BSM – 3/19/07

Time for another round of Best Shot Monday.

This week I’m featuring several pics of my kids in my new prop – a giant tea cup. I’m usually not a big fan of props, but after reading about and seeing the tea cups on ILP I thought it was particularly cute, especially for babies.

So here ya go – My Kids in a Cup! :)

Julian – 3 3/4 months old
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Ava – 2 3/4 years old
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For anyone who’s wondering, the tea cups are available at (*gasp*) Walmart. I know, I know. (*hanging my head in shame*)

Visit Tracey over at Picture This to see everyone else’s best shots for this week.

Edited to add: A commenter asked that I share my lighting and backdrop setup, so here ya go. Lighting is natural – coming in from a sliding glass door to the left of my subjects (my right). Backdrop is a black piece of fleece. Subject is about 3 feet (they are supposed to be even more, but I don’t have that much room to work with) away from the backdrop. Hope that helps. :)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Hooray! Jody gets back from San Francisco today! He’s been gone AGAIN for four days this past week. This week was harder than last. I’m sure it’s because it was two weeks in a row of having him gone. Ava seems to miss him a lot more this week too and had a couple of really rough nights, though thankfully she slept well last night and is actually still snoozing. She needs the Zzzzzzs. Anyway, I’m happy to say he shouldn’t have to travel again for a few months.

We hooked up with some friends yesterday at a cafe and the kids got to play while we listened to live music and had lunch. Then we let the kids play outside in the grass for a while. Ava found a nice pile of fresh top soil and proceeded to cover herself in it. Good times. ;) It was a beautiful day – sunny and near 70 degrees.

Today is supposed to be gorgeous as well and we have plans to go to a St. Patty’s day bonfire tonight at some new friends’ house. It sounds like a really good time. They eat, drink, play instruments, sing songs and tell stories around the fire. I don’t know how late we will stay since Ava has been going to bed earlier these days (plus I’m scared of all the drunks on the roads), but I think if we bring her pjs and put her in them before driving home, we’ll be OK.

We’ve been watching a lot of YouTube around here lately. Ava loves watching old Muppet and Sesame Street skits. Here’s one we recently stumbled upon…

Happy St. Patrick’s Day from the Muppets – the Swedish chef, Animal and Beaker. :) Have fun and be safe.

Ina May speaks about childbirth, etc.

OMG, OMG, OMG! I just found out Ina May Gaskin will be having a talk here LOCALLY in May. I just sent an email to get more information. I am SOOOOO there! :)

“Ina May will spend the evening talking with parents and public about childbirth, breastfeeding and parenting.

Who is Ina May Gaskin?

Author – Well known for the seminal work, Spiritual Midwifery, her new book, Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, is now available. It inspires women to take back the fear of childbirth by regaining confidence in their bodies and assuring them – your body still works!
Activist – Ina May transformed her observation of increasing maternal mortality in the U.S. into The Safe Motherhood Quilt Project, a national effort to honor those women who have died of pregnancy-related causes during the past twenty years and to draw public attention to the unchanging maternal death rate in this country.
Innovator – Ina May developed the Gaskin Maneuver. The first obstetrical maneuver to be named after a midwife, it embodies the essence of midwifery by using simple body movements to facilitate a difficult birth. Recently selected as a Visiting Fellow at Morse College of Yale University, Ina May continues to delight listeners by
infusing her sharp command of birth research and statistics with a touch of the wry humor that punctuates her writing.”

I think I’ve turned into a birth junkie. ;) I’m so excited about this opportunity!

The little things

It’s the little things that make me appreciate just how much I love my kids.

Like the new lip-smacking sounds that Julian makes.

Like the way Ava kissed my arm a few times while falling asleep tonight.

And like when me and the kids were sitting on the couch this evening. I was nursing Julian and Ava was sitting next to us talking about there being a giraffe on the roof, all the while pretending she was “Flick,” I was “Princess Atta” and Julian was “Dot” – from “A Bug’s Life” (one of her favorite movies – besides “Annie,” of course). I don’t know what it was about that moment, but my eyes welled up with tears as I felt so full of love and thankful for my kiddos.

It’s the little things like that that make me truly appreciate that I’m able to stay at home with them. There are those days when I wish that I had a job outside the home (other than my very part-time photography) so that I could escape for a few hours a day. But I know (at least for me) that “escape” would not fulfill me and I would miss my kids terribly.

I feel fortunate that I can be there for them and witness all of their milestones, as well as the everyday laughter and tears, the silliness, new sounds and tricks, and the wonder of just being a kid. There may be things in my life that I regret, but staying at home with my children will not be one of them.

3/13/07 - Ava lovin’ on Julian

Julian cracks up when Ava rolls around on top of him. Good thing he’s a big enough boy to handle all the love she passes his way. ;)

Super? Nanny

Mamas all over the Internet are voicing their opinion on the latest episode of ABC’s “SuperNanny” today. Some think Jo’s advice to the family was completely uneducated and out of line, others have issues with parts of it and still others think there was nothing wrong with it at all. Of course I have my own thoughts on the matter to share and, now that I have a minute to get on the computer, I will do just that.

First of all, this family had a LOT of issues, namely needing to set boundaries, find some balance in their family life, and find an alternative to “whoopin'” the kids (which is what the mom called the spankings her kids received). Although the mom held her14-month-old baby a lot, nursed her on demand and the parents co-slept with their 6-year-old as well as the baby, this family was not practicing Attachment Parenting nor seemed to have any desire to.

The mom seemed reluctant to wean the baby at first, but then changed her mind and said she was ready. I applaud her for breastfeeding for as long as she did, considering only 17.2% of moms in the U.S. were still nursing their children at 12 months old (in 2003) per the CDC, even though the AAP recommends “Exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months and support for breastfeeding for the first year and beyond as long as mutually desired by mother and child.”

The fact that the mom decided to wean does not bother me, however, the way Jo handled the weaning process (cold-turkey) seemed pretty darn awful. There are much gentler ways of getting a baby to wean than to go cold-turkey. Plus, it’s not good for the mom to just up and quit like that. I’m sure her boobs were about ready to explode and I hope she didn’t develop mastitis (breast infection) as a result. I wish they would’ve consulted a lactation consultant or two before giving out advice on weaning. Perhaps if they had, they would’ve known better than to encourage the mom to give her 14-month-old a bottle. Bottle use past 12 months of age is discouraged because it can lead to mouth/teeth problems.

From “Stopping breastfeeding abruptly, or “cold turkey,” can be very distressing for both mother and baby and can cause plugged ducts, breast infection, or even a breast abscess. Hormone levels are also more likely to take a drastic plunge, causing mood swings, depression, etc. It’s very rare that sudden weaning is truly necessary. If someone suggests to you that this is required, get a second opinion. It would also be helpful to talk to a lactation consultant and/or a La Leche League Leader, who will be able to suggest alternatives and, if necessary, help you to wean with as little distress to mom and baby as possible.” Kellymom also has recommendations for gradual or partial weaning.

I felt many of the comments Jo made about breastfeeding or about the mom keeping the baby close to her were made with disdain. Rather than supporting the mom for breastfeeding her child, Jo seemed to be appalled that the nursing relationship continued. Perhaps she needs reminding of the AAP’s recommendation (12 months+) or WHO’s recommendations (2 years+) regarding breastfeeding.

I also disagreed with the way they transitioned the baby from co-sleeping with mom and dad to sleeping in a crib using CIO (cry it out). I felt that it was unusually cruel to first take her off the breast cold-turkey, then make her CIO in a crib (even if it was only for 5 minutes) when she’d been so accustomed to the closeness and security of mom for the past 14 months. Again, gentler methods could have been used.

More from “When you’re actively weaning, be sure to offer lots of cuddling and extra affection during the day. As your child grows older, nursing becomes much more than a way to satisfy hunger and thirst. It provides him with much comfort, security and closeness, so be as sensitive to his needs as you possibly can be throughout the process.”

They sure missed the mark on that one. Also, the way Jo applauded the mom for remaining “detached” while she listened to her baby CIO behind a closed door made me feel sick to my stomach. :( No parent should ever be praised for their detachment from their children, especially while the child cries alone.

I felt really sorry for the baby (the only one in the family who couldn’t voice her feelings) in all of this. I agree that the mom needed to pay more attention to her other children (and stop hitting them!), but there are better ways of handling it all. Perhaps Jo could’ve offered her a sling and showed her how to wear her baby (which would allow her to get more things done and still satisfy the baby’s needs) rather than just tell her to break off her attachment with her.

I know numerous families with more than one child who don’t have to break the attachment with one child to spend time with the other(s). It might take more work and ingenuity to figure out a balance, but nobody said parenting would be easy.

Another thing that bothered me was Jo saying that the baby was missing developmental milestones because she was so attached. Hmmm. I’ve never heard of a baby missing milestones from being worn/held or breastfed, the opposite is often true – the babies thrive because their needs are being met.

Overall, I’m grateful that the “SuperNanny” helped mom to realize that hitting her kids is not an effective or good discipline tactic and I hope that the family was able to find some balance after all of this. Those older two kids (not the nephew) really seemed to be crying out for attention and hopefully they are getting more now. I just wish the baby’s needs were considered a bit more. After all, she’s part of the family too.

If you wish to voice your opinion on this episode to ABC, click here or email Nick Powell, the creator and executive producer of both the American and British versions of the show – Craig Armstrong and Nick Emmerson are executive producers of the American version. Supernanny is produced by Ricochet, Ltd.