Monthly Archives: October 2013

Why’s My One Year Old Throwing a Fit?

Is it because I’m a bad parent? No.
Is it because my child is trying to manipulate me? No.
Is it because they’re being naughty? No.

So what is it?

Brain development. Plain and simple.

A human is not born with a fully developed brain. A newborn is born with just what is needed to survive. The ability to regulate body temperature, cry to alert caregivers, and to breathe. They’re not even very good at regulating their own temperatures or breathing in the beginning. This is why skin to skin contact is so beneficial for newborns and premature babies. Being next to an adult helps them regulate all those things that they’re not able to regulate yet themselves.

Once they’ve conquered the ability to remain alive they’re on to the next level of development. Physical movement. Again their abilities in this area are less than stellar. Thus they need to be carried somehow. Baby carrier. Stroller. Once they’ve developed the ability to regulate their muscles and move they don’t need as much support anymore. (Although you still wouldn’t trust them to cut up their own toast with a sharp knife because their fine motor skills are still developing.)

Emotions. Same thing. As they are developing the child needs additional support and the proximity of an adult caregiver to help them self regulate. They might nurse, they might snuggle, they might bounce in the adult’s arms. This helps bring them back down as they are learning to deal with emotions.

Emotions become easier to cope with as the left side of the brain (logic) and the “upper” brain functions (self control and long term thinking) develop. The hemisphere of the brain dedicated to logic tends to develop slowly across childhood, and the “upper” functions? They’re not done developing until the child is in his or her 20’s.

So a one year old? They’re a small physically incapable human being that has most of the emotions of an adult and none of the logical ability or self control to manage those emotions. They also have no ability to communicate what they are thinking or feeling or to use words to express what they are feeling. What does that LOOK like? It looks like a screaming, flailing upset child. Aka a fit.

But we’re told as a society that when our child “throws a fit” we should isolate them and that they are “being manipulative”. So instead of providing our physical comfort to help them regulate we isolate them and get irritated because we are “being manipulated” and baby picks up on the irritation if it’s there. (I get irritated sometimes too even though I know all the science and facts and reasons.)

So not only is baby upset that their entire world just broke (they lack the understanding of context and the fact that a broken piece of bread isn’t equal to death and doom and destruction) but NOW their caregiver is angry or upset and may be avoiding them.

Look at adults and how adults handle strong overwhelming emotions. We have words. We have context. We have a pretty decent ability to understand the “scale” of things. Our brains are fully developed and we have the CAPACITY to self regulate. Adults sometimes break things. They experience road rage. They become irrational. Doubt that? Look at your emotional state when your child is throwing a tantrum. Are you the paragon of even temperament and inner peace? Or do you sometimes have a VERY HARD TIME COPING?

Understanding what helps US cope can help us help our children cope.

Feeling supported, feeling listened to, being given the space for the emotional storm to pass, being held in a comfortable calm set of supportive arms, not being yelled at, not being treated as though your emotions are manipulative, being given coping tools, having words put to your experiences, developing an understanding of how things work, being able to communicate, not feeling dismissed, having a “full cup” emotionally, not being bored, not being overstimulate, not being overtired, not being hungry, not being stressed out, etc.

Is life perfect? No. But we can try and understand how to create an environment that doesn’t over-reach our child’s abilities to self regulate. And if our toddler throws a fit? We can recognize it for what it is. Overwhelm. It’s simply no different from when a toddler tries to run and does a face-plant instead.

They’re still developing the emotional ability to cope with life.

Backtalk

Backtalk.. I’ve seen people compare it to “abuse” and suggest harsh punishments.

Do children really have the power to “be abusive” to someone who essentially controls every aspect of their lives?

I see it as a sign that my child is feeling powerless, frustrated, and needs more tools to express their feelings.

“I hate you!” Makes me stop. I sit down on the floor so I’m below my child’s eye level. My six year old shifts uncomfortably when I do this, as his angry defensiveness melts away and he’s just a kid again, not someone trying to puff himself up big to be bigger than the adult who towers over him.

“You’re really upset right now?” I ask. “I think what you might be trying to say is that you don’t feel I’m listening to you right now. Could you use those words instead? ‘I don’t feel like you’re listening.’ Thank you. You don’t have to hurt someone to get them to listen. When you say you hate me.. That hurts. It makes me sad.”

His eyes lose their anger and often he says he’s sorry. Not with a forced angry tone, but with the regret of words he can’t take back.

“I am listening. I heard what you said and I told you that we can’t do that right now. Listening doesn’t always mean we can change things. Right now this isn’t going to change. And I need your help to get us through it quick. Can you help me, please?”

Later, when his defensiveness is down we talk about words like “hate”. I show him a piece of paper, flat and unmarked. I ask him to tell the paper “I hate you” and to crumple it up into a ball. He does. Then I tell him to apologize to the paper. Uncrumple it. Can you make it flat again?

You can’t take words back all the way. They stay out there even after apologies. The words you chose earlier weren’t even accurate. They didn’t describe what you felt. They were words used to hurt. That’s not okay.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you.” A quivering lip.

“I know. It will happen again. Right now you’re still small and you’re learning to be big enough to stop those angry words. You know how your little sister hits me sometimes because she’s a baby still? Do you still hit me? Of course not. This is something that you are learning to control. Next time… Try to remember to use accurate words, not hurtful ones. When you can do that you’ll feel big like a mountain. Angry words just make us feel smaller.”

My children respect me because I’m bigger than they are. Not in the way where I can hurt them worse than they hurt me, but in the way where I can absorb them. They can run flailing into me full speed ahead with all their fury and anger and more often than not I simply catch them. Defuse them. Give them better words to use.

I don’t accept the angry words or the backtalk. I hand it back to them gently with the immediate expectation that they will accept the second chance to use the words they should have used first.

Backtalk? It happens very rarely. Usually when someone else has frustrated them to the point where they can no longer cope. When my six year old tries those strong angry words these days all I need to do is raise an eyebrow at him and he backs down, apologizes, and finds his better words.

I don’t have to loom over him to demand his respect. I’ve earned it. I’ve been bigger than him every time he’s been angry and frustrated, and I’ve helped him find the words he needs to express himself so that he can do what I’ve asked willingly and for the right reasons.

(Note: The child in the image is not being scolded. I asked him to please make a grouchy face for the camera.)  

Motherhood, Unedited. (Real Life is Not the Movies)

Slap-pat-slap-pat-slap bare little toddler feet against a tile floor while I’m washing dishes. She twirls in circles, runs and stops, then weeble-walks. Silence. A giggle. I look down. A little face peeks up, upside-down, from the floor. She’s crawled between my feet. She darts off again and makes laps through the dining room, living room, hallway and back to the kitchen completing the circuit of the first floor. Slap-pat-slap little feet run as fast as they can go. Faster, faster, to the point of nearly losing her balance. She joyfully throws herself into my legs, catching herself on my sweatpants and hanging there by her hands swaying and giddy with the power of movement. I laugh. As a child I remember reading books where young children hid in the skirts of their mothers long ago, and seeing scenes in movies where they did just that. I may not be wearing a skirt, but some things are so intrinsically a part of motherhood no matter the time or place. Dishes done I reach down to pick her up. Na-nah-nah-nah! She scolds, little arms wrapping their way around my knees instead. She walks me like a puppet across the floor yelling “boom!” With every step we take. She leaves me off at the doorway, meaningfully shaking her hands “all done”, face dead-serious. “All done.” I echo with my words. Her face cracks into the biggest grin and she’s off again. Slap-pat-slap-pat, arms swaying with her run, little tongue hanging out and toddler hair all mussed up.

Motherhood, edited down into a vignette, would be nothing but these moments and a soundtrack to carry the mood.

Unedited. Last night I got no sleep. Eighteen month growth spurt. My daughter clung to me like an angry badger. Restless legs kicked me all night long. Chompy nursing. Fingers dug into my skin and twisted and pulled. Any attempt to move her away? Angry yelling. A two foot strip on my side of the bed where I can sleep with her clinging to my side. She won’t sleep under the blankets so she slept on top, pulling it off of me. But when she was asleep I wouldn’t risk moving her to steal back the blanket to cover myself, or to sneak-creep from the room to the linen closet to get myself another blanket. She needs that sleep even more than I do.

House messy because she needs to be attached to me but isn’t happy in the wrap or Mei Tai unless she’s trying to nap. And the three year old is going through a phase where he only wants to eat jam. With a spoon. And nothing else. Laundry to do. But at least now the dishes are clean.

And this? This will pass. This is just growing pains. Two weeks ago things were lovely. Two weeks from now they’ll be lovely again. She’ll move back to her own space in her sidecarred crib. She’ll accept daddy bouncing her at night again. She’ll sleep for those longer stretches and she’ll roll back over and soothe herself successfully even though she tries now and fails. This? It’s just a growth spurt. A rough time. Growing pains.

Real life is not the movies. This stuff? It’s motherhood. Unedited for length.

How to Not Conduct a Study about Peer Breastmilk Sharing

A recent study on peer breastmilk sharing has been done. You’ve probably seen the headlines. I’ve seen a few. For example, the New York Times  headline is “Breast Milk Donated or Sold Online Is Often Tainted, Study Says” Other headlines also scream doom and gloom.

What this study  really seems to boil down to is this: A researcher obtained samples of breastmilk using questionable methods that don’t duplicate real life and that seemingly exclude any responsible donors as well as common sense.

The study has issues. Big issues.

EXCLUSION OF RESPONSIBLE DONORS

From reading the study… A researcher contacted 495 people through peer breastmilk sharing communities with a “standard inquiry”. 206 of those people dropped communications or never responded to the inquiry. (For 57 of those the researcher chose to drop communication because the donors asked about the baby that would be getting the milk or asked to speak on the phone or meet in person.) 84 people backed out before milk was sent and three people apparently accepted payment, did not send milk, and did not refund what they were paid. 101 samples were eventually tested (after being stored for a period of time). In other words MOST people wanted nothing to do with the researcher even though they were getting paid and being asked for a small amount of milk.

The study did not share what their “standard inquiry” was, but from what they did share I was able to glean this: they did not speak about the infant that would be receiving the milk. They asked for small amounts of milk (it sounded like about 3 bags worth which would be approximately 18oz based on a 6oz bag size) and they left it up to the sender to provide whatever information the sender wanted to provide about themselves. They also allows the sender to choose whatever shipping method they thought was good (ice… no ice.)

Anyone who has donated milk will see where the HUGE MAJOR WARNING BELLS start clanging.

For those of you not familiar with how milk sharing works.. A “standard inquiry” would typically be an introduction. “Hi, my name is Margaret. I am looking for a donor for my baby Harry who is nine months. I saw your post on SpecificMilksharingCommunity. I am trying to help Harry have breastmilk for the first 12 months of his life. Unfortunately I have hypoplastic breasts which means I have a hard time producing enough milk. Harry gets my milk and donor milk through a SNS.”  In other words it TALKS ABOUT THE BABY. It talks about the reason the milk is needed. It talks about mom.

From there the donor and the recipient will talk and become a bit more comfortable with each other. Typically the donor will share why they decided to become a donor. Why do they have extra milk? What are they like? Who are they? The recipient usually has a lot of questions. The donor and recipient may choose to share medical paperwork including blood test results, a medical diagnosis of failure to thrive for the infant, a pediatrician’s letter stating that the baby needs donor milk, a medical diagnosis for the mother who is requesting the milk, and sometimes even a drug test depending on the diligence of the recipient. Video chats, phone calls, facebook friending. There is usually substantial contact.

Compensation, if discussed, is generally in terms of “would you like me to send you milk bags to replace the ones you’re sending the milk in? Do you have a preferred brand?” Often the recipient sends the cooler and packaging supplies to the donor as the recipient has more experience with how they want the milk shipped.

After the “getting to know each other” period has passed then the donor and recipient will talk about how to get the milk from the donor to the recipient. There are two ways that are generally accepted. The first is meeting in person. The second is Fedex overnight. Expensive. Only worth it (and only safe) if large amounts of milk are being sent. (Enough to fill a styrofoam shipping cooler without any extra room). This will be hundreds of ounces. Many bags. Not three. And you won’t be using any method that takes up to two days without dry ice.

If someone contacted a responsible donor, refused to speak in person or over the phone, dodged questions about the infant, requested a small amount of milk, was willing to pay for it, and asked that it be shipped to a PO Box?  Honestly I’d be picturing a skeevy man in his 50’s that wanted to bathe in the milk. I’d hit “delete” faster than you could say “pervert”. I’m willing to bet that a lot of the people who simply never responded or that dropped contact at any point… Those warning bells started clanging. In fact the people who did end up sending the milk? They probably suspected that it would be getting used for something that they didn’t want to know about, and they just wanted to get paid. (Which is why I’m very much against selling breastmilk.)

SHIPPING/STORAGE DO NOT REFLECT REAL LIFE

Would you drink a baggie of cows milk from the grocery store that had been shipped two days ago without ice? I accidentally left a glass of cow’s milk on the counter for a few hours when I took the kids out to the playground. When I returned it had solidified into a rancid smelling yogurt-like texture. This is pasteurized cows milk from the grocery store. FDA gold standard certified safe for the public.

NO ONE asking for breastmilk to be shipped to them.. Is going to be okay with small quantities being shipped without dry ice. (edit: large amounts can and should be shipped without ice as long as they fill a styrofoam cooler to capacity of about 200+ ounces with the empty spaces packed with newspaper. The entire time in transit should be less than 24 hours with this method.) If someone DOES get a fully thawed bag of rancid milk and feeds it to their infant there are some severe issues there and the issues aren’t with milksharing the issues are with unsafe feeding practices and the person should not be left alone with an infant regardless of what they are feeding the infant. Feeding a baby milk that has been unrefrigerated for 48 hours is NOT… NOT… safe. No matter what the source of the milk is. If the milk is fresh pumped from your own breasts in a pristine sterile environment using sterile equipment and then left to sit on a counter in your own home for 48 hours and you feed it to your baby? Still a problem. The MAXIMUM amount of time you’re supposed to leave human breastmilk without refrigeration or some method to keep it cool is 10 hours. That’s freshly pumped milk. You do NOT leave frozen milk out after it has thawed. Regardless of the source.

Responsible recipients that receive shipped milk? They discard any bags that have fully thawed even if they are still cool to the touch. Slushy bags are allowed to finish thawing and are used immediately or discarded. Only fully frozen bags go into the freezer.

The milk that the researchers received? It was stored at -20C for up to two months before the sample was analyzed. In other words it would seem that some of the milk that had thawed was… refrozen. That violates breastmilk storage guidelines 101. Which was part of the researcher’s claims. But I’m unsure how the researcher’s possible incorrect handling of milk works into the study. “If you handle breast milk incorrectly it will become full of bacteria”. Sounds about right.

SO WHAT DOES THE STUDY SHOW? ARE THERE ISSUES WITH MILK SHARING?

Absolutely. There are issues with milk sharing.

People don’t know how it works or how it’s supposed to work or how to do it safely. Apparently even the people doing the research don’t know how it works. (Unless it was the intention of the researcher to specifically exclude responsible donors through its screening process and initial inquiry– if they wanted to truly study milksharing they would have obtained samples from people who had received donor milk rather than seemingly chasing after the worst of the worst.)

Donor milk is just as much of a sabotage as formula if used incorrectly. A lot of people are lead to believe that they have a low supply when the issue is something else entirely. (Tongue tie, flow preference, a pediatrician shooting for the 50th percentile or higher across the board or comparing breastfed babies to formula fed ones.) ANY supplementation can sabotage mom’s supply. Donor milk included. And that’s a problem for a lot of reasons. http://nurshable.com/2012/06/18/when-donor-milk-is-no-different-than-formula/

People don’t know how to properly express in a hygienic way. Or sometimes don’t take hygiene seriously. You know? Like that woman you /heard/ in the next stall who just walked out without washing her hands? Eww. (That said, pumping breastmilk is a LOT of work. And storing it properly is also work. If you get hundreds of bags of meticulously labeled flat-frozen milk.. That took a lot of effort. Surely it took more effort than a few baggies of milk shipped without ice. She also presumably pumped for her own baby who she likely cares a great deal about. )

Mistaken Beliefs of Safety. I suppose there are people out there that think that milk obtained from someone you know absolutely nothing about and that you have never spoken to in-depth is as safe as milk from the grocery store. There are also grocery stores that sell expired milk. And there are also people that buy milk without checking the expiration date. There are people that don’t refrigerate cold cuts. That don’t wash produce before eating it. There are people that aren’t aware that powdered formula isn’t sterile and that expired infant formula is often sold. There are people that aren’t aware that you have to measure the water and then add the formula to the water rather than measuring the formula and then adding the water otherwise your formula won’t be mixed properly. In fact most people don’t seem to understand how to safely prepare infant formula. Regardless.. There are people that will probably obtain and use free breastmilk just because it’s free. Just like someone might obtain and use free formula just because it’s free. (Their babies eat the “whatever’s free on the classifieds today” brand.)

You’re not just dealing with the donor, you’re also dealing with her husband. Your donor can be the most lovely person in the world but if her partner is sleeping around behind her back at all then she may not have a full picture of her STD status. Don’t just get to know your donor. Get to know her partner.

The whackadoo wildcard exists. There are whackjobs out there. They’re thankfully rare. But they do exist. This is one of the reasons I’m vehemently against the selling of breastmilk. There’s been issues with expired formula being sold. Once you introduce profit into anything you’re going to have problems. Since the study author purchased milk I’m surprised that there weren’t more problems with the samples that were received.

SO WHAT’S THE GOOD OPTION?

I absolutely agree with where the study author speaks about limited options available when a mom can’t feed the baby her own milk. Our system is completely broken for moms and for babies. Moms get sabotaged. Doctors are not well educated about lactation. There are some terrible lactation consultants out there that do more harm than good. The formula companies are for-profit and love profit. There are no wonderful great options for most moms if they’re having trouble. The best option that they can hope for is a truly trusted and trustworthy known donor. In our culture where we’re so socially isolated as parents that’s hard to come by. I’m part of a huge network of thousands of mothers and I can count on a single hand the moms that I would trust to donate milk to my baby.  But milk banks that minimize risks are not the norm.

What I would like to see is some way to make milk bank testing available to mothers that are involved in milk sharing. A screening and education program for peer milk sharing. It’s unlikely to happen though, because the focus is on milk banks (which increase the cost) and on studies that purport to show the dangers of something that the study author doesn’t quite seem to understand.

I would also like to see studies of milk that mothers have received through a more typical donation process. Why not a study that obtains small samples of milk that a recipient has received from a batch that she intends to feed to her infant? That would paint a more accurate picture of peer milk sharing as it would test milk that was actually in the donation cycle as opposed to testing the milk of donors that might very well never have manged to donate since there is a “trust” factor involved that this study completely excluded.

THE MEDICAL COMMUNITY’S COMFORT WITH THE RISKS OF FORMULA

Formula has risks, especially when proper preparation guidelines aren’t followed.

What I would like to know is this: Would doctors be so quick to recommend supplementation if we used a system of unpaid human donors? Or would they be quicker to refer mom to lactation consultants to help her establish a breastfeeding relationship where she can provide her baby with her own milk?

Information exists that points to infant formula being a risky option when compared to a trusted and tested donor. Yet doctors are very comfortable suggesting that moms use it with their newborns, and they seldom provide information on reducing the risks.

Why don’t we hear more about that? What’s the fixation that everyone has on making breastmilk donation into something scary? We have accepted the risks of infant formula for decades and have made little effort to reduce them. Where are the studies on the microbial contamination of infant formula? Where are the studies on the the risks of formula use compared to a donor following proper hygeine practices? Where is the media hype over the dangers of improper mixing of infant formula?

WHY the focus on “breastmilk is a problem” to the point of a study that focuses on the rock bottom of what the milksharing community has to offer?

Why Not to Rescue the Screaming Baby from Dad

It might surprise Nurshable readers to know that I have a pretty strict “no rescuing the baby” policy in place with my partner. (We don’t rescue the baby, we don’t refuse the baby if the baby wants/needs the other parent, and we don’t grab the baby if the baby is rejecting us. Unless one of the things is really really necessary for some reason.) If the baby is shrieking her head off in his arms I do not swoop in to rescue the baby. I do not grab the baby out of his arms. I may walk over and just gently put my hand on his shoulder as a reminder of all the things that we talk about in-between. Or he might walk over and place his hand on my shoulder as the same reminder.

We agreed that if she continues to cry with either one of us that we will bring her to the other parent and say “Let’s see if daddy/mommy can figure out what you’re asking for.” or “I think you’re saying you want to go to daddy” or “do you need to nurse? Let’s go find mommy.” This allows our daughter to  hear that we are trying to find out what she needs, we respect that if we can’t meet that need the other parent might be able to figure it out.

We believe that a baby’s cries are communication. Babies can communicate many things. “I need a diaper change” (either one of us can do this.) “I am having a hard time falling asleep.” (either one of us can possibly help with this) and also “I need to nurse”, “I want mommy” or “I want daddy”.

When you swoop in and “rescue” a baby from the other parent you’re sending a message to the baby that you don’t trust dad, dad’s not a capable caregiver, and that you’re the only one who can meet baby’s needs.

On the other hand if dad refuses to bring baby to mom when baby needs or wants to nurse, baby learns that she doesn’t want to be held by dad because once daddy’s holding her she WON’T BE ALLOWED TO NURSE and if she CRIES AND LEANS TOWARDS MOMMY daddy won’t let her go to mom.

It also creates a much more relaxed state in all of us. Dad doesn’t feel like he HAS TO FIX THE THING BECAUSE I NEED HIM TO FIX THE THING AND HE IS TRAPPED WITH SCREAMINGBABY. I don’t feel like I HAVE TO FIX THE THING BECAUSE WHOEVER IS HOLDING THE BABY HAS TO FIX THE THING. It’s flexible. It flows. If one us can’t help the baby then the other parent gets to try. If baby’s having a really hard time then we pass the baby and she is surrounded by love from both of us, and we both get to breathe before we jump in again.

When you rescue, refuse, or grab it doesn’t create an environment of trust where your child feels respected and safe.

Through respecting our daughter’s autonomy and preferences and needs and wants and feelings, my partner has formed an amazing bond with our daughter.

Playfulness in the Kitchen: Silicone Ice Cube Tray (#ActivitySunday)

Silicone Ice Cube Tray Activities

  1. Make colored ice to play with (let them move the ice around on a piece of paper towel and it will “paint”) – Karen
  2. Freeze small items into ice cubes. An older child can experiment with how to get them out (hot water, salt, a mallet, etc.) – Karen
  3. Sorting! See what fits in the cubes and what doesn’t. – Emily
  4. Make ice cubes and let your child smash them with a rubber mallet outside. – Sarah
  5. Make cube crayons. Melt crayons one at a time into the tray and they’ll be rainbow crayons. – Sarah
  6. Puree and freeze different fruits and vegetables. Let your child try cucumber, carrot, grape, pear, etc. “popcicles”. – Sarah
  7. Fill with paint and let your child mix the different colors – Sarah
  8. Fill with water and drop different colors of food coloring into the water. Give child strips of paper towel to dip into the colors. They will climb up the towels. (Do on tile or in bathtub) – Sarah
  9. Practice 1:1 correspondence by having her put 1 item (snack food, straw. . . ) in each spot. – Kristen
  10. Let the child figure out how to get the cubes out of the tray. – Sarah
  11. Make jello “wiggle blocks” and build with them.  -Sarah
  12. Put an item in the first cube for each row. Let the child sort matching items into the other cubes in the row. (same color pom poms, types of bean..)
  13. Have the child move objects around in the tray using their fingers, tweezers or chopsticks depending on age.

Add your ideas in the comments section below, and I’ll add them to this post!

Every Sunday I’ll be giving Nurshable readers a room in their house and asking for pictures of different items from that room. I’ll post those pictures and we can share ideas for activities that use that object. Let’s fill up our Playfulness Toolkit and find the play in every room!

Playfulness in the Kitchen: Spice Rack (#ActivitySunday)

Every Sunday I’ll be giving Nurshable readers a room in their house and asking for pictures of different items from that room. I’ll post those pictures and we can share ideas for activities that use that object. Let’s fill up our Playfulness Toolkit and find the play in every room!

Spice Rack Activities:

  1. Sniff different smells – Erika
  2. Sort spices by colors, shade or arrange by the height of the jar. – Sarah
  3. Recognize letters on labels. – Sarah
  4. Recognize patterns in the spice bottles (cap cover, bottle shape, plastic/glass, pictures on the bottles) – Sarah
  5. “What food does this smell like”? – Emily
  6. “Spice Memory”- Smell several spices and learn their names. Then try to remember the name by sniffing the spice. -Sarah
  7. Mix the spices into homemade playdough (the powdered or liquid ones) so you have nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and other scents of dough.  – Sarah
  8. Experiments and Potions. Mix different spices with water or oil and come up with a story about what type of potion you’re making. – Nancy
  9. Spice paintings with glue and colored paper. – Sarah

Add your ideas in the comments section below, and I’ll add them to this post!

How To Include Dad

For all my annoyance with the “Good Man Project” blog post I wrote about recently… I must say that reading the follow-up on Feminist Dad and reading that he related in some ways.. Got me thinking.

How hard must it be for the non-stay-at-home dad who has a stay-at-home wife?

Alex had a week off after each of our children were born. A week. By the time they were two weeks old he had a handful of hours for every twenty four of mine.

So. How do you keep dad involved?

1- Dad’s not an outsider.
2- Dad is a different person than you and is going to be a different parent.
3- Don’t sweat the small stuff.
4- Talk about parenting decisions and theories. Listen to dad’s opinions and thoughts. Don’t dismiss them just because they are different than yours. If they are different then have discussions. Try to structure it so that the first discussion is “Why do you want to do it this different way?” Try to understand where he is coming from without trying to change his mind. The second discussion is “why do you want to do it this way?” Where he listens and tries to understand. The third discussion is the practicalities involved. If one parent is responsible for the child(ren) 95% of the time, they need to be able to consistently use the parenting methods chosen. Talk about roadblocks/hurdles of both plans.
5- If he is able to get txts without risking his job, send him pictures and updates across the day.

#ActivitySunday

1. Send a picture of an item in your kitchen to sarah@nurshable.com

2. I will post the pictures on this blog post tonight.

3. Everyone can comment with suggestions on how to use that item in a game or activity for different age groups.

Let’s fill up our playfulness toolkits for the week! Next week we can do a different room. :)

-Sarah