Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Last night at 9, I remembered I wanted to write a post for the April Carnival for Natural Parenting, but because I'm on the West Coast, I totally missed their midnight deadline. The prompt was, "Compassionate Advocacy" and since I don't really think I'm all that great at the compassion thing, I wanted to talk about a friend of mine whom I admire.

So here is my shout-out to my friend, GoddessofBirth. I met her at my first LLL meeting in Provo and was invited to an attachment parenting playgroup that very night. I associate her with compassionate advocacy because I learned so much from her by just watching her parent without her having to say anything directly to me.

She has a daughter 3 years older than Margaret so I got to peek into the future a little. Today I want to share one of my favorite parenting techniques that I stole from GoddessofBirth. I remember once at playgroup when her daughter was upset over something and she prompted her daughter to breathe. There might have been some counting to 10 as well, but I don't really remember. And almost like magic, they breathed and the situation was easier to handle. It seemed like the most genius idea ever: if you're going to be dealing with meltdowns and upsets, what you need to do is teach the child how to calm down! Of course!

And I was hit with, "Oh my gosh I need to do that when Margaret gets older!" Knowing GoddessofBirth and her daughter, this was probably not a first-time fluke, but something they had done over and over again, so that now at playgroup, it looked easy. I mentally wrote that down on my parenting list.

And this past year or so, when Margaret has had meltdowns, almost every time I say, "Margaret, can you breathe?" and I demonstrated, "Breathe in.... Breathe out..." and I do it a few times and sometimes she does it with me. And it's magic! Suddenly she can talk easier and I can understand her because her words aren't garbled in with her tears.

Now, it doesn't always work, but it works some of the time and it's a gentle way to deal with, "He's getting my potty! He's getting me!"And instead of me saying, "Margaret, he's only 5 feet away and eating paper; he's not getting you," and dismissing her feelings, we breathe and talk about how she can move away if he starts "getting her" because she's bigger and faster.

So to GoddessofBirth and all the other great parents who are quiet examples, thank you! And GoddessofBirth, you rock. And thanks for being awesome.


  1. Wow, thanks, Heather! You have no idea how much I needed that and how much it means to me:)

  2. I completely agree!! GoddessofBirth was my intro to the natural/attachment parenting world as well. I never would have made it to my first LLL meeting without her. I have learned so much from her, and admire her for so many things.

    One thing I remember a lot was when she was dealing with a biting issue with that same daughter, and she shared at LLL how she had started telling her daughter "biting no, kisses yes" and her daughter would kiss the breast instead of biting. Since then, I have tried to look closely at my children whenever they are misbehaving or melting down and wonder if maybe I'm just not giving them enough hugs and kisses, and I try to take a break from the punishments & consequences, and make sure those emotional needs are met first.

    Thank you, GoddessofBirth, for being that quiet example so often. You do rock, and you are awesome!

  3. That's a great technique--I'm definitely going to use this with my son when he gets older!

    Just for future reference: I'm pretty sure the carnival deadline is midnight PST (since Lauren is also in that time zone). Also, they have a list of all the carnival topics for the rest of the year, if you feel inclined to get a head start on next month's post. =)

  4. That is so great. Isn't amazing the people you meet at LLL? I love it. I don't think telling me girls to breathe or count to 10 would work. My 3yr old would scream even louder and my 6yr old would probably cry even more. It's still a good method to keep in my parenting tool kit though.

  5. I read an article in one of the last paper issues of Mothering about managing your temper that talked about breathing. I LOVED the article. I need some serious help getting Bug to calm down when he gets upset...and usually after he starts his tantrums, I need help for myself, as well! Breathing usually works well. (More for me, though, because by the time I remember it, Bug is usually in an unreachable "tantrum coma".) I figure if I at least do my best to model good behavior, he'll catch on eventually!

  6. This is totally unrelated, but I was just wondering if you knew anything about reusable swim diapers, good brands, how well they work, that kind of thing.

  7. Ah, Amy already chimed in, but yes — the deadline is Pacific, because I need my three extra hours, dude.

    I love your pseudo-carnival post, though! I will need to remember that tip myself.

  8. That sounds like a wonderful tip. I must try it the next time my daughter has a meltdown which will probably be later today. :)

  9. Thank you for this! I tried it with my 22 months old dd and it's like magic! She totally stops and looks at me and says "Breathing" and takes deep breaths. super cute, and great for her many tantrums!


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