Archives for February 2011

Wordless Wednesday

February Carnival of Natural Parenting

Wel­come to the Feb­ru­ary Car­ni­val of Nat­ur­al Par­ent­ing: Par­ent­ing Essen­tials

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 the par­ent­ing essen­tials that they could not live with­out. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the oth­er car­ni­val par­tic­i­pants.

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I can­not imag­ine par­ent­ing with­out my instincts.

It seems that every­where we look, there is some­one align­ing a par­tic­u­lar par­ent­ing prac­tice or belief with a label.  Are you a breast­feed­er?  Bot­tle feed­er?  Work­ing mom?  Stay at home mom?  Attach­ment par­ent?  A Baby­wis­er?  The labels go on and on.  Each label can lead to assump­tions about oth­er par­ent­ing beliefs and prac­tices that “go with” a par­tic­u­lar deci­sion.

Those labels and assump­tions don’t work for me.  I have three chil­dren, and I have made dif­fer­ent deci­sions with each child based on each of my sons’ indi­vid­ual needs.  Through­out our par­ent­ing jour­ney, my hus­band and I have main­tained our belief in respond­ing to each child’s needs with sen­si­tiv­i­ty and allow­ing each child to be respect­ed and main­tain dig­ni­ty espe­cial­ly in their more dif­fi­cult moments.  How­ev­er, each of our sons has had a dif­fer­ent per­son­al­i­ty and dif­fer­ent needs.  Breast­feed­ing, cosleep­ing, and nur­tur­ing touch have looked dif­fer­ent with each child.

The beau­ty of nat­ur­al par­ent­ing is that while it encom­pass­es a vari­ety of top­ics and philoso­phies, it isn’t a list of dos and don’ts.  In fact, instead of telling par­ents how to raise their chil­dren, nat­ur­al par­ent­ing holds the phi­los­o­phy that each par­ent knows his/her child best and is the expert on that child.

Being a new par­ent can be hard.  Read­ing all the par­ent­ing books, mag­a­zines, blogs, arti­cles, and columns doesn’t always make life eas­i­er.  In fact, for some peo­ple (like me), it can make par­ent­ing even hard­er.  When I was preg­nant with my first child, I read both Baby­wise and the Baby Whis­per­er on the rec­om­men­da­tions of friends.  As I was read­ing them, I thought they sound­ed like good, man­age­able plans.  I was wor­ried about know­ing what to do when my son was born, and both of these books gave me a (seem­ing­ly) easy to fol­low and (seem­ing­ly) prac­ti­cal plan for par­ent­ing.  Great, right?  Well, appar­ent­ly not for me.  As soon as my son was born, the plans began to fall apart.  We dealt with pre-term birth, jaun­dice, and a sleepy baby who had trou­ble latch­ing.  Almost as soon, I real­ized that those books weren’t going to work for me.  For quite a while (and even once in a while now), I still strug­gle with the feel­ing that I’m not fol­low­ing “the plan.”  I know it’s sil­ly, and I know that it didn’t work for us then, and it wouldn’t work now.  Once in a while, though, I still feel a twinge of doubt about my deci­sions.

Then, I remem­ber what I’ve heard again and again from oth­ers who also choose nat­ur­al par­ent­ing.  “Fol­low your instincts.”  “You know your child/children best.”  “Your body was meant to birth and breast­feed.  Trust your body.  Trust your baby.”  Over and over, I have been reaf­firmed by the nat­ur­al par­ent­ing com­mu­ni­ty in my abil­i­ty to par­ent my chil­dren.  Nat­ur­al par­ent­ing and its empha­sis has sup­port­ed me where tech­niques and plans did not, and it was through nat­ur­al par­ent­ing that I learned that my instincts are good.  I need to trust them in order to par­ent.  With­out them, I would be lost!

This doesn’t mean that I’m per­fect, that I always make the right deci­sion, or that I don’t need any oth­er help.  When those times arise it’s essen­tial to have friends, fam­i­ly, blogs, and resources to con­sult, but in the end it comes back to my instincts.  Hav­ing expe­ri­enced the ben­e­fits of using my instincts to par­ent my child has been invalu­able to me, and I know that as my chil­dren grow and we encounter new expe­ri­ences, chal­lenges, and tri­als I’ll be call­ing on them again and again.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVis­it Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can par­tic­i­pate in the next Car­ni­val of Nat­ur­al Par­ent­ing!

Please take time to read the sub­mis­sions by the oth­er car­ni­val par­tic­i­pants:

  • Not With­out Him — The love Starr at Tak­ing Time shares with her hus­band is the foun­da­tion of her par­ent­ing.
  • I Can­not Imag­ine Par­ent­ing With­out B(.)(.)bs — From an une­d­u­cat­ed dream­er to a breast­feed­ing moth­er of a tod­dler, nurs­ing has for­ev­er changed Kristy at Strings to Things’s rela­tion­ship with her daugh­ter and her out­look on life.
  • Rais­ing a Child in the Inter­net Vil­lage — When Jenn at Mon­key Butt Junc­tion has a ques­tion or con­cern about par­ent­ing, she turns to the Inter­net. What did par­ents do before Google?
  • Part­ner in Crime and Par­ent­ingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can’t imag­ine par­ent­ing with­out her husband’s sense of humor — he brings her laugh­ter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPat­ti at Jazzy Mama can’t imag­ine try­ing to moth­er her babies with­out her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Per­spec­tives Bring New Begin­ningsMJ at Wan­der Won­der Dis­cov­er, who is a for­mer author­i­tar­i­an mam­ma, has gained per­spec­tive via par­ent­ing.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Lit­tle Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capac­i­ty to give uncon­di­tion­al­ly.
  • Unimag­in­able With­out HimKristi­na at heyred designs is cel­e­brat­ing her amaz­ing part­ner, with­out whom none of her par­ent­ing expe­ri­ence would be pos­si­ble.
  • My Par­ent­ing Neces­si­tyClaire at The Adven­tures of Lac­tat­ing Girl needs “me time” in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Baby­wear­ing As a Way of LifeDar­cel at The Mahogany Way talks about the ben­e­fits of baby­wear­ing in every­day life.
  • Par­ent­ing Part­ner­ship — Some­times Abbie at Farmer’s Daugh­ter doesn’t appre­ci­ate her hus­band enough, but she def­i­nite­ly couldn’t imag­ine par­ent­ing with­out his help.
  • Par­ent­ing Essen­tialsMom­ma Jor­je loves her par­ent­ing prod­ucts, but she needs you even more.
  • My Par­ent­ing Must-Have: Sup­portJoel­la at Fine and Fair wrote a let­ter to her daugh­ter about the role that sup­port from friends and fam­i­ly plays in her moth­er­ing.
  • It’s More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Use­less? Kar­li from Curly Hair­do Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Min­i­mal­ist Par­ent — The par­ents at Liv­ing Peace­ful­ly with Chil­dren embrace a min­i­mal­ist per­spec­tive when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • With­out My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can’t imag­ine par­ent­ing with­out her breasts; here’s why.
  • Loves Books, Loves Peo­pleSeon­aid at the Prac­ti­cal Dilet­tante dis­cov­ers that the library is a per­fect fit for her family’s needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama’s next child might be named Maya, because of her fond­ness for the sling.
  • Avoid­ing the Padded RoomPecky at Ben­ny and Bex is here to tes­ti­fy that it takes a vil­lage to raise a child.
  • My par­ent­ing essen­tials, from Tivo to bat­tery-oper­at­ed mon­strosi­tiesLau­ren at Hobo Mama presents a list of par­ent­ing essen­tials you didn’t even know you need­ed (and prob­a­bly don’t…).
  • Attach­ment Par­ent­ing Through Sep­a­ra­tion: It Makes It a Lit­tle Bet­terJes­si­ca at This Is Worth­while talks about how she couldn’t sur­vive her sep­a­ra­tion with­out attach­ment par­ent­ing and the bond it’s afford­ed her with her 3 year old son.
  • Par­ent­ing Essen­tialsDeb Chit­wood at Liv­ing Montes­sori Now shares the prin­ci­ples she used to par­ent her chil­dren from infants to adults.
  • My Par­ent­ing Essen­tials — The things that are tru­ly essen­tial to Kim at In Des­per­ate Need of Enter­tain­ment aren’t things at all.
  • I’m No One With­out My Sling — How baby car­ry­ing is essen­tial to the par­ent­ing of Jes­si­ca Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Can­not Imag­ine Par­ent­ing With­out…Isil at Smil­ing Like Sun­shine talks about what she needs to raise her chil­dren.
  • Feb­ru­ary Car­ni­val of Nat­ur­al Par­ent­ing — Through her expe­ri­ences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has dis­cov­ered her most impor­tant tool for par­ent­ing is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Can­not Imag­ine Par­ent­ing With­out __________.The Art­sy­ma­ma dis­clos­es the one thing that gave her back con­trol of her­self as a par­ent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laugh­ing with her sons keeps Aca­cia at Fin­ger­paint & Super­heroes con­nect­ed and ground­ed.
  • I Can­not Imag­ine Par­ent­ing With­outLusch­ka at Diary of a First Child real­izes what the one thing she can’t imag­ine par­ent­ing with­out is, and it turns out it’s not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the rea­sons why Jenn at Adven­tures Down Under can­not imag­ine par­ent­ing with­out her fab­u­lous hus­band.
  • Stop­ping to Lis­ten — Though it wasn’t easy at first, Knocked Up — Knocked Over can­not imag­ine par­ent­ing her daugh­ter with­out lis­ten­ing first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Par­ent­ing — There are many won­der­ful resources that make life eas­i­er for Michelle at the Par­ent Vor­tex to par­ent, but the essence is the rela­tion­ship between par­ent and child.
  • What I Can­not Live With­outSybil at Mus­ings of a Milk Mak­er con­sid­ers her com­put­er to be a par­ent­ing life­line.
  • True Bless­ings: White Noise and Grand­par­entsKat at Lov­ing {Almost} Every Moment can’t live with­out her white noise machine and the sup­port of her par­ents.
  • The Neces­si­ties! — What “stuff” does a nat­ur­al par­ent like Lily, aka Witch Mom real­ly need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how par­ent­ing wis­dom is passed on by exam­ple.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bath­room is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feel­ing touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to inte­grate her many roles through her get-up-and-go par­ent­ing essen­tial, exer­cise!
  • My Oth­er HalfBecky at Old New Lega­cy real­izes what a relief it is to have her hus­band par­ent along­side her.
  • Grace, Love, and Cof­feeMrsH at Fleet­ing Moments real­izes that life­lines can take the form of the pro­found, or the mun­dane. Both are ok.
  • Sup­port­ive Spouse, Check! — There are so many par­ent­ing tools and gad­gets that are super­flu­ous, but the one essen­tial, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her sup­port­ive spouse.
  • Why I’m a Baby­wear­erMered­ith at Becom­ing Mamas reflects on the ways baby­wear­ing has enhanced her mama baby relationship…and made life eas­i­er to boot.
  • It’s Mar­velous Out Here, Kid­do!Rachael at The Var­ie­gat­ed Life can’t imag­ine par­ent­ing in the big city with­out the mar­vels of Prospect Park to share with her Crit­ter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Ank­tan­gle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essen­tial for suc­cess­ful par­ent­ing.
  • Par­ent­ing Essen­tials Check­list: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ Voic­esOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on rais­ing glob­al cit­i­zens and say­ing no to soci­etal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama liv­ing in the moun­tains of a nature island, Ter­ri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essen­tial to con­nect to nature and to con­nect online.
  • Sor­ry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adven­tures of Lime con­fess­es she missed out the day they hand­ed out patience.
  • LaughTash­mi­ca at The Moth­er Flip­pin’ Blog reveals her super pow­er, her tal­is­man agains mean mom­my.
  • My Price­less Par­ent­ing Resource — What do books, a mag­a­zine com­mu­ni­ty, my moth­er and the local play­group have in com­mon? Lucy at Dream­ing Aloud tells us…
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to expe­ri­ence the world from her daughter’s per­spec­tive.
  • Fol­low the Gig­glesDion­na at Code Name: Mama can’t live with­out the sound of her child’s gig­gles — come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mom­my With­out Boob?Emi­ly at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about wean­ing and los­ing part of that the mother/child bond.

Mamavation Monday: Week 6

Well, you may have noticed that I missed last week.  (But, with my “break” from blog­ging, it’s pos­si­ble you also didn’t notice.)  🙂  Whoops!  I usu­al­ly write my posts on Fri­day, so when it comes time to post it I can just put it up.  Well, I didn’t get it writ­ten on Fri­day or Sat­ur­day or Sun­day or Mon­day.  So, I missed a week.

I have to admit that anoth­er part of the rea­son I didn’t write last week’s post is that I was feel­ing a lit­tle over­whelmed.  Thurs­day I was at the gym and did the ellip­ti­cal crosstrain­er, and I end­ed up doing some­thing to my knee.  It was hurt­ing to the point where I couldn’t even go up and down the stairs on Thurs­day.  In addi­tion to hav­ing an extreme­ly painful knee, I had been hav­ing prob­lems with my feet.  No mat­ter which exer­cise I do, my toes seem to end up numb to a cer­tain degree.  Some exer­cis­es are worse than oth­ers, but they all seem to end up with me hav­ing numb toes.  Also, on my left foot, I have been expe­ri­enc­ing a few dif­fer­ent symp­toms.  First, I felt like I was walk­ing on a small rock, but when I took my shoe off there was noth­ing.  Then, it got to the point where every time I took a step, I had the sen­sa­tion of a nerve being bumped.  (Like when you hit your fun­ny bone)  So, I made an appoint­ment with the podi­a­trist, and it turns out I have a pinched nerve in my left foot and the same thing seems to be devel­op­ing in my right foot.  So, right now, I can take it easy, ice my foot, get a cor­ti­sone shot if it gets worse, or have the nerve removed.  Great.  Then, I get to go through it all again with my right foot.

I wasn’t ready to talk about it last week, and I still don’t exact­ly how I’m feel­ing about all of that.  But, I decid­ed to take it easy on the impact exer­cis­es.  This week, I’ve been doing bik­ing (with numb toes) and a lit­tle ellip­ti­cal.  After I do those, I’ve been lift­ing weights.  So far, I’ve only focused on lift­ing legs.  I fig­ured if my knee issues were due to weak mus­cles or ten­dons in my knees lift­ing would help me build up my strength.

So, as far as weight loss goes, I’m still at the same weight I was at 2 weeks ago.  Last week I gained .4 pounds and this week I lost it.  I’m sure that the fact that my baby is just about 4 months old also has some­thing to do with my weight loss (and the lack of it).  I’m try­ing to keep a good atti­tude and remem­ber that as long as I get the good habits in place now, the loss will come when my body is ready.