Tag Archives: Natural Parenting

Dear World; I have to Poop!

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Babies are not born feeling embarrassment, which given their utter nude, slightly slimy, sometimes mucky appearance upon entering the world is probably a good thing. Embarrassment is something that we learn through self-awareness and exposure, it begins in the wonderful world of toddlerhood, think terrible twos and terrifying threes. I mean let’s be honest, that nonsense about terrible twos is just a myth fed to us by parents who are too kind to tell us that three can be even worse. So in the middle of all of this self-awareness, which can be the cause for those terrible and terrifying times, toddlers are learning a bundle of emotions: embarrassment, guilt, pride, shame, confidence, anger, fear, etc. and how to control all of these feelings. I can assure you, as the mother of a toddler and preschooler, what they don’t immediately learn is how their actions may or may not embarrass you. I feel like I should start writing all of this down for when they are teenagers and everything I do is embarrassing and I can be all like “Yeah well let’s talk about the two years you made it a public service announcement that you had to poop!”.

At first we want our kids to tell us when they have to go potty, it’s job #1 when potty training, communication, communication and more communication. You feel like your world revolves around pee and poop, literally and conversationally. But then there are you two years later, hiding behind a rack in the local Target because your son or daughter has just yelled for the millionth time “I have to Poop” and really to no one in particular. They do it at home, at Grandmas, at the library, the park, a restaurant, every. where. It doesn’t matter if they are perfectly able to walk their happy little self into a nearby restroom or their own bathroom and do their business by them self or with minimal help, they still provide an ear-splitting public declaration, that today, at this moment, I’m going to take a poop. It doesn’t bother them, not one bit, that you may not need or even want to know this information or that an entire restaurant has gone quiet at this loud declaration. In fact, if you ever want to silence a room to make an important announcement, stop yelling quiet, people ignore that, just loudly yell that you’re going to poop. Instant silence, the kind where you could hear a pin drop.

Perhaps this is what helicopter moms are creating, if you’re going to stalk me everywhere else I go, I’m going to tell you all my business, proud and out loud, on a bench on a church pew, wearing red or wearing blue, on the slide or by your side. In the meantime, I guess we’ll just keep trying to remind ’em that their preschool classmates probably don’t need this specific bit o’ information, that they can just use the restroom during potty breaks and let their teacher, not their classroom, know as needed. And Dear World, in case you were wondering, No I don’t have to Poop right now and I would be a-ok not knowing every time my son or daughter did.

A Letter to Today’s Youth

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Dear Today’s Youth,

Stop growing up so fast. Do you really have any idea what’s in store for you? Today, my 3-year-old told me that he wanted to grow up so that he could go to work. My response? “No, you absolutely do not, enjoy this time to play” We’ve always advocated play and fought the good fight against the media, technology companies, Disney and retail stores like Justice and Abercrombie and Fitch kids divisions who keep trying to turn children into miniature adults. Children these days have so many different devices from the time they can hold them on, that it’s amazing they can see straight. There are actually toys designed to hold Mommy and Daddy’s iPhones for use by a 1-year-old or less.  But do they seem any happier or better for it? What is the benefit of growing up from a teen or preteen’s perspective? I remember thinking that growing up was synonymous with freedom, and that no one would be dictating what I did so naturally I would always be happy and entertained. Really, life would be good. What these mini adults fail to realize is that adulthood comes with its own new set of challenges. Competition never goes away, that popularity contest that exists in middle school and high school, simply transitions to college and then the job market. There is no point when everyone on the planet suddenly becomes on equal footing, a high school nerd is rarely transformed into Cinderella upon entrance into college. That’s not to say that she can’t find new friends, increase her support group and perhaps avoid past bullies. Then there’s the fact that at some point the near majority of individual’s parents will eventually stop bank rolling their lives. Hence your fabulous new ability to choose to do whatever you want, hopefully within legal limits, is again limited by your financial situation. This situation often doesn’t improve anytime in your young adult immediate future. Most of those fortunate to go to college leave school strapped with debt and fighting fiercely for a job that will pay the bills. Eventually, you get married and you have children, often not much more financially well off, now your responsible for another human being, maybe multiple. That tiny little baby depends on you 24/7. So while you are still “in charge” and able to make all of your decisions, those decisions are dictated by new responsibilities. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but why on earth does a 13-year-old think she wants to grow up. Enjoy having summers off, sleeping in, not having any responsibilities to dictate your days, read, go to movies, sit by the pool, take a nap, because while you continuously nag about having nothing to do, I assure you that any one of us young adults would happily trade places with you for a day.

Then, just maybe, you would realize how silly that mini skirt looks, and enjoy the fact that you have nothing to do on a random Wednesday afternoon in June.

All my Love,

Your future self.

 

On Being Milked Like a Cow

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Grab. Squeeze. Pull Down. In very simple terms, that is how you hand milk a cow. It is also Pippa’s newest technique for either attempting to get more milk while nursing or purely for the entertainment value. I mean really she has to have something to do while she’s hanging out, doesn’t she? Don’t answer that! Perhaps it is the farming blood coming out in her, I’m not really sure. All I know is I used to complain about how pumping made me feel like I had more than I ever wanted in common with the popular milk breed, but this new little quirk of hers has that beat hands down. As if nursing a toddler that won’t wean doesn’t have its own particular set of challenges, see past complaints regarding gymnastics and circular kicks to the face, I’m now subjected to her not so pleasant grab and squeeze. Why does this bring me back to bad memories from college?If eventually I stop writing and start mooing, please stop me.

We’ve also hit that stage where you can tell people think it’s weird that we’re still nursing. If they were to ask, which no one does, the reasons are multiple. In fact I’ll tell you, maybe I’ll get a few less strange looks. They include the fact that she doesn’t sleep through the night and if I want her to sleep past 3 a.m. it’s a must, she’s pretty small for her age and not particularly fond of whole milk, so we’d like her to drink something, and if you were to get over your cultural biases it’s actually totally freaking normal, just not particularly convenient. This last point, combined with the fact that not everyone can nurse, is what I attribute to this country’s viewpoint on breastfeeding. We’re selfish as a country, we like ourselves and our freedoms and Mama’s who breastfeed give up even more of their time (think pumping, planning, nursing time) than those who use formula, time which is can be very valuable when you have little ones. This along with the fact that there is some strange stigma about a baby nursing as compared to someones boob hanging out of their dress, that makes us just nonsensical as a nation. Not that it keeps the creepers from staring at you in public, even when you’re covered up.

So the next time you see a Mama nursing, don’t stare or gawk, just know she’s doing it for reasons that must be pretty important to her and leave her the heck alone, and if the nursing one is a toddler then she really must have her reasons because I assure you no one nurses a toddler for funsies!

 

2012 Top 10 (Mostly) Natural Holiday Toy List

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I have been looking for a fabulous toy list containing mostly natural or eco-friendly toys, or at the very least toys that aren’t covered with licensed characters and full of chintzy bendable plastic that I’m afraid will melt on a warm day. I have yet to find one I like, especially for the under 3 crowd. So in the spirit of giving this year, I am giving anyone else out there a list of what (mostly) natural toys we have found and loved and would recommend to other families. So I will keep my whining about my children aside (except my god she still does not sleep through the night at 15 months, when will this stop, puhhhleaze) ok that aside, no more whining, here are my top (mostly) natural toy recommendations for the cute little ones in your life:

2012 TOP (MOSTLY) NATURAL TOY LIST FOR THE HOLIDAYS

1.  THE WHEELY PIG (OR OTHER WHEELY ANIMAL)

Wheely Pig

We bought this fantastic little scooter from amazon.com and made by Prince Lionheart in a size large for Brecken’s 2nd Birthday.

Pippa is now starting to play with it as well, and it has gotten tons of use and is a favorite around here, I would recommend getting the large between the two sizes to ensure the most use!

2. PLAN TOYS DELUXE TRAIN SET

Deluxe Train Set

This is a great starter train set and has tons of additional pieces that can be added to it.

We really love Plan Toys although I wish they would make more toys that are focused on girls, they have a lot more available for little boys if you ask me.

I don’t remember where I bought it from but it is available on amazon.com and anywhere they sell Plan Toys.

3. RADIO FLYER PUSH WAGON

Wagon

This wagon is made from wood except the wheels and is the perfect size for a new walker to push around.

My son received this Radio Flyer cart as a gift his first Christmas at 10 months old and was quickly pushing it around before he could walk without it.

Both my daughter and my son (now almost 3) still play with it, pushing Pippa around in it or loading it with toys. It is available at Target.com, Amazon and lots of other places!

4. BABY STELLA DOLL

Baby Stella Doll

Pippa adores here Baby Stella Doll and has recently (at 14 almost 15 months) grown quite attached to it.

She loves to carry it on and give the “behbee” her pacifier. She has chosen this doll over her Waldorf doll, which while a Waldorf doll is an amazing but spendy natural choice, this doll is much softer

and I can understand the appeal. There are also a lot of options for soft accessories for this Baby including a doll carrier which she will be getting for Christmas. This doll comes in other ethnicities as well and  is available at Barnes and Noble and other great retailers!

5.  MELISSA AND DOUG TOOL KIT

Tool Kit

 

Brecken received this as a gift last year and at 22 1/2 months had no problem using it although he could not do all of the intended uses without help. Not at 34 1/2 months he

has really blossomed as a little tool master, creating and building things. He also loves that it reminds him of Papa’s tools! This can be bought at most department/toy stores and

wherever Melissa and Doug is sold.

6. PINKY VANITY by WONDERWORLD

Pinky Vanity

This is a super cute wooden vanity that is just perfect for storing all those hair bows and accessories for the little girl in your life!

While Pippa doesn’t actually play with it since I store her hair accessories in it, it is super cute and you could let them play with it. It’s strong wooden construction and has soft easily accessible drawers!

It can be purchased on amazon.com or at wonderworldtoys.com

7. KNIGHTS AND DRAGON PLAY SET BY THE ORIGINAL TREE SWING

Knights & Dragon Play Set

What an adorable little set made entirely out of reclaimed wood and finished in beeswax or mineral oil. This little set, especially the Dragon is very popular in our house.

Brecken loves to make the Dragon roar and ride around the playroom. It is also a great accessory to some of the larger sets available including the Castle Block Set or Knight & Horses Play Set.

These can be purchased at The Original Tree Swing and are made in the great state of Minnesota!!! Also check out their AMAZING tree swings, which I’ve discussed here when we were luck enough to win one!

8. BLOCKS BY GREEN TOYS

Blocks

 

These super fun and super lightweight blocks are made from 100% recycled milk cartons. Even better they are made in the USA and contain none of that icky chemical junk normally found in

plastic toys (no PVC, BPA phthalates or external coating). We’ve had lots of fun building castles and such with these easy stackable blocks!

They can be found at greentoys.com along with lots of other fun recycled toys.

9. IMAGINARIUM WOODEN MUSIC TABLE

Wooden Music Table

We have the prior version of this and it has provided lots of musical entertainment, especially with the drum portion. It is made almost entirely of wood and has withstood

both of my children crawling on and all over it. Available through Amazon.com and Toys R Us.

10. LUKAS DOLL BY HABA

Lukas Doll

YES-BOYS CAN PLAY WITH DOLLS TOO. Get over it. We bought Brecken a Lukas doll for his very 1st Christmas and SADLY we took him to Colorado on vacation and

somewhere along the way he found a new home and didn’t make it back with us. I am considering buying him another because he is very into dolls now, especially with his baby sister’s new-found interest in

“behbees.” These dolls are hand washable, modern and very adorable. They are softer but still very structured so as to hold up well when dragged around. I just noticed that they  also have a Philippa doll which I can

see in Pippa’s future, given her name. They can be purchased through haba.com or retailers that carry Haba products.

So there you have it, my top 10 recommendations for (mostly) green toys for 2012. Now can someone please tell me what to buy my kids?

Disclaimer: These thoughts are my own, these toys were purchased by myself, friends or relatives for the benefit of my children and none of these products were given to us. We have been in no way compensated for these reviews but am really just sick of how few suggested holidays toys lists contain green/non plastic/non licensed/ semi or totally natural toys! Rant DONE. Enjoy. If you have suggestions for the list please leave them in the comments, I would love to add to this list or provide another next year. Hopefully you’ve already gotten your Holiday shopping complete and don’t even need these.

Happy Holidays from My Cracked Pot to yours!

 

Sometimes I IGNORE my Children!

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Not only do I sometimes ignore my children, instead of feeling guilty about it, I’m getting better at it. Gasp, I’m a horrible mother, I know I read minds too, just kidding. But, I’m fairly certain that’s what some of you are all thinking. Before you get your undies in a bundle, let me elaborate. I don’t ignore my children by leaving them in hot vehicles (and if you do, please stop), I ignore (usually relative to my 2-year-old) his never-ending stalking, whining, crying and hanging on me to put my attention into something anything else. In fact, sometimes I even stalk over to the computer, get on any website (yes sometimes it is Facebook other times the newspaper) just to be doing something so that he sees I am busy and busy with something he can’t help me with and therefore I won’t be busy placating him. It’s sort of very anti-attachment parenting of me, which I generally try to follow, but as Brecken gets older, I think his needs and mine are changing.

So why do I ignore my child? Because if I don’t he will drop down drag himself around the house attached to my ankles, leg(s), hanging on my shirt tales generally all while crying and whining and making obnoxious noises for no intelligible reason. Generally he can’t even tell me what he wants and not because he doesn’t have the vocabulary to do so. He is very  verbal and can effectively communicate all the essential needs like I’m hungry, tired, poopy, need to potty and so on and so forth. When left to his own devices though, magically more often than not all this screaming and crying ceases and he wanders off to PLAY by himself in his playroom or somewhere else in the house. He may pop up in ten minutes or a half hour with a “boat” built out of duplos or a book that he asks to be read, but he is no longer screaming and whining and crying when he does so and I am generally happy to appease him. That’s not to say that during this quiet playtime I don’t get all super secret agent spy like and stealthy pop my head in the playroom undetected to make sure he’s okay and contentedly playing by himself, but otherwise I don’t interfere unless he comes to me with some creation he’s cooked, Duplo masterpiece to show off or book to be read. So you might call it ignoring but I like to think of it as letting his imagination thrive. Maybe that’s just what I say to make me feel better about it but I really think it’s better for both of us than him laying on the ground holding onto my ankles screaming bloody murder. Not that I’m not neurotic, to the point I may or may not have run a google search before admitting this little secret to the world to make sure I wasn’t causing major psychological harm by employing this glorious yes I just said glorious technique. Interestingly, the results of that google search, that I may or may not have run, indicate that I’m not the only one!

Do you ever ignore your children?

Attach-Me-Who-Wha Parenting and Motherhood vs. Feminism

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We are sort of followers of Attachment Parenting, we breastfeed, baby wear, co-sleep our second because she manipulated her way into our bed, search for balance, avoid baby training for the most part and had both our sticky gooey newborns thrown immediately onto my chest post birth. BUT I had an epidural (more on that nightmare later, it was a love /hate relationship), and understand that sometimes I have to let them “cry it out” for my own sanity and that’s my personal choice. I never sought out attachment parenting, I just sort of fell into the category because on a very human level I believe most of its principles make sense and therefore have incorporated them into our lifestyle as best as possible. If you’re like what the feck is this woman talking about, to be brief there are Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting (according to the Attachment Parenting Institute -oh yes there is one):

1. Prepare for Pregnancy/Birth/Parenting

2. Feed w/ Love and Respect

3. Respond w/ Sensitivity

4. Use Nurturing Touch

5. Ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally

6. Provide Consistent and Loving Care

7. Practice Positive Discipline

8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

I think they make them too generic otherwise you could ask almost any mother if they practice attachment parenting and if the were to look at this list they would probably be like sure. Dr. Sear’s list is much more straightforward only he puts them into seven categories: Birth Bonding, Breastfeeding, Babywearing, Bedding Close to Baby, Belief in the Language Value of Your Baby’s Cry, Beware of Baby Trainers and Balance. I think Dr. Sears hits it a little more on the money when it comes to what mass media thinks of attachment parenting.

Anyway, I came across a FABULOUS article today in the New York Times by the Big Bang Theory‘s own Mayin Bialik (she stars as Amy (Sheldon’s girlfriend)). I knew I LOVED this show for a reason. Ms. Bialik responded to the debate of Motherhood vs. Feminism in an article entitled Attachment Parenting is Feminism. My favorite quote from the article is:

“The women who pioneered groups supportive of attachment-parenting, like La Leche League International, and started publications like Mothering are not competitive corporate-minded trendy celebrity divas toting secret nannies on the side, nor are they perfection-driven bored subjugated barefoot lonely women setting feminism back 200 years. They are educated, humble and devoted women who believe it is just as much a feminist choice to be a parent as it is to not be one.”

I consider myself a feminist and as stated above would or could likely be coined as someone who subscribes to or follows attachment parenting, at least to a degree. I am educated and devoted and strive to be the perfect mother. I strive to be the perfect mother to MY CHILDREN. That is a MASSIVE clarification. Your children are not my children and while I hope for their sake you try to be the best mother to your children, I do not need to be you, because your children are not my children, my life is not your life and so on and so forth. This is what I feel that we as mothers often forget. We cannot compare ourselves, unless we’re going to turn our children completely over to others to raise, then how Sally Neighbor raises her children and somehow manages to always have them neat and sparkly and stepfordish, full of please and thank you mams is of no bearing on how we raise our children. Should we ask Sally Neighbor for tips, YES! Should we strive to emulate her exact lifestyle in hopes to be Sally Neighbor, NO!!!! Why? Because you are not her, your children are not her children, and your children need YOU, the very best you that you can be. But when we spend all our time trying to be someone else, what are we really teaching our children, that who you are isn’t good enough? So instead of judging each other and competing with each other to be the “perfect mother” we should work together to be the best moms that we can be without losing who we are. We should unite as allies regardless of the parenting approach we subscribe to and back each other up against those who try to make us compete to be a “Perfect Mother.”

If you haven’t already heard of it or taken the pledge, I encourage you to check out The Mom Pledge and take the pledge to end cyber bullying among moms and to give each other the love and respect that we deserve. Because regardless of what our careers may be, this is one of the toughest challenges that we will face, and once you join the ranks of other mothers, it is the only “job” that lasts a lifetime.

 

 

Versatile, Moi?

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A fabulous follower, Chopping Potatoes who I recently learned through such a nomination dresses her kids in Star Wars clothes, clearly a women after my own heart, nominated me for this wonderful honor. While I’m not sure I quite deserve it, it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to know that somehow all my crazy rantings on parenthood and this life as we know it, occasionally touches others somehow, whether it be to simply put a smile on your face or to give you that moment when you can say, thank god that isn’t me, I appreciate each and every one of my followers. Speaking of which I also want to throw out an apology for the fact that I often ignore the crazy grammar girl that reigns inside me just to get my posts posted and then go back through hours/days later horrified at the lack of editing and my inability to convince you I have mastered basic grammar. So for that I’m sorry. Now on to the Versatile Blogger award…If you find yourself nominated then magically you have been awarded, isn’t that the best no voting, no waiting for results, it’s just instant gratification, totally my kind of award, for more information check out the Versatile Blogger which gives the background and other award winners. So once the nomination/awarding is done, most importantly you have to pay it forward…and nominate 15 other bloggers, here are my picks in no particular order, some of these I frequent on a regular basis and others I have just stumbled upon but believe each has something unique to offer:

1. Lifes Better the Milky Way (I have no idea where her blog name came from or what it means but as a fellow breastfeeding mama, I just love it)

2. George Jessie Love

3. Sweet Mother Lover

4. Play 101

5.  Lulastic & the Hippyshake

6. It’s Me, Debcb

7. Los Porchs

8.  Folded Laundry

9. Play at Home Mom

10. Hippielib

11. Mommy Talk

12. Kate’s Creative Space

13. The Laotion Commotion

14. Grateful Moms of Many

15. No Circ is Whole Son

Whew, that was a long list of linking, but it includes some really great people/blogs so check them out and make their day by upping their stats page on a random day, because let’s be honest our hearts always flutter a little more with unexpected visitors. Now I’m suppose to tell the person who nominated me 7 things about moi… yikes, here goes 7 completely random things about myself…

1. I would only name my children names that  did not return results as being in the 1,000 most popular baby’s names for the past 5 years on the Social Security website. (Although I think we’re doomed with Pippa in the future, but may get off on a technicality since she’s Philippa)

2. I adore having things monogrammed but refuse to have anything monogrammed with my husbands and my initials because he has a double J and it bothers me.

3. Number 2 above has probably saved me significant monogramming costs over the last 5 years.

4. I constantly contradict myself although not on purpose, I just evolve at a very quick pace or so I like to think.

5. I never know what to say when people ask me if I have any brothers or sisters, I was essentially raised as an only child but have a half-sister and brother on one side and a half-brother on the other and while I adore said half siblings I  feel like I have to write a novella for what should be a one word maybe two-word answer.

6. If I could adopt all the unwanted children in the world and have the means to feed and clothe and love them, I probably would.

7. My husband is my rock and without him I would be completely miserably lost.

Gracias!!!!!!!