Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Power of Please Part Two

About seven months ago, I wrote a post about the power of please.  Gus and Jack learned to sign please, and it was so darn cute.

Now, we're working on manners again.  It's a whole different ballgame now that they're verbal.  Their language acquisition simply amazes me.  Gus in particular can and will parrot just about everything I say right back at me.  (I have to be very mindful of what comes out of my mouth now!)

I taught the boys to say "I want na-na please."  Na-na is our word for nursing.  I would say it to them, they would say it back, and they would get to nurse.  I could just see the light bulb blinking on above their heads.  "Hey!" their expressions seemed to say.  "These sounds get me what I want!  Cool."

And now they have figured out that they can put other words into this sentence with the same amazing results.  Last night Gus said "I want mamera [camera] peez."  Keeping in mind Alfie Kohn's advice to make yes the default answer, I agreed.  We then joyfully took pictures of the ceiling, up Gus' nose, and Jack's forehead together.  Next we made a movie.  It was so much fun!  

Both boys have now learned to create new requests from the template.  They are able to voice their wants to parents who are willing to fulfill them, and the satisfaction is evident in their faces.  They are learning to talk, learning manners, learning basic communications skills.

Being their mama is amazing.  

A portrait of Jack, taken by Gus.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Different Ways to Connect

Connection is so very important to children.  It's how they process the world.  As infants, they need a physical connection to their mother.  It's as important of a need as eating.  But as the babies grow, they individuate.  That's how it's supposed to be.  But toddlers and young children still need to check in with mom.

Sometimes I feel like the sun around which my toddler-planets revolve.  Jack has a close orbit.  He's never very far away, and I figure prominently into his play plans.  Gus has a wider orbit, and does well with self-directed play.  But both boys need physical connection at varying levels.

Jack will bounce around the room, from me to a toy, back again.  He did this reliably last night while we were at Family Dinner at my parents' house.  But Gus was intent, caught up in his own world as usual.  Until he came running over to me and planted a big kiss right on my lips.  He told me "Mama kiss."  Then he ran over to Moviedad and did the same thing.  And then it was back to business as usual.  He made the connections he needed.

And I really loved it.

"Mama kiss!"
     

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Children are People

"Oh, they look just like little people!"  

My then-fourteen-year-old cousin's voice cut through the general hum and buzz of conversations that were swirling around my parents' house.  She was watching Gus and Jack pull themselves up to stand on their very nearly one-year-old feet.  She was delighting in them. I think she meant they looked very grown up.  I knew this and was glad but her comment still irked me.    

Of course they look like little people.  They ARE people!  

It never fails to amaze me that our society doesn't seem to value the person-hood of babies and children. They are devalued at every turn, from cry rooms in churches to adults-only flights.  

Children are people, and as such, they share in the basic human rights every adult would expect.  

It makes me angry and sad when parents talk about those hot-button parenting issues, such as breastfeeding, in terms of purely parental choice.  How different would the conversation be if breastfeeding were seen as a biological right instead of a choice?

I'm betting that every single baby ever born would choose mama milk, if given a voice to do so.  

But babies can't talk, and children are still learning logic and communication skills.  So it's our job to stand up for them and give voice to their rights.  


My little people.




Sunday, October 9, 2011

Give them something special

I was zipping through the grocery store one evening last week when I was sidelined by an incredibly strong urge.  I really really REALLY wanted to bring home something special for Gus and Jack.

I looked around, unsure at where to even start.  I had come in for baby yogurt and grapes.  I was in a regular grocery store... you know, the kind that is so big you could get lost inside of it.  I ran through a litany of things I could bring home.

Cookies?  Ice cream?  Candy?

Then I stopped myself with a shake.  What?!  No, I'm not going to buy them junk food!

I took some deep breaths and thought about what was going on inside my head.  I had been at work that morning, away from the boys.  I had been at a tutoring job that evening, away from the boys.  I was on my way home to see them, and I wanted to show up with something to give them.  Something to "prove" my love to them.

I'm very glad I took the time to stop and collect my wild thoughts.  I'm sure I've unthinkingly given into the urge before, but on this particular night I was able to think it through.  I wonder where it came from.  I wonder why I felt it.

In the end, I brushed it off, bought the yogurt and grapes, and went home.

As it turns out, I did give the boys something special that night.  It was something they really really REALLY wanted.  It showed them how much I love them.

When I got home, I nursed my boys.

Gus and Jack are going through a hat phase.  They love those hats!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Preemies


In celebration of preemie week at Natural Parents Network.  Jack and Gus, born at 34 weeks.

I'm not technically a SAHM anymore

I was a really good teacher.  I am a really good mama.  I am not so good at being both.

I'm losing my status as a stay at home mom this week because I've started working outside the home again.  I'm a preschool teacher.  At the preschool where my mother is the director.  And only on the days Gus and Jack are attending that preschool.  (It's a family affair.)

It shouldn't be that difficult.  I've got a nice setup, I know.  But doing ANYthing with twins takes some planning and creativity.  Today I was at school with the boys for two and a half hours.  I got maybe 30 minutes worth of work done.  The rest of the time I spent feeding the boys lunch, playing outside with them, and chatting with people who wanted to see the boys.  Then I came home and it took me three hours to type up a welcome packet that normally would have taken me twenty minutes.  Sheesh.

So to all you mamas out there, especially twin-mamas, who work full time outside the home:  Kudos to you.  You have my honest and heartfelt admiration.

Does the dual role of mother and worker get easier with time?

Does it look like I'm going to let you get any work done, mama?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Transformations

New parents juggling squirmy squally babies.
I always knew that my children would go through wondrous transformations as they grew and learned and developed as human beings.  And I also knew, albeit vaguely, that Moviedad and I would go through some pretty awesome changes as we grow into our roles as parents.  As far as my own mother was concerned, I knew she would slip into the role of Nana as comfortably as into a soft beloved bathrobe.  


But what I wasn't expecting were the transformations I've been witnessing in the rest of my family members.

The pace of my father's life has slowed enough between his children being babies and the arrival of his grandbabies; he notices and appreciates and comments on the smallest of changes in them.  He made an observation the other day as Gus and Jack were signing and babbling that made my heart swell with pride and validation.  "You can really tell how much time Mo spends with these boys."  Thank you for noticing, Dad!   

Great Grampa is happy to be holding baby Jack!
My grandfather, in his new role as great-grampa, held a baby for the first time!  He had never held any of his children or grandchildren before they were around one year old.  (This bit of news was staggering to me because I always assumed that loving, involved, present man was as comfortable around infants as he was around us kids.) And yet, here he is, holding Jack at their baptism when they were but four months old.  


My sister has learned to juggle two babies as easily as any seasoned mom of twins.  My brother-in-law can now change diapers like a... well, a journeyman maybe.  Not quite a pro, but he's getting there!  

My brother, who was once too cool for family functions, will now call me multiple times on Sundays to know when we're going to arrive at Family Dinner because he and my almost-sister-in-law want to play with the boys.

Big Jack showing the babies where the corn bags go.
And my cousins!  My cousins who haven't really been around babies very much at all absolutely adore Gus and Jack.  They fly the babies to the moon, and hold them ever so patiently while the boys explore the light switches.  They chase them around the yard, or laughingly pause the game of cornhole while curious small and feet commandeer the boards and bags. They graciously give up hats or shoes for the amusement of the babies,  and all sorts of other small acts of play that speak volumes.


I don't know if Gus and Jack will ever truly know the impact their simple existence has had on their extended family.  They have transformed us into better people, just by virtue of being.  

That's love.

That's family.

Brotherly love!


  



  


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Power of Please

Not too long ago, Jack started screaming when he wanted something and I wasn't moving fast enough.  These were full-on screams from a very passionate little person who really really REALLY wanted more pears.  As badly as I wanted to stop the screaming, I also didn't want to just give into it.  I figured there must be a better way.  My guy was simply communicating to me his wants in the only way he knew how.  So the secret was to give him a better way.

I began teaching Jack and Gus the sign for "please".  The ASL sign is to make small circles on your chest with an open hand.  Small circles presented a problem for 15 month olds, so we modified it to patting with an open hand.  It turns out that the chest part is a bit of a stretch right now, too, so the boys will pat their bellies with varying degrees of enthusiasm when they're asking "please".  

Their first signed phrases include please.  "More please"  "Milk please" and "Food please" are some of them.  They have learned the power of please.  In fact, Moviedad and I will sign it to the babies often when we are asking something of them.   When Gus started standing up in his chair during meals I worried he'd fall over.  Thus begins our delightful dance.  It goes like this:  

Gus stands up.

Mama says and signs "Sit down, please."

Gus does so with a mischievous look.

Mama signs and says "Thank you, Gus."

Gus beams and stands up again.  So does Jack.

Repeat.  

I know some people might think this is conditioning the boys to perform for praise.  And maybe that's the case.  But there is also safe limit-testing going on, and the forming of a wonderful habit.  

Jack and Gus are learning to sit down whenever and wherever I say "Sit down please".  This has kept them from stepping off a playground step that was too high for them, slipping by me while I was putting shoes on the other one, and from running headlong into each other during a rowdy game of chase at Nana's house. 

The power of please has also come into play when Gus and Jack want something from me.  Today we were wrestling when they both decided they wanted to nurse.  There I was, sitting on the floor, watching my babies advance on me saying "na-na" (their word for nursing) and signing please frantically and with great joy.  How could I resist?  We had an impromptu nursing session right then and there.  

Ah, the power of please...

"More please!"

Sunday, July 10, 2011

To the day...

Disclaimer:  This post might contain what some would consider too much information.  But I don't think so.  It seems there are no boundaries to what women will talk about-- or write about-- when it comes to birthin', babies, and bodies.  I'm writing about the return of my fertility just in case another nursing twin-mama is curious.

My time of the month.  Aunt Flo.  My visitor.  Period.  Menstruation.  Pain in the ass.  Call it whatever nickname you want, it's not fun.

My period came howling back 17 months to the day after my boys were born.  I've been without a period for a little over 26 months total.  I haven't missed it.  I'm trying to frame it in a positive light.  "It's the return of my fertility!"  Yay.  I'm not trying to get pregnant, so that one's not working for me.  "It's a time of restfulness and a little self-pampering."  Yeah, that's not cutting it either;  I have 17 month old twins.  "My body is cleaning itself out, cleansing, renewing."  Ok, that's great but why must this cleansing HURT so much?!

I'm cranky.  And crampy.

I should have known this was coming, though.  Gus and Jack are nursing just as frequently during the day-- up to 10 times-- but their night nursings have dropped off considerably.  Mom had mentioned a few times that the return of menstruation usually coincides with night weaning.  And last night, both boys slept through the night!  They woke around 6 to nurse, but went back to sleep for another delicious 3.5 hours.  I haven't slept in until 9:30 in forever.  It was lovely.  

Then I woke up to a familiar ache in my lower abdomen, with pain referring down to my knees.  Yep, I know that causes THAT.  Sure enough, today was the day.  I sent Moviedad out to the drugstore to get some ibuprofen.  He came back with the painkillers and chocolate.  I love that man.   

I didn't notice any change in my milk supply.  My nipple didn't become extra-sensitive.  I didn't even have any PMS symptoms, unless you count one very bad day earlier this week when I lost my cool and yelled at the boys.  (But I don't think that was related to hormones, I think it was just a really bad day.)

I used to have insanely rough periods, with pain that made me pass out a few times in high school.  In fact, when my brother who was in kindergarten at the time didn't feel like going to school on a given morning, he would tell Mom "I have the cramps".  He figured it worked for me, he might as well give it a try!

I ended up on birth control pills, which helped immensely.  I felt regulated.  I could deal with four periods a year.  I chugged along happily for nine years, knowing what I was missing when it came to pain and inconvenience but completely ignorant of how clouded I truly was.

When I got off the pills-- after a "detox" of about two months where all my hormone systems were scarily out of whack-- it felt like I had woken up.  My head felt clearer.  My emotional highs and lows were more tolerable.  I felt good.  A couple of months after that I was pregnant.

And now that I'm getting back into the menstrual swing of things, even though I detest the pain that will probably show up every month or so, I will not be taking any more hormone pills.

I'll manage my way with a clear head, two amazing babies, and a husband who loves me enough to bring home some chocolate.  

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The best reasons EVER to slack on blog posting

Camping, swimming, boating, going to the zoo, playing in buckets... it's been a busy summer so far!  One of my goals was to be more active and more present in my children's lives.  So that meant moving the laptop out of easy access range and keeping it closed more often.  It's less time for blogging, but more time for Jack and Gus.  A good trade for sure!

Camping with no pants is fun!

Yep, I'm darn cute... and I know it!

First carousel ride.  

Up the stairs and down the slide!

Babies in a bucket!

Jack is ready to go fishing!  Gus is less sure...

Relaxing on the pontoon boat at Grammy and Grampy's lake house.

Evening boat ride.

Mama and Jack.

Gus and Moviedad.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Bike riding with babies!

 This weekend we took the babies on a bike ride.  Thanks to Lauren at Hobo Mama, I found these amazing kangaroo bike seats.  The boys got to sit up high, watch the world speed by, and feel the breeze.  They loving biking!

Sadly, my arms are too short to reach around a baby on a bike seat.
Happily, Papaw was willing to ride with Jack while Moviedad took Gus.


Babies really can sleep anywhere!








Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Evolution of Sleep Part 2

Like any parent, Moviedad and I have been in search of a quality night's sleep-- for everyone in our little family.  It wasn't easy, but it's been getting better.  But like any good plan, it needs tweaked every now and again.  You can read The Evolution of Sleep Part 1 here.  

When Gus and Jack were ten months old, I thought we had finally figured out the perfect sleeping arrangement.  We were all in the same bed.  I thought surely a king sized mattress on the floor would fit our sleeping needs for years to come.  I was wrong.  I hadn't taken into account the fact that Gus is a steamroller.  

There were nights that putting this kid to sleep resembled a wrestling match more than anything else.  Moviedad would take Jack to the other room, and sing and dance him to sleep.  Gus and I would square off in the bed.  He would start off nursing laying down along side me.  Then, his feet would start moving and he's arch his back just so... and he'd end up laying on his back with his feet up by my head, still nursing.  Ouch.  Then he would pop off, and beeline it for the window.  He would knock and press his little cheek against the cold panes.  Before I knew it, he had zoomed over to nurse for another five seconds.  Then he'd roll away.  I hate the idea of restraining my boys, especially when they're doing something as nurturing as nursing.  So I let him roll.  Then I pulled him back.  And he nursed for five seconds and rolled away again.  This continued on for as long as 40 minutes sometimes.

Gus fights sleep like a samurai.  He still does, but only at naptime now.  At bedtime he nurses and falls asleep with blessed alacrity.    
Ready to steamroll!

So Gus the sleepy steamroller, in bed next to his brother, was a recipe for wakefulness.  We tried Gus next to me.  He rolled over Jack in an effort to snuggle next to his daddy's warmth.  We started Gus off next to Moviedad.  He rolled over Jack in an effort to get to me to nurse.  We tried having Jack between us, and Gus sleeping on top of my side, nestled in a perfect position to nurse and snuggle all night.  That night he rolled off of me and onto Jack.  Gus was the only one who stayed asleep through all of this.  Jack, Moviedad, and I woke up a lot.  It was not a restful way to spend a night.  

Enter the crib mattress.  We put it on the floor next to our mattress, stuffed couch cushions and quilts between it and the closet doors, and put Gus on it.  He and Jack spent the first ten minutes happily exploring the skritching sound their footy pajamas made on the bare mattress.  Then, we put a pad and sheet on it, and voila!  Extended sleeping space.  


I nursed the boys like normal, they slept a few hours stretched out on the big bed, Moviedad and I did our adult-time thing, and when we came to bed we gently transferred Gus onto the little mattress.  

And he slept straight through for seven hours.

I sleep on the side of the bed next to the little mattress, within arm's reach of the baby down there.  I can still hear his breathing and cover him when it gets cold.  But Gus really enjoys his extra space.  And the rest of us enjoy the extra sleep.  

We've taken to alternating which baby sleeps in his own space.  But both of them know exactly where I am when they need me at night.  I'll often wake up to a little face peeping over the body pillow divider before climbing up next to me to nurse.  And sometimes I'll wake up to find both babies in the big bed.
    
It all depends on the need and the night.  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mothers' Day

When I was small, I knew a mother's love
to be deep
and sure
and easy.


Now that I am a mother, I understand 
it is boundless,
and exhilarating,
and all-consuming.



Happy Mother's Day
to the woman who is my mother
and the babies who made me one.






Monday, May 2, 2011

The scariest thing I did today

Today, for the first time since before the boys were born, I did a handstand in yoga class.  I've been working on my inversions for awhile, and adding the handstand back into my practice was the ultimate goal.

I did it!

I attribute most of my ability to do so today to muscle memory.  My body remembered how to flip upside down (against the wall-- I have yet to brave an inversion in the middle of the room!) and hold the pose.  The other half of the inversion equation is convincing yourself that you won't fall.  It's all in your mind, the fear of being upside down, holding your own weight.  So, to get over the mind block, I told myself "This is not the scariest thing I've done today."

And it wasn't.  What could be scarier than planting your hands on your mat and flipping your feet over your head?  Going to the OB/GYN.

I've been working through my birth trauma.  I've been going to yoga to regain my strength and health.  I've also been attending EMDR therapy, and part of my work there is to start going to doctors again.  I had a flashback to my c-section while getting a mole removed and one at the dentist's office when the overhead light was pulled into my line of sight.  While getting my lady parts checked was very high on my list of priorities, I kept putting if off, until today..

Part of what got me back in the stirrups was my therapist's urging, and part of it was reading Betsy's blog.  Betsy advocates for preventative women's health care by telling her story.

The appointment itself was pretty uneventful, and I experienced fear but no flashbacks.  I cried, but only a little.  I breathed deeply, and left feeling a great sense of relief.

I'm still afraid of hospitals, and doctors by association, but I have proven to myself that I am strong enough to go when I need to.  Just like I'm strong enough to do a handstand in yoga.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Our favorite park

Our favorite park has a little house, with toddler-height door knobs.  We love opening and closing doors!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Feeding by Example

Welcome to the April Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared how they advocate for healthy, gentle parenting choices compassionately. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***


There are certain things in my life that have always been givens.  Breastfeeding is one of those.  My mom nursed my siblings and me, so of course I would nurse my children.  Doesn't everyone?  I quickly found out the answer to that assumption was no.  In fact, not everyone considers breastfeeding normal.  This is sad.  But it struck me as slightly amazing to discover that not everyone in my own family considered breastfeeding to be normal.

But that's changing now, thanks to "the family babies."  

J and Gus.  There are no pictures of me from this time
because I literally went topless for the first two months.
It was way easier.
When I was pregnant, my mom took my five year old cousin to the store to pick up some baby items.  J wanted to know why she didn't get any bottles.  Mom explained that some mommies fed their babies milk from their breasts and didn't need bottles.  J was amazed, and slightly weirded out.  She was adopted and had never known anything other than bottles as a way to feed babies.  To my aunt's credit, she followed J's lead and they dived into a journey of learning that is still ongoing.  They checked out books about breastfeeding and watched some tv shows where it was featured.  The real-life lessons came when J and my aunt came to visit when the boys were first born.  J was fascinated, watching me nurse the boys.  She still draws pictures of breast feeding, and talks about it with the nonchalance of the initiated.  

J is also the one who decided that Gus and Jack were "the family babies."  They belong to all of us. 

Nursing Jack while walking around a park.
It was this insistence of inclusion that gave me the courage to really and truly parent my babies in front of my extended family.  In the early days, since it was all we really did, this was mainly nursing .  I nursed Gus and Jack during rollicking parties (every get together is an event with my family!) and quiet moments at my parents' house.  I nursed them at the beach, at a backyard luau, and at the park.  I still nurse them at family dinners on Sundays and when our apartment is crowded with my siblings and cousins.  

My aunt sharing a moment with Jack.
This used to present a problem for my older male cousins.  They were embarrassed, and a little confused.  I'm certain they had never seen a functional breast before.  But they learned by example, both mine and the older generation's, that it was normal.  No one made snarky comments, no one questioned my choices.  I am very grateful for this simple acceptance from my family.  Now, no one bats an eye when I pull up my top and unclip my nursing bra.  I think it's their unmitigated love for my boys that allows them to see the need behind the nursing.  

I know for certain that my sister will breastfeed her children. And I fervently hope my brother's fiancĂ©e and any future families my cousins build will do so, too.  I know that they will at least have had an example to go by, and that they know where to come with any questions.  

After all, I've been feeding by example.  

I'm on the far right, nursing Gus during our family beach-at-sunset picture.





***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
  • Natural Parenting Advocacy by Example — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction uses her blog, Twitter and Facebook as her natural parenting soapbox.
  • You Catch More Flies With Honey — When it comes to natural parenting advice, Kate of The Guavalicious Life believes you catch more flies with honey.
  • From the Heart — Patti at Jazzy Mama searches her heart for an appropriate response when she learns that someone she respects wants his baby to cry-it-out.
  • I Offer the Truth — Amy at Innate Wholeness shares the hard truths to inspire parents in making changes and fully appreciating the parenting experience.
  • Advocating or Just Opinionated?Momma Jorje discusses how to draw the line between advocating compassionately and being just plain opinionated. It can be quite a fine line.
  • Compassionate Advocacy — Mamapoekie of Authentic Parenting writes about how to discuss topics you are passionate about with people who don't share your views.
  • Heiny Helpers: Sharing Cloth Love — Heiny Helpers is guest posting on Natural Parents Network to share how they are providing cloth diapers and cloth diapering support to low income families.
  • Struggling with Advocacy — April of McApril still struggles to determine how strongly she should advocate for her causes, but still loves to show her love for her parenting choices to those who would like to listen.
  • Compassionate Advocacy Through Blogging (AKA –Why I Blog) — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how both blogging and day-to-day life give her opportunities to compassionately advocate for natural parenting practices.
  • A Letter to *Those* Parents — Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares how to write an informed yet respectful reply to those parents — you know, the ones who don't parent the way you do.
  • Why I Am Not A Homebirth Advocate — Olivia at Write About Birth is coming out: she is a homebirth mom, but not a homebirth advocate. One size does not fit all – but choice is something we can all advocate for!
  • Why I Open My Big Mouth — Wolfmother from Fabulous Mama Chronicles reflects on why she is passionate about sharing parenting resources.
  • Watching and Wearing — Laura at Our Messy Messy Life advocates the joys of babywearing simply by living life in a small college town.
  • Compassionate Advocacy . . . That's The Way I Do It — Amyables at Toddler in Tow describes how she's learned to forsake judgment and channel her social energy to spread the "good news" of natural parenting through interaction and shared experiences.
  • Compelling without repelling — Lauren at Hobo Mama cringes when she thinks of the obnoxious way she used to berate people into seeing her point of view.
  • I Am the Change — Amanda at Let's Take the Metro describes a recent awakening where she realized exactly how to advocate for natural parenting.
  • Public Displays of CompassionThe Accidental Natural Mama recounts an emotional trip to the grocery store and the importance of staying calm and compassionate in the storm of toddler emotions.
  • I will not hide behind my persona — Suzi Leigh at Attached at the Boob discusses the benefits of being honest and compassionate on the internet.
  • Choosing My Words — Jenny at Chronicles of a Nursing Mom shares why she started her blog and why she continues to blog despite an increasingly hectic schedule.
  • Honour the Child :: Compassionate Advocacy in the Classroom — Lori at Beneath the Rowan Tree shares her experience of being a gentle and compassionate parent — with other people's children — as a classroom volunteer in her daughter's senior kindergarten room.
  • Inspired by the Great Divide (and Hoping to Inspire) — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis shares her thoughts on navigating the "great divide" through gently teaching and being teachable.
  • Introverted Advocacy — CatholicMommy at Working to be Worthy shares how she advocates for gentle parenting, even though she is about as introverted as one can be.
  • The Three R's of Effective and Gentle Advocacy — Ana at Pandamoly explains how "The Three R's" can yield consistent results and endless inspiration to those in need of some change.
  • Passionate and Compassionate: How do We do It? — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares the importance of understanding your motivation for advocacy.
  • Sharing the love — Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about how she shares the love and spreads the word.
  • What Frank Said — Nada at miniMOMist has a good friend named Frank. She uses his famous saying to demonstrate how much natural parenting has benefited her and her family.
  • Baby Sling Carriers Make Great Compassionate Advocacy Tools — Chante at My Natural Motherhood Journey shared her babywearing knowledge — and her sling — with a new mom.
  • Everyday Superheroes — Who needs Superman when we have a community of compassionate advocates?! Dionna at Code Name: Mama believes that our community of gentle bloggers are the true superheroes.
  • Words of advice: compassionately advocating for my parenting choices — MrsH at Fleeting Moments waits to give advice until she's been asked, resulting in fewer advocacy moments but very high responsiveness from parents all over the spectrum of parenting approaches.
  • Peaceful Parenting — Peaceful parenting shows at Living Peacefully with Children with an atypical comment from a stranger.
  • Speaking for birth — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud soul-searches about how she can advocate for natural birth without causing offense.
  • Gentle is as Gentle Does — Laura at A Pug in the Kitchen shares how she is gently advocating her parenting style.
  • Walking on Air — Rachael at The Variegated Life wants you to know that she has no idea what she's doing — and it's a gift.
  • Parenting with my head, my heart, and my gut — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares her thoughts on being a compassionate advocate of natural parenting as a blogger.
  • At Peace With the World — Megan at Ichigo Means Strawberry talks about being an advocate for peaceful parenting at 10,000 feet.
  • Putting a public face on "holistic" — Being public about her convictions is a must for Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama, but it takes some delicacy.
  • Just Be; Just Do. — Amy at Anktangle believes strongly about her parenting methods, and also that the way to get people to take notice is to simply live her life and parent the best she knows how.
  • One Parent at a Time... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment believes that advocating for Natural Parenting is best accomplished by walking the walk.
  • Self-compassion — We're great at caring for and supporting others —from our kiddos to other mamas — but Lisa at Gems of Delight shares a post about treating ourselves with that same sense of compassion.
  • Using Montessori Principles to Advocate Natural Parenting — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells how she uses Montessori principles to be a compassionate advocate for natural parenting.
  • Advocacy? Me? — Seonaid at The Practical Dilettante discovers that by "just doing her thing," she may be advocating for natural parenting.
  • Feeding by Example — Mama Mo at Attached at the Nip shares her experience of being the first one of her generation to parent.
  • Compassionate Consumerism — Erica at ChildOrganics encourages her children to be compassionate consumers and discusses the benefits of buying local and fair trade products.
  • The Importance of Advocating Compassionately — Kristen at Adventures in Mommyhood acts as a compassionate advocate by sharing information with many in the hopes of reaching a few.
  • Some Thoughts on Gentle Discipline — Darcel at The Mahogany Way shares her thoughts and some tips on Gentle Discipline.
  • Compassionate Advocacy: Sharing Resources, Spreading the Love — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle shares how her passion for making natural choices in pregnancy, birth, and parenting have supported others in Dominica and beyond.
  • A journey to compassion and connection — Jessica at Instead of Institutions shares her journey from know-it-all to authentic advocacy.
  • Advocacy Through Openness, Respect, and Understanding — Melissa at The New Mommy Files describes her view on belief, and how it has shaped the way she advocates for gentle parenting choices.
  • Why I'm not an advocate for Natural Parenting — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog delivers the shocking news that, after 10 years of being a mum, she is NOT an advocate for natural parenting!
  • Natural Love Creates Natural Happiness — A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a smile, or a giggle, or a gaze? Jessica at Cloth Diapering Mama’s kids are extremely social and their natural happiness is very obvious.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting: Compassionate Advocacy — Even in the progressive SF Bay Area, Lily at Witch Mom finds she must defend some of her parenting choices.
  • A Tale of Four Milky Mamas — In this post The ArtsyMama shares how she has found ways to repay her childhood friend for the gift of milk.
  • don't tell me what to do — Pecky at benny and bex demonstrates compassionate advocacy through leading by example.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Talking and Listening

I have made it a habit to carefully watch my mother as she goes about the business of being a mother, daughter, grandmother, and teacher.  It's only been a conscience effort for the past 10 years or so, but she's been teaching by example my whole life.  I've picked up a lot from her, too, over the years.  

I'm pretty good with children, if I do say so myself.  But my skill pales in comparison to that of my mom.

We call Mom the Toddler Whisperer. Children actually flock to her at parks.  They wave at her, and smile, and offer her bites of their food.  This is an international phenomenon.  When Mom went to China to support my aunt as she was adopting my cousin, a toddler came up to her in a restaurant and started chattering away in Chinese.  Mom had no idea what the little girl was saying, but she did what she always does with children:  She listened.  And smiled.  And made eye contact.  

How often do adults talk around children?  Not "around" as in close proximity, but "around" as in we allow the conversation to flow past the small people, not including them.  How often do adults talk about children as if they're not present?  How often do adults keep the interaction at their own eye level?  And how frustrating must it be to get left out of meaningful human connection?  No wonder children "bother" grown-ups so often.  They just want in on the fun.  

But when adults do take the time to talk to children, I've noticed that very often they talk too much.  Or too quickly, or with unrealistic expectations.  

Below is a "conversation" I overheard between a pre-school teacher and a 20 month old.  I've put what I imagine were the pre-verbal child's thoughts in parentheses.

"Hey, kiddo.  Do you want to paint a firetruck? (Nope, I'm happy playing in the kitchen.)  

Do you?  (Um... still no.)  Come on, come over here and grab a paintbrush!  (But I don't want... oh, ok.)

Put some red paint on it and paint a firetruck! (A what?  Which one's red?)

What does a firetruck say?  Weeeeeee-oooooo, weeeeeee-ooooo!  (Why are you screeching at me?)

Oh, no, don't paint your hand, paint the paper! (Why not?  This stuff feels neat; all slimy and cold.)

We're not doing finger paint today.  (Yes, I am.  See?)

Oh, you got some paint on my shirt.  Say sorry.  We don't paint teachers' shirts! (I was just showing you my red hand.)

Come on, let's wash your hands.  (What?  I thought we were painting today!  I'm not done!)"

I hear variations of this between parents and their children, too.  Please, for the sake of building a strong rapport with your child, slow it down.  Let your child process what you have just said before you say something else.  And use non-verbal communication:  smile while you wait for an answer, tip your head attentively while you listen to that answer, and offer hugs to go with your acceptance of it.

Children are people, too.  Talk with them.  Listen to them.  Show them they are important.  

Because they are.




Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring has sprung!

How do I know spring has arrived?


My bike
The bikes are in the shop.  They're getting put back together!  And cleaned!  And tuned up!  Soon we'll be kangaroo riding with Gus and Jack.  We got them helmets, which are now being used as toy "hats" to get the boys used to them before they need to wear them.  On the bikes! I cannot wait.  I have missed my bike.

My nose
I sneezed so loudly today that Jack jumped.  Poor baby.  Mama's not mad, just stuffed up.  It's spring!

The windows
We took down the plastic covering from the windows.  It's warm enough to not need the extra insulation.  The windows can be opened to let in the freshening breeze... which may explain why my nose is getting stuffy.

Corn hole
A sure sign of spring around here is when the corn hole boards appear in the side yard at my parents' house.  And sure enough, they were set up today!


The park
We have been to the park two times in the past three days.  Love it!  I am so ready for spring!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sweet Dreaming

Part of the work I've been doing to overcome the birth trauma I experienced when Gus and Jack were born is attending EMDR therapy.

"Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is an integrative psychotherapy approach that has been extensively researched and proven effective for the treatment of trauma." ~from the EMDR International Association's website.


Basically, I follow a green light with my eyes as it tracks from one end of the panel to the other.  Dr. D controls the speed of the light and the pulsing of little "mice" that vibrate in my hand, alternating left to right.  Every so often she stops the light and asks me what's there.  I tell her what was racing through my mind as I watched the lights.  There's deep breathing, there's examination of somatic reactions, there's a scale of negative and positive associations, and there's a safe space in my mind to which I can retreat when the work becomes overwhelming.  Sounds weird, right?  Sounds iffy, out there, suspect, maybe?  I don't care!  It works for me.  


There was once a time when I would have been hesitant to admit I'm in therapy, but today I want to sing from the rooftops!  Shout from the mountain-tops!  Share on my blog!


I've had three sessions with my doc, two of those being EMDR.  I've processed my birth experience and the months after.  I also re-connected with my body.  I didn't realize there even was a disconnect-- never mind how all encompassing it was-- until I reclaimed it as my own.  I've processed my fraught high-school years, and I've connected expectations of myself I formed in college with my current reality.  I am a very willing and eager participant, and EMDR can be fast.  I'm not done with my emotional work yet, but I am happy with where I am along my path.  


And the best part of all this is the dreaming.  


I used to dream in vivid detail that I could remember upon waking.  But somewhere along the journey of bed rest and a life steeped in worry, I stopped dreaming.  I don't remember when, but it was awhile ago.  During the worst of the early months with colicky twins, I was sleeping at most three hours of every 24, and no more than one hour at a time.  There was no REM sleep.  Since then, as the amount of sleep improved, the quality of it did not.  


Until now.


I'm dreaming again!  It started the very day of my first EMDR session.  I have vivid, rich, whole dreams now even when I nap.  And my nights are filled with crazy sub-conscious processing, healthy, beautiful dreams.  This means I am getting REM sleep again, and it shows in my daily life.

I'm happier, and calmer, and refreshed.  Things are still amazingly chaotic with 13 month old twins, but I am better able to cope now.

And that is a dream come true.

Until they learn to take pictures of me while I dream, this will do.

Monday, February 28, 2011

How do you convince your body of a truth when it does not feel it?

As I've mentioned in this space before, the early days with twins were rough.  Really, really rough.  It's easy to sit back from my vantage point of 12 months, snuggle my beautiful boys, and say, "It wasn't so bad."  But it was.  It was very bad.

And in an effort to share my honest experiences, and in pursuit of healing, I've decided to be brutally honest here.

When I was pregnant, I went on bed rest at 24 weeks.  I began pre-term labor shortly thereafter, and visited the hospital seven times over the next ten weeks.

The first time I went to the hospital, I received shots of terbulatline, and when those didn't work, I got the mag.  Magnesium sulfate is what the doctors called "the big guns" when it comes to stopping pre-term labor.  Mag makes you hot, and sleepy, and confused.  It also worked; the contractions stopped, and I went home.  I was on oral procardia and home contraction monitoring.  The next five trips to the hospital were short outpatient visits: I got more terb shots and went home.  The final time I went to the hospital, the terb didn't work.  The contractions kept coming.  They put me on magnesium sulfate again.  But it didn't work that time.

I was 3 cm dilated with a bulging sack of waters when it was decided that "Today is a birthday!" as my OB cheerfully told me.  But since I'd been on major doses of mag for the past twelve hours or so, this didn't register with me as being the big deal that it truly was.

I was prepped for surgery, cut open, delivered of my babies, sewn back up, and put into recovery while I was still under the thick, sodden, grey wool blanket of mag.  Gus and Jack were born at 2:07 and 2:08 pm, and whisked away to the NICU shortly afterwards. Moviedad went with them, per our birth plan.  I was alone and staggering mentally under the weight of all that had just happened.

I remember waking up in the post-partum room, alone, confused, and looking at the clock.  It was eight o'clock.  My first thought?  "Oh, I guess I won't be able to watch Lost tonight".  This was apparently my brain's way of reverting to something normal.

My mom came in around 1 am, and got me set up on a pump.  I was still too dazed and drugged to realize what was happening, though.  It wasn't until a little before 5 am that I roused enough to have a coherent conversation.  I asked to be taken to see my babies.

I didn't touch my babies until 15 hours after they were born.  And I didn't hold them, I just touched their heads and stroked their arms inside the isolettes.

I am still mourning the loss of those 15 hours.

Over the next three days, I learned how to be a mama of babies in the NICU.  I learned about beeps and alarms and three-hour schedules.  I saw the names on the isolettes and knew those were my babies.  I saw their daddy's nose on their tiny, raw faces and knew those were my babies.  I was pumping my breast milk every two hours around the clock to give to my babies.  But it was a very intellectual experience.  My brain knew those were my babies.

But my body was achingly empty.  I wanted to hold them.  I wanted to cover them with claiming kisses, and inhale the pure baby-ness of their sweet skin.  I wanted to count their perfect toes and marvel at their exquisite fingers in peace.  I wanted them to lay on my chest, warm and nurtured, where they belonged, their heartbeats matching mine, my breath their cue.  It is impossible for me to find the words to adequately express the depth of my desire to mother my newborns.

Instead, my reality was wires, and alarm tones, and swaddled bundles of babies who were too new to have coordinated their suck-swallow-breathe reflex.  I knew that they were getting the best medical care possible.  But I felt bereft.

I honestly believe that my body was mourning the loss of my babies, even though my eyes and brain were telling me Gus and Jack were alive and maturing in the hospital.  The impersonal whoosh-whoosh-whooshing of the double electric hospital grade breast pump was enough to extract the life-sustaining milk, but it was not enough to convince my empty chest and grieving heart that all was well.

That was my introduction to motherhood.  It's no wonder the next months were fraught with struggles.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Body Talk

Ok, I owe this one to Amy at Anktangle for her post On Body Image, Pregnancy, and BMI and to Lauren at Hobo Mama for her post Fat and Pregnant: Heartbeat Video.

I have struggled with weight and food issues since I started college and began to use eating as a way to comfort and shield myself while in an emotionally abusive relationship.  And it's been a roller coaster of a ride ever since.  I've found a lot of healing along the way, and pregnancy was instrumental in accepting my body for the miraculous things it can do just as it is.

I called my sister when my regular pants didn't fit.  I called her when I could see the inside of my belly button.  I reveled in the fact I was carrying the boys all in front, looking like I had swallowed a basketball (or two).  I loved being round and pregnant.
This was taken at 30 weeks.  I used most of my standing up minutes that day getting good belly pictures.
I was put on bed rest at 24 weeks in an attempt to stop pre-term labor.  It worked for 10 weeks, but during that time, I stayed still.  I didn't move much at all for fear of harming the babies.  I surely didn't exercise.  And when it came time for Gus and Jack to be born, I was physically weak and mentally exhausted.

Between the babies being born, and the stress of them being in the NICU I lost about 50 pounds in 4 weeks.  I had yo-yo'ed in weight from the beginning, though.  I lost 15 pounds in the first trimester from not eating much due to near-constant nausea.  I only gained about 16 pounds from pre-pregnancy weight to delivery, but the doctors weren't concerned because with the first trimester weight loss it fell into an acceptable range of gain.

So there I was with colicky, refluxy newborns.  Weight was the last thing on my mind.  I ate more food, and of better quality, than I had ever eaten before.  Between pumping for and then nursing two babies, I needed all that fuel.

But-- and here's the kicker-- I was in survival mode.  I did not exercise.  I hardly even showered.  I certainly didn't sleep much.  Mostly I sat on the couch and nursed the boys and ate.  Day and night.  Literally all.the.time.  

I continued on like that for months.  And by the time things settled down and I actually began to see glimmers of a life off the couch, I had gained back ALL the weight, and then some.  And my new normal had settled onto me like the extra pounds.

Right now, I am heavier and unhealthier than I have ever been.  I am not brave enough to give you specific numbers, but suffice it to say, I am a fat mama.  I'm scared to diet because I intend to breastfeed the babies until they self-wean and I am terrified of losing my milk supply again, even if they don't rely on it as their only sustenance anymore.

I understand that I don't have to fit society's expectation of a woman's body.  I never will, and that I can embrace.  I loved my body when it was strong and healthy, no matter the numbers attached.

Right now I am searching to find a way back to strength, back to health.  I know it will be easier when spring arrives and we can go to the park again.  Until then, I have taken the first steps to reclaiming a part of myself from before, one that can co-exist with my mama-self.  I joined a yoga studio and started going to class again, and I scheduled an appointment to talk to a therapist to begin working through the trauma of this past year.

I will move more and eat less.  I will keep reading about other real women who love their bodies.  I will stop hiding behind the camera and allow myself to be photographed more right now, as I am.
I can't even find a good "bad" picture of me to share. 


And Lauren?  This one's for you.  Thanks for getting the ball rolling for me to write about this.
This ended up being the day before the boys were born.  I'm glad I have this picture.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Mama Showed Me

Welcome to the February Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting Essentials
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared the parenting essentials that they could not live without. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
***


I cannot imagine parenting without my own mother.

My mother means what she says.  When she told me "I would do anything for my family", she meant it.  And like all the other wisdom she has imparted to me, she backed it up with her actions.

Mom has literally been there for me and my husband every step of our journey as new parents, guiding and listening, holding and consoling.  Her help has ranged from the practical-- showing hubby how to bathe a newborn-- to the philosophical.  We've had many long discussions about the benefits of breastfeeding, sleep sharing, and gentle discipline.

My mom also embodied the safety net of family when she uprooted her life and came to live with us in Las Vegas when the babies were born.  She stayed for the better part of two months, leaving just once, then jetting back when Jack ended up in the hospital and I had a shattering crisis of faith in myself as a mother.  She whispered softly to me as I gingerly gathered the pieces of myself up and began reassembling them into the woman I am today.

Then, when it became clear to everyone that Mom had to go back to her home and resume her life, I asked her to take us with her.  And she did.  She and my dad opened their house to us-- daughter, son-in-law, and brand new colicky newborn twin grandsons.  We recklessly (bravely?) abandoned our life in Vegas for the comfort and security of raising our sons with family.

These are just the most recent and magnificent examples of how my mom has shown me what it means to be a mother.  I've been watching her and absorbing these lessons all my life.

She has shown me how to be a gentle and capable mother by being one herself.



***
Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Not Without Him — The love Starr at Taking Time shares with her husband is the foundation of her parenting.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without B(.)(.)bs — From an uneducated dreamer to a breastfeeding mother of a toddler, nursing has forever changed Kristy at Strings to Things's relationship with her daughter and her outlook on life.
  • Raising a Child in the Internet Village — When Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction has a question or concern about parenting, she turns to the Internet. What did parents do before Google?
  • Partner in Crime and ParentingBethy at Bounce Me to the Moon can't imagine parenting without her husband's sense of humor - he brings her laughter and love every day.)
  • I Make MilkPatti at Jazzy Mama can't imagine trying to mother her babies without her breasts, but she could do it if she had to.
  • New Perspectives Bring New BeginningsMJ at Wander Wonder Discover, who is a former authoritarian mamma, has gained perspective via parenting.
  • Time Out!Mrs. Green at Little Green Blog explores how time apart can increase your capacity to give unconditionally.
  • Unimaginable Without HimKristina at heyred designs is celebrating her amazing partner, without whom none of her parenting experience would be possible.
  • My Parenting NecessityClaire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl needs "me time" in order to be the Mama she wants to be.
  • Babywearing As a Way of LifeDarcel at The Mahogany Way talks about the benefits of babywearing in everyday life.
  • Parenting Partnership — Sometimes Abbie at Farmer's Daughter doesn't appreciate her husband enough, but she definitely couldn't imagine parenting without his help.
  • Parenting EssentialsMomma Jorje loves her parenting products, but she needs you even more.
  • My Parenting Must-Have: SupportJoella at Fine and Fair wrote a letter to her daughter about the role that support from friends and family plays in her mothering.
  • It's More Than Just Hair — Think doing hair is full of fluff? Too girly? Useless? Karli from Curly Hairdo Ideas used to think so too.
  • The Minimalist Parent — The parents at Living Peacefully with Children embrace a minimalist perspective when it comes to baby gear. A good sling is all they need.
  • Without My BreastsCharise at I Thought I Knew Mama can't imagine parenting without her breasts; here's why.
  • Loves Books, Loves PeopleSeonaid at the Practical Dilettante discovers that the library is a perfect fit for her family's needs.
  • An Ode to the Maya WrapRevMama's next child might be named Maya, because of her fondness for the sling.
  • Avoiding the Padded RoomPecky at Benny and Bex is here to testify that it takes a village to raise a child.
  • My parenting essentials, from Tivo to battery-operated monstrositiesLauren at Hobo Mama presents a list of parenting essentials you didn't even know you needed (and probably don't…).
  • Attachment Parenting Through Separation: It Makes It a Little BetterJessica at This Is Worthwhile talks about how she couldn't survive her separation without attachment parenting and the bond it's afforded her with her 3 year old son.
  • Parenting EssentialsDeb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the principles she used to parent her children from infants to adults.
  • My Parenting Essentials — The things that are truly essential to Kim at In Desperate Need of Entertainment aren't things at all.
  • I'm No One Without My Sling — How baby carrying is essential to the parenting of Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without...Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine talks about what she needs to raise her children.
  • February Carnival of Natural Parenting — Through her experiences over the last five and a half years, Casey at Love What Is has discovered her most important tool for parenting is using her instincts.
  • CNP: I Cannot Imagine Parenting Without __________.The Artsymama discloses the one thing that gave her back control of herself as a parent.
  • Laugh Until I Cry — Laughing with her sons keeps Acacia at Fingerpaint & Superheroes connected and grounded.
  • I Cannot Imagine Parenting WithoutLuschka at Diary of a First Child realizes what the one thing she can't imagine parenting without is, and it turns out it's not a thing after all.
  • It Takes Two — Here are a few of the reasons why Jenn at Adventures Down Under cannot imagine parenting without her fabulous husband.
  • Stopping to Listen — Though it wasn't easy at first, Knocked Up - Knocked Over cannot imagine parenting her daughter without listening first to what she is telling her.
  • The Essence of Parenting — There are many wonderful resources that make life easier for Michelle at the Parent Vortex to parent, but the essence is the relationship between parent and child.
  • What I Cannot Live WithoutSybil at Musings of a Milk Maker considers her computer to be a parenting lifeline.
  • True Blessings: White Noise and GrandparentsKat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment can't live without her white noise machine and the support of her parents.
  • The Necessities! — What "stuff" does a natural parent like Lily, aka Witch Mom really need? Not much, it turns out.
  • Mama Showed MeMama Mo at Attached at the Nip writes about how parenting wisdom is passed on by example.
  • Ode to the Loo — For Joni Rae at Tales of a Kitchen Witch, the bathroom is her safe place, where she can take a minute to calm down if she is feeling touched out.
  • Go, Mama. Go!Andrea!!! at Ella-Bean & Co. has been able to integrate her many roles through her get-up-and-go parenting essential, exercise!
  • My Other HalfBecky at Old New Legacy realizes what a relief it is to have her husband parent alongside her.
  • Grace, Love, and CoffeeMrsH at Fleeting Moments realizes that lifelines can take the form of the profound, or the mundane. Both are ok.
  • Supportive Spouse, Check! — There are so many parenting tools and gadgets that are superfluous, but the one essential, for Danielle at born.in.japan, has been her supportive spouse.
  • Why I'm a BabywearerMeredith at Becoming Mamas reflects on the ways babywearing has enhanced her mama baby relationship...and made life easier to boot.
  • It's Marvelous Out Here, Kiddo!Rachael at The Variegated Life can't imagine parenting in the big city without the marvels of Prospect Park to share with her Critter.
  • Yes, Thank YouAmy at Anktangle offers tips on how to ask for and accept help, an essential for successful parenting.
  • Parenting Essentials Checklist: Mom’s Inner Rebel and Her Kids’ VoicesOlivia at Write About Birth reflects on raising global citizens and saying no to societal norms.
  • Eco-Mama Online! — An Eco-Mama living in the mountains of a nature island, Terri at Child of the Nature Isle finds it essential to connect to nature and to connect online.
  • Sorry, We Just Sold the Last OneNev at The Adventures of Lime confesses she missed out the day they handed out patience.
  • LaughTashmica at The Mother Flippin' Blog reveals her super power, her talisman agains mean mommy.
  • My Priceless Parenting Resource — What do books, a magazine community, my mother and the local playgroup have in common? Lucy at Dreaming Aloud tells us...
  • The Gift of Shared TimeTree at Mom Grooves strives to experience the world from her daughter's perspective.
  • Follow the GigglesDionna at Code Name: Mama can’t live without the sound of her child’s giggles - come watch her video and you’ll agree!
  • Can I Mommy Without Boob?Emily at Crunchy(ish) Mama shares her fears about weaning and losing part of that the mother/child bond.