Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bean Burgers

So I said I'd review various healthy recipes. I've actually tried a couple from our new cook book. The first was for a pizza dough, but it wasn't great. It was too stiff to knead and didn't really rise. Not worth a real review.

On Monday we had bean burgers. I don't know about copyright laws and such, so I'm going to be on the safe side and not post the recipe. Essentially, you take beans, bread crumbs, shredded cheese, onion, shredded carrot, and spices and mix them up together. We made them into patties and broiled them in the oven. We didn't have the exact beans asked for in the recipe, but I figured it didn't matter. We used kidney and some other bean. Ideally we would have lettuce and tomato on it, but my shopping day is Wednesday and so by Monday, we're usually out of produce. Well, we're usually out of the produce like lettuce that wilts quickly.

They were good and both McKay and Margaret liked them. We put cheddar on them. I think they would have been better spicy. We put oregano and basic Italian seasonings in, but we probably should have used cajun seasonings. And pepper jack cheese. The recipe made 8, so we have the extras in the fridge for quick lunches.

We did use a wheat bun from the store. Ideally I'd be the one baking all our bread, but our room temperature is fickle. It's either too cold for dough to rise or too hot to have the oven on all day. So I'm lazy and I don't do it.

And how's everyone liking the fall weather? Rainy here today. Makes me feel like knitting.

And don't forget to ask questions for Heather! I'll be sending her the questions this evening so she has time to respond.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Choo choo #2

Another "train of thought" post.

I had this week all planned out blog-wise. It was beautiful; there was a theme and everything. But I also had this week planned out home-wise and I realized I couldn't fit the two plans together.

This weekend is General Conference. It happens two times a year: exactly when the seasons change and you need to make sure you have the correct clothes for the upcoming season, exactly when the spring cleaning bug bites you.

I deep clean the house the week before General Conference. I've gone through 5 shelves in the closets and started bags of Freecycle items, recycling, and trash. I even wiped down those shelves with a wet cloth. I mopped the bathroom and wiped down the baseboards in the house. (My chores list is organized by a random number generator, if you were wondering how I jumped from closets to bathroom floor to baseboards.)

I really don't have the time for my beautiful organized blog plan this week. I'm spending most of my time away from the Internet in order to get this done.

And don't forget to ask Heather Cushman-Dowdee your questions!

Oh, check out my faux hawk. It is full of awesome and win.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Inquisition Monday

Today's questions come from AnnEE:
I've asked before, but when you substitute breast milk for Cow's milk in recipes, do you ever gift that food to people outside your home? If so, would you tell them first?
I actually have given other people food made with my breastmilk. Sometimes they know, sometimes they don't. If I think they won't freak out, I'll tell them. I only do so when I'm especially engorged and actually have milk to use and when I'm of good health. I'd really like to try a bread with the milk in a starter, but I think I'll have to wait until I have another baby. In my early postpartum days (you know- up to 9 months), I would catch milk from extraneous let downs and keep in in the fridge for ear infections, goopy eyes, scrapes, etc. I'd replenish the cup of milk every few days. In fact- we found some in the back of the fridge the other day and had to throw it out.

It's been over a year since I've used my milk in a recipe, though. I'm not as engorged as I once was. Some days I'll get engorged because Margaret forgets to nurse when we are busy. There was a day like that earlier this month, and it so happened McKay got sick the same day. When Margaret latched on that evening and induced letdown in my other breast, I just caught the milk in a cup and gave it to McKay for his cold. It wouldn't hurt.

Do you get recognized when you're out in public for your blog? That has happened to me a few times, and I about died I was so excited. 
Yes. The first time it happened I was at a natural birth support group and I was telling Margaret's birth story. One of the ladies there was all, "I think I've read this somewhere... are you TopHat?" Why yes, I am. I've also been "recognized" at LLL by one of the moms. Also, one of the guys we play dungeons and dragons with had read some of my blog before I ever met him; his sister is a friend of mine and I think she sent him a link once. Additionaly, about a month ago, a friend of mine invited Margaret and I to play and there was another mom there who said, "Hey, I read your blog!"

My reaction is always curiosity. I've had my share of both angry and supportive emails. When someone says, "I read your blog!" I always wonder which category they would fit in. Do you think I'm... crazy? cool? irrelevant? off my rocker?

I mentioned that I'd have a guest Inquisition Monday next week! I'm excited to announce that the artist Heather Cushman-Dowdee of Hathor the Cow Goddess and Mama Is fame will be a guest on my blog to promote her new book, Simply Give Birth. It contains 30 birth stories, most of them unassisted births, and one of those births is Margaret's! I love her comics and her books are very fun and inspiring.  Hathor's Zines, Slings, and Other Do-It-Yourself Things will make you want to live in a yurt. The Milk of Hathor will give you confidence to go out and breastfeed unabashedly. She's out to change the world.

So, if you have a question for Heather, ask it in the comments. I'll send the questions her way this week! If there are a lot of questions, she'll choose 3-5. And don't forget to browse her sites. Here's one of my favorites.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Choo choo

A train of thought post

I am so tired. Margaret's asleep, so I should probably go take a nap with her. She has been nursing like crazy at night the past few days. Growth spurt? Probably. Either that or the idea of siblings gives her the heebie jeebies because at this rate, I'll be infertile until she's 6.

I got my hair cut yesterday. Unfortunately my 4 month streak of no shampoo was ended because of it, but the stylist did use an organic shampoo on my hair. I figure once shouldn't hurt it, right? A single wash shouldn't put me back into the 2 weeks of grease, right?  I hope not. But I look pretty darn hot. Why did I ever have long hair? It drags and weighs me down, plus you always have to figure out what to do with your hair in a hat: Up? Down? Short hair is liberating. And hotter.

While at the grocery store, someone said Margaret looked like a "Gerber Baby." While I know she was just saying Margaret's cute, it irked me. Irked me so much I'm blogging about it. Yes, I know the Gerber baby was created long before Nestle bought the company- but it still bothers me that the supposed pinnacle of child cuteness is an image owned by one of the largest baby killers in the world. Ok. That wording was really harsh, but I'm not feeling kindly towards them right now. How about this: "Their advertising tactics have contributed to millions of infant deaths around the world." Better?

Also speaking of groceries, since Wednesday is my grocery day, it's my meal planning day. I'm trying out a few of those new recipes I mentioned this week. Frankly, I think it's a little strange to use my harddrive for pictures of food. Also, Sunflower has an amazing sale on free range organic chicken broth.

I really need to make a hat post.

Speaking of hats, today's the earliest I might die in Hat Wars. My assassin emailed me on Sunday to let me know she was behind. If she got the hat done on Monday, it would show up today at the earliest (overnight mail is not allowed). Oh, death- stay your hand!

I need to clean the house. And find our diplomas. I finally bought nice document frames to put them in! Ok. Fine. I bought the frames at the dollar store, but they'll do. Good enough.

Also at the dollar store I bought knee high socks to make into legwarmers for Margaret because it's getting chillier. And I bought a bunch of socks for her. And I bought Halloween stuff. And a stuffed hippo. And a toy tool set for Margaret- oh I totally forgot I took a picture of her with her nuts and bolts this morning for Wordless Wednesday... Oh well, maybe I'll put it up later.

And can you tell I'm tired? I am.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

International Babywearing Week

Last year I did a week of posts to celebrate. This year it totally slipped my mind. Where have I been? Killing.

Anyway, It's International Babywearing Week. Now that I have an extra year of babywearing and toddlerwearing on my shoulders, I thought I'd share what I found to be the best babywearing devices for each age so far.

Newborn-4 months: Wrap

Wrap in the front, less than a month old
I'm pretty awkward and fumbly with newborns. The wrap was the most secure option for me. I couldn't find a position in the sling that felt secure enough-which might have been due to the fact that I didn't have any experience with the sling. Even with the security of the wrap, I was very cautious the first week or so not to let Margaret slump down and cut off breathing. At about one week, she started gaining more head control and I started to worry less about that. I also tried her on my back with some help from McKay. Cons about the wrap at this age was I couldn't figure out how to nurse in it. Of course, I was still trying to figure out how to nurse period.

3-9 months: Sling
Pouch sling, kangaroo carry, 4 months old
Margaret had more body control at this point and I learned from the wrap how to put Margaret in the sling upright. She never did like the lying down position that most people think of when they imagine a sling. In fact, I haven't heard of many babies that do like that position- it scrunches up their tummies and causes problems especially if they have reflux. Using a pouch sling, I learned how to put Margaret in kangaroo style which she loved. Learning on the pouch, I learned what felt secure so when I started using a ring sling more, I was better at adjusting it. Ring Sling, kangaroo carry election day
I also experimented with back and side carries. I cut this time off at 9 months because that's when Margaret was getting too big for all her weight to be just on one shoulder (20 pounds!). If you have a smaller baby and the weight isn't bad for you, keep on going!

A Year or so: Mei Tai

Mei Tai on back watching Old Faithful
I needed something with two shoulders to spread her weight out. I could have used the wrap, but didn't feel like it. The mei tai was easy. It's my main mode of babywearing right now, though I use the sling on occassion. If she sees me put it on, she immediately tries to climb up my legs to get on me. I love it. Breastfeeding in the Mei Tai is kind of awkward, but it's doable. I have to lower her a little bit to get her head at breast level- she's so tall now!

Wear your babies! Hold them! Love them!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Inquisition Mondays: Meals and Santa

Again from Alice:

Do you plan to teach your kids about Santa?
Right now, no. Margaret's too young for it and I just don't think we'll do it. I don't want to use the "Be good or you won't get any presents from Santa" threat. I don't want an imaginary man be a part of the holiday. Growing up I remember opening everything by 10 in the morning and then it was all over- the hype seems a bit much. Also, I'd feel lie I was lying to Margaret. Even imagining saying, "Hey, Margaret! Santa's coming soon!" just feels wrong to me. I couldn't do it. We'll still do stockings and gifts. Must put "knit stockings" on my To Do list.

What are some of your favorite healthy meals?
I actually got a new healthy cooking cook book. I've found that children's cook books are nice because they don't usually have "weird" ingredients- you know: the kind that you don't even know where to begin looking for in the store. I'm a big fan of spicy. Spicy spicy spicy. Fajitas are very regular here. You can make the vegetarian, you can make them gluten free by not using wheat tortillas. They can very easily be dairy-free by leaving off the sour cream dollop.

Stir fry is very regularly on our list. I'd like to add some Indian food to our menus. I like spicy. I have a special seasoning called "cajun." If you think you've put too much cajun seasoning on, you haven't. You need to add more. Why? Because "cajun" means "Add as much of this as possible."

Ok- It doesn't mean that, but it should.

Another thing I've been doing is re-making our favorite foods from the store. For example, we used to buy "Simply Lemonade" which is just sugar, lemon juice and water. Well, I took the ingredients (28g of sugar, 11% lemon juice) and did the calculations and figured out how much those were in cups and I just did that and it was a perfect match! Woohoo! A lemonade I actually like!

I've been thinking about doing some more research and blog about foods we do and don't eat because of Margaret. For example, I try to make sure we have a high-protein breakfast to ward off and delay tantrums. I've even applied that to myself and figured I should eat a high-protein breakfast to ward off irritability on my end. Scrambled eggs are pretty standard for us. Sometimes I shake it up with cheese.

So that's not really a good answer to your question. I'm going to try some of these healthy recipes in this cookbook and I'll blog about the good ones. Stay tuned...

I'll need more questions for next week! And I'll have a special guest poster for Inquisition Monday October 5th. More details to come!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Friday Fill-ins

1. My car has a steering fluid leak. Every couple of weeks it makes noise and I put another bottle of fluid in.

2. More research and writing is coming up next.

3. Lately, things seem like they are coming together a little better. Getting the school routine down.

4. Behind the books on the bookshelf is one of my favorite 'hiding' places.

5. What happened since last weekend for you?

6. Whatever it is, it is not impossible!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to homemade pizza, tomorrow my plans include dungeons and dragons and Sunday, I want to sleep in!

Book Review: Mothering Your Nursing Toddler

Mothering Your Nursing Toddler was a book that I just happened to see on the shelf at the library one day. I was actually headed toward the knitting books, but I picked it up and checked it out for fun. I wasn't sure about it because it's not like we have a lot of nursing problems. Yes, she likes to twiddle, but it doesn't bother me at all, so it's not a problem for me. Yes, I've run into mastitis recently, but that's not toddler-specific and so it's in every other breastfeeding book I have. I wasn't sure what this book would offer me at all. When I went home I read some reviews of the book (that's cheating, I know) and a lot of them said things like, "I read this when my child was two- I should have read it when she was one!" So I figured I'd give it a try.

And I loved it. You'd think that going to LLL every month and to playgroups with other moms who nurse their toddlers would be enough for support, but this book was just so great. I love the stories of kids talking, coloring, writing about their memories of breastfeeding and the little mishaps that happen when you have a walking talking nursling like the comment, "Mom,. It never assumes that when you hit X age, you'll wean. It's just all, "Yay! Nursing toddlers! Woohoo!"

It does go into a few toddler-related items like potty learning. It mentions dealing with wiggly kids, twiddly kids, tandem kids, adopted children, employment, weaning, etc. It also gives good ideas about how to respond to criticism. There's even a chapter on dads and their part in the nursing relationship. I seriously didn't think a whole book on nursing toddlers was even possible, but it's very thorough and hits a lot of things I hadn't thought of. You should all read it now, even if your baby isn't a toddler yet. I'll return it to the library tomorrow just so you call can read it.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Inquisition Monday: Vaccines

This is from Alice. We lived on the same floor in the dorms my freshman year. Her husband has had classes with my husband so our paths have crossed a couple of times.

Have you taken Margaret to get immunizations? How do you feel about immunizations in general?

I know some people like to be picky, so I'll clarify. Margaret gets immunities every time she breastfeeds. She hasn't received vaccinations, though.

Our official stance right now is that we're waiting until she is at least 2 and then we'll decide from there. At that point some vaccines, like the rotavirus, are not needed anymore. Also, for others, she wouldn't receive as many doses because she would be starting later. Then there are vaccines that I don't really care about (rubella, varicella) and if she caught rubella or chicken pox, well, then she gets them and she'll get over it. Other vaccines aren't even pertinent at this stage in her life (Hep B). She's not shooting up drugs nor sleeping around- in fact since we bedshare we can guarantee we know all of her bedmates! Haha!

We feel comfortable with this choice for a couple of reasons.

  1. She is still breastfeeding and will be for many more months (years?). Because she is getting constant antiviral and antibacterial defenses from my milk, we are not as worried about her catching things.
  2. She is a stay at home child. If our circumstances were different and she had to go to a daycare and be surrounded by lots of other children, her chances of running into a vaccine-preventable illness would be much higher.
  3. We live in the United States so certain diseases like polio are pretty much nonexistent. If we were to vacation or move to a place with more exposure to diseases like that, then we'd reconsider our position.
Here is a site where you can read the ingredients in each vaccine along with side effects- to save space in linking to all the information below.
Some vaccines (such as the flu) have egg products in them. Because of allergy reasons, we wanted to wait until Margaret was a year before she was exposed to most egg products.
Some vaccines (flu again) still have mercury in them. While mercury has been removed from the MMR, it's still in some vaccines.
Vaccines like the DTaP, Rotavirus, HepA and HepB, pneumococcus have aluminum in them. Going by the current vaccine schedule, the amount of aluminum in some of those doses is pretty high. There aren't very many (any?) studies about the toxicity of aluminum from vaccines and how they affect children. We decided that if we do continue with some of those vaccines, we'll do it slowly so her system isn't overloaded on aluminum.

Concerns brought up by LDS people:
She won't be able to go on a mission! Um. Yes, she will. First, you are allowed to go to a stateside mission without being vaccinated. Second, when she's 20 and considering going on a mission, she'll be an adult and can do whatever she'd like about her body and health choices. Also, she'll be probably 6 times bigger than she is now and fully developed. The negative impact of vaccines would be much smaller if that's what she decides to do for herself.

But the Church obviously supports vaccines- they donate measles vaccines to various countries around the world. Yes, they do, and if we lived in those places, we'd seriously consider vaccines for Margaret. Also, it sounds as if they are just vaccinating against measles only- which is different even from the MMR we have here. I might consider parts of the MMR vaccine if it were possible to split it up, but unfortunately separate M, M, and R vaccines aren't readily available here.

Besides that site I linked to above which contains the package insert of most of the vaccines, I read the Vaccine Book. In it, you are taken through the vaccine: what is in them, how they're produced, the details and severity of the disease each vaccine is meant to help against, the severity of each vaccine's side effects, and there are examples of both delayed and selective vaccination schedules based on severity of illness and vaccine side effects. It's probably more information than you're able to take in! They have it at the Provo library, but usually there's a big waiting list- just a little warning there!

Alice, I'll probably answer the rest of your questions next Monday. This was a pretty intensive question and needed extra space.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Fill-ins

1. That's a fun way to be.

2. Hey hey hey; I'm over here!

3. The possibilities include: changing the world.

4. Spanish rice is one of my favorite cool day recipes.

5. How will you know if you don't ask?

6. October is about rain and a stormy sky.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to being a thesis widow (sigh- if McKay is to graduate and get a job next summer, I have to give up the concept of "date night"), tomorrow my plans include the Great Basin Fiber Arts Fair and Sunday, I want to go to stake conference!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Letter to

I thought I'd give you all a peak into the less glamorous side of lactivism: writing letters. I never know what to write and I try to be tactful and stick to the point. Here's part of a letter I sent to after seeing an advertisement for Similac's "Advance Early Shield" formula.

My husband and I are longtime watchers of Hulu. We don't have cable or satellite so hulu is our main source for television. I think it is great that you offer a way for television shows and movies to be watched with minimal advertising. We don't normally mind watching the 30 second commericials before and during our show. Today, however, I did find one advertisement in poor taste: An advertisement for Similac formula. Not once in the advertisement did it mention that breastmilk is the superior infant food.

Our country is really struggling with breastfeeding rates- lack of breastfeeding costs the country billions of dollars ( We are pitifully behind the goal to achieve an initial breastfeeding rate of 75%, and 50% at 6 months as outlined here:

The advertising of breastmilk substitutes has been found by the United Nation's World Health Organization to be so detrimental to breastfeeding rates that they created what is known as the "International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes" and can be found here:

The advertising of breastmilk substitutes undermines the health of the American population. Please consider the impact on this nation's health in your decision to run these ads. I really enjoy the television your site offers, but I am definitely reconsidering whether or not I continue to frequent your site.

I wanted to keep the letter short and to the point, so I didn't mention the specifics of what I found upsetting about the ad (use of a baby in the advertisement, no mention of "Breastmilk is the superior infant food", advertising leading people to believe the formula contains immunities- which it does not have). I was afraid if I went into that direction, I'd be rambling.

I personally feel that there should be no formula ads whatsoever. I understand formula is a necessity sometimes, but the families that must depend on it will seek out the formula companies on their own because it is a necessity for them. All it does for the rest of us is undermine our ability and dedication to breastfeed.

Book Review: Permission to Mother

They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I don't see how I couldn't love a book with this cover. The title immediately got my attention when I first heard of it a year ago. I decided I would buy it for myself at Christmas time and then donate the book to our local LLL library when I finished it. I read the first half last winter and then it got lost in the house for 4 months. I have no idea how that happened.

I picked it up again and didn't know where I left off, so I just started somewhere in the middle. This book is great about that. It's a collection of essays from the Dr. Punger's life and experience as a doctor specializing in breastfeeding. She starts with her early days in medical school considering L&D or NICU and covers a range of topics: breastfeeding, birth, doulas, even diapering and homeschooling- it's almost like a mothering memoir. She shows how she gave herself "permission to mother" in the way she felt was best and gives the reader that same permission. It's a growing process for all of us.

At the end of the book, there are a lot of little essays about breastfeeding problems: failure to thrive, breastfeeding an adopted baby, jaundice, working and pumping, breastfeeding NICU babies. There's just so much. I also love the little pages of conversations between her sons. They are just hilarious. I really like that you can pretty much open the book to any page and start reading a story. It would be great to have on hand in those early newborn days where you are just nursing nursing nursing and you need something to keep your mind busy.

To be honest, I don't know if I have any suggestions for this book. I think there's something in it for every mother. Well, I suppose she could put more breastfeeding pictures in it. I always point out breastfeeding pictures to Margaret, "Look! She's eating breast just like you do!"

And now I have to decide if I want to donate this book to our LLL. I really want to keep it for myself. Maybe I'll buy the LLL a copy for themselves.

Dr. Punger has a blog by the same name Permission to Mother. I love reading her blog and she is very personable. She responds to comments and will answer your questions. You can get the book on Amazon. Highly recommend it. I think I'm going to sit down and read it again.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The fever wasn't TOO high...

Some quick things I've learned about exercising and breastfeeding:

  • Drink lots of water. Lots. More than you think you need. Drink drink drink.
  • You get to eat even more food! Eat that extra food!
  • Be careful about jumping into a routine cold turkey. Starting with daily Tae Bo workouts 45 minutes each might be a little much. And don't worry- your body will let you know if you've done too much. It's called mastitis.
I learned that last one about 2 weeks ago.

I never thought I'd ever say, "McKay... Billy Blanks gave me a breast infection," but I suppose there's a first time for everything.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Inquisition Monday: Unschooling

Again from Joe:
Can you recommend some of the books you’ve read on homeschooling/unschooling that you found to be informative? In that same line, can you briefly give us your take on the difference between homeschooling with a curriculum in general (like Sonlight, Little Accorn Learners, and the such – my repertoire of curriculums isn’t very big yet to cite examples! heh) and unschooling?

This post isn't going to be as all-encompassing as it ought to be- mostly because when I considered homeschooling, unschooling made a lot of sense in my head, so I probably didn't do enough research in the other curriculum sources (I don't know anything about Little Acorn).

I researched the methods that I heard moms at our playgroup mention. This included Thomas Jefferson, Charlotte Mason, Waldorf, Montessori, Sonlight. I didn't link to Waldorf and Montessori because a google search gives you a ton of each of those.

What I read and why
Homeschooling Methods: Seasoned Advice on Learning Styles I happened to see this on the shelf at the library when I was picking out a couple of the books I'll mention next. I picked it up because it gives a nice little overview on the classical, eclectic, unit study, Charlotte Mason, unschooling methods. It's heavily Christian, though, if that's a turn-off.

A Charlotte Mason Eduction This method came recommended to me because at a playgroup, I mentioned I wanted to look into homeschooling and I wanted something literature-based. So I went to the library and got this book. I was pretty converted to unschooling at this point, so aspects of this method (eg. narration) turned me off.

The Unschooling Handbook : How to Use the Whole World As Your Child's Classroom
I picked this book up sort of as a joke. I saw the title and thought, "Really? A handbook for unschooling? Sounds like an oxymoron to me... Hmm... We'll see." So I was skeptical. But I loved it. I ate up every page. It shares experiences from unschoolers and parents. It gives ideas on unschooling on vacations and such. The part I was most interested in was the sample transcript it gave for an unschooled student applying to college.

What attracts me to unschooling
In a blessing I was once told to remember that my children aren't my children- they are God's children that I am charged with for now. This idea has sat in my mind for years: I'm not any better than Margaret simply because I was born a couple of decades before her; we are equals. I try to remember this as a parent- and as far as education goes, I trust that she'll learn what she needs to learn. It's hard sometimes. I grew up in your regular middle class public school where education was based on the idea that if we weren't forced to learn something, we wouldn't. It's hard to get that out of your head. But when I look back on my life, the learning experiences that have stuck with me and enriched my life the most were the ones I sought for myself. How amazing it would be if every learning experience was like that. Having been a math major and tutor, I've seen students "shut down" against what they're learning. I think the biggest cause of this is the idea that math is hard and students won't learn it unless they are forced to. If students got the chance to learn math when they wanted, I think anxiety about math would almost disappear. I've also thought of the years spent in elementary school learning arithmetic. YEARS. I personally believe that if you wait until the child wants to learn those things- instead of years it would only take months or even weeks to learn everything from simple addition to pre-algebra and beyond. I feel the same towards all subjects- I use math as an example since it seems to be the big "But how are you going to teach them trig?" question.

It also doesn't make sense to me that children suddenly need structure at 5 or 4 or 3 or whenever you feel they need to start going to school. Yes, we have a "routine," but I don't think they need strict "structure." The first few years, children don't have "structure." They play, they eat, they nap. And somehow in all that, they learn to walk and run and jump. They learn an amazing amount of language. And while their social tendancies aren't always perfect, they learn a lot about communication and interacting with people. No one needs to sit down with them and give them lessons on how to build a tower with blocks- they learn on their own. What changes by the time kindergarten or preschool comes around that they can't continue to learn like this? Is there some inate countdown that says, "Once you are __ old, you have to learn at a desk?" I don't know why, but the trust we have in a 1 year old's ability to learn disappears when that child is 4- and suddenly they "need" school with a teacher and planned activities and lessons. If we keep trusting that 4 year old like we did when she was 1, I suspect the "need" for all those things will disappear.

Essentially, you have to give up your prejudices about the way people learn. Ask yourself why you learn and research what you do- and then ask why that can't apply to your children, too.

Blog recommendations
Yes, I can Write is a blog by an unschooled teen. She talks a lot about the unschooling philosophy and trust in a child's ability to learn. I highly recommend reading it. Highly. Open that link in another tab now.
The Parenting Passageway This blog isn't about homeschooling, but the author explains a lot about the Waldorf belief system in how children grow up and develop. For those of you interested in this theory of child development, it's a wonderful blog. She also has wonderful gentle parenting posts and thoughts.
If you are interested in what an unschooling family is like, many of those families have blogs. You can probably google unschooling blogs. I like The Organic Sister and Ordinary Life Magic. I read a few others, but that would involve me having to go through my reader.

And Joe- as for Sonlight, I have a friend who uses it with her son. She blogs here.

I hope that answered your question. I don't have any new questions to address for next week, so ask away in the comments.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Friday Fill-ins

1. I feel tired.

2. Jumping on a trampoline is always fun.

3. Right now, I can hear these things: cars outside the window, birds, the neighbor upstairs walking around.

4. I'm trying out new daily routines and I'm glad I'm finding more knitting time.

5. The last time I got a package in the mail was in July for the Spoil Mum Swap, I'm tempted to buy something online just to get a package.

6. McKay doesn't get Monday off this Labor day weekend.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to sleep, tomorrow my plans include the football game (in a round-about way, not actually watching the game) and Sunday, I want to sleep!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Watch Closely

See me nurse in public. See? I don't have a blanket, I don't have a bottle of expressed milk, I left the house without a burp cloth- see? I'm totally unprepared to be "discreet." Maybe I left the house with my mind all over place and forgot a few things. You've done that too? Well, don't worry. You can still tend the needs of your child. You don't need all those extra things and it's OK. See me? I'm carrying on a conversation with another person. Oh you see some skin? That's ok. It happens sometimes and there's nothing wrong with that.

Oh did you see me walking home from the park last night? My little girl was so tired and I forgot a carrier so I was just holding her in my arms with my neckline pulled down and she was nursing. It's ok. You jogged by me? Pushed your kids in your stroller by me? Skateboarded with your "posse" by me? Yeah. And I'm ok if you looked and saw. Because it's ok to nurse in public while you're walking.

Did you see me at the laudromat Monday? My little girl was playing and then she bonked her head and started crying. Did you see me lift my shirt and nurse her? Yes, that's what I did. In front of the security cameras and a group of men, too. It's ok. You can't predict when your child will get hurt and you always need to be prepared. That's why I always have my breasts with me.

That one time in sacrament? Oh right- those 50 times in sacrament. Did you see those time where my little girl was tired, frustrated, or hurt and I just nursed her? You probably saw me from the back and just thought I was holding her, but it was much more than that. I was also feeding her a special drink I made myself that can put her to sleep almost immediately. It's magic, really. And it was so easy- screaming baby to sleepy baby in less than 2 minutes. And it was ok.

At the store the other day when my girl was in the cart and signing "breast"? Yeah. You probably saw. I pulled my breast out of the top of my shirt and leaned over and she was happy. And that's ok, too.

Because we all have busy lives. We have to run errands and sometimes we forget to check if we have everything (where's my shopping list?). We can't plan ahead for every bump and tantrum. But if you have breasts, you have food, drink, and comfort all right there. And it's ok because to your child, that little bit is everything.


McKay has this thing that whenever he sees Margaret doing something cute while nursing, he feels like he has to take a picture. This week's was when she fell asleep. I was on Twitter at the time talking about... well, breastfeeding.