Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Idle Parent

Long morning this morning, we got out at 9am to get gas before the Mother Goose Storytime at the library, and then we went to Old Navy at 10 to buy some super cheap duds (hello $2.50 flip flops and $2 camis!?!). I found myself not sure what to do with the rest of the morning before naptime at 1pm, so we headed to the park after I checked the temperature gauge on my dashboard. As it only read 88 degrees, we headed there.

First let me say that the park is not my favorite. Oliver doesn't really know what to do with himself because he wants me to play WITH him and to be honest, climbing around a playscape with a 14lb baby strapped to my chest in boiling weather is less than fun. He gets bored, I get grumpy, and we leave, usually within the hour. I have been reading several different sources about letting kids be kids, leaving them alone to pursue the joys and pitfalls of the world and living without being there every moment of every second of the day to catch them when they stumble. The idea is, kids NEED to stumble, they need to mess up and get dirty and fall down to learn how to get back up again. Falling is half of the fun and failing is most of the journey!

So, having read all of four chapters of the three books I want to read on the subject (listed below), I wanted to try an experiment. I would sit in the shade with the baby while Oliver explored his world. I would not freak out that I could not see him. I would not worry that the mother over there was judging me for letting him slide down a slide alone. I would allow him to interact with children of all ages and work problems out for himself. If he called for me, I would go, but once I helped him with what he wanted, I would go back to being an observer.

Guess what happened? He. Played. Let me go back to say that the child has rarely played by himself for longer than 5 minutes since the baby was born. I guess some kids regress with sleep, or peeing (did that too) but his major regression was play. He climbed to the top of the playscape, he slid down the slide repeatedly, he found a place where he could scare every parent in the park by swinging over a 4 foot drop, he ran over to some 7-8 year olds who were pretending to play restaurant with the twigs and rocks and ordered a pie (no joke, the kid asked for a pie). Eventually, a nosy parent went over to where four kids of varying ages and sexes were playing sweetly and politely together and ruined all of it by hovering and wondering why this long haired hippie boy was without parent.

So, Oliver lost interest and asked to go to the creek that runs behind the park. All three of us waded in it a bit, until Oliver got his shorts wet in the water and started panicking because he knows "wet pants=time to go immediately" but I assured him that he was okay, that the water getting him wet was not the same as pee getting him wet. After a while, I sat down on a rock, happy as a clam to watch him try to catch fish, poke at the moss with sticks, watch leaves go down stream, toss rocks into the creek and finally, find a "wand" that he would turn me into a baby bird so he could feed me worms.

While the kids played with a very nice, albeit boring and plastic playscape which was quickly heating up in the sun, Oliver poked around in the bushes barefoot with his poking stick and walked in a creek. Just by breathing, I was able to allow him to discover the magic of a summer day with nothing to do and no where to be. He played for almost two hours in that way. When was the last time your toddler did anything for two hours?

My only regret? I didn't bring a book. No really, the hard part about being an "Idle Parent" for me isn't really the idea that he is going to get hurt. My house has far more things that can kill him than the tiny part of wilderness we found today, but it was the eyes of other parents. The women who don't let their kids play alone, who hover and cajole and say "no" constantly. They are worn out and feel I should be too. I felt like I was being a terrible mom just by enjoying the day and letting him enjoy it without me structuring his playtime. I felt more relaxed at the end of our trip than if I had taken a nap. Best part? It was the best parent I have been in a long time, and all I did was sit, watch and enjoy my children.

Books to read on Idle Parenting/getting back to nature

Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
The Idle Parent by Tom Hodgkinson
Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I Love My Husband

You know that day? That day when you just feel so angry that you even HAD kids in the first place? That day when your couch smells like pee and your shoulder smells like puke? That day when the baby and the toddler are conspiring against you to see who can make you the craziest? That day when you lock yourself out side of the house on purpose just to have a moment of peace? That day when you yell at the toddler "watch your sister" and take off in the car to get the mail just so you can clear out the murderous thoughts in your head - only to feel guilty for doing so, even though it only took about 30 seconds to do it. That day when you call your mom to come over to help you cook something you really don't need help with, just to hear the sound of another adult's voice? Well that day was yesterday.

I of course bitched to my husband about how sad and pitiful my charmed life is. Poor pitiful me, I don't have to work and I get to stay home with my babies all day and live comfortably and don't really have to worry about money and my biggest stressor is that my babies want to touch me too much. Woe is me. I know, I know, stupid bourgeois problems. But they are MY problems, which make them huge and overwhelming. There isn't ever anything that "goes wrong" it is just an overall feeling of hatred at the day and situation.

The day got better, with help from a kiddie pool and some nap down time, but I was still feeling rough by the time my husband came home. When I saw what he had brought me, it made me love him all over again:They were eaten quickly, but will be savored always. He just got them for me on the spur of the moment, nothing huge, but to me, they were everything. From the top left, we have: creme brulee, salted butter carmel, pecan and cardamom. Dear lord, how that man must love me!!

An Alternative Lifestyle

I wanted to post my shot schedule here, as many people have asked, and it would be a nice way to look back at what shots were like in 2010, before the zombie apocalypse of 2025 (it will happen people, be prepared and have your axes sharpened).

But first, a look back as to what kids USED to be given, say in 1982 when I was the cutest baby alive. In 1983, the schedule consisted of 10 vaccines given to children before the age of 6 years. In 2007, 36 vaccines are given. Check it out yourself: Were kids dying at an inordinate rate in 1983 from things like chicken pox, mumps and diptheria? No. Did the drug companies figure out how they can make a shit ton of money off of vaccines? Yes!

I feel that vaccines are a personal choice, and range in necessity from family to family and even child to child. If I had a high risk child, or lived a high risk lifestyle (formula feeding or daycare exposure) my children would probably have been given the entire gambit of vaccinations. Maybe not even then, as polio has been extinct for years in 90% of the world and the HPV vaccine is killing a high percentage of the girls it is supposed to be "helping". So, my husband and I sat down after about three years of research on my part to decide, once and for all, what vaccines OUR kids needed. I am not a doctor, so please do not treat our vaccine schedule as medical advice, just an educated guess.

We decided to skip altogether the following vaccines:

Hep B - this is a sexually transmitted disease that babies are not likely to get, at which time my children are of age to make sexual decisions, they can at that time get that vaccine
Polio (IPV)- My grandmother had this disease as an adult, and it caused her much pain and weakness for the rest of her life, I get the horror of this disease. My children will not be receiving this vaccine as the disease has been eradicated from the majority of the world and the chances of getting it are about zero.
Rotavirus (Rota) - This vaccine has about a 50% fail rate and as my children are not in a high risk category, I am skipping it. The only people I know who get this flu are the people who vaccinate against it, no thanks.
Chicken Pox (Varicella) - Last time I checked, chicken pox was not a deadly disease, less so than the flu, this is big pharma stealing money from over concerned parents.
HPV - Another sexually transmitted disease that most women have had or will get. Some forms of it cause cervical cancer, however, this vaccine only vaccinates against a small percentage of the Human Papalmoa viruses, and not the ones that cause cancer at that. I HAD this disease (though my body healed itself and I don't have it anymore) and I still won't vaccinate against it. This vaccine is also killing many girls and has been made illegal in other countries to test or distribute.
Flu - Don't get me started on this one. Remember the swine flu?? Yea, you are still alive aren't you? Well so am I and everyone I know, and we didn't get the shot.

So what ARE we giving our kids? Don't worry folks, there are more shots than you can imagine, these are the ones we ARE giving our kids:

Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis (DTaP) - Though no one has died from diphtheria since the Oregon Trail, they have decided to lump it together with diseases people still get often, tetanus and pertussis. Pertussis is rampant here, especially in the summer and can be deadly to a newborn-1 year. After that you are pretty much in the clear and it just results is a bad cough, but Oliver is fully vaxed against it cause he is around tiny babies all the time and I don't want him passing it on. If they made individual shots of these, I would give them to my kids, but they don't and I suspect the reason why is $$.

HiB - Very long name, very rare disease, but the side effects are minimal and if you get the disease there is a slim chance of survival so we said what the heck, lets throw caution to the wind and jab our kids with it.

Prevnar (PCV) - This guards against a disease that can cause spinal meningitis in small babies. It is rare, but kids still get it all the time. A friend of mine just had a baby in the hospital for a month recovering with this disease, so yea, we are getting it done. Too bad the stupid nurse gave our kids the WRONG EFFIN VACCINE last time...

Hep A - This is a food borne disease that we are giving our kids before they go to school because ever since the Bush administration, kids' lunches aren't even scrutinized by the FDA anymore and are about 25 cents worth of nutrition and hygeine standards, so yea, we will get this, but delayed as they are low risk at the moment.
MMR - Ah yes, the "autism" vaccine. If they would just split these up, I would have no issue giving my children this vaccine on schedule, however, they won't ($$) and keep promising to do it next year (sorta a free beer tomorrow situation). We will get this, but around the time the kids go to elementary school and not a moment before. This is a heavy duty vaccine, and I do not want their immune systems weakened by it. I care less about the shaky autism link and more about the link to celiac, lupus, crones, and other immunological diseases.

Our vaccine schedule as it stands today (I will change as I study, I am sure):
* 2 months:DTaP
* 3 months: Prevnar (Pc), HiB
* 4 months: DTaP
* 5 months: Prevnar(Pc), HiB
* 6 months: DTaP
* 7 months: Prevnar (Pc), HiB
* 15 months: Prevnar (Pc), HiB
* 18 months: DTaP
* 2 1/2 years: HepA
* 3 1/2 years: HepA
* 4 years: DTaP
* 5 years: MMR
* 12 years:Tdap
* 13 years: Meningococcal (or earlier)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Month Four

Poor Henley, it is like she is the back up singer for Oliver. The stage manager to Oliver's one man show. It isn't fair that the second kid always gets the raw end of the deal. Make no mistake, I definitely love her more. She sleeps on a schedule, almost never cries, takes a paci, both smiles and laughs and makes Julianne fries. Its just that, she hasn't done anything that we haven't seen before. Sure, it is cuter coming from a baby with a bow on her head, but it is the same rolling over and such we saw the first time around. Plus, if I tried to take pictures, or video or whatever, all you would see is either Oliver dancing in the frame, or me dropping the camera because Oliver decided to pick that moment of distraction to jump off the top of the bookshelf or something. Sometimes I think I should let him jump (lesson of the day: gravity!)

Anyway, back to the star of this show, lets give her the due 15 minutes of attention a day that all second children are due. We went for her four month appointment last week, and she is 13.5lbs and 25 inches long. 50% for weight, and 80% for height!! She is doing great in all aspects! The doctor warned us about keeping her out of the sun, and then told us to give her a vitamin D supplement - cause you know, common sense just doesn't work any more. We are okay to keep breastfeeding for now, but rice cereal MUST be introduced between now and 6 months or ELSE!!! I think one day my head will pop off my shoulders and my eyes will fall out of my head from all the nodding and eye rolling.

As many of you know we are on a alternative schedule with regards to vaccines (which I will post in its own post). Long story short, we get one or two each month and have decided to reject some all together (polio, chicken pox, hpv). At our visit, the doctor commented on how we hadn't done a certain shot yet, and I was so busy rolling my eyes and nodding that I didn't realize at the time that Henley should have had that specific shot last month. I called later when I came to my senses, and sure enough, they gave her the wrong shot last month. I am so glad that the three years of researching what toxins and disease I did and did not want in my baby's body was all for naught because a nurse doesn't know how to listen. So, we are behind on our schedule which means I have to drag my two kids back up to the office one more month than we would have had to previously. This time with my shot schedule in tow.

And now, you will have to excuse me, my son is ticked that this blog took 15 minutes to write and now is sobbing in the other room because he is bored and I am a lazy and terrible mother for not attending to him at all times of the day. When did he forget how to play alone?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Quest for Creative

I have no idea what to do with a toddler. I admit defeat!! While good moms are doing bean sorting, or making hot air balloons from the free balloons they give you at the supermarket or walnut boats to float on a rainy day (, I am plunking my kid in front of the TV. I can literally hear his tiny mind rotting.

Why, you might ask, aren't you making worksheets and fun crafts and going on field trips to donut factories? Well, the short answer is that I am lazy. But the other answer is that I have tried to do these things, and what normally happens is he throws a fit and I end up losing my patience and yelling or quietly doing the craft by myself cause he loses interest and starts throwing toys against the wall to see which breaks first, me or the toy.

I see a balloon and think "wow, something else to be hit with" not, "hey I bet I can teach my kid weight and cause and effect and history with this balloon!" My mind just doesn't work that way, I am at a loss. I got a baby pool to play with Oliver in, and while some kids actually do things with water, he stands there and begs for me to sit with him. And we sit there...for hours. It is mind numbingly boring. If I try to involve him, he refuses. Oh and remember, I have a baby who hates being outside and it is impossible to do fun crafts with an unwilling toddler with an immobile baby squirming in your lap.

I feel so powerless in my parenting, so unworthy of the young minds that I am left in charge of day after day. I would love to unplug...but then what? 9 hours of overwhelming boredom or unwavering meltdowns. I find myself resorting to snacks to keep him from being bored, which is TERRIBLE parenting. I need a book or a list of activities, or a curriculum or SOMETHING that keeps me from dreading every day. I love this age he as at, he wants to discover the world, but I feel like I keep blindfolding him.

I say no to the kid about 10000000 times a day. He is always completely surprised when I say yes, sometimes he tantrums because he doesn't understand what yes means. Tonight I let him climb on our cars, crawl underneath them and pick the leaves off my plants because I couldn't say no one more time. I have never seen him happier. He kept looking back at me waiting for me to scream NO! but I just smiled. He wasn't hurting me, or the baby, or himself or the car. Heck the plants look like a deer got to them, but plants grow back right?

I have got to figure out a way to teach my kid to be a kid instead instead of the couch potato automaton I have made him into. Ugh, I am so ashamed, I need help...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Things I never thought I would say

"Fine you can have popcorn for breakfast" - I stupidly forgot to throw my popcorn bag away from the night before, and he assumed I had left it for his breakfast. It wasn't worth the fight. He had an apple as well.

"Do not use your sister as a step stool" - Or a elbow pad or a chew toy, or a punching bag or a pull up bar.

"Don't loose your rocket!" - This needs explanation. His pull-ups have a picture of a rocket on the front which disappears when it gets wet. Thus, the begging of the child not to lose a rocket, it means please, for the love of all that is holy, don't pee yourself cause you are too lazy to go to the bathroom. I think perhaps the huggies people should have rethought putting a rocket on the front of a little boy's underpants. Sounds like I am just trying to bait a CPS worker.

"Don't pee on Buzz" - See above, but this time, underwear and Buzz Lightyear are the motivational subjects.

"If you do not pick up your toys, no books before bed" - This is one I am still up in the air about, should I use books as a privilege that can be taken away? Or a right?

"Son, are you eating sour cream out of the container?" - This speaks to why I shouldn't leave the room at any point to go change, sooth or feed the baby. Especially not during taco night.

"That is NOT a swing, it is a cradle!!" - He never caught on and still uses it as a swing, thankfully never when the baby was in it. Yet...

"I will clean the kitchen, just go play with the kids" - To understand this fully, you have to understand, I hate hate hate cleaning the kitchen. Now, cleaning the kitchen or doing laundry are like alone "me" times. I may write a book, "Meditate while you Clean".

"Oliver, I am not mad, but put. the. glass. shard. down." - I went outside to water the plants and came back to Oliver standing in a pile of glass, the biggest piece of which was clutched in his fist. He was smiling ear to ear.

Friday, July 9, 2010

4 Month Update

I have been in the three month funk for about a month now. Not getting out much, my hair is falling out, deep dark sad place, etc. However, for the past three days, I haven't yelled at my kids or made them cry with my anger!! hip Hip Hooray!!

Potty Training: I wish he wasn't so into it because to be honest the 98% of the time that he does hold it and go in the potty (even in the car or out and during naps!!) makes me feel even more upset when he pisses on himself of on the couch. I feel like he does it to act out and it drives me nuts. I mean, literally, sitting on the floor crying nuts. It is so stressful to me, why can't I just treat it as an accident and move on!? What happened in my story that makes me so freakin crazy about his peeing habits??

Preschool: We are currently researching preschools for Ollie, who will start when he is 3. Looking into the Montessori school that is located in our church as well as The Good Earth Day School, which from all accounts must have a wait list the length of my arm, that is how awesome people say it is. We shall see on the 17th when we go for a visit!

Talking: Oliver is surprising me every single day with his new words and phrases. I don't think I will ever get tired of talking to him. He is a bit stubborn though and if he doesn't want to talk he just says "I no know" Annoying! We are trying to watch less TV because we have learned that he gets super violent and cranky when he watches shows like Incredibles. So, we stick to PBS and minimum amount at that. Also, I am never giving him milk again, talk about tantrums!! OY!

Henley: She is an amazing baby! So rewarding, I didn't know babies could be like this! She smiles constantly, in fact her early sleep signs is that she stops smiling. She sleeps well, eats well, and is perfection. We go back to the doctor on Wednesday for the kids third round of shots. Hep A for Oliver, Dtap for Henley. I love our schedule, no reactions, not even crankiness or redness. AMAZING what can happen when you don't overload children's immune systems. She is rolling and actually enjoys tummy time, which is weird! Compared to my friend's kids she is super cranky, but compared to Oliver she is a quiet little mouse.

Me: I have been eating better, not snacking all the time, and trying to be more active and am consistently losing about a pound a week, which is so nice. I have hip bones again! I start school for my certification in August! Just a biology course but I am seriously excited about it! I got a IUD about a month ago to prevent any further babies before we are ready for them. I love the ones I have, but to be honest, I couldn't be the parent I want to be with any more.

The most exciting thing going on in my life right now is that CT and I are going out on Saturday night for the first time since Henley came into the world. My sweet Aunt will be watching the kiddos so we can just be adults for a few hours with our friends.

Sorry I haven't been blogging, I figured no one wanted to hear the rants and raves of a bored, frustrated, guilty mother of two. I will try to be better about blogging now that I feel like my feet are underneath me.