Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seen and Heard

A couple weeks ago, The Exponent II blog had a poll about children in sacrament meeting at church. In late July and August, there was a lot of talk surrounding restaurants with anti-child policies and airlines segregating children from first class.

I wanted to tackle the topic then, but I couldn't without a lot of frustration and incoherency. The best I came up with was my comment on the Exponent's post,

These sorts of conversations really irk me because they tend to turn into an us vs. them. Those “other” parents over there aren’t being attentive enough, proactive enough, etc.

The thing is, though, I don’t know a single parent who actually wants their child to disrupt a meeting and annoy every one. I don’t think that person exists.

I work with a lot of newly postpartum women and I guess when I see a parent who isn’t responding to a “rowdy” child (a description that varies person to person- how is a parent supposed to know what everyone’s definition of a “good” child is and meet that kind of standard?) I wonder what the extra circumstances are. Maybe the mom put clothes on for the first time in a week that morning in order to come to church and is just trying to make it 20 more minutes because it’s the first time she got to hear an adult talk to her in days. Maybe the father is alone with 5 children, one who needs a diaper change, but can’t leave to do that because the other 4 won’t have someone to watch them. Maybe a child just has really loud happy screams and isn’t upset at all.

As a parent, the attitude that you just have to deal with not being able to be in sacrament meeting for the decade or so of having small children is a punishment. “Sorry, we don’t want you to participate in our Zion. Zion isn’t for children or parents with small children.” Or it’s a “well, we had to deal with it, so now you have to” vengeance.

If there is a parent who truly is ignoring an upset child, it seems to me it wouldn’t be by choice but by physically being unable to: whether there are other children needing attention or the parent has mentally “checked out” due to not having the extra patience in their own emotional cup or a mental panic attack or other. Whatever the reason, that parent needs help, not eyes of judgment and people telling them they and their family aren’t wanted there. Church is about making the tent bigger, not throwing people out into a foyer.

I am a firm believer in children being allowed in public. It's part of why I'm a lactivist: children and mothers should be allowed to be everywhere everyone else is. I don't know why that's such a point of conflict for others.

It's actually a reason why I want to homeschool. One of the greatest downsides to public school for me was ingraining the segregation of ages. As a second grader, I thought first graders were "below" me. I always wondered why a sophomore would talk to a freshman- they were lowering themselves! It took me years to figure out that my professors in college had office hours, not just to appear helpful, but to actually help the lowly undergrads. Apparently they wanted us to do well in their classes! Today, I still find myself thinking on those lines: I really struggle to know how to talk to elderly people and I find myself caught in the thinking, "Yes! School's back in session so now all those rowdy kids won't be on the playgrounds when I'm there with my kids!" I'm working on fixing this.

If you know Margaret, you know she's the most friendly person ever. She remembers faces and names remarkably well and if you show up at a park or come over to our house and she recognizes you, she can't contain her excitement. She jumps up and down, shouts, "_____ is here! _____ is here!" and runs over to greet the person. She greets babies, toddlers, children, parents of her friends, elderly people at church, family, etc., all this way. I am afraid that the age segregation at school would kill this beautiful enthusiasm.

I want my children to know how to talk to the elderly, and adore younger children, like the boy pictured below. I was at an unschooling activity when I realized Isaac had gone missing. I found this little boy (9? 10?) playing with him on his skateboard. There were plenty of other boys his age, but he was having fun with Isaac. I thanked him for playing with Isaac and told him he didn't have to watch him, but he continued to play with Isaac for a while longer. It was adorable. And better than me. I would have tried to ditch a baby for older "cooler" playmates at that age for sure.

That's the kind of socialization I want for my children, people skills that they can't get in a classroom of peers 6 hours a day. But for them to get that, they have to be welcome everywhere: the library, the post office, the restaurants, church. After all, they can't learn what they can't practice. I know I didn't.

A homeschooled boy playing with Isaac. He's older, but not
too cool to play with a baby on a skateboard.
So yeah. This post is everywhere. Somehow it got off on homeschooling when I started it with children in church. This is why I hadn't posted on this yet! I feel very passionately that children are people, not nuisances, even though I have to remind myself that sometimes. Definitely haven't reached perfection over here.

Love your babies, hang out with your babies, bring your babies in public places.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Autumn Tree

I said on Friday, I'd post what we did for the equinox on Saturday and I didn't. But I am now!

Inspired by the Tree of Thanksgiving, I decided to have an autumn tree. I actually won leaves made by Lynn in the Rhythm of the home giveaway! Friday Morning, Margaret finger painted with red and yellow and I used the leaves we got as stencils and traced some more to add to our own tree. I also plan on using leaves that we find on the ground for this tree. Our grapevine in front makes a beautiful large red leaf that I think will work beautifully.

Every day, we let one leave "fall" to the bottom. We're definitely going to need some more, but I'm hoping that by Thanksgiving they'll all have "fallen" and then we'll be able to decorate the bare tree with paper ornaments as an Advent calendar. And then when spring comes, maybe we'll add a flower or small leaf to the tree each day and use big green leaves for summer. I think that will be fun. Margaret loves the tree, too. Isaac likes to run off with the "fallen" leaves.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Inquisition Monday: Cleaning

Cassie asked, "You said you at least clean the toilets on Monday. Do you have a house work/laundry type routine? And how does it go with the little ones. We are trying to have a little more routine house work around here but it's difficult with a two year old and almost 4 month old. (I mean routine in a very relaxed way...)"

So did I ever tell you about the time I was gossiping about the lady who had 6 kids under the age of eight and when I babysat for her, I was appalled at all the cereal on the floor and toys and everything everywhere. Yes, I did sweep her kitchen and do some dishes for her because I was an awesome babysitter like that, but I did tell the person I was gossiping with, "I will NEVER have a house that looks like that. EVER."


(gasp for breath)


Oh man, that is some funny stuff! When we first got married, I really felt a lot of the weight of doing the house on my shoulders. Yay social conditioning! And I kept telling myself that if I only worked hard, scheduled my life better, had more self-discipline, THEN my house would be clean.


And then I got pregnant with Margaret and heard the Mothers Who Know talk and told myself that when I was no longer working and I was home all day with my kids, THEN my house would be clean.


Oh boy! This is some great stuff, yeah?

It was only a couple years later that I realized that maybe it wasn't that I didn't have enough discipline to stick to a schedule, but that my methods were wrong. I kept attacking this problem in the same way and cycling into deep guilt. I was a bad mom. And I'm not as good as So-and-so and her blog over there because she has the self-discipline to be serious about her housework and look at it like a job and she finishes everything on her list every day before 10am and I'm still in bed at 10am (this was when Margaret would sleep that long, and not something that happens anymore at ALL). All because I am not disciplined enough and not good enough. BAD BAD BAD BAD.

This is when it really hurt to add "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA" but it deserves to be there. Because I am good enough. That entire last paragraph was what my lying brain was telling me and it was all lies. LIES. LIES.

I've mentioned it before, but I did an experiment and did everything "right" one day. I gave it 100%. There was not a second that I wasn't cleaning the house, putting things away right after using them, cleaning dishes! And you know what my house looked like at the end of the day? The same as what it looked like when I was doing only 20% or 10% (or less). I realized I had 3 options:

1) Continue what I was doing. Do a little cleaning to try to combat the guilt and have the house look like a mess. Sure, I got my homework or writing done, but it was done while the voice in the back of my head was telling me I was a bad person.

2) CLEAN ALL THE STUFF ALL THE TIME. And get absolutely no homework or writing or knitting or anything I love done. And have the house look like a mess.

3) Throw myself into what I love and do the cleaning as it comes up and not feel guilty about it. And have the house look like a mess.

And I chose 3. It's hard to de-program that guilt-inducing voice. It's still there sometimes. But I try to remember to trust myself. If it's important to me, it'll get done. I kind of thought of it like unschooling: if it's important, you'll learn it because your goals for yourself are such that you'll want it. Not because the people around you want it for you and not because you "have to," but because it's part of your vision for yourself.

So you wanted to know what I do now. I have a mental list (because physical lists get lost too quickly) of the important things for me:

1) I like the toilets and potties clean weekly.
2) I like the kitchen sink to be devoid of dishes for one moment in a day.
3) I like randomly picking things to do because it makes it fun for me.

So I clean the toilets every Monday. And at some point in the day, the dishes are done. If that point is 10am, then I don't fret over them not being done after lunch or dinner. And sometimes they aren't done until 4 pm or 7pm. And I'm ok with that. There was one moment that they were clean and that's good enough for me.

I do have the Motivated Moms iPhone app because it's a way to randomly come up with things to clean. Since I didn't make the app, I don't know what's next for the week, so I actually like doing it. It's surprise cleaning! But there's a lot of stuff on the app I ignore, too. I mean, seriously? Who cleans their bathroom sink daily? A good baking soda scrub once a week is good enough for me.

And after I do everything on my "list," I refuse to do anything else. That's my favorite part. It doesn't matter that the dining room is filled with stuffed animals, I'm DONE! I'm going to knit instead.

And at the end of my day? It looks like it would have had I spent the whole day cleaning. Or if I had spent the whole day feeling bad about myself. Plus I got to knit and blog and go to the park. And not feel bad.

So that's what I do. And don't do.

What's worked for the rest of you out there?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Friday Fill-ins

1. When I walk around my neighborhood I see urban chickens, free stuff on the curb, and people digging through the recycling to find glass and metal for money.

2. A grilled sandwich is my favorite thing to cook.

3. Life is about love.

4. My knitting makes me feel all warm and fuzzy

5. Butternut squash is my favorite Autumn vegetable.

6. Sleeping is better when it is chilly and dark longer.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to pizza night, tomorrow my plans include the Relief Society General Broadcast and Sunday, I want to knit!

It's really a shame I didn't do the pictures this week because this week was much more reflective of my breakdown weeks than last week. Days that Margaret naps are great. All the others... not so much.

Today we are celebrating the Equinox over here and getting ourselves ready for fall. I'll share pictures tomorrow. Margaret's favorite season is autumn and her favorite holiday is Halloween (seriously talks about it all year) so we're in for some fun soon!

Also, HoboMama shared this post about a toddler meltdown in her Google feed that greatly resembled Margaret's own meltdown yesterday. She really really didn't want me to bring the cloth grocery bags with us to the store. And there was lots of screaming. Our neighbor across the street asked if it was one of those days when nothing is right. I replied that, "Well, everything is not right." It's hard to get down on a toddler's level when you have a baby in a sling, but we did wait it out and Margaret didn't run off at the store like I had anticipated. So that was good.

Also, it's been more than a week ago, but thank you to Alisa for linking to me. She linked to me as a Christian AP Parenting blog. While I do consider myself a Christian and a parent, I don't think of myself as a Christian Parenting blogger. In fact, I don't mention religion all that often (and have been criticized for it by other Mormons) but it does come up occasionally and I'll mention it when it's important to me. I do try to be a gentle person with my children. After all, if the zombie apocalypse comes or aliens attack and we all die, between me and my children, mine is the salvation that's up for grabs. The kids deserve respect. Lots of it. And I try to give it to them.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Inquisition Monday: Week in Review

I got a few questions over the course of last week's hourly picture posts, so here I am answering them!

Arual asked, "What do you use for a diaper pail?"

In the comments, I responded that we use a flip lid kitchen-sized garbage can. We use it as a dry pail and every morning we wash the diapers. I thoroughly rinse out the diapers before putting them in our can, so there isn't poop or anything on the inside, but just like I try to regularly clean out the insides of our garbage cans, I like to clean out the pail, so that's what I did on Tuesday!

Kate asked, "Are you no longer co-sleeping with Margaret anymore? I saw she has a big girl bed now. :) If not, could you (maybe as an inquisition Monday) go through how/why you gave her her own bed - as in, was it your choice, hers, etc., and the transition to that?"

Margaret does have her own bed, but does come into our bed often. Her bed is right next to our bed, so when she wants to nurse at night, she'll climb into bed with us and nurse. Sometimes she goes back to her bed, sometimes not. There wasn't anything big and important that spurred the choice to get a bed. I had been thinking about it off and on, but wasn't really going to get her a bed. Then, one of McKay's coworkers asked if we'd like a bed for free; we'd just have to pick it up. We figured it wouldn't hurt, so we got the bed. The first couple of nights she didn't want to sleep in it and we didn't push it. On night 3 she wanted to sleep in it, so I lied down with her and nursed her to sleep in her own bed. Very quickly, her night nursing went down from every 2-3 hours to once at around 5 or 6 in the morning. She loves her bed and she got to choose the bedding herself. It also gives us a little more room on our bed, which is nice. And she's still in the room with us, so we're still technically co-sleeping, though not bed-sharing all night with her. When she gets older and wants her own room, we can move her into the office/craft room, which is right next to ours.

Sara asked, "I think this is the first day I have seen pictures with feet in shoes (I didn't go back to make sure). It's been a while since you have mentioned this. How will you live this as we change seasons? What did you do when you lived where there was snow?"

Margaret wears shoes off and on and I don't stop her. If it's something she wants, then she gets to wear them (except on the bed and couch). It's a lot like hats: she'll have a hat on for a few days because she LOVES it, but then will stop wearing it when the novelty is gone. I will sometimes bring shoes with us when we go out if I know the park will have wood chips or something like that. Sometimes she'll ask to wear them, but even at wood chip parks, she'll often decide she prefers being barefoot.

When we hit the rainy season, I'll keep shoes with us, but I found last year, that rain is a wonderful way to keep your feet clean when you're out and about! When we were in Utah, she had shoes, but a lot of the time I would wear her in a sling and just put socks or booties on her feet (or not) and so she didn't really need shoes very often. I had a pair of mocassins for her, which are now Isaacs, that gave her feet lots of movement and protected them without hard soles. In fact, I'm considering getting myself a pair.

Lactating Girl asked about the owl I knit for the baby shower. A link to the pattern's Ravelry page is on my knitting blog. The pattern is free and very easy to knit.

What I learned from this week: I have a surprising amount of down time that I never noticed. And yet, I'm not going to jump in and fill it up. Nope. Margaret's lack of naps is wearing me down thin. I took the kids to the zoo this morning and the whole way I was regretting because I was just wanting a day at home. But I promised Margaret and we didn't stay more than 2 hours, so we're ok.

I'm fully surprised I didn't have a meltdown last week. That's usually par for the course for me once a week. I tried very hard to give you all an accurate version of our days as far as busy-ness/laziness ratio went and I avoided doing things just because you'd all be seeing it. Last week was 100% what I would have been doing had I not been taking pictures for the Internet. Or 95%. I'm sure there was some influence that I couldn't avoid.

Also, about the breastfeeding basket, I also usually include a small packet of tissues, but I forgot to buy some when I was out at the store. If you are planning on making one for a baby shower, that might be something you could add. Or not. I didn't and the breastfeeding police haven't busted down my door yet.

And when I eventually finish that PacMan sewing project, I'll share a link here. And I need to do a Halloween costume for Margaret sometime soon. She's going to be a "black and green and pink" butterfly.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


My every-hour-on-the-hour alarm is not set for weekends, so Saturday's pictures are more sparse.

8 am. Stripping the beds and doing laundry. For the first time in a while (maybe ever?) Isaac's nighttime diaper wasn't able to handle a morning poo and we had to wash everything. Of course, he had gone almost 48 hours without a good poopy diaper, so it was going to happen eventually.

9 am. Getting my basket ready for the baby shower. I try to give a breastfeeding basket, full of everything you might need on hand when you're stuck under a small child who is nursing and/or fell asleep and getting up is going to be a problem. In this basket, I gave the Womanly Art, nursing pads (actually some Bamboobies I  bought when they had a sale during World Breastfeeding Week), lanolin, juice, snacks, a pad of paper and a pen, a knitted baby hat, a knitted toy owl, and information on local LLL meetings.

10 am Margaret really wanted to be there when I gave the basket to my friend, so she came with me to the shower.

11 am I was at the shower and 12 pm we were leaving. No pictures of those times

1 pm. McKay sitting on the couch. He did all the laundry while I was gone with Margaret.

2 pm. Isaac is up from his mini nap and I'm working on a mitten for Margaret. So many ends to weave in! I'm not actually happy with the project, but Margaret is excited, so I'll do it for her.

3 pm. We have kids.

4 pm. And they watch TV while I blog. McKay was gone at this point for the Priesthood leadership session of stake conference.

5 pm. Margaret eating dinner.

6 pm. McKay is home and the kids are happy. I left at 6:30 for the adult session of conference.  I had the hardest time figuring out what knitting to bring with me to conference and I had to come back and get my yarn after I was already part way there. But I can't go to stake conference without my knitting. That would be blasphemy.

7 pm. Look! Knitting in my lap at stake conference! The world is good.

8 pm. Rest hymn. Conference was actually really good. It started off with a bang: a talk on not conforming (and not judging those, including ourselves, who don't conform to whatever we thing they/we should), a talk on single parenthood, a talk on patience, a conversion story, and a talk on sharing our excesses with whomever lacks. Plus 2 hours of uninterrupted knitting time.

9 pm. On my way home. Dirty windshield!

Saturday, September 17, 2011


8 am We are finally all awake except for Isaac.

9 am. Kids playing in the living room.

10 am. Heading to the park.

11 am. At the park. For some reason, people leave toys at all the parks in the area. Isaac played with this car for quite a while.

12 pm. Margaret eats lunch.

1 pm. I was blogging Thursday's day.

2 pm. Isaac went to bed and I did some cleaning in the kitchen.

3 pm. Living room in its cleanest state all week. I had people coming over in the evening, so it had to look presentable.

4 pm. The mailperson came and brought us Nursies When the Sun Shines. I could have used this about a month ago, but with Margaret's new bed, our night nursing is getting better, so we don't actually need it now. I'm sure our local LLL will need it. Margaret does love it and asks me to read it a lot.

5 pm. Pizza dough started. Every Friday is pizza night. I don't know why the kids are over there.

6 pm. Dough rose and now making the pizza.

7 pm. No picture. Eating pizza.
8 pm. Isaac and I. My friends came over, but I didn't want to take a picture of every one because I didn't have everyone's permission. It was a Mormon feminist discussion group. Very fascinating discussion about what feminism looks within various religious paradigms: Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, various Protestant sects, Bahai, etc. Isaac is playing with his toothbrush in this picture.

9 pm. You can see some of the feet of the party here. Isaac went to bed shortly after this.

So that was Friday. Margaret wore a new shirt. :)

Friday, September 16, 2011


6 and 7 am. Too tired. Slept in.

8 am. Small people running around.

9 am. On the way to the grocery store. Actually, that's a lie. This was taken sometime after 9:30 after buckling them in to go home, but I forgot to snap a 9 am picture. Margaret is definitely eating something full of sugar.

10 am. Margaret decides to finish her breakfast. Whatever she doesn't eat, I leave out for her to graze on all morning.

11 am. At the park, getting ready to go to the farm.

12 pm. Look, goats! Notice how Margaret is far, far away. She didn't want to get anywhere near the animals.

1 pm. Back at that little park for a picnic. Isaac tries to get to the water fountain. He literally stood on that little step for 20 minutes trying to get to it.

2 pm. Isaac fell asleep on the way home and transferred over to the bed for his nap. Diaper next to him waiting for him to wake up! Also somehow has my keys next to him.

3 pm. Margaret plays board games while I write an article to send in to a magazine. Unfortunately, not the one I did research for the day before. That would make me look productive. This one was completely different.

4 pm. Still asleep. I finished up that article before 5 and afterwards, I was dead tired. But it was one of the best things I've written in a long time. It's like my writing mojo came back for a 2 hour period just to leave me high and dry and unable to stay awake even while knitting.

5 pm. State of the living room.

6 pm. State of the kitchen.

7 pm. Playing with Daddy.

8 pm. I snapped this on my way to go nurse Isaac down.

I was so tired, so I fell asleep shortly after 9.

Also, nobody comment on the fact that Margaret has worn that shirt 3 days now.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


6 am. Alarm rings. I lie in bed.

7 am. Off to meet my running buddy. She wasn't there, though. She's in the process of moving out this weekend, so I guess we're done with that! I ran the half mile home, though. Man that hurt considering how I wasn't feeling well the day before.

8am I was doing dishes, but Isaac wanted to be held.

9 am. Margaret is reading a knitting comic book. Yes, you read that right.

10 am At the park! It was really chilly.

11 am. More park! Also took a breastfeeding help call while at the park.

12 pm.  Still at the park. Nursing to keep warm.

1 pm. Home and having lunch. Isaac is napping from the festivities.

2 pm. Some quiet time playing board games with herself.

3 pm and 4 pm. Margaret magically took a nap for the first time in 2 weeks, so I had time for some research for an article I want to write and took another breastfeeding help call. Also, note the board games are still out. Check out our ratty chairs. I'm looking into reupholstering them with some knitted portrayals of Mario levels.

5 pm. Making cookies to kill the time before getting Daddy. Danced to Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga while cookies were baking.

6 pm. Daddy is making dinner. Taco salad!

7 pm. Hanging around until bed time.

No picture for 8 pm because I was nursing Isaac to sleep.

9 pm Margaret fell asleep in the laundry basket while reading a book by the light of the moon from the window. That's her chin on the window sill.