Saturday, December 31, 2011

Spank this cute girl?

I've been mentally composing a post about my thoughts on spanking for days.

It's coming together nicely in my brain but now that I've announced it, I'll probably never write it.
I've noticed that trend here on OMML.

So, if the promised post never appears,
I'll leave you with my thoughts on spanking in a nutshell.


And, yes, absolutes in parenting are possible.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Henry at 3.5 {video}

Henry is (almost) 3.5 years old.  He is a busy little boy and always on the go.  Literally.  He never stops.

His favorite things are:
-playing in the dirt and mud in our unplanted garden
-reading books, lots and lots and lots of books
-playing with his sister, I thought the day would never come!
-doing the opposite of what I ask him to do
-talking about and being with his Dada
-dinosaurs, we are still very much into dinosaurs and he is quite knowledgable about the topic

He is going to speech therapy for 30 minutes a week and we are working on his /f/ and his /c/ sound.  The perfect example of his mispronunciations is how he says "fork" as "tort".

2t fits him perfectly, although he still wears some 24 months and 18 months pants as highwaters.  He is a teeny little thing.

He loves loves loves life!  And, we love love love him!

Here he is "reading" to Liza.
He has finally realized he can sing along to songs and retell stories of books he is familiar with.
Of course, he doesn't perform well on video but he is so cute in his mismatched too short pajamas.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bringing Baby Earthside: Things to consider

In my ideal world, every woman values her birth experience as an open door to see a glimpse of her god-given strength as a woman.  She researches birth options, chooses a provider who supports her decision to birth naturally and she gives birth surrounded by people who love and support her as she brings her baby earthside.  Breastfeeding is  immediately initiated and the motherbaby is not disturbed during the important early bonding hours.

A girl can dream.

Be it fear of the pain, lack of support or not even considering the possibility of giving birth without drugs -- the latter being my experience for Henry's birth -- I fully realize not every woman desires the natural childbirth experience.  And, that is fine.  An unmedicated birth is not the end all be all for having a good birth experience for mama and baby.  Obviously.

However, certain elements of birth that go hand-in-hand with natural childbirth can be attained no matter where or how you choose to birth:

1. Allow labor to start naturally.
Every day in the womb is important.  Your baby is constantly developing and preparing for life on the outside, whether she is 12 weeks, 39 weeks or 40 weeks.  It is also important to consider that estimated due dates are based on a woman's last monthly period.  This is not an exact due date as women's cycles vary greatly from woman and to woman and from month to month.  So, your 39 week induction might actually be a 38 week induction depending on when you ovulated and when the egg was fertilized.

Pitocin is the most commonly used drug to induce labor, starting labor or kickstarting a "slow" labor.  Induction of labor is oftentimes the beginning of the "cascade of interventions" meaning that one intervention (Pitocin) leads to many more interventions (constant fetal monitoring, IV fluids, pain medication, etc.) with the worst case scenario being that a c-section is needed because the baby is in distress with heart decelerations from the unnatural pace of Pitocin induced contractions.

According to Lamaze, there are 5 caveats to allowing your baby to choose her own birthday:
  • your water has broken and labor has not begun.
  • your pregnancy is postterm (more than 42 weeks).
  • you have high blood pressure caused by your pregnancy.
  • you have health problems, such as diabetes, that could affect your baby.
  • you have an infection in the uterus.
  • your baby is growing too slowly.
Please notice what did not make the list -- fear of a big baby, doctor going on vacation, upcoming holiday, mama tired of being pregnant, etc.

2. Respect the 4th stage of labor.
The 4th stage of labor is immediately after your baby is born.  Breastfeeding is initiated and the placenta is delivered due to contractions caused by the oxytocin surges from breastfeeding.  This is the physiological end of your baby's labor and delivery.  But, it is also the first time you see your baby and your baby finally gets to be in her mama's arms and rest after all the hard work of being born.

So, why is this what happens after your baby is born in most hospital?

Honestly, I can't even watch this whole video.  The crying baby.  The nurses rubbing off the important vernix.  The mama laying in the bed with a dazed look in her eyes.  The bright lights.  The security arm band.  The antibiotics in his eyes due to the remote chance his mama has a venereal disease.

Your 4th stage of labor doesn't have to begin like Baby Ian's mama's.  Talk to your provider about delayed cord clamping and immediate skin-to-skin.  Your baby deserves only the best after she is finally born:  her mama's arms, her mama's milk and every bit of blood from her placenta.  Within the exception of a true emergency, nothing else is needed immediately after birth.

Natural birth isn't for everyone but every motherbaby deserves a thoughtful and loving entrance earthside.

1. Allow labor to start naturally.
2. Respect the 4th stage of labor.

And, for mamas facing cesarean sections, you have options too!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Liza at 16 months {video}

Liza is 16 months old and I'm pretty sure she thinks she is 16 years old.  

One word best describes her:  
Sassafrass....through and through.

She has more words than I could possibly list but her favorites are:
hot - she loves to blow on "hot" food
cat - her first word at 7 months old is still one of her very favorites
jump - as she is about to jump off a chair into your (hopefully) waiting arms
chick chick - our chickens
bath - mention a bath and she is tearing at her clothes ready to get in the tub
wawa - this girl finds pictures of water in every book we read; she also refers to her milk as "wawa" which is a bit insulting in my book...
choo choo and di - trains and dinosaurs are her favorite toys; can you tell she has a 3-year-old brother?
mine - an often used word with that pesky big brother always around
dirt - she doesn't like dirty hands but she is just fine covered in dirt from head to toe
Mama and Dada - she is a fan; trust me

Liza signs some but she now prefers to use her words.   
Her current favorite signs are:  more, monkey, elephant, fish

Please excuse my obnoxious high-pitched voice. 
I don't sound like that normally.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The humble fitted diaper.

Some days I feel a little sorry for the fitted diapers of the world.
It's like they are the red-headed stepchild of the cloth diaper family.

Mamas want ease when it comes to cloth diapering 
and the internet convinces us nothing is easier than a pocket dipe or an all-in-one.

But, I'm not so sure about this.....I love fitted diapers and I think you should too.

Fitteds are not fussy like pockets and AIOs.
Without microfiber or fleece to worry with and as long as the fitted is contained within the cover,  
fitteds are guaranteed leakproof diapers.

Always a good thing.

I dare you to find me a mama who has not had a spate of leaks with her pockets.
If she exists, maybe she can come and fix my leaky pocket diapers....

Fitteds comes in lots of cute prints. 

Magic mushrooms AND bacon and eggs?
Yes, please.

Yes, they do need a cover or mama is going to have a damp lap but...........

Fitteds go wonderfully with wool diaper covers and
 a cute wool diaper cover makes everything right in this crazy world.

If you do not know the joys of wool, trust me.  
Wool makes life better.

And fitted diapers deserve wool.

It's a win-win.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Painting of the Christmas Pumpkins


"Mama is tired of these damn Halloween pumpkins taking up space in the kitchen so let's paint them in Christmas colors."

See that tucked in chin?
That means he is concentrating.

See that paint on his nose?
We thought it was cute and it's still there 24 hours later.

Liza was excited to participate in a painting activity but not so excited about the paint on her hands.

Liza's pumpkin with my pumpkin peeking out the side.

And, as usual, Mr. Piggy Henry claimed most of the pumpkins as his own and refused to share.

And, that is the story behind the famous 'Painting of the Christmas Pumpkins'.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Babysitting Cooperative

I don't mention often enough how lucky I am to have such a wonderful group of girlfriends.  How we manage to have such a large group of like-minded, but different enough to keep it interesting, mamas in this little town never ceases to amaze me.  I am truly blessed to have a wonderful group of mamas cheering me on with my many opinions and my crazy children.

And, oh, the crazy children.  We all have them.  Some days, we need to know our crazy children are well taken care of even if we need a trip to grocery store by ourselves, a visit to the dentist or a date night with our husband.

Thus, a babysitting co-op was created.  With the organization skills of my friend, Carmen, a few ladies' nights to hash out the details and the guidance of my friend, Becky, who participated in a babysitting co-op in her hometown, we figured out a system that works well for us.

Babysitting Cooperative Guidelines:
*Chips refer to poker chips.  Each co-op member starts with 30 poker chips to use as "payment" for babysitting services.
1.  There will be a maximum of 16 members.  A waiting list will be kept and potential new members must be approved by the group.  Members may withdraw from the group and their chips saved for future members. 
2.  Any member may post a request on our private Facebook group at any time.  The member should post their optimal babysitting scenario such as “need someone to watch my 2 kids at my house this Friday night from 8p-10p”.  Members respond to this request by posting if they are available to babysit 
and work from there.  Also, each babysitting request should have at least one 'back-up' babysitter.
3.  Each chip is worth 30 minutes.  One child will cost 2 chips/per hour, two children will cost 3 chips per/hour, and three children will cost 4 chips per/hour. 
4.  Please do not use the co-op if your child is sick.  
5.  The babysitting mother should be present at all times unless the parents have agreed the father will babysit.  
6.  No spanking  is allowed. 
7.  Each member should provide the babysitter with everything needed to care for your child -- diapers, drinks, snacks, etc.
8.  Feel free to post any questions at any time about how the co-op works or to propose new rules.

                                     Do you participate in a babysitting cooperative?
Are your guidelines similar?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A morning in dirt.

Can you tell they spotted the same toy?

I was a bit worried we were going to have a replay of The Bite
but I decided to keep snapping pictures and see how they work it out.

I was pleasantly surprised.

See Henry offer a trade?

Random hand-me-down Star Wars toy accepted.

Without any drama.

Now to continue with the important matters at hand.

Playing in the dirt.

Getting dirty.

And looking cute.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

Surely I'm Not the Only Mama Who......

1.  Sweeps dirt into one special corner of the house and lets it accumulate before cleaning it up.
2.  Immediately opens a bag of dry crunchy snacks for her children the moment they enter the grocery store.  In our case, it's the Kroger brand apple cinnamon rice cakes AKA heaven to Henry.
3.  Never washes her children with soap.
4.  Has a 16 month old who thinks she has to nurse 80% of the day.
5.  Keeps on driving past her house if the kids are happy and quiet in the car.
6.  Always has a sink full of dirty dishes.  At all times.
7.  Leaves clothes hanging on the clothes line for days after they are dry.
8.  Rarely showers.
9.  Complains about the lack of Christmas cards received this year, yet has made minimum effort to get her own Christmas cards ready to mail.
10.  Drives around with a package to mail for months on end.
11.  Reads so many books out loud each day that she likes to mix it up by changing the plot midstream just to see if she can keep the continuity of the story even with her plot changes.
12.  Obsesses over birth and it's implications in the global world.
13.  Does not discourage her children from eating food off the floor.
14.  Contemplates cleaning and laundry after the kid are asleep but never makes it off the couch.
15.  Has two children, two years and two pounds apart.  26+24=50 pounds of babies.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Why I'm dairy free.

If  you see me at a holiday potluck dinner, you will hear me quiz everybody if dairy is included in their dish.  Likely, you will also hear at least one person ask if I am vegan.  I might be dairy-free and I might only eat meat a few times a month but I am decidedly not vegan.  I love my eggs and I would kill for a huge chunk of Brie right now.  And, cottage cheese.  Don't even get me started on cottage cheese.

I am dairy-free because Liza is still very sensitive to dairy.  Allergic, no.  Sensitive, yes.  Via my breastmilk, Liza gets a very gassy tummy during the night and eczema flare-ups on her upper thighs.  Via a stray sippy cup of milk, Liza screams periodically throughout the night until she finally passes gas and fiery red eczema that is painful to the touch.

Of course, the stray sippy cup or grabbed slice of cheese is a much rarer occurrence than her getting dairy via my breastmilk because that girl loves to nurse!  I weaned Henry at a year with one of my reasons being that I didn't want a toddler obsessed with nursing.  And, now that I have a toddler obsessed with nursing, I am quick to admit I was wrong.  My toddler old obsessed with her milk is the best thing in my world.  Nothing makes her happier, keeps her quieter and gives her more nutrients than the most perfect food in the entire world.  And, it's free.  And, it's mess-less.  And, it's effortless.  Can you tell I'm a fan?  That is, unless I desperately need to eat a big fat muffin bursting with butter or snag a huge slurp of Mr. Messy's milkshake.  Then I feel guilty, find the tube of Lansinoh lanolin for her eczema and prepare myself to rub her tummy periodically throughout the night.

Henry outgrew his dairy senstivity by 2 years and 9 months old so at 16 months, I expect to deal with a dairy-free Liza for at least another year.  Henry's symptoms were a bit different but included eczema and I suspect his constant wheeze as an infant was tied to his dairy sensitivity.  I certainly could beat myself up for not recognizing his intolerance until he was almost 2 but I am doing the best I can and I choose to be thankful the eczema mystery was solved.  Period.

So, there you are.  No.  I am not vegan and I am not dairy-free for myself.  I am dairy-free because I love my baby and my baby loves her milk.  And, I am just fine with that.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mississippi Mountains

Henry was so proud of his Etch-A-Sketch mountains,

he happily posed in front of the 

Christmas tree!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Baby Signs 101

1.  It is never too late to begin signing. Most online signing resources recommend consistent signing by 6 months, but, in my experience, babies don't quickly catch on to new signs until about 12 months.  Signs are just as helpful and developmentally appropriate for a verbal 18 month old as for a non-verbal 12 month old.  Even big toddlers and children can benefit from signing!

2.  Don't give up.  The older your baby is, the easier it is to grasp the signing concept and pick up new signs.  But, even older toddlers need time to understand the correlation between the sign, the word and the object or action described.  Once the concept clicks, new signs are easily acquired.

3.  Consistency is key.  The more often your baby sees the sign and hears the corresponding word, the easier is to learn a new sign.  You might feel silly signing and repeating yourself to a baby who has not conceptualized singing but rest assured, every baby can sign!

4. Start with fun signs.  As parents, we view signs as a way to teach our very young children communication skills.  Therefore, we tend to teach helpful words as first signs -- milk, please, thank you, more, etc.  But, think about your child's interests in choosing the first signs to teach. Cat, dog, fish, fan, lights, stars, and moon are all great first signs to get your baby excited about signing.

5.  Don't be afraid to make up your own signs.  There is no rule saying you must use the official Baby Signs sign language with your child.  Go with the flow, follow your child's lead and experiment with different signs as your baby broadens her signing vocabulary.

6.  Signing helps all babies.  Do not fear your baby will be a late talker if she learns signs.  Research states that signing helps baby's brain develop the capacity for spoken language in a way that simply talking to baby does not promote, amongst other benefits.  As previously mentioned, children of all ages can benefit from signs as a way to promote verbal development.  And of course, the emotional benefit of signing is invaluable  to a non-verbal child who can finally express herself in a positive and easily understood manner.

Online Resources:

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas, finally.

Henry really got into the Christmas spirit last year.  He loved everything about it:  the decorations, Santa, presents, the nativity scene, special books, the lights.  You name a Christmas theme, he loved it.  It was a sad sad day for him when he requested his favorite Christmas song and we had to break the news....Christmas was over.  We promised our little Hen Hen that Christmas comes back every year and we would celebrate it in a big way next year.  And, finally, after an entire year of talking about Ho Ho and requesting the stack of Christmas books out of my closet, the Christmas season is finally here.

If Christmas is Henry's favorite thing, personal ownership comes in at a close second.  This little red tree is his tree.  It's proper place is on top of our piano but he really needed to touch it so he spent Liza's naptime bonding with his tree.  It was a big deal.

This time last year I was in a dither over Santa. (I can't find last year's post and it is killing me!)  I refuse to lie to my kids and it just didn't sit well with me to claim a fat man would slide down our non-existant chimney to deliver presents on Christmas eve.  I stressed and and stressed and finally settled on going along with Santa until someone asked if Santa was real and we would, of course, answer truthfully.  Well,  like most things concerning parenting, the anticipation was much worse than the reality.  As soon as we cracked open the Christmas boxes, I asked Henry if Santa was real or pretend.  Pretend.  If Henry knew the term "duh", he would have voiced it loud and clear.  Now we talk about how Santa is fun and we love him even though he is pretend.  We will still bake cookies and leave him a glass of milk and I am a bit too excited about leaving the reindeer an oatmeal snack and then sprinkling glitter for Henry to find their reindeer poop the next morning.  It seems like we have struck a very nice balance of keeping the magic and mystery of Christmas alive without the consumerism and non-truths of Santa dominating the discussion.  At least for this year.

See the pajama pants?  He refused to wear his blue jeans because he needed Christmas pants to match his Christmas shirt.  Thank goodness for awesome hand-me-downs.

My tree.  It has built-in white lights but like everything we own, they are broken.  I am a huge fan of big colored lightbulbs and apparently, I bought two strands at Dirt Cheap last year for a dollar a piece.  I do not recall this event yet they were in a Christmas box with a price tag just ghetto enough to hearken Dirt Cheap's post-Christmas sale.  We need at least 3 more strands to be officially merry, though.  I didn't unpack the generic ornaments so the tree seems a bit bare but I figured the less glass ornaments, the better.  It seems like only a matter of time before the tree comes crashing down on top of two busy body little toddlers...   Presents are on top of the piano with Henry's tree.  Little hands and inquiring minds are not to be trusted when my back is turned.  Henry is convinced his one present has one, maybe two, dinosaurs in the box.  He is precious like that.

There it is.  The beginnings of a messy messy Christmas season!