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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Toilet talk

Arianna had been taking a nap, when I heard some muttering from the bedroom. I walked in and saw her writhing on the bed. When she saw me, she sat up and said, "Anna pooping." Oh, so that's what all the noise was about.

She still hasn't quite figured out the proper term for urinating. She called it "peepeeing" at first, but it must have sounded wrong. (Gee, I wonder why?) Now she calls it "peeping" instead. Okay, little baby chick. Anyway, back to the story:

I said hopefully, "Would you like to poopy on the potty?"

Her reply, "No."

To myself, "Drat. Another poopy diaper to contend with."

"Would you like mommy to change your diaper?"

"No. Milky bed."

Okay, maybe not.

Milky bed = Mommy, I want milkies on the bed right now or else...

Is it unrealistic of me to think that her potty skills should be equivalent to her language skills? I have to remember: baby steps, we are slowly taking baby steps to the potty!

Rebecca
www.ThrivingBabies.com

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Super Star

Check out this picture of my little niece, the super star!

http://tinyurl.com/47dkr

Rebecca
ThrivingBabies@googlegroups.com

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Mommy Madness

I just read a thought-provoking article while I was waiting at the optometrist's office: http://msnbc.msn.com/id/6959880/site/newsweek/

I was forced to resign from my job as a reading specialist because I wanted to work part-time but the school district wasn't offering part-time to any teacher. Many of my teacher friends who just had babies were forced to make the same choice: teach full-time or leave.

I chose to be a stay-at-home mom, but the societal support for raising a child is non-existent. If you don't have good family support or a strong community, you are very isolated and risk falling into depression. There has to be a healthier way to raise children.

I think this article hits the nail on the head. The author's proposed solutions are good, but will not only take a long time to implement, but also assumes tons of effort from a defeated, marginalized group. I am thinking that smaller communities could make changes at a quicker rate. I am thinking small groups of individuals could make changes instantly by committing to help each other through:
providing social support,
creating co-op childcare, and even
building home businesses together.

I am curious where other people weigh in on the situation of Mommy Madness. Is it an epidemic? Does it affect you personally? What can be done about it?

Rebecca
ThrivingBabies@googlegroups.com

Monday, March 21, 2005

Doomed

After having a little milkie snack the other day, Arianna lifts her head up and says, "Yummy milkie!"

When we got ready to go to bed last night, I said, "Who wants milkie?" Arianna piped up with, "Anna does!"

After each snack, Arianna pats me on the chest and says, "Happy milkies." They have apparently reached celebrity status with Arianna, as she often comments on how they are feeling and what they are doing. Such as, when I am getting dressed in the morning, "Milkies cold." Or when I pop out of the shower and am greeted with a, "Clean milkies!" Will the obsession never end? Or am I doomed?

I think maybe I'll just go with it and make a shirt that says, "Got milkies?"

Rebecca, the milking mama
who is nonetheless proud of nursing a 20 month old (and counting)!

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

some Jan Hunt articles

I subscribe to an e-newsletter from The Natural Child Project. Not sure how I found them, but this woman, Jan Hunt, has some very interesting perspectives on discipline and punishment and how they can negatively affect children.

A reader wrote to her and asked her opinion on such disciplinary techniques as consequences and diversion (hey, who hasn't used diversion?). Her response is posted here: http://www.naturalchild.org/advice/q78.html

Here are a few other links I read:

http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/proudmom.html

http://www.naturalchild.org/jan_hunt/getit.html

Just curious what other people thought....

Rebecca, who first learned about discipline in a classroom of 24 kids

http://www.ThrivingBabies.com

Cheap Chai

Good point, Dawn. I wonder at what age we are supposed to develop the capacity to resist temptations? 97 perhaps? I know it's not at 36!

It's a wonderfully sunny day and downright balmy for March. After doing 3 loads of laundry and running some errands, I was tempted to stop at the local Venetian espresso cafe for a treat. I did not succumb to THAT temptation but created a different treat for myself that was much easier on the pocketbook.

Here's my cheap soy Chai recipe:
1. Buy, beg or borrow some Teahouse Chai by Celestial Seasonings (my fave) in Honey Vanilla.
2. Boil 2 cups of water and steep one tea bag for 30 minutes or so. (less water for a richer tea)
3. Put some ice in a glass and add some Vanilla Silk Soy Milk. (I like a lot, but 1/2 cup should suffice)
4. Discard teabag and add sugar to the steeped tea (the more, the better, IMHO).
5. Add tea to ice and milk.
6. Stir. Enjoy. Repeat with remaining steeped tea or share with a friend!

If you forget this, the recipe is on the inside flap of the tea box.

Enjoy your cheap treat,
Rebecca, the frugal gourmet

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Toddler Blues

I have been feeling badly about my parenting skills lately. The past few days have been rough, partly because Arianna has come down with a cold. It's her first cold of winter, so I can't complain, but last night she woke up every hour. If Andrew hadn't of been here, I would have been up the creek. It's so nice to have a partner who is your equal in every way. Although we have slightly different parenting styles, we can always tag team if one of us needs a break like I did last night.

I refused to go to sleep until I figured out what was bothering me. I read The Discipline Book's chapter on Toddlerhood and found inspiration and solace. Arianna is a smart girl with excellent verbal and language skills. It's easy to assume she is older than she is (20 months next week). So, when I tell her not to do something because it's dangerous or whatnot, I get frustrated when she apparently doesn't hear me and does said-dangerous-thing again and again. We are good at distracting her, but if the object is not entirely removed, which isn't always possible, she gravitates to it like a moth to a lightbulb.

When I read Dr. Sears, I discovered that toddlers of this age just don't have the memory and transfer skills to mind their parents. They literally don't remember what you said, which is why we have to repeat ourselves or refocus their energy. What a relief! I thought my girl was turning into a difficult child, but I was really expecting something of her that she's just not developmentally ready for. I have changed my expectations and tonight we had a great time after daddy left for work. Andrew also gave her some Motrin to soothe her aches and pains. She hasn't woke up tonight yet.

Parenting is an odd blend of knowing your child, knowing what they are developmentally ready for, and where YOU are as a parent in terms of style, stress level, and commitment to giving your child your very best (which seems to change from day to day, but it is still a goal I strive to reach).

I took great comfort as Sears explained how children from attachment parenting homes grow up to become confident and caring adults. Arianna is definitely asserting her will and her independence from us but she still requires our caring guidance, understanding, and lots of love.

It's hard to always be the one to adapt to her needs, but to place unrealistic expectations on my baby would destroy her esteem. It helps me so much to know that I can share this among friends and receive support and understanding. Sometimes I wish I lived with my tribal Mohawk ancestors so that that parenting support would automatically be built into the fabric of our daily lives.

We modern folks have to make a more concerted effort to echo this tribal effect. Thanks for being my tribe!

Rebecca

Monday, March 07, 2005

Emotional Development

It is fascinating watching Arianna slowly piece together her world-view. Watching her language devopment from babbling, to learning baby signs, then learning words, to learning phrases and whole sentences. At the same time, she is developing concepts one step at a time. She learns that dogs can be big or small, thin or fat, golden retrievers or poodles, and some might even have 3 legs instead of four; she also learns that dogs are a little different than foxes and wolves. This concept of dog is created through observing and discussing thousands of examples that she sees on walks outside, or in books.

I have realized that if Rebecca and I were not able to spend a lot of time with Arianna, if we both had to work full time and Arianna spent 40 hours plus in day care every week we would miss seeing all the small individual steps that it is taking for her to create her worldview. Her learning process is a wonderful and amazing process. The attachment parenting approach has allowed me to share in the process.

Now that Arianna is a toddler I have been fascinated to watch her emotional development unfold in the same incremental fashion. I think I have always taken my emotions for granted, thinking they are just a part of being human. But in watching Arianna develop I am realizing that emotions are learned just like language and physical skills.

A few days ago I was walking with Arianna riding on my back in an Ergo like carrier that Rebecca made. When we passed a tree we heard a "caw, caw" from the top. Arianna said "crow bird." (She is learning that there are different types of birds that each make different sounds). I said "yes, what sound does the crow make". "Caw, caw" she said. The crows then became quiet. I was hoping to encourage them to talk more, so I cupped my hands and said loudly "caw, caw." This startled the crows and they flew away. I said, "Oh, no. Daddy scared the crows." Arianna cried and said, "Hug them."

Arianna often gets scared by noises in our apartment, and she always feels comforted by hugs from Mommy or Daddy. She was upset because the crows were scared, and wanted to offer them the same comfort. This empathy was surprising to me because I remember reading that kids under the age of 4-5 are inherently egocentric and can't really understand how another being feels.

I think that this common view is a simplification. Arianna is not completely egocentric. She is just now beginning to learn that other beings have feelings - a crow can feel scared just like she can. But she has not yet learned that the crow may be comforted in different ways. She has a very simple empathy that will develop in complexity over time.

Over the years, through thousands of experiences and conversations she will learn to understand how other people feel and respond to those feelings in ways that will comfort them. Her emotional development is dependent on the experiences she has, and the people who model for her. She also needs to have strong connections with people who are there to respond to her emotions, and discuss behaviors she observes.

I believe that attachment parenting, or listening to your child and responding sensitively to her needs, models this kind of empathy from day one and is critical if we want our children to become caring adults.

Andrew

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Sweet Dreams

After 19 months of nursing Arianna to sleep every night, I am shocked to discover that she no longer needs it. Don't get me wrong, she still needs her milkies before bedtime, but it doesn't put her to sleep anymore.

She is starting to put herself to sleep. She tells me when she is done nursing, rolls over and goes to sleep. Sometimes she will ask for a hug and I gladly wrap my arm around her chest until we form two little spoons. That's it.

This has been going on for over a week now.

I think my baby girl is growing up (sniff).

She did fall asleep in the sling today while we were walking to the post office. That amazed me because she hasn't slept in a baby carrier for awhile. We went out to lunch with Andrew's parents and she sat there for two hours and entertained herself (the restaurant was terribly short-staffed). All of that good behavior must have exhausted her. Just kidding.

She is an absolute gem.

Off to sleep,
Rebecca

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

In like a Lion

March is certainly living up to its reputation. We just received several inches of snow last night and there is more on the way. Hope the end of March is more docile.

I have been working for MONTHS on this wool soaker for Arianna and I am almost finished. I asked my friend, Nick, for some pointers and was thrilled to discover she has a new website up for selling her soakers at: http://www.nickers.biz The site is way cool and her color choices are inspiring. We'll see how Arianna does with mine before we start ordering more.

For those uninitiated to cloth diaper-speak, a wool soaker is a knitted diaper cover! But they aren't just for cloth diapered babes, these little butt sweaters will liven up any child's wardrobe, while containing any leaks.

I have to give Nick credit; it's not easy being an online entrepreneur. I made some baby slings a few months ago to sell and it was harder than I thought. I guess I thought that a few google adwords would gain me some business, but marketing is truly a science. I guess everyone's first business flops, right, right? I have a few slings left, if anyone is interested! I am also looking for a used mei tai to buy or swap.

My eBay auctions are doing well. I have some baby products that retain their value, so I started them at 99 cents. Once the bidding got going, the prices went way higher than my first auction, which I started at $5.99 for the same thing. Interesting how pack-like we are. When someone places that first bid, everyone wants a piece of the action.

Back to Arianna, the star of my blog. Does, "Daddy, name Andrew, get washcloth," qualify as a sentence? And is it normal for a 19-month old to call her daddy by his first name?

I am going to preview a Kindermusik class for Arianna next week. She is starting to sing snippets of songs. Tony Chestnut was the first song she sang in its entirety last Saturday. It was too precious for words! We need to work a little on her pitch, though. She loves fingerplays, action rhymes, poetry, nursery rhymes, and little dances now.

We love our happy little girl.
Rebecca