). We don't have cable or satellite, so enjoy watching an occasional adult show (NOT that kind of adult show, though I'm not judging you if you're into that!). Anything that doesn't have a curious monkey in it or a blue colored dog is fine by me most days.

Tonight we head to another midwife appointment. We are on the two-week part of the rotation, which I'm sure will dwindle down to every week at some point. I've eaten a little extra protein today to make sure my protein count is where it should be.

Probably the most exciting thing that happened this weekend occurred last night. My hubs was ironing all his work shirts for the week ahead (I don't iron). Dino Man got too close and ended up burning his little hand on the iron. We were all quite emotional and stricken by the experience. Thankfully, Dino Man's just got one blister on his hand and mostly 1st degree burns limited to one hand and a leg. God bless which had at hand information on how to treat a minor burn. Here's hoping I won't need that information anytime soon again!

Hope you all had weekends chock full of fun, family and friends as well!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Parenting Book Junkie

I am a parenting book junkie. I read them all, assuming each one has at least one nugget of gold buried in it. This is not always the case, but I can't bring myself to assume something about a book without at least giving it a chance. Thank goodness for the library!

I'm currently reading Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves by Naomi Aldort. It was recommended by a few people who parent in similar ways to ours. And it is chock full of gold nuggets!

One of the things I struggle most with while parenting my almost 3-year old Dinosaur Man is that often I am overwhelmed by feelings of being a child myself. My childhood was not ideal, though not abusive, but I do harbor scars from growing up in an "If you don't stop crying, I'll give you something to cry about" household.

My biggest scar is a struggle to be authentic in my own emotions and to help my son authentically express his emotions in a safe manner. This book is perfect for this issue!

Aldort offers a mnemonic device for recalling how to interact with an emotional child called S.A.L.V.E. It is specifically designed to help a parent make the shift from reacting based on old tapes to acting in the way the parent chooses to act. The S stands for Separate - meaning I need to separate myself from my child's behavior and emotions, which is my biggest struggle.

She gives strategies to do this and yesterday, for the first time, I talked Dinosaur Man through a tantrum at the McDonald's Playland (don't judge, it was hot out!), using this approach. Strangely (or probably, not so strangely), I felt much more calm after using her approach and separating myself from Dino Dude's emotions. Usually I feel exhausted after these exchanges.

Now does this mean I'm the perfect parent? No way. No how. I find it actually easier to gently parent my child when out in public while others observe, than I do at home. If the angry old-tapes of my own childhood get going while I'm at home, I struggle to ignore them and choose to act a different way. Obviously, I still have a lot of growing up to do, but at least I know I'm moving in the right direction today.

How do you separate your own childhood "tapes" from the way you choose to parent your children today?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I've got PUPPP. I didn't know what it was either.

" If you're going to get PUPPP, you're going to get it."

That is a depressing sentence for me. During my first pregnancy I got a weird rash on the bottom half of my stomach, but didn't really think anything about it and attributed it to maternity clothing. Apparently, it has an actual name. According to, PUPPP stands for "pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy." No wonder they call it PUPPP.

So the down and dirty of this is that it's most likely to happen to first-time moms who are carrying boys or multiples. Also pregnancy induced hypertension is linked to likelihood of getting PUPPP.

I must be really special because I am not a first time mom, though I am carrying a boy. Just lucky that way, I guess. Thankfully it goes away after birth, most of the time. Only a few more months of mild itching to put up with!

Monday, August 19, 2013

UnLearning Everything I Thought I Knew

I've spent the last nine years or so un-learning the things I thought I knew about life. This has taken place in spits and starts.

I come from a fairly traditional family background. Grew up in a small town. My grandparents were "city farmers", which my grandfather described as a farmer who had a regular job in town. I lived two doors down from them on ten acres. My hometown had just under 7,000 people in it, and is the official home of Superman.

My parents were married for almost exactly 35 years before my Mom passed away. I have a younger sister. We were a lot like the ideal family from the outside. I was taught that kids go to school, parents go to work, and the world keeps spinning around. I was disciplined regularly for things that now seem like tiny infractions, however, my parents were very authoritarian.

Needless to say I grew up not questioning authority very much. I went to college and spent six years earning a four year degree and a husband. (He was worth the extra two years.)

We moved around a bit after we were married and settled down in my hometown in the same house I grew up in. All was well in the world, until the day my Mom died in a tragic farm accident. She was only 53 and the person I considered to be my best female friend.

Devastating does not begin to describe the situation. It tore our family apart in more ways than one. I eventually moved away because I couldn't take all the drama from the extended family.

But what my Mom's death gave me was an opportunity to really look at and question all that my life had been up to that point. I discovered I was an addict and joined the appropriate 12-step program. I began to learn who I was away from all the small town expectations of my family. I also began the process of un-learning that I will continue to document here.

It didn't really start until I became pregnant with my first son (who is now almost 3!). I realized I didn't really know what kind of parent I wanted to be. I did know I didn't want to parent the way I was raised. It left some scars I would prefer not to imprint on my own children.

I started reading about natural birth and breastfeeding and peaceful/gentle parenting and suddenly a whole world opened up to me. Through the process of birthing my son, I realized I had more power in me than I thought.

Now I've come to un-learn a few ideas about schooling that I hadn't expected to question, as you see, my degree is in education. I taught high school English for about five years after substituting for a few years. My husband was a music teacher for about five years as well, before he left for a more lucrative position in the private sector.

The one thing that hasn't changed in my thinking is that I need to be a stay-at-home Mom. My mother was a SAHM, and I felt it was really important for me as a child to have her there at least until I went to school, though she stayed at home even after that.

Today, I consider myself a homebirthing, ecological breastfeeding, non-vaccinating, intactivist, unschooler, who is constantly wanting to learn more about the alternatives to traditional life.

So this is the story of my journey to un-learning all the things I was taught by our culture and my parents prior to realizing I could make choices for myself.

my inspiration