Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gardner's Eight Intelligences: Musical

This is an eight-part series covering Gardner's eight multiple intelligences and applying the theory with my children in every day life.

Ty loves to dance with his Elmo guitar, sing the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse song, make up words for his computer's music, and turn on every music, noise-making toy that he has. Lately, he sings songs that my husband and I enjoy. He mangles the words, which delights us. He dances by skipping his feet together, which produces a bouncing and jolted appearance.

I've sung to him his entire life: ABCs, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, Jingle Bells (when I am desperate), tons of nursery rhymes, and all of his sing-a-long books. We listen to music in the car and he has a CD player in his room. He plays ELMO.

His favorite song is "Name-O." "Name-O" is the tune of "Old McDonald" and he lists every name that he knows and wants us to sing it. It goes something like this: "mommy, name-o. mommy! name-o!" And I will sing, 
There is a lady who is so tired
And mommy is her name-o
And mommy is her name-o.

He will repeat, with his family, cousins, dogs, and friends. It is adorable and *I wonder* if this teaches him to spell. He claps along, and I wonder if he is counting, or at least keeping a beat. My husband and I cannot sing, but I took formal music lessons for a decade when I was younger. I normally do not learn or memorize to music. I make mnemonics without involving music. Little kids sing to learn in elementary school, but that often stops when they are older. 
My mother made fun of me when I danced and I still feel that fear and shame today at weddings or clubs. I just clap and encourage Ty when he dances. This may be a strong intelligence for him, but I can't tell yet. Music works both sides of the brain and I want him to take formal lessons in a few years. The small exposure he receives now, fun and light, hopefully helps him later.

Shame On: Enfamil

Enfamil RestFull promotes the idea that babies will sleep better with this formula. Mead Johnson "Nutrition"'s website states the following unethical advertising and manipulations:
Your baby needs a proper amount of sleep to keep her healthy and happy. That's why we created new Enfamil RestFull, the formula specially designed to naturally encourage a good night's sleep.
  • A natural way to help keep your baby feeling satisfied.
  • Thickens gently in baby's tummy and digests slowly.

I do wish Mead Johnson "Nutrition" would answer the following questions:

1. In what way is this a "natural way" to keep baby satisfied?
2. The use of the word "feeling" before "satisfied" leads me to wonder the exact fullness for the baby. Will the baby be full or not? Will the baby be hungry, and think he or she is not? How long does this "feeling" last? Is there really such a feeling for an infant whose stomach is the size of a small fist? 
3. What chemical concoction makes this bovine based powered breast milk-imitation "thicken"?
4. "Gently." Really? Most formula fed babies cry because their stomachs hurt, or because they need the nurturing and comfort of their mothers. How is this gentle?
5. "Tummy." Nice word and a cute euphemism. We are on to you, Mead Johnson "Nutrition." Make everything associated with your junk-product sweet and moms will buy it. No more. 

I also wonder, in general, why a company with "nutrition" in the title would want formula to "digest slowly." As an adult, and I eat something I should not have eaten (very much like babies who are fed your formula should not eat formula) and it digests slowly, I am in pain. My stomach hurts and I always think, "I shouldn't eat ___. I won't eat ____ again." It is too bad that babies do not have advanced communication skills, leaving them only to cry.

Unless common citizens promote breastfeeding and openly demand the abolition of the atrocity that is formula, babies will suffer. Excuses and self-comforting hinder the breastfeeding movement, as does cruelty and hatred.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SAHM Struggle: Socks in the Dryer

Za's socks no longer fall out of the dryer anymore. Nesting in the final months of pregnancy, I washed her clothes with special Dreft. Her socks laid in the seal of the front load washer and fell out when I opened the dryer. They were so tiny; smaller than a finger. I remember bending over my belly, legs wide apart so the belly would fit through the legs to pick up her socks. I would ball them and they were smaller than a golf ball.

That isn't the case now. This past weekend, my husband and I packed up all the baby, baby stuff. Za is still a baby, just a bigger baby. But we needed to put up the bouncy chairs, bassinet, and the swing. Lots of baby stuff. Tiny stuff, replaced by bigger stuff, but still for my baby. 

SAHM successes are important, and their value will show in our children. 

Feeding Kids (Real) Food

As a teacher, I fret over this situation. My students are awake when they leave for lunch but return drowsy. Starches negatively affect them and make them physically ill. I sign many bathroom passes for dancing students. Instead of corn dogs, pizza, fries, nachos, chicken nuggets, and iceberg lettuce, schools should serve whole wheat bread with real meat and colored vegetables. It isn't cost effective on the front of the books, so schools won't. Students would perform better if they were well fed, and better performances would help finances, but schools won't believe it, or can't afford to take such a risk.

School lunches is a hot topic right now, but I believe healthy food starts when children are young, when they are home, or in preschool. I don't think sending them to school when they are five and expecting wise decisions will work.

As a mom, I try to feed my kids healthy foods. I keep fruit on hand. I avoid the frozen chicken nuggets at the store, and throw a piece of chicken in the oven thirty minutes before lunchtime. At the very least, I stock the freezer with frozen vegetables. It takes effort, but I make it. I am fortunate to have the finances and transportation to get fresh food. What happens to others who cannot, or do not have the knowledge to do so?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Toddler Healthy Food

Brain based learning theories make sense to me, so I try to feed my babies' brains. I know all parents make an effort to feed their kids healthily-I think they do. I take it seriously to the point that I become angry if they eat fried food, corn syrup, enriched flour... a little much, I agree. I make myself calm down and realize they will be fine. My thought process is just that some day, probably really soon, they will choose their own foods. I want to set a good example and acclimate their taste buds accordingly. Plus, if I have healthy foods, why not give it to them? (At this point, I should probably tell you that my husband finds all of this very silly).

I research brain based learning and once that led me to a reading from Dr. Sears
One suggestion is to put food in different types of containers to offset toddler pickiness. Easy! I grabbed a tiny muffin cup pan and filled two rows with 'strawbabies'-Ty's favorites, 'bluebabies'-not Ty's favorite, and graham crackers. I filled another dish with vanilla yogurt for dipping (another Dr. Sears' tip). All corn syrup free. Happy me.

Ty ate the 'strawbabies' and picked at the rest of the food. Yay! I ran upstairs to tend to Za and returned to find that Ty fed all his food to the dog, replaced the food with his father's chips (Pringles, gross), and put his race cars in the yogurt. (Pictured to the right). Of course.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oatmeal and Strawbabies

For breakfast, I had oatmeal, strawberries (or as Ty calls them, 'strawbabies'), Splenda, and soy milk. Lots of fiber and I feel pretty good that I ate something so healthy. Lots of fiber, a fruit, some calcium, yum. Then the old Splenda/Nutrasweet debate started in my head.

One side: They have no calories! People have eaten these things for decades! You've eaten them before! They are in everything!

Other side: People have gotten cancer for decades! It might be zero calories, but it tricks your body! It is a chemical, just use the real thing! It will be stored in your fat! It will get into your breastmilk and hurt your baby's development!

Anyway, the debate in my head kind of ruined my breakfast.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

SAHM Struggle: Tired

I am so tired all the time. I read books to my kids and sing songs and clean the house and do the laundry.

I want to exercise, scrapbook, and write. I don't even have to do all of that stuff in one day or in one week. I would just like to do some of it some times. 

I would also like to sleep. I can't lose weight when I am this tired. My stomach won't go away and I get so frustrated.

I am so tired and I can't think of words larger than lame linking verbs followed by pathetic adjectives. This circling life that I could lead, of sleeping, nursing, cleaning, and caring could be one way I could do this SAHM thing. Another way is what I have now, which is the deep lack of sleep but doing things for myself at ridiculous times of night. I am so tired and I want to know what to do. 

Random Wonderings

*I wonder* things all the time. I've spent my entire life wondering, but now my wonderment focuses on my house and my children.

Here are my thoughts for the day, of my wondering:

1. I wonder why the vent next to the computer smell like poop
2. I wonder why would I ever care that my stomach is no longer flat? It is dumb to think it would be!
3. I wonder what I am going to do with the baby swing, bouncy seats, and bassinet. The husband says we are done, but I just don't know. Do I get rid of these things? That's about $550 worth of stuff!
4. I wonder why Za pulls her hair when she is mad or tired.
5. I wonder why the dog flips out at the smallest noise or sign of intruder, but my monsters pull his ears and bite his tail, and he does nothing.

Just my wonderings of the day. 

Friday, August 14, 2009

Gardner's Eight Intelligences: Linguistic

This is an eight-part series covering Gardner's eight multiple intelligences and applying the theory with my children in every day life.

This is probably my least objective analysis of Ty's possible intelligences because it is my strongest one. Ty does love letters and he is getting more curious about books. He "reads" them in his room. We have magnet letters, wooden letters, wooden blocks with letters, wall letters, and possible 300 books. His newest activity is to make letters out of things, like eating and writing utensils, toys, and food. It is so cute and his dad and I love listening to him tell us about his letters. His favorite letter to make is 'h' probably followed by 'i.'

Ty tries to draw letters, but can't which is ok, since he is only 2.7 years. I wonder if he performs well regarding this intelligence because it is my intelligence. The child heard me read "Julius Caesar" 4 times while in my womb! Letters make sense to me and he spends the most time with me. I see the world through letters. Is it ok for me to teach him like that? Of course, I want him to be well rounded in his learning styles, but do I unfairly influence him? I wonder if his destination is to understand the world through words like I do and maps like his dad does. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SAHM Triumph: Baby Advice

I had a dear friend ask me for advice. (I can give advice!) She actually asked everyone in her address book for parenting advice. She has a newborn and is sleepy, poor thing. This is what I wrote:

Dear Friend,

It's hard, huh? I think holding a newborn is the closest connection to God. He gives you this perfect little girl, which is wonderful, and then you realize it is the ultimate responsibility, which is frightening. There are all these people and all these books and they all mean well, but it comes down to--what do you think?

You might not know yet, but you will soon. And actually, you probably know more than you think. Here is what I think about newborns.

I think they shouldn't have schedules. Their stomach is the size of their fists, which is nothing. So, I nurse my babies whenever they fuss. I did this with Ty and Za. All the warnings that the baby will be spoiled, well, I just don't buy it. It is their food and for your milk supply to be built up, you have to nurse.

Which leads to my second 'I think' which is that moms need to nurse on demand. You said it at your shower--nursing is a commitment. It is a huge one, but one that, when the sleep deprivation subsides, you will be happy that you have. To do this, just nurse and sleep as much as you can. Don't worry about house duties or thank you notes or anything. Your job is to get her fed and in doing so, you will have an established milk supply. I nursed Ty for 14 months!

I also think that babies miss the closeness to their moms. I don't hold or rock Za to sleep anymore. I put her down and pat her. In fact, she fussed a bit while I was writing this, and I let her for a bit. She stopped and stayed asleep. I did rock and hold my babies while they slept for those first tough weeks because I think that mommy is all they know. I never worried about holding them while we both slept, but I didn't use blankets. I just wore long pajamas because I didn't want to tangle blankets. Some people worry about suffocation and that is a legitimate concern. I slept a bit propped up on the couch or rocking chair. Sometimes I laid in bed, but again, no blankets.   

At this early time, I always "took what I could get." If that meant sleeping at 3 pm and being awake at 1 am, I did it. I did keep the lights down at night so they would have internal clues. They are both on a schedule now. So my point is that what happens right now doesn't mean you are setting in stone the rest of the first year.

I have read most of Babywise and as I've mentioned to you before, I don't like that book. Every mom who I know (three moms to be specific) who followed the book's advice had their milk dry up. La Leche League and AAP don't support it, it seems:

I also found this:

"Newborns should be nursed whenever they show signs of hunger, such as increased alertness or activity, mouthing, or rooting. Crying is a late indicator of hunger. Newborns should be nursed approximately eight to 12 times every 24 hours until satiety."
Although demand feeding is endorsed by the Academy, WHO, and La Leche League among others, "Babywise" claims that demand feeding may be harmful and outlines a feeding schedule in contrast to it." 

B is right, all parents have their own methods, backgrounds, beliefs, and ideas. It is up to you to decide what you want to do. Is Emma crying because she's hungry? Is nursing going ok? It may be hard, but you can do it. Remember, the more you nurse, the more milk you make. If you need tips on this, ask your pediatrician to recommend you to a lactation consultant. I went and it helped so much.

If it's not the nursing or a strict schedule, then you've just got to make it through and she will get better. I suggest putting her down and if she wakes again, holding her while you sleep. Try the swing, try the bouncy seat. Ty liked to sleep on a blanket on the floor. Yeah, we spent tons of money on cute baby stuff and then the kid liked a $3 blanket on the floor. He still sleeps with that blanket.

Finally, that "normal feeling of life" will come back. It isn't going to be this week or this month though. You will figure it out. Everyone feels this way with such a new, overwhelming life change. I'm your cheerleader, and you can do it!

SAHM Triumph: Sugar Water

Za had to have six month vaccines today. Logically and medically speaking, I believe no connection exists from vaccines to autism. Still, pressing the automatic door button today and walking to the receptionist, heavy breathing and heavy thoughts began.

When I open a webpage or magazine, any source, I read about this debate. It is becoming less of a debate and it is because of the weakening outcry and massive research discrediting naysayers. I don't understand all of the questions and the guilt surrounding the issue, just as I don't totally understand any medical issue.

Jenny McCarthy has brought less than credibility to the vaccine debate. I question outspoken people who make medical claims without research. Her name lands her on shows like OPRAH, and I feel sad for her struggle with her son. It speaks, however, that she is the face of the vaccine- autism connection.

As all of this runs though my head, I give Za sugar water. I read that it lessens the pain and even makes them less sick. I questioned this advice, but decided to try it. Moms: try it! She barely cried and had no tears. It was the best experience I've had with my children's vaccines.

I wish I could silence the debate in my head, I wish that I felt that I had concrete evidence one way. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Angelina Statue: breastfeeding in our culture

I am not a fan of Angelina Jolie's acting. I do like that she is outspoken about breastfeeding. I am pretty outspoken, but she is more so, which is great because more people listen to her than they do me.  HA!

So... an artist made a statue of her breastfeeding twins. (Side note: it infuriates me that 'breastfeeding' is not a word according to spell checkers. That is how major breastfeeding organizations spell it. Again, everybody, catch up, update with breastfeeding!) It is a beautiful statue.

It even has a nice point.

But... why does it have to be a famous person? Everyone should breastfeed, and not because a famous person does. Must we emulate the rich, just because they are wealthy and beautiful? Part of me wants to think that any reason people breastfeed (even if it is lame--such as being like Angelina Jolie) is ok. The other part hates the copycat in others, and maybe the copycat in me.

Monday, August 3, 2009

World Breastfeeding Week 2009

This is World Breastfeeding Week! I had no knowledge of such a thing, but I stumbled upon information. Yay!

The theme for this year's World Breastfeeding Week is emergency readiness. The premise is that emergencies strike everywhere and we (society) cannot always be prepared. Infants are more liable to be injured or be without food. Nursing is so crucial in situations like this.

Please inform other nursing mothers and friends about this week.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Gardner's Eight Intelligences: Nature

One of the concepts *I wonder* about with my children is the application of Gardner's eight multiple intelligences. I am going to review all of them as *I wonder* in a (obviously) eight-part series. 

The naturalist intelligence refers to the ability to recognize and classify plants, minerals, and animals, including rocks and grass and all variety of flora and fauna. The ability to recognize cultural artifacts like cars or sneakers may also depend on the naturalist intelligence. …(S)ome people from an early age are extremely good at recognizing and classifying artifacts. For example, we all know kids who, at 3 or 4, are better at recognizing dinosaurs than most adults.

We have the beach quite close to us on vacation. Ty loves the beach, like a boy who just met a pretty girl. He talks about the beach, wants to see the beach, gets excited if someone mentions the beach, and if the beach rejects his presence (like raining), he cries. 

He runs and examines the driftwood and chases the seagulls. He stands in the water to see when it will knock him down. He digs in the sand and looks at how wet it is. He tries to mold the sand and adds water and sand for his desired consistency. He eats the sand and drinks the water. He looks at the sand all over himself and laugh.

*I wonder* if this is just a two-year old activity or the start of someone who learns through nature. 

Picture Breastfeeding

Here in Michigan on family vacation, we looked at older pictures. Quite the assortment--all funny. My mother-in-law, who very kindly rented the house, had pictures of my husband nursing for the first time. Ever. I looked at them sweetly, my husband being such a cute baby and all. Plus, at six months, I always get an awesome shot of my babies nursing. They are so cute at that age and always look at me when they nurse. Something in common with the MIL. 

As I look at these pictures, everybody else starts talking about my husband having to seek therapy from them, that they are weird, and accompany all this talk with weird eye and shoulder movements. I observe the situation and sigh. I am not going to send out Za's six month pictures because I don't want all the eye-rolling across the nation at numerous computer desks.

The final thought that made me chuckle was the picture of another baby (I don't know which grandchild) sucking at a bottle. Someday society (and my relatives) might point at that picture and say, "that poor baby, gosh it just hurts me to look at this, maybe he'll need therapy someday." Probably not, but maybe their bodies won't ripple when they see a baby receiving optimal nutrition. Maybe.