Sunday, August 28, 2011

self-doubt? no thanks!

"it’s the rare mom who never experiences self-doubt - it’s an occupational hazard. it’s the internal critic that many of us need to muzzle because it does the most damage. doing what you believe is best for your children and your family makes you a good mother, no matter if it fits anyone else’s standard" ~ lisa zamosky via elizabeth pantley of the "no cry" books.
i'm the queen of self-doubt.  
then, i talk to like-minded mommas and read (a lot) and that self-doubt melts least for a while.  
parenting is hard work.  don't let anyone try to tell you different.  yes, it is amazing.  it is life-changing.  it is beautiful.  it is the best thing i've ever done in life...but it is tricky.  there are so many choices to be made and they start well before the baby is even born.  where is your baby going to sleep?  are you going to nurse?  are you going to go back to work?  when will you start feeding solids?  how will you diaper? will you follow a specific philosophy?  do research?  talk to others?  go at it on your own, following your gut? do what your parents, siblings or friends have done?  
each question may have a very different answer from one parent to the next.  and everyone has an opinion.  i'm sure that most every mom can attest to all of the unsolicited (and sometimes unwanted) advice given to them as soon as there is the slightest sign of a baby bump. but, it doesn't stop there.  that advice keeps on least until 18 months...that's as far as we've made it, but something tells me that it doesn't end their either.  some of it, amazing...just the right thing to help you get through whatever is going on at that moment.  some of it, not so much.  :)
i remember being pregnant and getting really irritated when a random woman would come up to me and with little other conversation say, "get the epidural!"  what?!  who are you?  do you know me?  would you like to say anything else or just whisper as if it is the secret of the century, some amazing gift of knowledge that you are imparting on me, "get the epidural"?  this probably wouldn't have bothered a lot of women, but it sent me (and my pregnancy hormones) through the roof!  and then, i thought about it...and decided that it just wasn't worth it.  i was trying so hard to keep the (inner) peace for the health and well-being of my little buggy in my belly, that i had to let it go.  so, with all the unwanted advice i received, i would just let it in one ear and right on out the other and then leave the situation as soon as politely possible.  if it was advice that was of interest to me, i would further the conversation and try to learn more.
now that the baby is no longer in my belly and is 18 months old, the advice still seems to roll in, but not nearly as often.  now it is usually less "in your face" and more by way of information i read, etc.  but, i still keep my promise to myself.  it i think it is "ugly" or simply goes in one and out the other.  and then i usually start researching other ways of doing things or researching for further support of my decisions to help curb that self-doubt that sneaks in.
for me, the key to sanity with all the decisions to make and all the opinions to hear has been building my community.  without my amazingly supportive husband, my fellow mommy friends, the various blogs i follow, the books/articles i've read and the health practitioners i've surrounded myself with, i don't know where i would be.  anthony and i raise our son with a less-than-mainstream philosophy and so that extra support from our like-minded parent friends is necessary. going against the grain can be tricky at times, for sure, but i wouldn't have it any other way.  it isn't right for everyone, but it is for us.
i was lucky enough to have a drug-free natural labor/birth and anthony got to "catch" nolan.  we left the hospital within 24 hours (and would have liked to have left sooner). we kept the placenta and had it prepared into capsules to consume (ps.  this is an amazing way to help keep baby blues and post-pardum depression away).  we love the idea of a home birth and still toy with the option for future children.  i am lucky enough to get to stay home with him.  we co-sleep.  i nurse him (yup, even in the night) and plan to until nolan decides he's done.  he has had maybe 3 bottles, in his life.  i rock and nurse him to sleep every night.  we wear him.  we cloth diaper.  he has never sucked on a pacifier.  he didn't start solids until 7.5 months and then it wasn't with rice cereal.  i make all of his food.  he has had one vaccine.  we don't let him "cry it out".  we speak to him respectfully and let him "explore" as much as possible.  we teach by example.  we don't do everything perfect; we just try our best.  when have bad days, we try to figure out what went amiss and move on...try to get back on track.   
this is the type of parenting that feels right to us.  it is possibly someone else's nightmare.  but, that is the beauty of parenting.  we are all doing what we think is right.  i'm not here to judge anyone else for their parenting decisions.  i know that all "good" parents have their child's (children's) best interests at heart and that is all i can hope for.  i LOVE when i read an article or book or hear a thought from a fellow parent and feel that it is perfect for our home.  this is why i want to share what i learn too.  i realize that just as i may disregard something that i hear or read and find my own information, someone will probably do the same with the information that i share.  that is great.  it is not my intention to fuel that mommy-self-doubt in someone else.  it is my intention to share knowledge and let the reader decide whether they agree or not. so, let us support one another and learn from one another and raise the next generation to gently rule the world!

Friday, August 26, 2011

joining the raw-volution!

for years now, we've been only drinking organic milk.  i thought we were diong great!  then, i heard about the benefits (and safety) of raw milk, read the ingredients on my organic milk container and now, we've taken it one step further.  we've gone RAW!  better for the animals.  better for the environment.  better for us.

while i feel like i've tried to eat (and provide for my family) a generally healthy diet (with a little too much sugar now and again...whoops), my eyes are opening wider and wider each day as i dive into the world of traditional, whole and unprocessed foods.  i feel like we (my family) are at the very beginning of learning how to make the most out of the food we use as fuel for our lives.

a couple of weeks ago, i made a bone broth chicken soup complete with chicken feet (blog to come)!  i just won a book called, "wild fermentation" (by sandor ellix katz) from my amazing holistic practitioner, emily bartlett of holistic kid ( and i'm ready to start learning about live-culture foods!  i have a cereal recipe (also provided by the fabulous emily) that i'm dying to try as she has debunked my "healthy" cereal for me.  and this is the first week that we've purchased our new milk and are excited to see how it positively effects our overall health.  hopefully you will join me on my new adventure! 

it is important to note that raw milk from conventional factory farms is not what i'm talking about here.  i'm talking about whole-fat (why whole-fat?) raw milk from from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows living the high-life on small family farms.  milk that is free of antibiotics, pesticides, preservatives or additives and that is full of probiotics, enzymes and good fats that benefit our overall health.  we chose organic pastures as our source.  their website, has tons of information on the numerous health benefits of raw milk versus conventional and organic pasteurized milk.

some of the benefits of raw milk, according to organic pastures are:

*"[raw milk] increases immunity to infection by increasing biodiversity of beneficial bacteria in the human gut.  a hundred kinds of bacteria are found in raw milk at very low levels.  yogurt has four or five."

*"supplies rare and important enzymes required for the absorption of minerals and effective digestion."

*"provides a source of lactase producing beneficial bacteria, reducing or eliminating lactose intolerance."

is it safe??

yes! also according to organic pastures, "in california, raw milk for human consumption must pass the same bacteria count standards that are required for pasteurized milk (after being pasteurized) date [10 years], not one pathogen has ever been detected in [op's] raw milk".

then why pasteurize?

op explains, "if cows are given antibiotics, kept in tight confinement on piles of manure, given hormones and fed unnatural feeds, their milk becomes contaminated with bad (pathogenic) bacteria." i suppose that is reason enough, but...eeew, yuck and no thank you!

other reasons to avoid pasteurized milk? states that "many studies have linked consumption of pasteurized milk with lactose intolerance, allergies, asthma, frequent ear infections, gastro-intestinal problems, diabetes, auto-immune disease, attention deficit disorder and constipation". they also state, "pasteurization destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with...increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer." yikes!

here are some other websites set up to help educate consumers on the benefits of raw milk consumption...  - read this!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

18 months! (yesterday)

dear sweet little bug:

yesterday was a big turned 18 months old!  crazy, right?  we celebrated by going to the grocery store and you rode in the "car" cart for the first time.  you liked it for roughly half the trip, then you were over it and i forgot the ergo so i carried you all around the store.  :)

you are a total riot and although we've had kind of a rough go the last couple of months, you keep on comin' back stronger and more full of life.  i love you.

here's a quick rundown of all your "tricks".  many of these have been around for months now, but as i haven't written (wrote?) them down, here we go.

*you now have 14 teeth, with two more (both bottom canines) popping up any day now.

*you like to feed yourself and often will not eat any other way.  messy...but, so cute to see you scoop up a big ol' spoonful and put it in your mouth.  

*you say "mama," "dada," "titty" (which don't be confused, means "kitty"), "apple," "nana" (banana), "baby" and something similar to "obama" :) little democrat.

*you sign "more" and "all done" and wave up a storm.

*you can point to your ears, nose, head, toes and belly, stick out your tongue and blink your eyes when asked their locations.

*you clap your hands and pat your legs when asked.

*you LOVE music and LOVE, LOVE to dance...oh much.  it is amazing.  you spin around in a circle when asked to do a "twirly whirly".  you clap and bounce to music, but also to funny things like the motor on the refrigerator when it runs or blenders or...people working outside. 

*you are incredibly helpful.  you like to open the dryer, take out the lint trap, tap it on the garbage can across the room, bring it back, put it back into the dryer and close the door...over and over again.  you help wipe up the floor if there is a towel on the ground.  you take the lid off the kitty food container, scoop the food, carry it to the bathroom, dump it into her bowl, put the cup back in the container and put the lid on (all with a small amount of assistance, but not much).  you like to put stuff places...vague, i realize, but it is just a general "like" of yours.

*you pull pieces of toilet paper off of the roll, "wipe" your bum (clothed) and put the paper in the toilet. ha!

*you LOVE the bath...more than ever.

*though you have been climbing up the steps to the top of the playground equipment and sliding down (backwards and on your belly) for months, you now sit on your bum and slide down the traditional way...all on your own!

*you seem to have gotten over your fear of the ocean.  you actually tried to run into it the last time we were there...and sat in the waves more than once.

*you appear to be warming up to the stroller.  you even fell asleep in it once!  that is crazy.

*when asked "nolan, who's the man?" you reply "dada".

*when asked "nolan, who's beautiful?" you reply "mama" (thanks, dada...heehee).

*when asked, "nolan, who do you love?" you reply either "mama" or "dada" depending on your mood.

*when asked, "nolan, who is the president of the united states?" you usually reply "dada"...followed by "obebe" (which of course means, "obama").

*you know the sounds that are made by kitties, doggies, monkeys, snakes, cows, elephants, and fishies (less a sound, more a face).

*you have recently discovered airplanes and will stop whatever you're doing to look to the sky and point at them.

*you know where the neighborhood kitties live and "talk" about them as we get close.

*you love to have books read to you and are getting better about not devouring them with your mouth.  thank you.

*you love playing in the sand, especially with your green shovel from saskia's birthday...thank you, vrooms.

*you nurse like mad and quite prefer that to occur in the rocking chair in the much so that you will lead me there...

*you are still my little cuddle bug who loves to be rocked and to sleep next to (or on top if, if allowed) mama and dada.

*you like to play with the stainless steel pots, pans and lids and a wooden spoon as early in the morning as possible.

*we have a huge stack of boxes in our dining area dedicated to your play.  i can't bring myself to recycle any of them when you have so much fun.  standing and sitting in them = your favorite.  

*you LOVE kitty...though sadly, she doesn't quite feel the same.  maybe feeding her will help...give her time, bud...give her time. 

*you like to sit in random things, use things as a bench and have recently discovered the idea of "building" steps.  yikes.

*you are VERY all times.

*sleep is not an exact science in our house, but we feel good about it anyway.  you seem to be figuring it out beautifully...most days.  :)

*you make this noise that literally cracks me up every single time.  sometimes you do it all on your own.  sometimes if i try and do it first, you'll imitate me.  i know that i'm going to fail at describing it, but i'll try.  you kind of pull your head back so that your chin is down and back, creating a really funny baby double chin (which in itself is both funny and impressive as you are a pretty slight little fellow and double chins don't come easy for you.)...then you make this "ohhhpe" noise that almost sounds like and elongated "ope" but with this almost no voice, voice.  it is hysterical.  i'll have to get a video.

there are so many more things that i want to remember forever and want to share with you, but for now, i'll stop here.  it is suffice to say, you are amazing and i love you.  happy 18-month birthday, little lam.

 very busy...



 very, very busy... 
(note: we went through the drawers in the dressers creating goodwill piles...for a couple of days...)

 a little unnerved...

got the hang of it quick...and then went backwards for something a little more daring.

after uploading these pics, i noticed a couple of things: 1.we only take pictures when nolan is in his jammies...or he wears jammies a lot.  2. that green shovel gets around!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

a little positive feedback goes a long way! (see warning before reading!) :)

WARNING: this blog post is on a potentially sensitive topic, is rather lengthy and all about mothering (and a little fathering as well)  :)

like many people, i'm moderately addicted to facebook.  in the last week, i have found (via a sweet friend) a few new pages to "like" and now my moderate addiction has kicked in to a seriously out of control addiction.  whatever...they're educational...don't judge.  ;)

anyway, it just so happens that after an evening of reading loads of amazing information on peaceful parenting, parenting effectiveness training-PET, and positive parenting: toddlers and beyond, i clicked back to the ol' "news feed" and read a post from another page that i "like," diaper junction (very useful website for cloth diapering). 

the post read: "do any of you have a LO [little one] over a year old who still doesn't sleep through the night?".  i would say that the vast (like 95% vast) majority of those who responded answered "no".  however, the refreshing thing, to me was that very few, if any, of these women were complaining.  they were simply stating there situations and many were 100% okay with it (i actually fall into this very same category).  there was just a beautiful sense of understanding and a feeling of "wow...we're not alone," giving great strength to one another.  there was one woman who was not in that category.  sadly, (well...sadly for this post, but not for other mamas reading the original thread, i suppose), i just discovered as i went to copy and paste the quotes that the diaper junction has since removed all of her posts from the thread.   boo...that really threw a hitch in this blog plan.  well, i'm going to post my comments anyway because i'm really proud of them.  ha! please keep in mind that a number of other women posted responses and/or continued conversations with her as well.

me (the lady had not posted yet): here is a great blog article that i read about sleeping through the night...with all kinds of links at the bottom of the page for more info. my little man is just shy of 18 months and not sleeping through the night. though definitely tough at times, i think it is all worth it in the grand scheme of things.​9/12/sleeping-through-nigh​t.html

her comment went something like this (i can't say it is a complete quote, but many parts are pretty much word for word): i don't want to offend anyone, but why are all of you nursing your children beyond one year of age?  it doesn't sound any better if you put "months" behind it.  don't get me wrong, i'm breastfeeding my 6-month-old infant, but you can be sure that we will be done before her first birthday.  she has been sleeping through the night since she was 3 weeks (i think she said three weeks...) old.  stop nursing and co-sleeping and your kid can sleep through the night too.  also, it seems like it is the mom who continues nursing no matter what the child thinks and i have a friend who is traumatized by the fact that she was nursed until she was 3-years-old.

here is my response to her first comment (note: i did not actually refer to her as "lady," i used her name, but am omitting it her): @lady: "your comments make me so sad because i fear that some mama will read them when she is in a vulnerable state and take them as fact and not your opinion. there are so very many reasons to breastfeed beyond one year that i can't even begin to list them here. for anyone interested, check out la leche league's website, google "101 reasons to breastfeed," read any number of blogs on 

obviously, a child should not be forced to breastfeed if they have self-weaned...but allowing child-led weaning to take place would avoid that all together. our babes our only young for a short period of time and isn't it our responsibility as mothers to be there for them and to help them thrive to the best of our abilities? isn't that reason enough to "sacrifice" (if that is how you look at it) sleep for a time? i urge you to educate yourself more fully on extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping before judging others' decisions and making blanket statements that by weaning and moving a child out of the parents' bed, a child will sleep through the night. 

also...sleeping "through the night" is a means roughly 5 hour stretches."
*6 people "liked" this comment!*

she responded to me and others with something along the lines of, your child doesn't need breastmilk, there are other forms of milk available because we are a developed country...if you want your child to have breastmilk after one year, you should pump and put it in a cup...and you should think about what you are doing (regarding nursing and co-sleeping) to your kids and how it is going to negatively effect them later in life.

me ( response to her response to me and others): there are many more reasons than nutrition to breastfeed that you don't get from pump it into a cup, including comfort, bonding, security, your toddler feeling that their needs are met and besides that for me personally, pumping hurts and is no longer as effective as it was when my LO was a newborn. my breasts now only respond to le bebe. :)

think about the idea of meeting your child's needs not just physically, but emotionally and psychologically too. doesn't that sound beautiful? think about allowing your child to dictate when they would like to wean from the breast or have their own space to sleep. children yearn for their independence too and when that time comes, the transition is going to be that much smoother. imagine how empowering it must feel to have felt all that love and respect, been ready for change and accepted it, not had that change pushed upon you.

there have been no studies showing ill effects of co-sleeping or extended breastfeeding when it is child-led. in fact, i just saw an article on some major news website, which inconveniently i can't now remember, about the fact that children who bed shared with their parents were no worse off than solitary sleeping infants. yes, it is very important to be conscious about safety precautions when bed sharing, but once that is taken care of it has been proven to even REDUCE risks of SIDS!

i understand completely that neither extended breastfeeding nor bed sharing are right for all families. in which case, i just hope that the transitions are done gently and in the best interest of the LO. every family is different. all i hope for is that before judging others or making blanket statements of the "rightness" or "healthfulness" of something, be educated on the full spectrum of choices and possibilities and not simply base your opinions on societal pressures.  

also...i did not mean to negate the nutritional effects of breastmilk even after the (arbitrary) one year marker. Breastmilk's nutrition FAR exceeds anything lab-created (formula) or other mammal's milk for that matter because it is made specifically to nourish a thriving little human! So, it is not scientific advances or better resources that are cause for encouraging breastfeeding for a MINIMUM of two years as the WHO does, it is simply that breast is best.

that being said, i know many women who would have done and/or did all they could to nurse their little, but for some reason, we unable which case, thank god for formula, cow's milk, goat's milk, almond milk, etc!

and, as an interesting side note: the average age around the world of breastfeeding littles is...wait for it...FOUR! this is a WORLD average...including europe and other developed countries; it is not exclusive to the third world as some may like you to believe because they are uncomfortable.  
 *another 3 people "liked" this one!* 

all the "likes" felt really good, but the absolute best was this comment left by one of the other mamas:
@kimberly lam, that was an extremely kind, respectful response to someone who did not intend to hurt or offend anyone. you sound like a very open, tolerant, educated person. i am impressed by your knowledge as well! :) 

i guess the universe read my blog post from last night about wanting to be positive in the face of frustration and the desire to think things through before speaking my mind, but needing support to keep reminding myself to do so!  

*thanks universe.  
*thanks diaper junction for the thought provoking question. 
*thanks to all the amazing resources that i have available to educate myself.  
*thanks for others who have educated me, especially you kimberly durdin!
*thanks facebook for the ability to share my views with so many others, possibly educate someone else and hopefully provoke a change in ways of thinking.  

and of course... 

*thank you kind ladies for the positive feedback, especially you kind comment leaver!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

sunshine and rainbows...right?

We don't have to stay trapped in negative patterns. We can break the chains of our childhoods simply by being aware of our typical negative reactions and making a conscious effort to pause, take a deep breath, and choose a new, positive response. Every time we do this, we create new neural pathways and re-train our brains to respond OUR way. It gets easier and easier as the pathways are strengthened, and suddenly we have a new pattern. You're doing great! Keep moving forward. -Positive Parenting: Toddlers and Beyond (facebook page)- 
this year, thus far, has been a little rough.  i feel kind of silly saying that because i know that there are so very many people out there in our world who are dealing with so much more and so much worse.  but, none the less, it sure feels that way and that feeling has fed a weakness of mine that i am ready to change.  sass.
frequently, i feel myself getting sucked in to a negative abyss.  it's ugly and i don't like it.  it amazes me that each night as i lay in bed looking back at the day, there are moments that i wish i could re-do, situations in which i would have liked to react differently, said something else, TAKEN A BREATH before drawing a conclusion or responding (with sass).  maybe "amazes" isn't the right word there...more like "saddens me".  to be a bit over the top, it really breaks my heart.  i lay there and in retrospect, can think of all the things i would like to change "next time".  i constantly tell myself, "self: tomorrow, you will take a deep breath before reacting to or speaking of anything that fires you up!"  yet, the next night, there i lay...regretting.
apparently, i am a bit of a creature of habit.  i also am a person who needs reassurance, support, motivation...not sure how to describe it.   when i read this quote early this morning, i got my reassurance, support, motivation, whatever.  though i realize it is not necessarily going to be an easy process and it may be a lengthy one, i believe it is worth the effort.  so, if you would be so kind...please remind me of this quote and this blog post the next time i get all riled up over something silly.  thank you.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

you're on my mind...

oh, i've missed you.  sadly, there is no real time to catch up right now.  just wanted you to know i was thinking of you, haven't forgotten you, and will return soon.  thank you for your patience.   :)