Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hippie granola

When you first discovered you were going to be a parent, what kind of parent did you think you'd be? Or even before that, was there a parent out there you thought you'd emulate, or a parenting style you thought you'd adopt when the time came? I know that I certainly could point out things I would not do--can't we all? That was probably easier for me (still is, if I'm honest) than articulating what kind of a parent I would be.

So, fast forward, now that you are a parent/going to be a parent, have these ideals changed at all? Are you the parent you thought you would be? When I reflect on this, I am amazed, and have to just laugh. I have turned into a bit of a granola lovin' hippie. I have learned, from a parenting networking site that I frequent, that there are two ends of the parenting spectrum. One one end, you have what are referred to as "silky" moms, and on the other end you have "crunchy" moms. Silky moms exclusively use strollers, vaccinate on schedule, their children sleep in cribs, formula feed their babies, begin feeding their babies solid foods by four months, go for easy/convenient/inexpensive food and baby care/cleaning products, they implement the  "cry-it-out method to get their children to sleep, get epidurals, use disposable diapers and circumcise their sons. Crunchy mamas, on the other hand babywear (carry their babies around in slings),  delay, select or deny vaccinations, they co-sleep or bedshare with their children, breastfeed, hold off solid foods until at least six months often practicing baby-led weaning, they buy organic/all natural food and baby care/cleaning products, practice attachment parenting, try for drug-free births, cloth diaper, and will opt not to circumcise their sons.

I guess I am what you could call, a "semi-crunchy" mama. I lean more to that side than I thought I would, and wear that badge with pride. Basically, I do my own research, and I would encourage any parent to do the same. Every aspect of my parenting is well thought out and researched. I carefully consider everything that goes in or on my daughters, and am aware of how their experiences shape who they will become, even as the wee little things that they are. I would hope you would do the same with your own children, and not just do it because that's what the doctor or your mom told you to do. Certainly, the doctor and your mom have some merit, but I, for one, want to have reason apart from their "expertise" that justifies the choices I make for my children. I like that I can articulate the "why" behind the way we have chosen to parent, and can cite sources to back up the way our daughters are being raised and cared for.

Everyone has an opinion, and extremists that lean heavily to one side or the other can certainly offend. No one wants to be accused of doing the wrong thing, or less than the best for their child. Therein begin great debates. Vaccinations vs. no vaccinations; formula feeding vs. breastfeeding--it can get ugly! This was the very best thing that I ever did for my girls--- are you ready? In the midst of doctors, friends and  family telling me what they thought was right for my children, I decided to go with my "mama instincts." Hands down, I know my girls better than any of them ever will. Sometimes, what they say just doesn't feel like the right thing to do--that's "mama instinct"--I trust that feeling. I think God put it there for a reason. From that place, I can then determine what works best for our girls, and make decision that is right for us. I think that "mama guilt" is just part of being a mom, that "I should have/would have/could have" regret is par for the course--we aren't perfect. I find that I have much less "mama guilt" when I hone in on my "mama instincts"--maybe you will too.

From this hippie to you, peace.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Avacados, squash and sweet potaotes--oh my!

What has you excited these days? For me, it is baby food. Yes, I know that sounds strange, but as the girls near the six month mark, I'm starting to get really excited about making their baby food, or maybe it's the project of making their baby food--hard to say. When I put my mind to something, I tend to become borderline obsessed, and everything I tell you after this point will only confirm this for you.

I've been reading this great baby food making website and am all geared up and ready to go! Their first food will be avocado, followed by (after the necessary four day waiting period) sweet potatoes, then apples or pears--I haven't planned it out quite that specifically, but I have lots of ideas!

Each day the girls and I walk through our garden to see how things are growing. We check out the progress of the tomatoes, sweet potatoes, squash and pumpkin and we smell the sage, oregano, chives, basil, thyme and lavender. We've also recently decided that the fruit trees that border of our property will provide the girls with their first taste of peaches and pears--shh, don't tell our neighbors. I get pretty giddy, as I see the squash and pumpkin vines growing longer and fuller. Harvesting bright red tomatoes fills me with glee. It's going to be a good harvest, and the girls are going to have so much fun exploring these new tastes. I love that many of their first foods will have been grown in our own backyard--pesticide and chemical free.

I'm very much looking forward to watching their faces explore new tastes and textures. From my perspective, it seems as though the whole food thing would totally rock a baby's world. It's completely new and foreign to them. Maybe I'm over thinking this whole experience, but one day they are chowing on breast milk, and the next day--bam--a flavor explosion! Suddenly a cornucopia of flavors and textures all at once! Don't you, kind of, wish you could remember that experience? I know I do--I bet it was intense. I plan to "remember" that experience for the girls, so that I can tell them all about it someday.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What is that? (emphasis on the "that")

My oldest (by a mere six minutes), Hadley, has recently lost the majority of the thick, dark hair that she was born with. She, apparently, would prefer to be a blonde. Oh, if only the rest of us could change our hair color that easily and inexpensively. I digress; there is a reason I bring up Hadley's hair other than to discuss coiffure. Her sudden hair loss has prompted many people to suddenly assume that my poor daughter's noggin has sustained some sort of blunt force trauma. Okay, well, maybe not that extreme, but there is a noticeable, quarter-sized, raised lump on top of her head that does spark many people to ask, and/or inform me, about her "boo-boo". This "lump" has been there for over three months, so while the rest of the world is just realizing its existence, we have become accustomed to it's presence, and quite honestly forget about it until it is pointed out.

What is this bump, you ask? It's called a hemangioma. Basically it's a benign tumor of cells that line blood vessels. When I am asked about it, pretty much every time we go out into public anymore, I've learned to dumb my response down to, "It's a birth mark." At first, I felt like I should inform people of hemangiomas, and educate them, but that gets tiring, and quite frankly, people don't really care that much--it's almost comical to watch their eyes glaze over as I rattle off medical jargon. They are just probably checking to make sure I'm not throwing my daughter down the stairs.

We have taken Hadley to the pediatric dermatologist to have her hemangioma checked out since it is located close to her soft spot. He said it is absolutely no big deal, and will go away on its own by the time she is three years old. Hemangiomas are most common in females--check, preemies--check, Caucasians--check and multiples--check. I guess one of our daughters was bound to have one of these suckers. He then proceeded to show us pictures of hemangiomas that are actually something to worry about. That was humbling--I looked at both of my daughters and gave thanks.

You can see Hadley's hemangioma below (she is on the right in the first picture).

Sunday, July 4, 2010

It's a good thing...

...that we are simple people...

...with uncomplicated toys... flashing lights or bright colors here...

...we wouldn't want to be overwhelmed, after all...

...with lots of gadgets and gizmos.

Yes sir, we are here to tell you...

...the unornamented, pure and simple life is the way to go!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Napping bootcamp update

We've been hitting the napping hard for the past week and a half or so. There have definitely been some successes. Yesterday, I was able to sit outside and read for a bit while the girls napped, and later on during another napping session I was able to paint my toes. I know, the time spent on these activities is time most people, including my former, pre-mama-self, took for granted--now I revel in the luxury of those precious minutes.

It's not about me though, it's about them, and while they haven't mastered the whole talking thing just yet, I think they are telling me that the person who came up with the whole concept of naps was pretty ingenious--I have to agree with them. Now, if I could just get them to say the same thing about sleeping through the night.... On days when napping goes well, we've noticed that the girls seem content and relaxed. It's made evenings much more enjoyable, and their papa's limited time with his daughters, after a long day of work, a pleasant experience.

Getting both girls down for a nap is an intricate dance. The performance needs to be flawless, and everything must be timed perfectly. It's exhausting work to choreograph this frolic, but I am determined. First, I look for sleep cues: yawning, rubbing eyes, fussing, disengaging from play--the trick is to catch these before it turns into a meltdown, which can thwart the napping performance even before it's started. These cues present themselves after the girls have been awake for about an hour. After identifying a need for sleep, I swaddle both girls up. I've found that we are most successful if I can lay Brynne down in the crib first with her bink and get her situated--she will sometimes waltz herself right into dream world with no extra coaching from me (those are really good days). Then, I tackle getting Hadley calmed down. Sometimes this is a simple little two-step of bouncing on the yoga ball and, other times it's a complicated number that goes on and on and on--imagine dancing to Stairway to Heaven, or pretty much any song by The Who. Once Hadley is drowsy and almost asleep, I can lay her down and creep out of the room. This is a successful napping session.

There are plenty of unsuccessful napping sessions--those are frenzied dances that end with the curtain crashing down in a tears, or determined smiles. The girls tend to feed off one each other's energy, both good and bad. If one begins to cry the other determines to out perform the other, if one smiles and coos, the other tries to woo my attention away from the other; such prima donnas! There are also partially successful napping sessions, when I can only manage to convince one of the girls that she is giving me all the signs that she is tired. The other, despite my best efforts, keeps her eyes peeled open in staunch defiance, and since you can't really force sleep, we hang up the tap shoes until the next napping session.

All in all, things are better--any amount of napping during the day is a good thing. Sleep begets sleep, or so the books all say, so we will plug away, ever chasing that tricky last letter of the alphabet.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


20. Teaching Brynne to kick the rubber ducky in the pool.

21. Playing with the girls on our back deck and watching them and roll around.

22. Bing cherries!!

23. Long naps.

24. Having time to paint my toenails.

25. The beginnings of reconciliation.

26. Monstrous sunflowers growing in the garden.

27. Hadley's giggles.

28. Family devotion time.

29. Gorgeous summer weather.

30. Four day weekends.

31. Time to read a new book.