Sunday, November 30

Page 56

Pinched this from Anthromama.
  • Grab the book nearest you. Right now. Don’t dig for your favourite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
  • Turn to page 56.
  • Find the fifth sentence.
  • Post the sentence (and source) below.
The four closest turn out to not have that many pages. But I'll give you a feel for their content by quoting from page 5 of one of them,

Hippopotamous, hippopotamous, what do you hear?

So I had to reach further and grabed blindly for the first book from my shelf.

From Naomi Klein's No Logo:

"Like a prima donna, it sits in the spotlight, the first celebrity shoe"

Klein is talking about a Nike sneaker, that sits on a pedestal at Nike Town in Manhattan.

That's right, there is a shoe that is hailed and revered in a way that an ancient artifact might be handled. But unlike a precious artifact that is awe-inspiring and educational because of the history within its molecules, this is a new product that inspires one thing. The thing that the marketing giants aim to inspire - consumerism.

A fitting meme choice during the horrifying reflection of our humanity.
I don't know what's worse, that it happened or that many of us, although disgusted and shocked, aren't truly surprised.

Saturday, November 29

nothing gold can stay

At 3:15ish am last night these words ran through my head.
Nature's first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
so dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Albeit I mangled the penultimate line. So Robert Frost was talking about a little more than a baby having a 3 night run of half decent sleep, getting mum hopeful, and then a night of sheer torture for said mum. But it applies. Funny what the mind can manage even in a blur of shadows and dreams.

Never thought it would be Mr Frost keeping me company, but that he did, and at some point I drifted off to the images of golden leaves.

To be woken up 15mins later.....

We have some good friends coming over later. I'm making burritos. But She is on a blood type diet thingy, so I'm unsure about the flour wraps. I suppose she needn't eat them. Although then it's not burritos, but a pile of minced meat. Tasty though, if I do say so myself.

We met these friends only about 10-12 mths ago. They have two children, one is a girl just 3 mths younger than my Wildflower. They are a lovely couple who have similar family ideas to us. We envisioned being lifelong friends and our children growing up together. The start of our tribe here. Not an easy task when one is an expat.

A few days back they mentioned they may not stay here afterall, and might return to England instead.

Nothing gold can stay?

Friday, November 28

the little centaur (toddler)

Sagittarius Toddler

Part of my child astrology series. Read here for Sagittarian infants.
Apologies for the overlap in content, I decided to split infants & toddlers. I added to the infants post too.

Make room and put away every precious knick-knack, the centaur is galloping in! Sagittarius children want to run, run, run!

The keyword for this stage is FREEDOM. Forget quiet lunches with your boss' family or beginning the day with meditation. This child wants to climb every mountain and sail every sea. I know a little centaur and his parents try and try to have leisurely coffees by the seaside. But he has other plans that include running the entire length of the cafe and far beyond. You might as well put on those running shoes and join in.

Look up free-spirited in the dictionary and there's a photo of your little centaur. Don't confine him, neither with physical barriers or too many rules. You'll learn the hard way that he'll want to stretch his limbs and mind.

Thinking of homeschooling? Well, unless he has an earth sign in Mercury, forget classical education. This is an unschooling child for sure. And he'll love to hike, fish, climb, explore the great outdoors, and travel.

And you know that wonderful child honesty? Well, be afraid, be very afraid. The archer shoots it straight from the hip. He knows no other way but honesty - naked and brutal. So if you don't want the truth, don't ask. Unfortunately for you, you're going to get it whether you ask for it or not. This little one feels it's important to share the Truth.

How can you keep the arrows straight? Be logical and honest. Your requests will be under the scrutiny of the centaur's inquisitive processes. Unreasonable demands and 'because I said so's'are going to meet with chuckles. Don't say that I didn't warn you.

The desire to seek truth and their natural curiosity, will mean your days will be filled with 'but whys?'. Questions are the natural expression of this little seeker, as well as physical exploration.

Okay, so you realise now that free-spirited and freedom are going to amount to two things - bumps and bruises. The little archer isn't a clumsy child, it's just that not only is he everywhere, but he is also fearless. But don't smother him, just have plenty of band-aids and quick cuddles ready.

Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter , a planet of expansion. this means freedom and exploration of course, and also generosity. Your centaur toddler is generous with his smiles, giggles, cuddles, and more often than not, sharing his toys with other children.

And I would be shocked to find a finicky eater under this sign. The Sagittarian knows only one size for all of life - BIG. So keep those meal healthy otherwise weight could quickly become an issue. But do expect your little centaur to be generously proportioned anyway, at first in baby fat but later in muscle. After all he needs those strong limbs for climbing, running, hiking.....

Jupiter is the planet of optimism, so if you're down, look no further than towards this little one's exuberance for life. Drink it in, he is a bottomless pit of it.

Thursday, November 27

Is wrong right?

When a baby is about 4 months old to about let's say 12 months old, is there ever such a thing as 'wrong' behaviour?

I came across these words earlier this morning, taken from Caring For Your Baby and Young Child, Age 4mths through 7mths chapter.

When you finally begin to discipline your child, it should never be harsh.
Often, the most successful approach is simply to reward desired behaviour and withhold rewards when he [sic] does not behave as desired.

For example, if he cries for no apparent reason, make sure there's nothing wrong physically; then when he stops, reward him.......If he starts up again, wait a little longer before returning your attention to him, and use a firm voice... This time, don't reward him with extra attention or hugs.

My issues?

Well! Firstly, "begin to discipline". At 7 months of age? Isn't a baby still learning to trust and explore?

"Reward and withhold rewards". Oh boy! Withhold attention and love at this age? But here's the real doosie, "cries for no apparent reason". The authors seem oblivious to their own admission that the reason the child cries is not apparent. That means, WE don't realise what it is. It does not mean that there is no reason.

I see any tears at this age as totally acceptable. I've heard people say, "oh, he's just looking for attention". But what they fail to see is that attention-seeking is a valid reality to a child. Boredom, frustration, or even I'm-not-sure-what's-bugging-me moments are all valid.

Don't misunderstand, I'm not rushing to my little one's side. But I am there letting her know that I will never ignore her.

Yes, I am a guide to her. So I guide her with body language that there are peaceful ways to communicate, because she needn't feel anxious or stressed, or believe that crying is the only way to acquire attention. This is for her benefit. To share with her a peaceful way of being. Not a way for me to modify a behaviour that feels unacceptable to me.

Okay, next bit, him understand exactly what he's doing wrong when he breaks a rule. If you notice him doing something that's not allowed, such as pulling your hair, let him know that it's wrong by calmly saying 'no', stopping him, and redirecting his attention to an acceptable activity.

Saying it "calmly" makes the whole premise sound alright doesn't it?

When the Wildflower has pulled my hair, I have smiled at my baby's desire to connect with me, her desire to explore her world, her wonderful eye and hand coordination, and at knowing she is normal and happy.

So here we come to my main concern, is there such as thing as wrong behaviour with babies?

Is pulling my hair 'wrong'? Or is it normal and acceptable as a behaviour in itself, that I might not desire?

If the latter, then there is no need for wthholding attention, stern looks, or being firm with her. I simply wear my hair tied back, or gently pry it out of her little fingers, or accept that a few hard tugs are part of life with long hair.

It all comes down to perception. If I perceive my baby's behaviour as 'wrong', then how I view her, what stress I feel, and how I treat her will all be affected by that perception. If I do not perceive that there is the possibility of wrongness in her at this stage, I subsequently view and treat her very differently. And I experience less stress myself.

I have a friend who perceives her son's boisterous behaviour as 'naughty'. I perceive it as normal toddler behaviour. What matters is that her perception influences how she reacts, which is usually with stern disciplinary action that is followed by exasperation and frustration by both of them. They are both lovely, yet don't experience each other as such.

We convince oursleves that what we perceive is Reality, that it can't be experienced any differently because it simply Is. Knowing that we can change our perception is to me key in experiencing happy and stress-free relationships with our children.

Wednesday, November 26

Spanish tortilla

Tortilla (pronounced tortiya if you're from northern Spain or tortisha from the south and from S. America. I do the latter), was a regular at our house when I was growing up. I remember my mother making each individual one and we each had to wait in turn. Although sometimes we shared if we were really hungry.

It's such a simple dish, although it takes a while to get the potatoes cooked through. When I made it last night, I realised that it's actually a great frugal, waste-not, and whats-left-in-the-fridge type of meal.

All you need are potatoes, eggs, seasoning. That's the classic version. I add onions, oregano, and a dash of milk to the eggs. But you could also add all types of left-overs, such as thinly sliced peppers, sweetcorn, shredded meat such as roast chicken, ham or salami. It's really as versatile as an omellete, although I suppose it's no longer Spanish tortilla, but who cares right?

Lightly and slowly fry/saute about 2cm cubes of potato in olive oil, then add onions and continue to fry until onions are soft and potatoes are cooked.
Beat eggs, add a small dash of milk, throw the eggs into the frying pan.
If you're making it thick, you can transfer the pan under a grill to finish off the top. Or do it how my family does, slide the tortilla onto a plate, flip the pan over and place over the plate, now flip everything over again so that now the plate is in the pan. Don't try this unless the tortilla is well cooked on the bottom and there's not much runnyness left.

the little centaur

Part of my new child astrology series.

Sagittarius is the sign of the archer and centaur (half-man half-horse). This symbol reminds us that this is a sign that while it enjoys the earthly pleasures of the animal instincts, it attempts to move upwards towards a higher purpose.


The baby centaur is a ball of sunshine. She is happy to the point of gleeful.

She is also a mover and a shaker, so rethink playpens. She'll either hate them and you've wasted your money, or you might desperately need one to keep her from roaming really far when you just need a minute to get something done.

The little centaur is an explorer. There's a good chance she'll crawl and walk early, if only to get a better view or grasp of her environment. In fact, she might not even bother with crawling and head staright to walkng as soon as she's able.

If you put her in another room to nap, there's a good chance she'll wail or just won't settle until she's in the room with the adults. She's a people person and will sleep contentedly to the sound of adult voices or the TV.

And whenever you walk into the room, don't forget to greet her with a huge smile, as the little Sagittarian's huge heart sags at not being greeted. She is likely to greet and wave before other babies.

She will positiveluy bloom at smiles, songs, and hand-clapping merriment. Don your jester's cap and you've a fan for life. But if you're the quiet reserved sort, never fear, this Jupiter baby has enough sunshine for an entire family. As long as the home environment is generally happy, the little centaur will steer clear from sarcasm and unfounded cynicism in later years.

[Edit: sorry, I've edited this quite a bit, I wanted to split infants and toddlers into two posts]

Tuesday, November 25

Parents for Barefoot Children

Ooh I'm blogging late! My pc caught some spyware. Might go the whole mile and reformat.

Not too long ago I blogged about an article on going barefoot. How totally alright that there is a whole website for parents who advocate barefootedness.

Parents for Barefoot Children say,

we are parents that believe it is generally healthy to go barefoot, in particular for children and that they should have our support and encouragement to do so whenever possible.
Also check out, Society for Barefoot Living, who include this lovely quote,

Going barefoot is the gentlest way of walking and can symbolise a way of living — being authentic, vulnerable, sensitive to our surroundings. It's the feeling of enjoying warm sand beneath our toes, or carefully making our way over sharp rocks in the darkness. It's a way of living that has the lightest impact, removing the barrier between us and nature. well as, Barefoot Natural Families, which is a broader site on natural living and parenting. They include amongst their list of best reasons for going barefoot, a link to a site claim that going barefoot might help babies walk sooner.

With the cool weather, this is as close as the Wildflower is getting to going barefoot. But not one pair of shoes does she yet own.


Monday, November 24


At what age do they get the cheeky look? I thought 6 months was too young but the little Wildflower has had this look for at least since then.

It's a look that no longer cracks up at everything you say or do. I swear it seems she's thinking, "yeah okay, try a new one mum", or, "hello, do I look like I was born yesterday?"

Sometimes it just seems she's holding back a little, like, don't let your entertainer become over-confident, smirk thing she has going on.

Cool, she's nobody's fool, but sheeeeeesh, she's only 7-and-a-bit months, what the heck is yet to surface? And I'm going to need a whole new repertoire like, yesterday.

Green Meme #2


1) Link to Green Meme Bloggers. (use image if you like)
2) Link back to whoever tagged you. (no need to wait to be tagged!)
3) Include meme number
4) Include these guidelines in your post
5) Tag 3 other green bloggers.

Green Meme #2

1. Do you use baking soda toothpaste or baking soda shampoo? If not, would you consider it?

I tried baking soda shampoo but it was too harsh on my hair. I have a whole post about how to try this. So I wash only once a week, and extra if I'm going 'out'. I alternate between a green shampoo and lemon juice + vinegar.

2. Do you make any home cleaning products?
Yes, all of them! I use baking soda, vinegar, and a few essential oils.
MyMIL visited and was baffled, then in awe, and finally won over with my vinegar + oils kitchen cleaner.

3. What is your top green issue at the moment?

Right now it's our bottled water consumption. It's burdening me more and more each day. I'm working on alternatives....

4. Given unlimited cash, what is on your green wishlist?

I love the idea of a 100% eco-home that was more than mud or straw.
I'm really bummed that our current house build isn't anywhere near as green as I had initially wanted it. If we were in the UK it would have been do-able, but over here we are so far from sourced materials or they are incredibly expensive, or we can't find a local who knows how to implement it or, or, or... *sigh* But we've done the best we can given the circumstances.

5. Have you implemented any new green act/behaviour/product this month?

I'm working on that bottled water issue. DIY Dad has been looking and in a chat with our plumber he may have found a good filtering system. Importantly, one that the plumber perfectly understands. He's looking into costs now. I'm chuffed! (happy)

I'm tagging, Kelli at Gohn Crazy, Judy at Full Freezer, and at the risk of bombarding her this week, Lisa at The Zahn Zone.

Sunday, November 23


Tammy over at the great Witchen Kitchen handed me this award. But I feel unworthy as I just don't post here enough right now. I'll make up for it in 2009, I promise. I enjoy these things for one reason, through links, they introduce me to great new blogs.

The rules of this award are:-

  • Put the award logo on your blog or post (right click on award, save as)
  • Nominate at least 1 blog that you consider to be Uber Amazing!
  • Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog
  • Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from
My blog choice is easy. There are tons of herbal blogs I check from time to time, but LisaZ blogging at Herbalist Lisa Zahn is a favourite. Although I don't know her personally, she's a very personable blogger and comes across as compassionate and thoughtful. Her herbal approach has similarities to mine in that she views the whole person in healing. She shares lovely pics of her tinctures and other concoctions.
My 2nd choice is a much newer blog I've started to follow. She's not a herbalist, but I have her blogrolled via my homestead/green blog. She's someone who attempts to live a more Deliberate Life. She shares her ideas, musings, and family life with her children, and I only recently discovered she's expecting another little one! I love her site's tagline: killing apathy for the fun of it. Go visit, she deserves more comment love.


No, I'm not talking about diapers today....

A flower grows not because it chooses to do the act of growing, but rather because it grows.

In Taoism, when we speak about unfolding, we're talking about the natural flow of life. Acting or not acting become delicate choices where one may be going with or against the natural flow.

In some ways, allowing unfolding can be interpreted as not really acting at all because a flower does not choose to grow, it simply grows - an act, or non-act, of going with the natural way of things.

This philosophy can be similar to the idea of surrender, but it's different too. Allowing unfolding makes me reconsider any attempts to 'get baby to sleep', or eat or go potty or behave or be polite or learn or whatever else we think we're supposed to get them to do.


It's about understanding that my little Wildflower is growing and being with the natural flow of things. She is already doing what is most natural to her. It is as we age that we learn to go against the flow. I can encourage her to be a flow-er of the natural way, simply by standing back and acting less. Action without action, this is wei wu wei.

Saturday, November 22

Bugged babies

No, not little spy infants, but babies who are stressed out in buggies (or strollers if you prefer).

Babies pushed in buggies facing away from their parents could suffer lasting psychological damage, scientists claim.

Yes, a nice stressed filled tagline to pull you in, just ignore it.
Children made to face away from their carers are more likely to end up anxious adults, the first ever study on the effects of buggies has revealed.

How do they make such a correlation?!
The away-facing babies in the research were "emotionally impoverished", laughed less, talked less and suffered more stress than those facing their parent.

Almost 3,000 parent-infant pairs were studied as part of the research by Dundee University for the Talk To Your Baby early language campaign of the National Literacy Trust.

In one experiment, 20 babies were pushed for a mile, half the journey spent in an away-facing buggy and the other in a toward-facing one.

A quarter of parents using face-to-face buggies talked to their baby - more than twice as many as those using away-facing buggies.

Babies facing towards the buggy-pusher enjoyed a reduced heart rate and were twice as likely to fall asleep.

Only one baby in the group of 20 laughed during the away-facing journey, while half laughed during the face-to-face journey.

Well, that's certainly interesting. Although it's sort of common sense really, isn't it? Unless there's something really engaging going on 'out there', the baby is more likely to laugh and have emotional reactions when facing the parent. But then again, common sense.... most babies are pushed in such facing-away strollers.
Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, from Dundee University's School of Psychology, said: "If babies are spending significant amounts of time in a baby buggy, that undermines their ability to communicate easily with their parent.

"Our data suggests that for many babies today, life in a buggy is emotionally impoverished and possibly stressful. Stressed babies grow into anxious adults."
UK Sky News

There they go with that enormous leap. Not sure about that one. I mean, I'm not disputing it, and I feel intuitively that babies facing the parent suffer less stress (hmmm... facing a happy parent that is), but sheesh, how do they account for all other environmental factors when deciding what exactly produced the anxious adult?

That aside... did you carry, use a stroller? Would you do anything differently now?

untraditional traditions

I don't know if you have any celebratory family traditions that you continue. Perhaps even one as common as Christmas. When you think about it, these traditions tend to morph into something that is a mixture of the initial purpose and the tradition's purpose. For example, Christmas as a Christian celebration, and Christmas as a tradition - a time about getting together with relatives and whatever little traditions you've included year after year.

Well, the Mr has something like that. It's totally religious, it's a saint's day. A saint is bestowed upon every family and every year the family 'celebrates', or honours, that saint. Much like Christmas, it's centred around food and family and close friends. But also, the local priest comes round to your home, blesses it, blesses the special bread you've made and the people of the household.

Basically, there is LOT of incense and things said in latin, or some ancient unintelligible language or other.

The Mr and I aren't religious. I'm very spiritual but he's actually atheist. Not only that, we've never been fans of middle-management, as a friend worded it last night. You know, priests and such. And we don't believe in saints. Hmmm... sounds like a huge obstacle, considering it's a saint's day.

But here's the thing. As the latter type of tradition - a family thing - the Mr wanted to retain it. I wanted to give our Wildflower the chance to be part of it. Actually, it was me who suggested having the celebration! There is something magical and about traditions and rituals passed down through generations - one type of ancestral connection.

So how do we work this?

We decided that we would keep a few rituals, such as the special bread and the lighting of the candle. But we don't need anything blessed, thanks.

I know purists would not consider what we celebrated yesterday as the true celebration, but fortunately, we don't do this for others. To us, it's very important and special, especially when we have moved away and are not with the rest of the family. This day honours our family - the Wildflower's heritage from dad's side. When the Mr lights the candle, he does so as his father still does, as his grandfather once did, and so and so on.

I think it a wonderfully organic way to connect your children to their heritage. Especially if the parents are a mixed bunch.

Yesterday, in our own awkward-this-is-our-first-time-taking-this-on sort of way...... we connected. I'm not certain if the Mr's lack of religion/belief made it what I thought it could be. But hey, perhaps it needs more time.

Friday, November 21

little signs

I'm starting a new set of posts that will turn into a series of posts. If you have any interest in astrology, even just a curious passing interest, and you have children in your lives, I think you might get a kick out of these.

I'm no expert mind, just an enthusiast of 20+ years (eek, I'm how old??), so please just enjoy them for the fun they can be. Although, they won't be frivolous and will be based on sound astrological principles.

If you're expecting a baby or have an infant or toddler, they'll be great insights to help you better understand your child. If your child/ren have grown, you can enjoy the posts with, 'oh yeah, that was sooo true', moments.

I'll post them out at each signs beginning.

The first will be for November - Sagittarius.

Other than that, today is a BUSY day. It's a celebration of sorts, which I'll tell you all about tomorrow.

Enjoy your Friday, or at least get through it alive!

Thursday, November 20

the new insidious marketing?

I'd readily admit that I'm skeptical with a good dash of cynical to mix things up. I have no problem with that, as it's common knowledge that 'They' use subliminal, hidden and insidious tactics to reel us in to buy their product.

However, you might balk at my most recent theory, because either I'm nuts, or it's too uncomfortable to contemplate. Uncomfortable simply because we want to believe people are basically truthful. And I'm saying 'new' but I'm probably the last to work it out!

Giveaways and recommendations on blogs.

I love blogsurfing other mother bloggers. After a visit to my zillionth mommy log that was giving away a product, something began to stir within me. It was actually on a blog that wasn't giving anything away on the particular post that I was reading, but does do frequent giveaways. However, the post mentioned a cool new product that a friend tried and now she loved. It was beautifully done. Personal (seemingly) and personable. An easy writing style that made you feel like a friend.

This particular blogger gets hundreds/thousands of readers, daily. I researched the blogger and found that she isn't as upfront as you might think, or like to think. But heck, the online world allows all of us a little anonymity, fantasy, or alter ego role playing. Yet, this woman puts forth a very personal image.

Now, I could be totally wrong, totally. Or.....

Doing even more research, I uncovered that this blogger teamed up with some big names. WTF!? I'm talking not just companies, but COUNCILS.

And I also found this discussion (I'm not linking to it as I don't want to name any names):

PRFirmX and PRFirmY understand that brand conversations happen online whether you like it or not. PRFirmX encourages its clients [bloggers who've teamed up with them] to join in the conversation.
Isn't that phrased so sweetly?

You see, viral marketing is a fantastic way for companies to push their products. Another term is conversational marketing, which fits this blog marketing perfectly. I've mentioned before how they use popular children and their slumber parties to push games and toys. They have reps slither their way onto children's online networks and casually mention products. So this exists people.

Now I'm wondering, there are mommy bloggers out their who are directly employed by certain companies, or even freelance themselves out to several. But what about the ordinary folk who are paid for their insidious marketing?

Think about it. You'd rather take another mother's recommendation on a product for home or baby than just a random advertisement, right?

There is nothing wrong with making money from your website. if you put in tons of effort, posting every day, sharing tips and recipes and whatnots, then heck, leave your day job and blog for an income. But I want it upfront. I don't like anyone posing as a cutesy mother or friend and 'casually' mentioning x product.

One big name blogger (no names as I'm not interested in a debate or having anyone's groupies find me via a google search) is such a prolific blogger, and also has kids, cooks, looks after all sorts of things. I got to wondering, is it even her actually blogging? Or taken those great photos, or....?

And when recipes are highlighted as, good ole' country fare that you just have to try, in order to push a specific commodity onto the nation (such as dairy), then this has rather large repercussions - environmental, health, economic..... Think about it. A recipe is posted that uses a good load of milk. Hundreds of people comment saying they went out and made it (it happened on one blog). How many more did the same but never commented? Okay, this in itself isn't going to rock the environment. But those hundreds pass on that recipe, and on and on.... viral marketing.

Now, now, am I saying you should be suspicious of every mommy blogger (and of course ANY blogger) that does giveaways or mentions products on a regular basis?

Heck YES!

That's what it means to be a conscious consumer! To question ANY marketing.

Of course their are many legitimate bloggers out there trying to help one another with product reviews and recommendations. Ultimately though, we should research. Yep, it takes time. but it also means you become, what's the word.... oh yeah, intelligent, aware, savvy, take your pick.

Oh, looky here, Federation Media offers a pdf guide to conversational marketing, and a nice list of sites and blogs working for them. That's nice. ;)
[edit: here's a non-pdf author's list a Federated media]

Wednesday, November 19

babywearing drug ad pulled

One of the main aspects I LOVE about the internet is the way that consiusness, awareness, education, etc, etc, spreads.

Katja over at Ladybug Landings made this video, a visual tour of just how powerful our voices can be:

And she received this email response:

I am the Vice President of Marketing for McNeil Consumer Healthcare. I have responsibility for the Motrin Brand, and am responding to concerns about recent advertising on our website. I am, myself, a mom of 3 daughters.
We certainly did not mean to offend moms through our advertising. Instead, we had intended to demonstrate genuine sympathy and appreciation for all that parents do for their babies. We believe deeply that moms know best and we sincerely apologize for disappointing you. Please know that we take your feedback seriously and will take swift action with regard to this ad. We are in process of removing it from our website. It will take longer, unfortunately, for it to be removed from magazine print as it is currently on newstands and in distribution.
Kathy WidmerVP of Marketing - Pain, Pediatrics, GI, SpecialtyMcNeil Consumer Healthcare

Tres cool.

truly cruelty-free shampoo

My No Shampoo page gets a fair amount of visitors. It seems many people are interested, at the very least, in a way of avoiding chemical-laden shampoos.

There's another shampooing issue, among others, there's the issue of animal testing. And before you tell mw how some animal testing is essential to save human lives, I'm talking here only about animal testing for beauty products. I'm sure we would all agree that putting animals through pain and anguish for the sake of extra shiny hair just isn't okay.

But all I'm going to do today is make things really simple.

Firstly, I want to point out to you savvy consumers one very important thing of which to be aware - labels such as 'not tested on animals' can be very misleading.

While a company is unlikely to lie blatantly (lawsuits anyone?) the label may only be part of the story. You see, while the specific product might not have been tested on animals, the company overall might test on animals. In fact, many animal-testing companies have a few cruelty-free products. But handing your money over for one of these latter products is still supporting the company in their work.

But I want shiny-bouncy-bouncy-hair, I hear you whine.

Like I said, I'll make it easy for ya.

Shampoo manufacturers to avoid:
Proctor & Gamble (includes Clairol, Aussie, Wella, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Zest, Max Factor) Johnson & Johnson (but they have such cute babies on their products. I know!)

Here are two companies that do NOT test on animals.
Aveda (I know, such a big company. Good on them!)

And hair colour:

If you know of any big names in the business that don't test on animals, please let me know so we can add to this list.

And did you know that Aveda is listed in the top ten of any company to have a great record regarding environment & sustainability, packaging, animal welfare, worker's rights, buying organic, community support.

HOWEVER, Aveda is owned by Estee Lauder who are not on cruelty-free lists, but I'm unsure if this is due to lack of demonstration on their part or they actually test. But I'm listing Aveda because as an individual company they are pretty darn fab on all the reasons listed above. And I know many consumers buy ordinary products from ordinary stores, rather than specifically green/cruelty-free products from specialty stores. In a similar line, The Body Shop, renowned for its ethics, is owned by L'Oreal/Nestle. But Nestle is one of the worst culprits out there, so I've chosen to not shop there any longer.

So, you don't have to be crunchy to be mindful. If you're going to buy a shampoo anyway, make it green & cruelty-free or at least make it from one of these more ethical companies.

happy enema!

I had to share with you this little bit of Balkan life. A little light reading after recent posts.

A friend of a friend took her two children, one boy and one girl, to the doctor because they were both constipated. Severely I imagine, to require medical intervention, but they are very health paranoid around here so who knows.

Anyway, the doc gave the girl an enema but refused to give the boy the same.


The health professional replied in all seriousness, "Because it will make him gay".


Tuesday, November 18

bottle it you fundies!

I was and still am, a breastfeeding advocate. That is, I believe breast is the first choice, and more importantly, I support campaigns that educate women in poorer countries on the benefits of staying away from the local water for babies formula.

However, as any regular reader knows, I'm not an extremist, and I believe in, 'each to their own'. It wasn't until I started participating in mothering forums that I discovered the breastapo.

These are the women who go beyond advocacy into downright fascism - If you don't breastfeed you're obviously a bad mother and bottle feeding is tantamount to child abuse. And I'm not exaggerating either. There's an ugly phrase that's banded about by this group - withholding mother's milk. Like we don't give the baby an alternative, we just starve it.

During a time when I was not only recovering from my c-section surgery, dealing with my first newborn baby, that was a restless sleeper, and going through a terrible breastfeeding experience, I was devastated by such talk. I was offguard - not in my usual I'm-unaffected-by-what-others-think mindset. I was exhausted, sore, hormonal, and just good old-fashioned upset at not being able to get this right with my baby.

These women range from mildly prejudiced and socially blind, to tyrannical bitches. There is no room with them for individual experiences and even just for the right to choose for whatever reason. No, unless you've left both your breasts at the hospital for repairs, you have no excuse to not breastfeed.

So, my story was that I wanted the health-giving and bonding aspects of breastfeeding. And when my little Wildflower arrived, the desire to breastfeed was a physical and emotional ache. It felt like the most primeval urge. It felt right. It felt my responsibility. It felt like nothing was more vital in the mother-baby relationship - the giving of nourishment.

And then she would barely open her mouth.
Then her sucking was so weak.
The nurses were Victorian in their methods and only had one method and no equipment for serious problems.
And I didn't speak the language.
And baby was hungry and getting hungrier.
So I pumped to ensure she got the colostrum.
And to keep her nourished we had to go back and forth from boob to bottle.

I remember calling DIY Dad from the hospital in tears when she just wasn't latching on. After a c-section I had never wanted, now I couldn't seem to breastfeed. I felt like a total failure.

And then one day whilst pumping I thought my milk looked watery. I found internet sources and realised that my milk resembled cloudy water rather than the normal boobjuice. No wonder she was asking for more milk only 20 minutes after a feed. No wonder she cried so much. Poor baby was hungry.

Oh dear, I'm shedding a few tears now, recalling how distressed she was.

After 7 weeks of this torture, for both of us, I threw in the towel and decided to call it quits. That night, I backtracked as it seemed my milk improved. During the night she fed wonderfully. The ache in my heart from the hope that it was going to be alright afterall was unbelievable.

The next day, my milk was water again. The little Wildflower had had enough. This time, she rejected the boob.

My baby made things easier for me! She knew what she wanted and she wanted to be fed. Ah, my little Aries girl. The bottle it was. She thrived and her true happy nature had the chance to shine. Despite the occassional nostalgia about it all, I've never looked back.

I never wanted to give up. Breastfeeding is easier in my mind - all these bottles I have to make now! It was a traumatic time because I wanted it so desperately and because my hormones were doing the post-natal rumba. To have any woman class me as inferior, a bad mother, or selfish (which they do, trust me) is a sad state for sisterhood. One mother told me I needed to try harder - afterall, she had bleeding nipples and was in excruciating pain for months just to feed her son. This is good mothering?

I've left most of the mothering forums I first joined - the breastapo is in full force on the very popular ones. It's the intuitive and gentle parenting groups that understand, whatever their own choices. And this is the thing. If I remained in tune to my intuition, like I normally do, I would have let go of the breastfeeding sooner, or at the same time but without the guilt.

The unnecessary guilt I felt was partly because of the innate need to nourish baby, and partly because I read too much prior to her arrival. Too many - 'breast is best', and 'breast is the only choice by a good mother', type articles, forum posts, and books. One book I bought, to try to work through the problems, allowed one small sentence that admitted that there are a tiny percentage of mothers who don't have enough milk. That was it. No other options for using the bottle.

The bottle can be a serious health risk to babies in poorer countries because the water required to make up the formula is often contaminated. But formula itself isn't toxic. To hear some of these mothers you'd think the choices were boob or poison.

And sometimes formula even seems better for health. Of course it doesn't have the same mysterious antibody properties as breastmilk. But I've heard countless stories of babies with colic, spitting up, and skin conditions because of the mother's diet. And if, like my baby, yours is traumatised and hungry, and mother is incredibly stressed, then it's a no brainer.

Adopted children, sick children, non-breastfeeding mothers, and fathers through the ages have managed to create wonderful bonds and produce healthy, thriving children. It's an insult to them that their situation is in any way inferior to a mother who breastfeeds her child for years.

Yes, boob is generally best. But it's not a truism that it's always best.

As I've said on other occassions, mother's intuition is always best, not militant belief systems.

Let's remember the real enemies; the financially motivated formula pushers, the mother-unfriendly legislation and working conditions, and public prejudices against breasftfeeding.

Other mother's feeding choices should be kept where they belong - between mother and child.

Monday, November 17

Contact with nature as therapeutic medium

The following are excerpts from a study conducted by Ronen Berger, fully published in Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, Vol 11, No. 2, June 2006. Berger is an ecologist, drama and body therapist, dancer and researcher. He is the head of the Nature Therapy Center at Tel-Hai College, Israel.

In most cases therapy is addressed as an indoor verbal activity in which the relationship between therapist and client stands at its centre. This article proposes a different approach to therapy: conducting it creatively in nature, with the environment being used not only as a therapeutic setting but also as a medium and a partner in the process. The article is based on a case study carried out with a group of children with special needs within a school setting. It explores the therapeutic and educational impact that this approach had on the participants and on nature’s role in it. The article also aims to initiate a dialogue around the option of working with this population in non-verbal and experiential ways, illustrating the potential that the use of group work, creativity and contact with nature may offer.

The following is the discussion, which presents a type of summary of the lengthy results.

Returning to the aims of this case study, its conclusions can be divided into two major sections: nature’s potential as a therapeutic medium and the participants’ process. It appears that nature provided the participants with an alternative, sensuous environment, clean of human prejudice, and thereby allowed them to develop skills and expand personal issues in experiential ways which might not have been possible in the indoor and everyday environment. From a closer perspective, it seems that nature’s important influence was also connected to living things, allowing them to perform as active media, a co-therapist perhaps, triggering specific issues, while shaping the process in various unexpected ways.

Regarding the process that participants went through, it appears that nature therapy was an effective approach to use within a peer group framework, providing support and modelling, as well as a rich space to develop personal issues such as responsibility, communication, cooperation, creativity, curiosity and flexibility. These are important coping mechanisms which can improve a person’s overall function and well-being (Lahad, 1992). In addition, the programme increased the self-esteem of the participants, while their anxiety and aggressive behaviour decreased. Another interesting outcome of the programme was the change that took place in the children’s attitude towards nature, changing from alienation and fear into one of familiarity, belonging and caring

our babies as teachers

I believe that children choose us when they are still only souls. That is, for whatever reason, that soul finds a need in a specific human and chooses to go there, to be birthed as a human in our world.

I also believe that something within us calls out for them.

Whether you believe this or not doesn't matter. It certainly isn't a Hard Belief for me, just a thought. Whatever the inner needs of the souls, my musings last night were that we learn from our babies.

I'm not referring to the interesting things children say that make us think, but rather who they are as little personalities. How their behaviours, the ones that seem innate to them, spark off inner triggers within us.

Our children are sources of learning, even as babies.

Perhaps you had/have a baby that is fussy, high-spirited, impatient, loud, boisterous, or even shy, quiet, slow to excite. Perhaps your little one has a serious condition, or is often ill. Perhaps she was born early and needed extra care.

Perhaps the evidence for learning is so subtle you might not think there is any there. Perhaps your child is happy and is easily content.

My own Wildflower, as my little nickname for her implies, is spirited. She is a typical Aries in that she is loud and wants it Now, whatever It might be. She is also a chronic restless sleeper.

I pondered about what opportunity for learning has been provided for me whilst she is an infant.

I thought perhaps it was the opportunity to truly be in the Now. Although I have practiced mindfulness for some time, I know that before motherhood, I was always many steps ahead. While I might still do that in some areas of my life, I have been forced to meet the true Now.

This is not a Now of books and theories. It's not a Now of any religion or guru.

It is the simple breath of a moment between me and her.

It is attending to whatever she needs that second because she might only let me know that second and not a moment sooner. It is surrendering to the power and the powerlessness of being unable and unwilling to control another.

She is both wholly dependent and wholly independent of me. And the Now is that space inbetween those states.

My baby is my teacher.

Sunday, November 16

Banana muffin bread thingys

I'm not sure if banana muffins are supposed to turn out as muffiny (crumbly and light) as other muffins. My first attempt has turned out very dense. Although they are very tasty, they feel more like mini banana breads.

Thing is, '2 large bananas' is subjective, isn't it? I have the feeling that our large were very large and my eggs were on the smaller size.

And CUPS! Don't get me started on that measurement. Okay, is it a cup of sifted or unsifted flour? And is it a cup of flour that you add, shake down, and then add more, or not?
Give me good old accurate metric any day. I know I know, I mentioned before I don't do accuracy with recipes anyway. But if I have an accurate measurement from which to work with first, then I can not use it. *grin*

Oh yeah, and although I added the baking powder, I didn't add the baking soda. Yeah, alright, that might have been why they didn't rise enough. It was right at the back of the cupboard, at the very top. I just figured it was too much bother. I had recently stumbed my toe you know.

Mmmmmm, good for breakfast this morning though...

Babywearing used to sell drugs

Just picked up this news through Twitter.

Motrin drug company has an add to sell you painkillers for that horrible back pain you must be getting carrying your baby. I'm including the full script in case they pull the ad soon (hopefully!).

[Side panel]
As a mom, you know what it's like to have a unique kind of pain that's underappreciated.
(martyrs come, one and all)
From walking for hours in high heels
(mommy has a 'night' job sweetie)
to staying up all night carrying a feverish child
(yep that requires mommy to be medicated)
Motrin wants you to know, we feel your pain
(I believe them, don't you?)

The ad:

Wearing your baby seems to be in fashion.
I mean, in theory it’s a great idea.
There’s the front baby carrier, sling, schwing, wrap, pouch.
And who knows what else they’ve come up with. Wear your baby on your side, your front, go hands free.
Supposedly, it’s a real bonding experience.They say that babies carried close to the bod tend to cry less than others.

But what about me? Do moms that wear their babies cry more than those who don’t?
I sure do!

These things put a ton of strain on your back, your neck, your shoulders. Did I mention your back?!
I mean, I’ll put up with the pain because it’s a good kind of pain; it’s for my kid.
Plus, it totally makes me look like an official mom.
And so if I look tired and crazy, people will understand why.

You have got to be kidding me, right?

You can contact them with a quick email letting them know your thoughts on this. I did.

Saturday, November 15

International Babywearing Week

We're in the middle of International Babywearing Week (12th-18th Nov).

I first discovered babywearing in our travels through South America, namely Bolivia and Peru. At the time, when having children couldn't be furthest from my mind, it was mostly merely a foreign curiosity.

Then one day, while pregnant and on bedrest and surfing the 'net, I saw a photo of an African mother wearing her baby. I recalled all those mothers back in Bolivia. I especially remembered how the little ones appeared content.

What really struck a chord with me was the harmonious movements between mother and child. They moved almost as one.

I knew I would never find a wrap over here, so I googled and found a lovely Scottish lass who mailed one over for me. I've never looked back since.

After the fiddly first tries, I soon became accustomed to the techniques, and even made up some myself (it was so hot here I had to improvise a belt type of carry).
Here we are at our first BBQ when she was around 3 months old.

Wearing her those first few months was amazing. As regular readers know she has sleep problems. I had no idea back then just how severe they would eventually become, but she was very restless for a newborn. In the wrap, she slept like a, well, like a baby. lol No matter how restless, agitated, or fussy she was feeling, once in the wrap she dozed off in minutes.

And living in a very hilly town, I love not having a pram to push around. All these mums here sweat and puff their way up and down the many stairs. Wearing her is so much more convenient.

Would I have done anything differently? Firstly, I wish we had taken copious amounts of photos in the wrap. I guess I was too busy walking and wearing. Secondly, I could have done with a 2nd wrap, one of those quick slip-on ones. I can see now that for quick trips to the shop or such, a really easy no-fuss sling would have been priceless.

Our next adventures will be trying a back carry, as she's no longer keen on the front wrap whilst around the house. But this style of wrap still feels really awkward to me... stay tuned for the misadventures....

Head on over to Adventures in Babywearing to share your own story, and perhaps even win a carrier from Nonny & Boo for your little one.

Find out more about babywearing week at Babywearing International.

Friday, November 14

A day in Dubrovnik

Although we live in a very small town, we're fortunate to have an active international airport and larger town no more than 1.5hrs drive away.

Dubrovnik is a lovely town that sees thousands of tourists every year. But because I was pregnant and experienced extreme nausea, and then because we had two dogs that were killing each other, and then because I was heavily pregnant and on bedrest, and then because I had a newborn and recovering from surgery, and then because.... this lovely old city that was a mere stone's throw away, alluded me. But we finally made it across and took the little wildflower. At 6.5 months she's already an international globetrotter.


It's November and the weather is cool, but see how many tourists there still are back there? This is why we visit European cities out of season. I can't imagine being here during the scorching summer without any breathing space between multpile armpits.

Yet the sun was out and we were unrushed. We ate good pizza and ice-cream and strolled. It's a little too touristy for us. But we searched out the tiny hidden cobbled alleyways and streched our necks to view the crumbling architecture.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Mama spider

While DIY Dad was clearing out the old barn, he disturbed a mama spider. Miffed, she carried her sack of 3million baby spiders to another, less noisy, spot.

Hundreds and hundreds of baby spiders that will one day be as big as mama (about 10cm across). Big, hairy spiders that we have no idea if they're dangerous or just bloody big.

The photo isn't as clear as it would have been had DIY Dad got up close and personal, rather than using intense zoom and perching high up on a stone. But see her lovely white sack of babies?

A couple of weeks back, he came face to face with a scorpion.

DIY Dad asked, "tell me again why we're moving into the mountains?"

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, November 12

barefoot is best

My father used to call me gypsy. Partly because of my hippy ways and dress, and my nomadic tendencies, and partly because whenever I could, I went barefoot. And still do.

I dislike the high cost of baby and child products that we are told we must have either because it's an 'essential' or for fashion, or worse, because their peers have the item. Shoes are horrendously expensive. My little wildflower is still being carried, but I was unsure how I was going to deal with the shoe stage. So the following article made my day.

painting by Jim Daly

"Parents beleaguered by the high cost of children's footwear may be relieved to hear that, in the opinion of many orthopedists, the best thing for growing feet is not that pair of adorable, miniaturized glow-in-the-dark running shoes, or the sensible, if aesthetically objectionable, Oxfords. or even the K Mart flip-flops, but rather no shoes at all.

In a new review that confirms and expands on what many pediatricians have been saying of late, Dr. Lynn T. Staheli, director of orthopedics at Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Seattle, has concluded that the children with he healthiest and most supple feet are those who habitually go barefoot.

The myth of the good, solid shoe is like the fallacy of communism, said Dr. Staheli. "People do better when they're free, and the foot does better when it's free."

Dr. Staheli was led to make his conclusion by anthropological studies around the world of people who do not wear shoes.

"If you look at a place like China and you compare the feet of those who don't wear shoes with the feet of those who do, you find that the non-shoe-wearers have better flexibility and mobility," he said. "Their feet are stronger, they have fewer deformities and less complaints than the shoe-wearing population."

Dr. Staheli said that in Western nations, children must often wear shoes to protect against snow, broken glass or the occasional stray hypodermic syringe on the sidewalk, among other things. But he said he believes that the more closely a child's shoe resembles the barefoot state, the better.

A child's shoe should be lightweight, flexible and shaped more or less quandrangularly, like the foot, he said. Above all, the shoe should not have the arch inserts or stiff sides once deemed necessary to lend the foot support. And whenever the ground is safe enough to do so, he said, parents should allow their children to go roam around unshod."

Read the full article over here.

I thought it was an apt topic just after pioneer week. Going back to how things were done. Including how we didn't worry over every little thing about our children.

Tuesday, November 11

buying local as a global citizen

I've got to tell you about a spice mix I bought down at the local shop.

The spices were grown in Africa, they were purchased by Belgium, the final product was produced in Holland, it was distributed by Serbia, and finally transported to us.

Holy carbon footprint Batman!

When I first started to think about Buying Local, I was very enthusiastic. I could be one less person adding to the exploitation of poor workers and the increase in pollution from transporting the goods to me. And not just that. Local producers often suffer because the public demands goods that it has become accustomed to - goods not produced in their own countries.

Then one day when I was living in England, I read a newspaper article about how the national weather has (through global warming) changed to such an extent, that a farmer had started an olive plantation to produce olive oil in the south of England. If you're English, you know how bizarre this is.

Many thoughts ran through my mind - great, locally produced product makes a lesser impact on our environment,. Great, a locally produced product that people clamor for will help struggling farmers.

And then I got to thinking about the farmers in Spain, Greece and Italy. Certainly not poor countries, but poorer than the UK. And I had seen first-hand the local farmers of these countries (except Greece) and how they struggle against the world market. Often having to accept very low prices for their produce at the pressure of powerful overseas companies.

I found myself in a dilemma - do I support a local farmer for all the reasons mentioned above, or do I support a foreign farmer that probably has a more urgent need for the money. In other words, who actually needs my support?

Now I find myself in a country where almost everything fresh is locally produced. Yet the situation is rapidly changing. More supermarkets bring with them more variety. This variety means packaged foreign goods. But even the fresh produce is mutating.

DIY Dad brought home some pears once, out of season. I pointed this out to him and he later asked the vendor, and discovered they were shipped from Guatemala! That far?! Even here, in this small country?! Yep.

So after my initial shock and dismay, I found myself in a similar line of thinking as with the olive oil. Do the people who grew, tended, and the picked this fruit need my support even more than, or as well as, the poor country in which I lived?

Buying Local is one of those mind memes that spreads and seems so good and logical that we don't question it.

But y'all know what I'm like about questioning everything.

Whether it's about being green, parenting, or any other issue, there is always such a thing as individual circumstances.

A concept is only that, a theory, something existing as pure and good in the mind. The validity, and the sincerity of any concept, comes in its implementation. That is, how does this work and how much sense does this make in practice?

So what do I do?

I buy fresh local produce as much as possible, and fresh foreign produce when it has shipped from nations that in my mind are developing and need my support. Back in the UK I would buy fair- and equitrade.

The details of working out which choice is truly best are too mind-boggling. I do my best in the world we have created. If we all stopped buying from developing countries for the sake of being green - we are putting many livelyhoods at risk. The working conditions may be morally questionable and it's highly probable that the pay is a pittance. But a pittance is enough for thousands of people. I don't mean it's okay, I mean that for these people it's better than not having the job at all.

We live in a world market and a world economy, thinking locally is great, even essential when it comes to environmental issues, but thinking globally mirrors the true state in which we live, and keeps the bigger picture alive - it's not just about the planet's welfare, it's about the welfare of every single individual on it.

Written for the APLS Carnival.

pioneer week review

Let's see, what worked and what didn't?

Make all meals from scratch
This was the really significant change to our week, as I underwent my Great Bread Experiment. What a laugh! I baked several loaves of which about three weren't any good, but the birds enjoyed two and I've made breadcrumbs with the other.
Otherwise, I always cook from scratch anyway, except making my own pasta. Wasn't going there this time - not with a baby, lack of sleep, and flour issues. Bread baking was enough.
Oh, and I also made cookies.

Keep energy usage down
Turned off lights whenever possible. I wanted to live with lamps all week but Frugal Father wasn't keen on that one. And of course, we would have had to actually buy the lamp. We did use candles on a couple of occassions.
The nights are very cool here now but I restrained myself from turning up the heating.
No vacuuuming either, just the broom.

Conserve water
Already do this as much as possible. I kept forgetting to time the showers but we are very mindful of this anyway.

Walk as much as possible
We took one luxury trip of 10 minutes to the main town. Otherwise walked, walked, walked.

Rethink your entertainment
Well I can't attest to actually doing any thinking about it. But DIY Dad was good about turning off the TV unless he had something specific he really wanted to watch. A few gentle reminders (known as the Feminine Death Stare) we required.

Watch your wallet
No new purchases, but we did pop out for cake and coffee one evening. A luxury I know, but we both needed some time together away from the apartment, and I needed it after a hellmonth of sleep deprivation.

The Great Bread Experiment

I'm pleased to say that I finally found a suitable flour. It's more like an all purpose flour/plain flour, than a good strong bread flour, but the results are fine.

The focaccia was tasty, but just not focaccia in texture. So that will be an ongoing experiment. This one was a garlic and chilli one. mmmmmmm

Oh yeah, and if you're using a non-bread pan thingy, ermm... don't forget to oil it or something first.

Monday, November 10

The Boy and the Nettles

A tale...

The Boy and the Nettles

A boy was stung by a Nettle. He ran home and told his Mother,
saying, "Although it hurts me very much, I only touched it
"That was just why it stung you," said his Mother.
"The next time you touch a Nettle, grasp it boldly, and it will be
soft as silk to your hand, and not in the least hurt you."


Sunday, November 9

Xmas isn't here yet

Last night we felt like grabbing some fresh evening Autumn air. So we bundled up the Wildflower after her refreshing nap and set off into the oncoming dusk.

We ate creamy cake and had good strong coffee with lots of foam - a rare treat, it's been a couple of months for such a little moment of luxury, together.

We strolled through the high street, well, over here that's about 20 shops and a little plaza. But there's boutiques and fancy clothes we'll never afford, and toys we'll never buy the Wilflower, and shoes that will never take us walking. We nodded at people we vaguely knew and window shopped and took in the dusky night light silvered with a waxing moon.


And then we headed home feeling refreshed for being out of the apartment.

And when we were sitting quietly at home we thought - oh, it's November 8th and we hadn't seen a single Xmas decoration or shop sign. Not one bauble, reindeer or santa. Not one tree or flash of neon. (As well as no TV ads bombarding us with the stuff we just have to have.) Nothing to entice us into early, more frequent, and more prolific spending. It was just an ordinary November night on the high street.

I'm want to make it work here.

Saturday, November 8

Baby-led weaning, or expert-led weaning?

If you're a parent anything like me, you want to do the best for your kids, without going totally loopy from obsessing. So you read what you can, research, and give serious thought to baby 'issues'.

The little Wildflower took her first solid food a few days back (Nov 4th). After reading and reading and reading, I decided not to do the whole puree mash-uped food thing.

You see, baby-led weaning is the idea that what is most natural for babies is not to have their food mashed to a pulp and then have it shoved in by someone other than themselves, with an unnatural instrument like the spoon. Instead, what is supposedly more natural is for the baby to grab and chew when the baby is ready to eat solid foods. Baby-led weaning is as it sounds - the baby decides when to eat. And according to some, what to eat as well, within safe limitations.

The idea is that the baby's eating habit works alongside her developing motor skills and naturally growing appetite. It also seems logical, that having teeth seems the most natural time to want foods that require chewing.

Now, y'all know how I feel about using my intuition before following the advice of anyone - doctorate degree or not. Not only do I believe that mama's/papa's intuition is the first communication between parent and child, but let's face it the advice of experts changes. Next year they'll be telling us that feeding babies upside down is the most natural method.

So part of me was, 'yes, this sounds good'. I like this baby-led weaning business, as it sits well with my other parenting ideas. Namely, that children have brains and aren't here to be controlled.

But I don't know. The Wildflower seems hungry to me. She seems to be ready for something more substantial. She actually swallowed some banana on her 2nd attempt. Which I believe is quite good considering most food in these early attempts ends up in their hair or on the floor. She ate quite eagerly.

However, it doesn't seem that she is ready for finger foods. She isn't interested in holding the banana, although was happy to poke at it, and definitely isn't interested in anything that requires chewing. She's very happy for me to offer it to her pre-chewed.

I concede that it's very early days. But here's the thing. It could take days, weeks, or even months before she is happy to chew (teethless) food. In the mean time, she is becoming less and less satisfied with just milk.

I helped wean 4 babies whilst I was a nanny. All of them were given pureed food. They gobbled it up. I also witnessed this with my youngest niece. As soon as they were ready to grab food, they were given finger foods.

I just don't recall any adverse affects. Despite the logic and common-sense theory behind BLW, I'm not 100% convinced this is the best method for all babies.

As a fan of the Continuum Concept, I like the idea of following more primitive (thereby most natural, supposedly) baby-raising methods. I imagine tribal mothers giving their babies pre-chewed foods using their fingers to guide it into baby's mouth. Sure, no spoons are used, but other than that fact, there isn't anywhere near enough information about such mothers waiting until the baby could feed themselves.

I'm still mulling this one over...

Friday, November 7

the sacrifical lunch

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

There is a tradition in these parts when building a house that when you lay your foundations you slaughter a lamb or goat and feed the workers and anyone else you want to invite, usually neighbours. And then you slaughter another one for the first floor and then a final one for the roof. The boss brings in a man who acts as chef for the day. We, the landowners are to do nothing, until the final roast.


It has religious sacrificial overtones of course. They even try to slaughter it on your land, although it isn't necessary. The first lamb was. And I can see how it's a goodwill gesture as well. The workers are given good food, and the neighbours are appeased, until the next lamb at least. Let's face it, neighbours around a building project have to put up with noise and disruptions. And in a tiny village, noise carries.

It's a sacred and a social slaughter. Although there is no ceremony or fanfare. It's very grounded and matter-of-fact. Like, of course you slaughter a lamb stoopid.

It brings to mind the old pagan sacrifices for the land. Where blood is spilt in the fields, to appease whatever god is responsible for a bountiful harvest.

So we appease whatever gods/spirits/sprites/goblins/wild boars that might need appeasing...