Archive for the 'Parenting' Category

Throwing Away the Parenting Books

Parenting books can drive a person InSaNe. They all have a laundry list of things not to do:

  • Don’t label your children. They’re changing all the time. So instead of saying “you are such and such,” say “you can be such and such” so that you don’t limit their perception of themselves.
  • Don’t spank or hit.
  • Don’t yell or scream.
  • Don’t give general praise like “good girl.” Give specific praise like “That’s a complicated 3″ silver robot you drew with the Faber Castell pens I got you at the stationery store 16 days ago.”
  • Don’t tell them what to do or boss them around. Engage them in choosing the right way to behave or to accomplish something.

I break almost every one of those @#! rules every day. (Notice I said almost.)

So now I’m reading about Barack Obama’s childhood in his book, Dreams from My Father, and guess what? He had a far from perfect childhood with far from perfect parents. His white mother married his black African father at a time of rampant racism. His father then leaves him and his mother to return to Africa when Obama was only two years old. Then his mother marries an Indonesian and they move from his grandparents’ home in Hawaii to Indonesia where Obama runs around with the neighborhood kids in a squalid environment where people cut the heads off chickens and lets them run around in circles dripping blood from their necks until they drop dead. Obama later returns to live in Hawaii with his grandparents without his mother who is too busy with her own life to bother herself much about him.

With this kind of parenting you’d think Obama would have grown up to be a serial killer instead of the first African-American presidential nominee of a major U.S. political party. And he’s neither bitter nor filled with resentment towards his parents.

Clearly I won’t be like Obama’s parents but I should probably quit reading parenting books and driving myself crazy with guilt.


Another Aging Milestone

It has come to pass that I can no longer go out sans make-up. Today a stranger on the bus commented on how tired I looked what with baby and grade schooler in tow. She meant well and probably got part of it right but really, it was all down to the make-up — foundation and blush — or lack thereof.



Recommended Parenting Books for Infants and Toddlers

My sister sent me the following list of parenting books that people on her company mailing list recommended.

  1. Baby 411 (after birth advice)
  2. Baby Bargains (buying guide)
  3. The Happiest Baby on the Block: The New Way to Calm Crying and Help Your Newborn Baby Sleep Longer by Harvey Karp [Watch the DVD; it's helpful to see the techniques demonstrated]
  4. Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy [Hilarious]
  5. Nursing Mother’s Companion [I read in cover to cover.]
  6. Why Motor Skills Matter
  7. The complete and authoritative guide caring for your baby and young child birth to age 5″ by the American Academy of Pediatrics
  8. What’s Going on in There? : How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life by Lise Eliot

To those, I add:

1. Dr. T Berry Brazelton’s Touchpoints Birth to Three
2. Dr. William Sears books
3. Some people also like Louise Bates Ames books (children at each developmental stage)
4. The Continuum Concept (attachment parenting theory)
5. Good Nights (family bed)
6. Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense (positive approach to feeding kids)
7. Super Baby Food (feeding kids from first food and more)
8. So That’s What They’re For (breastfeeding guide)


Maju Covers

This morning, Stephen was jumping on the bed as I was laying out my clothes for the day. After I was done brushing my teeth, I turned back and saw that the bedclothes were all jumbled up and my clothes were all over the place. I put everything back in order all the while grumbling about Stephen messing everything up.

I started getting dressed but couldn’t find my bra. I looked under the comforter again and had Stephen look under the pillows. I even checked under the bed and looked again in the drawers and bathroom. No bra.

“Where’s my bra?!” I demanded.

Stephen shrugged as I continued looking around for both the bra and my mind.

Then he asked, “What’s a bra anyway? Those maju* covers?”

*Maju is our family word for breasts, breastfeeding, and breast milk. :D

**I later found the bra behind the nightstand where it had flown during Stephen’s shenanigans.


Doing The Karen Cheng

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Inspired by Karen Cheng

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And still a slinging mama. Here I am using my “home” sling which is a TaylorMade waffle weave stretch cotton sling.


In Our Arms

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Introducing Megan

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Born last Monday
3.78 kg (8.3 lbs)


On the Hunt for LEGO at Flea Markets

The value of a collection to the collector lies less in its importance, surely, than in the excitement of the hunt, and the strange places to which the hunt sometimes leads.

~Graham Green, in his introduction to With All Faults by David Low via A Pound of Paper by John Baxter

I went to my first flea market (car boot sale in British parlance) at the beginning of the month with my sister. What were we on the hunt for?

“Vintage” LEGO Bionicle sets.

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The flea market is a once monthly affair at the local school. More than two years after moving here, I was finally going to check it out. We’d seen people before with their loot – worn-out wooden stools, lamps, bags of clothing, etc. but had never gone ourselves. When we drove by the advertisement the day before, I had a flash of inspiration that perhaps we could find old LEGO Bionicle sets that weren’t sold in the stores anymore and were sometimes available for exorbitant prices on eBay and Amazon Marketplace.

My sister and I arrived at just after 7 am when the flea market opened. For about $1 USD admission fee, we were on the grounds where half the sellers were still setting up. Within 5 minutes of starting our rounds, we got lucky. A bag of jumbled Bionicle parts sat on the ground next to the stall of a father and his 10-year-old son. They sold us the whole lot plus a LEGO PC CD-ROM game for about $10 USD. (FYI, one new Bionicle set ranges from $10-20 USD to as much as $80+ here in the UK.) For the next 30 minutes or so, we continued roaming and asking sellers with kids toys or children in tow whether they had any LEGO Bionicle for sale.


We were on our way to the snack stand for a breakfast bacon sarnie (sandwich) to eat on the walk home when we passed a basket with some Bionicle sets in their original boxes. JACKPOT! The woman said she had six sets but after rummaging around the trunk of her station wagon, she found 10 sets.

How much? $2 USD a set would do.

“That’ll keep your little guy busy for an hour,” she said.

Obviously, she doesn’t know my Stephen. He plays with his LEGO for hours a day and even when he’s not busy building something, he’s designing new creations in his head.

Although nothing we bought was in complete sets, for LEGO builders like Stephen it’s the parts that are important. If baby #2 hasn’t arrived by next weekend, I may go by the flea market again to see what others I can find. He tells me he’s now interested in Exo-Force as well.

The crazy things us mothers do for our kids. Collecting really is about hunting in realms beyond our usual haunts.


Another Old Wives Tale for Predicting Baby’s Sex?

1. Women who eat more calories around the time of conception tend to have sons.

As well as consuming more calories, women who had sons were more likely to have eaten a higher quantity and wider range of nutrients, including potassium, calcium and vitamins C, E and B12. There was also a strong correlation between women eating breakfast cereals and producing sons.

via Think Gene

2. “To calculate the calories you need to maintain your weight, multiply your weight by ten.”

~Submitted to Rules of Thumb by: Dr. Robin Kanarek, in Tufts University Diet Nutrition Letter

Putting the two together, it’s quite likely that #2 may be a boy (even thought the ultrasound indicated a girl). ;)


Less than 50 Days

me oldies

Photo oldified using this Japanese generator. The original photo taken in mid April is below the fold.

via Photojojo

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