Hey mama, watcha doin’ over there???
I have an idea . . . let’s play squeeze my thighs! You know you want to.
I’m sorry about crashing your date with daddy the other night, but can you really say no to this face?
For reasons not related to date crashing, Micah spent most of yesterday staring at me from his portable bouncy chair. It’s not like I didn’t want to hold him, but you know how it is when you start one thing that leads to another, then another and all of a sudden one of your children is yelling “Daddy, let’s do this! The sun is running out!“
And you’re like, where did this day go? I’m still in my bathrobe!
In an effort to make up for my inattentiveness, I ran a warm bath and settled us in. While whispering a lullaby (which happens to be the only way my singing is bearable), I took his little feet in my hands and began to rub, working my way up his calves to his delightfully fat thighs. He kicked, cooed and hiccuped with delight at our new game, which ended in a full coconut oil rubdown on the bathroom floor before a deep nights sleep.
The beauty of infant massage is that babies are so little a full rubdown only takes 10-15 minutes. That baby soft skin under your fingertips isn’t bad, either. It’s beneficial, too. Research shows that massage:
I think I’ll head to the kitchen and whip up a batch of calming massage oil (coconut oil + soothing chamomile essential oil) for Micah and a little something else for those foot rubs I’m going to try to get out of Daddypotamus. While I’m at it I think I’ll blend some tangerine and ylang ylang and see if toddlers like massage as much as the internet says they do.
What about you? Ready to get started??? You can find easy massage techniques and other tips at The Joys and Benefits of Infant Massage.
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I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about fermenting salsa. Would it be frothy, mushy or just plain bad? To my surprise it tastes just like . . . salsa! Good salsa, too. Since I live smack dab in the heart of Tex-Mex country I feel qualified to say that, thankyouverymuch.
If I had known making cultured salsa was this easy I would have done it ages ago. Enjoy!
1 quart mason jar with tight fitting lid
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Yesterday Daniel and I had a tiff about who was going to find a home for all of Katie’s new toys. Her grandparents got her tons of educational stuff and I am SO EXCITED to really begin working on shapes and the alphabet with her, but I have NO IDEA where to put this stuff. My mom, who has been our guest in this home for far longer than we expected to be here, offered to give her room to Katie and start sleeping in the van.
We are getting a new house this spring. Period.
Anyway, back to the tiff. You know how he resolved it? He handed me our camcorder, which was playing a home movie of Katie jiggling around our house in nothing but the fat little rolls on her legs. She must have been about 14 months old . . . not quite steady on her feet but definitely becoming her own person.
I wish I could go back there and squeeze those little rolls until she laughed out loud. But not just for that.
I would like to have a nice, long chat with myself.
When Katie was born, I had zero experience with babies. In my fourth month of pregnancy I made the mistake of admitting to a book club that I couldn’t remember holding a newborn, like, ever. One of the club members just happened to have her newborn son with her, so they put him in my arms.
He screamed. Not quite the confidence boost I think they had in mind.
To make up for my ignorance I read everything on parenting I could get my hands on: nutrition, games for developmental stages, baby sign language, sleep tips, discipline advice.
About that last one . . . all the books I read seemed to give the same advice. Get ’em while they’re young. Gain their respect now or you’re going to end up with an out-of-control teen. Oh, and of course for Christians there’s always “spare the rod spoil the child.”
I’ve attended funerals for friends who never put on a cap and gown for high school graduation. I’ve seen the desperate looks on their parents faces . . . the look that told me all they want is to turn back the clock and try again.
But that doesn’t happen. We get one shot at raising our kids, so with a heart full of anxiety I clamped down, became strict, gave no quarter.
It was horrible.
My easygoing girl with the smiling eyes became anxious and frustrated. I felt her heart pulling away from me, and I knew I was missing the opportunity of a lifetime.
If you’ve ever watched a father cooing to his baby and you’ve noticed the baby responding with a wide open smile, you are witnessing the co-creation of a mutually attuned state of joyfulness. When this act is repeated many times the infant brain grows and organizes itself to develop the individual’s capacity to experience joy throughout her or his lifetime.
As with all other emotions, the capacity for joy is acquired in the early relationship between parent and child. In infancy the primary caregiver’s nervous system acts as a template for the infant’s nervous system to develop.
When an infant is born her undeveloped nervous system has the capacity for basically two states: ‘on’, or hyperarousal (excitement) and ‘off’, or dorsal vagal. In the first 2-3 years, when 90% of the nervous system develops, the neuropathways that make joyous states possible are imprinted. That is, joy states are actually learned.
This happens through interactions between the infant and its primary caretakers. The parent’s nervous system provides a template for the developing nervous system of the infant to follow in its development.
Because of the “use-dependent” nature of brain development, the child who receives fewer opportunities for positive emotional attunement with a primary caregiver can expect to develop less capacity for joyfulness. For example, if the mother is anxious or depressed her lessened facility for attunement may result in the child’s diminished capacity for joy later in life.
Did you ever see the movie I Robot? You know, the one where Del Spooner (Will Smith) suspects a robot of murder. Which, of course, is impossible because of the Three Laws of Robotics . . . except that it’s not.
As the main computer that controls the robots continues to analyze the three laws, she decides that in order to protect humanity “some freedoms must be surrendered” because “you charge us with your safekeeping, yet despite our best efforts, your countries wage wars, you toxify your earth, and pursue ever more imaginative means of self-destruction.” People are locked in their homes after curfew, unable to drive their cars, etc. Their lives are decided by the robots they designed to serve them, and the fate of humanity rests in the potential of one robot to learn to the power of choice.
Okay, I’m a little off track here, so it’s time to get to the point. Like I said earlier, “spare the rod spoil the child” seems like THE definitive scripture on parenting. But is it, really? Because I think it might be this one:
In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God gives us choices, but what if one day he came to the same conclusions that VICKI in I Robot did? Rather than allow us to make bad choices, what if he took them all away and chose who we loved, what we wore, where we vacationed (head tilts left toward photo.) Sounds fun, huh?
I don’t really get the whole “God as a father” thing, but I’m trying to figure it out and this is what I’ve got so far: God chooses to parent us by allowing us to make choices. The variety of choices he provides communicates the level of freedom he intends for us to have.
For example, if I allow Katie to choose between seaweed and kale as a snack, I am limiting her freedom to two options that are both good for her. If I gave her the option to have seaweed or jelly beans I am placing much more trust in her ability to responsibly manage her freedom.
From the look of things, it appears God is not the control freak I used to think he was. It seems more like he is a more easygoing parent, gently guiding us toward maturity while making room for our bad judgment calls . . . some of them doozies. If he gives us this kind of leverage to manage our own lives, shouldn’t we be doing the same for our children?
That’s the conclusion I have come to. It’s not all peachy and sometimes I hate watching Katie make an unwise choice that costs her, but hopefully giving her age-appropriate freedom now while the consequences are relatively small will help her develop her judgment for the big stuff later on.
I read somewhere that punishing kids is a lot like being a traffic cop. I don’t know about you, but when I see a cop I check my speed and hope I get through unnnoticed, but as soon as he is gone I totally forget that he exists. A cop makes me think about how I’m driving, but only for a second and only with quit a bit of resentment.:) Cops provide external behavior modification, but they can’t add an ounce of wisdom to a child’s inner reasoning capability.
A drivers ed teacher, on the other hand, gets to go through life with a child instead of critiquing from outside the car. That inside perspective is probably more terrifying. It’s hard to be there while your child puts their heart (and yours) in danger, but the hands on role of a teacher comes with a benefit the cop doesn’t have . . . a chicken brake.
It’s not like choosing to be a teacher instead of a cop in my children’s lives means they’ll never experience consequences. Life provides plenty of opportunities for a child to experience the natural results of their actions.
Oh, and that “spare the rod” thing? It could be that advice has been misunderstood. We could ask ourselves whether it’s a popular shepherding style to use rods on sheep like we do with children. They probably poke and prod and nudge much more often. But that’s another discussion entirely . . .
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Shutterfly is giving $25 gift certificates to anyone who posts a customized card on their blog. I’m a sucker for Shutterfly books, so it’s posted below.
On this exact day one year ago I was the disappointed owner of 8 negative pregnancy tests. I KNEW I was pregnant, but it took a few more days to confirm. Speaking of babies, one of my best friends welcomed a precious little girl, Ellington Grace, into the world this morning! Ellie is sharing this special birthday with her daddy, no less! Aahhhhh! I am so excited to meet this little one I can barely breathe!!!
Now that I’ve shared that exciting bit of news, I just want to take a quick moment to thank you for being part of this community. May you be overwhelmed with blessings this holiday season.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6)
Merry Christmas and lots of love,
Daddypotamus: “Who taught Katie ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?”
Me: That would be me. Last July.
Oh holidays. The food. The love. The traditions. The opportunity to count blessings and give some away. Who am I kidding? I’ll celebrate just about anything. What other kind of person would do this?
Still, I want these days to shimmer and sparkle in my children’s eyes . . . but not at any cost. I care about their health too much to open up pandora’s box of refined sugars, unhealthy oils and unpronounceable ingredients. Will the grinch win? Absolutely not! With these quick and nourishing recipes on hand, he never had a chance.
This recipe from Cheeseslave is “easy to make, and does not take more than a minute or two. Eggnog is a great way to get in a lot of extra raw dairy and high-quality saturated fats from the raw cream, as well as raw egg yolks during the winter season.”
This recipe from Nourished Kitchen takes five minutes to prep and is loaded with rich, healthy fats along with vitamin A, riboflavin, selenium, phosphorus and calcium. I’m heading out to buy some ramekins right now (mine are lost in storage) so I can serve this for our Christmas Day brunch.
Let’s do this one by the numbers.
Minutes to prep: 5.
Time these cookies will last on your holiday table: 0 seconds flat.
Today is your 1095th day on this spinning marvel we call earth. From where I’m standing, the sun has smiled and laughed more often and the moon has danced with an extra lilt in her step these past few years. I think it’s because you’re here. You make your daddy and I laugh and cry on a daily basis. You are our miracle.
This is the letter I wanted to write. Unfortunately, due to technical difficulties it took me all night to add music to your slideshow. So, instead of a birthday letter bursting with all the love I most definitely have for you, I am going to regale you with . . .
. . . your life in Facebook updates.
Today Katie stroked my face and said, “I love you mommy. You’re so pretty. YOU HAVE BIG TEETH.” Um, thanks?
Katie: is THAT Father God? Daddypotamus: um… no. That’s Joe Lieberman. [awkward silence]
Katie has noticed I like a few mint leaves from the garden for my morning tea. Today she did it for me . . . only she used grass.
Katie is into licking things now. She just licked my foot.
Apparently Katie loves food as much as I do. Last night she prayed that I would not forget the Chipotle burrito I promised to bring with us to the zoo.
My daughter brought us both bibs for our mid-morning snack. I look like an idiot, but she seems pleased.
Took Katie to my chiro appt with Jim Bob Haggerton. She wasn’t on the schedule but she asked him to “just” her and he obliged. THEN she asked him to “just” her babydoll! Baby Conner got the full workup. BEST CHIROPRACTIC OFFICE EVER!
Day 2 of not letting Katie snack all day in hopes that she will eat at meal times. Now she is licking the veggies I’m trying to wash.
“It’s boom boom in the sky. Scared Katie.”
Literally sitting on the edge of my chair waiting for my little girl to wake up. I want to play!
Took Katie to look at Christmas lights tonight. She demanded “More snowmen!” “More reindeer!” “More pigs!” Pigs???? I love my daughter ; – )
My two-year old is mooning me!!! This is NOT something that goes on in our house, so how did she know it would be funny?
Me: Katie do you know your middle name? Katie: Mmmm hmmm Me: What is it? Katie: MILK!!!
Sharing a cup of peppermint tea with my little girl.
I love that when Katie begs for peaches it sounds like “pooch! pooch!” Glad I’m not touchy about my weight : – )
Taking a bath because Katie wet MY pants!!!
Me: how much money do you have? Katie: I have three and a hundred, six and a mountain money. Okay?
Now for the slideshow!
My prayer today is to be gifted with thousands and thousands more days to dance around the sun with you, hear your laughter, and bask in your beauty. Happy birthday, my love.Read More »
In Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon says to put whey into the apple juice when making cider. Do you know the reason/benefit for doing this?
Comment from Jessica on yesterday’s post
Good question, Jessica! I am not an expert by any means, but I believe that using whey and salt as she suggests would yield in a more fermented end product. The spontaneous version is charming because it reminds me of a time when people actually harvested wild yeast to help bread rise and beer ferment, but the end result is not as predictable as whey ferments.
For people that do not have access to whey the spontaneous version is a fun and easy way to get started with fermentation, but if you have the ingredients why not boost the benefits of fermentation with Sally Fallon’s recipe? Here it is if you don’t happen to have a copy of her book on hand.
Photo Credit: Matt BeldykRead More »
This is so easy I almost feel guilty for making it into a full blog post, but when you taste this sweet brew I think you’ll forgive me.
1. Place juice in a wide mouth jar on the counter. Use a rubber band to secure cheesecloth or a piece of pantyhose over the top. This will allow yeast from the air to come and begin the fermentation process.
2. Let sit for about three days, then taste. It should have a slight tang by this point, but most likely it will not be as full-bodied as you’ll want. Allow to ferment for one to seven more days, depending on your preferred level of fermentation. (Note: If allowed to continue fermenting for a few more weeks your brew will become apple cider vinegar)
Photo Credit: Timothy VollmerRead More »