09 September 2011

Children's Book Review

Hands Are Not for Hitting / Las manos no son para pegar (Best Behavior) (Spanish Edition)Hands Are Not for Hitting / Las manos no son para pegar (Best Behavior) by Martine Agassi

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a bilingual book featuring both English and Spanish text that both embraces diversity and teaches children not to hit others.  The book features activities that are appropriate to do with our hands and reminds little ones that hands are not for hitting with each turn of the page.  The book also includes a special message to caregivers that reminds them that spanking a child is not the solution to inappropriate behavior because it can both hurt and confuse a child who is trying to learn which behaviors are socially acceptable.

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25 April 2011

Life Doesn't Happen in a Vacuum

I was asked by a fellow co-worker earlier this month what I would do if I found out that I had been doing everything wrong.  (Ahhh....  Those pesky co-workers of mine!)  

If you recall, I posted a blog not too terribly long ago about the importance of spending time with like-minded people.  I believe it is very important for people to feel comfortable with their decisions and for those decisions to be reinforced and supported, rather than a person feeling the need to justify and defend every choice he or she makes in life.  But, it is also important to spend some time outside of one's comfort zone and for one's ideas and ways of doing things to be challenged.

I am constantly evaluating and re-evaluating what's going on around me.  Right now my world tends to revolve around my daughter and her needs --whether it's introducing her to a new food or shielding her from harmful things.  I read articles and search the web about various parenting topics, continue to attend La Leche League meetings (even though I think I may have this breastfeeding thing down pat), and have started attending Attachment Parenting meetings, as well.  I also bounce ideas off of some of those mainstream parents that work with me.

Diversity is more than a collection of differing opinions, lifestyles, and histories.  Diversity creates the opportunity for an individual's belief system to be tested and provides the groundwork for self-actualization, which requires higher thinking and problem-solving skills.  Bombardment with diversity may cause a person to reject old ideas and/or adopt new ones.  This isn't bad, so to speak, but it may not always be comfortable.

I never learned from a man who agreed with me.
~Robert Heinlein

So what did I tell that co-worker?

I simply told him that I would forgive myself for any short-comings and also remind myself that I had done the best I could do with the information I had at the time.  I told him that although my parenting style and the choices I have made with respect to my daughter may not be mainstream, they hardly come from out of left field.  There is a ton of research to support the decisions that I have made.  I also told him that I welcome most anyone to bring his or her ideas to the table for me to consider.  I'm not suggesting that I will change my ways, but I will listen to you and your suggestions.  Life doesn't happen in a vacuum.

24 April 2011

Children's Book Review

Quiero a mi papa Porque (I Love My Daddy Because English / Spanish edition)Quiero a mi papa Porque by Laurel Porter-Gaylord

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great board book for children aged 2 and younger.  I like it because it not only emphasizes the unique bond between fathers and their children using animal models, but also because it is a bilingual book that allows parents to include both Spanish and English grammar, vocabulary, and style in story time! ¡Que fant├ístico!  

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31 March 2011

Children's Book Review

Tails Are Not for PullingTails Are Not for Pulling by Elizabeth Verdick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great board book to teach young children about being gentle with companion animals.  There is also excellent information in the back cover written especially for adults to help reinforce a child's being kind to animals.

27 March 2011

Children's Book Review

I Love My Mommy Because...I Love My Mommy Because... by Laurel Porter-Gaylord

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great board book for children aged 2 and younger!  Shows similarities between animal mother/baby relationships and human mother/baby relationships.

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14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I absolutely love Valentine's Day!  That probably has more to do with my liking the heart motif and red being my favorite color than it does cupids and arrows, but Valentine's Day is a cause for celebration nonetheless!  And, having a daughter means I get to share my excitement about exchanging little valentines with her and her classmates at school.  So, what makes an appropriate Valentine's Day favor for the infant room at daycare? Boogie Wipes®!

There are lots of ages and stages in the infant room --my daughter's classmates range from 8 weeks to 10 months old.  But, pretty much every kiddo under the age of three has their fair share of runny noses.  It's like it goes with the territory or something.  This Valentine's Day I decided to put together age appropriate, cute, and fun favor bags --all for less than $2 each.  Here's how you can do it, too --for whatever holiday your daycare class is celebrating next!

Holiday Favor Bags for Infants

Drawstring Favor Bags (available from Hobby Lobby®)
Decorative Packing Shred *or* Tissue Paper Squares ( 3" x 3" )
Individually Wrapped Boogie Wipes®
Special Holiday Message, printed and cut from plain paper

Place a small amount of packing shred into the favor bag.  Then, add two individually wrapped Boogie Wipes®.  For variety, I included one grape scented and one fresh scented wipe in each of my favor bags. Next, add your special holiday message such as, "Roses are RED! Violets are BLUE! Here are two Boogie Wipes® just for YOU!"  Top it off with a little more packing shred.  Pull the drawstring on the favor bag and tie it tight.  Voila! Easy, but oh-so-cute!  If you decide to use tissue paper, then use two or three 3" x 3" squares on bottom and one square on top.  Use the tissue paper in the same way you would add tissue to a gift bag.

11 February 2011

Girls Night Out

I have two regularly scheduled activities each month with the girls.  One is "BUNCO night" with several of my female co-workers and the other is my monthly La Leche League meetings.  BUNCO isn't at all intellectually stimulating, and sometimes I really don't want to see my co-workers any more than I have to --I'd rather just leave work at work.  But at the very least, BUNCO is an opportunity to get out of the house and to have a little girl time; so it serves its purpose.  My La Leche League meetings, on the other hand, are something that I very much look forward to.  I feel really good about going because there are always good conversations and I almost always learn something new or am able to provide a little insight to someone else.  But the best part about LLL meetings is that I am not expected to leave my wonderful daughter at home.  Furthermore, my style of parenting is reinforced and supported, rather than being seen as something peculiar, eccentric, elitist, or anything else other than normal.

During the month of January, I did not participate in either of my regular activities.  BUNCO was quashed because I was recovering from a head cold.  I missed my LLL meeting because I got lost en route to its new location.  I was, however, able to get in a little girl time with two other activities.  One was a Tupperware party with co-workers and the other was a Mississippi Friends of Midwives Push Party.

It was at the Tupperware party with co-workers that I realized just how important it is to spend time with like-minded individuals.  Don't get me wrong.  On most days my co-workers are okay.  Some days they are awesome.  Other days, well... not so much.  For the most part, the only thing my co-workers and I have in common is our line of work.  At least half of them don't even share the same work ethic as me (but, that's another rant for another day).  We don't think alike.  And, we sure don't share the same ideas when it comes to parenting.  I am an attached parent:  I breastfeed, I cloth diaper, I wear my baby, and I bed-share.  I don't let my daughter cry it out.  And, when it comes to introducing solid foods, I follow my daughter's lead.  So far, solid food has been just another toy to be explored with her mouth.  Food-food?  Well that's just synonymous with mommy's milk.

My daughter came along with me to the Tupperware party.  I didn't bother to wear her into the house because I knew my co-workers would likely want to play with her and to hold her while we were there.  My daughter is a little social butterfly, and does not seem to be the least bit insecure around others, so that was okay.  Besides, when she is ready to nurse, she is more than happy to come back to Momma.  Nursing in public is one thing.  Nursing in the privacy of someone else's home?  Well that's another story.  I felt the need to excuse myself to the guest bedroom, where I sat and nursed and felt somewhat guilty for concealing my daughter's eating habits from my co-workers.  Truth be told, she nurses better when there are fewer distractions in the room.  But, that was besides the point.  Why is it so easy for me to nurse in public, yet I found it more difficult in the presence of acquaintances from work?  Then, when we were getting ready to leave, I asked for a co-worker's assistance with getting my daughter's hat on her head.  She didn't mind helping me, but she made somewhat of a snide remark about it: "You mean you haven't figured out how to do things with one hand, yet?"  For a moment, I felt a little inadequate at being a mother.  Then it hit me:  No, I haven't had to learn to do things with one hand because I usually have both hands free.  My daughter is usually wrapped snug around my body in her Moby® Wrap!

My sense of self is fine.  But, it's nice for my way of doing things to be reinforced and supported rather than my feeling the need to justify and defend my parenting decisions.  So during the month of January, I was thankful to have attended the Mississippi Friends of Midwives Push Party 2011.  Of course, my daughter was with me, and I was surrounded by other baby-wearing families and nursing mothers.  When my daughter was ready to nurse, we nursed without my missing a beat in the conversation going on.  At one point --because she is so easily distracted-- my daughter unlatched and looked up at me as if to question why we weren't excusing ourselves to another more quiet location.  I looked down at her and told her, "It's okay.  You can nurse.  They are all okay with it.  I promise."  She looked back at me and seemed to have nodded her head in agreement and went back to nursing.  It is so refreshing to hang out with like-minded individuals!

01 January 2011

Happy New Year!

It's been over four months since I have posted anything.  So, what?!?  :)  I can explain!  Labor Day 2010 was my last day on maternity leave and my baby girl is now in daycare.  In short, I have less time to sit in front of a keyboard and type things that others may or may not have an interest.  And when I would have otherwise had the time, I have chosen to spend quality time with her and my husband instead.

But, today is the beginning of a New Year and there is no better time to make a few resolutions.  Let's start with this blog.  What good is it to have a blog if it is not going to be updated on a regular basis?  I hope to post in my blog at least once every month during 2011.

Every few years or so, I dive into my ancestry.  I get curious and want to know more about my roots.  Just recently, this has happened to me again.  I vow to not get over-zealous all at once and let my curiosity burn hard and fizzle out this time.  For the first time, I not only have roots, but I also have branches!  This is exciting for me and I feel as though I need to do this for my daughter.  Therefore, I hope to spend time in a genealogy library approximately once a month throughout 2011.  I am going to try to get a couple of other family members on-board and make it a family outing.

So far, I have been exclusively breastfeeding my daughter.  She is now just over six months old.  I am proud of myself for being able to stick to it even after returning to work.  I was committed to providing my daughter the best possible nutrition and nurturing, and my commitment has paid off.  She is healthy and happy and growing so fast.  She is strong and intelligent and beautiful, too!  Introducing solid food is on the horizon, and  I am still committed to providing my daughter the best.  I plan to not ever buy jarred baby food for my daughter.  I hope I am able to make all of her food for her.  I understand it is the most economical and healthy way to feed a baby solid food.  I hope to use mostly organic fruits and vegetables in my daughter's food, which may cost a little more, but given that breast milk will continue to be her primary source of nutrition throughout the first year, I think I can splurge a little when it comes to her solids.

Perhaps this post hasn't been interesting.  But, hopefully it will be functional.  I have heard that putting one's goals down in writing is one step closer to meeting those goals.  Let's hope so!  And, I hope each of you have a very pleasant and blessed 2011!