Today my alter ego is guest posting over at Belgexan. While Dr. Potamus is not as crunchy as me, she makes a few good points. Go check her out!
Oh, and please… Leave your pitchforks at home.Read More »
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m slacking. Truth be told, all I want to do lately is go to the pool with Katie. The sun and music, not to mention the way Katie gets cuddly after playing hard in the water for two hours, are just too tempting resist.
So I’m not. At least not today ; – )
If you are headed to NRH2O today please know that I am seven months pregnant and wearing a bikini. Consider this your warning ; – ) Ironically, I am pretty self conscious about wearing a bikini around here when I am NOT pregnant because nursing women are, ahem, endowed. Strange men staring at me gives me the heebie jeebies. But slap an extra 15 or so pounds on me and I’ll wear one no problem! No pictures, though, as you can see.
Today I am picking Linda’s question from the suggestion box because, well, it’s the easiest. And because I get to talk about my family.
Hi Heather! I am kind of interested in the fact that you live with your Mom as an adult. Why do you choose to? How do you keep your relationship with Daniel spicy? How do you keep your relationship with Daniel between you 2 and not letting it spill over & airing out dirty laundry, etc. In light of recent events, we have had to move back in with my Mom (my husband and our 2 kids), and I find it much harder to live here now that I am older.
Thanks for asking, Linda! When Daniel and I first got married, he made it clear that he was a “leave and cleave” kind of guy. It was hard for me at first. When something I didn’t feel prepared to handle would come up I often found myself halfway through dialing my mom’s number before I realized she wasn’t the one I was supposed to talk things over with anymore.
Fortunately, both of our parents had the wisdom to give us time to unify as a couple. They let us fight (sometimes during holiday gatherings) without interfering or taking sides. They stood by quietly and watched us make bad decisions without offering unsolicited advice. On the flip side, they celebrated our milestones with gusto and let us know we always had their support.
Eventually, Daniel and I began to believe we could “let our parents in” our lives without the boundaries getting all murky. They had proven they could treat us like grown-ups, even when we weren’t acting like it.
My mom semi-retired right around the time Katie was born. Because I was still doing part-time PR work from my home office she graciously offered to watch Katie a few hours a day. I’ll never forget her bringing Katie to nurse during big conference calls. Thank God for the mute button! Having my mom there with me in those early months, supporting me and just being downright proud of me, was one of the best experiences of my life. I grew up in a multi-generational home, so the idea was nothing new to me. But having her around seemed to clench the idea. My mom was single. She had tons of friends but lived alone. Daniel and I decided she should be with us.
Regarding how it’s worked out, there have been some rough spots but Gigi tells it best. The only things I will add is that it’s hard to hide when we are arguing, but Gigi is a smart lady and finds somewhere else to be when we need to work things out. On our side, learning to restrain ourselves is good practice for not arguing too much in front of our children.
As for keeping things spicy: We have no complaints ; – ) My mom has an active social life and is gone a lot in the evenings. And those loooong excursions to the duck park she takes with Katie don’t hurt, either.
Read More »
This is really embarrassing but it’s time to put it out there:
Okay, not really, but let’s just say that I was a thumb sucker until way, way, WAY past the normal window for that behavior. I’m mentioning this because today we are tackling myth number three in this series about extended breastfeeding and my childhood experiences will be taking center stage. Just wanted you to know how the story ends. Or actually, how it didn’t end for a long, long time ; – ) Shall we jump in?
Before becoming a mother I read The Nanny Diaries, which is both a sad and hilarious account of our cultural obsession with getting our kids “ahead.” It really brings to light the question of whether promoting independence to give our kids an edge is a healthy priority. Setting that aside for now, I’d like to ask four questions:
No, maybe, no and no.
Unlike Myth#1 and #2, there is some actual research on this subject. Dr. Jack Newman recently wrote an excellent article called Breastfeeding a Toddler: Why on Earth? As a consultant with UNICEF for the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative in Africa who has also published several articles regarding breastfeeding in Scientific American, he’s considered by many to be an authority on the subject. Here’s an excerpt:
But I want my baby to become independent.
And breastfeeding makes the toddler dependent? Don’t believe it. The child who breastfeeds until he weans himself (usually from 2 to 4 years), is generally more independent, and, perhaps, more importantly, more secure in his independence. He has received comfort and security from the breast, until he is ready to make the step himself to stop. And when he makes that step himself, he knows he has achieved something, he knows he has moved ahead. It is a milestone in his life.
Often we push children to become “independent” too quickly. To sleep alone too soon, to wean from the breast too soon, to do without their parents too soon, to do everything too soon. Don’t push and the child will become independent soon enough. What’s the rush? Soon they will be leaving home. You want them to leave home at 14? If a need is met, it goes away. If a need is unmet (such as the need to breastfeed and be close to mom), it remains a need well into childhood and even the teenage years.
Of course, breastfeeding can, in some situations, be used to foster an overdependent relationship. But so can food and toilet training. The problem is not the breastfeeding. This is another issue.
So, the answer to question number one, do children that are weaned before the typical world average of 2-4 have greater security and self-confidence, is NO.
I am always amazed by what parents are proud of. Admittedly, I have been proud of some pretty silly things with Katie. Like when she was teeny tiny and let out a huge burp I thought it was awesome. When I visit with other moms they are always proud of the milestones. Is he eating solids yet? Is she sleeping through the night? When did he start walking? Most people seem to think that reaching these milestones early is a good omen that their child will be successful. But is that really true?
Question number two, whether children encouraged towards independence are more successful, is difficult to answer. You see, I hope to raise my children with the concept of freedom, but not necessarily the popular ideal of independence.
Independence, as it is represented in our culture, typically implies a separation from others . . . a sense of being self-sufficient. Which honestly, is nothing more than a pipe dream. When we focus on independence as a goal we downplay our need for one another . . . our needs for relationship, community, and survival. What we need to be teaching our children is how to be interdependent and still remain free.
Here’s what I mean: Remember how Dr. Newman said a satisfied need goes away but if it is unmet it can carry on into the teenage years? Well, that was me. When I was six weeks old my dad insisted that I be initiated into the world of independence by being dropped off at a daycare center. (This was not based out of a financial need in our family, it was simply a preference.)
Without my mom there to breastfeed me I quickly found my thumb. When my mom weaned me at a year old (she’d never heard of anything different), my parents divorced and I had to pack up and go to a new house, my thumb and my yellow blankie got me through it.
It’s hard to overstate what an insecure child I was. I don’t mean I didn’t like myself, I mean I felt disconnected from others and that terrified me. The world was a big, scary place and most of the time, I felt alone. When I entered school things only got worse. I begged to stay home, faked illnesses, did whatever I could to prevent separation from my mom.
In every area that I was forced into independence I became anxious and clingy. As I got older and continued to feel the ache of those unmet needs I grew increasingly resentful. Then angry. And THEN I learned independence.
The people I needed most in life left so many needs unmet that I didn’t feel I could trust them. I didn’t want to need them, and eventually I convinced myself I didn’t need anyone. By the time I got to college my nickname was Femi-Nazi. It’s true! When Daddypotamus transferred to my college and asked some of the guys about me they told him, “Don’t even bother. That girl is FIERCE.” And they were right.
But you know what? The accelerated independence program had worked in one respect. I was successful. Seventy-five percent of my tuition was being paid by scholarship, I was in a program for intellectually gifted students, and my GPA was, well . . . good. I drove a nice car, blah blah blah. Success. You know why? Early childhood had not taught me to cherish and nurture the interests and needs of others. How could it have when my needs and interests were mostly cast aside? My childhood taught me that if I needed something from people I was going to have to become powerful enough to take it by force, because no one was going to give a crap otherwise. That’s where my will to succeed came from. That’s where I think it comes from for many people in America.
While many parents and teachers may point to external successes as a sign that pushing the independence issue is good for kids, I would encourage more of a wait and see approach. I looked successful on the outside but I was falling apart within. If I hadn’t met Daddypotamus and began a very painful but healing journey with him I don’t know where I would be. But I can tell you it would not be good.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against many of the things parents think of when they hope their children will become successful. I pray that my own children will find fulfilling careers and earn a good income. But my goal is that they will find their calling by recognizing how they can best contribute to the world, not control or exploit it. And I do this by intentionally cultivating a focus on our interconnectedness without veering over in to co-dependence.
Someday my daughter may be almost successful. Maybe she will be an up and coming fashion designer that gets offered a shot at her own line. I can almost imagine it. Millions of dollars right there at her twenty-something year old fingertips. And then she learns her clothes will be made in India. In sweatshops filled with malnourished five year-old children that work 12 hours a day.
And she walks away from the deal. The opportunity of a lifetime.
I can almost see her, intrepid as she will most certainly be, finding another way to fulfill her dream without sacrificing the lives of people she’s never met and would never have had to answer to.
Nothing would make me more proud than a decision like that. Some people may think it’s a shame that she “almost” made something of herself. But you know what? I think those are the kinds of cultural values that gave us Enron.
I want Katie to recognize that we are all interconnected, that we need each other, and that when we exploit others we destroy ourselves. I want her childhood to be filled with experiences in which her needs are met deeply, because someday she will be a reservoir of hope in a way I have not yet begun to imagine. Whether it’s breastfeeding, co-sleeping or going to the nursery with her, that’s what I’m shooting for.
My last thought on the subject is this: I am not saying that extended breastfeeding is the only way to raise a connected, compassionate child. That is just ridiculous. Some of my best friends only bf to a year and their kids are awesome. This is just one of the tools I have chosen because it’s absence in my life profoundly affected me.
This is me, a reformed dominator, trying to make good on my life ; – )
If you’re still reading I am simply amazed. Thank you!
It’s my nifty little virtual suggestion box. I’m taking a little break today. Okay, actually I am working on a series about Real Food for Less and another that’s a surprise. Working is probably not the right word. More like researching for my own benefit ; – )
Anyway, while I’m out I left this nifty little box for you to fill. Do you want me to research the best prenatal supplement? Leave me a comment. Or perhaps you want to know how to make cheap, non-toxic household cleaners. I’d be happy to help! Just leave a comment with your suggestion.
The best topics come from your questions. Extended Breastfeeding Myth #3, which I’ll be posting tomorrow, is one of my favorites so far and, you guessed it, it came from a question. You guys are so curious and thoughtful I just love it (and you)! So . .. cloth diapers, toddler eating habits, meal planning, co-sleeping, vaccination, water birth, raw milk, whatever! Let me know what interests you and I’ll blog about it.
This is the patio to the gorgeous (and huge!) beachfront home we stayed in on our honeymoon. We are not here.
A few years later, Daniel and I listened to waves quietly lap the shore on this secluded beach. We are not here either.
When Katie came and changed our lives (and our lifestyles) forever, we went here. But not this year.
This year our precious baby is going to be born in the very month we’d planned to take our vacation. Sun lover that I am (Vitamin D is good for you!!!), I just couldn’t go a whole summer without playing in some water. Though I’ve given up my saltwater wishes, there is a great local waterpark around here that Katie simply adores. I hate chlorine pools, but this summer it is what it is.
For the past couple of weekends we’ve been spending a lot of time there, returning home in the evening only to play ocean sounds on our Homedics SoundSpa (to complete the experience). I’m so relaxed I can’t think of a proper blog topic.
Which is good, I think. Have a wonderful Sunday. See you tomorrow ; – )Read More »
I’m not sure whether to call it fitting or ironic that Café Modern, the restaurant located in the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is throwing aside present food conventions in favor of the traditions of the past. Although Modern art “is usually associated with art in which the traditions of the past have been thrown aside in a spirit of experimentation,”¹ Executive Chef Dena Peterson is serving up anything but Food Noveau.
Just a few steps away from the kitchen you can stroll by Dena’s charming little garden, a living symbol of the “Circle of Responsibility” philosophy behind the restaurant. Bon Appétit Management Company, which runs this restaurant along with many others, is the first of it’s kind. It’s goal is to offer:
Food choices that celebrate flavor, affirm regional cultural traditions, and support local communities without compromising air, water or soil, now and in the future.
Here are just a few of their Kitchen Principles:
I find it really refreshing that a large company is making the effort to seek locally produced products rather than buying in bulk and shipping the same thing to every location. The menu prices were not outlandish, proving that it can be done affordably. Check out their website for more info on their innovative approach.
Okay, art might be too lofty a term, but I’m trying to keep with the theme here ; – ) How about artisanal? Yes, that fits nicely. Many of the ingredients used at Café Modern come from local farmers and artisans. Here’s the short list:
When I asked Dena about their eggs, she told me “All of our shell eggs are cage free, certified humane (usually Phil’s brand). (My produce supply company and broadline distributor both carry them) Though I am interested in getting local, free range eggs – I raise chickens at home – and there is no substituting the flavor of a farm fresh egg!”
Regarding produce, Dena told me:
I buy as much as possible from the Cowtown Farmer’s Market each week. I also utilize my produce company that provides various produce from local farms which changes weekly. I also grow a bit in my garden here at the restaurant and a bit at home. There is nothing better than knowing exactly where your food has been!! At the moment, I am purchasing Tomatoes from Scott Farms, radishes, lettuces, asparagus, herbs, strawberries, turnips, etc.. As the season changes I will be buying more and more fruit such as peaches, melons and plums.
I like this woman!
Oh yes, the food! Sorry, I am such a sucker for good ingredients sometimes I just go on and on. Daniel ordered “Susan’s Duck PB&J.” Yes, a duck peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Shredded Smoked Duck with Cashew – Peanut Butter, Mild Jalapeno Pepper Jelly and
Grilled Red Onion on Toasted Multigrain Bread.
I’ll admit I was very skeptical, but it was delicious. The jalapeno jelly was the clincher for me. If you stop in don’t be afraid to give it a try.
I vacillated between the Grass-Fed Cheeseburger and the Lobster Pot Pie. I went with the pot pie, but if I’d known Daniel was about to go on a 21 Day cleanse I would’ve gotten both. I sure did miss beef during those three weeks. I loved the flavor of the pie but wished the sauce was a little creamier. That may be a pregnancy thing, though. I would probably drink cream if I could get my hands on the raw stuff for a good price!
Personally, I would avoid the chicken. It’s “produced without the routine use of antibiotics as a feed additive,” but more than likely fed GMO corn and soy.
Overall, I would say that Café Modern is a lot like Tillman’s Roadhouse. The food is delicious, and both are headed by chefs that are passionate about local, organic ingredients and sustainable practices. The menu is still a work in progress when it comes to implementing these ideals fully, but I would say it’s pretty easy to walk in and order something that easily qualifies as real food.
¹Wikipedia, Modern ArtRead More »
People often ask me how I can afford to “eat organic.” It’s so expensive, they say. And they’re right.
Thanks to heavy government subsidies, foods produced by cheap corn and then trucked all over the nation are often less expensive than locally produced goods. Corn is everywhere, even though you can’t see it. As Michael Pollan wrote:
If you are what you eat, and especially if you eat industrial food, as 99 percent of Americans do, what you are is “corn.”
. . . Take a typical fast food meal. Corn is the sweetener in the soda. It’s in the corn-fed beef Big Mac patty, and in the high-fructose syrup in the bun, and in the secret sauce. Slim Jims are full of corn syrup, dextrose, cornstarch, and a great many additives. The “four different fuels” in a Lunchables meal, are all essentially corn-based. The chicken nugget—including feed for the chicken, fillers, binders, coating, and dipping sauce—is all corn. The french fries are made from potatoes, but odds are they’re fried in corn oil, the source of 50 percent of their calories. Even the salads at McDonald’s are full of high-fructose corn syrup and thickeners made from corn.
Thanks to documentaries like Food, Inc., people are becoming leery of high fructose corn syrup, pesticide, MSG, and GMO laden foods . . . and they’re changing their buying habits. Unfortunately, companies have capitalized on this and begun offering organic versions of fake food (highly processed foods with minimal nutritional value).
Organic corn dogs, pop tarts, and imitation Oreos are both expensive and unhealthy. Yes, they are healthier than the original, but not worth the price. People that simply want to take everything in their junk food pantry and replace it with an organic version are headed for two major letdowns: They won’t feel much better and it’s going to cost a fortune.
. . . but less expensive than the diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol medication you’re going to need if you stay on the junk. Whatever your budget, you can afford to buy real food. Here are some of my favorite blog posts on how to do just that. Check them out!
First up is Kristen, the genius behind Food Renegade. I can say genius because I knew her when she was an undergrad in the Philosophy program at DBU and she is extremely intelligent.
I feed my family of four nourishing, real foods on far less than the federal food stamp allotment for a family my size ($668/month). It takes a lot of thought, planning, and detective work to eat this way, but I do it.
Food Renegade, Eating Real Food on A Budget
This one is a MUST READ for anyone interested in getting the most bang for your buck. Ann Marie (aka Cheeseslave) does a fantastic breakdown of the per ounce cost of nutrient dense foods that is very eye opening. And her case for pastured eggs as a budget food is really good. My favorite part though, are the Trader Joe’s egg cartons. Don’t miss that.
It’s true that pastured eggs cost more. But isn’t it obvious that it is worth it? You’d have to eat 5 supermarket eggs to get the same amount of vitamin D from one pastured egg. You may be able to buy a dozen eggs for a buck or two at the grocery store, but you get what you pay for. The national average for pastured eggs is about $4-5 per dozen. However, they are worth that in terms of nutrient density.
Cheeseslave, Pastured Vs. Free Range Eggs
Kelly the Kitchen Kop has put together an index of all her money-saving ideas. This woman is my hero, ya’ll. She rescued Chinese food from never-never land and put it back on our family’s real food table. If you’ve never tried her egg roll recipe you’re missing out. Check out her post: Nourishing, Frugal Healthy Meals for cost cutting and recipe ideas.
Also, don’t miss The Nourishing Cook’s “Bang For Your Buck” recipes. In the coming weeks and months I will be posting more tips for how to save time and money without compromising on nutrition, but I need your help.