I Need You to Know That I Loved You.

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I need you to know, more than anything else, that I loved you.

I was so scared. I have never known fear as great as the day I found out that you would be coming to this world. But I loved you. So much. I still love you and I will always miss you.

There were so many things I wondered, worried and agonized over. Almost every waking moment, and many of my sleeping ones, I ran over every possible scenario that I could think of. How much of that did you feel? How much of my stress caused you harm? Could you feel my love too?

Never have two little pink lines been so terrifying. I am so sorry that there were no tears of joy and squeals of laughter. All babies should be welcomed that way. You weren’t any less beautiful, miraculous, or amazing. I was so angry when I realized I was pregnant. Not at you, or because of you, but I was angry at how it could be possible for a responsibility and a privilege so great to be given to someone like me, who had no way of providing, protecting or loving you the way that you deserved. The way every beautiful, precious, miracle of a baby deserves.

Your amazing beating heart flickered there on the screen for me. It was weak and you were small but you were fighting. You lived, if only briefly. I wanted not to worry. I wanted to be joyful but instead there was just gut wrenching fear.

How do I explain who your father is? What he is? Where he is? What he did? How do I conceal that you even exist to protect you? The world is small and eventually he would have found out…how do you trust a broken governmental system to protect the most vulnerable among us? How could I provide for you? How could I walk away from you every day to leave you in daycare? How would I afford daycare? How do I face each day, being the mom you need, stretched too thin, with no financial resources? How do I deserve you? How will it feel for you to watch your siblings leave to go see their father and you won’t have one to go to? What will you say? How will I explain it?  Will my love be stronger than the pain he caused? Am I a good enough mom? How will I afford any of this? How do I face my fears, acknowledge them, and let them go? How do I trust that the world will be here for us when the world has felt so dark?

Darkness. Everywhere things just feel dark. How could all of this happen? What did I do to deserve this? How do you keep faith in humanity when things keep going wrong. Consistently, irreparably wrong? I have always been a positive person. Looking on the bright side. Trusting the good in people. In the world. Little by little, the world is changing me. How do I stop it from changing me? How do I stop from becoming dark myself?

I tried to be brave for you. To think of the beautiful birth you would have. Would you be born wide awake and curious like your sister? Huge and quiet with one eye open like your oldest brother? Or would you sleep through a fast and furious birth like your youngest brother? I imagined wearing you in a wrap and nursing you. I imagined rocking you and holding you and our quiet days together, when your siblings were with their dad.

Were you the little girl we’ve all been hoping and waiting for? The sister that’s been longed for? Were you going to teach me that I am stronger and braver than I give myself credit for? Would you show us with your beautiful smile, your sweet grasping hands, those deep soulful eyes, and that indescribable baby smell that despite the darkness in the world, that each amazing, beautiful life possesses the power to bring meaning and light?

I will never know the answers to those questions. Your little heart stopped beating and you, my brave, sweet baby, with your short powerful life, will leave me forever wondering about you. Missing you. Loving you.

I am thankful that you have been spared the fears and possibilities that I agonized over. I am grateful and relieved and yet pained with guilt, remorse, pain, and loss. But above absolutely anything else… I love you.

-Mom

Garrett’s E.C. Progress (taking himself potty)

Garrett is 17 months old now and I’d say our Elimination Communication (E.C.) journey has been a pretty half-hearted one. I took the attitude of pottying Garrett with a grain of salt because I didn’t want any stress involved. I attempted to have the attitude of “it if works, great. If not, I’ve lost nothing.”

In the beginning I took him potty all the time and he did excellent and as a young baby he refused to poop in his diaper. As he got older he didn’t mind as much and would poop in his diaper if I didn’t get to him in time. Then around the time he started walking or thereabouts he started fighting the potty quite a bit. He was too busy and didn’t want to be bothered so I didn’t push it. I just let him go in his diaper but I would try to remember to take him when it crossed my mind.

A few weeks ago we picked up a Baby Bjorn Potty at a consignment shop and since then our potty success has skyrocketed. We all ready had a Baby Bjorn Little Potty (which is much smaller) and I like it but it’s size makes it difficult for Garrett to take himself to the potty without help because it’s so low to the ground. The blue potty we picked up is the perfect size. He backs up to it and goes.

Combining the new potty with keeping him naked from the waist down while we are at home has equated to him being “potty trained” during the day. He will completely initiate going to the potty and take himself without any assistance as long as he doesn’t have any clothes on. If he has underwear or a diaper on he will sometimes go in it without seeking me for help to get them off. I expect it will be another three to six months or so before he can reliably get his clothes off by himself to go potty. I have also noticed that since keeping him naked at home he has also started holding it better when he is in a diaper when we go out for the day or during nap.

Garrett mastering the potty has been just another reminder that my “baby” is quickly outgrowing his babyhood. So sad. But this is definitely a welcome change. He gets very excited when he goes potty and sometimes in his eagerness he tries to carry it to me (the little white part removes from the base) which has resulted in potty being dropped all over the carpet (yuck).

All though the concept and process of EC is very natural and makes total sense to me I am still sometimes baffled to watch a 17 month old stop in mid-play run over to the potty, go, and then resume playing as if nothing ever happened without any interference from me (except to wipe his bum after he’s gone poo). It’s a little amazing at times.

Fever Reducers and The Flu

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I have written before about medicating fevers and I thought I’d revive this topic again. I just got done reading a very interesting article about the 1918 flu and the theorized link about it’s high mortality rate due to aspirin use. I think it is very important for us to heavily weigh the risks of using fever reducers. I know there have been multiple times where I myself had a very hard time letting a fever just run its course rather than intervene to help my child “feel better.”

Here is a link to the original article I wrote awhile back about FEVERS.

And here is the article that I just got done reading that I’d like to share with you. It’s worth the read.

I am going to continue doing more research on the topic and I will share my research with you when I am able to compile it together along with what you can do to safely aide the body to heal itself from the flu and other illnesses.

The link to the article is HERE, and also pasted below:

” The primary defense which the human body has, to stop the spread of viral infections is to produce a fever. The fever is not a symptom of disease, but is actually the body’s primary anti-viral immune system.”

bayer-aspirinHumans have genetically developed a natural method to defeat viral infections called a fever. With a mild fever of 101 degrees the telomers on the ends of the RNA molecule cannot attach and the virus cannot reproduce itself, and the body’s white blood cells quickly destroy the invading virus. But the modern regular treatment for a fever from a cold
or flu is to reduce the fever to ease the discomfort. This is wrong.

The traditional knowledge of how to quickly and effectively cure a common cold or flu infection due to viruses has been known worldwide since ancient times. But you are not supposed to know that. You are not supposed to know that you can quickly cure a viral infection overnight by yourself and at no cost to you. You are supposed to believe that you need costly medications and medical treatments to cure new life-threatening diseases.

Best advice: do not try to lower a fever, it is your genetically derived natural human defense against any viral infection. Stay wrapped up and warm to cause a sweat. Drink fluids to replace the water lost by sweating. And within 6 to 8 hours overnight the cold or flu is gone.  Many older doctors knew this, which is the reason for the old docs
advice, go to bed, stay warm, drink fluids. But younger docs just  out of med school have been taught there is a drug or pill to treat everything. The result of using expensive pills or over-the-counter medications to reduce the fever from colds and flu is prolonged illness, the epidemic spread of viral diseases and the unneeded deaths of hundreds of thousands each year. Don’t buy them, don’t let them in the house.

MURDER IN THE MEDICINE CABINET

PART ONE The Deadliest Killer of the 20th Century, With More Deaths Than All the World Wars, Lurks Right Inside Your House, and Threatens to Take You and Your Family. The Story No One Told You.

In 1918, a virulent, never seen before, form of influenza seemed to suddenly appear. It seemed to kill within hours, and spread around the world within days. It seemed to appear simultaneously all around the world. Its spread was faster than any then known means of human travel.

In 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization warned of repeats of such a rapid and deadly pandemic, through such variants of influenza as SARS and Bird Flu. But without knowing what caused the 1918 pandemic or how it spread, how can the CDC or WHO make such a claim? Unless they already know something they are not telling.

As yet no one has been able to identify the actual medical cause of the 1918 Flu, with only a few samples of a “bird-like” virus taken from only several cadaver tissue samples. But no sample is complete. And those are only one or two samples from among the estimated 20 to 40 million people who seemed to die mysteriously almost overnight. The 1918 Flu spread faster and was more deadly, killing more people than even the Plague and Black Death of the middle ages. Why does no one talk about it?

And even if the viral cause were identified, no one can explain the lightning fast spread of the disease. Maybe it wasn’t a disease after all. Many researchers have even looked at some world-wide phenomena, such as extra-terrestrial biology filtering into the atmosphere from outer space. Or maybe, the jet stream spreading disease-laden dust from
Asia all around the world in a matter of days. In an area of investigation where there seems to be no real facts and less logic, any “fringe theory” or “outre logic” is just as valid as any other. Maybe something about the 1918 Flu is being covered up. Something that we are not supposed to know.

Actually, there is another rather simple mundane solution to the medical mystery. There did exist in 1918 a then new technical invention by which the “disease” was spread almost at the speed of light. The “1918 Flu” as spread around the world almost instantaneously by telephone. Of course, that claim needs an explanation, and proof.

In the 1890’s an American chemist made an improvement on an old home folk remedy called Willow or Aspen Tea. It seemed to relieve the pains of old-age gout, arthritis and other assorted pains. But the evil tasting tea containing acetylsalicylic acid was so strong that it caused many people to have nausea and vomiting, along with the pain relief if
they could tolerate drinking the tea. This potion was later neutralized, synthesized and buffered, and then sold to the German Bayer company as a pain reliever.

I have researched the source and history of the name Aspirin and found no reasonable explanation has ever been found. I have found, instead, that the German Bayer company, in order to sell to both the American and European markets, used a name familiar in both markets. In America the common folk remedy form was called “Aspen Tea” made from boiling willow bark from the Aspen tree family. In Europe, the same home remedy was called “Spirain Tea” made from boiling the leaves of the common European shrub Spirae.

Both preparations were found to contain large amounts of natural acetylsalicylic acid, but unbuffered. Combining the common home-remedy folklore names Aspen and Spirain comes up with the Euro-American brand name Aspirin. My research is the sole source for the information about that unique derivation of the brand name.

The reason for the deep confusion and lack of any clear history about the trade name is that for almost a decade from 1905 to about 1915, the use of the trade name, and the source of the name Aspirin, was tied up in international courts. In the late 1890’s when Aspirin became available as an easy to use “pop a pill” replacement to the sour tasting Aspen or Spirain Teas, many people used it to relieve the pain of joint arthritis. Many users also discovered, quite by accident, a unique side effect. If you had a fever when you took the Aspirin, it also made the fever suddenly
go away. What a discovery! It appeared to be a cure for the the common cold and flu.

By 1905 many other drug companies were making acetylsalicylic acid preparations and calling it Aspirin, but they were selling it as a common cold remedy. Bayer took these other companies to court and sued over
illegal use of their trademark. Many people believe that Bayer lost the decision and lost control of the name Aspirin. Most believe that Aspirin is now a generic name such as Kleenex, Scotch Tape or Xerox. Not so. It was an odd court decision and a confusing compromise. By 1915 it was decided in court that Bayer had the exclusive use of the tradename Aspirin, if it were sold as a pain-relieving analgesic.

The court also found that the other companies could also use the name Aspirin, if in their ads and packaging, they claimed that their product was an anti-febril agent or a fever reducer. This odd court decision is still in use today. You can still buy Bayer aspirin to relieve pain, and on the store shelf right next to it is Nyquil, Aleve, Tylenol, Motrin,
Bufferin, Anacin and a whole long list of others, all containing aspirin or aspirin-like compounds and claiming to be treatments for Colds, Flu and Fever. Reducing fever was not in Bayer’s original patent claim. Bayer didn’t know in 1895 of the use of aspirin as a fever reducer and had not put that in their original trademark application.

And how does that strange court decision fit into the rapid spread of the 1918 Flu? The primary defense which the human body has, to stop the spread of viral infections is to produce a fever. The fever is not a symptom of disease, but is actually the body’s primary anti-viral immune system. The fever stops the telomeres on the ends of viral RNA from making copies of itself.

The telomeres are like a zipper which unzips and separates the new RNA copy within miliseconds, but the telomeres are temperature sensitive and won’t unzip at temperatures above 101F. Thus the high temperature of the fever, stops the flu virus from dividing and spreading. It is an immune system response which only mammals have developed to prevent the spread of viral flu infections, which mostly 99% come from the more ancient dinosaur-like earth life forms called birds. Almost all influenza is a form of “Avian Flu.” A few influenza forms come from other dinosaur-like
life forms, the modern reptiles, but these are usually classified as very rare tropical diseases, since that is where most reptiles live.

The doctors in the early 1900’s didn’t know about that, and even today few if any doctors are aware that fever is not a symptom of disease, but is the primary and only way for the human body to stop viral infections. If you stop or reduce the fever, viruses are allowed to divide and spread uncontrolled throughout the body. I have already described this process in detail in my articles posted in the Brother Jonathan Gazette in 2003, so I won’t go into detail here. Do a search on “SARS” on the Gazette and you’ll find the articles. Normally the progress of a flu is that a virus
enters the mucous membrane lining of the lungs, enters cells, then makes many copies of itself, which causes the cell to expand to such an degree that it bursts open. The new viruses then cloak themselves with a coating
taken from the old damaged cell wall, thus hiding themselves from the human body’s own T-cell antibody immune defense system. To the body’s immune system the new viruses simply appear to be pieces of the body’s own
lung tissue.

By creating a fever, the viral infection is slowed down sufficiently so that the body’s T cells can find the swollen infected lung cells, surround them and metabolize (literally eat) the damaged cell with strong acids which also breaks down the RNA viruses into basic amino acids. This effectively “kills” the viruses so that they can’t reproduce. But viruses are not living things, and you can’t kill something that’s not alive. All the body can do is destroy or dissolve the RNA amino acid chain which makes up the virus.

Not knowing this, most doctors treat the flu with aspirin or fever reducers, as a palliative treatment to ease the aches, pains, and delerium fever effects. The result is that within hours, the fever goes down and the patient feels much better. What neither the patient nor the doctor knows is that with only a normal 98.6F body temperature, the viruses are allowed to reproduce unchecked. Within 72 hours, the viruses have grown from one or two virus bodies to millions or billions. The body is now completely overwhelmed. But while taking aspirin or cold medications,
there are no symptoms or warnings of what is yet to come.

As a last resort the body tries to quickly flush the infection of billions of viruses from the lungs with massive amounts of T-cells, and fluid in the lungs to “cough out” the virus. This is called viral pneumonia. Soon within hours the patient is in the hospital. The doctors try to treat the now 105 degree fever with more anti-febril aspirins, or related medications to “treat the fever.” Then within another 24 hours the patient, suffocating and gasping for breath, is dead.

You should note that the original infection did cause a mild fever, aches and pains, which the patient “self-medicated” with over-the-counter products. For the next several days, the patient seemed to have no symptoms, but was actually growing billions of copies of influenza virus in his lungs. Then days later, the patient and doctor seem to see a sudden rapid case of viral flu infection that is now overwhelming the body. Is that what really happened? What caused the patient’s death? Was it the original flu virus, or was it the use of Aspirin to lower the flu fever which then shutdown the patient’s own immune system response? Obviously, the latter. So how did this cause the massive rapid spread of the 1918 Flu?

The Bayer court case had just been settled, and many companies other than Bayer, could now legally market aspirin to treat colds and fever. But then “The Great War to End all War” was on, and most aspirin products were going directly to the front lines in France to treat the soldiers in the diseased hell hole trenches of WWI.

The World War I medics knew that aspirin could quickly reduce a fever. If a soldier had a fever, the docs gave aspirin. Magically the fever went down, the soldier felt better and quickly went back to the fighting. Then three days later, the same soldier was back, now with severe pneumonia and died almost overnight.

No doctors then made the connection between aspirin and pneumonia death, since the trenches were filled with many other seemingly related diseases such as diphtheria or tuberculosis. Death and dying on the front line was
common, so no investigation was done. Aspirin seemed to be a god-send since it allowed sick soldiers to swiftly get right back into the fighting.

After the Armistice of November 11, 1918 the fighting stopped and the soldiers went home. The soldiers around the world announced the good news to their families back home. Most of the low-ranked doughboys had to wait till they got back to their homebase in Kansas, or wherever, to call home They couldn’t afford the costly trans-Atlantic deep sea cable phone rates. But when the troop arrived in Kansas, the call from sergeant Tom was something like: “Hey mom, I’m coming home. I’ll see yu and dad next Tuesday in Chattanooga. How’s everybody? Oh, Aunt Esther has a fever? Hey tell her to take some aspirin. Yeah, that stuff in the medicine cabinet for treatin’ the aches and pains. Tell Esther, we used it in France. Works right away and the fever is gone. OK see yu Tuesday….”

So what does Esther do? She tries the aspirin, but the old Bayer label only says its for “aches and pains” and says nothing about fevers. She takes it and magically the fever is gone, and she feels much better, almost cured. She’s so much better, she gets out the horse and buggy to go see her sister, Lucy in Mt Carmel, where Lucy and the kids are down with the fever. Mt. Carmel has no telephones and even no roads, only the buggy path to reach the outside world. But within hours of sergeant Tom’s phone call home, by word of mouth, everybody in rural Mt. Carmel is now taking aspirin to treat fevers. Since the new information came from a soldier, from the US Army and the government, it must be true!

Within a week of the 1918 Armistice, by newfangled telephone, trans-oceanic telephone cables, and even the experimental ship-to-shore shortwave radios using Morse code, the message was flashed around the world — “Have a fever? Take Aspirin. It worked in France, it’ll work for you.” That message spread at nearly the speed of light over millions of telephone lines all around the world. The news of the “miracle cure” even spread by word of mouth within a day or so, even to places with no phones nor roads. Mysteriously, a week later, doctors round the world now had hundreds of sick and dying patients. Nobody could figure out why. The patients themselves never reported that just the week before they did have a mild fever. But it was so mild that when they took some aspirin, it simply went away. Nobody made the connection. The doctors only saw, by November 24, 1918 thousands of very sick patients with high fevers, lungs filled with fluid, and swift overnight death.

The medical profession had never seen anything like it before, nor since. It seemed to occur simultaneously all around the world and even reaching into such out of the way places like Mt. Carmel with no telephones nor roads. How could such a massive fast-spreading killer disease exist? It didn’t. It wasn’t a disease. It was a new use for an old
home folk remedy which everybody already had in their medicine cabinet, Bayer Aspirin to reduce fever.

The medical profession, at a complete loss to explain it, simply called it the “Spanish Flu” or the “1918 Flu” or many similar names. It was a mystery with no known source, so it was assigned many place names. So far, nobody has been able to prove any single pathogen was responsible. And even if they did, they still can’t explain how it seemed to spread world-wide at almost the speed of light, clear around the world within a week.

To this day there is no explanation. But, now you know. The “disease” was not a single pathogen, but many of the hundreds of similar types of flu which are always existing at any time around the world. What was different in November 1918 was the many hundreds of thousands of almost simultaneous phone calls from the millions of returning sergeant Toms saying, “…tell Aunt Esther to take the aspirin. It worked in France. It’ll work for her…” Nobody traced the spread of the 1918 Flu to sergeant Tom. Nobody made the connection.

That very same source of disease still exists today. What is different today is that cold and flu products are sold and used all year long. This results in an estimated one million deaths from mysterious viral pneumonia reported every year, but also all around the year. In 1918, the new use of aspirin for treating colds and flu all started at the same time in November, thus creating the false impression of a sudden massive onset of a new disease. Even today SARS is not a disease. It is the improper use of a brand new high-tech flu fighter called Tamiflu. The FDA approved the use of Tamiflu several years ago. In 2003 it began to be used world-wide. But how is it used?

Many millions of people around the world still self-treat their own colds and flu with over-the-counter meds containing aspirin. Those are the most commonly sold medications in the world. The patient’s mild fever quickly goes away. They forget about ever having felt sick. Then several days later the patient sees the doctor and now has a high fever, bad cough and fluid-filled lungs. The doctor, using the new CDC and WHO guidelines, treats the hospitalized “flu” patient with the new high-tech Tamiflu. But how often and at what dosage?

The doctors do what they’ve always done for the past 100 years. Tell the nurse to stick a thermometer in the patient’s mouth, increase the Tamiflu dosage by 10cc’s every hour until the fever starts to drop. Then maintain that dosage level until the patient dies. Then blame the death on some new highly contagious lethal virus. Nothing new here. It’s the same old story, since 1918. The only thing different is that they give it a new name like SARS, or Bird Flu or whatever sounds nifty and high-tech. Even today, each year about one million people world-wide die from the very same “disease” which first appeared in the fall of 1918. Has medicine, in the last 100 years, turned this “contagion” from Pandemic by Phone, into Illness by Internet? Is it the rapid and continuous spread of misinformation that is still killing millions?

Remembering the Simple Things

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There are some days where I believe that my brain is literally melting. All manner of intelligence and the ability to think logically or rationally just oozes from my ears. The culprit? Whining. Whining is my kryptonite. It does me in every time. It turns me from the calm, sensible and problem solving mother into a raging, scary mom-beast. I try so hard to disengage. To elevate myself above it and be the adult, you know…the parent.

Sure, I can handle a bit of whining but not at the levels that my dear Garrett is able to summon from his larynx. Those who have seen the worst of his whining usually comment, “Wow, he sure is cute when he’s not whining.”

I agree.

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During the summer, however, I began to make some observations. The first “aha” moment came during our first camping trip of the summer. There was no whining. I chalked it up to the fact that there was so much for him to “do” and “watch” and that we were finally out of our cramped apartment. The next time I saw him that happy was at a family trip to the bay while the tide was out. He was so happy and content sitting in the sand, getting dirty and wet and enjoying everything there is to enjoy about the beach. There were many more park and outdoor experiences like that throughout the summer.

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I’m not sure why it didn’t really click until this weekend. It’s rather obvious and simple. My son needs the outdoors. It isn’t something he wants or should have a chance to “do” every now and then. It is something he needs. This realization brought me back to the book I began reading at the beginning of spring but had to put down because of the kids illnesses and is now loaned out to my mother-in-law. I can’t wait to begin reading it again.

It is called, Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder and it was written by Richard Louv. He touches upon things I have known intuitively for most of my life and that is the importance of children being outdoors. And not just in a fake, community planned, structured and supervised “outdoor space” but really being let loose in unadulterated nature. To do whatever their hearts drive them to do. Alone.

I grew up this way and I believe it benefited my in innumerable ways. We were allowed to run loose in a place called Sudden Valley in Washington State. We roamed the woods and followed creeks. We climbed trees and dug holes. We walked for miles every day.  Sometimes there was no “we” and it was just “me” and I loved that too.

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This weekend we took our kids to a local elementary school playground to kill time after going to the farmers market. They got bored with the playground after a few minutes and the big kids noticed Garrett and I looking for some sticks under some big oak trees. They came over to see what we were doing. I showed them the acorns and how the tops came off and how they looked like little hats or even little bowls when you took off the stems. We decided to collect them so Camden could use them as bowls for her doll house and because we thought that we could paint little people out of the acorns. We spent time dissecting the acorns and peeling back the shells to inspect the nuts. Mike even cut one of the nuts in half for the girls to feel and smell. We were able to hear and see the acorns falling from the tree. I’m not sure what else we really did but we spent over an hour playing under the oak trees having a lot of fun. Including Garrett. He ran around with his sticks, rocks and dirt and enjoyed every minute of it without letting out one whiny peep.

In the house Garrett runs around creating one destruction after another, most likely out of sheer boredom. He dislikes toys for the most part and tires of them quickly. He clings to me because really, he has nothing better to do. Realizing that what Garrett needs is unfettered access to the outdoors is a bit frustrating as we  currently live in an apartment complex with no fenced in area to let him loose in. I realize I need to “plan” our outings to give him access to the outdoors and that is frustrating in its own way. So now my goal is to come up with a feasible way to get my kids  outdoors on a regular basis yet still find time to get the normal household tasks accomplished.

But back to my original point. I think in our parenting world today there are so many theories and ideas and “things” that we are supposed to be doing to our kids in order to help them grow up and become the people we hope they will be. Sometimes it can seem complicated and overwhelming and just downright frustrating. My big “aha” this weekend is that doing the simple and most basic things often reap the biggest rewards.

I could have spent countless hours researching, reading and attempting to implement parenting “tools” to curb Garrett’s whining and redirect his behavior to something more desirable. In the end I would probably be left with a lot of lost hours, some lost dollars and a kid that was still whiny. Instead I have realized that Garrett is bored. He doesn’t need more open ended toys or more “one-on-one” time. He needs to be outdoors. He needs to be doing real tangible things with the freedom to roam safely.

It’s so simple yet so powerful. It’s also comforting. With the economy being the way that it is there are many families that are struggling. My own husband has been out of work since April. I have found myself occasionally lost in worry over providing my children with this or that item or experience. I have sometimes felt bad about not being able to afford ballet or pre-school or toys for Christmas. Then there are weekends such as this that provide me with the comfort that sometimes simple is really better. Even if our children had absolutely no toys or belongings besides the clothes on their backs they would go on finding away to enjoy childhood and everything that childhood is about. It doesn’t need to be manufactured.

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Playing with Knives

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I haven’t had a chance to keep up with blogs until the last few days or so. It has been good catching up and reading what people have been up to. One of my favorite blogs/websites is called Free Range Kids, which is also the subject of a new book which I will be buying shortly:

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Free-Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts with Worry

The excerpt below is from the Free Range Kids blog.

Link to this topic HERE.

Mini Free-Range Outrage Involving a Kitchen Utensil

Posted on September 22, 2009 by lskenazy

Hi Folks — This just in from a town outside of Georgia. (That’s the American Georgia, for all our international readers!) A “Webelo Scout” is a youngster on the cusp between Cub and Boy Scout.

My son is Webelo scout and earned his whittling chit last year.  This year I volunteered at the district day camp and led the Bear den.  When it came time for the boys to earn their whittling chit, the instructor showed them all the proper ways to handle the knife and then — he handed them each a potato peeler!

It was pathetic.  So all of the boys who were there earned the whittling chit without ever once touching a pocket knife.  I am so glad my son earned his the old fashioned way!  We are also lucky to belong to a pack that believes in Free-Range scouts!  If you can find a pack or troop like this, then scouting can be a great experience!

Agreed. And I can’t even imagine how hard it would be to whittle with a potato peeler. It’s like knitting with a fork. – Lenore

As for me, Garrett will definitely learn how to use a knife. So will my daughter. In fact, they both will own pocket knives. Cami all ready has a sling shot and loves it!

Here is a link to a post I wrote on this topic awhile back:

Where have all the children gone?

One Handed Feats

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Me with Garrett (blonde) and Emeth’s son, Zuri

The following are things (many of them unpleasant or dangerous) that I now know are possible to do with only one hand. The other hand, of course, is busy holding a baby. Feel free to add your own one handed feats in the comments.

P.S. If you don’t own one all ready slings, wraps and backpack style carriers like Ergo’s are heaven-sent. My little guy just wants up and down constantly so sometimes it’s easier just to hold him.

The List

-Wash and chop potatoes.

-Use the bathroom.

-Wipe older child’s bottom while holding younger one at an unnatural angle so as to prevent younger one from pulling older ones hair.

-Wash my hands with soap and water. You’ve got to switch hips and wash them one at a time.

-Put things in and out of the oven.

-Wash, dry, fold and put away laundry.

-Pre-wash and load and empty the dishwasher. I’ve also done this while on the phone AND holding a baby. I don’t recommend. It leaves a kink in your neck.

-vacuum.

-Throw up. Not that throwing up is ever pleasant but to do so while holding a child is even more so.

-Clean the bathroom.

-Eat within 3 bites any meal that I would care to partake of while simultaneously defending my meal from my child.

-Sign receipts or any other nonsense. At least most of the women are thoughtful enough to hold the paper still for you so that the signature is more than garbledygook.

-Lock the front door with keys. For us this is tough because you have to pull the handle while simultaneously turning the key.

-Carry as many as six grocery bags plus three books under your arm up a flight of stairs. Ok, I cheated on this one. Two grocery bags were in my hand that was carrying the baby but I’m still pretty impressed with this one.

-Put my hair up in a pony tail. This is a lot harder than it sounds.

-Drive. I admit it. I have driven with Garrett on my lap (through a parking lot).

-Type an email/blog post or Facebook entry using my cat like reflexes to thwart unwanted additions.

-Sleep. Everyone should try this one, it’s worth it.

-Brush my teeth.

-Blowdry my hair.

-Shop and push the shopping cart.

-Shower. This is hard and precarious.

-Prepared countless breakfasts/lunches/dinners.

-Push an empty stroller. Oh, the irony.

-Console an older sibling, who erupts into further crying while younger child (once again) pulls hair.

-Take pictures. Retake the picture. Clean lens. Retake the picture.

-Try to balance in the squatting position. Fall over and attempt again.

-Put on shoes while standing. Like above, fall over and attempt again.

-Mail packages

-And my personal favorite? Cut your own fingernails.

Camden’s 1st Day of Preschool

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Originally, we never planned on Camden attending preschool especially since we intend to homeschool our children. However, since we’ve only recently moved to Bellingham we don’t have enough social contact yet and living in a tiny apartment without a yard has really placed a damper on the activities we have available. We decided that a preschool would help Camden get all the social contact that she craves while also allowing her to get messy, loud and run around like little kids should. I searched around for awhile and I believe I have found the perfect match of a preschool for us. Their philosophy about childhood and what it should entail and how children learn best really fits with our own philosophy and the way they have the environment set up is wonderful. They have a very unschooled/homeschooled approach to education and believe that children learn best through play and at their own pace. There is no “formal” education that takes place. Rather the environment is stimulating and flexible. The children go outside to play no matter what the weather and they are expected to get dirty. You have to supply a change of clothes every day. The snacks are organic and homemade. Parents are welcome in the classroom and each parent is expected to volunteer some time to the class every year. The teachers are wonderful. They are not commanding and they do not speak demeaningly to the children. They leave the children to solve their own problems but are nearby to guide them and step in, if necessary. Being at this school makes me want to be a kid again because if I was a kid this is the kind of place I’d want to be at every day.

As great as the school is it was pretty weird for me to just drop her off there. Here is something I wrote yesterday (her first day) after I took her to school for the first time. Excuse the redundancy.

Camden’s first day of preschool was today and it was absolutely perfect but so weird for *me*. It wasn’t that I couldn’t stand being separated from her or anything but it was just so strange to send her off to become a part of a world that was not mine to share with her.

We never intended on ever enrolling Camden in a preschool since we’ve always intended to homeschool/unschool her but she just needs a lot of social interaction and outdoor/physical play and I haven’t been able to fulfill those needs for her since we’ve moved here into a tiny apartment and thus far we have no social life here. So I decided the best thing to do through the winter is allow her to make some social connections and find her a school where she could also blossom physically and get messy and do art and all that jazz. I feel very blessed to have found the perfect preschool match for us and she is just tickled to pieces over her new school.

However, it is so strange to drop her off somewhere and just leave her there. There’s been plenty of times I have left her with other people but they’ve always been family or friends. I think more than leaving her somewhere it is strange that she now has a private piece of her life that is just for her. She can choose to share her experiences with us or keep them to herself. It is a vital step in life for her to have something like that but it is just strange at the same time. I’m so used to knowing her better than anyone and sharing every experience with her. I’ve been there for every single first in her life and there to share her disappointments, her rages, her joys. Now I am finding myself in un-ventured territory because now I get to learn who my daughter is in a social environment of 20+ kids rather than 8, at most. In addition it is just a wake up call that Camden is my daughter,  but her life is not my life, it is hers. I obviously knew that before but sending her off to preschool is a very eye opening manifestation of that. None of this is bad, just different and strange and unknown.