Posts Tagged ‘fatherhood’

Sunday Surf: Homebirth and Natural Childbirth: Dads and Siblings

This is the last of a series of three posts on birth. The first was on labor, postpartum and other birth information. The second included links to birth stories and videos. This post is intended to gather links for dads or birth partners as well as resources to prepare siblings.

I worried about my daughter’s role during my second homebirth. As it turns out, she was fantastic and everything was natural and easy. She makes appearances in a few wonderful shots in video slideshow of my son’s homebirth. Having her there was so special to me. In fact, when I needed to not be alone, she was the only one there! I love that girl…..

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DADS/PARTNERS

SIBLINGS

Sunday Surf: Parenting with a Little Perspective

I love my daughter. Yes I do. It just that sometimes I find myself on the edge….

Sometimes, I find myself losing it. My tone gets all annoyed and impatient. I’m pushier than I normally am. My whole body language (and English language) says that I have had it and whatever my daughter is doing is wrong. Then when I stop and think about the actual moment in front of me, the situation at hand seems to not be as big a deal as I am making it. A few more minutes to let her explore a new feeling or idea (or sit on the potty forever reading the same book….again) really isn’t causing a problem. The fact that she clearly wants to pour water just means I need to find an activity where she can do exactly that. It doesn’t matter if she does something the “wrong” way or eats something in a way I would never do. And truly, if she needs me to just hold her or be in the room with her while she cries hysterically for a few minutes, that is ok, too.

The following articles highlight some of the perspective I get when I step back and live through my daughter’s eyes. When I can gain that extra distance to think about the bigger picture, I realize what matters. I feel able to get back in there and be the mom I hope to be. 

Moving at the Speed of Children

(#4 from below.) “I am always thinking if the the clock is more important than the moment with the child.” What a simple way to bring me back to what’s important!

10 Important Things I Am Still Trying to Learn

After #1, “All children are capable,” comes “Presume competence,” another case for letting my daughter do as much as she can….and not assuming I know what she can or can’t do or what she does or doesn’t know.

Saying “Yes–And!” in Parenting

“I’m just trying to be a little less reasonable, a little more open, a little more free-spirited.” An inspiring voice for being a “good improvisational partner” with my child.

Why I Don’t Cry (or Yell) Over Spilled Milk

This one brought me out of a tough moment and and helped me commit to working on how I respond and communicate with my daughter. What matters is our kids.  What matters is our relationships with our kids.”

Understanding Tears and Tantrums

Crying. The tears, redness, noise, the hyperventilating….that face. Strangely, I have become less worried about my daughter crying, take it less personally and as a result get less frustrated. I have noticed the benefits of a good cry, if I let it happen without interrupting. What does the research tell us about crying? [Main trouble I have is when we’re in public and she’s having feelings (not the giant ones, even, just little pouty lip ones). It would help if having an upset kid was more ok in the general public, I think.]

On Choice

Lately, I have been wondering: What if someone doesn’t want an empowered and informed birth?

I have been saying that I am all about choice. I am having a hard time lately trying to figure out what my role is when people don’t want to truly choose. Some folks seem intent, comfortable, even grateful for or set on having interventions such as inductions or epidurals.

I want to both INFORM and EMPOWER women.

Risk comes up a lot when it comes to choice, and this is indeed why many women say they want/ed to birth in a hospital or why they could never birth at home. I rarely feel comfortable in these conversations directly sharing information on the risks of routine hospital interventions. I can never really find a way to do so in an empowering way for the other woman. [On that note, feel free to choose to CLICK ABOVE to read more about the risks of two currently routine practices.]

You have to be ready to make a choice.

As a mother and a teacher, I know that readiness is the key to real learning. Awareness in this case is based on information because we swim in a sea of misinformation. If there are risks involved, we should know them. Here are my recent thoughts on the subject:

it seems most people easily imagine the risks of homebirth (although they are usually less than people imagine) and too many people underestimate are uniformed or unaware of the risks of hospital births and the practices that are common in hospitals here in the US (but not necessarily at hospitals in other nations–we do not rank well at all in the world when in comes to birth for all the access to hospital technology and medical practice). there are consequences (positive and negative) to all our actions, but as a group we are not as in the know as we could be.

i would love for every woman to be able to make a truly informed and empowered choice. this sadly requires more work than many women (and parents) are willing to do or aware they might need to do in order to make a choice that is truly their own in the face of the medical system and the media. there is a lot of misinformation out there and a strong distrust and fear around women’s bodies and babies……such a shame because we are truly powerful beyond imagination!

whether or not birth comes home again for a particular woman or our society, we need to start seeing birth for the natural process it is and stop pathologizing birth as a medical condition that requires hospital intervention or knowhow. birth should be where mama feels safest, but currently, through lack of knowledge and crafty design, we don’t have full rights and access to all kinds of births and the rights we do have are being stomped on in some places and revoked in others……and that is another shame.

If you have had a birth by cesarean section and would like find community or if you want to know more on how to avoid unnecessary c-sections:

Sharing Is Caring….Not Forced Politeness

I watch my daughter with awe as she walks and talks and makes decisions and communicates her thoughts. She is such a perfect learning machine. I have struggled to stay out of the way and let her grow and learn through play and life. There are certain things that are harder for me than others. Sharing is one of the things that is hardest for me.

Sharing public space when we are out can be tough. Like Mama Eve, I get the feeling I am stepping on people’s toes or frustrating others when I allow her to explore as an independent person. Having someone shush my child is not an easy moment, and it makes me think that staying home is a better option.

Even harder than sharing public space, though, is sharing with other children. My strong reaction is to step in and make sharing happen. If my child takes a toy, I want to take it from her and give it back. I somehow think saying “It’s Olivia’s turn” will make my thievery more meaningful.

There are two problems I have with my interference with the process of learning about sharing:

  1. It’s all about me, the adult. Often I’m not convinced that either child cares about sharing as the adults do. My adult motivation and perspective is generally not a place I want to start from when I am trying to effectively help my child learn something I think is important.
  2. I’m not sure how the children involved really understand and learn from me doing exactly what I told them not to do. It seems hypocritical, or, at the very least, it seems a confusing double-standard.

I want my daughter to share out of a true sense of empathy.

I don’t think my past actions have been leading in that direction. It always feels wrong and awkward stepping in and over my child. I feel pressure to do something in the moment to show people that I am teaching my child to share. Perhaps I am trying not to be “one of those moms” that lets their kid do anything they want? Sometimes people force my kid to share, or, somehow worse, force their child to share even if my daughter doesn’t care and their child really does. (I read about just one such scenario that happened to Mama Eve.)

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about how I don’t want to follow my first reaction, but I haven’t figured out why, really. Then, came across Mama Eve’s posts on How to Teach Sharing by Giving up Control, How I’m Learning to Let My Children Go, and 5 Playground Lessons I Never Knew I Was Teaching. She is trying to embrace the RIE philosophy (Resources for Infant Educarers) which is founded in the respect for children as active agents in their lives, as opposed to the passive observers our society often encourages them to be.

Reading about her reflections on letting children develop their own sense of empathy and caring for others has inspired me. I don’t want to do something because I think other people expect me to do it. Now that I calmed that voice, I can hear my instincts telling me to treat these situations like everything else. If I can trust her to learn to chop vegetables and other tasks by doing, then I should trust her to learn to share by doing.

I hope that my trust allows her the space to learn that sharing truly is caring and not something I forced her to do out of politeness.

Another Living Family Experience

I feel so happy and whole when we go as a family to my husband’s gigs. My daughter loves the music. I like that she gets experience being there while he is performing. This latest one was family friendly, and the art in the gallery was thought-provoking.

Let your children see you cry

Heavy with Milk?


A Loving Child

How do you create a loving child?

Is such a thing even possible? My daughter is socially engaged and extremely affectionate. She and I call any small child she meets a “friend.” She sometimes says, “baby” and signs “hurt” if she sees a child fall down. I know I cannot understand her actual feelings towards the people she meets. Still, I feel grateful that she seems secure in the world at large and that she seems to consider the feelings and health of others.

How did my daughter come to be loving?

Was she born with this personality trait? Is it just who she is? Are all humans like this naturally? We have certainly met many affectionate babies. Are they just affectionate because their parents are always telling them to do things? I keep wondering if she will continue to be loving as she grows.

Children mimic their parents.

This I know to be true. I try to come from a loving mind and heart when relating with my daughter, especially if I am feeling angry or hurt. I work to come from a place of empathy. I do this hoping that she can and will learn how to do the same for me and everyone. I do try to keep her present and close when adults are having hard feelings or crying. I try to model being of comfort rather than reacting negatively so that she can see that feelings are healthy and pass after a time. I hope she feels what it feels like to bring comfort and joy to another.

I hope that I can fill my daughter up to overflowing with so much love that she has to share it with others.

Co-sleeping Flipbook

Back when the video monitor worked, I used to love to stalk my loved ones like Big Brother. Such sweet moments.

I thought I would provide the context for that B/W from the “Co-sleeping Is Safe!” post. I love this little series of photos I captured, taken over about 15-20 minutes. It is a perfect example of how someone (my husband) could go from a totally unaware, deep sleeper to a careful and connected sleeper. My daughter and husband sleep better together than my daughter and I do. Just one more way she is more like him than me……

 

 

 

 

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