Saturday, November 26, 2011

PETA Reveals New Holiday Themed Breastfeeding Billboard.

PETA has unveiled this new ad just in time for the holidays.  

Below is an excerpt from a piece posted about the new billboards--->
(click the link to read their full article)

"""PETA officials said they are in negotiations with outdoor advertisers in Paw Paw to bring the “holiday-themed, head-turning billboard” within close proximity to the Van Buren County Courthouse.

PETA officials said they hope the billboard will “serve as a reminder that breast milk is healthier for infants than dairy formula and that dairy products in any form are cruel to mother cows and their calves.”

The incident that has caught PETA's attention occurred Nov. 8 in District Judge Robert Hentchel's courtroom. Natalie Hegedus, 32, of Mattawan, said she was discreetly feeding her 5-month-old son in the back of the courtroom when Hentchel called her out and asked her if she thought what she was doing was appropriate.

Hegedus, who said she was in court that day for a hearing on a contempt of court charge, contends that was embarrassed by Hentchel's comments and that she did nothing wrong by feeding her son, who was hungry and sick."""


I'm a vegetarian and PETA supporter myself (though I still eat dairy products- and my daughter was formula fed), and I really love this new billboard ad.  While I definitely believe formula has its place, it is widely accepted that Breast Is Best.  Breastfeeding in public is an issue that I'm very passionate about, and I'm glad that this incident has caught national attention.  Women should feel comfortable breastfeeding wherever they need to.  Just because it's legal almost everywhere, doesn't mean it isn't still looked down on.  

We need to stand up and fight for the normalization of breastfeeding!

What do you think?  Feel free to share your opinions in the comments below.

Lush Aromarant Deodorant Review

My first video for the Crunchy Moms YouTube channel is a review of Aromarant Deodorant by Lush.

Friday, November 25, 2011

They just said my son's name on television. (aka I love BONES)

I love the TV show Bones.  I love it so much that I named my son after one of the shows characters.  Granted, Parker is a minor character (He's the son of David Boreanaz's character, Booth, for those of you who don't follow it.  He's only been in a handful of episodes.), but I love the name and I love the show.

I'm currently watching an episode of Bones on Hulu right now.  They were talking about a particular toy and Booth said, "Parker loves those," and I was confused for a moment.

It's so weird hearing my sons name said on television.  Even though I named him after a character on this exact show.

It happens a lot with my daughter too, "Aria" tends to get said a lot, especially in movies or shows referring to opera.  But this is the first time it happened with my son's name.

Have you ever been weirded out for a minute when hearing your child's name on television or in a movie?  Feel free to share in the comments below.

This One...

Inspired This One.

An (Unwanted) Break From Cloth Diapers (why I'll never go back to disposables)

Disposable diapers smell like pee.

All.   The.  Time.

I never really noticed until today.  All of our cloth was in the wash (due to the Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment) so we pulled out the 'sposies.  So gross.  We've been using cloth for a while now and we've gotten used to super absorbent, pee-smell-free diapers.

I also didn't realize how much we have cut down on actual diaper changes since switching to cloth.  Parker goes for 2-3 hours or so in a cloth diaper.  In a disposable he lasts about an hour before the pee smell sets in and he needs to be changed.

Needless to say, I will not be trading in my Subaby and Bum Genius diapers for Pampers or Huggies any time soon.

I prefer my son to smell like baby, not like pee.

The Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment & Laundry Detergent Giveaway {Part Three}

Welcome to part {{THREE}} of The Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment!

This installment includes diaper drama, bubbly badness, and a daring feat called "The Sniff Test".

After my initial assessments of the three laundry detergents, I dove right in and got started.  I divided my diapers and liners into three groups and paired each group with one of the three detergents.

Pink and Purple Diapers and Plain Liners
Thirsties Super Wash

Blue and Green Diapers and Wonderfulls Liners
Rockin' Green Classic Rock

Red, Yellow, and Orange Diapers and Liners with Buttons
Charlie's Soap Laundry Powder

After the first rinse, there were tons of bubbles from my previous detergent (all small and mighty free and clear).  I always rinse at least three times after the wash cycle so I was kind of surprised to find this much residue coming out.  Look at all those bubbles!

Gross right?  

I decided to judge the detergents based on the results of a these different tests:

The Sniff Test 
(after washing is complete)

The Second Sniff Test 
(after drying is complete)

The Pee Test 
(Does the diaper stink as soon as anything wet hits it?)

The Softness Test
(how the diaper feels after being washed)

The Absorbency Test
(Does the diaper/liner soak up wetness or repel it?)

Check Back Soon to find out how each detergent did when put up against my strict standards and super hero sense of smell!

And don't forget to check out Part One to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a package of the winning detergent!

The trio of cloth cleansers donated to the cause by All Things Diapers

The Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment
I adore my readers and hope you feel the same way about me.  

Please sign up for your very own free email subscription or follow me by joining Crunchy Moms using the handy dandy links at the top right hand corner of this page.  

You can also follow me on Twitter, or check out my YouTube channel.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Download Drama (aka my daughter charged $40 worth of fishbucks to our phone bill on the Android Market to play TapFish)

Do you have a fish tank on your Android phone? A farm on Facebook? Have you become a little addicted to Angry Birds?

I'm sure there are a lot of you raising your hands or hiding behind your computer screens right now.  Apps are fun and best of all, most of them are free.  Of course they have the option to buy extra credits or coins or fishbucks, but they really aren't necessary to play.
Would someone please tell that to my four year old?

Miss Aria was playing TapFish on my beautiful Android phone (I love this phone almost as much as I love my cats), when she decided she wanted to buy a mermaid.  We didn't have enough FishBucks to buy the mermaid so she so thoughtfully got us some more. 

Forty dollars worth to be exact. Charged to our phone bill.


At least I got the mermaid though.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How do I get any work done with a baby and a (jealous) four year old?

Today has been an interesting day.  Parker, my 11 week old, is teething (at least I'm fairly certain he's teething), drooling everywhere, running a bit of a fever, and is about as cranky as a baby can be.  Aria, my four year old daughter, is in full blown jealousy mode.  She whines and complains about the amount of time I spend feeding and holding her brother.

My question of the day...

How do I get any work done in this situation?  How do you guys do it?  How do you handle jealousy between siblings?  And how do you handle teething?

Please feel free to share suggestions and ideas in the comments below.

I adore my readers and hope you feel the same way about me.  

Please sign up for your very own free email subscription or follow me by joining Crunchy Moms using the handy dandy links at the top right hand corner of this page.  

You can also follow me on Twitter, or check out my YouTube channel.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I Show My Boobs In Public! (Why I refuse to cover up while breastfeeding in public no matter how much other women want me to!)

 Fun-bags.     Boobies.     Jugs.     Tig Ole Bitties.     Knockers.     Dirty pillows.

Whatever you call them, they're definitely a big (and sometimes just-a-handful sized) deal.
Whether you're being poked in the face with naughty magazine spreads, watching a Lady Gaga video, walking for breast cancer, chillin' at the club, or sitting in a high school classroom... BOOBS ARE EVERYWHERE!

Americans love boobs more than we love Apple Pie, Baseball, and Jesus all combined!  And why wouldn't we?  They're fun to touch, fun to look at, and fun to jiggle.

But much to the dismay of the average American, they're also for feeding babies.  

In America, the sight of a woman (or teenage girl) walking down the street with her lady lumps hanging out for everyone to see is a fairly normal, and fairly celebrated, occurance.  But when those breasts are feeding a baby in public it's a whole new ballgame.

When my son was born, I said I would nurse in public, under the protection of a nursing cover or blanket.  I, for one, was going to have no problem with nursing in public.  If people didn't like it, I would simply point towards the blanket as a silent explanation of decency.

After the first two times I breastfed my son in public, under that soft yet awkward baby blanket, I just gave up.  I quit.  I was not dealing with that blanket anymore.  So I did what made the most sense to me.

I switched to formula?  No.
I switched to expressed milk in bottles?  NO.
I hid away in bathrooms and changing stations?  NO!!!

I simply sat down in a comfortable location, pulled out one of the twins (who I have affectionately named Daisy and Duke), and stuck it in my sons mouth.

That's it.  Cumbersome blanket problem solved.  

I breastfed in my local WIC office, not too big of a deal since there were posters of mothers breastfeeding on the wall.  I breastfed at the bank, also not a huge thing.  I breastfed at the playground, no one really noticed.  I breastfed at the Children's Museum, other mothers smiled, as did some of the younger kids.

And then I breastfed in Target.  We were shopping for teething rings and nose suckers when my son, uncomfortable from his runny nose and sore gums, wanted to be fed.  And he wanted to be fed NOW!  So I pulled down the strap of my tank top and my bra and quickly pulled him in to latch on.  My arm was around his neck and shoulders and my sweater covered a lot.  But, as I was walking around and not sitting somewhere quietly, I was noticed.  And...

I was laughed at.  

Yes, laughed at.  Three women coming in to the store took one look at me and all began laughing and not-quite-whispering to each other.  My first instinct was to make a comment about how they wouldn't be laughing when their children were sick, clutching their formula bottles with germ filled hands.  But I took the high road.  Which, by the way, is very hard for me.  I choked down the snarky comments that were rising into the back of my throat and I simply shot them my biggest, brightest, megawatt smile.  And I felt great.  No shame, no embarrassment, no blushing.  I was feeding my baby and I didn't care what they thought.

I felt very empowered after this incident and knew I would have no problem breastfeeding in public from then on.  

And then I went to the Mall of America.  My family, my best friend, and I went to Sealife USA at the Mall of America for my 29th birthday.  Because I am a child at heart.  Also, we're pretty broke at the moment and we have a membership (bought for my future marine veterinarian daughter for her birthday last year), so it was free.  We went to Lush (pretty much my favorite store at MOA) and then went to Build-A-Bear (pretty much my daughters favorite store EVER).  

While my daughter was combing through the racks of lilliputian stuffed animal clothing, my son began to cue that it was time to eat.  So, my best friend, Taylor, and I made our way out to the comfy couch-like sitting area just outside of the store.  I sat down on the farthest edge of one of the cushions.  Even though I have no problem breastfeeding in public, I still don't want to shove the girls in peoples faces- other than my sons- (and, in other ways, my fiances) so I usually try to find a spot that isn't right smack next to other people.  Apparently my courtesy went unnoticed, but my breasts didn't.

Even though I was turned away from her, the woman sitting next to me made a big showy deal of turning around so she couldn't see me.  Which really didn't make sense as she turned around every few seconds to look at me.  She began "whispering" to her friend about how disgusting it was that I was nursing my son in *Gasp* public!  According to Taylor, they continued to "whisper" and to look over at me with disgusted, smirky faces the entire time I was feeding my son.


In my admittedly short experience breastfeeding in public (my son is at the ripe old age of eleven weeks), I've noticed that it is usually women of childbearing age that are the most offended, shocked, and disgusted by a woman breastfeeding her baby.  

:: Older women and men smile or nod at me.

:: Men in their 20s, 30s, and 40s usually smile or don't respond at all.

:: Teenage girls just want to look at my baby because he's "sooooo (insert squeal) cute!"

:: Teenage boys don't really pay any attention, although I have caught a couple stealing a second glimpse, probably not of the baby, but not in a gross or obvious way.

:: Children don't seem to notice and the very rare ones that do smile at me.  Perhaps because they miss their nursing days themselves?

::  One security guard looked confused, like he wasn't sure what to do, or if what I was doing was allowed, but he didn't say anything.

:: My fiance (who fathered both of my children in case anyone is wondering), who is normally very shy and easily embarrassed, isn't bothered by it.

::  My son, who loves his Momma Milk, smiles and his whole face lights up whenever I pull one of the girls out.

But women, WOMEN have the problem.  Childbearing aged women.  These are the people who are the most likely to be right next to me, nursing their own children.  But instead they make comments, whisper, and act shocked and disgusted.  What's wrong with this picture?  

I can't help but wonder, if I were to take a survey of the women who have reacted negatively, how many of them bottle fed and feel guilty about it? (I personally fed my daughter formula and have no regrets or issues with bottle feeding, so please don't think that I'm trying to start a breastfeeding mafia war.  I am definitely not.)  

I wonder how many of them are fighting the little green monster, not having their own children yet?  I wonder if they don't have children yet because they scare away every man they meet with their negative, snarky attitudes and obviously low self esteem.

And, I'm sure, due to America's view that the breasts are purely sexual toys and objects of gratification, some of the women feel dirty even thinking about using their own breasts for such purposes.  

I wonder how many would react that way if I were a small chested woman?  Perhaps the fact that I have E cups and not A cups makes my nursing my son in public pornographic?    Or maybe they just want my bra size.  Either way, this is a factor I'm definitely interested in investigating.

Most of the people who have witnessed me nursing my son have not commented or reacted in any way.  Even though they might be thinking certain negative thoughts, they don't speak them or show them on their faces.  But these women made comments and attempted, unsuccessfully, to make me feel embarrassed and shamed.  Why must women constantly tear each other down?  

We should all be supporting a woman's right to use her body to feed her child anywhere that she pleases.  Women were given breasts (by God, by evolution, by whomever or whatever you personally choose to believe in) for two little reasons, and one big one.

:: For sexual pleasure.
:: To look great in clothes.

And the biggie, the most important, functional reason of all...

::  To feed their young.

Humans are mammals and mammals produce milk to feed their young.  While we may be the only mammals to derive sexual pleasure from our breasts, we are still mammals and our breasts were given to us to feed our offspring.

When my cat, Penny, had kittens, she not only breastfed her babies, she breastfeed them in public (well, our living room), she breastfed in front of the other cats and people without feeling embarrassed, and she breastfed for an extended period of time. (Have you ever seen a cat nursing a kitten that is almost the same size as her?  I have.  I will admit, it was a little weird... imagine breastfeeding your 16 year old.)  She didn't whip out little kitten sized bottles and mix up a can of Enfakitty or Simmeowlac.  She didn't hide under the bed (though she did give birth there) while she nursed.  She didn't crawl under a blanket to nurse in private.  She did what nature intended and NURSED her babies, out in the open, no matter who was watching.

I will be like my cat, Penny.  I will nurse when I want, where I want, when my child says it's time.  I won't put off feeding him, hide away in a dirty bathroom stall, hide under a blanket (which seems to draw more attention anyway), or lug around bottles of formula or expressed milk.  

I will pull out my Dirty Pillows (I love you, Stephen King), offer them to my child, and let him eat the food nature intended.  And I will be proud of my breasts.  They nourish my son, they are a comfortable place for my daughter to rest her head when she's upset, and they keep me warm on a Minnesota winter night.  

I'm not saying all women should breastfeed in public.  Some just won't feel comfortable, and that's ok.  I'm saying we should be able to do what we want with our own breasts (within the confines of the law of course- most states have laws in place protecting breastfeeding in public) and feed our children anytime and anywhere we want.

So if you and your child feel so inclined, show your boobs in public, and be proud!

I adore my readers and hope you feel the same way about me.  

Please sign up for your very own free email subscription or follow me by joining Crunchy Moms using the handy dandy links at the top right hand corner of this page.  

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment & Giveaway! {Part Two}

In my last post I told you about how the beautiful and generous people at All Things Diapers gave me three different types of cloth diaper safe laundry detergent to conduct an intense experiment.

The goal:  rid my diapers of stink.

The contenders:

Rockin' Green Classic Rock, Thirsties Super Wash, Charlie's Soap

I rated the three detergents on several preliminary tests before I began the actual experiment.  The initial tests were: Packaging (aesthetics), Packaging (ease of use), Looks (the detergent itself), Smells, Ingredients (how many of the ingredients are listed), and Ingredients (what the ingredients actually are).

And without further delay...

Rockin' Green Classic Rock

Packaging (aesthetics) :: 5 points.  
Let's face it, it's a super shiny package and it's got great marketing.  

Packaging (ease of use) :: 3 points.
The zipper bag is cute but hard to close when the detergent gets in the zipper and it didn't come with a scoop.  Luckily, I purchased a pretty little hot pink scoop that has magnets inside to stick to your washing machine (everything gets lost with a four year old in the house) from All Things Diapers.

Looks ::  4 points
The detergent looks like fluffy white snow so it's definitely pretty but it also doesn't scream "cleans your clothes" to me when I look at it.

Smells :: 4 points
I chose the Smashing Watermelons scent for my own use, which smells amazing, but, since the other two detergents are unscented, I felt it wouldn't be fair to rate them against a scented detergent.  So I used a sample packet of Rockin' Green Bare Naked Babies (unscented) for this test.  It smells a little like soap, but not really chemically.

Ingredients (listed) :: 5 points.
This detergent lists ALL of its ingredients, which isn't very common.

Ingredients (actual) :: 5 points.
:: sodium carbonate , sodium percarbonate, natural chelating agents, sodium sulfate, bio-degradable surfactants, fragrance oils (if scented is chosen)::

The Annoying Zipper Bag.

Looks like pure clean snow.

The cutest hot pink magnetic laundry scoop ever!


Charlie's Soap

Packaging (aesthetics) :: 4 points.  
It's plainer than the other two and looks like it would be marketed more towards men than women.  It doesn't look like something I would look at and think, "Hey, this would be great for my baby's diapers."  But it still has a pleasing look in it's own way.  

Packaging (ease of use) :: 4 points.
It has an easy screw off lid and a little green scoop that is just the right size.  It could be spilled easily though so I took off one little point.

Looks ::  5 points
It definitely looks like it would clean anything pretty well.  It has that polished look.  It's hard to explain what I mean, but you'd get it once you look at it.  By looks alone, I feel the most confident in this one to actually clean my diapers.

Smells :: 2 points
It smells like Windex, which honestly freaks me out a bit.

Ingredients (listed) :: 3 points.
It has some of the ingredients listed, but not all.

Ingredients (actual) :: 2 points.
Some of them seem natural, but I've heard too many things about the non listed ingredients to feel comfortable giving this a higher score.

Perfect Sized Green Scoop.


Thirsties Super Wash

Packaging (aesthetics) :: 5 points.  
It's liquid in a clear bottle with a pretty little spring time themed label.  The colors and flowers and grass on the label definitely say, "Diapers & Baby Butts".

Packaging (ease of use) :: 5 points.
It has a measuring cup built in.  You take the cap off the measuring cup side and squeeze it to fill it to the right level.  I tried every possible thing I could think of to get this to spill more than the right amount and I couldn't.  It's actually a really good system.  And no scoops or cups to lose.

Looks ::  3 points
It looks like water.  That doesn't instill confidence in me.

Smells :: 4 points
It smells like water with a tiny bit of soap in it.

Ingredients (listed) :: .5 points.
Yes, that's point five points.  There are no ingredients listed on the label AT ALL.  I only gave the half a point because some of them are listed on the website.

Ingredients (actual) :: 3 points.
Most of the ingredients are natural and sound wonderful, but they aren't all listed so I can't be 100% sure.

The best measuring system EVER!

Tomorrow, I will post the results of the first and second washes.

Don't forget to read the first in this series The Great Diaper Stink Experiment {Part One} to enter the giveaway!  One lucky reader will win a package of the winning detergent, courtesy of All Things Diapers.

The Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment

I adore my readers and hope you feel the same way about me.  

Please sign up for your very own free email subscription or follow me by joining Crunchy Moms using the handy dandy links at the top right hand corner of this page.  

You can also follow me on Twitter, or check out my YouTube channel.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment & Detergent Giveaway! {Part One}

I love to research things (anything really) and my adventure into cloth diapering has been no different.  I looked into cloth diaper safe laundry detergent, reading reviews and charts and recommendations until I dreamt of laundry detergent dancing like faries around my head.

I started with the, not prefered but fairly well rated, All Small & Mighty Free & Clear.  I thought it was too good to be true to find a detergent that was less than $5 and sold at pretty much any store.  It was.  It did an ok job of cleaning fairly clean clothes and baby blankets, but not such a good job getting the stink out of my baby, Parker's, diapers.

Not so Mighty afterall!

And so, after a few rounds with All, the inevitable has happened.

I've got stink. 

The as-soon-as-any-liquids-touch-the-liner-the-diaper-and-baby-stink-like-an-ammonia-poop-smoothie kind of stink. 

Martin at AllThingsDiapers was wonderful enough to donate one package of each of the three laundry detergents he sells at his store, which is both a brick & mortor and online store.  All Things Diapers also runs a diaper service that was rated best diaper service by Minnesota Monthly.  They have layaway, a rewards program, and a crazy huge selection of diapers, diaper accessories, baby carriers, beautiful baby wraps, laundry detergents, wet bags, diaper pails... I could go on and on.  One look at the website and I was busy making a wishlist a mile long! 

And then I went to the store.

Heaven!  That is the only way to describe All Things Diapers.  They have a truly great selection of carriers and wraps, with demos so you can try them out for yourself.  Parker was super happy being worn in the beautiful blue and green Wrapsody Bali Breeze, and Liz, an incredibly sweet and helpful employee, showed me a new carry.

And then I learned about all the classes, workshops, and get togethers they host.  They do in store demos and really help their customers make the right choices for each individual.  They also have a lending library, which I, the bookworm, HAD to try out. 

Overall, All Things Diapers is a beautifully designed store (complete with private changing and nursing areas and a rocking chair in the middle of the store so you can check out their offerings and calm your baby at the same time) with a great inventory and kind and super helpful employees.  Their excellent customer service and wonderful donation will go a long way in making sure this experiment is successful.

So, on to business...

The Great Diaper Stink Experiment will go as follows:

. I will divide my diapers and liners into three groups.

. I will use one of each of the three brands of detergent on one specific group for a period of two months.

. I will make note of the different aspects of each detergent and rate them on each aspect accordingly.

. I will also make note of which group smells freshest after each wash cycle.

. I will report frequently on the data I have gathered from the experiment.

. At the end of the first month I will declare a favorite and one lucky reader will win a package of that detergent.

. I will do a follow up a month after that to conclude the experiment.

The brands I will be testing are...

Rockin' Green Classic Rock, Thirsties Super Wash, and Charlie's Soap.

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures in (hopefully soon-to-be-gone) stink!  Don't forget to follow this blog (by email, rss, or through google connect) and like  All Things Diapers on Facebook and comment below to be entered for a chance to win a package of the winning detergent!  

Don't forget to comment below to finalize your entry!

The Great Cloth Diaper Stink Experiment

I adore my readers and hope you feel the same way about me.  

Please sign up for your very own free email subscription or follow me by joining Crunchy Moms using the handy dandy links at the top right hand corner of this page.  

You can also follow me on Twitter, or check out my YouTube channel.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Attachment Parents & Helicopter Parents: Not Necessarily One In The Same

I love attachment parenting.  I love cuddling with my four year old when she's having a bad day.  I love sleeping next to my 8 week old at night.  I'm terrified of SIDS.  I'm also terrified something bad will happen to my kids, even if it's just a scraped knee. 

But I'm not so terrified that I don't let them out of my sight.

A not-so-new and not-so-fun trend in parenting is Helicopter Parenting.  Imagine a parent hovering over their child constantly, even into the college years, taking care of every problem the child ever has.  That is helicopter parenting.  And it's something I am against entirely, possibly more than I am against letting babies "cry it out".

At least with cry it out (which I desperately hate) parents are giving their children breathing room.  The helicopters don't.  It starts with never leaving baby alone, even for a second, because they might roll off the blanket on the floor onto the actual floor, pick up a stray piece of dirt or cat hair, put it in their mouth, possibly even swallow it, get incredibly sick, and/or die.  It ends with parents sitting in on post-college job interviews with their kids and then calling the company to yell at them for not hiring sweet little Johnnykins.  After all, mommy was there during the interview and saw how wonderfully Johnnykinsybabywabysweetiepie did answering those questions (after turning to mom to figure out how to answer first of course). 

These things really happen.  There are parents that end up at job interviews with their 22 year old "kids".  And it starts out of fear.  I'm no stranger to fear.  I have severe (albeit treated) OCD.  I'm terrified that my kids will die if I don't use exactly 9 squares of toilet paper.  I feel the most comfortable when my children sleep in my bed with me so I know that if anything happens I will be right next to them.  But I know that a lot of my fears are irrational. 

As Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids often points out, crime is actually DOWN since most parents were kids (I'm a bit younger than a lot of parents so I'm not sure if those statistics fit me).  And it's common knowledge that most child abductions and child sexual assaults are perpetrated by someone the child KNOWS.  Yet we live in a world of fear.  Parents accompany their kids outside to play and stay within two feet of them at all times in their own back yards.  Parents drive their kids to school so that they aren't subjected to peer pressure, bullying, or the male driver (because all men are child molesters) on the bus.  Parents don't let their children play with their friends across the street because obviously a 10 year old has no concept of how dangerous cars are and will dart right out into traffic if mommy or daddy isn't paying constant, vigilant, attention.

How does this relate to crunchy, attachment parenting parents?  When you think about attachment parenting and some of the crunchier practices that often go right along with it, it's a fairly easy gateway to helicopter parenting.  Making sure children aren't exposed to toxins, breastfeeding to prevent illness, babywearing, and co sleeping can all lead to overprotective parenting.  You keep your children so close as babies and toddlers it's hard to stop when they get older. 

The reason children are born, grow, and get older is to eventually turn into adults.  The reason we (well I hope this is the reason) choose attachment parenting is to develop a good relationship with our children, to make sure they feel secure and safe, and so that they (hopefully) grow into well adjusted, productive, happy adults.  While being close to your children is important in their upbringing, so is letting them have freedom to make mistakes.  Mistakes are a big part of how we, as humans, learn and grow.  The great part about attachment parenting is that, because of the good relationship you worked so hard to have with your children, they will come to you when they make those mistakes and get themselves in over their heads.  But they need to be free to make those mistakes first.

Even in my constant OCD fueled fear, I know that my children are people, not possessions to be protected and locked away like a precious piece of jewelry in a museum.  While they are precious and infinitely valuable to me, they are still people.  We, as parents, and especially as attachment parents, need to know where to draw the line at our attachment.  The umbilical cord gets cut for a reason. 

My oldest child is a beautiful, creative, brilliant, and very adventurous four year old girl named Aria.  Aria is very much the poster child for attachment parenting.  We used the methods of attachment parenting with her, not because it was a trendy thing to do (in fact, we didn't know attachment parenting existed until she was about three), but because those particular methods worked for us.  In the midst of a very ugly battle with post partum depression, co sleeping and babywearing made me feel close to my baby and thus made me feel better.  For the longest time I couldn't stand to sleep without her at night or be separated from her at work. 

However, as most children inevitably do, she began to grow up.  We moved into an amazing neighborhood full of children of all ages, and she, of course, wanted to play with them.  The fully fenced in back yard that we were so excited about having, so she could play safely without us constantly watching over her, lay dormant (until Plankton the Jackabee and a pumpkin garden entered our lives, but that's another post) while she played with the neighbor kids in the front yard, near the (gasp) street.  She soon made friends with the kids across the street, so, with a little street crossing education, she began to play in their yards as well. 

Now my (not so little) baby girl wakes up in the morning, and instead of waking us up, she gets herself dressed (she has a great sense of style too), let's the dog out, grabs a snack, let's the dog back in, and goes on her little way, outside and across the street to play with her friends. 

She's four years old.

If my four year old can handle this huge chunk of independence, I'm fairly certain 22 year old Johnnykins can make it through a job interview alone.  The difference between an independent child like mine and an extremely dependent adult-child like Johnykins comes down to one thing.  It's not personality (Aria is painfully shy at times), and it's not intelligence (although she does have that- from her momma of course).  It's simply the fact that I, as a parent, have allowed and encouraged my daughter to stake out her own independence, even when what I really wanted to do was hold her on my lap and watch Barney like we did in the old days, and poor little Johnnykins' mom, did not. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Post Partum PMS & (De)attachment Parenting

Today is a day.  It's the kind of day where you wake up and promptly realize that you really should go right back to bed.

I woke up cranky and in pain.  My phone was still MIA from yesterday as it disappeared somewhere in between Aria's school party and the Trick or Treating Night of Doom (see yesterdays post).  The living room was (and still is) a mess as Aria likes to destroy everything I own and I seem to be the only one with any interest it keeping the house looking at least somewhat clean.  And everyone and everything is just annoying the piss out of me

I need a job just to get out of the house and away from my family.  I think a major part of being an attached family is everyone getting time to themselves.  Nate has work, Aria has school.  They get to get away from this house for a few hours a few times a week.  I'm stuck here and when I try to slip away to grab some ME TIME, I get chastised by Nate because he can't handle taking care of Parker for more than fifteen minutes at a time.  I haven't taken a bath alone in weeks.  And if I do its at 3 am and I know the baby is going to wake up any second. I seriously need a job. 

I freaked out on my family today because of a mix of PMS (for the first time since before concieving Parker) and just needing some time.  I hate myself when I'm super cranky and irritated at everyone.  And I'm pretty sure my family doesn't like it either.

In order for me to properly stay attached, I'm going to have to detach. 

Even if it's just long enough to finally wash my hair.

Trick Or Treat - - - No Boobs To Eat?

Today I grappled with the age old dilemma most parents face at some point or another during the adventure that is parenting.

How  the do you keep a breastfed baby happy while trick or treating with older children?

It seems like it wouldn't be too hard really, but let me tell you.  It is.  Older kids RUN from house to house, cutting through yards, leaping over landscaping, and pushing each other to get to the front of the line at each door with a lit porchlight and a pumpkin on the doorstep.  Babies don't run.  They demand to be fed when THEY want to be fed.  They don't care that their preschool aged sisters want to cram as much free candy into a pillowcase as they possibly can.  And preschool aged sisters don't care that their baby brothers want to stop and drink some Momma Milk.

We feed our son (who experienced his first Halloween at the ripe old age of not-quite-eight-weeks-old) the occasional bottle of formula.  So we thought we'd be ok.  Until we ran out of formula in a cul-de-sac fifteen minutes away from home (and the emergency can of Similac).  Our children also tend to dislike pacifiers, and the adorable generic Nemo one we brought was locked in the diaper bag in the car several culs-de-sac away (yes the plural of cul-de-sac IS, in fact, culs-de-sac).

So needless to say, by the end of the night, after a lot of butt patting, finger sucking, empty bottle nipple sucking, and cuddly bouncy walking, we (and by we I mean my husband and my best friend who took turns carrying the baby while I carried the candy bags- for security purposes of course) were exhausted and Parker was ready for some DAMNED MOMMA MILK!  If babies could talk, I'm fairly certain he would have screamed those exact words.

Next year he will be a year old.  He will probably go more than 30 minutes between feedings.  So any advice you can give me on this topic is moot for him.  However, what happens when we have another tiny baby joining us on our Trick Or Treating Extravaganza ( we were the first to start at 5pm and the last out at 9pm)?  So I've decided to throw out a few ideas I thought of after we were warm in our home for the night.

@  Learn to walk and breastfeed at the same time.  (I figured this one out right as we were hitting our last house of the night- Grandma & Papa's.)

@  Figure out a way to force the older children to take breaks. (Please tell me how in the comments section.  Please!)

@  Make sure you bring not just one bottle of formula or expressed milk, but two... or three... or maybe twenty.

Of course, I'm fairly certain that not all parents take their kids (and the neighbors kids, and the old neighbors kids) Trick Or Treating for FOUReff-ohhh-yooo-arr, FOUR hours straight.  But those who don't are definitely jealous of baby Parker's candy stash.

And since baby Parker is only 8 weeks old and he can't really eat candy...  He will be having Reese's, Kit Kat, and Hershey flavored breastmilk (without interruption) for the next few weeks.  :)

So, if any of you lovelies out there have any tips/suggestions/ideas on how to deal with breastfeeding and non-stop trick or treating, please, for the love of God (or whomever you choose to fill in that blank with), please, PLEASE, feel free to share in the comments!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Parker was a Banana for Halloween.
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