Saturday 30 April 2011

Weekend Reading

Still visiting family, but here are some interesting articles I've had hanging around in my bookmarks waiting to share with you for quite a while. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday 27 April 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Discovery

"Look! Now my shadow only has one leg!"

(Pardon the quiet around here lately; we're visiting family and enjoying every minute of it!)

Sunday 24 April 2011

Oh joyous day!

Christ has risen!

"You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him."
Mark 16:6b

The Lord has risen indeed!

Jesus said to her,
"I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?

John 11:25-26

Saturday 23 April 2011

Friday 22 April 2011


"Can we go outside?"

I always fight it. Whether silently or out loud, I always fight it. I don't want to go outside! I want to stay inside, with my warmth and my fireplace and my computer and my comfy clothes. I don't want to go outside!

But why not? Every time I do, I feel better. We all cheer up. The sunshine and fresh air feel wonderful. My mind appreciates the opportunity to slow down, relax, and enjoy the quiet. Even a walk in the rain lifts our spirits!

And yet I still fight it. Why is it so hard to do the things that we know will make us feel better - physically, emotionally, and spiritually?

Why is it so hard to go to bed earlier at night, knowing I don't feel or act well when I'm short on sleep?

Why is it so hard to start my day quietly with God, even though I know I'll feel more centered if I do?

Why is it so hard to avoid giving in to sugar cravings, despite a history that proves I feel better when I eat fresh foods instead?

Why is it so hard to focus on all I have to be grateful for instead of my frustrations and complaints?

Why is it so hard to commit to memorizing Scripture, hiding those life-giving Words in my heart?

Why is it so hard to close the laptop? To stay on top of the housework? To ask for help when I need it?

Why are we so bent on self-destruction? All of us, our own personal weaknesses?

But then, hasn't that always been the question? Since the beginning of it all, when we chose to ignore reality and believe a lie, embarking on a journey of self-destruction, we've been asking this very question - why.

We follow the stories of self-destruction throughout our history. Repeatedly, we choose fleeting pleasures over lasting joy. We mourn the miraculous. We exchange life for death.

We are like the men in Babylonia, proud in our self-sufficiency. Like Pharaoh, refusing to yield no matter what harm befalls us. The Israelites, scorning that which sustains us. Namaan, believing our way is better. The prodigal son, reckless with that which should be precious to us, blind to the good that we already have. Peter, afraid to accept the best for our lives. The Pharisees, wanting the easy, familiar, and comfortable over the heart-wrenching, soul-touching deepness of truth.

That journey of self-destruction has led us here - Good Friday. And it is good. The Son of God laid down His life for our self-destruction, our sin, our choosing of death.

The cycle has been broken, and our journey towards renewed wholeness has begun.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree,
so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness;
by his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24

Wednesday 20 April 2011

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Getting outside, rain or shine

Shortly after beginning our evening walk, the rain started.

Well, maybe it'll let up right away. Let's just keep going.

It didn't let up.

But you know what? It ended up being one of the best walks we've had in a while. We listened to the various sounds of rain falling on things. We inhaled the heady scent of rain and damp soil and wet moss. We licked raindrops off our lips and shook water out of our hair. When we returned home - wet through, tired, but in good spirits - we exchanged our dripping clothes for warm pajamas and snuggled in front of the fireplace. A snack, a bedtime story, and off to bed!

The rain has kept us inside far too often - but it doesn't have to. Getting outside in the rain is the ultimate sensory activity for children, with the potential to engage all five senses.

With that in mind, here are a few favourite outdoor rainy day activities to spark your imagination (and mine!) during this rainy spring season:

Puddles: The essential rainy day activity, puddle jumping is particularly tantalizing and satisfying for children.

Mud: Get dirty? Yes, please! There's nothing quite like the feeling of mud squishing between fingers and toes.

Sticks: Find a fast-flowing ditch of water and start dropping things in. What sinks? What floats? Play Pooh sticks and see which one wins the race!

Ditches: Use shovels and sticks to channel a stream of water through ditches in the mud or sand. Add popsicle-stick bridges, mud castles, and stick flagpoles to make a whole city!

Nature walk: The classic family activity, a nature walk becomes a whole new experience in the rain.

So break out those rain boots and splash pants and get outside!

What is your favourite outdoor rainy day activity?

Natural Parents Network: Volunteer Posts

Natural Parents Network is a community of natural-minded parents with a mission to inform, empower, and inspire. “Natural parenting” is based on a desire to live and parent responsively and consciously, including Attachment/Responsive Parenting, Ecological Responsibility and Love of Nature, Holistic Health Practices, and Natural Learning.

As Articles Editor, I can vouch for the great work Natural Parents Network is doing. Today I'd like to share with you some of the best posts written by NPN editors, mentors, authors and moderators, all volunteers for this growing community. If you haven't yet, I encourage you to join the NPN community on their website, Facebook and Twitter.

Visit Natural Parents Network

Joella at Fine and Fair discusses her unique perspective of a controversial toy in her unusual gripe with Bebe Gloton.

Amy at Innate Wholeness offers simple tips to be present with family whether you're having fun and want to soak it up like a sponge or would rather run and hide in a cave.

Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares sound bites from her miscarriage journey of forgiveness and gratitude.

Shannon at Pineapples and Artichokes writes about how she is trying to raise her daughter to be accepting of everyone.

Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses the overuse of the word "no" and offers some aid in finding creative ways to avoid "no."

Melissa at The New Mommy Files: Memories, Milestones and Missteps makes a compelling case for instinctual mothering.

Amanda at Let's Take the Metro shares a comprehensive list of food she always keeps on hand.

Suchada at Mama Eve writes a heartfelt letter chronicling her journey through a difficult transition with sleep, crying, and balancing closeness with boundaries.

Shannon at The ArtsyMama shares her list of ten things she wishes she knew before the birth of her son.

Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings offers tips and tricks for babywearing two.

Julia at A Little Bit of All of It tells the story of how motherhood came to her and how a miscarriage shaped her feelings and perceptions surrounding the birth of her first daughter.

Emily at Embrita Blogging shares a collection of photos depicting ten things that make her happy.

Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses postpartum sex versus sex before kids.

As part of an ongoing series about balance, Amy at Anktangle writes about a daily ritual she has adopted to help her maintain balance in her life.

Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife is reminded that while the days may sometimes be long, the years are short, and after a rough day the best thing to do is give thanks for the best parts and try again tomorrow.

Dionna at Code Name: Mama offers seven alternatives to saying "good job", ideas to really connect with and nurture your child.

Darcel at The Mahogany Way has the ultimate boredom busting activity for children of all ages.

Alicia at Lactation Narration discusses the long journey of child-led weaning, during which she thought several times that her child was weaned before she really was.

Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children talks about how letting go of the illusion of control opens up a an entirely new world.

Luschka at Diary of a First Child talks about the battle between breastfeeding and formula feeding mothers and the industry that stokes the flames of a war on mothers.

Mary at The Accidental Natural Mama recounts her journey to mama-hood.

Sheryl at Little Snowflakes talks about the the benefits of nursing a child to sleep.

Rachael at The Variegated Life meditates on the moment when she first saw herself fully embodying her life as a mother.

I hope you enjoy these links, and that they give you plenty of encouragement, inspiration, and a little something to think about!

Do you have a piece you are particularly proud of? Share it in the comments below!

Saturday 16 April 2011

Weekend Reading

Friday 15 April 2011

My darling four year old

Tomorrow you turn four, my precious boy.

Birthdays always make this momma of yours all sentimental. I start thinking about how much you've grown over the past year, about all the things that make you the unique child you are. You, who first made me a mother. You, who made me understand this sort of crazy love. You, who taught me so much in the four short years you've been in my life.

You have a love for learning that is simply inspirational. Your days are filled with questions, hopping from one subject to the next - hail to lightning to volcanoes to skeletons to vehicles to cars to roller coasters and all the rest.

You asked me recently about the ring on my finger. I told you what it meant and about how your Daddy gave it to me on the day we got married. You asked if you were there. I always wondered how that topic would come up. What would I say? Yes, I told you. You were in my tummy, and you were born shortly after. I wonder how you'll feel about that when you're older. I hope you'll always know how much you were loved and adored right from the beginning. You were the start of so much that is good and wonderful in my life, the catalyst for so much growth and healing. You were the best sort of surprise I could ever be blessed with.

Now you're a big brother, and you're always asking me when we'll have more! Few things make me happier than seeing you and your brother giggling away as you play together. You are so protective of him. I watched you yesterday at playgroup, when your friend yelled at your brother and made him cry. You puffed out your chest and said in your biggest, firmest voice, "do NOT be mean to my brother. He does NOT like that." Your friend quailed under your stern command, and the two of you returned to your playdough while your brother wandered off to find something else to capture his attention. I was so proud of you.

Your assertiveness will serve you well in life. It can be a hard pill to swallow when you're on the receiving end, however. It wasn't long ago that I was taking my bad mood out on you, snapping at you over nothing at all, when you looked at me and gently but firmly told me, "you're making a bad choice right now, Mommy." You were right, I was. I'm grateful that you were able to recognize that and not afraid to make me aware of it, too.

Before I had you, I was nervous about the idea of raising a boy. You have six aunties; girls I can do. Boys were a foreign creature to me. But you - oh, you. You are all boy and I love every dirt-filled minute of it. Just today I cleaned you up so you could go pick up your Oma and Opa from the airport, and we hadn't even made it to the car before you were covered in dirt again. You love nothing more than to run and crash and laugh and fall and run and crash some more. I can't keep you in decent pants; the holes seem to grow in the knees overnight. You are delightfully rough-and-tumble, and I love it.

I don't know how to put your essence down in writing. You are just you. Exuberant, joyful you. Everything you do, you do all-out. The way you move, learn, create, love, you hold nothing back. I am so blessed to have been given the gift of raising you.

Happy birthday, darling.

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Nostalgia

April 2010 - looking through old pictures after losing some recently.

"Did you just lick him?"
"Don't lick your brother."

Tuesday 12 April 2011

Ebb and flow

The dishes pile up. I wash them, make room for new ones.

The laundry rises. I wash, and it rises again.

I change a diaper, clean a sticky face, sweep crumbs off the floor.

Daily, this ebb and flow.

Some days I allow my joy to do the same thing - ebb and flow, along with the highs and lows of the day.

After the older's playdate and the younger's morning with me, the phone rang. My computer was ready to be picked up. No, they hadn't been able to recover any data from the dead hard drive. All of my pictures, my writing, my work, my taxes, all gone save for what I had deemed important enough to back up on an external drive. When had I last backed up our photos?


We all headed to the mall first. Had lunch, browsed the stores. Picked up new dry-erase markers so the boys could continue their window masterpieces. Bought an over-sized ball for the toddler, ball-obsessed child that he is. We delighted in his excitement.


Picked up the computer and headed home. Slipped away for a rare child-free shower. Opened the pink box I'd picked up at the grocery store the week before. Told myself not to take it, I'd only end up feeling disappointed if it was negative. Surely there were other explanations for my recent bouts of dizziness and nausea, for my exhaustion and bad temper, for my perpetually stuffed nose so reminiscent of the early weeks of my second pregnancy. Took it anyway. Negative. Disappointment. (Why? I have a baby right now. I'm in no rush to push him to grow up, adopt the role of older brother too soon. I have no strong desire to be pregnant already...and yet how quickly I become attached the idea of being pregnant!)


The older one requests a bath. I get him set up, keep the younger one out, let him play for a while. He comes out later, wrinkled and shivering. Did you empty the tub? He avoids the question, tells me about playing with his new bath toys. Yes, but did you empty the tub? A loud sploosh from the bathroom answers my question. I run in to pull the baby out but find him grinning instead, pleased with himself and amused to be in the bathtub fully dressed. Everyone laughs, Daddy brings the camera, big brother climbs back in to play for a while longer.


And then all the pictures are gone, backup drive wiped clean. What has he done, why can't he ever leave well enough alone, why isn't he ever careful?


More tinkering and he finds what he'd lost.


But I haven't backed up since mid-December and there go all of the baby's first birthday pictures, Christmas pictures, everything from the first months of this year. How could I be so irresponsible?


We settled in for a light supper, make it a family movie night. We laugh at the plot and I watch them all, tell myself that this is what matters, the doing, the being, the memories created even without pictures to document them.


The day finally ends and I lay down, weary, ready to pour out disappointment and exhaustion. Instead I am caught by surprise as gratitude rises. Thank you for these boys...for this man...for memories of the past and hope for the future. Thank you.

Monday 11 April 2011

A morning with my second child

My preschooler had his very first playdate without me on Saturday. He looked so grown up, backpack on, holding his friend's hand as they followed her mother across the parking lot towards the Aquarium. I'll admit it, I sniffled - just a bit.

With the older boy enjoying his first playdate without me, the younger boy got to spend his first full morning with me.

He's a fun kid - I already knew that - but after spending a whole morning with just him? He's a fun kid!

We started the morning off with a slow browse through a thrift store. He was very excited when I let him walk instead of wearing him like I usually do. He chattered away as I browsed the books, occasionally taking a few sly steps down the aisle, grinning cheekily as he got further and further away from me. He pushed every button he could find in the toy aisle, calling me over to reach things that caught his attention on the higher shelves. We left half an hour later, a few dollars poorer and three books richer.

Next we stopped at a cute little coffee shop I've been wanting to check out for a while. (Laughing Bean Coffee Co, for the locals reading. I highly recommend this place - delicious food and drinks, excellent service, and a really fun atmosphere. As a bonus, they have a highchair available, something my favourite local tea shop is sadly missing.) We shared a cinnamon bun before heading to the mall, chai tea latte to go, so he could stretch his legs at the play center.

After he'd played for a while, we wandered through the mall. I picked up some streamers, balloons, and candles for the older boy's birthday on Saturday. I also picked up - gasp! - a few shirts for me! This was a rare treat indeed. There was a rather interesting moment in the change room, involving a loudly ringing cell phone, a toddler trying to escape under the door, and a distinct lack of a shirt, but the moment passed and all was well again. Plus, new shirts, so all-in-all it was definitely worth it.

After receiving the call to let me know the older boy was on his way back home, we headed back home ourselves. The little guy was so worn out from our morning that he fell asleep before we'd even gotten out of the parking lot.

Those four solid hours together gave me a renewed appreciation for the unique and fun individual he is. He has preferences and desires along with the ability to make them known - without shrieking! He listens and responds when I ask him a question. He picks up new concepts at a startling rate. He is silly one moment and sweet the next. He gives the best hugs and the sloppiest kisses. He's his own little person!

Little things, obvious things, and yet too often these are the very things that get hidden behind his older brother's bigger, louder, more exuberant personality. More often than not, if I'm going out with only one of them, it's with the older one while the younger is napping. It's the older one I've viewed as needing it more - he doesn't get the focused attention he did pre-brother, he's old enough to be excited by the prospect of special time with Mommy or Daddy, he [insert all the other reasons I've been giving myself here].

But that morning together was such a special time with my younger son; it's clear to me now that I need to make sure I get one-on-one time with each of my sweet boys. I've been so worried since his birth that he would get the raw end of the deal as the second child - all the hand-me-downs he receives, all his accomplishments that have already been achieved by his brother, fewer presents because what does he really need that his brother hasn't already been given in years past? - and yet somehow I've still allowed myself to ignore this important part of our relationship.

He's not just "the baby" anymore. He's our little boy, this unique individual forming his own unique relationship with each of us, and he needs those special times of undivided attention with us just as much as his older brother does.

I didn't think I could love anyone as much as my first son, until this little man came along and proved me wrong. He is absolutely delightful.

Two sweet and silly boys. I am a blessed mother indeed.

Saturday 9 April 2011

Thursday 7 April 2011

A God Who Sings

The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
Zephaniah 3:17

He sings! Can you even imagine it? It is enough to make this battered soul weep with joy and relief.

There are days when I wonder if I'll ever fully let go of the angry God that has been so deeply written into the pages of my life. God as stern judge and punisher. Santa-Claus-in-the-sky, with his nice list and naughty list, pen poised over the latter just waiting for me to slip up.

And I do (oh, how I do). I slip up. I do that which I do not want to do...and then I do it again.

I hear those echoes from the past every time. "You better pray - and pray hard - for God to forgive you." A reluctant absolver, letting go of my sins grudgingly.

Mockingly, bitingly, "Is that what the God you claim you love would want you to do?" A God whose list of rules has been drawn up by man, who demands perfection even here on earth, who scoffs at my attempts to live a life that pleases Him.

But now - praise the Lord - come ever more frequently these moments when I discover something new about this angry God. There is such peace in finally coming to know Him as He truly is, a God Who rejoices over His children with singing. He enjoys His children, delights in them, rejoices over them, and sings over them! He loves them with an everlasting love and draws them with unfailing kindness (Jeremiah 31:3).

Joy. Love. Peace. Grace.

God is good.

How great the love the Lord has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!
For that is what we are!
1 John 3:1

Wednesday 6 April 2011

So confused

Guys, next time I post my Wordless Wednesday post on a Tuesday...


(Yes, I already went back and changed the date on that post, because it would just feel unfinished and wrong to leave a Wordless Wednesday post with a Tuesday date. I can't help it, I'm obsessive that way.)

I have been so confused all day. Need to get this done, it has to be done before Friday, and today's Thursday because yesterday was Wednesday because I posted my Wordless Wednesday pictures...except I watched the baby today, so doesn't that make today Wednesday?

You'd think I'd only have to go through that train of thought once before figuring things out.

But no.

And even when I did finally clue in, I still got confused later on, thinking it was Thursday because yesterday I posted my Wordless Wednesday post...

There's a good chance I need some extra sleep tonight.

Wordless Wednesday: Today's creations

Monday 4 April 2011

Attachment Parenting Series: Summary

Welcome to our eighth installment of the Attachment Parenting Series - a summary of the "Seven Baby B's" and a new Attachment Parenting Series lineup!

Birth Bonding

Birth bonding should be considered a head start rather than an essential element in the parent/child relationship. Because it does have a number of benefits, however, we should seek to encourage birth bonding as much as possible. This can be achieved through gentle birth choices and through an immediate postpartum opportunity to bond that takes advantage of the infant's "sensitive period" of quiet alertness.

This immediate bonding does not always happen, however. Extenuating circumstances may temporarily prohibit such an opportunity, in which case bonding should begin or resume as soon as circumstances allow. It is also within the range of normal for a parent to not feel an immediate attachment to the child, in which case actions that encourage bonding should be continued as the relationship slowly develops.

Birth bonding allows the natural attachment-promoting behaviors of the infant to join with the intuitive caregiving qualities of the parent. It allows the parent and child to get off to the right start at a time when the pair is most primed for such an attachment. Ultimately, however, we must remain mindful that early bonding with a newborn is only one factor in the complex relationship between parent and child.

Michelle at The Parent Vortex shared her post titled "Why Prepare for a Natural Childbirth?".


Breastfeeding is the most normative way of feeding a baby. It has numerous physical, emotional, and relational benefits for both the mother and child. It is a mother's first foray into learning to read, trust, and respond to her child's cues. As the mother and child learn to communicate through the giving and receiving of these cues, a strong connection grows between them. This connection and its resulting mutual trust and sensitivity will form the basis of the parent/child relationship and become the foundation upon which future discipline will rely.

It is important that the breastfeeding relationship get off to a good start. This can be accomplished through education, preparation, gentle birth choices, immediate postpartum bonding, and frequent nursing sessions. The baby should be fed on cue to ensure the mother builds a sufficient and well-established milk supply. Persevering through any early breastfeeding pain and difficulties will more often than not be rewarded with a long and satisfying breastfeeding relationship. Breastmilk should be the primary source of nutrition throughout the baby's first year, with any introduction of solids being considered play and exploration for the child. For the sake of the breastfeeding relationship, nursing manners should not be ignored.

Extended breastfeeding provides a growing toddler and young child with security and reassurance, allowing the child to grow into an emotionally secure, empathetic, and independent individual. While a child-led approach to weaning is ideal, many mothers choose to initiate weaning before the child is fully ready. This mother-led weaning should be gradual, gentle, and flexible. A good beginning may be partial weaning, in which some feedings are eliminated in order to allow the breastfeeding relationship as a whole to continue.

When direct breastfeeding is not an option, alternative feeding methods can be explored which support the attachment-related benefits of breastfeeding. These methods will depend on the particular circumstances, but may include the use of bottle alternatives, breastmilk alternatives, and/or bottle-nursing. Skin-to-skin contact is important in all cases. Regardless of the feeding method chosen, a mother must become adept at reading, trusting, and responding to her child's cues.

Michelle shared her review of Kellymom. Annie at PhD in Parenting shared her video about how covering up is a feminist issue.


Babywearing is the most natural way to keep your baby close while tending to the demands of daily life. It provides numerous physical, emotional, intellectual, relational, and practical benefits for both parent and child. It regulates the infant, provides emotional security, encourages learning, enhances parent/child communication, and brings with it many conveniences.

There are several styles of baby carriers, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Both use and comfort should be considered when purchasing a carrier.

When babywearing is not an option, the parent should place particular emphasis on physical closeness, verbal interaction, and eye contact. This will provide the baby with many of the benefits that would otherwise be gained through babywearing, including system regulation, brain development, language skills, responsiveness, and bonding. Ultimately, communication and connection must be encouraged in whatever form best suits the needs of the parent and child.

Candace shared her babywearing website Barefoot Buttercup. Genevieve at Uniquely Normal Mom described her different carriers in Yes! I do wear my baby!. Michelle shared her journey in babywearing as well.

Bedding close to baby

Sleeping with your baby during the night and carrying him throughout the day is the most natural way to meets the baby's physiological and psychological needs. It allows the parent to respond quickly to the baby's cues with minimal disruption to sleep.

Co-sleeping encourages frequent breastfeeding. It has numerous physiological benefits, including the regulation of infant breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and sleep patterns and a reduced risk of SIDS. It increases the ability of the parent to hear and intervene if the child is in distress. Both parent and child experience fewer sleep disruptions when co-sleeping. Co-sleeping has psychological benefits as well, allowing the parent to better meet the child's emotional and nighttime needs, resulting in the trust and security a child needs to grow into a confident independence. It promotes attachment between parent and child and allow reconnection for the working parent.

Despite warnings against placing a baby in an adult bed, statistics reveal that when common-sense safety guidelines are followed, co-sleeping is safer than placing a child to sleep in a crib in a separate room.

Nighttime sleep arrangements should remain flexible in order to meet the changing needs of both parent and child. Necessary transitions should be undertaken in a gentle and responsive manner. A gradual approach is often a good first step when moving a child out of the adult bed.

If parents are unable or unwilling to bed-share, they may wish to consider other forms of co-sleeping such as side-carring or room-sharing. If they do choose a solitary sleep arrangement for their baby, it remains important that they be available to meet the nighttime needs of their baby. Parents can emphasize a high-touch relationship with their baby during the day in order to make up for the decreased amount of touch a baby receives when sleeping alone.

Parents should be assured that choosing to welcome your baby into your bed is not spoiling him or allowing him to manipulate you. Rather, co-sleeping is the normative practice worldwide and throughout history, biologically intended for the baby's safety and security. Regardless of the chosen sleep arrangements, being aware of and responsive to the child's nighttime needs will help to promote connection and attachment between parent and child.

Young Mom at Permission to Live shared her guest post on sleep solutions.

Belief in the language value of your baby's cry

Belief in the language value of your baby's cry reflects an awareness that babies cry to communicate, not manipulate. As the parent promptly and calmly responds to the baby's cries, the baby learns to trust that his needs will be met while the parent learns to trust in their ability to meet those needs. This is the beginning of parent/child communication.

A mother is biologically designed to respond to her baby's cries. When a parent fails to sensitively respond to those cries, parent/child communication is inhibited. The baby experiences significant psychological and physiological distress, which can have lasting implications on the child's life. When the parent responds to the baby's cries without judgment, displeasure, or invalidation of his needs, yet showing no undue concern or anxiety, the child is able to grow into a secure and compassionate adult capable of forming healthy relationships.

While the parent cannot always stop the baby from crying, they can acknowledge the baby's cries and attempt to sooth, distract, or direct the expression of those emotions. If the parent is feeling overwhelmed by the baby's cries, leaving the baby to cry alone for a few minutes while the parent regroups is always preferable to staying and reaching the point of causing harm to the baby. A strong support system is invaluable in providing both encouragement and practical help.

You can spoil a child by giving him everything he wants, and you can spoil a child by ignoring him, but you cannot spoil a child by responding to his cries. Understanding the language value of a baby's cry is imperative in developing healthy parent/child communication and a strong, lasting attachment.

Chalise at Memphis Misfit Mama alerted us to her Why I'm Not Babywise Series. Michelle shared her thoughts on crying and attachment parenting.

Beware of baby trainers

Attachment parenting warns parents to be wary of baby-training advice that recommends adopting a rigid schedule-based style of parenting or changing a baby's behaviour for convenience purposes. This advise undermines the parent's own expertise in regards to their child, discouraging the parent from trusting their instincts or their baby's cues.

These one-size-fits-all rules fail to take into account the baby's feelings and individual needs. They are a threat to breastfeeding, leading to failure to thrive when taken to the extreme. The parent learns to watch the clock, missing opportunities to learn and respond to their baby's cues. Parents are often encouraged to leave their children to cry in order to establish the desired sleep patterns, despite the dangers associated with excessive crying. A hands-off style of parenting is often encouraged to the detriment of the child and the parent/child bond. Because the parent loses the ability to trust their intuition and the baby's cues, they become susceptible to taking the advice to a dangerous extreme.

When listening to or reading baby-training advice, the discerning parent will watch for red flags, such as advice that discourages them from comforting a crying baby, feeding a hungry baby, or keeping their baby close. When implementing a baby-training method, it becomes even more important to watch the baby closely both for cues that indicate an individual need as well as signs of physical danger such as slow weight gain or dehydration. Whatever the advice, the parent should always trust their instincts. When change is needed, gentler alternatives should be explored before harsh baby-training methods. For parents who have followed the advice of baby trainers at the expense of their instincts, expertise, and trust in their child's cues, it is important that the parent/child pair reestablish connection going forward.

Babyhood lasts only a short time, but the ramifications of this stage last a lifetime. Long-term health and attachment should not be exchanged for short-term convenience. Rather than undermining the parent's expertise and intuition, attachment parenting encourages the parent to know their individual child and respond to their child's cues, leading to confident parents and emotionally-secure children.

Rosemary Jones at Rosmarinus Officinalis shared her post on crying it out. Theresa at Confessions of a High-heel Wearing Hippie Mommy described her concerns with baby trainers. JoAnna at Pink Riot shared her thoughts on sleep training.


In order for attachment parenting to be sustainable in the long-term, there must be balance. This balance must be present with the child (attentiveness without indulgence), with the spouse (meeting the needs of the marriage without neglecting the needs of the child), and within the parent (meeting the needs of the individual). Failing to validate and meet, as far as possible, the needs of all members of the family will quickly lead to resentment, exhaustion, and burnout.

Imbalances may occur due to an over-focus on one area to the detriment of others, a lack of support, or a natural change in circumstances that necessitates finding a new balance. This new balance can be achieved by changing what needs to be changed in a way that continues to meet the child's needs, asking for help from others, breaking unhealthy cycles by meeting the child's needs first, and reevaluating and prioritizing.

The varying stages of childhood and the ever-shifting nature of family dynamics will create a regular cycle of balance and imbalance. It is important that a period of imbalance be quickly recognized and resolved in order to regain equilibrium. The parent's instincts and the child's needs should never be sacrificed in the name of forced attachment parenting ideals or expectations.

Michelle shared her post on balance, which she describes as the most important - and most often overlooked - attachment parenting principle.

Up next!

Working through the Seven Baby B's in the Attachment Parenting Series proved to be immensely beneficial in my own life. I appreciated the opportunity to really examine and solidify my thoughts on each topic, as well as the renewed focus it gave me in my own parenting. I plan to continue the Attachment Parenting Series, taking a look at various other aspects of Attachment Parenting beyond the Baby B's. I will be posting a new installment every other week. The current lineup includes:

  • Attachment Parenting: A father's role
  • Attachment Parenting: A Christian perspective
  • Attachment Parenting: Beyond the baby years

I look forward to continuing this series and hearing your thoughts on the various issues!

Is there a particular aspect of Attachment Parenting that you'd like to see explored in the series? Let me know in the comments and I'll be sure to include it!

Saturday 2 April 2011

Weekend Reading (and an award!)

...and some extra reading this weekend! Both The Modern Aboriginal Mama and Dulce de leche have awarded me the Stylish Blogger Award. Thank you both! Your thoughtfulness made me smile.

As a recipient, there are a few things I have been asked to do:

  • Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award
  • Share 7 things about yourself
  • Award 10-15 blogs you feel deserve this award
  • Contact the bloggers and let them know about their award

Alright then, here goes!

1. ...I'm really bad at these open-ended things. Seriously, I way over-analyze them. I'm sitting here staring at the blank screen trying to think of The Seven Things you should know about me. Which, really, is one thing: I analyze everything to death. Everything. To death.

2. I have long scars on both feet from foot surgery I had when I was 12. Said foot surgery led to the discovery that I am allergic to morphine, my only (known) allergy. Being in a wheelchair all summer wasn't the most fun experience I've ever had!

3. I'm an adrenaline junkie. Bring on the roller coasters and the drops of doom. I'd love to go skydiving some day. My husband, on the other hand, is firmly in the "why would you willingly jump out of a perfectly good airplane??" camp. Party pooper.

4. Stealing from The Modern Aboriginal Mama's list, I used to play World of Warcraft with my husband on a daily basis. I started playing when I was pregnant with the boy, and I continued to play after he was born (it was the perfect nursing and napping activity). I was an awesome Tauren Druid. I became very fond of her. I haven't played in a year or so, but I'm happy to know she'll still be there if/when I decide to pick it up again.

5. I'm an introvert, and I'm shy on top of that. Talk about a double whammy when it comes to finding community and fellowship! I'm far better with written communication than I am with spoken communication. I like to tell myself I'm getting better at not being so socially awkward, but I could be fooling myself. Ignorance is bliss though, right?

6. As a child, I swore I would never get married, I would just adopt a little girl and we'd have the whole Gilmore Girls relationship thing going on. It would be great. Once I became a mother, I changed my mind and decided I wanted a whole pack of kids (my first was just that awesome). Now that I have two, the idea of a whole pack of them is somewhat unsettling. I'm so intrigued to find out what'll happen in the end. (Yes, I tend to watch my life from a third-person perspective - ooh, interesting, I wonder what will happen to them next!)

7. On that note, I used to have this infuriating habit of silently narrating my entire life in the third-person. There she sat, trying to come up with a seventh item that was interesting and personal without being too personal. Her fingers tapped anxiously on the keyboard. The cat stretched in front of her, disrupting her train of thought...yeah. It drove me nuts. What can I say? I'm special like that.

And that's seven! Now on to the fun part: choosing some of my favourite bloggers to award this to. Consider it a bunch of awesome bonus weekend reading. There's some good stuff in these blogs! In alphabetical order, because the ex-librarian in me demands it:

As For Me and My Home: Trace is one of the sweetest ladies I have ever had the privilege of meeting (and her boy is just precious!). Her blog is such a peaceful place to hang out and read about all the special ways she incorporates traditions and celebrations into her family's life.

Barefoot Buttercup: I just love her babywearing blog. Information, DIY, and daily babywearing moments make this a nicely rounded babywearing resource. Her other blog, Barefoot, Christian and Crunchy, is excellent as well.

Elizabeth Esther: It doesn't get more real than this. Elizabeth's blog is the perfect combination of raw honesty and sharp wit.

Emerging Mummy: Love it. Just love it. Sarah's blog is beautiful, funny, sweet, raw, tender, insightful, and fun. Sarah is someone I would love to know in person.

Living, Learning and Loving Simply: Encouraging, beautiful, and inspiring, Aimee's blog is one I'm always happy to see pop up in my feed reader.

Mashena: Nicole's blog is one that always makes me want to brew a cup of tea. It's just cozy that way. Definitely check out her thought-provoking post on Health At Every Size in the weekend reading above.

Memphis Misfit Mama: Definitely a treasure, this one. Expect to see her Why I'm Not Babywise Series featured in a weekend reading here as soon as it's done!

MultiFACEted: Karyn doesn't post anywhere near often enough, especially about her stinkin' adorable little boy, but when she does, it's good. Plus, does it get any better than her blog header?? Not that I've ever seen. Stylish indeed!

Permission to Live: Here is true writer. I am loving her ongoing courtship story.

PhD in Parenting: This is the go-to blog for research-based parenting information. I appreciate Annie's willingness to tackle big issues, like Nestle and covering up when breastfeeding.

SortaCrunchy: I don't think Megan has ever written anything that didn't resonate with me. Challenging, encouraging, and inspiring, here is true community.

The Not-Ever-Still Life: A new favourite of mine, Robin's posts always make me smile. I adore her way of taking simple moments and making them come alive. Check out her post A fond farewell for a perfect example.

The Parent Vortex: One of the top resources for gentle discipline information, parenting book reviews, and mindful living. Her Playful Self-Discipline project is always thought-provoking - sometimes uncomfortably so! As I have the distinct privilege of knowing Michelle in person, I can vouch for her awesomeness and authenticity.

Walk Slowly, Live Wildly: You don't get more stylish than Sara. I am ridiculously jealous of her gorgeous dreads. Her words and pictures never fail to make me smile.

There you have it! Happy reading, and happy weekend!