Blissfully Informed Hippie Chick

Encouraging people to think critically about everything.

What is Authority?

I have been busy moving recently; thus, the lack of posts. But this question was posed to me today, and I felt it was blog-worthy.  =)

In a discussion about parenting practices, I was explaining that my husband and I have given up our authoritarian way of parenting for a more peaceful approach. We talk to and treat our children as if they are fellow humans, not our property, pets, or otherwise less than human somehow. This begged the question: What/whom do you teach your children that authority is? I thought about this a minute, then posed the question to my oldest, Elizabeth, who is 10. She thought for several minutes, then meekly answered “me”. I smiled and told her, “you’re absolutely right!” Then I responded to the person’s question online in this way:

Ultimately, the only authority lies in oneself. Even with the threat of punishment, physical or otherwise, the decision to act resides completely within. No one can force you to do anything once you reach the age of physical autonomy. And I believe mental autonomy begins before birth.

I don’t think children should be taught to blindly obey anyone. I believe everything and everyone should be questioned. We teach our children to respect those that have earned their respect. We teach our children to listen to those who are wiser and more experienced than they are, regardless of their age or position.

If one of my children was acting in a way that might bring them physical or mental harm, I would absolutely intervene and prevent the harm as best as I could. I would do the same for any fellow human or animal. If I see the potential for future harm, I will speak up and gently offer guidance. I’d like to think that’s only human.

What is authority? It’s you. And me. And my 3 month old son. And every other being capable of making decisions. But the only authority each of us has is over our own actions.

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Babies and Sleep

I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of people. I’m just going to share my own personal experiences here and you can decide what you will from that. =)

I have 4 children, as you know from reading my previous posts. My older girls are 10 and 8, my younger 2 are 15 months and 3 months. My husband and I did things much differently with our older 2 than the younger 2. We were pretty young when they were born (both 20 when the oldest was born). We did a lot of things “by the book”, and a lot we just copied from our parents’ parenting styles.

Our oldest, Elizabeth, always had trouble sleeping. She liked to be swaddled TIGHTLY. We called her “baby burrito”! She had trouble falling asleep every night. Definitely what you would call a colicky baby. I developed what I called the “bounce walk”. I would put her in the carrier and bounce walk her for sometimes an hour or more to get her to sleep. She slept in a crib in the room with me for about 2 1/2 months. At about 3 months old, my husband took over bedtime anytime he wasn’t working. My nerves were shot. So much crying! I honestly don’t know how he got her to sleep those nights. I had to go for a walk while he did the nighttime routine because hearing her cry was so hard on me! The colic eased by about 4-5 months. But by that point, we were still waking every couple hours during the night with her and she would have a bottle every time to go back to sleep. By about 10 months old, I was asked by her doctor about her sleeping and eating habits. She was a little on the chunky side from drinking so much formula. He suggested I try a gentle method of “sleep training”. Instead of going in as soon as she cried, I started waiting just a couple minutes. Then I’d go in and do our same routine. Each week, I waited an extra minute. After several weeks, she would put herself back to sleep most times. But she didn’t start going to sleep initially without a fight until about 2 years old. We switched her to a toddler bed at 18 months. She would get up over and over, crying and crying. Because we chose to spank her for other incidences of “disobedience”, we chose to spank her for that, too. Bedtime was something I dreaded every night. =( She started having night terrors shortly after we switched her to the toddler bed. She also had horrible tantrums pretty much every day from about 18 mo until 2 1/2. Looking back, I believe that all these things were interrelated. I regret the “sleep training”, and I definitely regret the spanking. But moving on…

Our 2nd daughter, Meghan, was always a great sleeper. She slept 8 hours the 2nd night after birth! I kept waking and checking her breathing! She slept in a bassinet right by my side of the bed until she was almost 6 mo old. I also got to spend every day pretty much alone with her when she was about 1-3 weeks old. My mom and MIL took care of my oldest those 2 weeks and my husband was at work. I would just lay on the couch with Meghan on my chest. She would sleep, wake up and nurse, get changed, then go right back on my chest until she fell asleep again. Then repeat all day. Eventually, she would just fall asleep on her own when left in the bouncer or swing. I also carried her in a baby carrier a lot to be able to keep up with Elizabeth. Once she was in her crib in her own room, I could just nurse her and put her in bed and she would fall right asleep on her own. However, at 14 mo, she climbed out of her crib, so I decided to put her in a toddler bed. She did NOT want to stay in bed. It took a few weeks of basically trying everything. We tried spanking…didn’t work. We tried just walking her back to bed saying “it’s time to go to sleep”… didn’t work. Eventuality, I just stood at her door and held it shut until she gave up trying and passed out on the floor or bed. I didn’t know what to do! I didn’t know anything about attachment parenting. I had been told and had read that babies could be spoiled by “too much” holding, rocking, etc. Looking back, I hate myself for doing that to my baby.  =( Especially now, since she still has trouble falling asleep and doesn’t want to sleep alone. I feel like my decisions ruined her good sleep that had begun because of my early attachment parenting style.

By the time Natalie, our 3rd daughter, was born, my husband and I had read a lot about parenting. We had talked about different styles and methods. We had decided that spanking wasn’t a good thing. We had adopted a very attachment-styled method. Natalie started exhibiting signs of colic at about 1 week old. She slept in a bassinet right by my side of the bed, but she would cry for hours before falling asleep and woke up sometimes every 30 minutes, all night long! I let her sleep in my arms a few times, out of exhaustion. That seemed to help a little, but I was afraid of bed sharing. I started to lose my milk when she was about 3 mo old and I got pregnant again. I started using bottles at night, but still fed her on demand. I was so exhausted from being pregnant and waking so often that I started feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. I experienced micro-sleeps, where I would fall asleep for sometimes just a few seconds at a time. My blood pressure went up. I was extremely irritable. It was awful! Finally, at about 8 mo old, we switched Natalie to a crib, because she was a few pounds over the bassinet weight limit. I had hoped it would be better for her, but it was much worse! After a few even more sleepless nights, I made a decision. I took the side off her crib and pushed it up against my side of the bed! She loved this arrangement! Some nights, she would just scoot over and touch me in her sleep. I could reach over, half-asleep, and give her the pacifier, or just put my hand on her back when she fussed. She still woke often, but at least I didn’t have to get up every time. That was a huge improvement! The week before our 4th baby was born, a little over a week before Natalie’s 1st birthday, she slept all the way through the night for the first time. I think she knew somehow that she was about to be a big sister.  =) It didn’t happen again, though. My plan had been to put a crib mattress on the floor next to my side of the bed, then put Robert in the crib. Right away, I realized that Robert didn’t want to sleep in the crib. Since Natalie was still waking at least a couple times a night, getting up with him every hour or so plus her, too, was just too hard on my body. So I ended up bringing him to bed with me after the first time he woke every night. I got a bassinet for him and put Natalie in the crib. She continued to sleep better and better. But I rocked her to sleep every night. After Robert was born, I was rocking both of them at the same time most nights. That was quite difficult, too say the least. But I had tried letting Natalie cry a few times and it just made her cry more, and I felt awful for it. I decided that the difficulty of rocking her to sleep was worth it. It was what she needed.

Recently, it started taking longer and longer to rock her to sleep. She fought sleep more and more, even though I knew she was very tired. I knew a change needed to be made, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I wondered if maybe she was ready to lay down on her own. The chaos and lights seemed to bother her. Out of frustration one night, after a couple hours of unsuccessful rocking, I decided to give it a try. I took her upstairs, put her in her crib, gave her a bottle, blankie, and clipped on her pacifier, and told her it was time to go night night. I turned off the light and went out, expecting to at least hear her fuss. But she fell asleep without so much a peep! That was 4 nights ago. The 2nd night, I did the same thing and she cried off and on for about 5 minutes. The 3rd night, no crying. Tonight, about a minute of fussing. Not only that, but she’s consistently slept through the night also! I’m so thankful that I decided to take a gentler approach to sleep with Natalie. Now I can see how attachment parenting pays off. Creating a secure bond between mother and baby, giving baby just what they need, and allowing baby to develop at their own pace; it all really does pay off!

I’ve taken things a step further with Robert. He sleeps with me all night, or at least most of the night, every single night. I think we both sleep better this way. And I hope that he will feel even more secure than Natalie did. Hopefully, he won’t ever go through a phase of waking every 30 minutes. That’s not healthy for mom OR baby. But even if he did, I would get more rest simply for the fact that we would be cuddling in the same bed instead of fighting him to go back to sleep in his own bed.

My conclusion is that attachment parenting definitely works when it comes to babies and sleep. I’m not including links in this post, because I feel that this is purely a matter of opinion. I truly believe I did the best I could with my older kids. Hindsight is always 20/20. We can always look back and think of ways we could have done things differently, and possibly better. I’m glad I can look back and see what I think were mistakes and decide to try things differently now. And I hope that my own experiences will help others to at least think about and research various options. Maybe even try a few different ways of doing things instead of just sticking with what you read in a book or were told by a family member or friend. Research is good, knowledge is power. And being capable of admitting you might have done something wrong in the past and deciding to do it differently now is a sign of great maturity.

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Sloppy Joes with Spicy Salami and Whole Grain Mustard

Sounds yummy! I have some grass-fed beef I can try it with =)

Cooking Up The Pantry

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To be honest, I have never eaten a Sloppy Joe so this is just my take on it!

This is one of my go to recipes on particularly busy days and evenings, one that allows you to pop in and out and still get something on the table at a reasonable hour.

The boys love these, partly as they are eaten with their hands but there is nothing not to love! I think of them as a deconstructed burger, with all the ketchup and mustard thrown in.

We top them with a little grated cheese, one boy likes an egg on top and another some sliced beetroot, that’s an Australian habit with burgers!

Served with some coleslaw and green salad and a roll for the family, a gluten free wrap for me.

Serves 4-6 .

Ingredients

120g spicy salami, cut into small chunks

1 onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic…

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What’s More Important?

Robert, my 2 1/2 month old, was screaming because I was too stressed; Natalie, my 14 month old was playing with her musical toy horse; and a movie was playing on TV that the big girls, Elizabeth and Meghan, were attempting to watch.

I dare you to listen to a baby screaming for more than an hour and not lose your mind…

Now listen to it while your back is killing you, you haven’t had enough sleep, you haven’t eaten enough all day, and you’re stressed about things beyond your control.

Keep listening as Natalie starts to cry, too, because she wants attention from you that you can’t give her. Listen as you have Elizabeth put Natalie beside you so she can be rocked with her bottle while you try to calm Robert. Don’t forget to bounce Robert, no matter how badly it hurts your back, because that’s the only thing slightly calming him.

Listen some more while you kick yourself for worrying so much about housework earlier that you forgot that the most important thing is spending time with your children, playing and laughing. Listen while you vow to let the house be messy if it means your children are happy, and you are not too mentally and physically drained to tend to their needs.

Listen to him scream louder because you have to set him down and walk away for a minute because, even though you know he just needs you, it’s just simply too much and you have to muster some more patience.

Now see the tears forming in his eyes as you pick him back up again and he grabs onto you with all the strength in his little body. But you are still too stressed, so you have to listen to him scream even more loudly than before. Feel yourself become more and more stressed as Natalie throws food all over the floor, making it look like you didn’t vacuum earlier today. Feel the stress turn into anger and complete frustration because you not only can’t calm your baby’s cries, but you can’t care for your toddler, either.

Listen to yourself yell at your 8 and 10 year old daughters to change Natalie’s diaper because she’s soaking wet. Instantly regret yelling because it not only made Robert cry harder, but it made Meghan cry, too. =( Try to help hold Natalie’s hands away from her apparently poopy diaper with your foot that has the hurt toe. Yell some more, and feel even worse inside for doing so. Put Robert down because now Meghan is too upset from your yelling to listen to directions how to put diaper rash cream on Natalie’s butt.

Now listen to Robert stop crying because Meghan has picked him up and is obviously much calmer than you as she gently bounces and rocks him. Sit down and place your head in your hands in utter defeat as you hear yourself start to sob.

Listen to yourself explain that babies can sense your emotions, and that sometimes everyone gets overwhelmed and needs help calming down from someone else. Thank your children for being such awesome kids that will help, even when you’re being a bit of a “mommy monster.”

Now realize that tomorrow is a new day; a new chance to stop trying to live up to the standards others think you should meet. A chance to hug your kids a bit tighter, laugh a bit louder, and spend more time playing than cleaning. Because before you know it, those kids will be grown and gone. There will always be dirty dishes in the sink…

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What If Conservatives Actually Followed The Teachings of Jesus?

I have said the same thing many times before!

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