Monthly Archives: February 2012

Attachment Parenting

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Parents who practice attachment parenting often carry their babies in a sling.Parenting.  What do you think of when you read the word?  For me, it depends on the day.  Or even the minute.   One thing, however, I always seem to feel is a great responsibility.  Sometimes it still blows my mind to think that these 3 small people have been placed in MY care.  The knowledge that I (and my hubby of course :)) are the people these kids look to for a model on which to base their life is motivating, to say the least.  So I have done alot of research.  ALOT of research.  There are times when I am reading a book and getting all these great ideas and then I look up out of the book at my kids and think, ” I should probably BE parenting, not just reading about it!”  All of this research has led to alot of different ideas and I’ve had to wade my way through with alot of prayer to find out what is right for us.  What I have found is what I wanted to talk about today, although it is for sure still a work in progress.  Fine tuning is happening always, and some things work for some kids and ages and not for others.  I’ve read before that you should pick one strategy and go with it and not change so as not to confuse your kids.  I agree to some extent, but I also think if what you are doing has negative effects on your children, or you, or is not working- go ahead a try something else!  Attachment parenting has been what feels right to me.  For those who would like to know more I present…..

Attachment Parenting Internationals Eight Principles of Parenting

1. Prepare for Pregnancy, Birth, and Parenting

Mostly this one deals with educating yourself on all aspects of pregnancy and birth.  They urge, and I agree with them, that you should follow your instincts and ask questions about everything.  For me this meant striving to have as few “interventions” as possible; following natural childbirth as close as I could.  One thing I didn’t do but would consider next time is having a doula as well as my midwife there. 

2. Feed with Love and Respect

Breastfeeding on demand, gentle weaning, and introducing solids slowly.  The picture for this section on their web page shows mothers feeding toddlers and babies at the same time.  While I have never done that (i weaned my kids at 14, 15, & 16 months) I fully support people who do!  I also believe in taking your cues from your baby about when to wean and doing so gently over many months.

3. Respond with Sensitivity

Crying is a way for babies to tell us what they need.  I believe in responding to that crying and not ignoring it.  I love what API says on their website:

Needs and the Benefits of Responding with Sensitivity

  • Babies’ brains are immature and significantly underdeveloped at birth, and they are unable to soothe themselves
  • Through the consistent, repeated responsiveness of a compassionate adult, children learn to soothe themselves
  • Understand your child’s natural inner rhythms, and try to schedule around them
  • It is perfectly normal for babies to want constant physical contact
  • High levels of stress, such as during prolonged crying, cause a baby to experience an unbalanced chemical state in the brain and can place him at risk for physical and emotional problems later in life
  • Symptoms of burnout or inability to cope with baby’s needs are signals that extra support and/or professional help are necessary

Responding to Tantrums and Strong Emotions

  • Tantrums represent real emotions and as such should be taken seriously
  • Some emotions are too powerful for a young child’s underdeveloped brain to manage in a more socially acceptable manner
  • A parent’s role in tantrums is to comfort the child, not to get angry or punish her

4. Use Nurturing Touch

Slings slings and more slings.  Also massage and lots of hugs and cuddles.  And being aware of how much time your baby spends in swings, jumpers, strollers, etc. so you can make sure it’s not too much.

5. Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally

“Babies have needs at night just as they do during the day; from hunger, loneliness, and fear, to feeling too cold or too hot. They need the reassurance of a loving parent to feel secure during the night.”  says API.  I feel rather strongly about this, but didn’t find it worked to get up every time baby woke up.  So, we made things work.  We co-slept with our first and bed-shared with our other two, and it’s been great.  I wouldn’t do it any other way.  If you are worried about SIDS or rolling over on your child please read here

 

6. Provide Consistent and Loving Care

This means working your schedule around baby’s schedule (when they are hungry, sleepy, etc.).  It makes sense to me to watch and notice what babies internal schedule  is and then try to work my schedule to mesh with that.  I am the adult in the relationship so I feel like I should be the one who is accommodating.   Plus, who am I to tell someone when they are hungry or not?  Would I like someone to do that to me?   This also means try not to have too many caregivers and have only short separations when possible.  I have decided to be a SAHM and rarely leave my kids for more than 3 hours.  When my oldest was 18 mo.  I left for girls camp for a week and when I came back she was really distant and angry with me.  I would not do that again.  

7. Practice Positive Discipline

This one is the hardest, especially as your children get older.  I think most of society uses punishment and control to get behaviors they want, but I firmly believe (backed up by lots of research I’ve studied) that it doesn’t work.  And when it does, it is only short term and the unintended effects of that approach are negative and far reaching.  Here is what API says.  “Positive discipline is an overarching philosophy that helps a child develop a conscience guided by his own internal discipline and compassion for others. Positive discipline is rooted in a secure, trusting, connected relationship between parent and child. Discipline that is empathetic, loving and respectful strengthens that the connection between parent and child, while harsh or overly punitive discipline weakens the connection. Remember that the ultimate goal of discipline is to help children develop self-control and self-discipline.”  More on this at a later post.

8. Strive for Balance in Personal and Family Life

Yea!  You stuck with it till the last one!  Balance is always something I am thinking about.  Especially balancing technology and real life.  Recently I have started taking a few moments for myself after the kids go to bed, and I’ve really been enjoying that.  My husband is also a big help with this part, taking the kids when I need some alone time or a girl’s night out. 

So that’s it.  Or at least some of what I believe about parenting.  Hopefully you found something to think about, it was great for me to remind myself of these things!

Happy Parenting!

Jessie

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DIY Window Clings

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More fun decorations you can make with your kids

Make your own custom designed window clings!  This project is suitable for older kids. We made hearts for Valentine’s Day but you could make them in any shape you like. You are only limited by your imagination! Read the rest of this entry

Extreme Makeover- Closet Edition

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Winter

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I am a winter person. I LOVE sitting in a warm house snuggled up in a blanket reading a book with hot chocolate watching the snow fall. I love the beauty of snow. I would SO much rather be cold that hot. You can always put more clothes on, but there is only so much you can take off! I love to cross country ski, build snow-men, and go sledding. I love that feeling when you step outside and breath in through your nose and you can feel the inside of your nostrils freezing up. Well, ok, I don’t really love that. But overall, I have always enjoyed winter. Plus my birthday is in winter, and so is Christmas and Valentines day-both really great holidays. However, some things are just not the same after you have kids.

One thing in particular has struck me this winter that really really really makes me wish it was spring-or even worse- summer! WINTER COATS. And shoes, and socks and hats and gloves and scarfs. Trying to leave the house with three kids properly dressed for the cold is, well…indescribable. Then, once we have gone through the marathon of getting shoes, socks, coats, hats, and gloves on they play in the snow for 2 minutes and then have to use the bathroom or are just cold and want to come in.  If we are going to the library or some such place, we have to take all the layers off, and then I get to carry them around! While also carrying the baby, library books and occasionally my 3 year old as well. GOOD GRIEF!! If only it were summer! The kids can run outside in just their diapers for all I care! (I suppose there is sunscreen to worry about- but I don’t ever have to take it off and carry it!) No shoes, or if they need shoes sandals are so kid friendly I might not even have to help get them on!

That, my friends is why I am dreaming of 90 degree weather. When it does come, though, I know I will miss the winter-coats and all.

Thrifty Finds!

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I love second hand shopping.  Thrift stores…. yard sales….. even dumpster diving!  There’s always something unique to be found.  So today I thought I’d share my latest finds at my local thrift store.

The Find of the Day: A mint condition box set of the 1978 printing of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series.

Seriously, they look like they were hardly touched!  The spines on two of the books weren’t even bent.  It does make me a little sad that whoever owned these probably didn’t enjoy them as they deserve to be enjoyed but I am glad they were generous enough to donate them to the thrift store for others to enjoy.

 

My thrift store is getting tricky.  Or smart.  Usually all their jewelery and small accessories are piled on a shelf and you have to search through the dredges to find the one or two cool things hidden in the mess.  And of course, nobody buys the mediocre stuff.  Well, now they’ve started sorting everything into clear plastic bags and they’ll put one or two cool things in the bag and a bunch of mediocre things and charge $3 for all of it.  Not a bad idea, actually.  Well, as luck would have it, I found a bag with no less than 4 pretty cool things and so I bought the whole bag.

 

I was the most excited about this:

Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges but I think it could be absolutely fabulous with a little work.  Maybe a few more feathers, some lace to line the rough ribbon edges…. and it has a pin and a hair clip on the back so it’s versatile.  Love it!

This is also a favorite:

Best part about this one?  I don’t have to change a thing.  It looks great to me!

 

This one, on the other hand, needs a little something….

I’m probably going to throw it in the washer with a hand wash load and if it survives I’ll decide what to do next.  Maybe nothing.

I’m excited about the possibilities:

I’ve never seen barrettes like these!  They are whimsical and classic and I love them!  The question is, do I leave them as is?  Or do I create something new around them?  Necklace? Earrings? Bigger hair clip?  What do you think?

And all the rest:

So there’s some useful stuff in there. I could use the plain barrettes to make some sweet hair clips.   Lets just say I won’t be heartbroken if this stuff happens to get lost.

Have you had any sweet thrift finds lately?

Valentine’s Day decorations you can make with your kids

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Tissue Paper ‘Stained Glass’ Hearts

So easy, my 3-year-old could help!

You will need:

  • Scissors
  • Clear, repositionable Con-Tact paper (I got mine years ago at Bed, Bath and Beyond.)
  • Tissue paper in shades of red, pink, and purple torn into small pieces
  • Blue painters tape
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn, ribbon, etc. Read the rest of this entry