27 February 2012

Words, Rewards, and Beauty (Oh, My!)

I should probably preface this by saying it is not directed at anyone in particular . . . just a quick personal thought bubble on display in the bloggy world.

I'm growing a little weary of hearing how I should be neutral in my dealings with my children. Don't clap for baby-ish cutesy things. No getting excited when your toddler masters the slide for the first time. Don't overdo positive reinforcement. Certainly don't use negative reinforcement. Let them discover the joy of accomplishment without external influence!

Praise is good! No, wait, it's bad. That's not right. Generic praise is bad, specific praise is good. Hang on, all praise is iffy. Unless it's encouragement. Then it's not really praise after all. It's . . . um . . . what were we talking about again?

Guess what? I tell my kids "good job!" all the freaking time. And I don't feel bad about it, or like I'm destroying their sense of self or intrinsic motivation. (I even know what terms like "intrinsic motivation" mean. I have a psychology degree and I'm not afraid to use it.)

And I'm not buying the whole extrinsic rewards are evil, either. Tell me you've never enjoyed a good performance review? Accolades on a fabulous meal from your dinner party guests? Oh, I don't know, a paycheck? All external rewards, no?

I probably uttered some indiscriminate praise here
Personally, we don't use rewards/punishments around here, because they don't work for my kids. Honestly, they couldn't care less about a flipping sticker chart. And take away a privilege? Totally doesn't affect them; they just move on to something else. 

But believe me there have been times I would have promised a pony ride to Disneyland while eating ice cream if I could get just one pee in the potty and not on the floor.

On a related note, I tell my daughters they are beautiful. And I mean it in both the inside and the outside sense. But really, I often just mean they look pretty, or totally cute, or incredibly adorable. So I tell them: Girls, you are beautiful! Every. single. day. 

I tell my son the same thing.

I believe it's more about the relationship you have with your child/children and what kind of conversations you have with them in general. Is "good job" one of many meaningful interactions you've had with them while playing with them and making a conscious effort to be in the moment? Or is it a knee-jerk reaction to a plea for attention from across the room, mindlessly slipped off the tongue when you didn't even look their way?

Seriously, people out there belittle and shame their children on a regular basis. I ask you to please give me a pass for tossing a few nonchalant "great work, honey" comments at my kids. They are not ruined. (In spite of the fact that entire books, websites, and blogs would like to argue otherwise.) They are pretty darn awesome.

25 February 2012

Musings of an Almost Crunchy Momma

Welcome to the "I'm a Natural Parent - BUT..." Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the carnival hosted by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. During this carnival our participants have focused on the many different forms and shapes Natural Parenting can take in our community.

I'd like to outline my thoughts on where I fall on the crunchy spectrum.

Agent E holding five-day-old Agent A
In regards to giving birth, I am very much a fan of modern medicine, including pain relief. This may be hard to believe, but not everyone who reads and researches all things baby during their pregnancy comes to the conclusion that drug-free, intervention-free, or homebirth is the way to go. I have had two inductions (E early due to complications and A scheduled) and one unintentionally natural, fast birth (like almost-birthing-J-in-the-waiting-room fast). My best birth experience—by far—was my planned induction (epidural in place before beginning) with my son. If there were to be more Agents (um, there will not be) I would strongly consider being induced again.
Have I lost you yet? Should I just turn in my Natural Parent Card now? Read on.
Only one of our children is a boy, and he is intact. I didn’t really feel too strongly about circumcision one way or the other, but after doing some reading while I was pregnant (even before I learned I was growing a prince) I couldn’t come up with a compelling reason to have it done. And then once I saw my son there was no way I was handing him over to someone to have a piece of him cut off.
breastfed all three children, including part of two pregnancies and a year of tandem time. I have written quite a bit on the influence of breastfeeding on my mothering. Agent E and Agent J nursed until ages three and two, respectively (something I was never going to do). My littlest Agent is "still" nursing; I'm hoping he will want to continue until at least age two (preferably a little longer since his birthday is at the height of cold and flu season).
When my first baby turned exactly six months old, I dutifully spooned pasty rice cereal into her unwilling mouth. She never showed much interest in food until about 14 months. My second started shoving food into her own mouth at 5.5 months, but ultimately we still went the "traditional" baby food way with her. With my third, I discovered the awesomeness of baby led weaning. Here is a post about our first attempt. Agent A never ate jarred baby food or purees. We only spoon feed foods like yogurt and applesauce; everything else he picks up and puts into his own mouth. At one, his favorites dinners include margherita pizza, chicken curry, and turkey meatloaf.
We don't make a big deal about food; we aim for reasonably healthy most of the time, eat when we're hungry and stop when we're full, and never force anyone to try "just one bite" of something. We go out for fast food once a week and we don't purposely shop for organic. 
I purchased cloth diapers prior to my first birth, and am now diapering Baby #3 with them, so quite a good investment for our family. We don’t use them exclusively; we use disposables for travel and night-time and often even short everyday trips because it’s less for me to carry. I would estimate we use cloth diapers at least 75-80% of the time. Also, I honestly have no idea why it took me until my third child was a few months old to learn just how easy cloth baby wipes are! I make a simple solution of water, a few drops of baby oil, and a squirt of baby wash. I don't even measure anything. Easy peasy! Agent E learned the potty quickly and with minimal effort on my part at about age 2.5. Agent J . . . well, that's a whole other post. No expectations for Agent A at this point. The idea of EC never even occurred to us.
Sleepy Agents J and A
We co-sleep every night; we actually have three (yes; three) queen-size beds in our master bedroom: one on a frame and two on the floor. Nighttime often turns into a game of musical sleeping spots if one of the girls isn’t feeling well, has a bad dream, needs water, or just wants Mommy. I frequently almost always fall asleep on Andrew's bed when I move down to nurse him. And sometimes we all wake up on the same bed like a big pile of meerkats. Have never and will never use CIO; it doesn’t sit well with me for so many reasons.
As a general rule we practice mostly gentle discipline. I wish I had more patience in dealing with the everyday insanity that is taking care of three kids five and under. I often need to channel my inner Dr. Sears. Sometimes I do things I regret, like yell too much raise my voice with my little darlings. 

We don't do sitters very often, because I hate leaving my babies (especially at night). I'm not opposed to occasionally leaving them with a trusted caregiver during the day, and I do this regularly when Hubby is out to sea. The Senior Agents also throughly enjoyed spending time in the "kids' club" on our last cruise. In general, though, I am with them the majority of the time and I'm good with that.
If you are thinking she doesn't sound so bad, I can practically hear her crunching from here, this is the part where I might lose you.
One topic more than any other makes me feel like I am definitely not a fruit of the organically grown natural parenting tree. All three children receive vaccinations on the recommended schedule without fear of side effects. We even get annual flu shots. Yes, I read all the same articles, too, and I can discern which ones to take seriously and which ones are tabloid-ish in their sensationalism. But what it comes down to is this: Even assuming the claims are true, I am willing to take the calculated risk. I don't doubt vaccine injuries are real. And I know when something happens to your child it's personal. I would presume parents of children who have become seriously ill or died from a vaccine-preventable illness feel the same way. (My grandparents lost their first child to a disease practically unheard of in the United States today. No parents should have to bury their three-month-old.) To paraphrase my friend Heather, the mere fact that we are able to have this conversation illustrates just how ridiculously privileged we are. (At least I think it was her. Hmm. It sounds like something she would say.)
did not babywear with Agents E or J. Before Agent A was born, I bought a Moby wrap. I heard so many wonderful things about it, and I know many women simply love them, but . . . it didn't work for us. Actually, when he was tiny I preferred to just hold him. I used it a grand total of maybe six times, for fewer than 30 minutes most of those. And now he is 15 months, and there's no way we're starting over with a new sling; he just walks or I carry him or (gasp!) we use a stroller. (I'm convinced that parents who are anti-stroller never had to get three kids anywhere by themselves. And they never parented Agent J.)
I wanted for a while now to do away with chemical cleaners, but I have a long way to go. I know if I just got my act together I could clean the entire house with nothing more than a bottle of vinegar, a box of baking soda, and a lemon. I use commercial laundry detergent. (And with five people in our family, we use a lot of it.)
The Agents watch television (mostly DVDs of Disney and PBS shows or Pixar movies), and I do not think this is evil. And because Agent A is usually in the same room as the girls when they are watching, he may be, say, a wee bit familiar with the Dora the Explorer theme song. It's never really been an issue for us . . . we watch when we're interested, turn it off when we aren't, and do a multitude of other activities. Can I share a peeve here? Folks that limit screen time by offering a reward of—you guessed it—screen time. Don't get me started.
Agent E plays computer games at least once a day. I did not introduce her to the computer until she was 5.5, and we don't have fancy phones or anything with "apps" that she plays with. Mostly she putters around on PBS Kids. At first I fretted over limiting her computer time, but I quickly realized that if I didn't say anything and let her figure it out herself she stopped when she was ready and moved onto something else quite easily. Like TV, it's not a battle, so I'm not going to make it into one.
Agent J about to get really messy
We homeschool. This is something I never pictured us doing. But it's working. We are going down an Agent-led path for now.
I don't know, that homeschooling save may have redeemed me. Whew.
Did I miss anything? And what does this all mean? 
It means I hesitate to call myself a natural parent, although I am on board with a lot of what most folks consider natural parenting to be. It means I joke about being quasi-crunchy but really I feel like an outsider. It means that I know what it's like to be part of the NP community on issues like breastfeeding and co-sleeping, and then treated like an outcast by the same community because I vaccinate and love McDonalds' fries. It means I participate in carnivals like this, but I always expect at least a little judgment. It means I will keep writing and sharing and learning.
And I hope you will, too.

I'm a Natural Parent — But … Blog CarnivalThis carnival was created by The Artful Mama and Natural Parents Network. We recognize that "natural parenting" means different things to different families, and we are dedicated to providing a safe place for all families, regardless of where they are in their parenting journeys.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

24 February 2012

My Early Morning Shadow

Welcome to February edition of the Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival, hosted by Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama. This month, participants have looked into the topic of “Fostering Healthy Attachment”. Please scroll down to the end of this post to find a list of links to the entries of the other participants. Enjoy!

My parenting style was pretty, um, unrefined, when sweet Agent E came along. Breastfeeding and sleep baffled me the most. In the early days, I remember thinking she can’t possibly want to nurse again. Again! Seriously, didn’t I just feed her? The second she dozed off (or stopped eating, or stopped crying) I made a beeline for the bassinet. I put her down. She protested. What was I doing wrong? Weren’t infants supposed to just lie there quietly, either sleeping or cooing at the ceiling, unless you were tending to their immediate needs?
Happy (and chubby, and bald)
4-month-old Agent E
Then I discovered Something Very Important: The goal is not to put the baby down. The goal, as it turns out, is to know your baby. Once I accepted this little epiphany my mothering became much more intuitive and relaxed. (And lucky for her two siblings, Momma had way more reasonable expectations by the time they came along.)
As E grew I became more interested in attachment parenting and developing a secure connection with her. And today I still have the same goal: to know my child.
Following are some ways we incorporate AP principles into life with an almost-six-year-old.
When we offer healthy meals and snacks, trust her assessment of when she is hungry and when she is full, never force "one bite" of something, do not make certain foods forbidden, and treat food as energy for our bodies instead of a battleground, we feed with love and respect.
When we strive to understand the reasons (and potential unmet needs) behind undesirable behavior, make an effort to include her in decisions that affect her, and encourage her to direct her own play and learning, we respond with sensitivity.
When we sit side-by-side on the couch with a good book (or a good movie and a bowl of popcorn), dance together in the middle of the living room just because, and reconnect every morning and evening with snuggle time, we use nurturing touch.
Agent E today
When we honor her sensitive nature when it comes to remembering dreams (good and bad), understand there will be times she needs reassurance (even at "inconvenient" times), and accept the fact that my little 6:00 a.m. shadow may just be an early riser like her mother, we ensure safe sleep, physically and emotionally.
When we respect her readiness for separation, allow for an adjustment period when entering a new situation away from mom and dad, and let her needs and maturity guide how much independence she is prepared to handle, we provide consistent and loving care.
When we demonstrate instead of demand, avoid punitive consequences, and teach not train, we practice positive discipline.
What are some ways you connect with an older child?

Visit Authentic Parenting and Mudpiemama to find out how you can participate in the next Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival! Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: (This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 24 with all the carnival links.)

7 Quick Takes Friday (23)

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes Friday, being hosted once again by Jennifer at Conversion Diary. Be sure to check out her post and read some of the other bloggers linked there.

1. This week I wrote more advice to my former self, this time a letter to myself while pregnant for the first time. I previously mused to my former teenage self as well as my new mom self. 

2. Been pretty-ing up the blog a bit . . . turned it purple (Agent E's favorite color), updated some labels/categories, and added some fancy heart buttons. Also working right now to add a tab of my favorite online resources. Of course what this means is I have been doing more puttering and less writing.

3. I've decided I'm going to make an effort to understand Twitter. I have an account but I never use it. (I have my Facebook statuses set up to automatically post there, though, so it looks like I do. Maybe? Any tips for a totally clueless tweeter?

4. On a related note, I just blocked someone from my Twitter account because I had about 20 (no kidding) tweets/retweets from this person (someone I don't even know personally) in less than two hours. So, not only is/was she totally overtaking my homepage, she was reposting c-r-a-p from people I don't care about saying things I don't have any desire to know. Okay, on second thought maybe I don't want to make an effort to understand this better.

Agent J "helping" Agent A with lunch
5. Still reading Psalms. Actually, I read about one third of Psalms, then read all of Revelation, and now I'm back to Psalms. In the past year or so that I've been reading the Bible every morning I've made my way through the entire New Testament and about 15-16 books of the Old Testament (most of these the shorter, minor prophets toward the end of the OT). I only read a chapter or two at a time and re-read/highlight/contemplate a lot so I don't move through the text very fast.

6. I'm also reading A Year With Jesus.

7. It's been a few days since it last rained, so the playground should be dry, and it's finally warm, so we will definitely be heading out on our Friday park/library/lunch adventure today. Assuming I can get all three Agents and myself dressed and ready and out the door. Sometimes it seems we spend more time preparing to leave than we do out and about.

23 February 2012

A Letter To My Preggo Self

Today I'd like to share some wisdom with my first-time pregnant, anticipating the birth of Agent E, confused, overwhelmed self. Following are just a few things it would have been nice to know in advance.

The birth class at the hospital will be pointless. Still, you attend out of obligation and hang on every word. You even drag your husband with you, with pillows. (Why do they ask you to bring pillows? It's not like they have nap time halfway through.) You come away with a list of things to bring to the birth, including but not limited to a giant ball to sit on, music (with your own boom box), and more pillows. Then you go into labor at 2:00 a.m., three weeks early, before you pack your hospital bag. So, you throw your cell phone and a few pairs of underwear in a backpack and consider yourself ready. When Baby #2 comes along, you plan what you are taking right after you pee on the stick.

Take more pictures of your pregnant shape. Yes, you will go on to do this two more times, but each growing baby deserves its own photographic evidence. Then back them up; your computer will crash when your daughter is a few weeks old and you will lose some beautiful photos forever.

You have already decided you will breastfeed, and that's great! However, you seem to think it will be quite simple since you've read a few chapters of a (lame) pregnancy book. Trust me; you do not have the first clue what breastfeeding is really going to be like. You know those breastfeeding classes you have seen advertised? The ones you have been kind of giggling at and making fun of? Take one. I'm serious. Take. The. Class. Plus, you still have some unresolved negative feelings about nursing from what you've heard from friends and the media. Get over it, and get to a La Leche League meeting. Your future self will be most grateful, and someday write this about your breastfeeding experience and how far you've come.

Just under a month before Agent #3 arrived
About that pathetic pre-birth reading list . . . you could really use some new material. Go ahead now and buy a copy of The Baby Book. While you're at it, pick up a copy of The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding as well. Read them both from cover to cover. Now do it again. Stop reading pregnancy magazines, mainstream parenting magazines, and online message boards. You're just making yourself crazy.

Buy some cute newborn clothes and pajamas. Everyone will tell you it's not worth it, they outgrow them too fast, and to buy 3-6 month stuff instead. However, you will birth a tiny baby who will be completely swallowed by every article of clothing you have. Luckily, some nice friend (who's been there, three times) will give you some clothes that actually fit, and it will be much easier to dress her for the first two months.

You will debate the merits of crib style and mattress firmness as if the fate of the universe depended on it. And you will end up co-sleeping. Congratulations: You just purchased the most expensive cat bed and stuffed toy receptacle ever. Actually, that's not 100% true. Eventually you will discover if you remove the front it makes a great sidecar. Agent E will sleep here until she's almost three. And you will kick yourself for taking so long to figure this out.

That Baby Papasan chair you get as a baby shower gift? The one you open and think, "what in the heck will I need this for?" All three babies will spend many, many nights sleeping in there when stuffy noses, earaches, or tummy troubles require them to sleep upright. It will end up being one of your most used baby items.

The CIO sleep book you also receive as a gift? Exchange it for a copy of The No-Cry Sleep Solution. Or take bookstore credit, buy yourself a fancy latte and a muffin at the in-house coffee shop, and get some quiet writing time in while you can.

Do get a good supply of those thin receiving blankets. You will use them for many things . . . to lay the baby on, wrap the baby in, as a towel, as a burp cloth, to put under the baby for diaper changes, to cover the baby while sleeping or nursing . . . everything. Skip pretty, fluffy blankets, and definitely pass on the crib bumper (see above).

Don't buy wicker baskets. Not for putting toys in, not for storing little baby washcloths, not for anything. I know they're in all the catalog pictures, they look cute, and they have those pretty liners with the tie on the front that matches the changing table pad cover. And when you find them on clearance at Target it will be hard to resist. But . . . babies try to eat them, toddlers destroy them, and preschoolers use them as footstools. Someday you'll be pulling shards of wood out of your 15-month-old's mouth. Forget sweet and buy big, ugly, plastic bins from the get-go.

Most importantly, when E arrives, after you get through the blurry post-birth hemorrhaging fiasco, unravel the swaddling and pick her up. Hold her to your body. Do this as many hours a day as you are physically able. Someday you will regret not focusing on this skin-to-skin time until your third baby comes along. Do it for E. And for J, too.

What would you tell your first-time pregnant self?

This post was also shared at Connected Mom.

14 February 2012

Four Ways To Share Your Parenting Philosophy Gently

Welcome to the February 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Respectful Interactions with Other Parents
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 focused on how we can communicate with other parents compassionately.

This is not the first time I've written about being nice. I published a post just a few weeks ago wondering why we can't all get along better.

My goal here is to build on those posts further and present a few ideas for communicating with fellow parents in a positive, peaceful manner. Following are four things I consider when conversing about parenting, whether that be in person, online, with a friend, or with a random stranger.

Share information, not an agenda. I try really hard not to fall into the trap of, "If only you knew more, you'd agree with me!" Information is good. Knowledge is good. But sometimes enough is enough. Not everyone will have an epiphany when presented with my logical and compelling argument, and that's okay.

Focus on the positive. Take the high road. It's typically not worth getting into a negative, spiraling debate over anything. Instead, I calmly (okay, usually) state what positive practice works in our family, and let that speak for itself without getting drawn into the defensiveness. Many folks simply expend too much energy getting riled up. 

Be gentle with your words
Remember the audienceIt's so easy to preach to the choir. They nod along and share your posts. But what about everyone else? Is my tone kind? Could it be interpreted as condescending instead of helpful? Have I skimmed over thoughts/details because I am so used to communicating with likeminded individuals on the same page?

Everything in moderation. When I read or hear something that goes too far in one direction or comes across as too extreme, I tune it out. I'm guessing other parents do, too. With rare exception, few practices are all bad (or all good). Even theories/ideas I completely disagree with make a valid point sometimes. A little common ground can go a long way.

What about you? How do you peacefully share information with others? Leave a comment and share your tips.

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:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon February 14 with all the carnival links.)
  • How to Respond Respectfully to Unwanted Parenting Advice and Judgment — At Natural Parents Network, Amy (of Peace 4 Parents) offers some ways to deal with parenting advice and criticism, whether it's from your mom or the grocery store clerk.
  • Judgement is Natural - Just Don't Condemn — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shared her views on why judgment is unavoidable and why the bigger issue is condemnation.
  • Four Ways To Share Your Parenting Philosophy Gently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares tips for communicating with fellow parents in a positive, peaceful manner.
  • When Other Parents Disagree With You — Being an attachment parent is hard enough, but when you are Lily, aka Witch Mom, someone who does not enforce gender roles on her kid, who devalues capitalism and materialism, and instead prefers homeschooling and homesteading — you are bound to disagree with someone, somewhere!
  • Mama Bashing — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud reflects on the hurt caused on the blogosphere by mama bashing and pleads for a more mindful way of dealing with differences.
  • Accentuate the Positive — Joella at Fine and Fair shares how she manages interactions with the parents she encounters in her work as a Parent Coach and Substance Abuse Counselor by building trusting relationships and affirming strengths.
  • The politics of mothers – keys to respectful interactions with other parents — Tara from MUMmedia offers great tips for handling the inevitable conflict of ideas and personalities in parenting/mother's groups, etc.
  • Trying to build our village — Sheila at A Gift Universe tells how she went from knowing no other moms in her new town to building a real community of mothers.
  • Internet Etiquette in the Mommy Wars — Shannon at The Artful Mama discusses how she handles heated topics in the "Mommy-space" online.
  • Parenting with Convictions — Sarah at Parenting God's Children encourages love and support for fellow parents and their convictions.
  • How To Be Respectful Despite Disagreeing On Parenting Styles... — Jenny at I'm a Full-Time Mummy shares her two cents' worth on how to have respectful interactions with other parents despite disagreeing on parenting styles.
  • Public RelationsMomma Jorje touches on keeping the peace when discussing parenting styles.
  • Navigating Parenting Politics — Since choosing an alternative parenting style means rejecting the mainstream, Miriam at The Other Baby Book shares a few simple tips that can help avoid hurt feelings.
  • Hiding in my grace cave — Lauren at Hobo Mama wants to forget that not all parents are as respectful and tolerant as the people with whom she now surrounds herself.
  • Carnival of Natural Parenting - Respectful Interactions with Other Parents — Wolfmother at Fabulous Mama Chronicles explores how her attitude has changed regarding sharing information and opinions with others and how she now chooses to keep the peace during social outings.
  • Empathy and respect — Helen at zen mummy tries to find her zen in the midst of the Mummy Wars.
  • Not Holier Than Thou — Amyables at Toddler in Tow muses about how she's learned to love all parents, despite differences, disagreements, and awkward conversations.
  • Nonviolent Communication and Unconditional Love — Wendylori at High Needs Attachment reflects on the choice to not take offense as the key to honest and open communication.
  • Respectful Parenting As a Way of Life — Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about using her parenting philosophy as a guide to dealing with other parents who make very different choices from her.
  • Homeschooling: Why Not? — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how parents can often make homeschooling work for their family even if, at first glance, it may seem daunting.
  • If You Can’t Say Something Nice… — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her philosophy for online and offline interactions … a philosophy based primarily on a children’s movie.
  • Different Rules for Different Families — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses how differences between families affect our children, and how that can be a good thing.
  • Respectful Interaction With Other Parents — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares the ways she surrounds herself with a like-minded support network, so that she can gently advocate in her dealings with those whose opinions on parenting differ vastly from her own.
  • Parenting as a mirror — Rather than discrediting others' parenting styles, Kate Wicker discusses why she tries to focus on doing right rather than being right — and why she’s also not afraid to show others that she’s a heartfelt but imperfect mama just trying to be the best mom for her family.
  • The One Thing {Most} Parents Have In Common: They Try Their Best — Christine at African Babies Don't Cry finds interacting with other parents easier once she accepts that they are all just trying their best, just like her.
  • Finding your mama-groove: 5 ways to eliminate judge/be judged metalityMudpieMama reveals 5 ways of thinking that have helped her find her mama-groove and better navigate tricky parenting discussions.
  • Speaking Up For Those Who Can't — We've all had those moments when someone said something hurtful or insensitive, or downright rude that just shocks you to your core, and you're stunned into silence. Afterwards, you go home and think "Gosh, I wish I said…" This post by Arpita at Up Down, And Natural is for all the breastfeeding mamas who have thought "Gosh, I wish I said…"
  • Thank you for your opinion — Gaby at Tmuffin shares her go-to comment when she feels like others are judging her parenting style.
  • Mending — A playground conversation about jeans veers off course until a little mending by Kenna at Million Tiny Things is needed.
  • The Thing You Don't Know — Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about what she believes is one of the most important things you can consider when it comes to compassionate communication with other parents.
  • 3 Tips for Interacting with Other Parents Respectfully When You Disagree with Them — Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares what she has learned about respectful interactions on her parenting journey.
  • Peacefully Keeping My Cool: Quotes from Ana — How do you keep your cool? Ana from Pandamoly shares some of her favorite retorts and conversation starters when her Parenting Ethos comes into question.
  • Kind Matters — Carrie at Love Notes Mama discusses how she strives to be the type of person she'd want to meet.
  • Doing it my way but respecting your highway. — Terri from Child of the Nature Isle is determined to walk with her family on the road less travelled whether you like it or not!
  • Saying "I'm Right and You're Wrong" Seldom Does Much To Improve Your Cause... — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment writes about how living by example motivates her actions and interactions with others.
  • Have another kid and you won't care — Cassie of There's a Pickle in My Life, after having her second child, knows exactly how to respond to opposing advice.
  • Ten Tips to Communicate Respectfully, Even When You Disagree — What if disagreements with our partners, our children or even complete strangers ultimately led to more harmony and deeper connections? They can! Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares ten tips to strengthen our relationships in the midst of conflict.
  • A Little Light Conversation — Zoie at TouchstoneZ explains why respect needs to be given to every parent unconditionally.
  • Why I used to hide the formula box — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen finally talks about how judgement between parents changed her views on how she handles differences in parenting.
  • Assumptions — Nada at minimomist discusses how not everyone is able to nurse, physically, mentally, or emotionally.
  • Shushing Your Inner Judgey McJudgerson — Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction knows that judging others is easy to do, but recognizing that we all parent from different perspectives takes work.
  • Respectfully Interacting with Others Online — Lani at Boobie Time Blog discusses the importance of remaining respectful behind the disguise of the internet.
  • Presumption of Good Will — Why — and how — Crunchy Con Mommy is going to try to assume the best of people she disagrees with on important issues.
  • Being Gracious with Parenting Advice — Tips for giving and receiving parenting advice with grace from Lisa at My World Edenwild.
  • Explain, Smile, Escape — Don't know what to do when you're confronted by another parent who disagrees with you? Amy at Anktangle shares a story from her life along with a helpful method for navigating these types of tricky situations (complete with a handy flow chart!).
  • Balancing Cultures and ChoicesDulce de leche discusses the challenges of walking the tightrope between generations while balancing cultural and family ties.
  • Linky - Parenting Peacefully with Social MediaHannabert's Mom discusses parenting in a social media world.

10 February 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (22)

Welcome to 7 Quick Takes Friday, hosted again this week at Betty Beguiles while Jennifer at Conversion Diary powers through book writing crunch time.

1. Agent E has been on this kick where she declares "days" with a specific focus. We recently had Help Day, Art Day, Painting Day, Hug Day, Reading Day, and Book Day. I'm not sure of the distinction for some of these; for instance, how Reading Day is different from Book Day. But I go with it.

2. Am I the only one who does not get this whole Ryan Gosling photos with deep thoughts thing? (I had to Google him; I had no idea who he was. Then I was like, Oh! That guy from The Notebook!) Seriously, someone please enlighten me.

Painting Day
3. I saw the movie The Notebook in an actual theater.

4. This week I packed up two bins of toys just because I'm tired of moving them around. I know some folks swear by the "rotate toys" method of keeping things under control. I think they may be on to something. 

5. When we move this summer, we are hoping to have a dedicated play/school room. The girls also want their own bedroom. (Currently, they sleep on a mattress on the floor in our room.) We'll see how this all plays out.

6. I'm wondering if E would sleep longer in the mornings if she were in a different room? She is a light sleeper and wakes up the second I climb out of bed. Even if it's 4:00 a.m.

Reading Day . . . or was it Book Day?
7. Case in point: She joined me in the living room this morning just after four, although she is asleep on the couch right now. For a short while, anyway, until her siblings wake up, and then all bets are off.

p.s. I think this may have been my lamest Quick Takes ever. Clearly we've had a pretty boring week here. Sigh.