When you have a baby born in January one of the neat things about the inevitable New Years “year in review” is that its also a retrospective on their first year – and what a packed year that is!
In just these last 12 months this little guy:
is now practically walking. It blows you away sometimes as a parent how quickly these little precious beings grow and change.
After my third child I am maybe not as blown away at that though as my husband was when I first started baby led weaning with this little guy. Suffice to say – it was not something we had done before and he was not convinced it was safe.
Here’s the truth about it: Sometimes it is scary! Every time our little guy gagged on something and my husband gave me that “Are you sure about this?” look I definitely second guessed myself. But ultimately my mommy instincts felt like this was ok. I didn’t force it. He was trying to grab things from our plates. He just isn’t really happy being spoon fed.
I will note though that there are some things that personally I did not feel comfortable giving him. At 6 months he was gnawing on BBQ ribs happily but I still get anxious about whole grapes. You can get basic guidelines on how to manage BLW all over the web but mostly I go with my gut. If it doesn’t feel comfortable to me – I break it up a little more.
And yes…my husband still feeds him organic jar food when I’m not around because that is his comfort area and our daycare does both jars and finger food. So we have progressed our way through and found a balance that works for us.
I won’t say I ever really “sold” my husband on the idea completely but I will say this cute video made us both laugh and took away some of the scary factor.
So here is what I know now at 11 1/2 months
He is totally fine!
He still sometimes gags but it gets less and less frequent.
He is a voracious eater. This kid LOVES to eat.
Of my three sons he has the most diverse palette. He will literally try anything.
He eats off a spoon but he definitely seems to prefers to feed himself.
His weight is healthy
For us BLW was not a an “all or nothing” thing. We combined it with some jar food feedings in a way that worked for us but overall we are really happy with the way the experience has made our newest family member more of a part of family meals and we think *fingers crossed* that it will help lead to healthier food choices in the future.
Now the biggest question is: What do I make for dinner tonight? Hmmm…
Renee is the mom of three crazy boys, an avid yogi and a self confessed data geek. You can see more of her rantings writing at Life Half Crunched.
October is attachment parenting (AP) month. You may or may not be familiar with this style of parenting but many green, natural, crunchy, granola parenting types are. It seems to mesh really well with lots of the other things we hold dear. A group of green/natural mom bloggers have recently gotten together to form a weekly column called Green Moms Weekly and the first question that was posed to the group honors attachment parenting month. The question is “How do you balance your busy lifestyle and manage to keep a focus on attachment parenting?”
For me, AP it is about letting my mommy instincts direct my actions. As a younger mom I loved to hold my babes close to me and breastfeed. I let them do this until they were ready to stop, to honor their need for this closeness and because I knew that breastmilk was the best nourishment for them. My mommy instincts also told me to go to my babies when they cried and that is what I did, ALWAYS. I never listened to mainstream advice that babies need to be on schedules and that letting them cry alone will teach them independence. I let them sleep with me as long as they wanted because it was easier on both of us. Mainstream advice that declares you will never get kids out of your bed once you let them in is just a bunch of hogwash. When my kidlets cried and wanted to be held when I needed to make dinner of do some other chore, wearing them on my back allowed me to meet their need for attention AND get my work done. When they misbehaved I knew that deciding I didn’t want to strike them wasn’t going to result in a brat… despite what all the “spare the rod, spoil the child” folks had to say. For me AP is all about listening to my instincts and my heart.
So why the question about how to balance a busy lifestyle and still be an attachment parent? Well, AP is “get off your butt parenting” in my mind. The contrary advice to let kids cry it out, stick them in bouncing seat when you need to do dishes, spank them when they run into the street, and give them a more convenient bottle is all a way to make parenting easier for us, but not necessarily better or easier for the child. An attached parent will likely create a family bed so that everyone can sleep together. They will wear their babies in a wrap or hold them instead of delegating that duty to a swing or bouncy seat. They breastfeed and/or pump well into the toddler years because it is important to their child and it is the best source of nutrition. They will be supervising their child closely so that the running into the street moment can be used to gently teach and coach. In fact they anticipated that moment because they have gotten good at reading their child. Because they always use their words instead of their hands… their kids respond well to reasoning. Hitting becomes a senseless and irrational choice.
Attachment parenting is very involved parenting, and for that reason it can sometimes conflict with the more hurried pace of lives today. I don’t know that what works for us will work or other attached parents but I know we have made many very conscious decisions to slow our pace of life and give our kids the attention they need and desire. Being too busy for attachment parenting isn’t an issue when you simply make sure you are never too busy. We wanted to stay attached at the heart AND live our best lives. I became a stay at home mom so that I could be the primiary caregiver for our kids. This allowed me to breastfeed exclusively and for extended periods of time. I chose natural childbirth for my last two births and we kept interventions to a minimum so that bonding and breastfeeding could happen immediately after birth. I wore two of my babies in slings and wraps and all of them slept in bed with me. My 5 year still does quite often. We decided early on to always try and use positive discipline methods and to respect our kids. We tried to find ways to meet everyone’s needs simultaneously and sometimes that was a lot of work.
Balance was much harder when our kids were young because very often we had to compromise and make sure their needs were met first and foremost. Their need to co-sleep trumped my need for not getting kicked in the stomach at night. Their inability to handle the excitement of traveling meant we had a staycation instead of a vacation. My husband’s need for a sane, well rested wife was trumped by the needs of a small infant who who used me as an all day milk buffet, which meant I was often hormonal and tired. I guess I feel that when our children are young they should be the priority. Aka breast feeding even if your dog tired or co-sleeping even when you’d rather have your husband all to yourself. As my kids get older I think they benefit more from seeing parents who love themselves, take care of themselves, and have varied interests that they actively pursue. I also think it is important for them to see that their parents prioritize each other too. As they get older they benefit less from having a shadow to meet their every need and more from seeing good examples of others doing and living for themselves. We don’t tell them how to live, we just live, and we let them watch. So in terms of priority for the first five or so years of their lives it was all about them. Now the priority list looks somewhat different but it works well because the foundation was so well laid, they are happy independent kids that are accepting of that much needed shift.
To keep things balanced and attached now, we mostly just have to listen. We listen to them daily, carving out certain times that are distraction free, and we stay attached by staying in the loop. We help with homework and we stay connected to teachers. We homeschool when or if we need to. We put our family before “things” and “stuff” so this means we work as little as we can and make do with less. Our kids may have fewer toys and electronic gadgets than the kids next door but we have more time to spend with them. We have a neighbor child who is always bragging about her toys and video games, trying to goad my children but then every weekend this same child looks at us longingly as we pull out of the drive to go apple picking, to a Pumpkin Festival, to a movie, or to some other local event that her own parents don’t have time for. I know how lucky we are and I think our kids do to. Balance is about spending time doing activities with them and yet allowing them to pursue their own independent activities when they need and want to. For us it is also about knowing which child needs a bit more attention and giving it to them. Since we have two a-typical kids… one with some severe developmental and speech delays and one with high functioning autism, it is helps greatly to be flexible and unhurried in our daily lives.
For us, life during these years of their development is less about balance and more about figuring out how to stay tuned in to them as we ALL become more independent and find new priorities and interests. I am sure it will be no less exciting than the baby and toddler years. In fact I am sure it will be even more so because with older kids it really does feel like we are all in this together… this wild and crazy journey called life.
Leave a comment to tell me how you stay connected to your kids in this fast paced life and be sure to visit the other Green Moms Weekly to read about how they answered this question. Enjoy!
Did you miss the drama on Twitter? I did. I don’t hang out on Twitter much anymore and I don’t read most of the popular mommy blogs because I have nothing in common with the moms who write them. I may start out reading and then get bored by all the sponsored posts and reviews of processed food. Sadly more and more of these blogs might as well hang a “For Sale” sign on the front page because clearly they are being compiled in PR lists for moms who will sell a favorable opinion to the highest bidder. I say this only because I see so many of the same names on these different campaigns.
Remember the firestorm that erupted when a group of mom bloggers chose to promote a popular brand of bubble bath? They were promoting a children’s product that has cancer causing chemicals in it. I am not sure what they got in exchange but I hardly think it could be worth it. I wrote about the issue here… Toxic Bubble Bath.
I have done many reviews of companies and products on this blog and often times I get free product but what many people don’t know is that I get around 50-100 emails each day that ask me to review or endorse a company or product of some sort. Some try to lure me with a cash payment or a free trip to “dialogue” about their product. 99% of the time I ignore or flat out refuse their offers. When the only thing I want to tell them in a dialogue is “You Suck!”, somehow I think I would be wasting my time. Sometimes I accept the opportunity to review a product but I make no guarantees it will be favorable and I usually flat out refuse money in compensation. Why? Because my opinion is not for sale and my name is not for them to associate with their company unless I 100% approve of their company and their product. I sure would LOVE to have a free trip to California but I would hate to lend a helping hand to an unethical company and disappoint all the people who read this blog.
Nestle asked a large group of mom bloggers to fly out to California this week for a sponsored event. The moms got a free trip and a free hotel stay. What they did not antcipate is that MANY moms would be really dissapointed by this. Nestle is a lot more than cookies and coaoa. They also control 40% of the worldwide market for baby formula and some of the attendees are breastfeeding advocates. They also have NUMEROUS unethical marketing tactics and their pushing formula on women in underdeveloped countries is actually resulting in babies dying. Women there believe the hype that formula is better for their babies and they mix it with dirty water, resulting in sick children. They may also not have enough money to keep a steady supply so they use less than the recommended amount of formula and water it down to make it go further… resulting in malnourished children. These women are being spurred to formula feed when clearly breastfeeding is better… but Nestle doesn’t make any money when women choose to breastfeed. The anger against Nestle in regards to this has been boiling since the 1970s with boycotts. It is still goes on today. There is also the issue of slave labor in reference to their other products.
I am not perfect. I don’t expect anyone else to be perfect but.. I don’t know… dying children and slave labor… those don’t seem like oopsie offenses that can be taken lightly by anyone being asked to lend a hand to their marketing campaign.
I hope mom bloggers start to see that we have a responsibilty to the people who read what we have to say. Why would we ever choose to influence them to buy Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Frito Lay, TV Dinners, J& J Bubble Bath, or Nestle no bake cookies and baby formula? What value does that bring to them? NONE. If it has no value to your readers, don’t do it. And in these cases… if it can harm your readers or promote a company that in turn does harm… especially don’t do it.
I never much liked the play dough you buy in stores. Its smells funny and it has lots of chemical dyes in it to get those nifty colors. It stains carpet when it gets mashed into it to. ;) But every kids likes play dough right? Well, for several years we have either made it ourselves or bought homemade dough from crafters on Etsy.
Recently though we used a DIY play dough kit called Yohoho Dough. It comes in a nifty canister that can be reused for numerous other things and inside it you have everything you need to make 4 pounds of modeling dough. My youngsters give it a thumbs up. It is fun to watch mommy make and fun to play with. Using the canister to hide their treasures in afterwards is a bonus.
The dough is organic and non-toxic and it is a USA made product. The whole pirate concept is a winner too, my kiddos love it. Our dough is still going strong after a couple weeks. We keep it in a bento container on top of the fridge and pull it out almost every day for a few minutes or hours of doughey fun. I could REALLY see myself using Yohoho Dough for all future play dough requirements. It is waaay smoother than anything I have ever made on my own, more like modeling clay and the process was so simple.. just combine the wet and dry ingredients, heat and mix. It was easy and my kitchen stayed clean.
I used an old plastic spoon to mix because I didn’t want to get a wood one all sticky but the plastic one almost broke when the dough got stiff so use metal or wood!
You can jazz up the dough with scents and food coloring too! We plan to try that soon…