Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Do I Do?

You'll have to excuse me, folks: over the next couple of weeks, I'm pretty full of questions. I signed up for the Carnival of Natural Parenting and April's topic is parenting advice. We are supposed to write a 'Dear Abby'-type letter to our readers asking for advice on a certain parenting issue we are dealing with.

Well, I've already written my post, but I find myself finding more and more questions that need to be asked, advice that I could really use. So, I hope you don't mind me leaning on you a little bit here, but I could use your help.

The question at hand today is this: As an attachment parent, how do I deal with my 5 year old daughter's newfound bad attitude? Gracie has always been sassy but it's really coming out now that she's figured out how to push my buttons. She tells me no when I ask her to do things, she makes threats when I tell her no ("Fine then! If you won't read this book to me right now then I'll just throw all my books away and never read again."), she throws temper tantrums (in which a lot of times she actually throws things around in her room).

Part of my problem is that I didn't start using AP philosophies until Kairi was born. Not consciously at least. I'm sure it was there in doses, as I generally try to be as gentle and loving as possible to my kids, but Gracie had 4 years of no real defined, specific style parenting.

For a long time I spanked Gracie when she did something wrong. Now, I'm not saying that if you spank your kids that you're a bad parent by any means - I'm not going to call it child abuse - but I just found that it wasn't working for me. Sure, it was yielding most of the behavior I wanted, but I felt HORRIBLE about myself as a mom each time I did it. I also found myself spanking her for the smallest, most minute actions when I had originally set out to only spank as a last resort and only when she had done something really bad. I found that my child feared me. I don't want to be that parent.

So I quit spanking and started discussing why the things she was doing weren't acceptable behavior, occasionally throwing in some time out or removing certain play objects from her possession for a while, always trying to keep it behavior appropriate (ie- I'm not going to take away her doll if she hit her sister, but if she wouldn't share her doll with her sister I would take it then.)

For a while it was working great. Gracie understood what was wrong and what was right and she understood when she got into trouble exactly why it was she was in trouble and what she could do instead next time to avoid the trouble. But now she's just developing this... I don't know... attitude. I don't even know how to shrink it down into just one word really. She's not responding to discipline the same way she has. She gets more upset when she gets in trouble and it does less good.

So - what do you do when your kids get into trouble? What do you do when you find that your current disciplinary tactics aren't quite fitting the bill and need perhaps a small overhaul? What new techniques to you incorporate? How do you maintain consistency throughout?

Edit: Just noting that this is not my submission for the Carnival of Natural Parenting. That post will be coming up on Tuesday the 13th. Keep an eye out for it, won't you?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Wordless Weekend: Kairi's First Birthday

 We went from this: this:

...And we couldn't be happier.

Happy birthday, Kairi Blake!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Break Up Letter to an Alocholic Friend

Dear friend,

Over the past few months our families have grown close. Our kids get along, our spouses get along, we get along.... It's a rare occurrence for us to find a family with whom we get along so well.

I've enjoyed getting to know you and your family over this time, but as I am quickly finding out, I know you better than you thought, better than I thought, and that is not a good thing for any of us.

You see, you, my friend, are an alcoholic.

At first I thought I could handle it; you didn't seem to change when you drank. You acted pretty much exactly the same as when you were sober. You were funny and smart and considerate and good with the kids. But I slowly began to see the subtle differences in your behavior - and they began to scream at me. Your moods changed at random and you would forget things said in the conversations that took place no less than 20 minutes prior, including promises made to your children.

As much as I want to deny it, I don't think we're going to be able to spend much more time together. Last night was the last straw when you made my child cry over how she ate her dinner. I was happy at the fact that she was eating at all, and eating as much as she was, but you had a problem with the way she took her bites and felt the need to address it.

"We don't eat spaghetti like that at our table," you told her, "and if you can't eat the way we eat, then you're not gonna eat at all."

While you were explaining to her the "proper" way to take a bite of spaghetti she decided to take a drink, which you practically slapped from her hand.

"Pay attention when I'm talking to you!" you demanded and she started crying. Hysterically crying. Having a difficult time breathing crying. It took me twenty minutes of sitting with her and talking her through her breaths to get her calmed down. And then, when she had eaten 3/4 of the enormous bowl of spaghetti you made her and I told her she could get up, in remarks made to your children about their own dinner, you made me feel like a bad mother for not making her finish every bite.

But the thing is: I know I am a good mother. I feel it was what I was born to do, and I won't have anyone questioning that in any way, whether it be outright or insinuation.

I am all for house rules, but my daughter was not eating her spaghetti in any way that was rude or in need of correction. She's 5. So what if she dangles the short bits of noodle into her mouth before the bite rather than have them trail out of her mouth and slurp them back in the way your children were? What harm is she doing?

So long as I am around to parent and discipline my child, I would appreciate it if that is left to me. But as long as you are drinking the way you do, I don't see you having the presence of mind to consider me or my child, as it seems you have little concern for your own children, upon closer inspection, while you are drinking.

Promising your children candy after dinner, then forcing them to go to bed directly after dinner with NO candy and no promise of the candy being made up tomorrow is not cool. I know that to you and me, going without candy after dinner may not be a big deal, but those kids were heartbroken. All three of them cried themselves to sleep last night because you broke your promise. You berated them until they finished each and every bite and then denied them the whole reason they had pushed themselves so hard.

I imagine that it would be difficult enough spending time around an alcoholic for someone who never had to, but I grew up with alcoholic parents and seeing the way you act towards your kids while you are drunk really hits me hard. I feel the need to protect your children from you; but in doing so I am exposing my children to your addiction and the beast that comes out of it.

It is out of the need to protect my children from that monster that I bid you and your family farewell. It will not be an easy split, as Gracie loves your kids, but I can't have her and Kairi seeing that. I would like for them to remain innocent just a bit longer, if possible.

When you are ready for the help you need to dig yourself out of this hole, call me and I will be there. But until then, please leave me and my family alone.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fluff Review: Kawaii Cloth Diapers

Disclosure: I have NOT been asked in any way to review this product. The makers of this product do not know that I am writing this review, come to think of it. I am simply sharing my thoughts on a product I have recently bought for myself. (Well, for my child. You know what I mean.)

In other words, this is not a paid review and I did not receive any products in exchange for this review.

In December, a friend of mine told me about this website, LuvYourBaby Products, that sells really inexpensive cloth diapers called Kawaiis. They sell several types of cloth diapers, but the ones she recommended to me from her personal experience were the square tabbed snap closure diapers.

I did my research on them and they really did seem to be the best diapers for me. I like the square tabbed design in cloth diapers rather than the rounded because it seems like they fit better. I prefer snap to velcro mostly because I have an older baby who enjoys running around in the nude as often as possible.

I decided that I would order some of these diapers in January - but when I went to order them, their site said that they were out of stock until February. So I waited and checked back periodically throughout the month of February. They had added new snap diapers, but they were round tabbed and the pocket was in the front instead of the back, which is something I have heard to veer away from.

Finally they came into stock earlier this month. I ordered 10 of them and paid about $75 altogether, shipping included. A week later I received the diapers I had been so anticipating.

First of all, I loved the fact that they were only in need of one wash prior to use. I've heard that most new diapers (I've only ever bought "gently used") need to be washed a lot before they can be used.

Another thing that is great is that they are SO SOFT. The lining is really fleecey. I seriously wanted to cover myself in them when they came out of the dryer. I told my husband that they felt like heaven. He rolled his eyes. He just doesn't get it.

The diapers came with two inserts each, which I am very happy about. I had read in various review forums that the inserts weren't very absorbent, and it's true. There is no way I would be able to use these diapers with just one of the inserts given, and Kairi isn't a heavy wetter. The inserts are really thin, about half the thickness of the microfiber inserts I have for my other diapers. But doubled up, they work alright. Not GREAT, but alright. I haven't had TOO many leaks. I do intend on buying some different inserts though and just using these as back ups.

Overall, I am very pleased with these diapers. My only complaints are the inserts (which, as I said before, are certainly alright, just could stand to be a bit thicker) and that the site was out of stock for so long. I definitely recommend them, especially considering the price. They run about $7 apiece. Even after I buy more inserts (I plan on buying FuzziBunz Microfiber Inserts from Little Squigglers for $4.25 a piece) they will still be only $11.25 per diaper. Compare that to the price of other cloth diapers, which I've seen run as low as $17 and as high as $25, and you've got yourself a great deal.

So whether you are new to cloth diapering or just looking to expand your stash, I suggest you go check out Kawaiis. You won't be sorry!

UPDATE: I have written an updated review of these diapers after 9 months of use. If you are interested in more information about how the diapers have stood up to the test of time, please feel free to visit the new post here.

Also of similar interest is my post on why my family chooses to cloth diaper. If you are not already cloth diapering and are considering it, or if you are just curious about the reasons someone might choose to use cloth diapers, please feel free to check out that post here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

All Dressed Up With No Place to Go

Ugh... I'm having a crappy day here, folks. And it's only 9:50am.

For those of you who don't know me, I am not a morning person. I can get up in the morning, but I don't like to. That being said, here I am, awake, stomach growling.

On Sunday, my Gramma's cousin Bonnie and her daughter Susan arrived in town for a visit. Bonnie and Susan are pretty classy and most always put together very well. I am not classy in that way and I am rarely put together much better than jeans, a tee shirt and a ponytail - if I'm lucky.

So when Gramma invited me to 9am breakfast for this morning, I knew I had better get up early. I set my alarm for 8, and then reset it for 8:30 (because I'm a lazy slob, I guess). I got up, got dressed (in nice clothes), put on make-up, did my hair... I look nice, people. And looking nice before noon, for me? Not a regular occurrence. Hey - I'm a mom, and I hate mornings. What can I say?

Once I was done getting myself ready, which took a surprisingly short amount of time, I woke up Kairi and got her dressed. Gracie had a late night last night, so I let her sleep. There's no way her day will go well if she's woken before she's ready.

We set out into the morning with our jackets on. The air was crisp and cool and damp from the dew. It took getting Kairi buckled in for her to wake up and realize that she was in a good mood. She was still so drowsy while we were inside. She laughed and clapped the whole drive to my Gramma's house.

When we pulled up though, I noticed that the lights in the breakfast nook and kitchen weren't on. Curious, I thought, but I assumed that they were visiting in the living room so we walked up to the door and knocked. But there was no answer. So I called. Still no answer. I left a message. And no reply.

I turned around, buckled Kairi back into her carseat and made the drive back home, avoiding the detour to the local coffee shop for my iced chai I so desperately craved. ...It sucks being broke.

So, here I sit, awake much earlier than I'd like to be, dressed to the nines, digesting only a Star Crunch snack, waiting on my Gramma to wake up and call me back.

I think I may go lie back down and try to start this day over.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I went to lunch yesterday with a new friend. She and I have connected via Facebook and have a lot to talk about, as we are both passionate about breastfeeding and other aspects of attachment parenting. I feel that we will have a lot to learn from one another.

Our lunch ran a little long and both our babies began to get hungry. Personally, I can still be a little nervous when it comes to nursing in public. Don't get me wrong: I am ALL for it (with every ounce of my being) but when it comes down to doing it I still get a little squeamish. I'm always afraid someone will confront me and the right words won't come until it's too late. My friend, however, was completely comfortable (or so it seemed at least!) and right in the middle of the restaurant grabbed her son up and just started nursing.

Let me tell you something: the way she did this was probably the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. For me, when I feed Kairi in front of people, I feel like I should warn them first. I know that I shouldn't have to, that people SHOULDN'T be uncomfortable with a nursing child but the sad fact is that people just aren't used to it. But for her, it was a no questions asked, just do it kind of thing, like it was the most normal thing to possibly do. (AS IT SHOULD BE!!!)

Until this point, I had been running circles in my head over whether I should go to the car to get a blanket or try to end our visit earlier than I wanted so I could feed Kairi, neither option I really wanted to go with. But the way she seemed so fearless really paved the way for me, so I just did it too. And you know what? Not one person looked our way (that I noticed at least) and no one had anything to say about it. In that one little action I felt so empowered. I still feel a little Superwoman-y over it, to be quite honest.

It does make me a little sad though that I feel like I have to build my courage up for something so everyday as feeding my child. But hopefully in doing so, and making it as normal for me in public as it is in my home, I will be taking the baby steps needed in making it normal for everyone.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


As some of you may know, I have gone without a car for a little over a year now. My Neon, which I loved dearly, went kaput in early January of last year while I was 7 months pregnant. We had the opportunity at tax time last year to spend a small portion of our refund on a car, but it was not enough for a good car and the whole thing fell through leaving us without a car and the means to buy another car.

In the time we've gone without, we've gotten around in various different ways. Walking has been fun: in good weather I'd put Kairi in a sling or wrap and walk a few blocks to the gas station, or I'd put Gracie in the stroller for longer walks. We had a roommate for 3 months that got Jason to work and us to the grocery store when needed, although that was much more hassle than it was ever worth (and a completely different post altogether. Sheesh.) We took cabs, which generally speaking cost between $6.50 and $8.00 1-way and came with a wait time of anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour, sometimes longer. But mostly, we had to rely on my Gramma to get Jason to work every day. We were lucky that in the time we went without transportation of our own that we had such means available to us.

We were waiting on our refund check to get a car, and this time we were spending the majority of it so that we could get a GOOD car. I had decided to buy from a dealership this time instead of any Joe Schmo that put a classified ad out. I spent the better part of a week getting things ready once we got our check. I had to go out of town 3 times that week, not counting the trip to Tulsa we took to actually buy our car. Believe me when I say you're lucky that I'm sparing you the details.

A week ago Friday, my mom drove up from Tulsa to pick us up for the weekend. On Saturday we went to Joe Cooper Ford in Tulsa. I told the salesman what I wanted: a good family car, good gas mileage, 50-70k miles (less if available, but absolutely nothing over 100k miles), $6,500-7,000. He told us about one car that sounded decent enough, but it had just been moved on the lot so he had to go inside to find out where it was. When he came out he told me to forget about that car, that they had just gotten an '06 Ford Focus in as a trade in a few days prior that would be perfect for us. It had 45k miles, brand new tires, tinted windows, 6 disc cd player... He was so right about it being great. We took a test drive and it handled beautifully. I wanted to take it home, and they wanted $6,995. I gladly signed the papers, paid for it in full (with very little of that tax refund to spare) and brought that puppy home.

She's a beaut, ain't she? ....Okay. She's a regular old Ford Focus. But you know what? She's mine. And I love it. It was so nice when we got home. I came in to go to the bathroom and (luckily beforehand) remembered that we were out of toilet paper. Do you have any idea how good it felt to be able to drive up to Wal-Mart and buy some toilet paper? Like... right then? Without waiting on someone to get me? Without having to pay a fee? Amazing. I've since been able to pick back up on my favorite little things in life like going to the local coffee shop for an iced chai. Being able to do the simple things like drive to the gas station for a soda or take my husband to work have been great too. And not having to rely on someone else to take Gracie to and from school when the weather is bad is such a huge relief.

If you've never gone without a car, you'll never fully understand what freedom you really do have in owning one. I hope I never have to go without again.