A Budding Beautician

Camden’s First HaircutCamden’s First Hair Cut

Well, truly it was bound to happen. I would have been deluding myself had I not known that the possibility was out there given that we keep scissors at her craft table. Yesterday, my precocious two year old decided that her hair was too long. She bounded over to me while I was retrieving something in the garage with a large lock of hair.

“Look Mommy! It was too long”

“What is that?” Not quite sure what she is holding.

“Look, it’s my hair. It was too long!” Proudly holding out her specimen.

Starting to understand what is going on. “Camden, how did the hair get off your head?” I’m looking all over her head to see where it came from.

“It was too long.”

“Yes, I hear that it was too long. How did you get the hair off your head?” Still looking for where the missing hair came from.

“I used the scissors and cut it!” she said beaming with pride.

Trying to stifle a laugh. “We don’t cut hair with scissors. You can only cut paper with scissors. Only mommy’s and daddy’s cut hair.”

“I wanted my hair short like daddy’s”

“Your hair is beautiful. When you are a grown up you can cut your hair short.”

That was about how the conversation went. I took her inside and promptly had her hold out the hair for some photo’s and a video clip on our camera. Might as well salvage the moment with some photo’s. LOL. I am just so thankful that she didn’t cut a real obvious piece of hair and that she was proud enough to come show me the first piece. Aye aye aye I shudder to think of the damage that could have been done. ;-)

Needless to say the scissors have gone up and away for a few days.

The Video:

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Mothering

For the last few weeks I have been trying to formulate and put into writing how I feel about parenting “theories” and the little mommy “wars” that seem to be raging in both the online and real world.

There is an air of superiority that seems to penetrate any group of mothers of two or more. I have come to realize that mothers are about the most judgemental group of people that live (that and mother’s of new mothers). This has really been bothering me. I have noticed this trait in myself as I have sat on my own throne and decided who “is” and who “isn’t” a good mother. I’ve stopped myself a couple times and I’ve had to ask myself why I am doing this. Am I a perfect mother? I can rest assure you I am not. So why in the world would I expect someone else to be a perfect mother? Why do we have this obsession with judging the parenting of another. I am still working on really assessing my own shortcomings in this area and what is really fueling this habit.

I went online today and lo and behold there was a fabulous email that was better able to verbalize what I have been pondering and concluding for the last several weeks. I will post that email here. I did not write it but it echo’s my sentiments perfectly.

I hope that anyone who reads it takes it to heart. I also hope that any mother who reads it realizes that they are a good mother.

Here it is:

“I have been thinking a lot lately about this whole mothering thing. This somehow sacred ideal that there is a perfect way to mother, and that women who deviate from this method are somehow inferior.No matter what your taste, you can read a study or a book by a self-proclaimed expert who will back you up. Want to Attachment Parent? Read this book! Want to Cry it Out? Read this book! Want to use cloth diapers? Read this study! Want to use a bottle? Here’s what this doctor says! Circumcision? Well the latest statistic says . . .

The Latest Studies show. Talk about a phrase that should be removed from all languages. 30 years ago The Latest Studies showed that bottle-feeding and starting solids at 3 weeks and using disposable diapers was the best way to raise your child. Today, The Latest Studies show that breastfeeding and starting solids after 9 months and using cloth diapers are the best way to raise your child. The Latest Studies don’t ever agree with each other, because if they did, there would be no more money given out to actually do studies, and there would be no money made in writing books.

Most of us survive childhood intact. Sure, we complain. Sure we trot out our parents’ mistakes and brandish them with a vengeance as proof of our suffering. Sure we rant and rave, promising ourselves and anyone else that listens that we will be different, that we will never be the same kind of mother as our own second-rate one.

And yes, there is such a thing as bad mothering.

But.

Bad mothering is not using disposable diapers. Bad mothering is not using bottles and formula. Bad mothering is not putting a baby into a crib and letting the baby cry until she learns to sleep on her own. Bad mothering is not giving the baby a cookie to just shut up her whining, already.

Nor is bad mothering using cloth diapers. Or breastfeeding until the baby is 4. Or letting the baby sleep in bed with her parents. Or feeding the baby a vegetarian diet.

There are women out there who are bad mothers. There are mothers shooting up while their children die of starvation and neglect in the next room. There are mothers out there who stuff a pillow over their heads so they don’t have to listen to the whimpers from their 8 year olds while their fathers sodomize them. There are mothers out there who abandon their children on the street because they no longer wish to care for them. There are women who slowly twist their children’s limbs until they snap while their children cry and beg, promising to be good.

Bad mothers.

Yes.

But most of us are not.

At some point along the line, women in the Western world stopped trusting their instincts. We began to listen to doctors. We eagerly read studies and books that would confirm to us that yes, we were good mothers!

And worse, we began to betray each other. We began to gather in camps, and we set up rules for what constituted good mothering. And any mother who strayed outside those rules was a bad mother. We’d sit together over tea and discuss in outraged tones the ignorant woman down the street who bottle-fed her child from birth, smugly asserting our superiority in breastfeeding our own children for months and years. We’d converse over a power lunch about the poor deluded woman who quit her high-profile job so she could stay home and finger-paint, rolling our eyes and congratulating ourselves on our excellent luck in nannies. We’d snipe over email and on message boards, on blogs and over the phone.

Look at me! I am a better mother! And I can prove it to you by surrounding myself with other mothers who think just like me! I can prove it by shoving these books in your face! I can prove it by demeaning other mothers who have made different choices than mine!

Why are we doing this???????? ????????? ???

Why can’t we feel confident in our own mothering choices? Why do we feel such a need to prove ourselves through book after book and scorn directed towards other mothers?

Ask yourself, and be honest. When was the last time you criticized another mother in your mind? Was it today? Was it yesterday?

The next time you hear yourself making a nasty comment about another mother…stop. Just stop. And ask yourself – is she really a bad mother? Does she abuse her child? Does she neglect her child? Co-sleeping is not abuse. Bottle-feeding is not neglect. Think about what is coming out of your mouths and what your typing over message boards.

Do not diminish the pain of a child who sleeps chained in a closet, ribs cracked from her latest beating by equating her to a child who has learned to sleep by crying it out for a few nights in her crib. Do not diminish the pain of a child who has been sexually abused by equating her to a child that sleeps peacefully between her loving parents or still breastfeeds at 2 and 3 years old. Do not diminish the pain of a child who has not eaten for days by equating her to a child who is not fed meat or who drinks formula.

None of us perfect. None of us are. And we will all make mistakes. We will learn, we will revise our thinking; we will throw up our hands and let go of a long cherished ideal because we have just got to do it or collapse.

So how about instead of attacking other mothers, we start feeling confident about ourselves? How about we look to our own children instead of spending time self-righteously judging everyone else’s? Throw away your parenting books. Think about what your doctor tells you and evaluate what it means. When other mothers criticize you, shake it off and ignore the temptation to turn around and attack back.

Let’s try supporting each other for a change. I think it would make all of us better mothers to do so.”

The Importance of keeping Toddlers & Preschoolers Rear-Facing

Rear Facing at 30 months

This is My Public Safety Announcement:

I recently learned how important it is to keep your toddler and pre-schoolers rear facing for as long as possible. I was pretty amazed at the research I came across and was even more shocked to find out that the American Academy of Pediatrics even suggests leaving your child rear facing for as long as the car seat allows. All though it is a very good idea to leave your child rear facing until the one year and 20 pounds rule, it is the minimum. You still put your toddler and pre-schooler at greater risk the moment you turn them forward facing should you find yourself in an accident. In fact, it is safe for all people (including adults) to sit backward in the event of an accident but alas, our cars are not designed that way. In some other countries the standard is to keep children rear facing until age 4 or 5 and incidentally they have the lowest fatality rates in car accidents. Please take the time to view some of the video links and the information links below. It may be “inconvenient” to turn them back around but their little lives are so much more important.

I have turned Camden back around rear facing. She is adjusting to it just fine. I just told her it was a new fun way to ride in the car and that it would keep her safe. She is 2 1/2, 26.5 lbs and 37 inches. Her carseat allows her to rear face until she is 30 lbs and 1 inch below the top of the carseat (I want to add due to some concern about the picture above with my daughter that her head was below the one inch margin of the seat. She is leaning forward in the picture so her head looks a lot higher than it is. Make sure you follow you own car seats specifications). We have just purchased her a new Britax Marathon (Cowmooflage by her insistance). The Britax will allow her to rear face for up to 33 pounds and the shell is a lot taller so she will fit in it height wise a lot longer as well. Even if your child is too big for rear facing I still highly recommend Britax carseats because they also allow you to keep your child in a 5 point harness forward facing up to 65 lbs. The Regent (which is a forward facing only seat) allows for harnessing your child up to 80 lbs. The importance of a 5-point harness in older children is another subject all together and one I hope to touch upon later. Also, I’ve recently learned that Recaro seats are wonderful as well and they have new seats (the Como & Signio) that are coming out soon that are supposed to be even better than the Britax. I decided to stick with the trusted and true Britax for now until the new Recaro’s have a chance to be used in real life. Perhaps our next purchase will be a Recaro.

If you’re anything like me you are thinking where in the world would their legs go? That couldn’t be comfortable! That is probably dangerous. Those were my biggest concerns too. But after doing a lot of research and seeing pictures of real children sitting rear facing and talking with real moms my worries were dispelled. I feel confident that rear facing is best and that their legs aren’t an issue. But don’t take my word for it – research it yourself! :)

Please pass this on to anyone you know that has a child in a car seat. Even if your child is too big to rear face it is important to spread the word and also to keep older children in car seats in a 5-point harness vs. a “booster” that simply puts the lap belt across them.

Here is a more recent post with my daughter in her new Britax Marathon Cowmooflage.

Here is a link to pictures of Camden rear facing at age 3 years and 3 months.

My Favorite Link:

Pictures of real Toddlers & Preschoolers rear facing


VIDEO FOOTAGE:

The Importance of Rear-facing Video

Crash test of a Forward-Facing child

Side camera Crash test of a Rear-Facing child

Overhead view of a Rear-Facing child

LINKS:

Rear-FacingCar Safety Seats: A Guide for Families 2006

Is Your Baby Ready to Face Forward in the Car?

MSNBC: Toddlers Should Face the Rear Longer

Rear-Facing Car Seats: What You Need to Know, by Kathleen Weber

Rear-Facing Seats

Car Time – Stage 1: Safe Travel in a Rear-facing Infant Seat

Rear-Facing Car Seat Rules – Why You Should Consider Extended Rear-Facing

Child safety in cars – Literature reviewBooster Seats – Dr. E.R. Segedin April 2006

SafetyBeltSafe Technical Information (Scroll down to the section on Rear-facing vs. forward-facing)

Safety For the Growing Child – Experiences From Swedish Accident Data

Danger with children – The researchers’ facts about children and car security (Swedish)

How Long Should Babies Ride Facing the Back of the Car?

Why Rear-Facing is Safest

Rear-Facing – Unmatched Safety

Welcome to Real Milk

Camden meets our milk cow

Have you ever met the actual cow your milk comes from? If you’re like most Americans then the answer is a definite “no.” I am happy to say that I have begun consuming raw milk and have actually met the cows my milk comes from.

It’s actually quite funny that until this year, I didn’t even realize that there was an alternative to the milk that I bought in the store. I discovered raw milk about 5 months ago after hearing various people on message boards that I belong to sing it high praises. I decided I would look into this whole raw milk thing.

I discovered the research of Weston A. Price and the people who continue to study his research and conduct further research of their own into the role of a traditional and natural diet. I enjoyed the research and reading that I found at one of their websites: http://www.realmilk.com/ and also this link was helpful: http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/.

I also read a lot of the anti-raw milk claims and decided that there was a lot of scare mongering and all though there was a risk to drinking raw milk it wasn’t any more of a risk than eating any number of vegetables, meat or even juice that I was going to buy at the store anyway and it was actually less risky if anything.
So, we took the plunge and joined a local co-op that takes turns traveling for an hour to a local farm where we get our raw milk.

I was a little nervous to try it at first as I had grown up on 2% my whole life. And then there was this whole “shaking” business. You mean I have to shake it? But I got used to that pretty quick. So we got our first 1/2 gallon and I drank a cup of it and was quite surprised. Not only is it superior for you but it is superior in taste! It wasn’t any thicker than the Darigold milk that we’d been drinking which came as a shock since I was expecting something really thick. Instead it was refreshing and creamy and good. Even my 2 year old daughter took to it and it was quickly dubbed “special milk” since we still had my husband’s Darigold in the house (he refuses to try it – little does he know I will soon start spiking his milk – mwahahahaha).

We are lucky that where we get milk from it is not any more expensive than buying regular milk. We only pay $3.50 for a gallon of raw milk. That is an amazing price.

I have noticed that since I have started drinking raw milk that I do not get sick as often. I watch children and so there are a lot of colds and illnesses that go through this home. My daughter and I both seem to ward off most of the illnesses and I have not been sick once since starting raw milk. My daughter is two so she has been sick once or twice but not nearly as much as the children that I’m watching and even her father has been sick more than her.

I also enjoy knowing that I am supporting a local farmer and that I am helping to promote the ethical and humane treatment of cows. It also crossed my mind that it can’t be very healthy to consume milk from an animal that is diseased and whose lifespan has been significantly reduced to do the extenuating circumstances that we place upon their bodies.

Either way, it is raw milk er…Real Milk for us from here on out!

The Milk Cow

A Weaning Party

Weaning Chart 2Camden’s Weaning Chart

A Weaning Party? What the heck is a weaning party? I tried not to turn too many shades of red as the parent of one of the children I watch asked this question when picking up her child. I had forgotten that others might see “our” chart.

Had you told me 3 years ago that I would nurse my two year old I quite probably would have laughed in your face. Ewwww, I would have thought. If they can ask for it they are too old! In fact my husband and I had talked about that a few times before our daughter was born and we both agreed that if they can ask for it then they are too old to be nursing.

Enter in Camden. The child who would prove me wrong and make me question just about everything I had assumed about child raising. I always knew I wanted to breastfeed so that wasn’t a problem. I was breastfed myself for a year and so I was determined to do so for my own daughter. We made it through a lot of initial challenges with engorgement and a foremilk/hindmilk imbalance and the use of nipple shields since my daughter couldn’t get an adequate latch in the beginning. I rocked and rolled through those and didn’t consider switching once because of them.

As my daughter got older I started to hear about “extended nursing” and gave it some thought. I bought a book called Mothering Your Nursing Toddler and it opened my eyes and heart to the idea of nursing her until she was ready to be weaned. It settled some fears about creating a child that was too demanding and reassured me that she would eventually wean and that it wouldn’t have to be a traumatic experience for either of us. I looked at my 11 month old daughter and couldn’t imagine her being ready to wean in a month. She still nursed pretty much every 2-3 hours and didn’t eat much table food. Also, we surpassed that whole asking for it rule when she turned 9 months. She very clearly could sign “nurse”. Hmmm, we thought. Well, when she can actually ask for it in a whole sentence then that is just too old. We entered this new rule into our mental bank.

Nursing during her second year of life was pretty easy and I wasn’t too afraid to admit our nursing relationship. Around 18 months I stopped nursing her in public but I wasn’t embarassed about the fact that I nursed her. Also during this time our daughter became extremely verbal speaking in complete sentences. She is just ahead of her time, we’d think. So we kind of pushed the whole “asking in a whole sentence” rule aside.

Then she turned 2. I started to lose my bravado about nursing. This was definitely uncharted territory for me. I couldn’t quote the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) with as much power since they simply say to nurse until at least the age of 2 and then thereafter as long as mutually desirable. The quote still works of course but now I am past the “at least” part. Now I am one of those people. I didn’t really want to be one of those people. My husband would pop in every now and again with the typical “you’re going to wean her soon, right” “but she’s almost done, right?”. Oh well, he does his best to be supportive.

My daughter is now 2 1/2. She is potty trained, she sleeps by herself in her own room and she now sleeps through the night. She can dress herself, she can feed herself she can even brush her own teeth. But she still nurses. It is the last bit of babyhood that she has. Last month I figured she was ready to let it go. I certainly was ready. My skin crawled sometimes having to sit and nurse her and I didn’t want my attitude to effect our relationship.
I decided I would do something very unspeakable and very, very “hippie” as my husband would say. I would throw her a “weaning party”. A party complete with cupcakes, balloons and a birthday song sung to the words of “No more nee nee’s for you, no more nee nee’s for you. No more nee nee’s for Camden. No more nee nee’s for you.” I then made her a chart that would help her countdown to her party and also help her visually see how many times she had left to nurse. She was down to nursing 2-3 times a day. I decided 10 more times was enough warning and then we would have the party.

She was super duper excited at first and seemed to understand the concept really well. I took these pictures of her in front of her chart on the first day. She loved taking the balloons down and counting how many more times she could have “nee nee” before her party. Then over the next couple days I watched a strange transformation. My daughter stopped sleeping well. She would wake up crying in the middle of the night and when I went in to see her I wasn’t able to comfort her.

She started becoming clingy during the day and started demanding to nurse a lot more than usual. As the day before the party approached I could see that she truly wasn’t ready. Our relationship had detiorated over the last few days and I could see that she was stressed about the impending change but wasn’t able to verbalize it to me (she hadn’t once brought it up that she didn’t want to stop nursing). So I decided to just ask her. I told her that I had noticed that she’d been upset lately and not sleeping well. I asked her if she wanted to keep on having nee nee and have the weaning party another time. She was relieved and said that she wanted to keep on having nee nee – though she still wanted the party – LOL.

In the end I decided to put off weaning her for now. I hadn’t put forth all of this long hard effort of nursing her and creating this relationship just to have it end by me traumatically imposing a stopping time for her. There was no impending reason we had to stop. No medical excuse, no pained nipples from pregnancy – only my lack of patience to allow my daughter to grow into a child at her own pace. I decided to set a limit on the nursing to help me deal with it better and we decided to try and limit nursing sessions to before nap and bedtime.

So maybe my daughter can ask to nurse in a complete sentence, or a completel paragraph for that matter. Maybe she is the oldest nursing child that I know (in real life). Maybe she does choose what “side” she wants first and has actually named my breasts. Maybe I am one of those people. But I’ve decided I don’t want the world to raise my daughter. Heavenly Father has delegated that role to me and I’m confident in his confidence in me. Besides, she won’t be too old to nurse until she can ask for it by writing it in a complete sentence. ;-)