Sunday, April 22, 2012

Earth Day 2012

Today is Earth Day. We decided to check out a marine mammal rescue about an hour and a half from our house. We enjoyed the gorgeous drive full of hills and farm land. We even enjoyed the fog we drove into as we traveled. When we arrived we saw pelts, skeletons, and facts about animals like leopard seals, elephant seals, sea lions, and whales. All animal bones and pelts were from animals who died of natural causes. We also enjoyed seeing the elephant seal pups. It is birthing season and many of the pups were dehydrated and needed to learn to eat fish and then be released. Others had become ill after eating or being tangled in trash in the ocean.While at the animal rescue they hosted a class for the kids which was really neat. My kids had a blast as did all the others. We learned that 50-100 animals a year could be safe in our area if we were more careful with our trash and also if we used less plastic, etc. During the art project another child repeatedly took things from one of my daughters. At first we couldn't figure out why her art work never seemed done...then I saw him take some of her pieces...I gave him a look and nodded my head no..he left then came back and took another handful of her stuff. So I said in a firm calm voice, "no no you cannot have her items now but we will give them to you when she is done" since the activity was reusable. Of course his bluff was called and he stopped. But then his mom started hugging him and saying how no one likes to be yelled at etc. Well, hmm, had it been my child I would have been near enough to make that a teachable moment the first time it happened rather than not watch my kid and risk a stranger having to speak up. And of course by yelling she meant it was "upsetting" to be disciplined. She apparently equates discipline to yelling which of course is not the case in my house and is not what I do when we are out and about even when addressing those  we do not know. I appreciate her though because she helped me to double check myself and my choices and actions in parenting. Sure enough though I was alone all three kids were near me and behaving well. I could have used any behavior issue as a teachable moment had I needed to. So thanks to her.:)

After the rescue center, we went to lunch in a tourist area of San Francisco. It was busy but fun. The kids always enjoy eating out and I had a coupon. We went to the bathroom as soon as we ordered, but one of my little ones had to go again halfway through the meal. When we got back our meal had been cleared. Our server had already noticed that we had not been billed yet and therefore probably had not finished our meal yet. She ordered a free kids' meal which was very helpful of her. So we ended up with two meals to pay for and two free.

On the way home my son was fussy, not his fault his crazy mom had him out and about all day. He finally had enough about 20 minutes from home and started crying, then he says "help me", then he says "Ezra cry now", then he screams more. If stopping would have helped I would have done it but truly nothing would have helped. We tried food, movies, lip gloss, etc. Had we stopped and taken him out of his seat I would not have been able to wrestle him back in after having milk or play time or whatever else I could come up with at that point. So we traveled on as quickly as we safely could. He did survive as did the girls and I but he definitely is not ready for that much in one day again anytime soon.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Why take the time?

Many people sail through life doing the bare minimum. Many people are happy and healthy while doing this. I cannot live this way. I feel a deep need to be sure I complete each task properly and without failing others. I have never failed a test, class, or chosen activity. I never quit. I just don't.:)

Because of this many people do not understand me. They have trouble with my "attitude" or know it all approach. Well, here is the thing. I don't know it all. You don't either. BUT I do choose to continue learning and not just quit.

There is nothing wrong with sharing information I have encountered and things I have learned. If someone chooses to ignore me or bury their head in the sand then the burden is now on them. I tried. They failed. Tough cookies. My hope is that even when people try to ignore truths and facts, they have a teeny tiny seed planted that slowly, or quickly, grows to blossom into acceptance of the truth no matter how tough it is to accept. Hopefully this will, in the end, mean that no one failed but that I tried, they grew and grew, they accepted.

That is all.:)

Friday, April 13, 2012

What Does Alternative Parenting Style Mean?

Lately I have noticed the media referring to certain types of parenting styles as alternative parenting styles. They suggest that these styles are not "mainstream" and thus are to be called alternative and considered strange. The types of parenting focused on in news reports, magazines, and books seems to be limited to attachment parenting, peaceful parenting, and natural parenting.

The word alternative means an option or selection that is different from a normal, natural state of being. Notice this has nothing to do with mainstream parenting versus not mainstream parenting. To be an alternative parent you would have to change the way in which God or nature, depending on your belief system, created your child.

For example, an alternative parent might pierce their child's ears because natural ears are not ornamental enough in the parent's opinion. An alternative parent may also choose to vaccinate their child in order to change the immune system from an intact immune system to one that has either live or dead viruses and other foreign objects. Some alternative parents would want their children to have other body modifications such as labiaplasty or circumcision in order to mold them into a certain image of unnatural beauty. There may also be some alternative parents who leave their child to cry because they consider the child's natural communicating mechanisms to be unproductive at nap or bedtime.

Alternative parenting changes what the child naturally had to begin with which alters them externally or  internally and sometimes in both ways. Attachment parenting, peaceful parenting, and natural parenting are not alternative ways to parent because they focus on not altering a child. Instead, these parenting practices honor the child, God, and nature by responding to the child's needs and the necessity of  having a natural, whole self.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Forget a Pacifier I Need Lip Gloss!

It isn't news to those who know us that two of my three children have sensory issues. Sometimes this means nothing at all and our days are calm. Sometimes this means meltdowns in very public settings. I have become very good at reading my children's signals/cues and determining what they can and cannot handle on any given day.

Along with meltdowns my children also fixate on items, tv shows, and activities. Sometimes these fixations make sense. Who doesn't love candy or the park? But there are times when the kids truly surprise me with the items to which they attach themselves.When my second daughter was  baby and young toddler she held as many pacifiers as her little hands could handle. Her record is six pacifiers at once. They went everywhere she went for about two years.

My son, on the other hand, always loved clothes hangers. He spent hours on end, beginning as a six month old, taking hangers out of a laundry basket and then putting them back in one at a time. The hangers are not his only fixation. His most recent focus is on chapstick and lip gloss. He began by insisting on using his sisters' chapstick when it was cold out. Within two days he wanted his own chapstick. Fine, I can handle that. But then he began holding the chapstick when he was upset or tired. He refused to set it down. This progressed until he insisted on holding the chapstick while asleep. Parents out there may understand how annoying this is to a mother who just wants to put small items away at bedtime so no one accidentally puts it in their mouth and chokes while sleeping.

As of now he still insists on chapstick or lip gloss, yes lip gloss, in order to calm down or sleep. He holds it or uses it while watching tv, playing, riding in the car, and more. I am not a sensory person at all. I have never had any compulsions like these so it can be tough for me to humor him BUT he needs me to humor him so I will weather this fixation and any others than replace it as he grows. I will continue to honor his needs while working to help him calm himself without his chapstick or lip gloss.:)