Momma Needs a Time-Out

September 1, 2009 at 10:10 am | Posted in Homemaking, Kanoa Family Update, Random Nothings | 1 Comment
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It’s inevitable.

Sometimes you just need a time-out.

 

This week has not started off well.

Judah is in the worst stage of teething…with four teeth getting ready to erupt at any moment.

The girls are being girls…fussing and arguing and trying my patience.

Manly is in Hilo for a long week…he won’t be home until late Saturday night.

My bathroom sink is PLUGGED…and no amount of Liquid Draino is going to help.

Ants are very slowly taking over this house…and are surprisingly chemical-resistant.

Jackson the chameleon eats way too many crickets…and the pet store is out of large ones till Thursday.

The laundry pile magically replenishes itself every time I do a load…as does the dirty dishes pile.

 

There aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done…and even if there were, I wouldn’t have the energy to make use of them.

 

So…I’m giving myself a blogging time-out.

It’s one less thing for my poor brain to deal with.

I will return later this week renewed and refreshed and ready to start again…I hope.

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The Trials of Teething

August 24, 2009 at 3:34 pm | Posted in Natural Living, Parenting | 2 Comments
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Teething is no fun.

Any mom will tell you that!

My own three kids have handled teething in very different ways.

Emma was grumpy but responded well to frozen washcloths and ice cubes in mesh feeder.

Gracie was as happy as a baby could be…no fussing, just EXCESSIVE drooling.

Judah is miserable.

I mean MISERABLE.

When it first began about 2 months ago I was shocked at how Judah went from a happy, content, peaceful baby to a screaming, crying, didn’t-want-to-nurse-or-sleep baby. I was flabbergasted! We had four solid days of utter fussiness. No sleep. Engorged momma. Hungry baby. I tried Orajel, but it did nothing to soothe him. In fact, the first time I put it on his mouth he swallowed some and started to gag as if he were choking! The only thing it did was numb his gums enough to allow him to latch on without pain, but a few minutes into the nursing it would wear off, leaving me with a screaming, starving baby. 

Strangely enough, after four days it stopped. The tooth was just at the surface, and I guess it was enough to lessen the pain he had been experiencing. At the time, a friend of mine recommended a homeopathic product made by Hylands, but I was unable to find it anywhere in Honolulu. And since the pain had passed, I forgot all about it.

This past week it began again.

Crying.

Fussing.

Restlessness.

And luckily, while on a shopping romp at Walgreens, I found the product that she suggested.

ttabs-newI used them last night for the first time…3 tabs under his tongue. They dissolve immediately and are tasteless. And they seemed to work right away! Judah was much calmer, he nursed better at bedtime with less pulling off and crying. I am so relieved to have found them!

Read more about Hyland’s Teething Tablets here.

Babywearing

August 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Parenting | 4 Comments
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I am a big believer in attachment parenting. I nurse on demand, co-sleep, and wear my babies in carriers from the time they’re born till the time they refuse to go into one! I’ve used many different carriers in the 8+ years I’ve spent having babies, and this time around I’ve been using a New Native carrier.carrier It’s by far the best carrier I’ve had so far. It was a little tricky when Judah was a newborn, but I’ve loved it ever since. He responds very well to being in the sling. It’s comforting, warm and smells just like his momma!

What are the benefits of babywearing?

Dr. Sears website offers some great info:

1. Sling babies cry less. Parents in my practice commonly report, “As long as I wear her, she’s content!” Parents of fussy babies who try babywearing relate that their babies seem to forget to fuss. This is more than just my own impression. In 1986, a team of pediatricians in Montreal reported on a study of ninety-nine mother-infant pairs. The first group of parents were provided with a baby carrier and assigned to carry their babies for at least three extra hours a day. They were encouraged to carry their infants throughout the day, regardless of the state of the infant, not just in response to crying or fussing. In the control, or noncarried group, parents were not given any specific instructions about carrying. After six weeks, the infants who received supplemental carrying cried and fussed 43 percent less than the noncarried group.

Anthropologists who travel throughout the world studying infant-care practices in other cultures agree that infants in babywearing cultures cry much less. In Western culture we measure a baby’s crying in hours, but in other cultures, crying is measured in minutes. We have been led to believe that it is “normal” for babies to cry a lot, but in other cultures this is not accepted as the norm. In these cultures, babies are normally “up” in arms and are put down only to sleep – next to the mother. When the parent must attend to her own needs, the baby is in someone else’s arms.

2. Sling babies learn more. If infants spend less time crying and fussing, what do they do with the free time? They learn! Sling babies spend more time in the state of quiet alertness . This is the behavioral state in which an infant is most content and best able to interact with his environment. It may be called the optimal state of learning for a baby. Researchers have also reported that carried babies show enhanced visual and auditory alertness.

The behavioral state of quiet alertness also gives parents a better opportunity to interact with their baby. Notice how mother and baby position their faces in order to achieve this optimal visually interactive plane. The human face, especially in this position, is a potent stimulator for interpersonal bonding. In the kangaroo carry, baby has a 180-degree view of her environment and is able to scan her world. She learns to choose, picking out what she wishes to look at and shutting out what she doesn’t. This ability to make choices enhances learning. A sling baby learns a lot in the arms of a busy caregiver.

3. Sling babies are more organized. It’s easier to understand babywearing when you think of a baby’s gestation as lasting eighteen months – nine months inside the womb and at least nine more months outside. The womb environment automatically regulates baby’s systems. Birth temporarily disrupts this organization. The more quickly, however, baby gets outside help with organizing these systems, the more easily he adapts to the puzzle of life outside the womb. By extending the womb experience, the babywearing mother (and father) provides an external regulating system that balances the irregular and disorganized tendencies of the baby. Picture how these regulating systems work. Mother’s rhythmic walk, for example, (which baby has been feeling for nine months) reminds baby of the womb experience. This familiar rhythm, imprinted on baby’s mind in the womb, now reappears in the “outside womb” and calms baby. As baby places her ear against her mother’s chest, mother’s heartbeat, beautifully regular and familiar, reminds baby of the sounds of the womb. As another biological regulator, baby senses mother’s rhythmic breathing while worn tummy- to-tummy, chest-to-chest. Simply stated, regular parental rhythms have a balancing effect on the infant’s irregular rhythms. Babywearing “reminds” the baby of and continues the motion and balance he enjoyed in the womb.

4. Sling babies get “humanized” earlier. Another reason that babywearing enhances learning is that baby is intimately involved in the caregiver’s world. Baby sees what mother or father sees, hears what they hear, and in some ways feels what they feel. Carried babies become more aware of their parents’ faces, walking rhythms, and scents. Baby becomes aware of, and learns from, all the subtle facial expressions, body language, voice inflections and tones, breathing patterns, and emotions of the caregiver. A parent will relate to the baby a lot more often, because baby is sitting right under her nose. Proximity increases interaction, and baby can constantly be learning how to be human. Carried babies are intimately involved in their parents’ world because they participate in what mother and father are doing. A baby worn while a parent washes dishes, for example, hears, smells, sees, and experiences in depth the adult world. He is more exposed to and involved in what is going on around him. Baby learns much in the arms of a busy person.

5. Sling babies are smarter. Environmental experiences stimulate nerves to branch out and connect with other nerves, which helps the brain grow and develop. Babywearing helps the infant’s developing brain make the right connections. Because baby is intimately involved in the mother and father’s world, she is exposed to, and participates in, the environmental stimuli that mother selects and is protected from those stimuli that bombard or overload her developing nervous system. She so intimately participates in what mother is doing that her developing brain stores a myriad of experiences, called patterns of behavior. These experiences can be thought of as thousands of tiny short-run movies that are filed in the infant’s neurological library to be rerun when baby is exposed to a similar situation that reminds her of the making of the original “movie.” For example, mothers often tell me, “As soon as I pick up the sling and put it on, my baby lights up and raises his arms as if in anticipation that he will soon be in my arms and in my world.”

Normal ambient sounds, such as the noises of daily activities, may either have learning value for the infant or disturb him. If baby is alone, sounds may frighten him. If baby is worn, these sounds have learning value. The mother filters out what she perceives as unsuitable for the baby and gives the infant an “It’s okay” feeling when he is exposed to unfamiliar sounds and experiences.

 

 

Malama Mondays: 5 Ways to De-stress at Home

August 3, 2009 at 4:35 pm | Posted in Homemaking, Parenting | Leave a comment
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  1. Do something you enjoyed as a child. I love to color with my kids. My favorite coloring book is Gracie’s Care Bears book. There is something therapeutic about coloring with crayons–the smell of the wax, the sound of the crayon moving across the paper, the way you concentrate on staying in the lines. It’s mindless, thoughtless, effortless fun.
  2. Watch a funny movie. Research has shown health benefits of laughter ranging from strengthening the immune system to reducing food cravings to increasing one’s threshold for pain. There’s even an emerging therapeutic field known as humor therapy to help people heal more quickly, among other things. Humor also has several important stress relieving benefits–it reduces levels of stress hormones and is a cathartic process.
  3. Make yourself a cup of tea. Our friends across the pond have the right idea! Daily cups of tea can help you recover more quickly from the stresses of everyday life, according to a new study by UCL (University College London) researchers. New scientific evidence shows that black tea has an effect on stress hormone levels in the body. Not to mention that it tastes great, is inexpensive, and even the most frazzled momma can do it with a baby on one hip and a preschooler crying on the other!
  4. Sleep. Perhaps the most effective, yet most elusive remedy for stress. Scientists have documented that when we are sleep-deprived our immune system suffers; our thinking and judgments are impaired; and our fuse becomes very, very short. Sleep deprivation impairs our reflexes, judgment and thinking — not unlike what happens with a blood alcohol level approaching intoxication. Not that we need a scientific study to explain this to us… we live it everyday! So, instead of washing the dishes or scrubbing the bathtub when your kids are napping, lay down and nap too! Establishing a regular nighttime routine with a set bedtime is also important. We need to schedule sleep into our lives just as we schedule playdates and dental checkups!
  5. Give yourself a time-out. The baby is screaming. The kids are running wildly through your kitchen. The washing machine is overloaded and suds are leaking onto your not-so-clean floor. Instead of having a meltdown (which is surely just a few seconds away) put the baby in a safe place (exersaucer, crib, big sibling’s lap), pop in a DVD for the kids and isolate yourself for a few minutes. Sometimes the bathroom is the only place to find sanctuary, so go ahead! Lock that door. You deserve a few minutes of peace. Take deep breaths…stretch a little…read a short article from that magazine you’ve been meaning to go through. The kids will survive. And more importantly…you will survive!

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Homeschoolers Unite!

July 24, 2009 at 10:05 am | Posted in homeschool | Leave a comment
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It’s almost August… whew! Time is flying by and soon it will be time to begin another school year. This year Emma will be in the 3rd grade and Gracie will be in kindergarten. Last year I attempted to homeschool the girls and made it through the first quarter before deciding to send Em back to her private school for the year. I was hugely, sorely, grumpily pregnant with Judah, and it was just too much. I continued using the homeschool materials for Gracie, but since she was still just 4 years old, I didn’t feel the need to do gung-ho-every-day school with her.

Reasons to Homeschool
This year we will be new to Hilo when the school year begins. We prayed about sending the girls to one of the Christian schools there, but felt the Lord leading us to homeschool instead. I know it will be an easier adjustment to our new life there, and I hope it will enable us to spend as much family time as possible with my husband (who, aside from his day job as a business lender, will be coaching varsity football, basketball and track!). If you are interested in learning more about the biblical reasons to homeschool, there is a great article on the Homeschool Legal Defense Association website that provides scripture references and a biblical context in which to base this very important decision! You can read it here.

Choosing Curriculum
I’m very familiar with the Christian school curriculum from A Beka Books (I taught in a Christian preschool for 4 years using their K4 material), and they have an awesome homeschool component. I’ll be using exclusively A Beka kindergarten curriculum for Gracie, and for all subjects except math for Emma. I’ve been reading up on Saxon Math and have decided to use their 3rd grade material for Emma. My mom actually encouraged me to use it first; she taught in public school using Saxon and really liked it. 
For parents with no teaching experience, purchasing the parent guides will be very helpful. A Beka’s parent guides provide day-by-day lesson plans for the entire year! They are extremely easy to follow, and you can begin altering their suggestions as you become more comfortable with the curriculum and tailor the instruction to meet your child’s individual needs. 
Other Homeschool Resources

Sonlight: Christian Homeschool Curriculum
Heart of Wisdom Publishing: Homeschool Helps


 

 

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