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Tales and Sightings of the Magic Unicorn Baby (Part 1)

Month 17, Day 12

Dear Diary,

Last night was no different than the rest. The darkness that engulfed me and my sensitive tracking equipment was broken only by the familiar screams of the strange yelling beast somewhere in the distance. It was still wiggling in it’s cocoon, it’s shrill cries echoing against cameras, trees, cars, buildings, the ground, air, and my ears alike. Especially my ears. Nothing can bring me to become accustomed to that sound.

17 Months we have been in this urban wilderness trying to witness the birth of the fabled Magic Unicorn Baby, yet it seems like there is no end in sight. We have heard many personal accounts, but they are all anecdotes. We have found nobody with concrete evidence that such creatures even exist.

Sleep comes seldom, and when it does it is broken by the screaming beast just over yonder. I am beginning to doubt my own sanity, but I must persevere. Sometimes I hear strange sounds, almost like words of encouragement, all around me, but I remember that I haven’t slept in almost 17 months and brush it off as just another hallucination. Sometimes I even hear my own mother’s words when she says that I used to be such a beast, and I myself metamorphisized into such a fabled creature as the Magic Unicorn Baby. These times I begin to question what I am seeing and wondering if perhaps my partner has slipped me some hallucinogens into my coffee. Or maybe it’s just the delirium talking.

Many told me that this expedition was for naught, but I can not agree. The truth is out there, I know it, I just have to wait long enough for it to reveal itself. I will find the magic unicorn baby and prove its existence once and for all. I just hope that I find it before the screaming beast decides to wake up and find me. It’s jaws look powerful enough to split a tomato in two, and when it smiles those dimples shake the very foundation of the earth.

It toddles toward me at times and threatens me with it’s teeth until I pick it up. It then forces me to walk around pointing at things yelling “Dat!” as if to say “There. There is your unicorn. Do you not see it? Behind this thing I’m pointing at? No? Because IT IS NOT THERE YOU FOOL! I HAVE CONSUMED THE MAGIC UNICORN BABY AND IT SHALL FOREVERMORE BE BANISHED FROM EXISTENCE! MUUHAHAHAHAHA!”

Like a loyal soldier I do my duty and carry the beast around until it has had it’s fill of mocking my quest and my existence. It bares it’s teeth at me again in a gesture sure to confuse most as innocent and playful.

It goes back to it’s lair and I back to my equipment. I shall continue to watch you, strange beast. One day you may reveal your secrets to the location of the Magic Unicorn Baby. Until then, I shall be here, waiting, and you shall be there, not sleeping. And sometimes smiling, and giggling, and pointing, and playing, and learning, and walking, and jumping, and waving, and kissing, and hugging, and drawing, and growing.

(This post brought to you by sleep-deprived delirium-induced coffee-giddiness.)

The Truth About Breastmilk for Ear Infections

I see a lot of recommendations to put breast milk into ears for ear infections.

The thing to understand about milk in ears is this:

Most baby ear infections are middle ear infections. An infection that is behind the ear drum. The ear drum does not allow the milk to pass through to interact directly with the bacteria causing the infection. Milk in the ear only directly comes in contact with the infection if it is an infection of the outer ear/ear canal. (such as “swimmer’s ear”)

MOST ear infections clear up without the need for treatment. The current AAP recommendation is to wait 48-72 hours after diagnosis of an ear infection before trying antibiotics. Many ear infections will clear on their own given time.

So what does milk in the ear do?

It is soothing. A warm liquid in the ear does help soothe the pain, just as a warm compress or drops of warm oil would.

It also introduces a liquid into the ear that can cause an infection of the ear canal. This is unlikely as breastmilk tends to cure rather than cause infections, however if breastmilk becomes trapped in the ear eventually the breastmilk will decay and bacteria will be attracted to it.

For me the “benefits” of temporarily soothing the pain (until the warmth goes away) don’t outweigh the risks of putting something into the ear. I stick with a warm rice sock which provides the same benefit and I wait the 72 hours to see if the ear infection clears or sticks around.

I have only had to give antibiotics for an ear infection to one of my children once.

When the milk can come in contact with the infection? YES. Use it. I got rid of pinkeye with milk. (Careful, it blurs your vision temporarily because of the fat content of the milk). I’ve gotten rid of minor skin infections and irritations with it as well. It even helped get rid of my dog’s dermatitis a bunch of years ago. For ear infections? I do the wait and see route and if necessary I go with antibiotics.

All The Wants I Hope to Be (2013)

At the end of this old year, heading into the beginning of the new year it’s tempting to declare all the many wants that I hope to be in 2013.

I wanted to say something profound here. Something about letting go of things, about embracing things, about finding gleeful joy and bliss.

Instead I find myself thinking about the things that I wish to become in 2013. I have things that I wish to be better at. Don’t we all?

I don’t need to wait for the first minute of 2013, or the first morning of 2013. I can start now at 9:51PM on December 31 2012. Just like I can start on January 2nd if January 1st doesn’t work out. Or April 3rd if things drag that far. I can start at any moment. I can succeed at any attempt. I can fail and try again.

I do not need to put down all of the goals and things that I wish to accomplish or change or become this year. I know those goals inside my head, my heart, and my soul.

And so this year my written list of resolutions is short.

“I will try again.”

Dear Dr. Phil

Dear Dr. Phil,

Your recent show has made it very clear that you don’t understand what Attachment Parenting is all about. You have confused it with permissive and narcissistic parenting, which is very much not in line with AP in the slightest. You have highlighted permissive and narcissistic parenting styles and have called them “Attachment Parenting”.

Not knowing the meaning of the word “no” is permissive parenting. A permissive parent is a selfish brat who places their own need to be loved by their child ahead of what the child actually needs. A permissive parent will give their child a cookie if the child throws a tantrum. Or will just buy cookies to give to the child because they think the child wants cookies. A permissive parent will face their child forwards in the car seat before the child is ready to face forwards safely because “they want to see things!” Permissive parenting actually crosses over a lot into mainstream parenting in those ways.

Not allowing a child to spend time with anyone other than themselves is selfish abusive parenting, or is the parenting of someone who has legitimate concerns for their child’s safety. Attachment Parents generally place tremendous value on family and friends and believe in fostering relationships with many people so that their children have a wide network of emotional support and a lot of people to learn from.

Attachment Parents view separation anxiety as a natural part of infancy that fades when the child is able to understand certain things and when the child’s desire to explore and be around other children outweighs the child’s need to keep us in eyesight all the time. We believe in working with our children to become comfortable with the idea of being in different environments with different people at different times in their lives. We understand that if separation anxiety persists or becomes worse it is a social anxiety that needs to be overcome.

Attachment Parents recognize that children have many different personality attributes just as they may have different hair colors, eye colors, different body types, different facial features, and hair of different textures. We understand that our parenting needs to adapt with each different child because a “one size fits all” approach of any sort is doomed for failure.

Attachment Parents do not sleep with their children against their child’s will. Attachment parents sleep with children that need more nighttime parenting, and encourage independent sleep in those who are fine with that independence. (I personally LOVE to sleep without small feet in my eyeballs, and with more than an inch or two of space to myself.)

Attachment Parenting is not threatening my relationship with my partner. It is making my relationship with him stronger. By talking about parenting issues that we face, we listen to each other and we approach things as a team rather than one of us declaring that our way is The Only Way to Do Something. I listen to my partner with every bit as much zeal as I listen to my children.

Indulgent parenting takes the easy way out by throwing everything under the sun at their kids in the hopes that the parent can avoid doing any real work and the child will obey out of appreciation.

Strict parenting takes another easy way out by refusing to acknowledge the validity of emotions such as anger, sadness and disappointment. Strict parenting labels legitimate emotions as “manipulative” and tries to wall children off from their parents so that the parents will be sheltered from the emotions that the children have.

Attachment parenting is a lot of hard work. It means LISTENING. It means understanding. It means working with the child. Attachment parents don’t hide from the difficult emotions- be it through giving the child everything that they want or through putting our feet down and declaring that the child’s deepest feelings are just an attempt at controlling us.

I think that if you learned a little bit more about what Attachment Parenting really is.. Maybe you’d be ready to let go of the controversy and focus on something that truly damages children.

You can just as easily do a show on indulgent parenting, which is very damaging. Or a show on the effect of discouraging our children from expressing emotions rather than helping them understand what it is that they’re feeling.

Somehow I doubt that you have any interest in doing that, though. It’s easier to hold onto what we think we know than it is to listen to the things that we think we disagree with.

-Sarah

I Am Not a Better Mother Than You.

I am not a  better mother than you. I am not a worse mother than you. I am a different mother than you in some ways, and the same mother as you in others.

We are different. We make different choices based on our lives, our needs, the needs of our child, our support systems, the number of children that we have, and the needs of our hearts.

I do not love your baby as much as you do, and you do not love mine as much as I do. It is impossible, because we are bonded to our children through having carried them, birthed them, sought them out to adopt them, held them near as soon as were able.

We can speak of our experiences, our wishes, our feelings, our dreams, our reasons. We can speak in happiness, in misery, of the things that we are confident in, and the things that we question.

My words on nurshable are meant to offer encouragement to those whose hearts are similar, not to critique those whose hearts are different or wound those whose lives make them make difficult decisions that I do not envy (but that I do respect).

You are the only one inside your head. You are the only one that knows your reasons for doing things. You are the one that knows the pain and responsibility of difficult choices.

An informed choice made out of love is never a bad choice. Do not take the guilt that others offer you. Do not find guilt in another’s joy. Quiet the voices of others, look at your life with honesty, see your circumstances clearly, understand what can and cannot be changed. Understand YOUR life the way no one else can. And make your choices with love.

The letters that I write on Nurshable are not meant to cause you pain. They may speak of things that are not attainable. I am sorry. I mourn many difficult choices that I was forced to make against my heart, even as I understand that they were necessary. I understand. Those choices do not make you a “bad mother”. They make you a wise woman who loved her baby SO much that understood that certain wishes of hers were things that needed to be let go.

I’m not a better mother than you. No one is a “better” mother than you. You are the parent that your child loves. You are the parent that your child needs. Make your choices with love. Find the beauty in them. Seek out the happiness, and feel it deeply. Do not focus on the things that you wish that you could do differently unless change is realistic and attainable without sacrificing something else that is more important.

Life is a juggling act for most. If we allow others to look over our shoulder and dictate how we juggle the balls, we will drop most of them. Listen to your heart, look at your life honestly, look at your child. Parent with love. You answer only to yourself, your partner, and your children.

Take your joy and your peace without robbing mine.

No informed decision made out of love is ever the wrong one.