Monday, April 8, 2013

sharing policy

I really wish I were a more progressive parent. But the truth is, when my child behaves in a way that I feel is inappropriate and needs correction and guidance, I fall into strategies that my parents used on me, no matter how stupid they are. Now, I am proud to say that we are not no will we ever be a hitting family. It makes zero sense to me to tell a child that they cannot hit you, their siblings, their friends at school, their teachers, etc. but hit them as a form of discipline. I do not want to hit my kids because hitting is wrong.

However, we do do time-outs in this house. I know that time-outs are controversial in the attachment parenting community. I have read and discussed articles about the consequences and alternatives. However, I am really struggling in this arena. I am a work in progress.

I like to blame the majority of it on my lack of sleep. I have not slept longer than a 4-hour stretch in almost 11 months thanks to a certain (absolutely adorable) little boy who still wakes 2-3x a night. I am exhausted. I just cannot focus on anything. My creative juices are all dried up. Also, the rough terrain I am currently navigating on this particular path in my life (not for this blog) has left me pretty stressed and on edge. Unfortunately, it is affecting my home life, particularly my parenting and I know I gotta reign this in. I am a work in progress.

In an effort to find my parenting style groove, I need to first really establish my parenting philosophies. This article gave me a lot to think about. I do frequently find myself bending to what I think others' expectations are for my own child's behavior in public. I hear myself telling them things I don't actually think  are true so that we all appear to be proper and civilized. The pressures of everyone's judgement affect me more than I wish they would. I wish I could be one of those cool, calm, and collected moms but I am not confident enough in my parenting to be that mom-tastic. I am a work in progress.

*Side Note: I mailed in my Bradley training academic package this past Thursday! I hope to hear back from the Academy within the next couple weeks! Fingers crossed!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

when to start solids

For whatever reason, a lot of parents start getting antsy about when they can start feeding their babies solids when their babies hit about 4 months old. Maybe it's because their own parents, whose pediatricians told them to start cereal in bottles at 3 months, start asking questions. Maybe it's because that's when babies start acting less like helpless blobs of newborn and more like little people. Maybe it's because they are tired and people keep insisting that once babies start eating solids (read: that worthless, processed, void of nutritional value cereal) they magically start sleeping through the night. Whatever the reason, it is not a good enough reason to start feeding babies before they are 6 months old.

This recently released study got a lot of mams talking! It is absolutely true that pediatricians are still frequently telling mothers to start their babies on solids at 4 months. I hear it all the time. I heard it myself with the traditional pediatrician we were talking DD to before we switched to our family doctor. What's mind boggling is that mothers are given a myriad of sometimes conflicting reasons why a baby needs to start solids before 6 months. The baby is too big so breast milk is not enough, the baby is too small so breast milk is not enough, the baby isn't sleeping through the night so she needs solids, the baby is sleeping through the night so she needs solids, etc. It is unethical.

I absolutely believe that the rise in childhood obesity is tied to many factors which I will not be discussing here. But I will say that some the most important factors have to be the use of baby formula, starting babies on solids too early, and those first solids being processed, boxed foods rather than nutritional whole foods. Basically, we are all getting fatter and we are taking our kids with us.

My plea is simple. Go to the Baby Led Weaning section of this blog and read up! Get your kiddo on the path to a healthy lifestyle. You lay the foundation. You be the example. Even if, like me, you are not doing what's optimal for your own diet, you can still do right by your child.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Happy Easter!

I trust everyone who celebrates had a peaceful and enjoyable Easter holiday. My holiday was...long. But my kids had a good time and that is what matters, right? So I came across this article and thought it was a very appropriate tie-in to a holiday devoted to eating candy and chocolate. I had begun to notice this trend a while ago, but now that my daughter is preschool age, it is really evident.

I will start by saying that even though we did do pureed food with my daughter, we always made the food ourselves using fresh, whole foods. DH and I agreed that they whole "smash cake" trend for babies at their one-year birthday is...well, weird. There are lots of ways to let a kid get messy on a birthday. Why does sugar have to be involved? We gave my daughter her own sugar-free cake that DH found the recipe for and proudly made himself. She really enjoyed the treat. And yes, we had "regular" cake for the other guests.

I have a pretty unhealthy relationship with food and I know that. I want better for my kids. I know that the majority of eating habits start when kids are young. So much sugar and sweeteners and colors and preservatives and other additives are thrown into foods, even those we might consider "healthy", (like milk?!) it seemed unnecessary to expose them to candy and sweets. We all know that it only a matter of time before they go to a friend's house, etc. and have Twinkies or whatever. No, we are not perfect health food junkies. My kids eat those cheese goldfish crackers and pretzels, granola bars and graham crackers. They have eaten pizza and chicken strips. They eat breakfast cereal, which I hate and DH and I argue about because it's little more than a bowl of cookies with milk poured on them. (He insists that because they are all fortified, that it all balances it out. I'd rather make eggs with fruit every morning.) On special occasions my 3-year-old has had cake, cookies, ice cream, etc. However, on the day to day, I think we do a pretty good job giving my kids a variety of healthful whole foods.

But back to the real focus of the article. My experience has been identical to the one of this author. Kids are given candy EVERYWHERE for EVERYTHING. I worked in a 6th grade classroom where the 6th grade special ed resource teacher would give the students a few pieces of candy EACH TIME they went to see him. I saw speech teachers give kids bags of candy for holiday parties, knowing full well that those same kids would be given bags of candy in their own classroom parties. In the high school I worked in there were VENDING MACHINES IN THE CAFETERIA. They would not turn on the vending machines until the end of the last lunch, but I saw many a child line up at the machine with their lunch money, after having not one bite of actual lunch, and spend all the money on chips. And we are not even going to start a discussion on what constitutes as a healthy "lunch" at schools nowadays. I once asked a class what I could do better as a teacher, and they told me that I should bring them candy...and they were 7th graders! Seriously? Candy? Doesn't that seem really immature for 13-year-olds? That is when I determined that too many kids are just plain addicted! Good grief!

I would whole-heartedly urge people who work with children to stop buying candy! The kids don't need it! If you want to follow the logic that the only way you can get kids to do what you want is to bribe them, then fine. But I beg you to use raisins, stickers, marbles, stamps, temporary tattoos, etc. In a country where the rate of childhood obesity is flying faster than the speed of light, it just makes sense. I think sweet treats are fine for special occasions. I am no Grinch. I have favorite cookies I associate with certain holidays and I expect my kids will too because that is normal. But I certainly don't see why our children should "earn" candy at every turn for every "good behavior" they exhibit. It just isn't necessary. Our babies are sweet enough.