Friday, February 22, 2013
Breastfeeding support means support from your doctor, your child's doctor, nurses, hospital staff, health visitors, and lactation consultants...including accurate information and advice to help you meet your breastfeeding goals. It means support in the form of policies and laws that protect a mother and baby's RIGHT to nurse and a mother's RIGHT to express her milk. It means protection against discrimination. It means actual physical assistance in addition to emotional support from your family, friends, and spouse....it means putting a stop to the booby traps and marketing that seeks to undermine a mother's choices. It's about creating a supportive culture where feeding a baby isn't viewed as obscene or harmful. It is a dire thing. It is a multifaceted thing. We are not just talking about a pat on the back or assurance that what you are doing is okay....we are talking about actual HELP and ASSISTANCE with a bit of assurance on the side.
A mom will never have to say "I really wanted to formula feed....but it just didn't work out."
Doctors will never tell you your child isn't gaining so you MUST to relactate.
A mom who intends to formula feed will never be told she should keep a breastpump at home "just in case" or be sent home with a free sample nursing bra.
The nurses at the hospital will not try to sneak your baby a bottle of donor milk.
Your mother-in-law won't try to nurse your baby behind your back. (If she does you have bigger problems than a bit of breastmilk...)
Nobody says "you can formula feed for the first 6 weeks, but then you HAVE to give breastmilk."
Formula is readily available.
Nobody will ever feel like giving up because their arm is too sore to mix another bottle.
Rubber teats don't bleed.
A mom isn't going to bawl her eyes out over half an ounce of spilled formula.
Formula feeding moms will never be thrown off a plane, told to leave a business, told to cover up, or told they should only do "that" in private or to go give their child a bottle in a bathroom.
Nobody will ever tell a formula feeding mom "Put that powder away! There are children watching!"
Formula feeding moms can't be "bottle trapped".
Formula has instructions right on the back of the can.
There is an entire culture that views formula and bottles a totally normal.
You can bottlefeed ANYWHERE - a restaurant, a church, a store, outside, inside, at family gatherings, around people of all ages, etc....and nobody will bat an eye.
There aren't any laws protecting your right to give a bottle in public because they're completely unnecessary.
There are so many things out there that are detrimental to breastfeeding that those who choose formula don't have to face.
Formula feeding isn't all fun and games, of course. There is effort involved. It's expensive and there are a lot of extra dishes to do....but it's not the same sort of mentally taxing, exhausting, do or die sort of situation that a nursing mom faces during the beginning of a nursing relationship.
The call for breastfeeding support has NOTHING to do with the mommy-wars. It's not us vs. them. It's not breastfeeders wanting to one-up anyone else. It's simply about mothers actually being able breastfeed is they want to. It's about choice and preserving a woman's right to decide if she wants to nurse or not. Formula feeding because you HAD to isn't a choice. It's a need.
If we want women to be able to decide to breastfeed OR decide to formula feed, we need real breastfeeding support. If you choose to formula feed, fine by me! Go for it. However, nobody should have to fight tooth and nail to feed their baby in the manner of their choosing. Period.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
''Children on their own without external intervention will never learn to read and write or do mathematics, the three most difficult things that any child will ever learn,'' he said.
''That is why we leave these things to well-educated professionals. That is why we no longer go to witch doctors for medical issues or try and fix our cars, fix faulty electrical systems ourselves.''
Okay, let's take this one piece at a time....
Monday, January 7, 2013
I think the problem is that people see Christmas and Santa and almost interchangeable. If you don't "do" Santa people wonder what is left. The one exception is when people are against doing Santa due to religious views, in which case people know what is left: Jesus. People accept that, though often grudgingly, because you kinda have to while remaining polite. And if you're Jewish? Well then it's obvious and most people will avoid the topic.
Then there are people like me: non-religious but still not doing Santa. What's the deal?! Why wouldn't you do Santa?! How cold-heard and cruel that is! Those poor children! What of their imagination?! People like me are met with confusion and often anger. I mean, really, what sort of monster ruins Christmas for their kids?!
Here's the miscommunication: Not "doing" Santa with your kids does not make you anti-Santa.
|The Santa pajamas.|
People who are anti-Santa (usually for religious reasons) actively avoid Santa. My mother is apparently somewhat anti-Santa (though she did Santa with us when we were little, now she objects to it for religious reasons) and goes so far as to avoid wrapping paper that features the character. I am NOT anti-Santa at all, however. I think he's a perfectly fine character. In our home he's no different than Frosty the Snowman or Thomas the Train. My daughter has Santa Pajamas and we read The Night Before Christmas almost nightly during the month of December. The ONLY difference is we are not telling the kids that he is real. That's it.
It's about what we do, not what we don't do.
Someone once asked me "if you don't do Santa how do you celebrate Christmas? Do you watch Christmas movies???"
|Decorating sugar cookies with Grandma.|
We decorate our home.
We pick out a tree.
We string lights.
We sing songs.
We read Christmas books and yes, watch Christmas movies.
We drive around to look at Christmas light displays.
We buy and make gifts for our family and friends.
We do holiday crafts.
We bake cookies.
We decorate gingerbread houses.
We wrap presents.
We stop in to see the Santa at the mall if the kids ask to.
We count down the days to Christmas and get more and more excited as it grows closer.
On Christmas Eve my kids are bursting with excitement and can't wait til Christmas morning.
As soon as they're off to bed their father and I set to work, picking up the living room, redecorating the Christmas tree (since my toddler UN-decorated for me...), adding candy canes to the tree, filling stockings, putting out all the gifts we'd had stashed away, etc.
|This year's Christmas spread. I don't think it's lacking...do you?|
And then morning comes...the kids wake up, bounce out of bed, and insist we get up because they are just so excited that it's CHRISTMAS!
|Christmas 2009. This was the first year Dani knew what was up. The red table, the foam chair, and the train track in the floor were all unwrapped gifts that she was immediately excited over seeing. Look at that face!|
|Christmas 2011. Oscar didn't really "get it" yet, but he still had fun.|
|Christmas 2012. Dani went straight for stockings this year.|
|Christmas 2012. Oscar's favorite thing was pulling stuff off the tree.|
Much fun is had by all and then we go off to Grandma's house for even more Christmasy excitement.
So why not "do" Santa anyway? You're not religious after all...
Quite simply we do not feel comfortable telling our children something we know to be untrue...........
STOP RIGHT THERE! Do not get offended! This is about what we are comfortable with....it's not a judgement against anyone else!
Well what about imagination? Magic? Fairy tales?
All those things are great! My kids are very imaginative. We are also big fans of fantasy in our home, but they are not presented as fact....it's that simple. My daughter is a big fan of The Avengers, but she is not under the impression that there is really a team of superheros residing in New York City and defending the planet from alien invaders and super villains. I assume other people don't insist to their children that trains really talk or that there is really a school for wizards somewhere in the UK...though I could be wrong.
Well what's the harm in it though? Santa's fun!
It's not a matter of harm, it's just not something we feel is necessary (although some people don't have a good experience with finding out Santa isn't real...). Yes, Santa IS fun! We enjoy Santa as a character just as much as anyone else, but I don't feel the need to present Santa as fact when I know otherwise. Frosty the Snowman is also fun, should I tell them he is real too? Why is this one particular character SO important anyway? What's the harm in NOT doing Santa?
Well they just better not ruin it for MY kids.....
Don't worry, I will clue my kids in on the fact that a lot of kids DO think Santa is real. We won't argue about religion or Santa, okay? Cool.
|Christmas 2012. At Grandma's for even MORE holiday stuff!|
We don't "do" those either. However, we still give the kids a basket of candy and fun stuff in the Spring and whenever they start losing teeth we will give them quarters in exchange. A basket of candy is still awesome even if it just came from your mom and dad. Losing teeth and getting quarters for them is still exciting without fairy involvement.
In the end...
...does it really matter how you celebrate at the holidays? Every family I've ever met had their own unique holiday traditions. My husband's family opened stockings first at breakfast. My family opened them last and were too busy tearing stuff open to worry about breakfast at all. In some homes Santa brings tons of gifts. In others he only brings a few on is only responsible for filling the stockings. In some homes he wraps gifts, in some homes he doesn't...if kids all sat down and compared how Santa behaves in their house they'd probably figure out something was up. Either way, it's not worth fighting over. We don't do Santa. No biggy. Christmas is still Christmas and I should probably start working on next year's gifts NOW...so I'll just say:
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
It is often assumed that unschoolers like us avoid workbooks. I understand why, workbooks are very "schooly" in a lot of ways, but I think the intent is really key. Are the workbooks to be enjoyed at the will of the child? Or are they required by the parent? Is the child able to set them down at any point if they tire of them? These are the questions that make all the difference.
Today Dani has gone though at least a dozen pages from her "preschool" workbook. I purchased this particular book sometime last year because it looked fun. Colorful. Lots of "circle this" and "draw a line from here to here" sort of activies.She did all of two pages at the time and the workbook was otherwise forgotten. No matter! It went in the activity/art cabinet with all the other coloring and activity books.
This morning she picked up a jumbo coloring and activity book I had picked up at a thriftstore (it was unused and in fine shape for 25 cents) and did a dozen or so connect-the-dot pages til she ran into a word-scramble. The scramble was beyond her (yeah, she's not-quite-4 and cannot spell "lioness"...not surprised at all!), but she got me to make dotted line letters she could trace of the words. When she was done with that and asking for more it seemed like the perfect time to dig out that workbook!
So far, she can't get enough of it! Is she learning anything from it? Probably. Does that matter? Nope! The point is she's having fun. She's doing something she enjoys and is probably learning something from it in the process. I'm not forcing her or trying to turn it into a teachable moment, I'm letting it be what it is: a curious child who likes doing activities on paper.
Do unschoolers use workbooks? Absolutely! Do all unschoolers use them? No, it varies from child to child and day to day. One child in your family may love them and use them all the time because they choose to...and their sibling may never even thumb through one. I have no idea if Dani will ever pick it up again after today, but knowing her it's likely she will keep at it for a few days longer (I may have to print out more sheets to keep up with demand!) before finding something else that interests her. She did the same with coloring last month (to the point that she wore out a set of markers in the process).
This is all her. That's the whole point. :)
Thursday, June 28, 2012
These are not concepts we have pushed. These are concepts that come up in daily life and she is picking up on them. Between daily life and all the various games that involve math, I think she's going to be just fine. :)
Friday, June 22, 2012
I am an Attachment Parent. I do not mind this label. It's accurate and clues people in to how we live our lives without having to run off a list of all my beliefs. Sure, not all Attachment Parents are the same...far from it! The label is useful, however, because it lets us know immediately that the person it is applied to is probably at least supportive of things like breastfeeding, co-sleeping, babywearing, natural birth, etc. even if they themselves don't do those things personally.
I am also a Geek. I do not mind this label either. It's accurate and clues people into what sort of interests I have without me having to list off each one. Sure, not all Geeks are the same...far from it! The label is useful, however, because it lets us know immediately that the person it is applied to is probably at least aware of franchises like Battlestar Galactica, Doctor Who, Lord of The Rings, Zelda, Dungeons & Dragons, etc. even if they themselves aren't into them personally.
See my point?
Terms like Unschooling and Radical Unschooling are the same way. When someone says they are an Unschooler, that is supposed to let me know a little bit about their views or at least what they are supportive and/or aware of. The problem is, however, that so many people misuse the term that it makes that difficult. Meanwhile people get angry and defensive whenever someone dares to say "that's not unschooling" and we get into fights about label-policing and such. Why is this? What is so wrong about defining unschooling and not being afraid to point out when someone is mistaken?
Consider the following:
Say you are a Vegetarian. You live in an area where there aren't a lot of people like you, so you turn to the internet for support and information. You find a Vegetarian discussion group online and join. Finally! Some like-minded people! Recipes you can actually use! People who don't behave like you have two-heads!
Now someone else joins this same group. They introduce themselves as "Vegetarian...except I eat chicken". Wait....what? You're confused. Maybe a little annoyed. You wonder why this person seems to have misunderstood what a Vegetarian is. Now, had this same person joined and introduced themselves at someone who "Only eats white-meat, but enjoys Vegetarian cooking", there would be no confusion.
If that person joined in on discussions about Vegetarian cooking, posted recipes that were or had instructions on how to make them meat-free, or asked for help with substituting meat-free proteins in their favorite chicken-salad, nobody would mind that person at all.
However, if that person is constantly talking about non-Vegetarian cooking, posting chicken recipes with no alternatives offered, or suggesting poultry when someone else is asking for protein options....well...that is not going to be okay!
Now imagine if the Vegetarian forum was overrun with lots of people who are confused about what Vegetarianism is while insisting that they are Vegetarian. If half the posts are about eating meat would you even consider it a Vegetarian forum anymore? Then you have to consider the inevitable drama. Topics discussing the ethics of eating meat would just turn into fights. You're either going to have to not discuss it at all, or constantly be trying to smooth over hurt feelings. So much for support!
As an Unschooler, I see similar things happen in what are supposed to be Unschooling discussion groups. I'm looking for support and understanding. I assume other people are too. When someone says they're an Unschooler and asks for advice, I offer Unschooling advice. Seems simple enough.
On one such occasion I was involved in a discussion on a Facebook thread in a group for both Homeschoolers and Unschoolers. The poster said they were an Unschooler and asked how to get their child to quit fighting his book-work. Okay...now I'm a bit confused. I suggest she forget the bookwork entirely. The response I get is an angry statement of "I don't think it's too much to ask that he sit down and do this much written work each week!" Thing is she didn't want Unschooling advice at all. She said she did, but clearly missed the memo about what Unschooling is....so my advice didn't suit what she wanted to hear. Had she said she was a Relaxed-Homeschooler I wouldn't have even bothered to comment. I would have left it to the other Relaxed-Homeschoolers or Homeschoolers in general to offer advice. Nobody had to get angry or defensive had the correct label been applied.
In the Unschooling world you see it all the time: "We Unschooling....except for math/reading/science/whatever". Well, in that case, you aren't Unschooling. You're a Relaxed-Homeschooler. There is nothing wrong with that! I have no issue with it at all...but be honest about it. There is no shame in being a Relaxed-Homeschooler....but a Relaxed-Homeschooler insisting they are something that they are not isn't helpful to me or anyone else. It makes it difficult for others to interact with you, if confuses outsiders who don't understand the in-and-outs of the home-education world, and it makes it more difficult for Unschoolers to find actually like-minded people.
So here are some simple definitions for you:
Homeschoolers do school at home.
Relaxed-Homeschoolers do some school at home and follow their children's lead in some educational areas.
Unschoolers follow their children's lead in all educational areas.
Radical Unschoolers follow their children's lead in all areas of daily life.
Now go read Idzie's Unschooling Is Not Relaxed Homeschooling because she is awesome. Fin.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
|3 and 1-year portraits|
|Yeah...he liked it!|
|He enjoyed the new toys, but his sister pretty much did all the unwrapping.|
|I also finished Trouble's quilt...FINALLY! Only took me over a year.|
|Bear enjoyed the new toys too.|
|Lala the fish|
|Daddy found a snail in the yard|
|Where did my baby go?!|