Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Vermont has been rainy and cold recently but apparently, we are going to have incredible weather this weekend. I'm really excited. Time to start planning some things to do with Noah on Thursday and Friday before we leave for New Hampshire.
Definitely going to go see Bryan for lunch one of those days. There is a great park right next door and Noah will loveee to go socialize and play on the slides in the sunshine. Can you tell I'm thrilled?
Ohhh summmmerr I can't wait for you to get here but at the same time, I'm afraid you'll go by too fast again.
Today I felt very productive. Productivity really is the BEST feeling. When I arrived home from work at 9:00 am...I played with Noah, did the dishes, started a load of laundry, cleaned the whole bedroom, had snacks with Noah and we finally collasped for a two hour nap. I wish I could say I had a super nap but I was cold the whole time but so out of it I couldn't wake up enough to put on a long sleeve. Either way, I obviously slept and hopefully got some great rest.
Noah and I woke up and made lunch- he's been eating me out of house and home lately! His 15 month growth spurt must be in full swing. He is definitely going through a brain spurt too.....hehe. He is saying many new words and doing new things and just being adorable. His personality is reallllyy showing through. I love it.
This is what he ate yesterday... one egg with ham and a banana w/OJ for breakfast. 3/4 of an avocado with pirates booty veggies puffs for snack. Two cookies from grandpa (big ones...) Then some pasta and black beans along with crackers....another banana......a slice of homemade pizza. What else...I'm sure I'm forgetting something. He's eating a ton! OH! 1/2 cup of oatmeal with raisins and a bunch of raisins through out the day...Whew....and nursing a ton too...
Does this toy encourage my child's natural instinct to learn? Will it encourage him to be creative? Is it environmentally friendly? Is it going to end up tossed aside two days after he opens it?
I think these are all important questions to ask ourselves when giving or getting gifts for our kids.
One night, not long after Christmas, my pacifist friends Jay Levy and Su Zuniga quietly crept down to the basement with a hammer while their three-year-old daughter, Samantha, slept. There, they methodically banged on the belly of her new mechanical dog until it stopped yapping.
Another friend's daughter received a Victorian makeup table for her fourth birthday. "It's plastic, it's ugly, and it's huge. It's totally inappropriate for a four year old. Not to mention that my daughter is a tomboy." When asked about the fate of the gift, she replied firmly, "It is going to 'disappear' very soon."
Some parents are creative in their disposal of "junk toys," as my husband calls them. "The worst toy our daughter ever received," notes one mom, "was a hard-plastic, realistic, talking doll. She purported to be your child's 'best friend' by using a set of pre-recorded diskettes that get inserted into her back. We were saddened to think there might be some lonely children out there for whom this doll might actually be enriching. The doll stands in the center of our peace garden as our scarecrow."
But approaching friends and family about their gift choices can be awkward. As one friend put it, "I don't want them to think I disapprove of their taste." So the gifts wind up at the Salvation Army or the dump.
Making gifts "disappear" is a last resort for parents who receive junk toys--i.e., toys out of line with their values or taste. Like junk food, junk toys can be fun but are devoid of nutrition. Buying them requires little forethought. They are excessively commercial, and are often linked to cross-marketing schemes. They excite children at first, but that initial flicker doesn't endure. Also like junk food, junk toys have hidden environmental and social costs for which the consumers pay.
The issues involved in junk toys are deeper than the layer of clutter on the playroom floor. These issues are as deep as the ocean, where thousands of yellow Lego toy life rafts drifted ashore after three million toy pieces inadvertently spilled from a tanker in 1998.1 But more important than the occasional freak toy-pollution disaster are the routine environmental insults associated with most toy production.
When we buy a Barbie doll, the relatively low price belies the full cost of her petroleum-intensive plastic manufacturing process, her plastic and paper packaging, and transporting her and her billions of accessories from Southeast Asia to the US . These hidden costs, what economists call "externalities," are paid (or more commonly unpaid) not by individual consumers or corporate producers but by collective society at large. We don't-and probably can't-pay enough for the product and its packaging, shipping, and manufacture to justify the damage caused by these processes.
The vast majority of plastic commercial toys are made by children themselves, working in overseas sweatshops. Girls as young as 13 years, some working the night shift, stitch Barbie's dresses.2 In Thailand in 1993, hundreds of workers, including child laborers, died in a fire while stuffing Cabbage Patch dolls for Hasbro, Inc.3 The Asia Monitor Resource Center and the Coalition for the Charter on the Safe Production of Toys reported that Vietnamese workers making McDonald's Happy Meals toys for as little as six cents an hour had been poisoned by acetone, a chemical solvent used to manufacture plastic Disney characters such as the 101 Dalmatians line.4 All of this so that I can pull up to the drive-through window and toss my child a Happy Meal figurine? No, thanks.
Then there are the social costs of marketing. Marketers broadcast programming designed to hypnotize toddlers into "cradle-to-grave brand loyalty to these toys."5 Marketing professionals cross-reference, cross-market, and cross-pollinate products and entertainment. By intentionally blurring the distinctions between entertainment, products, school curricula, and advertisements, marketers readily capitalize on young children's limited ability to differentiate between them. It's no accident that, in the children's section of Barnes and Noble, the books starring such television-based characters as Arthur, Clifford, and Blues Clues are displayed most prominently, while the classics get the cheap seats.
Despite warnings from the American Medical Association that children who watch more than 10 hours a week of television and/or video are more likely to be overweight, aggressive, and slow to learn, more products and entertainment than ever are designed to capture the imaginations of children aged one to three years, and to encourage them to watch TV.6 Experts with PhDs conduct sophisticated focus groups to ensure that each and every episode of TV shows such as Dora the Explorer hit the mark with preschoolers.7
The TV show sells the books and movie, the movie ads sell the Happy Meal action figures, and these in turn sell next year's patented Halloween costumes. Then the media hero du jour is immortalized and consumed, literally, as a fluorescent, frosted birthday cake from the local supermarket. If you were hosting, say, a Dora the Explorer party, you could choose from more than 70 party accessories, including blinking fiesta beads.
It's brilliant marketing, and it works. The only problem is that it works against parents, children, and the environment.
North Americans have come to rely on commercial institutions to furnish our stories, heroes, icons, and expectations. The old traditions and rites of passage have been eclipsed by a boy's first Nintendo, a girl's first Barbie, a computer, a first toy gun.
Last Christmas, when the US was bombing Afghanistan, JC Penny advertised Forward Command Post, a 75-piece set that includes: a bombed and blood-stained play house, one 11 1/2-inch-high figurine in military combat gear, toy weapons, an American flag, chairs, and more.8 "Take command of your soldiers from this fully outfitted battle zone," the ad boasted. Forward Command Post is recommended for ages five and up. Last December, the Toys-"R"-Us website listed it as "sold out."
Julie Convisser, a movement therapist and mother of two small boys, worries about the messages kids get from commercial culture. "I feel like they are being groomed to be materialists, to buy into an evil-vs.-good world paradigm, and to ignore the spiritual heart of life and the bounty of nature." She buffers the influence of commercial culture as much as possible by limiting her boys' TV viewing and being picky about videos, avoiding media-promotion toys, and sending her older son to a school at which the other children's parents share her values.
Others argue that children should be exposed to commercial culture to avoid becoming victims of it. In fact, direct experience can be a fast way for kids to learn the ropes of misleading ad campaigns. Karin Purdy, mother of three, says, "I let my kids watch TV, and I let them buy some of the products they see. They are usually quite disappointed when they get them and they aren't as great as they thought. They get smarter as they get older."
Michelle Sobel, a film editor, a creator of educational software, and the mother of two girls, thinks about this issue constantly. "We live in a consumer culture and kids are going to be confronted with it all the time, despite your best attempts to control it." When her three year old, Willa, sees a seductive ad for a toy and says, "I want that!" Michelle asks, "What do you like about it?" She transforms the indulgence/denial struggle into an interesting conversation about what is appealing to her daughter. Engaged in discussion, during which mom may even begin to talk about something else, it's easier for the daughter to walk away from the toy.
Whatever their individual approaches, many parents work hard all year long to protect children from pervasive and cloying commercialism. But despite our best efforts, holidays and birthdays can become gift-crazed free-for-alls. Why allow our friends and relatives to fall into the trap of giving meaningless gifts when a simple, genuine gesture can mean so much more to the children? "Disappearing" junk toys only compounds the environmental and cultural costs; it's up to us to stop the charade and transform the culture of gift-giving.
It's perfectly natural that adults love to give children things and that children love to receive them. Even in Waldorf schools-which discourage plastics, TV, and commercial images on clothing-there exists a strong understanding that, according to writer Gisela T. O'Neil, "in the beginning of life, roughly till we reach adulthood, we are at the receiving end of life: parents, teachers, and society bestow their care upon us. Later follows the time when we ourselves are called upon to contribute to other people and to society. Think of the boundless expectations with which a young child anticipates his birthday or other gift-bestowing events, how he feels at the center of the world! Actually, most of the early part of life is a continuous receiving."9
Changing the Culture of Gifts
Alicia Daniel, field naturalist, teacher, and mother of two daughters, offers a radical checklist:
1) Will this toy eventually turn into dirt-i.e., could I compost it? Stones, snowmen, driftwood, and daisies-they will be gone, and we will be gone, and life goes on.
2) Do I know who made this toy? This question leads us to search for the hidden folk artist in each of us.
3) Is this toy beautiful? Have human hands bestowed an awkward grace, a uniqueness lacking in toys cranked out effortlessly by machine?
4) Will this toy capture a child's imagination?"10
To this list we might add: Does this gift foster my child's natural inclinations? Will it enable him to more fully engage in life? Does it help her reach her goals?
My husband and I have been proactive, perhaps downright annoying, in our efforts to work closely with the gift-givers in our children's lives. We have banned plastics and gifts made in China , and have asked that donations to nonprofit organizations be made in their names. The results have been amazing. Relatives made a hand-painted chair, built an art easel, and offered such practical and well-timed gifts as a backpack for sleepovers. They have knitted miles of handmade sweaters and blankets. Parents who hesitate to speak up for fear of offending rob their friends and family of a chance to participate more deeply in their child's life.
Head them off at the pass. If you don't offer clear choices well before a holiday or birthday, relatives and friends will buy "obligatory" gifts. Dovetail their best intentions with something your child actually wants or needs. One friend wrote in tiny italics at the bottom of her baby's birth announcement: "Please, no pastel, no plastic." We all got the message. Another suggested that we each bring a cup and saucer to a birthday party to help make her child a new tea set. Every year, my husband and I ask that guests bring a skit or song to my daughter's birthday party in lieu of a gift. It's not difficult to get them to juggle instead of buying her a Barbie, but it doesn't happen by osmosis.
Pay people for their skills, not their stuff. Last October, my daughter decided she wanted to play the violin. Her grandparents agreed to sponsor eight lessons, one for each night of Chanukah. This arrangement satisfied everyone: my parents, who from 3,000 miles away longed to instill in their granddaughter a love of classical music; my daughter, who took lessons on a time-limited, trial basis; and a talented young violin teacher, who is raising her own child and going back to school.
Give away your juiciest ideas. As your child's closest confidante, you are up to date on his or her secret interests. Being close to children gives parents a unique opportunity to clue relatives in about what gifts will have relevance to their children's lives.
The best gift I ever gave my nephew was a cardboard refrigerator box. After opening a dozen molded-plastic toys at his birthday party, he and his friends went absolutely wild over the giant carton. His mom knew how much he'd enjoyed one at a friend's house, and had passed on the clue to me. It took a bit of moxie to show up at his party with a cardboard box, but the other parents-total strangers to me at the time-congratulated me with hearty slaps on the back.
Be Prepared if it Backfires. When a friend's son was two, her parents asked what they could get him for Christmas. She explained that he liked making music, and that a drum would be nice: "My mom went to Toys-"R"-Us and bought him a battery-packed, plastic, multicolored drum machine with various buttons, high-volume percussion tracks, and multicolored blinking lights. My heart sank when he tore open the paper and I saw what it was. I was actually angry-a little at my Mom for being so clueless, and a lot at our culture, which has turned something as wonderful as a drum into this repellent mechanical thing. Fortunately, my son didn't even understand what it was. We made it 'disappear' that day and went to a fair-trade import store and bought him a handmade tom-tom drum made of wood and hide with a lovely wood drumstick. He still has it, and loves it and uses it three years later."
And if you still can't bring yourself to tell friends and relatives what your child really wants, you can always put it in writing.
It's playtime at the Geraldyn O. Foster Early Childhood Center in Bridgeton, N.J., and in one corner of a busy classroom, 4-year-olds Zee Logan and Emmy Hernandez want to play bookstore.
In a normal preschool, playing bookstore would be a pretty casual affair. They would just pick up some books, set the shiny toy cash register on the table by the blackboard, and get down to business.
But this isn't a normal school. It's based on the Tools of the Mind program. In other words, it's a school where almost every moment of the day is devoted in some way to teaching the kids — mostly low-income children who live in the poor surrounding community — how to regulate their behavior and emotions.
So before Emmy and Zee even think about picking up a toy, they sit down with their teacher at a small classroom table and fill out some paperwork.
That's right. Paperwork.
On a small blank form, they spell out their intentions. "I want to play bookstore," each girl writes with assistance from her teacher.
Then she draws a picture of herself playing bookstore.
Then, together with her teacher, she reads back her intention so that everyone is clear about what is going to happen.
Finally, each girl grabs an armful of props and makes her way to the corner, where (as in most preschool classrooms) strong disagreements about the appropriate way to play bookstore ensue.
Transformation in Play
Now, the reason that the Tools of the Mind curriculum asks kids like Zee and Emmy to fill out paperwork before they pick up the Play-Doh lies in the fact that today's play is very different from the play of past eras.
For most of human history, children played by roaming near or far in packs large and small. Younger children were supervised by older children and engaged in freewheeling imaginative play. They were pirates and princesses, aristocrats and heroes.
But, while all that play might have looked a lot like time spent doing nothing much at all, it actually helped build a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of elements, such as working memory and cognitive flexibility. But perhaps the most important is self-regulation — the ability for kids to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline. Executive function — and its self-regulation element — is important. Poor executive function is associated with high dropout rates, drug use and crime. In fact, good executive function is a better predictor of success in school than a child's IQ.
Unfortunately, play has changed dramatically during the past half-century, and according to many psychological researchers, the play that kids engage in today does not help them build executive function skills. Kids spend more time in front of televisions and video games. When they aren't in front of a screen, they often spend their time in leagues and lessons — activities parents invest in because they believe that they will help their children to excel and achieve.
And while it's true that leagues and lessons are helpful to children in many ways, researcher Deborah Leong says they have one unfortunate drawback. Leong is professor emerita of psychology and director of the Tools of the Mind Project at Metropolitan State College of Denver. She says when kids are in leagues and lessons, they are usually being regulated by adults. That means they are not able to practice regulating themselves.
"As a result," Leong says, "kids aren't developing the self-regulation skills that they used to."
That is why, in a Tools of the Mind program like the one at Geraldyn O. Foster Early Childhood Center, almost every minute of the day is spent building executive functions.
The Freeze Connection
Children walk in the door and are asked the question of the week: a practice intended to work on deliberate memory. This work is followed by a highly modified version of a musical game that might otherwise be familiar to parents of preschool children: Freeze.
In a normal game of Freeze, music plays and children dance and jiggle until the music abruptly cuts off and the children freeze in place. But in the Tools version, as the music plays, the teacher holds a picture of a stick figure in a certain pose above her head. The children are supposed to observe the position of the figure without doing it, and when the music ceases, they assume that position and that position only.
Celeste Merriweather, an early childhood supervisor at the school, explains that the important part of the Freeze game is the practice of controlling impulses by observing the stick figure without immediately doing as the stick figure does. This helps then when they're older, she says. Later in life, if they get angry, instead of punching or yelling, they're able to stop themselves.
The Freeze dance, while fun, also builds self-regulation, she says.
Merriweather ticks off a long list of other activities that teach such skills. After Freeze, there is Buddy Reading — another impulse-control practice.
As she explains it, not even recess is innocent fun: "It's not just 'run out in the yard.' No. We want them to make a plan: What do you want to do, and how do you want to do it?"
According to executive function researcher Adele Diamond, all of these little exercises genuinely do improve the ability of children to control themselves. Diamond, professor of developmental cognitive neuroscience at the University of British Columbia, recalls the very first time she ever set foot in a Tools of the Mind classroom.
"I was totally blown away. The kids were sitting together working quietly. It was like a second-grade classroom instead of a preschool classroom. I couldn't believe it," Diamond says.
Diamond has no financial or professional connection to the Tools of the Mind program. She's just a researcher who decided to test the program. She followed 147 preschoolers. Half the kids were given Tools training; half followed the regular school curriculum. After two years, the children all took a series of tests that measure executive function. The Tools kids did better.
"Children who were in the [school] district curriculum performed roughly at chance. And the kids in the Tools program were about 85 percent correct," Diamond says. "So those are big differences."
Diamond says there are potential benefits to this training that go beyond improved executive-function scores. She and several other researchers argue that children's reduced self-regulation skills may be showing up in the numbers of kids diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
"I think a lot of kids get diagnosed with ADHD now, not all but many just because they never learned how to exercise self-control, self-regulation, the executive functions early," she says.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
I was perusing the boards over at Gentle Christian Mothers and saw this posters question. As I scrolled through the responses, I was in AWE of how WISE and RIGHT the woman who answered her post was. This can be applied to kids of ALL ages and parents of all ages too!! SUCH good wise words.
Original Question: "Mama! Throwing things! Help me stop!"
.. He says while wildly throwing things around the living room. What's the deal?! What's with my suddenly deliberately do-what-i-ask-him-not-to-do child?! And then he makes sure I'm watching and asks me, almost excitedly, to help him stop?!
It's driving me NUTS. I DO NOT LIKE disobedience. I'm just beginning to realize that it makes me REALLY angry on the inside I "accidentally" grabbed him by his hair today as he was running off to hurl something else
And then all the while I think he's acting out because he's terribly emotionally traumatized and somehow that must be all my fault.
WISE Mama Reply:
My first impression of this scenario is that he wants your interaction. He's basically asking for you to physically interact with him.... almost like saying "come play with me". I would not view this as a negative thing at all.
As for the "I hate disobedience" part... I am not convinced that a 2yo CAN be obedient in the true sense of the word. Obedience is intentionally submitting your own will to someone else's, based on an established relationship of trust. (Jesus said "if you *love* me, you will keep my commands" ie. submit your own will and obey me) A toddler can't possibly understand this concept, most of the time they aren't even really clear about what you want or the why's behind it. What most parents think of as "obedience" at this age is actually "compliance". I do not think it is developmentally appropriate to expect a 2yo to be obedient OR compliant with any degree of consistency. To expect or demand this is going to set you up for a lot of frustration and conflict with your child. I honestly don't believe God hates disobedience nearly as much as we humans do, or for the same reasons. God ASKS us to obey, he encourages, guides and corrects us through his Word and his Spirit towards that goal, but he does not expect or demand consistent, instant, or unquestioning obedience. You might want to ask yourself WHY you hate disobedience so much? I know for myself, I used to get angry about it because quite honestly, it makes my life a lot more difficult when my kids don't obey me. It is a lot harder when I have to work at getting my kids to do what need to be done or stop them from getting into mischief. It makes my job as a parent a lot harder... and I resented my kids for that. Why couldn't they just obey? Didn't the Bible say that's what they were supposed to do? Turns out, I had unrealistic expectations. I felt like they SHOULD be obedient, therefore because they were NOT, they were being "bad" or "deliberately defying me", and that gave me the right to be upset with them. The fact is, little ones are just not good at complying all the time, and many of them will require more patience, time and attention than others. That's MY JOB, and if I just accept that and stop being frustrated by my own misguided expectations, then I can treat them the way God expects me to. If I am so busy being offended that my child won't do what I want, I can't focus on teaching them the right way to behave the same way God teaches *me* to behave.
Between you and your child, who do you think God is expecting the higher level of behavior from? If you, as an adult, can't stop yourself from getting angry and frustrated, then how can you reasonably expect your 2yo to keep his own behavior in line? If you can't submit your own will to God in order to display the patience and gentleness He expects you to, is it fair to expect your child to willingly submit to you? Because if you are not walking in love towards your child, you are not being obedient, either. This is something God frequently convicts me of... I need to get my own behavior in line with his will before I can start telling my child to do the same. It is far too easy to want THEM to obey, so I will not have to stretch in the areas of being patient, gentle or kind to a child who is getting on my nerves. It's so much easier to eliminate the source of annoyance than it is to deal with my own weaknesses. But is that really fair?
If your child is wildly throwing things around the living room and asks for your help to stop... show him the character of God and gently help him stop. He does not sound at all "traumatized", he's acting like a normal, active, 2yo boy! I don't see this as "acting out" at all, since every one of my boys acted pretty much the same way at that age, and my youngest one will, too, at some point. All that is required is to gently go to them and help them... if it is a real need for physical activity, then help guide him into a more appropriate activity that will allow him to get this out without hurting anyone or damaging anything. If it is just a cry for attention... then do what you can to make sure his emotional tank gets filled up. Find out the reason behind the behavior and work on eliminating it and the behavior will resolve itself. This is NOT an obedience issue, it is just a matter of finding and meeting your child's needs. Obedience does not really become an issue until your child is much older and can really comprehend what they are doing. For now, establishing a close, loving, trusting relationship is going to set a good, stable foundation for later obedience. I wish I had known this when my oldest kids were little, I got their compliance (through punishments and threats), but I lost the opportunity to teach them real obedience, and when they got older and punishments lost their effectiveness, there was nothing to base obedience on. The bonds of love and trust were not there, so they had no reason to obey me.
I'm currently working....its amazing how unorganized I feel...I really wish there was an absolutely superb app to organize me. I tried YadaHome but there are somethings I feel are missing from it..it offers a grocery list but not general shopping lists, it also doesn't have the best way of sorting tasks...like I would like to have it sort into daily, weekly, etc...and you have to set it up day by day which is annoying.
Anyyway. Just made the most incredibly banana muffins....I can't wait to give them to the kids for breakfast.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Done reading? Good. Now let’s pick this apart, shall we?
“In certain overachieving circles, breast-feeding is no longer a choice—it’s a no-exceptions requirement, the ultimate badge of responsible parenting.”
According to Rosin breastfeeding has only recently become a requirement. How interesting! I thought it was something all mammals have been doing in order to survive for thousands of years. You would think us overachievers would have known that!
“Yet the actual health benefits of breast-feeding are surprisingly thin, far thinner than most popular literature indicates”
Actually there are no health benefits to breastfeeding. You see, breastfeeding is what is biologically normal. Anything less is simply inferior.
“Is breast-feeding right for every family?”
While it may not be the preferable choice for every mother, it is the right choice for every baby. Anyone who argues otherwise is severely misinformed on human infant physiology.
“Or is it this generation’s vacuum cleaner—an instrument of misery that mostly just keeps women down?”
Again Rosin seems to think that breastfeeding is a new fad. If you are miserable and its keeping you down I think it’s safe to say: You’re doing it wrong.
Next Rosin muses about the times she told other mothers that she was planning to stop breastfeeding after one month. She says she ended up “…in the class of mom who, in a pinch, might feed her baby mashed-up Chicken McNuggets.” Is that really such an unfair comparison to lump together mothers that knowingly feed their infant an inferior product? What is really in infant formula? Let’s take a look at Enfamil, the most popular brand of formula in the United States:
• Cow milk, a substance designed for a 100 lb. creature with three stomachs.
• Extra lactose to sweeten it up a bit (and we wonder why so many people are lactose intolerant!)
• Palm Olein Oil, a modified triglyceride, which is known to cause constipation in most formula fed babies.
• Soy milk, a substance known to cause hormonal problems, especially in boys (and we wonder why kids are hitting puberty so much earlier these days!)
• Excessive amounts of iron, turning baby’s feces green and contributing to lowered I.Q. and other neurodevelopmental delays (For more on that see Martha Kerr’s 2008 research study "Neurodevelopmental Delays Associated With Iron-Fortified Formula for Healthy Infants," Medscape Psychiatry and Mental Health ).
• Whey, a waste by-product of producing certain dairy products, particularly cheeses. Now dairy factories have a place to send their trash!
• Melamine, a dangerous chemical which causes kidney damage.
That’s just brushing the surface. I could keep going but I think you get the point. Let’s continue with Mrs. Rosin.
“From the moment a new mother enters the obstetrician’s waiting room, she is subjected to the upper-class parents’ jingle: “Breast Is Best.” Parenting magazines offer “23 Great Nursing Tips,” warnings on “Nursing Roadblocks,” and advice on how to find your local lactation consultant (note to the childless: yes, this is an actual profession, and it’s thriving).”
Yet more contempt for those who promote breastfeeding. What a horror that soon-to-be-moms are bombarded with information designed to help them and their infants! Yet Rosin fails to mention that pregnant women are also besieged with formula advertisements and samples from the day they get pregnant until the day they take their baby home from the hospital or longer (hell, I got an unwanted sample of “Next Step” formula for my toddler in the mail just the other day!). How dare those parenting magazines squeeze in breastfeeding related articles in between all of the formula ads! It appears she doesn’t have much respect for lactation consultants. I suppose it’s better to be a woman who writes articles full of misinformation than to be someone who helps mothers successfully feed their babies.
“I was launching a new Web site and I had two other children to care for, and a husband I would occasionally like to talk to. Being stuck at home breast-feeding as he walked out the door for work just made me unreasonably furious, at him and everyone else.”
I’m not sure how breastfeeding would interfere with your ability to talk. I think that would, again, fall under the “you’re doing it wrong” category. But there is no reason at all for breastfeeding to keep you stuck at home. If you can bring bottles, water, and formula out with you and find somewhere to measure, mix, and warm your formula than surely you can find somewhere to sit down and lift one side of your shirt!
I’d like to take a moment to point out a few subtleties in Rosin’s article such as “…ratio of tasteful wooden toys to plastic…” and “…barking at my older kids to get their own organic, 100 percent juice.” It seems like Rosin feels pressured by any suggestion she receives as a parent and only listens to them because she is pressured. I suppose if she wouldn’t be looked down upon by other mothers Rosin would be content to give her children formula, lead-filled plastic toys, and sugared down juice cocktails. Maybe it’s a good thing there’s so much pressure put on her. Her motives are never “I’m going to do this because it’s best for my child” but instead are “I’m going to do this so people will shut up and leave me alone.”
Rosin then spends several paragraphs trying to poke fun at the hippie founders of La Leche League and then moves on to a weak attempt at debunking research studies that have shown breastmilk’s superiority over formula. There’s no point even attempting to correct her claims, anyone can easily search and find hundreds of studies showing how much healthier breastfed infants are and how their health risks proportionately decrease as the amount of time they breastfeed increases. She argues that observational studies don’t take into account other factors, like the fact that higher income educated women are more likely to breastfeed. This is true, and may affect the studies showing that breastfed infants have higher IQs and lower obesity rates. But do diabetes, heart disease, ear infections, and other illnesses magically know whether your mom went to college and has a lot of money? Probably not.
“Given what we know so far, it seems reasonable to put breast-feeding’s health benefits on the plus side of the ledger and other things—modesty, independence, career, sanity—on the minus side, and then tally them up and make a decision.”
According to Rosin, the negative impacts of breastfeeding are “--modesty, independence, career, [and] sanity—“. If she thinks modesty has anything to do with it she is clearly a part of the “breastfeeding is offensive” crowd, people who think that nursing mothers should have to hide their breasts. They do nothing but make breastfeeding difficult and uncomfortable for mothers and babies because of their own personal hang-ups. Apparently independence is more important to her than feeding her baby properly. Of course, if she really needed to get away from the baby for a while all she would have to do is pump breastmilk and let daddy feed the baby. As far as career goes, there are thousands of working and breastfeeding moms out there (see previous sentence, Re: pumping). And finally: sanity. If breastfeeding is driving you insane, once again I say… you’re doing it wrong!
“In 2004, the Department of Health and Human Services launched the National Breastfeeding Awareness Campaign. The ads came out just after my second child was born, and were so odious that they nearly caused me to wean him on the spot.”
Another stunning example of how she doesn’t do anything because she wants what’s best for her child – a commercial was almost enough to make her wean her son in protest.
Rosin complains about the unequal dynamic between a husband and a breastfeeding wife and how her husband continues to sleep while she is up during the night breastfeeding. This is a common argument you hear against breastfeeding, and yet is one that makes no sense. Who was the one waking up to pee all night long because of a pregnancy induced weak bladder? Who was the one that spent hours in labor pushing a baby out despite excruciating pain? It’s always the mother because it is her biological responsibility. That’s not an anti-feminist statement, it’s simply the truth. Perhaps Rosin and her cohorts will only be satisfied when they can make men get pregnant and give birth.
In Rosin’s conclusion she states,
“I continue to breast-feed my new son some of the time—but I don’t do it slavishly. When I am out for the day working, or out with friends at night, he can have all the formula he wants, and I won’t give it a second thought. I’m not really sure why I don’t stop entirely. I know it has nothing to do with the science; I have no grandiose illusions that I’m making him lean and healthy and smart with my milk. Nursing is certainly not pure pleasure, either; often I’m tapping my foot impatiently, waiting for him to finish.”
And that alone solidifies what I already knew: I feel quite sorry for her children. Besides the fact that she blatantly says that she only breastfeeds because society told her to, she admits that she is impatient and wants him to finish. She doesn’t care about his comfort or enjoyment, just that she does her duty and can get back to her life in which her son seems to be little more than an annoying accessory. If it is such a chore to feed your baby how nature intended that all you can do is gripe about how miserable it makes you and attempt to ridicule and belittle those who actually enjoy and support it then perhaps you just are not cut out to be a mother.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Monday, March 8, 2010
I'm pretty tired right now but awake. I'm saving the mopping and baking for 4 am when I know I'm going to crash.
I miss Noah .... I know he is sleeping but I'd rather be sleeping next to him and Bryan then working...obviously. I feel guilty for being gone because I know its a huge transition for him that he is having a hard time with but at the same time, I am happy that I can work nights so we can play during the day. If anything, it will be great for his bond with Bryan. He already loves his daddy but since he is still nursing, I'm who he prefers at night...although he does this adorable thing where he will cuddle with me and then reach a hand back to hold Bryan's face. hahaha. It's so cute.
Ohhh tiredd...Thankfully I was able to nap about 4 1/2 hours today and tomorrow I'm going to try to get in 7 + hours. I think if I'm able to nap during Noahs naps and when Bryan gets home, I'll be okay.
Noah lovvveess being outside right now. It's adorable. We took a walk down to the barn and he was just marching up to all the cows trying to pet their noses.We fed the horses carrots and he loved it. It's funny how animals know that he is a baby....the horses and cows will let him touch them but won't let us get near them unless we've got something good to eat.
I can't wait for the summer...we'll be outside as much as possible I'm sure. I don't know how I'll get him to nap when their is so much excitement outside. It's going to be fun.
I've been reading about gardening and there are alot of steps I'm going to have to go through to get started but I definitely want to have a garden this summer.....lots of flowers and veggies. We're also going to do a pumpkin patch. That will give Noah and I a good focus during the weekdays.
Friday, March 5, 2010
Noah is sleeping right now after a long day of terrorizing our apartment. Don't worry it was good terrorizing. I enjoyed it for the most part...its just the cleaning up after part thats not so great. Although, putting his little toys all back together in the basket and stacking his blocks, etc is a bit therapeutic.
We went to rerun fun today and bought some news books (dr.seuss, eric carle, etc) and a stacking blocks train. The sunshine felt amazing....he loves being outside. His new favorite thing to wear is his barn boots and he looks pretty darn cute in them too.
New job starts full time Sunday night. My first overnight went well.....just basically cleaning, keeping myself awake and the kids safe. Some nights will be easier than others. I'm still really apprehensive about spending so much time away from Noah even if it is while we would be sleeping. Since we cosleep its just such a hard thing to adjust to..not being near him for that amount of time. I think the benefits of the extra income definitely outweigh the negatives however.
I'm gonna go and start thinking/planning a garden! I've got my list of what I want to grow and now I need to figure out how to go about doing that.