Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Birth Center in SB

Isla and I got wrangled into modeling for the "Fabulous Fashions for the Family" event benefiting the Santa Barbara Birth Center a couple of weeks ago, on August 14th. Although I am a home birth lady, I am a huge supporter of the Birth Center, because it gives women more options for their births. Birthing at home is at one far end of the spectrum, and a hospital birth is at the far other end. The Birth Center would provide a safe and more natural alternative to birth in a hospital. I have lots of friends who are afraid of having a home birth, and although these fears are largely based on nebulous fears and not actual information, they keep these women from having the natural birth they would like. Check out their website for more info at http://www.sbbirthcenter.org/ and if you'd like to see more pictures from the fashion show you can see them here. Why are people getting in the pool in that first photo? Because at the end of the fashion show, $100 was being donated to the Birth Center for every person who jumped into the pool. Isla was one of the first ones in - and I guess she, my babe in belly and I counted for 3!

The Best Play Dough

Isla has gotten really into play dough. First we tried making our own. She loved it, but I rarely have the energy or drive to do it, and she rarely has the patience to wait for it. Then we tried Eco-Kids Eco-Dough but it was crazy expensive, and such a mess! I loved how natural it was, and although Isla doesn't ever try to eat her dough, some of her friends do. However, it was a huge pain to get it off of our floor, and left a weird residue on our hands. Next we tried the name-brand Play-Doh. I was scared of the ingredients, but loved how easily I could sweep it up off of the floor once it had dried. And it is so cheap. But the nagging feeling that I was giving my daughter something unhealthy to play with made me switch it up once again. Now we use Clementine Art Natural Modeling Dough. It is totally non-toxic and the ingredient list makes me feel like I could eat it by the handful. Even the colors are completely derived from natural ingredients. It smells like fruit and doesn't leave a gross residue on my hands. It's easy to sweep up off of the floor and costs way less than the eco-kids variety. You can get it from the link above, or they also sell it at Lazy Acres.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Fairy Prince and Princess Party - A Success!

So, the party went really well, and even though I forgot to put out a lot of the fairy snacks I made, I'm really happy with the outcome. The babies had lots of fun and really got into the crown making and fairy house painting. Around 18 babies and their parents were at the party, all crammed into our small backyard.

My sister ended up making "Fairy Stew" AKA vegan chili, summer salad, dino pb&j's for the babies, lots of organic fruit, fairy cupcakes with homemade frosting and sprinkles (verrrrrry little suger, but SO GOOD), and we had lemonade/limeade with raspberries to drink, along with water and ice tea.

The party went from 10am until 1, but ended up going until around 2 because we were having so much fun. Most of my non-parent friends didn't make it until later, because the concept of having a party at 10 in the morning was so strange (it won't be after they have kids and start working around the nap schedules!). All in all it was a lot of fun, and fairly low stress, a combination I am really not used to!

Monday, August 2, 2010

No Mama Bullies!

Most if not all of the babies in our group have gone or are going through a grabbing phase. Isla is definitely no exception. It's hard for her not to grab when she sees a toy she wants to play with in the hands of another baby. The natural reaction might be to then grab the toy from Isla and hand it back to the child who was initially playing with it, but I don't think that's right. How can I show her grabbing is wrong when I do the exact same thing to her? Would I teach her not to hit another baby by hitting her? The better choice is to try to get her to give the toy back on her own. Almost always easier said than done. An important piece is to give her a way out so that she can feel like she is doing good by sharing back with her friend, rather than making her feel like she did a very naughty thing and shaming her into giving it back. I say things like, "Isla, Brody was playing with that fish, and he seems really sad that you took it. Can you give him his toy back and make him really happy?"

When this technique works (it usually does) both babies end up happy, not to mention the mommies. When it doesn't right away, I am still modeling for both babies that the way to solve problems is to talk things out, for as long as it takes. Taking the "quick and easy" route of grabbing the toy back from the child who took it may seem like you are "sticking up" for the victim, but really it teaches both children that the bigger, stronger person may grab, and that that is how one gets what she wants. It's really hard, but I am constantly trying to make sure I only use force with Isla when her safety or the safety of another baby is at stake. This goes for "time to go," "time to get in your carseat," and "time to brush teeth" to name just a few.

Sometimes Isla is just not in the mood to cooperate at all. She is expressing her frustration (or exhaustion, or over-stimulation...) by having full blown tantrums lately. My patience is tried daily. I do use force to just hold her when she's having a tantrum unless there is a safe spot on the floor and she seems to need her space to squirm and kick, but then I try to keep a hand on her and tell her I hear her and I love her. I also try to put words to what she might be feeling, and she seems to like that. Sometimes. More on tantrums later.