Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Natural Parenting Update

"If there is anything that we wish to change in our children, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could be better changed in ourselves." - Carl Jung

Being a Witch means natural parenting ideas are the ones that come naturally to me, but sometimes it means more work and challenges in life! Rowan is growing so fast, sometimes I just want to document what he's up to so I will remember what the day-to-day was like!

Mmmm. Black Beans!
Baby Led Weaning (BLW): This is a very messy experiment, and if you hate cleaning up messes... well, it would be a hard project for you! Baby led weaning is where you allow your child to experiment with chunks of food, rather than only feeding purees and mashes. This allows your child to develop a healthy gag reflex and distinguish between gagging and actual choking much faster. It also means as a family, you are sharing healthy meals together, and I have noticed that Rowan would much rather eat what we are eating than a separate "baby only" food. BLW should only be done with a parent present, of course. Rowan LOVES his food. He seems to love everything we give him and in myriad ways: to eat it, smear it, squish it, and let juices gush down his chin onto his chest (we strip him to only his diaper these days when he eats- to lessen the clean up!). He is reveling in being a big boy that eats solids- just like mama and papa. And while yes- he has gagged a few times, he has never choked. He's a master!

Speaking and Signing: He has spoken his first word, "ball" which is easily his favorite toy. He pronounces it "bla" (I guess those end L sounds are hard!). As of this week, he has finally mastered the "m" sound and can finally say mama, which he uses to mean ME! (That makes mama smile!) He also knows sign, although he does not do any yet. He most assuredly knows "milk", "food", "sleep", "mama" and "daddy". We are teaching him "ball", "all done", "diaper", and "kiss" now- we are unsure of he understands those yet.

Barrettes and a "girly" stroller. Whatever.
Gender-Free Agenda: Rowan lives in a gender-free world and wears clothes and accessories assigned to any gender. He also has gear that is typically "girly" in most people's eyes and sometimes he even gets called a little girl in public. Whatever.

He also has some new toys that I think are important: a doll and a play purse. The doll I had made for him because I wanted a boy doll that was anatomically correct AND intact, like he is. In my quest, I found boy dolls with no genitalia and boy dolls with circumcised genitalia, but not exactly what I wanted. So I had it made. It is adorable and he loves it, especially biting its cute button nose. The purse is a toy that I found in a toy store after having Rowan carry around my purse and play with it. He obviously wanted one of his own. It's a cute colorful one that comes with a fabric cell phone, fabric play money and wallet, and a little mirror compact (fabric as well). In my opinion, children need toys that help them sort out the world- toys that mimic what adults do (brooms and dustpan, costumes, play food to prepare, and yes- purses) and dolls to help them learn how to relate emotionally to others and have confidantes. I want my son to be an empathetic compassionate person, and he may be a father one day. A doll is a perfect way to help him get started on both roles.

Developing Autonomy: He wants to do most things for himself these days- if we are eating a meal, he wants us to hand him the food piece or put it on his tray. How dare we put it in his mouth for him! And he hates when he is not in control of his body (like when we dress him, wipe a runny nose, or change his diaper) and fights us every step of the way, LOUDLY. He is his own person with his own ideas of how his world should be. It's adorable and we apologize when we must fuss over him in this way.

Co-Sleeping: Rowan has only ever slept in his crib for 10 minutes (we had a co-sleeper bassinette attached to the bed). He was so upset from that experience (I believe that it reminded him of being in the NICU, alone) in his first few hours home that I put him into bed next to me where he snuggled and was able to smell me and he has slept with us ever since. It has worked out quite well, although soon, he will need his own short bed. He is almost a toddler! So we plan on shopping soon for a convertible crib/toddler bed/twin bed/full bed combo to get in the new year.

Vaccinations: Rowan still does not have any vaccinations, and won't until at least a year of age, if then. I know this issue brings up a lot of intense feelings on both sides of the debate and I am doing my best to remain impartial and objective and read as much as I can about it. Needless to say, there are so many problems that I have read about (and yes, I know the autism research was faked- I am talking about other health problems), that I am wary. So I continue to educate myself about it. No decisions need to be made now.

Punkin Patch!
Being Gentle: Rowan is an enthusiastic child, and we encourage that wildness. However, we have done a couple things that I think are confusing to him now that he is stronger and capable of hurting someone. We would, in play, nibble him- which he tries to do now when being playful and loving- but he does it hard sometimes- we are talking all-out biting- WITH TEETH. Ouch.

The other thing that is confusing him is we taught him that good enthusiasm is equated with clapping ("yay!") and now he "claps" ON things he likes and is having fun with- which is to say- he hits them repeatedly, over and over. I am fine when it is a toy, not so fine with it when it is a person or animal. So we are trying to explain the nuance and teach him what gentle touches are like. It is slow going. I think I am going to have to channel my inner thespian and cry to get his attention or something- cuz when we say "no", he laughs. While I am glad that he does not understand to fear someone if they are stern, it does make for a conundrum getting your point across. When we say "gentle" and use his hand to stroke what he just hit, he'll do that for a while, then it's back to hitting. Sigh.

Getting Around: He is a mobile baby- and boy can he move fast! He can crawl so fast we have to jog to catch up and it will no doubt be soon that he is walking. He already crawls to furniture, only to pull himself up and stand there (and sometimes dance). He has taken one step already, but usually he falls to his butt and starts to crawl if you ask him to come over. We hope that soon he'll be walking- after all, he's getting heavy!

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