Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bradley Method instructor training

Okay, I know people have been wanting to hear about my Bradley training in DC. It was an incredible experience. I met so many wonderful people (and their adorable babies!). It was super-intensive, of course. There is still a ton of work I have to do before I am officially certified to teach. Although I get exhausted just THINKING about it, it's comforting to know that all of their teachers, mine included, was so expertly trained.

Okay, so the classes went on for 4 straight days. The first three days, the classes were 8:30am-10:30pm. On the last day, classes ended at 3:00pm. We got 1.5 hours for lunch and 1.5 hours for dinner. It was extremely family friendly, so husbands and kids came and went as mamas were needed. It is definitely a lot to ask of mothers and fathers to be away from their homes and kids, etc. It is also a substantial monetary investment. I think a lot of the material could have been covered online independently and tested with quizzes, reports, essays, etc. instead. That would have saved me a lot of money and might attract more teachers to train. However, I am sure the experience, the bonding, the camaraderie, etc. is part of the education.

The most exciting part of the training is that it was taught by the Hathaways, who worked directly with Dr. Bradley (had one of their babies delivered by him!) and Susan McCutcheon was there to give a workshop, too! I totally geeked out and had them sign my books. They were very gracious! They are all incredibly knowledgeable and passionate. It was such an honor to learn from them.

I got official notice that I DID pass the final test (PHEW!). I still have a checklist that feels like it's a mile long to complete before I can actually start teaching. I teach as a provisional educator until I have completed 2 full series of classes. I don't see myself being able to start until January. That's my goal and I think it's realistic. I am so excited about this!

Friday, November 30, 2012

nursing necklaces

So DS is a much rougher nurser than DD ever was. I didn't know how good I had it with Lydia. She was a marathon nurser, at least 20 minutes every time. But she got on the boob, drank up quietly, and was done. Elliott is the total opposite. He empties a boob in less than 10 minutes. While nursing he stops several times because a noise or a passerby or my face suddenly distracts him. He has wandering hands that squeeze, grope, and scratch. I don't know how I will make it to a year at this point. It looked like my boobs were mauled by a hamster. so what's a nursing mom to do?

Well, I have gotten a lot of suggestions about cutting and filing nails but that's just not always feasible. I hardly have time to make sure my own nails are always clipped, let alone to hold down a tiny, wiggly hand to trim tiny, flimsy nails every day. And mittens or socks to cover the hands? No way! That is just unreasonable for a mom who nurses on demand!

So I invested in a jellystone necklace. We got this one, but in a color aptly called 'carrot':

 
So far, so good. Elliott seems to think it is pretty cool. It does cut down on the scratching. He likes to grab on it while nursing, which is the point. The only little problem is that sometimes he stops nursing to put the necklace in his mouth! It is totally safe for him to do that, it's just counterproductive. Overall, it's still totally worth it. Oh, and another great feature (I can't believe I almost forgot to mention this!) is that it has a break away clasp. I don't know about your kids, but Elliott is surprisingly strong and he likes to grab and pull. There has already been at least one time where he has pulled to hard that the clasp has opened. I am so glad that it did! That seems preferable to being choked!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

gobble gobble

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you were all able to enjoy some delicious food and fun times surrounded by people you love.

During this quiet time of the late evening, I updated my 'Babywearing' page. I have recently fallen in love with the Beco carrier and I have to tell you all about it!

And I know, I know, I know, I have to tell you ALL about my trip to DC for my Bradley Method teacher training! It was so incredible and unforgettable! I have learned a ton and cannot wait to start on this new venture.

But it is so so late. So, goodnight for now!

  Lydia's first Thanksgiving way back when. I can't believe we had our SECOND baby's first Thanksgiving today. We didn't even bring a camera! Don't worry, the in-laws got some good pictures.
Lydia's first Thanksgiving way back when. I can't believe we had our SECOND baby's first Thanksgiving today. We didn't even bring a camera! Don't worry, the in-laws got some good pictures.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

snake oil?

So, I don't know if I am a sucker or what, but I finally broke down and bought Elliott what is known as an amber teething necklace last month. I felt like I was seeing them everywhere and everyone was raving about them so I thought, "What the heck?" DS is one heck of a drooler and seems to be pretty gassy, so I was hoping this could help.

I went to my favorite local natural parenting store, Luvaboos, and picked one up. They say that the ones with the more opaque or lightest colored beads work the best. So I found this great multi-colored one. I forgot to tell Jeff about it, so when he saw it, he was not happy. He thought I was trying to make some sort of fashion statement and kept calling DS "Matthew McConaughey'. *insert dramatic eye roll here* As if! I barely wear jewelery myself!

Not 2 days later, I come home from work and DH has a sheepish look on his face. He starts by apologizing and taking full blame for something. I know this cannot be good. He took Elliott's necklace off before bed and left it on a low table. One of our cats got to it. I should explain that I have diagnosed one of my cats with Pica. God, she is absolutely ridiculous. These things can't even taste good that she eats!

Now my OTHER cat will go after any food. She is a complete scavenger. You can't leave your hand out with a bite of sandwich in it while you answer the phone or she is at it like a wolf! But THIS cat wouldn't go after your fried chicken if you left it unattended at the table while you went to the bathroom. No, no, no! She wants to eat plastic and paper and plastic bags and strings and other such nonsense. So she goes after this necklace. God knows why.

She ate FOURTEEN of the beads. Fourteen! None of them could have been tasty! What would possess her to do that? Fast forward a couple hours and this cat is totally tripping out! We couldn't believe the reaction. She was literally climbing walls and zipping all over the place. In hindsight, we probably should have thought about bringing her to a vet. I was just so angry!

Those necklaces are not cheap so I cannot buy another one right now. However, I also feel like we won't get an accurate picture of how well the necklace is "working" or not. I know you can find cheap amber necklaces online but I am worried that they are not real amber. I thought about maybe getting just a bracelet, which my SIL pointed out that I could just put on his ankle, which would be easier for our lives overall since screwing a little necklace on a baby is pretty much an Olympic event every morning at our house.

So for now, I don't think it's fair to give my review of the legitimacy of an amber teething necklace. I will tell you that we still put it on him everyday, so I guess we are still holding on to hope. I will post again if we decide to get a new necklace or bracelet.

Anyone else out there using an amber teething necklace? Successes? Please share!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

thoughts for today



I would also like to inform those who don't know that October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. So if love a DS child, hats off to you this month, in particular!



lactation cookie recipes and other news

My dad passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly last Friday, October 5, 2012. He was an incredible father and a beloved "Papa" to my children. I would like to dedicate this post to him today.



I had so much success with the lactation cookies, I wanted to sing it from the hilltops. Who knew that tasty cookies could give me the peace of mind I needed to successfully BF my child? How many things in life are that easy? Soon after, I coincidentally saw a conversation on a crunchy mom group about HOMEMADE lactation cookies. Well, why hadn't I thought of that? Oh, right, because I am a kitchen outcast! Well, that's not entirely true. I do enjoy cooking but I am not much for baking. Baking requires a level of precision that I do not posses. I feel like there is more flexibility with cooking. I enjoy adding and taking our ingredients at will without risking the integrity of the recipe. However, this may have to be where I draw the exception. What a great gift for a new mama, too! One blog I read talked of bringing homemade lactation cookies over t a friend who recently delivered via emergency c-section but was determined to BF. BFing after a C can be more difficult than after a vaginal birth for a host of reasons.

Here are some lactation cookie recipes I found that looked promising. Please note that I haven't personally tried any of these recipes...yet!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

makin' milk!

So, I have experienced something new! I am having a little trouble with my milk supply. I don't think it's anything too serious, but since I need to pump to leave BM behind for DS while I am coaching, I am very aware of my supply. I was having trouble pumping enough to leave for DH to use to feed our son. That really stressed me out, which doesn't help milk production, either. I needed to relax and utilize the many resources available to a mama who is determined to exclusively breastfeed. I called a local natural parenting store I trust called Luvaboos. I made 2 purchases there and I am very happy with the results and so I wanted to share!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pediatricians Decide Boys Are Better Off Circumcised Than Not

After hearing this NPR story, I realized I am not so torn, after all, on the debate on circumcision. It would seem that I am, indeed, an intactivist. I was absolutely outraged when I read this!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

One World Birth screening

So I went to my first Rochester Area Birth Network meeting the other night and it went well! Because I coach field hockey in the fall, I won't be able to be involved in much until mid-November, but I wanted to show my face, meet the women, and express a desire to be involved as much as possible. They seem like a very nice group of ladies. I don't mean to sound relieved as if I expected the opposite, but you know it's always intimidating to meet a tight-knit group of people who share a common passion and knowledge that you don't yet fully share. I felt welcomed.

They are currently planning for the participation in the global screening event of a documentary called Freedom for Birth presented by One World Birth.  If you scroll down the site a bit, you can click on a link that will show you if and where there is a screening in your area. It is unlikely that I'll be able to attend due to coaching, but I will sure try. If someone else is able to go, please post a review in the comments section here!

Friday, August 17, 2012

reduce, reuse, recycle

One thing Jeff and I are really passionate about is is buying used - and it's not just about being cheap! Sure, we love a good deal, particularly with me not working this year, but we also believe that is socially responsible to buy things that aren't new and therefore didn't require new resources to make them. Think about it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

BIG NEWS!

Nonononono, I am NOT pregnant! HAHAHA! You know that's what everyone thinks! Once you have ONE baby, all of your news is potentially about other babies to be had!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

cloth diaper page update!!!

Alright, friends! I have been swamped adjusting to this whole new life of SAHM + one extra kid. I DID manage to find a few minutes to update my cloth diapering page. The most exciting part is that I was able to add to the list of cloth diapers brands I have tried and fallen in love with. Please let me know which ones you think I am missing out on. I would LOVE to try more, but there are so many!

And now, gratuitous pictures of my kids:




Saturday, June 30, 2012

cloth diapering update

So, with DD we used only bumGenius one-size pockets, which we LOVED! The one-size diapers are convenient and cost effective because you only buy one set of diapers for you LO's entire non-potty trained career. However, there are some downsides. First, they don't fit a baby under 8 lbs, generally. Itty-bitty DD could not wear them until she was 2 months old. Even then, they were pretty bulky and weren't tight enough around her chicken legs. With DS, I decided to be more adventurous and try some other kinds of CDs...okay, I decided to try pretty much EVERY kind of CD. I am driving DH crazy.

Monday, June 25, 2012

breastfeeding faux pas?

Yesterday, the family and I were at a going away party cookout for a dear friend who will soon be deployed (again) to Iraq. Friends of ours who were also at the party welcomed their first child into the world this past Father's Day. I am so glad that our friends have decided to join the party and start having kids! Now we won't be the only ones having to stop for "potty" breaks, diaper changes, to clean spit up, and (perhaps most importantly) BREASTFEED! I was seriously stoked to have a breastfeeding buddy at the cookout.

Momma in her cover breastfeeds her little boy at a picnic

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Breastfeeding Military Moms


It's pretty safe to say that this has been the controversial photo of the week! Once again, because the American public continues to sexualize breastfeeding, a photo of two military moms breastfeeding in uniform is causing all kinds of imbroglio. It's disheartening to know that even women who put their lives on the line to serve our country are considered obscene when they nurse their children; when they offer them the healthiest, most nutritious food God created for their babies.

COME ON! This is too infuriating!

This picture is not controversial. I dream of the day when women can nurse their children in public and people pass by them like they are just another leaf on a tree or crack in a sidewalk. See, I don't expect or want people to stop and applaud when they see us. I just want it to be so normal and accepted that no one even takes notice. Instead, people gawk and stare and point and whisper and gasp and...it is just so ridiculous.

So now these women are being vilified and made to feel as if they are somehow defiling their uniforms and disrespecting their countries. These women should be held in the highest esteem for simultaneously doing two of the hardest jobs in the history of the world!

Bed-Sharing: Are you doing it right?

Someone posted this awesome (and hilarious) article in my Crunchy Moms group on Facebook. I like that it not only speaks to granola parents who bed-share, but all parents everywhere who seem to have forgotten what it means to make the commitment to be a parent! I know that when Jeff and I started on this granola adventure, I think our goal was, first, to be the best kind of parents we could be. And we were frustrated because it was not the kind of parenting we were seeing in the mainstream. Particularly with me being a teacher, I am constantly exposed to the reprecussions of more mainstream parenting. This article hits the nail on the head for me. It puts into words what I did not even realize I wanted to say.

It's not just about bed-sharing or whether or not you choose to bed-share. It has to do with realizing that when you choose to become a parent, YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE. Your life is not your own anymore. It's not even about you anymore. You have to embrace the changes, learn to love them, or you will drown. You will fail as a parent. You will be miserable. Being a parent is answering the highest of callings. It is absolutely fantastic and magical but also frustrating and difficult. No rainbows without rain, right?

Mom and baby girl bed sharingMom and her baby boy co sleep in bed together

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Call the Midwife

DH discovered a new television show for me to be addicted to! Call the Midwife is a (so far) fascinating and addictive show on BBC One, which follows a newly certified midwife in London's East End in the 1950's. It's based on memoirs of Jennifer Worth, which I fully intend on reading as soon as I have time to (breathe!).

 

Sadly, the only way to see it at the moment is to import the first season on DVD from somewhere like Amazon.com and play it through a "Region-Free" DVD player.

Luckily, the show was picked up by PBS and should premiere in the US on September 30, 2012 on your Local PBS station.


From a granola standpoint, it's awesome to see that, even with the "lack of technology", women safely delivered baby upon baby at home with the help of a midwife and a mother or husband in the room. They did have doctors available, at that time, to deliver high-risk babies in the hospital. There was a story line where a woman who had Ricketts, had to deliver via C-section due to how the Ricketts had affected her pelvis. But other story lines have included what would be considered "high risk" these days (very pre-term delivery, breech delivery, mothers over the age of 40, etc.) where the women deliver safely at home. It's just nice to see another (realistic) perspective of labor and deliery.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Co-Sleeping Interview Series - Kaia M.

Kaia M. is back to give us some information about co-sleeping. I am so jealous of her granola upbringing! So many of us crunchy moms are navigating this alone, often as our own mothers (and other family members) are simultaneously questioning and even insulting our parenting choices.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

What's been on my mind...


BLW Interview Series - Kaia M.

Kaia M. is another supportive mama (and great resource) I've met through my Crunchy Mamas Facebook group. Her perspective is unqie because she herself was raised on BLW so it was a natural choice for her with her own baby. You can almost "hear" how comfortable she is with the topic in her answers. I don't think this was her intention, but this has been the most convincing interview for me, so far. Thank you, Kaia M.!

Friday, May 25, 2012

BLW Interview Series - Kelly K

I am very excited for this interview. Not only is Kelly K. another granola mommy right here in my homewtown, but she is super-passionate about baby-led weaning so I know she'll have a TON of useful information for us. Thank you, Kelly K., for spreading the good word here!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Placenta Options After Labor and Delivery Interview Series - Elizabeth F.

Elizabeth F. graces us once again with more granola insight, this time about what options mamas have to do something special with their placenta after L&D. I do hope she'll give us an update when she decides exactly what she wants to do with her placenta. Thanks again, Elizabeth F.!

TIME magazine cover reaction


This is absolutely the response I dreamed of. THIS is what AP is all about. It's not about being "extreme". It's not about being "in your face". Parents every day have to decide whether or not they are going to spank their children, are they going to allow their children to use a pacifier, when they are going to potty train, etc. Parents have an insurmountable number of paths to choose when it comes to parenting. AP parents are feeling their way through this uncertainty and self-doubt, just like everyone else. They know they have these certain values that they want to uphold. They follow what inherently "feels" right for them and their children. Does that sound "extreme" or does it sound familiar?

Monday, May 21, 2012

BLW Interview Series - Elizabeth F.

In the crunchy moms page I am a part of on Facebook, Elizabeth F. is an absolute celebrity because she recently had a VBAC (vaginal birth after ceserean); more amazingly, it was a HBAC (home birth after ceserean). I have asked and I am hoping she will be willing to share her incredible stroy with us. Until then, her was some insight into BLW that she shared with me. This is a topic about which I am most ignorant, so I am very happy to learn more. Thank you, Elizabeth F.!

He's here!

Elliott Jay Beach was born 5/13/12 at 9:16pm at 7lbs, 3oz and 20.5 inches long. Our birth story is unusual but then, even though birth is normal, EVERY birth story is unique.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

sugar-free birthday cake

For Lydia's first birthday, we had no interest in engaging in the traditional "smash cake" - where a small cake is made for the birthday boy/girl, covered with copious amounts of frosting, and the child is left to eat the cake with his/her hands so as to make a mess for the enjoyment of all to watch.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

DIY weed killer

We have a nasty weed problem. DH looked up some different weed killers available on the market today and learned that one of the main ingredients of weed killer is also one of the main ingredients in AGENT ORANGE. He did not feel comfortable with that, to say the least. After the success of my DIY laundry detergent and DIY dishwasher detergent, he thought he should be able to find a DIY weed killer. He was right!

DIY dishwasher detergent UPDATE!!!

Hallelujah! It actually works! I was hopeful, but really skeptical at the same time. The recipe is SO simple, how could it really clean the dishes? I am here to say it worked beautifully. There was a cheese grater in there, tongs that pulled BBQ chicken, glasses, cereal bowls, it was a full load of every day dishes. The next load will have the crock pot in it that cooked the BBQ chicken so that will be a real test. Our dishwasher is easily 10+ years old. It is nothing top of the line, trust me. So if it can work for me, it can work for you! Please go try it out and tell me how it works out for you!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Are You Mom Enough?

Have you seen this???



I haven't read the actual article, but the cover alone is causing a riot on social media everywhere. Mainstream parents are calling it "disturbing" and "wrong". Many say that Attachment Parenting is more in the interest of the parents than the welfare of the children whereas AP parents believe they are being responsive to their children's needs. Anti-AP people say that AP parents cannot let go of their children and let them "grow up". AP parents feel that their methods actually cause their children to be more secure and therefore more independent ("grown up").

The most interesting comment I heard was from an AP mom. She said that the picture makes the mom look confrontational and defensive. I am inclined to agree. If our hope is to have people accept us for our parenting style choices, than we need to appear/be open to other parenting styles and approachable for people who have questions about ours. Also, AP is also known as "gentle parenting", so it seems contradictory to me have the mom look like some sort of haughty bad-ass.

Co-Sleeping Interview Series - Hannah B.

Hannah B. offered up such great information about BLW that I was so happy to have the opportunity to interview her about co-sleeping, as well. Her answers are raw and hilarious! Thank you, Hannah B., for keepin' it real.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Co-Sleeping Interview Series - Jordan W.


During this series, I love reading and learning the difference opinions and motivations of each woman but, what speaks greater volumes, are the common themes I see emerging with each interview. It helps to see all of these women with the same parenting values so that you can reflect on whether or not you share those same values. If you do, this may be an option you want to explore for your family. Thanks again, Jordan W., for your honesty and willingness to share with us.

Monday, May 7, 2012

updates

Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you all know that I updated the Babywearing and Cloth Diapering pages. This site is a constant work and progress and I promise I am working on it...just not as constantly as I would like!


A week and three days from my due date, so we'll see when baby boy decides to make his grand arrival!

Midwifery Care: What's in it for Women?

Here is the first of a new online series called I am a Midwife. This video is less than ten minutes long. It is beautifully done. I really encourage anyone who is considering using a midwife, becoming a midwife, is skeptical of midwifery, or who simply loves a midwife to watch it. Even though it is short, the women are articulate, so the messages are clear. These women are powerful, highly intelligent, and beautiful.

 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Baby Led Weaning Interview Series - Hannah B

Baby-led weaning is the topic I am the most ignorant about. I thought I was being crunchy by making all of our own baby food. I was really proud of myself for taking whole, organic foods and breaking them down for baby consumption. Little did I know that there is a group of granola mamas who don't think that is absolutely necessary. It is my understanding now that babies can safely be exposed to whole, organic foods in their whole form, NOT pureed! Hannah B, has some great insight into how and why this method works for her family. Again, I have a lot of things to think about when DS is ready for food.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

composting

It was actually my husband's idea to start composting. I never had any interest in being so involved in our garbage. Sure, we recycled, but that's easy. Cans and jars to the left, paper to the right. But, now we're talking about old food and dirt and...uh, gross. But composting has turned out to be very simple and effective!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Placenta Options After Labor and Delivery Interview Series - Jordan W.

Jordan W. is an incredible granola guru who is very knowledgeable on ALL THREE of the series topics. I chose to share this interview first because very little is known about the topic in mainstream American society. I'd like to thank Jordan W. for sharing such a wealth of knowledge with us. It's obvious that she has made every effort to research every option for keeping her family healthy and happy. It certainly gives us a lot to consider.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Co-Sleeping Interview Series - Katharine T.

As promised, another mama is ready to weigh-in on the co-sleeping debate. No, not much of a debate is being waged HERE, but it is a controversial topic in the overall mothering community. Although Katharine T. does agree with Jamie V. that co-sleeping is right for her family, she offers unique insight and a slightly different perspective as to her reasons why. I appreciate Katharine T.'s willingness to share a glimpse into her family's life for our benefit of knowledge.

Monday, April 30, 2012

gentle discipline

I found this article to be fascinating. As DD is now 2, DH and I are faced with more and more opportunities to "discipline". We are pretty much on the same page, but obviously, situations arise that we are not prepared for and we play it by ear. So far, so good, but I think it's important to have these discussions together without DD present and when we are NOT in the midst of a crisis.

22 Alternatives to Punishment

Co-Sleeping Interview Series - Jamie V.

As I have mentioned before, the journey through granola-hood (and motherhood, for that matter!) should not be made alone. I have been active in seeking out a network of support. I have mentioned The Mommies Network before. I have also sought out groups on Facebook. I was so happy to find a Crunchy Mamas group. The women in this group are respectful, insightful, and hilarious! I posted asking if any of them would be interested in sharing some of their knowledge on granola topics I don't know much about: Baby Led Weaning, Options for Your Placenta After Labor and Delivery, and Co-Sleeping. So many of them were willing, I was so touched!

Our first interview comes from Jamie V., whose family co-sleeps. I think co-sleeping is so awesome but knew nothing about it when I had DD. She slept in our room with us in a bassinet for many months, and often times when I would nurse her in the middle of the night we would both fall asleep and she would spend the rest of the night with us in bed. But I know there are more deliberate and careful ways to do it. I wanted to hear straight from the mamas' mouths what it's really all about. I want to thank Jamie V. for sharing this information with us. She's got some great answers and I have some serious points to ponder when DS gets here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

natural remedies (sinuses and congestion)

I never cared much about natural remedies or homeopathy until I became pregnant with my first. I was the first one to pop a Sudafed or Benedryl when my sinuses acted up. I even have a running prescription for Naproxen for chronic migraines (which, thankfully, I don't get while I am pregnant!). But once we started researching a drug-free birth, it made sense to have a drug-free pregnancy, as well!

I know that there are medications that are deemed "safe" for pregnant women, but that makes me nervous. First of all, I feel the list changes too frequently. One year it's safe, the next, it causes birth defects. No thank you. Second, it's never a consistent list! One doctor says it's safe, another one says it's not. What the heck is THAT about? Last, you are taking a dose for YOUR size, not a dose for the size of your fetus. He/she is getting blasted with a TON of medication! It's just not something I think anyone should take lightly. Do some women HAVE to be on medication for their health and safety and consequently the health and safety of their baby? YES! Am I talking about/to them right now? NO!

That being said, here are some homeopathic/drug free remedies that I found to be most helpful for me during my pregnancies. I have a lot of sinus issues. In fact, after a lifetime being allergy-free, I developed allergies after I had my daughter. UGH - THE WORST! They have subsided a bit during this pregnancy but I still suffer sinus issues.


1. I know I am going to get some groans here, but all of them will be from people who have never tried it! I know it took me probably a year to work up the courage. I know how weird it sounds, putting water in one nostril to drain out the other nostril. A neti pot is the best! I use this one by NeilMed and it works amazingly! Sure, it is a strange sensation at first, but I never felt like I was drowning or anything! It does not burn because you use a salinated solution, not plain water! The fact of the matter is, it works, so any mild discomfort for me is worth it. After one use, you feel the sinus pressure relieved and you can BREATHE!
2. At night, after I used my neti pot, I throw on a Breathe Right strip. I know my sex appeal sky rockets with this thing on, but my husband makes the sacrifice ;-) Actually, if I forget to put one on, I tend to snore, so my husband will actually wake me up and makes me put one on! For those who have never tried, it basically feels like a stiff band aid that pulls your nostrils open a little. It's just enough to help you breathe. It's harder for me to breathe when I am lying down, so this gives me just that little extra room in my nasal passage for air to get through.
 3. I recently found out that Maty's Natural Products are made right here in my hometown! They were created by a mother. They have products for both young children and a adults. This vapor rub has been SO helpful. One particularly stuffy days, I rub it on my chest and neck at night. I also put some up my nose, which I know you're NOT supposed to do but I am just being honest here. I clears my nose out and I love it!

***Please feel free to share any products your have found!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DIY dishwasher detergent

I have had so much success with my DIY laundry detergent that I am hooked on trying some other DIY cleaners. Another cleaner we spend way too much money on is dishwasher detergent. So I did a little searching...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Post-Partum Doula interview

When I was pregnant with DD, I had pretty much no friends who were pregnant or who had kids. Feeling like I needed some peer support, I searched and stumbled upon a great resource - The Mommies Network. I have met some wonderful people and gotten excellent advice from other mamas on Rochester Mommies. One of those wonderful people is a mama named Petra Letter.
Petra is a Post-Partum Doula. I hardly knew what a Doula was when I was pregnant, let alone a Post-Partum Doula. When I learned more, I was fascinated. It's something so natural in other cultures, I think, but not here in the US where we are all expected to be superwomen and survive in our tiny, nuclear family without inviting neighbors, friends, or even extended family into our "private" lies. Petra has been good enough to grant me an interview to give us all better clarity on this fascinating career and support available for moms.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

birth story

My dear cousin "R" agreed to share her birth story, too! She and her husband also prepared for a Bradley Birth, but not everything went as planned. I think main message to take away from this is still the importance of educating yourself on labor and delivery and creating a birth plan so that you are in charge of your own child's birth. Remember, you can't control EVERYTHING but you can still be IN control. They're story is really incredible! My "baby" cousin has grown into such a strong woman!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

new!

Hello, everyone! I have added some new "Products I Love!" for your consideration.

I have also created a new page, "Adoption", as an outlet to discuss another passion of mine. I know it's not technically "granola" but it certainly has to do with mothering and social justice, which I believe are some of the touchstones of "granola-ism".

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Sunday, April 8, 2012

coconut oil


Speaking of products that are changing my life...DD's skin and hair are very dry. I have no idea where in her genetic make-up this happened but there it is. Vaseline does not help. Lanolin does not help. No lotions help. We also started to get very concerned with what ingredients are in lotions on the market today, especially after the recent Johnson and Johnson findings.

I had heard that coconut oil was good for skin on a granola mommies forum. I spent $50 at Lush, between a coconut oil based soap and a coconut oil based lotion. I love Lush because their products are all handmade, all-natural, organic, and never tested on animals. They did seem to make a difference, but I thought there had to be something more.

It was actually my MIL who found straight up Coconut Oil at a grocery store. Apparently, you can also use it for cooking! Ha! Nobody told me!

It has been a Godsend! First of all, it is the craziest texture ever. My husband found it and asked "How long has this container of mashed potatoes been in Lydia's bag?" It initially feels like a jar of wax. However, the minute you start to rub it into your skin, it melts into an oil. Second, it doesn't smell anything like coconut! It doesn't smell like anything at all! It has just been incredible for Lydia. It also has antibacterial properties, so it helps with diaper rash.

Can anyone else attest to this? Does anyone have any other all-natural rememdies for dry skin to offer?

Our Birth Story

As the EDD of DS is fast approaching, I am revving myself up for another round of labor and delivery. I only have one experience I can draw from. I would like to share it with you. The desire to bring my baby into the world in the safest way possible is what inspired this lifestyle change for us, so I think it's important for this blog.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Our Birth Plan

I wanted to share the my family's birth plan. This is the current revision for our son's upcoming birth. It was just a little different for DD's birth. Obviously, there was no mention of circumcision in hers! Also, in the opening paragraph, I talked about how my brother and Jeff and his brother were born at the same hospital so we have a family history there rather than talk about DD's birth.

Some people beleive that birth plans are a waste of time because "whatever happens, happens" in labor and delivery. I disagree. I think it is a woman's right and responsibility to maintain as much control over the situation as possible. Can you control or predict EVERYTHING? Of course not. But can you always have a say in SOMETHING? Absolutely.

No, not everything about my labor and delivery was exactly how I wanted it. However, despite the surprises, DH and I both maintain that our labor and delivery experience was amazing. And our Birth Plan definitely helped. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. Hopefully, this will help some of you in writing your own birth plans!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

cloth diapers update

I just added a bunch of info on the CD page!

I also ordered a couple of Awesome Blossom diapers off Zulily today. I was sucked in because they are minky and only $10.99 a piece! However, I can't find any info on Awesome Blossom online, so I'm not sure what that means. Once again, these are for baby boy Beach who is on the way, so a review won't be available for probably another 4 months. I can't help but be excited. Sorry!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

detergent update update

So I think user error was all that was pretty much wrong with my first go-around with my homemade detergent. I didn't think one tablespoon would be enough so I put in two. The result was residue. One tablespoon is absolutely enough. The clothes smell fresh without smelling like detergent. Stains come out, clothes are definitely clean. I use it to wash ALL laundry and nobody, not even DD, has had any reaction to it. I am hooked. I can't wait to make more batches with different kind of soaps!

I start with the washer set to hot with no clothes in it. I add the tablespoon of detergent. I let it fill up for just maybe 10 seconds. Then, I add the clothes and switch it over to cold water (how I normally do all of my laundry, except CDs). Why this weird process? I think the hot water helps the soap dissolve before the clothes get in there. I just made it up, basically, so it's not difficult for me to "remember the steps". It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is when I type it all out here.

In an effort to be more "green", I have also started line drying more of our laundry. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can get some more lines up outside! Before this, I was so lame that I wasn't even line-drying my CDs! Forget the green factor, line-drying significantly increases the life of your CDs. It just makes sense! So anyways, I started thinking, why not increase the life of ALL my clothes? Uh, duh!

So, I can't believe I have just written a whole blog about laundry! But I guess if everyone's gotta do laundry, I may as well do it in a way that makes me proud. I guess it's easier to do laundry when I feel like I am doing it the "right" way. It's taken me one tiny step closer to the kind of socially responsible person I want to be.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Charlie Bananas

My 4 new Charlie Banana cloth diapers came in the mail yesterday. They look ADORABLE and I can't wait to try them out. I got 3 size small and 1 size extra small, all prints. They are pockets and they come with microfiber inserts. I have never used this brand before but I have heard great things and they were on SUPER sale, so I had to do it! I have a good two months before I get to use them (come on already, baby!) but I will be sure to post some pictures and give a review on my "Cloth Diapering" page!

An Infant wearing a Charlie Banana cloth diaper with the phrase goodbye disposable hello cloth on the bottom.  I will review them when I have a chance to try them out


detergent update

My first load came out well. I was happy that the laundry smelled clean but didn't smell like "soap", you know? I did see some little chunks of residual soap left on the clothes. I think next time I will fill the washing machine all the way with the soap in it, to give it more time to dissolve before the clothes go in. I might even start the cycle on hot for a little bit and then turn it back to cold. That should help it dissolve faster, too, right? I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

This is a Lactivist!

What is "granola" anyway?


A friend of mine posed this question the other day, "Why is it that things that were normal to do 40 years ago are suddenly considered 'granola'?" My answer was simply that it was no longer mainstream practice, so now it has a special name like any other "sect". But something about the question has been gnawing at me.

I think the real question she was asking, without realizing because she thinks she already knows the answer, is "What does being 'granola' really mean?" I mean, is it just cloth diapering and breastfeeding? Because there are places where pretty much EVERYONE does that. It's not so shocking. Americans used to do that too, they just don't anymore. So what's so special about being "granola" that you need or deserve your own category? Gooooooooooooood question!

Like anything else, granola moms fall on a broad spectrum. The most granola moms of all breastfeed forever, cloth diaper using the diapers they made themselves, co-sleep in a king-size family bed on the floor, practice baby-led weaning, don't vaccinate, homeschool, are vegan, and live on a co-op. Okay, I left out some stuff, but you get the idea. Many of us do some of those things to some degree. I think what connects us all is not what we do, but the ideologies we share that drive us to do what we do.

The majority of granola moms I have met are not interested in doing something simply because it's against the mainstream or, conversely, trendy. It is fueled by a real desire to connect their babies to themselves and to the natural world around them. Luckily, there are lots of avenues to this end. There are simple things that can be done, like buying or making all-natural cleaning products and making your own baby food. You can invest in cloth diapers. You can breastfeed. You can babywear. There are also more intensive things you can do, like practice Elimination Communication and homeschool. Like I said, there is a broad spectrum of "crunchiness".

I am comfortable where I am on the spectrum. With this second child, I see us actually moving toward an increasingly granola lifestyle. We're already moving toward making our own cleansers, increasing our composting/recycling, and growing our own fruits and veggies and/or buying local. But there'll always be someone more crunchy..and that's okay.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

DIY laundry detergent


Exciting news: A few days ago, we invested in the "ingredients" to make our own laundry detergent. We just ran out of our store-bought detergent, so we made our first batch of homemade tonight. I can't wait to do a load and try it out! I can't really remember a time I have EVER been excited to do laundry. It's kind of pathetic but...oh well!

The benefits of making your own detergent (or any other cleaning product) include lower cost and, because you have control over the ingredients, they can be more "green" and/or more hypoallergenic, if you need. If you search online, most of the recipes are pretty much the same. We used:

1 bar of soap, finely grated
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of washing soda

The advice I got from some other moms was:

1. to grate the soap and let it dry out for a day before making the mixture
2. it may take a few tries to get it how you want it, so don't get too frustrated or give up!

Some sites recommend using OxyClean instead of Borax. I was also thinking of making a batch with dry bleach powder for whites. I also wanted to play around with what kind of soap I use. I just used Zest this time around because it's what we already had in the house (I know - GHETTO!) but it would be cool to try using Dove to make a gentler formula. I want to go to LUSH (a brick and mortor location opened in Rochester a couple years ago, THANK GOD!) to see what they have to offer.

Well, I will keep you posted on the results. I know you are all waiting with baited breath! HAHA!

***Detergent Update: My first load came out well. I was happy that the laundry smelled clean but didn't smell like "soap", you know? I did see some little chunks of residual soap left on the clothes. I think next time I will fill the washing machine all the way with the soap in it, to give it more time to dissolve before the clothes go in. I might even start the cycle on hot for a little bit and then turn it back to cold. That should help it dissolve faster, too, right? I'll keep you all posted on my progress.

***Detergent Update Update: So I think user error was all that was pretty much wrong with my first go-around with my homemade detergent. I didn't think one tablespoon would be enough so I put in two. The result was residue. One tablespoon is absolutely enough. The clothes smell fresh without smelling like detergent. Stains come out, clothes are definitely clean. I use it to wash ALL laundry and nobody, not even DD, has had any reaction to it. I am hooked. I can't wait to make more batches with different kinds of soaps!

I start with the washer set to hot with no clothes in it. I add the tablespoon of detergent. I let it fill up for just maybe 10 seconds. Then, I add the clothes and switch it over to cold water (how I normally do all of my laundry, except CDs). Why this weird process? I think the hot water helps the soap dissolve before the clothes get in there. I just made it up, basically, so it's not difficult for me to "remember the steps". It sounds a lot more complicated than it really is when I type it all out here.

In an effort to be more "green", I have also started line drying more of our laundry. I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can get some more lines up outside! Before this, I was so lame that I wasn't even line-drying my Cloth Diapers! Forget the green factor, line-drying significantly increases the life of your CDs. It just makes sense! So anyways, I started thinking, why not increase the life of ALL my clothes? Uh, duh!

So, I can't believe I have just written a whole blog about laundry! But I guess if everyone's gotta do laundry, I may as well do it in a way that makes me proud. I guess it's easier to do laundry when I feel like I am doing it the "right" way. It's taken me one tiny step closer to the kind of socially responsible person I want to be. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

How crunchy are you?

Take this quiz to find out!

DISCLAIMER: I did not, nor do I personally know who, personally made this quiz! A friend posted it on a Crunchy Mama forum I am on. Go ahead and take it. It's a good time!

I was so excited to take it and get my score. As I expected, I scored directly in the middle of the road. Some of the questions they asked surprised my while other questions that they did NOT ask puzzled me even more! I think the author was entangling the labels of "crunchy" and "hippie". I realize the two terms cannot be mutually exclusive but they are certainly not synonyms! I don't think I will ever be accused of being a hippie, but I'm a pretty crunchy mama!

The question that absolutely floored me was question number 4 about the Natural Family Planning. Come on! For those of you who don't know, Natural Family Planning is the new name for our old friend "The Rhythm Method". Go ahead and do your Google search. It is directly tied to the conservative religious right's perception that actual birth control goes against God's plan. I am confused why this sentiment would be tied to anything granola as most hippies I know are atheist.

I am a Christian but I am a liberal and, not to be flippant but, realistic about birth control. Natural Family Planning is an effective form of birth control if it doesn't actually matter how many children you have (because the mom isn't allowed to work outside of the home and her only aspiration is to be a full-time mom to a Duggar-sized family). I don't any family of 4 that used that form of birth control. Be real here. I love kids as much as the next woman, but I feel it is socially irresponsible to have tons and tons of kids when we have been blessed with  a plethora of ways to responsibly plan the size of a family.

I guess what really bothers me about this is that I always believed that people became crunchy mamas because they became MORE educated. Their knowledge becomes power, even if it manifests in a way that the mainstream doesn't agree with. I don't exactly put educated people and the religious right in the same camp. I cannot wrap my head around why the two would agree on this one thing. Anybody have any insight here?

And nothing about composting, recycling, or eating your placenta? Come on! ;-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

pro-choice or pro-life?

Where is a granola mom to stand?

Pro-choice: Granola moms value the empowerment of women everywhere. I would imagine that we are supposed to support a woman's right to make choices about her body. We also support a woman being in charge of her health and body.

Pro-life: Granola moms revere all things motherhood and value being a strong and loving mother above most other things. I would imagine that the thought of a woman killing her unborn baby would make our stomach's turn.

Even without the "granola" lens, I struggle with this issue. Politically, I typically fall somewhere between a Democrat and a good old-fashioned liberal. (I support gay marriage!) However, I am forever torn on this issue.

Deep in my heart, it just feels instinctually wrong. It seems unnatural for a woman to voluntarily solicit and pay for the death of her fetus. I also believe that it just as psychologically detrimental for a woman to lose a baby as it is to keep it. Women I know who have had abortions continued to be haunted by their decisions. There just has to be a better way to support a woman in this situation than to throw up our hands and say "Just get rid of it and pretend it didn't happen!"

On the other hand, our government does so little to protect women and childre from sexual predators. There is no statute of limtation on murder but there IS on rape. It is so revealing about how we, as a society, value women. We also do very little to hunt down and punish men who are not financially supporting the children they have fathered. We can't very well tell women that they have to keep their babies but no one is going to help them. Women should at least have the right to protect themselves.

What do you all think?

A Love Letter to Drug-Free Birth Moms II

I know how it goes. The information slips out, because God knows you wouldn't dare actually volunteer the information - you're not planning on using an epidural, you have a birth plan, you're taking a Bradley class. How quickly the claws come out. Your own sex immediately views you as an outsider, a freak, an enemy.

My decision to have a drug-free birth came to me, quite literally, in the middle of the night. I had had insomnia and accidentally stumbled across a documentary called The Business of Being Born. Nobody had ever  recruited me to join some natural birth club. I wasn't trying to impress anyone. I just did research, had serious discussions with my husband, made a choice about what I thought was best for my as yet unborn baby. Other people seem to have this perception that I see myself as a warrior in the great hippie army of all things all-natural. Come on. We who have had a drug-free birth know the truth.

To illustrate how non-similar women can be who choose the natural birth route can be, allow me to illustrate my Bradley Method birth class. My husband and I, I guess, could be described as lower-middle class. We are both college graduates and own our own home but our student loan debt keeps us from having DVR or even cable. We were in our late 20s and total beer snobs. Another couple was deaf and in their mid-30s. They were both professionals, into healthy eating, and rowed for a crew team, which is how they met. The third couple was very young and unmarried. The pregnancy was not planned. They were pretty rock and roll. Their son's middle name is the name of an X-Men character. My point here is that natural child birth can be for ANYONE while most people seem to believe it is this one specific type of woman; a woman who thinks she is stronger and better than everyone else.

While pregnant, you are to abstain from/avoid caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, drugs, soft cheeses, some fish, roots, OTC medications, etc. The list goes on and on. Why? Because everything you consume, whether inhaled, injected, or ingested, can affect your fetus. You are connected. The baby is part of your body. So it stands to reason that an epidural, one that has been dosed for an adult women, will have an effect on an unborn baby, who would require a fraction of that dose.

Americans will endure all kinds of pain for the right payoff. Just look at the popularity of that show "Fear Factor"! People get enormous tattoos, pierce their genitals, swim in sub-zero temperatures, run miles in extreme heat, compete in triathlons, etc. all because the "payoff" is deemed worthy. I know a wonderful woman who has asthma and only one working kidney who participates in a Warrior Dash every year. For me, a potential healthier baby is payoff enough.

Any woman I have met who has opted for a drug-free birth has done it for a different reason. One woman simply had an intense fear of needles and so she couldn't imagine any kind of a successful labor and delivery scenario that involved an epidural. There are so many reasons to consider a drug-free birth, not one better nor more admirable than another. My hat is off to anyone who studies, trains, and prepares for a drug-free birth regardless of their reason. In a culture where labor and delivery has become just another medical procedure, woman who choose to take charge of their children's births are to be commended.

Instead, we are treated with disdain and contempt. Other women, in particular, often shake their heads. Somehow, hearing about a birthing experience so different from their own immediately makes them defensive. Trust me when I tell you that however my labor and delivery went, it had nothing to do with you. It was not to prove you wrong or to prove anything to you. Women come at me as if I am peronally attacking them by having a drug-free birth. Why couldn't I just have a c-section like everybody else? Why do I have to stand out? Why do I have to be different? It's just so irritating somehow!

Here's what I am asking for. When you hear that a woman had a drug-free birth, don't recoil! Just accept it as any other difference, such as favorite color, politcal affiliation, or astrological sign. If it makes you want to roll your eyes, resist! Ask yourself, does she seem to be a good mother now? Does she seem to be trying to make good decisions to raise her children to be healthy and productive members of society? Then that's all that matters! It doesn't mean she is a hippie or that she's going to try to recruit you to the "drug-free ways". I am begging you, as a fellow mother and a fellow woman. Just accept my labor and delivery choice as I have accepted yours. It will only make us all stronger!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Take charge of your labor and delivery!

Here is another sad article about how women today are not taking the nine months they have to get educated about the birth of their babies! We waste thousands of hours on Facebook and Pinterest but can't be bothered to get interested in what's going on in your own bodies to your own babies? Please reconsider!

Brio Birth Education article

A Love Letter to Drug-Free Birth Moms

I recently read A Love Letter to C Section Moms on Facebook. *insert collective swoon here* It was followed by about a bazillion comments by moms who had c-sections and their proud supporters. I could not help but say my piece about this.

First and foremost, this "letter" seems unwarranted because since when are women who have c-sections the underdogs? Think about how many you have known that have given birth in the past 2 years. Now calculate the percentage of them that were born via c-section. It's not exactly taboo. The United States is boasting a 33% and rising national c-section birthrate. Are you kidding me? We are certainly not ostracizing women who have had c-sections. On the contrary, we are all too frequently encouraging women to have c-sections!

Second, I don't know anyone who regrets having a c-section. The doctors and nurses all stand around you telling you that there is no other way. You feel like you are a bad mother and putting your baby in danger if you do not opt for a c-section. Once the baby is born via c-section, the medical staff tell you all of the horrible ways you or the baby would have died if you had attempted a vaginal birth. You leave there feeling relieved and satisfied with your decision.

I am not a c-section Nazi. Of course, I realize that there are situations where c-sections save the lives of both mom and baby. A very dear friend of mine had a baby whose skull had fused in utero so obviously, a vaginal birth was not possible for her! I am not delusional. I want as many healthy babies and mamas as possible! I just don't believe that c-sections are as necessary an avenue to that end as doctors want us to believe. That's all.

Third, women need to take more responsibility in educating themselves about labor and delivery so that they are armed with the ability to make informed decisions when the time comes. Maybe they could avoid some of that c-section regret that way. Some women do do the research and make a plan and, quite frankly, I think we are in much greater need of a love letter. When people hear that I had a drug-free birth, I wish they would just say "Oh". Instead, they immediately get defensive. They roll their eyes, their mouths drop open, and their eyes bulge. Here are the million reasons they could NEVER do that! Why would I ever do that? Am I crazy? Do I have something to prove? Except that they never actually want any answers to those questions or have any kind of educated discussion on the matter. I would LOVE a love letter. My decisions to have a natural birth had everything to do with the health and well-being of my baby and nothing else...just like your decision to have the c-section you had to have.

Monday, February 13, 2012

circumcision

My perspective on most things is pretty black or white. Things are either right or wrong or, at the very least, worse or better. I can't help it, I'm human. Most other humans will not admit it, but I know they agree with me. What would we be fighting all of these wars for if we all really meant it when we said "Let's just agree to disagree." Come on! Circumcision, though, is one of the very few topics for which I allow a "gray area".

We have opted not to circumcise our son. At the same time, I pass no judgment on those who choose to circumcise. First of all, I have to respect the fact that circumcision is tied to ancient cultural and religious practices. Circumcision is not something that makes a parent's life easier, unlike a lot of decisions parents seem to be making these days. This is a decision parents make based on generations of tradition. I totally get that.

DH is circumcised. I come from a family of circumcised males. So why the bucking of tradition for us? Well, first, we are practicing Christians, so the religious tie isn't quite as intense as it is for Judaism and some branches of Islam. (Let's be honest, being "Christian" can mean A LOT of things these days, so rules are flexible.) I actually did speak to a trusted pastor and friend and he confirms that my son will not go to Hell if he is not circumcised. What a relief.

Maybe I am getting ahead of myself here. Actually, this kind of thing had never even crossed my mind during my first pregnancy. Then we found out I was carrying a girl, and what was the point of discussing it then? Fast forward a year and a half and I am now carrying a boy. A friend of mine, a mom who I would NEVER consider even the least bit granola, mentioned in passing that her son was not circumcised. It got me thinking and that lead to research. I consulted some other granola moms whom I respect. Once I made up my own opinion on the subject, I brought it up to DH.

Most research I found was pretty pro-circumcision. It seemed mostly applauded because of it's social popularity in the US. Although statistics seems to show that Americans have only a 50-50 chance of being circumcised (allowing for regional differences, of course), I find this so hard to believe. I only know a handful of uncircumcised men, not that I have been taking a poll. Take for example, a conversation I had almost a year ago with a girlfriend. She is extremely liberal in her political views and open-minded when it comes to "alternative lifestyles" (and no, I'm not just referring to the gays). In a voice layered with absolute disdain, she announces that a mutual friend has decided not to circumcise her future sons simply because her husband is not circumcised. She acted as if the decision was completely moronic. I didn't really know what to say because, again, I hadn't given much thought to the matter until a few months ago. It has simply been my experience that popular US opinion is that circumcision is the way to go.

Nevertheless, I can't personally shake the feeling that it is an unnecessary cosmetic surgery. I keep playing the scenario in my head and I can't stomach it. I give birth to him and hours later he is whisked away from me to have the skin of his penis cut off. Call me a wimp, but I just can't handle it. It seems to go against everything I believe in when it comes to parenting. And if you will indulge me to circle back to the religious factor, I have a hard time swallowing the idea that God made the human body "in His perfect image", except for the skin on the tip of the penis. Here's how God made you, but we can make you better. I don't get that.

DH was hesitant, at first, understandably. Most of the anxiety stemmed from a fear that his boy would be ridiculed in the locker room. My husband is like a slow cooker Sometimes, you just have to throw some ideas and/or information at him but you can NOT expect any kind of response right away or even in the very near future. Basically, I said my piece and then walked away. Well, okay, we did exchange a 15 minute question/answer session, but then it was done. I knew he just needed the time to think about it on his own. I cautiously brought it up about a month later and he very casually answered, "Oh yeah, I'm fine with that. I did some research." And that was the end of that. Score.

I feel like this has been more of a ramble than a solid op-ed piece. Let me at least leave you with some kid of words of wisdom or guidance or SOMETHING! If you are on the fence, all you can do is research the topic, discuss your concerns or questions with other moms or mentors whom you trust, and, ultimately, go with your gut. If you haven't given it any thought, I encourage you to. Watch a video of a circumcision. Contemplate how this experience will be for your son. Sure, he won't remember it after a while, but does that make it worth it? My son can always choose to get a circumcision later in life, should he decide in the future that he really hates his foreskin.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

babies in bikinis = toddlers in tiaras

baby in a rashguard swim suit by the side of a swimming pool, not a bikini

Is anyone else weirded out by babies in bikinis? I wouldn't consider myself a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but why does a baby need to be a two-piece bathing suit? It seems wrong to me.

DD has always warn a rashguard suit and a swim diaper (cloth, of course!). Babies' skin is delicate and I wanted to protect her from the sun. Even when we did indoor swim at the Y, I cdid not undersand why EVERYONE ELSE had their daughter in a skimpy swim suit. I guess I am missing the adorable factor here.

Women's bathing suits are cut in a way to flatter or enhance the natural curve of a grown woman's body. Why does a baby need triangle-shaped fabric over her nipples? She has no breasts to show off. She is still on her mother's breast! Or a one-piece suit with holes cut out on the sides - does she have hips to flaunt? Uh, no, she just has rolls. She's a baby.

I do understand that sometimes it is fun to dress little kids up in ways that normally adults do; like a 3-piece suit or a holiday dress for a special occasion, or people who style their kids' hair into mohawk (you know a 2-year-old did not ask for that!). I get it. It can be fun! But I feel like this falls in a different camp.
Maybe it's because I am a teacher, and I see very clearly where the oversexualization of young girls has taken us. Mothers of fourth graders let their daughters put on jewelery, lipstick, and fake nails. By sixth grade, they have dyed their hair, worn little high heels, and the most ridiculously short shorts I have ever seen. What is the point? Trust me when I telll you that our young girls are seeing themselves as women much younger than we would want them to. Take a look at teen pregnancy rates. They are not on the decline and neither are STDs. Go ahead, I'll wait...

I'm not making the claim that putting your baby in a two-piece swimsuit will automatically lead to your daughter becoming a slut. My point is that we can't ignore the possibility that this is effecting how girls see themselves and, for that matter, how our boys see them. They are not sexual beings and should not be displayed as if they are.

I can't help it. I don't think there is anything cute about a baby in a bikini-type swimsuit. They need protection from the sun. They need to be taught that swimming does not have to equate sexiness...at least, not until they are mature and responsible enough to make healthy sexual decisions.