January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: We Never Left the Grind #carnatpar

Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Recovering from the Holidays

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.

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Some quotes from a typical day at my house, pre-holidays:

  • “Mom has back pain/butt pain/is hungry/was up all night with the baby/is editing her book — try to give her a few minutes of quiet today!”
  • “Has Mineral taken his ADHD medicine today?” “C’mere Mineral, let me look into your eyes.” (If he stays still and allows me to examine his eyes, he’s taken it. If not, he hasn’t. He hasn’t yet figured out how to pass this test when not on medication.)
  • “Oh crap! We haven’t done any traditional schoolwork in weeks! Quick, kids, here’s a math worksheet, and some lessons on grammar. Got it? Good. Back to reading and watching documentaries on Netflix.” Phew.
  • “Mommy? I forgot to tell you I threw up/peed/got a bloody nose in my bed last night. Can you wash my sheets?”
  • “I’m hungry.”
The Informant and Cousin It

The Informant and Cousin It

Other than celebrating Christmas/Cousin It’s birthday, nothing really changed during the holidays except my ass got smaller. My Chemical Romance went back to work on January 2. Here are some quotes from a typical day at my house, post-holidays:

  • “Mom has back pain/butt pain/is hungry/is tired/was up all night with the baby/is editing her book — try to give her a few minutes of quiet today!”
  • “Has Mineral taken his ADHD medicine today?” “C’mere Mineral, let me look into your eyes.” (If he stays still for me to examine his eyes, he’s taken it. If not, he hasn’t. He hasn’t yet figured out how to pass this test when not on medication.)
  • “Oh crap! We haven’t done any traditional schoolwork in weeks! Quick, kids, here’s a math worksheet, and some lessons on grammar. Got it? Good. Back to reading and documentaries on Netflix.”
  • “Mommy? I forgot to tell you I threw up/peed/got a bloody nose in my bed last night. Can you wash my sheets?”
  • “I’m hungry.”

I’d say we’re back to the grind, but really: NOTHING EVER CHANGES. Even the weather stays the same; this weekend it was in the 70s and I swear I’ve not even seen a frost yet this winter. However, to all the families who had difficult transitions back to “real life,” I wish you some peace and a day of Netflix documentaries.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting this March!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • Pinterest Inspiration for Easier Winter Holidays Shannon, writing at Natural Parents Network, shares inspiration for having more relaxed winter holidays from their Handmade Holidays Pinterest board.
  • Seven Recipes for Beans – Post Holiday Cleaning — Destany at They Are All of Me shares her favorite bean recipes that she hopes will help her body recover from overindulging her sweet tooth during the holidays.
  • The Recovery in the Change — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen made changes in her life and attitude throughout 2012 and was pleasantly surprised at how those changes impacted her holiday recovery!
  • Could this question change your life for ever? — To get your new year off on the right footing, Mrs Green of Little Green Blog is challenging us all to love ourselves with commitment and discipline. She asks you to focus on a simple question which might just bring you back in balance…
  • Holiday Recovery — Meegs at A New Day talks about how the holidays can be overwhelming for a toddler, and how she’s helping her 3 year old recover.
  • 5 Ways to Detox After the Holidays — Brittany at The Pistachio Project gives a few ways to help you detox and get back on track after the holiday season has passed.
  • 3 Simple Ways to Establishing Rhythm After the Holidays or Any Time — Sheila at A Living Family shares 3 simple ways to reestablish a rhythm of connection and calm in your family after holidays, visitors, travel or any time.
  • Gemstones For Holiday Hangoverss — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama delves into the power of gemstones as an often overlooked means of dealing with the holiday letdown.
  • Getting back to Healthy — Bess at A Warrior Mom talks about the struggle of getting young ones back to eating healthy after several days to weeks of getting more candy and sweets than normal for the holidays and gives some suggestions on how to get them back to eating healthy in the new year.
  • Post Christmas Juice Feast — Sam at Love Parenting explains why she has created a new tradition of juice feasting, and how she includes her toddler when detoxing.
  • The Java Monkey On My Back — Christy at Eco Journey in the Burbs realizes it is time to kick her cup of Joe habit as a first step toward detoxing.
  • Minimalist Holidays — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn’t find much need for recovery after her minimalist version of the holidays.
  • Do something for you — Lauren at Hobo Mama urges you to find a silly and indulgent reward of me-time — and she has hers.
  • do we recover? — Kenna at Million Tiny Things wonders what recovery really means in the context of the tragedies of this past holiday season.
  • 37 Easy Ways to Save Money — Shannon at GrowingSlower is sharing these money-saving tips to help get your budget back on track after the holidays.
  • A Two Year Old’s ResolutionsThat Mama Gretchen is putting the holidays behind her with a spin on traditional resolutions — New Year’s goals for her two-year-old! Sound crazy? Read on for an explanation!
  • How to Find Balance after the Holidays — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now tells her favorite ways to start a new year with hope and calmness.
  • Fresh Awakening — For Luschka at Diary of a First Child, the new year has coincided with a return to restful nights. With sleep, she’s found new directions in life, but while she can’t make too many changes to her life right now, she’s inspired and excited about the future.
  • Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season Stoneageparent describes the joys and lows of this year’s festive season, as well as her New Year’s resolutions.
  • Detoxing’ Your Toddler After the Holidays — Does your family suffer side effects from the holidays? Join Christine from African Babies Don’t Cry to learn how she detoxed herself and her toddler off the treats and festivities of the season.
  • Scheduling is OK! — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake, Half Asleep explores the possibilities of the — SCHEDULE!!
  • Holiday-Free but not Stress-Free — Mercedes at Project Procrastinot takes it easy after moving with her husband and new babies to Scotland.
  • A Vacation from the World — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children retreats with her family at the end of every year in order to recuperate and enjoy one another.
  • On the Road to Recovery — Dionna at Code Name: Mama isn’t just recovering from the holidays, she’s recovering from a lifestyle.
  • We Never Left the GrindErika Gebhardt compares a typical day pre-holidays and post-holidays.
  • Remembering and Recovering from the Holidays (One day at a time) — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM is recovering from holidays slowly–taking one day at a time–while trying to remember all the sweet moments that passed too quickly.
  • 5 a Day — To get back on track Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy needed a simple system to help her family learn new values.
  • Holiday Detox & Healing: Bieler Broth — Megan at The Boho Mama shares her secret for a gentle, whole-foods-based post-holiday detox: Bieler Broth!
  • I’m Mama Not Supermom — After a year filled with changes Angela at EarthMamas World has to remind herself that she does not have to be supermom while recovering from the holiday chaos.

July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Talent Show

Welcome to the July 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Family Creations

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared crafts, recipes, and philosophies of creativity. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I live in a family full of drama queens (and kings). And also, My Chemical Romance.

US!

The Informant rails loudly against the unfairness of being the middle child like she’s in some off-Broadway performance of Occupy Parenthood. Mineral, whose ADHD and other mental health issues can explain some of his outbursts, has outbursts nonetheless. Animal is the class clown, likely to start breakdancing at the suggestion of teeth brushing. And My Masterpiece sings her off-tune songs all day long, leading me to wonder if there’s a dying animal on the front porch– oh no, that’s just the sound of My Masterpiece humming to herself.

Recently we were all bored after dinner and I suggested a family talent show. This is, after all, a family with a lot of talent. I decided to present each child in reverse-age order (because, as The Informant pointed out, Mineral ALWAYS goes first, and My Masterpiece ALWAYS goes last — at least until Cousin It is old enough to participate.)

Note: I did not take pictures of the ACTUAL talent show, so these are just some random pics of my kids. I thought about re-creating the talent show just for this blog post, but that seemed disengenuous. 

I started by introducing My Masterpiece: “And now, coming in at four-and-a-half-years-old, born in a bedroom in Arizona and spending the last few years in Charlotte where she learned to love cars, MY MASTERPIECE!”

She attempted to hula hoop.

My Masterpiece

Next was The Informant: “A seven-year-old San Diego native who has lost one tooth, loves to eat corn, and color pictures of animals and ninja warriors, please welcome THE INFORMANT!”

She tried to juggle.

The Informant at the park

Then came Animal: “And now, the tallest kid in the house, coming in at 56″ and almost ready to be out of a booster seat, born in the coldest winter in Michigan history and loving every kind of sport, here’s ANIMAL!”

Animal did Tae Kwon Do.

Animal at the park

Finally, Mineral: “The oldest child in the family, born 10 minutes before his brother; he loves Legos and reading and likes to wear costumes over his clothes while listening to music, it’s MINERAL!”

Mineral, who wore a costume, did archery toward the television, while miraculously not hitting it, or anything else.

Mineral

Cousin It even showed off her new talent: When you say, ONE, she says TEWWWWWW.

Cousin It.

We did a few rounds of our talent show; everyone did some hula-hooping and archery. The show ended when Animal tried to convince The Informant to put an apple on her head while he aimed a bow and arrow at her.

My Chemical Romance and I did not display any talent, but I can juggle. My Chemical Romance can sing camp songs — he took a week off work to be a leader at Cub Scout camp and learned a lot of silly campfire songs.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon July 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Garden Soup — Bailey finds a way to help momma Katy (from Muse of a Daffodil) in the garden.
  • This One Time, I Tried To Make a Car — Ashley at Domestic Chaos tries once again to make something crafty from stuff around the house.
  • Pin-tastic creative ideas — Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how Pinterest is inspiring creativity in her family this summer.
  • Baby Hiccups In The Womb — Alinka at Baby Web shares one of the ways she bonds with her unborn baby.
  • Turtle Mosaics — Lyndsay at ourfeminist{play}school and her little family spend a quiet hour making a turtle mosaic inspired by the work of Melanie Mikecz.
  • Edible Art Plus 8 Art Supply Recipes — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares some natural, chemical-free art supply alternatives, which are gauranteed to be tons of fun for children or all ages. They taste great too!
  • A surprise art lesson — Tat at Mum in search has been taking art lessons from her 5-year-old son.
  • Memory Creation — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen talks about how her family aims to create as many memories as they can as a family.
  • A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words — Melissa at Momma Beer tries to replace cars with crafts.
  • My Creative Family: Sometimes Messy, Always Fun — Emily at S.A.H.M i AM embraces the messes that sometimes accompany creative play but admits you don’t always have to get dirty to have fun.
  • Fun Family Learning: Constellation Cave Tutorial — Abbie at Farmer’s Daughter gives step-by-step instructions for building a fun new twist on a cardboard box playhouse.
  • Cooking… Kind Of — ANonyMous at Radical Ramblings makes pizza with her daughter, hoping to inspire a love of cooking and encourage a bigger interest in food. As well as making mess and having lots of fun, of course!
  • Crockpot Refried BeansThat Mama Gretchen‘s family loves to experiment with new recipes, and today she’s sharing a kitchen success!
  • Creating Memories — Andrea at Tales of Goodness reflects on how the best creations can emerge from just letting kids be kids.
  • Making Beautiful Things … And Sometimes Just Average-Looking Ones — Tamara at Tea for Three looks for ways to add more craft and creativity into every day family life.
  • Making Fruit Leather Together — When Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work took some time to involve her children in the process of finally trying a fruit leather recipe stored on her Pinterest food board, she got more than just a scrumptious homemade snack as a result!
  • Making Glasses from Children’s Art — Mandy at Living Peacefuly with Children used her children’s artwork to make some very special glasses for her husband for Father’s Day.
  • Preparing Family Meals Together — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares how she started the tradition of creating meals together with her children, which makes family gatherings more fun.
  • It’s a trap! — Lauren at Hobo Mama shares the innovative snares her son and husband have set for her.
  • How To Make The Most Of A Very Wet Summer — Luschka at Diary of a First Child shows us the first few weeks of the Summer Camp At Home project for keeping boredom at bay.
  • Creating with… well, what do we have? — If necessity is the mother of invention, Momma Jorje thinks perhaps boredom is (or at least can be) the mother of creativity. In a pinch, she got creative with a household item to entertain herself and her toddler.
  • Creating Joy! Felt Counting Fish and other Fun — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle started creating Felt Counting Fish and then fell down the rabbit hole of fun with a number of other games.
  • I Am Going! (A Code Name: Mama Homemade Theater Production of Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie book) — This might be the finest example of child and baby acting ever recorded. Enjoy this Mo Willems treasure via video from Dionna at Code Name: Mama.
  • DIY Summer Sleep Sack for Baby Tutorial — Shannon at GrowingSlower made an organic summer sleep sack for baby, and you can too with her easy tutorial.
  • Chalk It Up! — Amy at Anktangle recounts how an impulse buy has turned into a fun collaborative activity that she hopes will continue to foster creativity in the whole family.
  • The Family Garden — Excited that her son has been a big help in the garden this year, Ana at Pandamoly shares how her garden grows and offers up some secrets on how a toddler can be a great assistant in the garden.
  • Getting my craft on — Jona at Life, Intertwined takes a trip down memory lane — and finds it in stitches.
  • Easy DIY Sandpit for Toddler Play — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her easy DIY toddler sandpit tutorial.
  • Building Without Nails — Laura at Laura’s Blog builds a swinging bar using just sticks and twine.
  • Family Talent Show — Erika at Cinco de Mommy holds an after-dinner family talent show.
  • Ar matey! Fun and Learning with Pirate Play. Positive Parenting Connection is sharing lots of really fun Pirate-themed learning activities for the whole family.

Loving My Unnatural Birth Experience

Welcome to the June 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Embracing Your Birth Experience

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about at least one part of their birth experience that they can hold up and cherish.

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I’ve written at length about homebirth – my own two homebirths, attending others’ homebirths, supporting homebirths – and so I want to go back and write about my first birth experience. That was Animal and Mineral, in 2003. It was NOT a homebirth. It was in a large teaching hospital, in an Operating Room full of maternity unit staff and NICU staff, and I could have only one person in the room with me (I was single and chose my mom).

Animal and Mineral are monozygotic (“identical”) twins who had Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome while in utero. I discovered via ultrasound at 18 weeks that I was having twins. A few days after my ultrasound, I received a call from a staff assistant at a high-risk Ob/Gyn office, with information from a doctor who had examined my ultrasound pictures. He had recognized that my twins had TTTS. I was instructed to transfer my care to their clinic immediately so the “twin expert” doc there could monitor my progress.

The doctor I saw suggested bedrest, drinking lots of Ensure or Boost, and a weekly appointment with a non-stress test or biophysical profile every other week to check their statuses. (Or statii. Google seems to have a lot of answers to the question, “What is the plural of status?”)

At a NST or BPP a few weeks before giving birth.

So I did that, from 18 weeks til 34 weeks: I drank my Ensure, I stayed on bedrest, I went to my appointments, I watched TV — this was before DVR and before high-speed internet connections were everywhere; I had dial-up. I worried about Animal and Mineral, although they remained stable every week and the doctor was very positive and encouraging.

I did not want a cesarean section. I was a single mom-to-be, I was going to be a single mom of twins, and I’d heard and read that recovering from a cesarean was painful and challenging. I already had enough challenges. I was not yet as crunchy and natural as I am today but I was practical.

I agreed to an induction of labor at 34 weeks because Mineral was showing signs of Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction, and had had several heart rate decelerations during one of my non-stress tests. My induction began with Cervidal — and was supposed to continue with pitocin the next day — and ended nine hours later when I gave birth to Mineral, and then about ten minutes later to Animal.

A few hours after the Cervidil was started. In eaaaaaaaaaaaarly labor, clearly, since I’m still smiling.

It was not natural. I was in an incredibly UNNATURAL setting: not just the hospital, but the high-risk maternity floor. Not just monitoring but continuous fetal monitoring — and that’s no small feat with two babies to monitor. (See the hand in that picture? It’s my friend Gretchen. She was my doula and she was incredibly helpful.) Not just an epidural but an epidural and a bunch of lidocaine for that my epidural “window,” where the spinal medication didn’t affect me. Not just flat on my back but flat on my back in an Operating Room. Not just full of maternity floor staff but also full of NICU staff, with everyone debating whether or not I needed a cesarean section because Animal was a foot-first breech. (You should have seen the looks on their faces when my water broke and his foot slid out. Priceless.)

I did it! With some random nurse who was probably nice while I was doing it!

I had never considered that giving birth could be an EXPERIENCE; I just thought of it as a means to an end. The boys would go from my uterus to outside my body, hopefully via my vagina. Yet, for me, it was an experience. Emotionally, I was not expecting that. I was shocked by how much I’d enjoyed and loved giving birth. I was surprised by how intensely I felt afterwards when I looked back on what I’d accomplished.

It was by far my least natural birth. Yet the experience was incredibly beautiful. Giving birth showed me I could do something I’d never done before. I could survive physical pain unlike anything I’d experienced before. Even though I was young, even though I was single, even though Animal and Mineral weren’t planned, I achieved something that day that I had never dreamed of before.

Not every woman considers birth an experience, but that’s how it felt to me. And I will always cherish that first experience.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

 
 

The Orange Week in San Diego

Welcome to the May 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With or Without Extended Family

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how relatives help or hinder their parenting. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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For a week straight, my 7yo daughter and my 4yo daughter ate Cheetos for every meal. Every meal. A week straight. They occasionally supplemented their diet with cookies or chocolate milk, but mostly it was those greasy-yet-powdery orange snack chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

At home, this would not have been acceptable. I have standards for what I feed my family, and Cheetos do not fit the bill. But we weren’t home.

We were in San Diego for my grandfather-in-law’s funeral. He’d died at the age of 91-years-young, and my mother-in-law — who had not been his daughter-in-law for over 20 years –bought plane tickets for all seven of us (!) so we could attend the memorial, and stay in San Diego for a week.

My mother-in-law babywearing Cousin It at Legoland

San Diego is where My Chemical Romance was born, and lived for 26 years. His entire extended family is there: both parents and their spouses; two sisters, one brother-in-law and two nephews; all four grandparents; and many aunts, uncles and cousins.

Animal and Mineral, fishing with My Chemical Romance’s Grandpa, at Imperial Beach Pier

We lived there together for three years after we got married, when Animal and Mineral were babies. The Informant was born there.

Currently, we live in North Carolina, which is approximately as far from San Diego as you can get. Our life here is a lot different from what it was when we lived there. We have no built-in babysitters, and no last-minute family help when there’s an emergency. There are no weekend barbecues with extended family. There’s no Grandma reading to them before bed, or Grandpa attending a Cub Scout pack meeting.

Aunt Julie (pregnant with a new cousin) and Cousin It at J Street Marina

Luckily my children don’t seem to mind. They don’t remember living near their San Diego family, and we’ve never lived closer than a 2h plane ride from my family. They don’t expect the closeness that comes with physical proximity with family. But it bothers me. I grew up living no more than 20 minutes from my grandparents, and approximately that same distance from aunts and uncles and cousins. And while we weren’t always close, they were always there.

Face-painted family!

So I make an effort to bridge the distance with my in-laws. We call and text — and thank goodness for Skype! Sometimes the kids’ homeschool copywork is a letter to an aunt or a cousin. And on those rare occasions when we do get a chance to visit family, I try not to sweat the small stuff — like the Cheetos — and just let my children enjoy themselves with their family.

My Masterpiece and My Chemical Romance’s Grams

However, as soon as we got on the plane to go home, I told the girls that I never wanted to see another Cheeto for as long as I live.

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 8 with all the carnival links.)

  • Dealing With Unsupportive Grandparents — In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, The Pistachio Project tells what to do when your child’s grandparents are less than thrilled about your parenting choices.
  • Parenting With Extended Family — Jenny at I’m a full-time mummy shares the pros and cons of parenting with extended family…
  • Parental Support for an AP Mama — Meegs at A New Day talks about the invaluable support of her parents in her journey to be an AP mama.
  • Priceless GrandparentsThat Mama Gretchen reflects on her relationship with her priceless Grammy while sharing ways to help children preserve memories of their own special grandparents.
  • Routines Are Meant To Be Broken — Olga at Around The Birthing Ball urges us to see Extended Family as a crucial and necessary link between what children are used to at home and the world at large.
  • It Helps To Have A Village – Even A Small One — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama discusses how she has flourished as a mother due to the support of her parents.
  • The Orange Week — Erika at Cinco de Mommy lets go of some rules when her family finally visits extended family in San Diego.
  • One Size Doesn’t Fit All — Kellie at Our Mindful Life realizes that when it comes to family, some like it bigger and some like it smaller.
  • It Takes a Family — Alicia at What’s Next can’t imagine raising a child without the help of her family.
  • A new foray into family — As someone who never experienced close extended family, Lauren at Hobo Mama wrestles with how to raise her kids — and herself — to restart that type of community.
  • My Mama Rocks! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment is one lucky Mama to have the support and presence of her own awesome Mama.
  • Embracing Our Extended Family — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares 7 ideas for nurturing relationships with extended family members.
  • Doing Things Differently — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares how parenting her children far away from extended family improved her confidence in her choices.
  • Snapshots of love — Caroline at stoneageparent describes the joys of sharing her young son’s life with her own parents.
  • Parenting with Relies – A mixed bagUrsula Ciller shares some of her viewpoints on the pros and cons of parenting with relatives and extended family.
  • Tante and Uncles — How a great adult sibling relationship begets a great relationship with aunt and uncles from Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Tips for Traveling With Twins — Megan at the Boho Mama shares some tips for traveling with infant twins (or two or more babies!).
  • Parenting passed through the generations — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the incredible parenting resource that is her found family, and how she hopes to continue the trend.
  • My Family and My Kids — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders whether she distrusts her family or if she is simply a control freak.
  • Parenting with a Hero — Rachel at Lautaret Bohemiet reminisces about the relationship she shared with her younger brother, and how he now shares that closeness in a relationship with her son.
  • Text/ended Family — Kenna of A Million Tiny Things wishes her family was around for the Easter egg hunt… until she remembers what it’s actually like having her family around.
  • Two Kinds of Families — Adrienne at Mommying My Way writes about how her extended family is just as valuable to her mommying as her church family.
  • My ‘high-needs’ child and ‘strangers’ — With a ‘high-needs’ daughter, aNonyMous at Radical Ramblings has had to manage without the help of family or friends, adapting to her daughter’s extreme shyness and allowing her to socialise on her own terms.
  • Our Summer Tribe — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger shares a love of her family’s summer reunion, her secret to getting the wisdom of the “village” even as she lives 1,000 miles away.
  • My Life Boat {Well, One of Them} — What good is a life boat if you don’t get it? Grandparents are a life boat MomeeeZen loves!
  • Dear Children — In an open letter to her children, Laura at Pug in the Kitchen promises to support them as needed in her early days of parenting.
  • Yearning for Tribal Times — Ever had one of those days where everything seems to keep going wrong? Amy at Anktangle recounts one such day and how it inspired her to think about what life must’ve been like when we lived together in large family units.
  • I don’t have a village — Jessica Claire at Crunchy-Chewy Mama wishes she had family nearby but appreciates their support and respect.
  • Trouble With MILs– Ourselves? — Jaye Anne at Wide Awake Half Asleep explains how her arguments with her mother-in-law may have something to do with herself.
  • A Family Apart — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings writes about the challenges, and the benefits, of building a family apart from relatives.
  • First Do No Harm — Zoie at TouchstoneZ asks: How do you write about making different parenting choices than your own family experience without criticizing your parents?
  • Military Family SeparationAmy Willa shares her feelings about being separated from extended family during her military family journey.
  • Forging A Village In The Absence Of One — Luschka from Diary of a First Child writes about the importance of creating a support network, a village, when family isn’t an option.
  • Respecting My Sister’s Parenting Decisions — Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s sister is guest posting on the many roles she has as an aunt. The most important? She is the named guardian, and she takes that role seriously.
  • Multi-Generational Living: An Exercise in Love, Patience, and Co-Parenting — Boomerang Mama at The Other Baby Book shares her experience of moving back in with Mom and Dad for 7 months, and the unexpected connection that followed.
  • A Heartfelt Letter to Family: Yes, We’re Weird, but Please Respect Us Anyway — Sheila of A Living Family sincerely expresses ways she would appreciate her extended family’s support for her and her children, despite their “weird” parenting choices.
  • The nuclear family is insane! — Terri at Child of the Nature Isle is grateful for family support, wishes her Mum lived closer, and feels an intentional community would be the ideal way to raise her children.

How to Clean Your Children Naturally: A Tutorial

Welcome to the April 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Kids and Personal Care

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles relating to their children’s personal care choices.

***

Because I have five children, I am often asked if I know what causes this have any parenting tips. Here is my advice on How to Clean Your Children Naturally!

1. Start with Water

Note: Chlorine swimming pools don’t count, only because apparently chlorine is a toxin. Dang. 

Sorry, kids, this does not count as a bath.

Usually I accompany them the bathroom and point at the nozzle, since the phrase, “Please take a shower,” is often met with confused looks, especially by my nine-year-old twin boys. Where is the bathroom, again? I have to use WATER, you say? This is news to me! Inside I’m smiling and thinking about our fairly inexpensive water bill for a family of seven.

2. Check Out Cosmetic Database, Then Take Out a Second Mortgage…

I do like the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website for information on chemicals in products but it can be a little overwhelming. And the products that are the healthiest may be the most expensive and hardest to find locally.

2.5 … Or, Be Prepared to Spend the next Five Hours in Front of the Computer

Flickr/turtlemom4bacon

Cheaper, drugstore type products are listed there. It’s just a challenge to find products that are limited in toxicity and sold at Target.

3. Wonder If Good Mothers Only Use Products With a Rating of 0

Like, will using soap with a rating of 1 or 2 give them a third eye immediately, or will it be slow-growing for the next forty years? 

His mother used mainstream soap, full of dangerous chemicals! (Flickr/Newtown graffiti)

4. Worry about Your Water’s Toxicity

Once you’ve found a cleanser you can live with, this is the obvious next step in concerned parenting.

5. If You Have a Long Haired Child, Hope He or She Has Manageable Hair

There is a reason that my boys have very short hair; I shave them with barber’s #2 razor every month or two. I don’t like dealing with any more hair than is absolutely necessary (and my boys don’t care about their hair, at this point in their lives). However I have three girls, two of whom have long hair. One has completely manageable hair. One has completely unmanageable hair. One is a baby and therefore yet to be determined, but she seems closer to manageable.

The point is, hair manageability seems to be a genetic crapshoot.

My four older kids, about a year ago.

Since my boys have short hair, they just use soap on their hair. The girls need shampoo and sometimes a conditioner, and so it’s back to step 2, this time for hair care products. Sigh.

6. Repeat as necessary

In the winter, or anytime my kids’ skin gets dry or they’re not playing wildly outside and getting sweaty, I’ll skip baths or showers for a few days. In the summer, and when they’re swimming regularly, it’s at least every other night.

***Note: this blog post does not address teeth-brushing, skin-moisturizing, hair-combing, hair-styling, nail-cutting or any other hygiene-related parenting task. It’s JUST cleaning. My new motto is “Parenting: You’ll Never Think Anything is Easy Ever Again.”***

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon April 10 with all the carnival links.)

  • Holistic Care of your Toddler’s Teeth — Erica at ChildOrganics tells a tale of her children’s teeth issues and how she uses homeopathy and good nutrition to keep cavities at bay.
  • Bath Time Bliss : Fuss-Free Bath Time for Toddlers — Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares how she has made bath time completely fuss free for both her and her toddler.
  • Homemade Natural ToothpasteCity Kids Homeschooling hosts a guest post on a homemade natural toothpaste recipe that kids will love!
  • Bathing Strike StrategiesCrunchy Con Mommy offers her best tips for keeping your little ones clean when they refuse to bathe.
  • Bodily Autonomy and Personal Hygeine — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children discusses the importance of supporting a child’s bodily autonomy in the prevention of abuse.
  • A Tub Full of Kiddos! — Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment has kiddos who love the water, so bathtime is a favorite evening activity!
  • The Trials of Tidying My Toddler — Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares the difficulties she has with getting her on-the-go son to be still enough to get clean.
  • Wiped Clean — Laura at Pug in the Kitchen shares her recipe for homemade diaper wipe solution to clean those sweet little cloth diapered bottoms in her home!
  • Snug in a Towel: Embracing Personal Grooming — Personal care is time consuming,especially with more than one child; but the mama at Our Muddy Boots is learning to embrace this fleeting and needful time.
  • EC: All or Nothing? — Elimination Communication. Even the title sounds complicated and time consuming. It doesn’t have to, if you adapt it to meet your family’s needs, says Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy.
  • Routine Battles — In a guest post at Anktangle, Jorje of Momma Jorje outlines a simple incentive to help inspire your little one to follow a routine.
  • Redefining Beauty For My Daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger relays her struggle to define her own femininity and how her preschooler unexpectedly taught her a lesson in true beauty.
  • Rub-A-Dub-Dub, Three Girls In The Tub — Chrystal at Happy Mothering shares how she turns bath time into a few minutes of peace and quiet.
  • Montessori-Inspired Activities for Care of Self — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now has a roundup of Montessori-inspired activities for care of self and ideas for home environments that encourage independence.
  • 10 Gentle Tips for Little Ones Who Hate the Bath — Kim at life-is-learning gives 10 tips to get your little one into the bath and maybe even enjoying it.
  • The Boy With The Long Hair — Liam at In The Now discusses his son’s grooming choices.
  • Personal Care in a Montessori Home — Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares a summary of the ways she has organized her family’s home to make for easy, Montessori-inspired toddler personal care.
  • Styling Kids — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is letting her kids decide what to look like.
  • Clean Kids: Laundry and Bath Tips — Kimberly at Homeschooling in Nova Scotia shares tips on how to get your children helping with laundry plus recipes for laundry and liquid soap.
  • How to Clean Your Children Naturally: A Tutorial — Erika at Cinco de Mommy shows you how to clean your children.
  • Cleaniliness is next to… dirt — The lapse-prone eco-mom (Kenna at Million Tiny Things) sometimes forgets to bathe the kids. Except in the mud pit.

Letter from Mineral’s Service Dog

Welcome to the March 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Parenting With Special Needs

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how we parent despite and because of challenges thrown our way. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Previously on Cinco de Mommy: My son, “Mineral,” has special needs.

Animal just looked at this pic and said, "Wow, he looks like Abraham Lincoln!"

Ever since Megan the Service Dog trainer determined that Mineral would NOT benefit from a service dog — or wouldn’t benefit enough to warrant the investment of time, money and energy — I’ve been dreaming that she was wrong and a dog would help him.

And, honestly, if I had $20,000 to pay, I could probably find a Service Dog company that would give us a trained dog. Indeed, there are several companies that train dogs for children with psychiatric issues, sensory processing disorder and autism. And while his special needs don’t fit into a precise label or box, he has some aspects of those disorders.

Sometimes I get lost thinking about what he needs from a service dog. And what we as a family need in order to add a Service Dog to our mix of five homeschooled kids in a rental house with a large fish tank — as well as another dog.

In my fantasy, the Service Dog would arrive on our doorstep one morning. He — I imagine it’s a he, and after doing my research on Service Dogs, I imagine him as either a Labrador retriever or a golden retriever — would have a note with him:

Hi there! (credit: pmarkham/Flickr)

Dear Family,

I am a Service Dog for Mineral. My name is Lego (because I was trained to help Mineral, and he loves Legos). I can do the following: help get him out of the house by exercising me, help him focus by working with me — and also distract him from his obsession with media or when he’s going to have media.

Although I am Mineral’s Service dog, I will appreciate some attention and love from the other children. Also from Maizey, the Dog Without a Downside. I will play with her –hopefully I can be a positive influence and she’ll stop barking her head off every time the baby is taking a nap.

Remember, I need to be brushed, washed and groomed regularly. I need to eat twice a day and have access to fresh water that the baby doesn’t play in. I need to see a vet once a year and take heart-worm prevention and flea/mosquito/tick repellent. I am a living creature and I am Mineral’s responsibility. Owning me, he will learn some empathy, which I know he lacks.

In return, I will stay by his side. When he is having an outburst and needs to calm down, he can pet me and/or talk to me. When he’s relaxed, I will sit by his feet while he does school work, or eats his meals.

(credit: Calsidyrose/Flickr)

I will bark to remind him of things. Bark! Sit down at the table with the rest of the family. Bark bark! Don’t aim weapons at people or animals or other living things. Bark bark bark! Wash your hands and change your clothes. Paw on his leg — stop compulsively licking your face. Jump on his chest — stop talking about MEDIA.

I know that every day with him is different, and most days are very challenging. I hope I can make him smile and ease his mind of his anxieties and compulsive thoughts — and behaviors. I aim to mitigate his outbursts, particularly the violent ones.

I know that Mineral has speech therapy, cognitive/behavioral therapy, occupational therapy and takes psychiatric medication. I hope I can complement those therapies and see you implement the most helpful suggestions and solutions.

And also, since you’re going to pay $20,000 for me and still have to pay for my food and dog toys and treats, I will bark four times after I finish vacuuming the entire house, mopping the kitchen and cleaning the bathrooms.

Sincerely,

Lego

***

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 13 with all the carnival links.)

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