Saturday, January 30, 2010

A tough week

It was a tough week for SchmoopyBaby. For starters, he is showing signs of teething his 2-year molars. At 20 months it seems a bit early to me, but all his other teeth have been in for some time now so it has to be those. Additionally, he is also showing signs of being sick - possibly just a cold, but possibly an ear infection (or maybe just more teething symptoms). If he doesn't appear to getting any better by Monday then we'll take him to a doctor to get confirmation of something or nothing.

What is boils down to is this - SchmoopyBaby doesn't feel well. And when he doesn't feel well he wants mama - all day and all night. Seeing as SchmoopyBaby won't sleep in my bed (a couple of dorks thought it would be fun to use our bed as a place to play steamroller and superbaby, so now he associates our bed with play instead of sleep) that means I have spent part of the night sharing a twin mattress with Schmoopybaby on the floor of his room. I don't have a problem with this. I don't sleep fabulously well in those conditions, but I sleep well enough and my child needs me so I'm happy to do it.

The problem has been more of the 'all day' part of the equation. Leaving for work on Wednesday and Friday was absolutely excruciating. SchmoopyBaby clung to me like his life depended on it. We finally got him to somewhat willingly let go and get handed to Daddy, but as I left he wouldn't stop reaching for me and crying.

I know this is completely normal behavior for a child his age even if he were feeling well, and is just a phase that will go away on its own. I also know that he stopped crying just a few minutes after I left and had plenty of fun throughout the day with his Daddy. Knowing this did not make it any easier, or lessen the guilt in the slightest. sigh.

Sometimes work-family balance is hard. Sometimes mommy-guilt really gets me down.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A day in the snow

This weekend, after the local mountains got blanketed in several feet of snow, we took SchmoopyBaby up to play. Here are a few pictures.

Playing in the snow angel Mommy made

Riding on a sled a little girl let us borrow. He's not too sure about it.

With Mommy

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blog Identity Crisis

I should start out by saying that I am a blog junkie. I love reading blogs, I love discovering new blogs, I love finding out what's going on in the lives of people I know and seeing pictures of their little kiddos on their personal blogs. I love discovering new recipes on food blogs. I love finding out about different learning and discipline philosophies on parenting blogs, and getting cloth diapering tips on environmental blogs. You get the picture.

When I started this blog I wasn't 100% sure what I'd be writing about. I was thinking it would be a combination of personal blog to keep my out of town family and friends updated with SchmoopyBaby's latest accomplishments, and a food blog with recipes and pics of what we are eating at chez Schmoopy. The reason for this was simply because those were the types of blogs I was reading at the time I created it.

But for the last month or so I've been going to some blogs that really make me think. People are writing about really meaningful, informative, and important topics. This led me to question what I am doing with this blog. Sometimes I feel like I write about such trivial fluff, which, of course, I do sometimes just because it's fun.

But then I think: Who is actually reading this blog? What does my audience actually want to read about? Who do I want to read this blog? Who is this blog really for? Is it for my immediate family? Is it for other moms - maybe vegetarian, maybe not, maybe WOHM, maybe not? Is it really for me, so I can feel connected to some invisible others when I feel alone in the world, and have someplace to vent other than my husband?

I tend to think that my regular readers are more interested in SchmoopyBaby updates than my opinions on gender-neutral parenting or the role of spirituality in politics. But these are important topics - topics that deserve to be thought about and written about and read about by anyone and everyone. Thus the blog identity crisis.

I'm thinking that I want to expand my range a bit. One of my goals for this year is to start writing about topics that make me think critically and intelligently. My brain needs the exercise, and since virtually all of my other hobbies have gone to the wayside, I need something other than work and the actual day-to-day care of SchmoopyBaby to keep me sane. I recently discovered a Blog Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Lauren of Hobo Mama and Dionna of Code Name: Mama that I might try to participate in. (Although I have a bit of damage with the label "Natural Parenting." What is the opposite, unnatural parenting? And what exactly is unnatural parenting, me nursing a litter of lion cubs? But I digress - that is a topic for another post.)

Don't worry Mom, I'll still post SchmoopyBaby updates and pictures, and I'll still attempt to entertain and amuse with trivial fluff, because I know you are stressed and tired and just want an easy smile. Also, because sometimes it's just fun to be able to laugh at myself and life's silly trivialities from time to time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A couple fashion mishaps

I lost a shoe. More specifically, SchmoopyBaby lost one of my shoes. John saw him take it out of the closet and put it somewhere in the living room. Allegedly, John thought to himself "Gee, I better remember where that shoe is, Shana will never know to look for it there" and then he promptly forgot this clever hiding place. He was right - I have not found the shoe anywhere I have thought to look for it.

Another thing - I wore my shirt inside out today. All day. At the office. Thankfully I had a sweater on over the shirt and it was sufficiently cold that I never took the sweater off, so no one knew about my blunder. I myself didn't realize the mistake until I took the sweater off at SchmoopyBaby's bath time.

I'm tired. I'm going to bed now. night-night.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Holy Cloth Diaper Giveaways, Batman!

Take Time To Smell the Rose is having a One Size Cloth Diaper Event. Twenty-two, that's 22 different brands of one-size cloth diapers are going to be featured! Click the button on the right margin and check out the cute and fabulous diapers she's got goin' on, and for your chance to try one out for free!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Halloween Picture - Better late than never, right?

I can't believe I totally spaced on uploading a picture of SchmoopyBaby in his Halloween costume this year! So this is about 2 months late, my apologies. SchmoopyBaby REFUSED to wear the headpiece, although he thought it was great when Mommy or Daddy put the little penguin hat on.

This was the first time he had professional pictures taken and he didn't know what to think. This is the closest he came to smiling.

Food for Thought

A lot of people have New Years resolutions. A popular one relates to health and eating better. I've been finding lots of articles on good and not so good foods, and I seem to be talking about them lately with various people so I thought I would compile a list for my fine readers. :)

First, the not so good. I first found this article at Mission Vegan, where she provided a link to the original article. This is a list of foods that various experts will not eat. The area of expertise ranges from MDs to farmers, scientists to advocates. I won't paraphrase the whole article, but I will provide a list of the nasties that the doctors and research scientists themselves won't put in their bodies. Please check out the Mission Vegan link or the Yahoo link for details on why they are so nasty and what alternatives you can choose.

1. Canned tomatoes
2. Corn-fed beef
3. Microwave popcorn
4. Non-organic potatoes
5. Farmed salmon
6. Milk produced with artificial hormones
7. Non-organic apples

This brings us to the "Dirty Dozen", the list of produce that consistently test so high for pesticides after washing that it is recommended that you always buy organic. Check out this list assembled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Consumer Reports, and Environmental Working Group. You will notice that there is a bit of overlap with the list above.

1. Nectarines
2. Celery
3. Pears
4. Peaches
5. Apples
6. Cherries
7. Strawberries
8. Imported Grapes
9. Spinach
10. Potatoes
11. Bell Peppers
12. Red Raspberries

Now for the good. There is a corresponding list of produce that consistently tested low for pesticides. These are foods you could get away with buying conventional, or non-organic. Notice that many of these foods have a skin that protects the food and gets peeled before eating.

1. Asparagus
2. Avocados
3. Bananas
4. Broccoli
5. Cauliflower
6. Corn
7. Kiwis
8. Mangos
9. Onions
10. Papaya
11. Pineapples
12. Sweet Peas

Lastly, for your enjoyment I have included a link to a CNN article on 5 foods that contribute to overall good health and can help ward off certain diseases. Check out the link to see which diseases they help fight and for nutritional details:

1. Grains such as oats, barley, and rye
2. Soy
3. Wild salmon and other oily fish (but only in moderation due to potential mercury build up in the flesh of oily fish)
4. Red Wine
5. Green Tea

Here's to a healthy 2010 everybody!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Parental Insecurity - Where does it come from?

A few weeks ago I posted about the PhD in Parenting blog and included a couple of links that really resonated with me. I organized a response to her statement “I don’t know what it is that makes people so insecure about their own parenting skills” but it's been sitting in draft form because I've been afraid to hit the Publish Now button. I cannot write about parental insecurity without getting personal, and I'm afraid that expressing these kinds of personal details may hurt someone. Finally after much vacillating, I decided to take the risk and hope that, if any offense is taken, it may result in a free and open dialog. So here it is:

My Thoughts on Parental Insecurity

I believe my mother did the best job she could, given her own unique circumstances, and given the information and resources that were available at the time. And I am a little neurotic and screwed up in my own way. Not that I blame my parents for all my damage, nor do I advocate for others to blame all their problems or their own temperament on their parents, but I do believe that how I was parented contributed to how I see myself in the world and may have trained me to react to the world in certain ways that are not necessarily the most constructive. And now I am a mother. And I, too, am determined to do the best I can given my own circumstances, and given the information and resources that are available today. So, I pick and choose the things that my parents did that I think worked, and I make alternative choices based on current research and information where I think either my parents’ choices did not work, or where my parents’ choices may have worked just fine but I believe this other choice will work better.

Despite my best efforts, I’m afraid that I still won’t get it quite right because, you know, I’m not perfect. I fear my maternal imperfection. I fear there will be some need left unmet - some unintentional wrong I will commit that will cause my own children some unforeseeable personal problem. Annie writes that of course it is impossible to be perfect, but I should be confident about my parenting choices. They are, after all, the conclusion of thought and research and deliberation.

People get weird when they live with fear. Forgive the cliché if you will, but this is the most important job I will ever do. We’re not talking about the acquisition of a doll or a puppy here, I chose to force life on an innocent human being and I am responsible for creating an environment in which this human being has a life worth living. What a burden of responsibility! How can I not feel insecure and sometimes overwhelmed by the task I have taken on? How can I know, really KNOW, that the conclusions I reached when I did my research are the correct conclusions? Can I trust my intuition, when the intuition of others often leads them to alternative conclusions? Although I certainly cannot speak for all or even most women, I do not think I am the only mother who feels this way.

Here is another thing to complicate the matter. Annie writes:
Maybe if we were all just more confident in our choices and in our abilities, then we could have normal conversations about the pros and cons of different approaches, about what research says, about success stories and inspirations, without someone feeling judged or getting offended. Obviously, there are unfortunate cases where individuals get attacked for their choices or their actions, but for the most part the so-called Mommy Wars seem to start out as simple discussion about the benefits of one approach over another and then deteriorate into a war because people somehow find a personal attack in between the lines. (Emphasis mine)

Here is where it gets personal for me. I have been personally attacked for my parenting choices and actions. Not in between the lines, but openly and explicitly. I’m not talking about “I think things should be done this way” type of criticism, which isn’t really criticism, it’s just sharing a point of view which can be applied or discarded as appropriate. I’m talking about the You are doing it wrong, you are messing up and your kid is going to be messed up as a direct result kind of criticism. If I were criticized in this way by strangers I probably would not concern myself. But I am criticized by the people dearest to me, by the people whose acceptance I crave most, and whose support I need.

Look, I am always looking for ways to do things better. My parenting philosophy tends to lean more towards the Attachment Parenting end of the spectrum. This is the path on which I have found myself. It is not the mainstream path in the circle I come from. I know, perhaps I need to find a new circle. I’ve been working on that. But although I find new circles in which the parenting philosophy and choices are more similar to mine, I cannot simply cut off the rest of my life, and quite frankly it I don’t think I should. Why should I only associate with people who think like me? What kind of example would I be setting for my child? What would I be teaching him about tolerance and conflict? Why live in a diverse and open society if I want to only associate with people identical to me? I value other opinions and other philosophies and try to keep my mind open in case there is something useful that I could benefit from. Let's face it, as a first time clueless mom I need all the help and tips I can get.

I accept my circle and wish they would accept me. I wish “we could have normal conversations about the pros and cons of different approaches, about what research says, about success stories and inspirations.” Here's the rub though - the sharing of opinions without judgment necessarily requires acceptance of viewpoints that differ from one’s own and the acceptance of others is not something I can control. Nonacceptance, of course, adds to my insecurity as a mother. When a person doesn’t feel accepted in her own clan, she can have no security as a person. Where you have an insecure person, you have an insecure mother.

I am working on changing the way I communicate so that I don’t contribute so much to my son’s insecurity. I am practicing using language to express my feelings and opinions in a frame that implies acceptance of different points of view rather than judgment. I still have a ways to go. I saw an old Sesame Street repeat not too long ago where the theme for the day was practice. Practice and tomorrow I’ll be better than today. Words to live by.