My archives might be a little outdated especially the older blogs. My links above are all new and current.

I have only positive things to say about Permission to Mother, an autobiographical account of a thoughtful mother and clinician who courageously writes from her heart, soul, brain, and personal experience; who is open to change in her views and opinions and is not guided by the safety of rules of any group or the status quo; she is guided by love and openness to the experiences life brings her and her family. Her process benefits her and those around her and those who read her words. And to add to that, the writing style and story telling ability here make it a very enjoyable read speckled with both the humor and seriousness of life. ~Laura Keegan RN FNP, author of Breastfeeding with Comfort and Joy

Readers enjoy your feedback and Reviews (82!) on amazon. Kindle Version Available!

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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Extended Co-sleeping

Once upon a time, like when my first son was about a week old, I "worried" if I was training him wrong by bringing him in my bed. Many parents worry the same thing and are very concerned about letting children sleep in the same room or more specifically in the same bed as them. For some reason we as parents are overly afraid they will never move out (of the bed) if they sleep with us.

Even parents who don't mind the baby in the bed at first, start getting leery at 2 months, 6 months, 2 years, whatever the individual case may be. For me, I panicked suddenly when William was seven months and I got it in my head that he should definitely be independent in a crib. We had the crib in our room close by. But William didn't think he belonged in a crib and he let me know with horrific crying. So I continued to bring him in the big bed thinking I was training him wrong. Yet I knew it felt so good to have his warm little body right there.

Before Scott was born I had found Dr. Sears parenting philosophies. Although I didn't know too many parents who admitted to keeping the children in the bed, through Sears I realized I was doing the right thing for my family. I relaxed. Scott and later David benefited from the family bed from birth meeting no parental resistance, and never having to sleep alone at night. I could breastfeed and fall asleep without moving anyone. I could read them stories until I couldn't keep my eyes open and my relaxed body didn't have to get up again.

I often tell my regular patients (or my one-time consults that I know I won't get another chance) that I recommend sleeping with your baby. I emphasize it by warning them, that I am probably the only doctor in town who will give them this recommendation. I usually see relieved parents. Parents have often encountered the AAP's list of rules for safe bedsharing and the SIDS back to sleep campaign, making sleeping together sound incredibly dangerous. Now, the AAP overall implies that sleeping together is okay, but only with a list of rules a mile long. Only if you don't smoke, only if you don't drink, only if the mattress is hard, only if your not fat, only in bed, only, only, only.... The message I get, is since no one is perfect and no one should sleep with their baby. My favorite place to nap together was on the couch or recliner often with two of my kids at the same time falling asleep at the breast. A huge no, no according to AAP rules. Sometimes it wasn't practical to get up and move (or I'd wake them up). It was just as easy to go to sleep with them. Now, I don't mean to say you shouldn't be concerned about safety (and especially the affects of tobacco and excessive alcohol), but I do think its overdone in relation to bed sharing in relation to other daily routines.

The take home message with the SIDS back to sleep campaign implies that your kid should be on it's back all the time to sleep (but what if you are watching your baby sleep, have your baby at your breast, in a sling, or fell asleep uprignt in someones arms, or swing or seat). I have seen A LOT of flat heads and asymmetric shaped heads in babies. I mostly attribute plagiocephally (the fancy term for this) on the fear of repositioning our babies off their backs due to this campaign. By the way, babywearing is good to prevent this!

It should come as no surprise to you that my 11 yo and 6 yo want to be in the big bed still. My 11 yo, years ago, promised he wouldn't leave till he was 40. What a relief to me! Over the years he admits he was just a baby when he said that and the "exact" age and conditions to move out has varied up and down. Mostly down. My 6 yo doesn't get moving out, so we don't discuss it. Sometimes he thinks wants a "sleep-over" in William's room. But he changes his mind and comes back to me. Good 'cause I miss him.

The reasoning I thought to write all this is now is one, I wonder what the sleeping arrangements will be when we get into our home with new rooms and more space? Has our choice of house with few rooms kept my boys close. :) and two, because my 12 yo has longed moved out and jumps at the chance of going to a sleep over. He is officially done. The one who I was so concerned would never sleep by himself is totally done. I started writing this up the night he went to a sleep over and was thinking about all the issues parents fear. He jumps at the chance to spend the night elsewhere with friends. Fears unfounded. I have a happy healthy 12 yo.

I promise you even if you extend your co-sleeping they will move out of the bed in their time!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

David's Special Time

I thought William kept nursing till 6 because of jealousy. Scott was still nursing at 4.
It seemed Scott nursed till 6 because his younger brother David was at the breast.
I would have never imagined David would go till 6. His older brothers have Xbox, Karate, bbguns, bikes, healy's and rock and roll. There is no one there at the breast to rival with. Life has a lot more adventurous activities to offer David than me being housebound with younger siblings, you would think.

Now understand his time at the breast is short, yet it is consistent, still. I hardly think of me being in the breastfeeding part of my life. Yet, I am in a phase hardly ever discussed and often too taboo to discuss even amongst the boldest advocates nor in many comprehensive breastfeeding books.

I still use my nursing bras that are in good shape, but I do not have to think about breast access outside of the house. I am way past ever having to nurse in public. My once constant attention to my nursing and pumping friendly wardrobe is never a consideration anymore. I am past the baby stuff. Yet, on most nights David will want to fall asleep at the breast.

Occasionally he is really angry. Nursing and cuddling will work. And.... as with any child, sometimes nursing and cuddling do not meet his calming needs. Unless he is real upset, I usually don't ever offer. But then again perhaps I know his nonverbal, let's go to sleep signs, so there may be no need for explicit verbal requests in either direction. He doesn't ask to nurse when I am in the middle of things or with people outside the family.

I once needed day-to-day mother-to-mother support and reminders to get me through the tandem nursing daze I was in. I don't find myself consumed to get that support in the same way I once needed it. I don't know exactly when my need lessened. The years just passed. I do find myself passionate about weaning discussions. I feel sad when I get the news that someone has weaned at 9 months, 1 year, 2 years, 3 years, even at 4 years. To me it all seems too young. Even at 4. I think about what I would have missed out on if my son's weaned two years earlier. Certainly I am excited for all mother's who's circumstances allowed them to breastfeed to whatever time was right for them, but I still feel a loss.

I love the analyzing and humorous endorsements my older verbal children can give me about breastfeeding about why breasts are best. Indeed my children seem to be pretty healthy to me. The protection against contagious bugs extend beyond infancy. I love the warm body of a cuddly child who is still willing to be besides me. Despite all the leniency in their diets, they still got the living enzymes, the Raw benefit, of free locally grown (dairy-free) breastmilk for 6 years. (There is nothing else like it humans will ever consume!! Breastmilk can not be replaced!!) At least I know William and Scott got breastmilk. I do wonder if the tap has been dry for David for a few years. Gosh, what does bring my kids to the breast when it seems like all our peers have moved on by this age?

With William and Scott, there was always my next child at the breast when one weaned. I don't exactly even remember the last session of nursing either. It doesn't seem like they just completely left the breast all in one day. They still lovingly touched and affectionately talked to my breasts. They found pleasure in bringing their toys to me "to nurse" as part of the long dragged out weaning process of an older child.

As certain I was that David would not nurse as long as the older boys because there is no younger baby to compete with, I am now thinking he will go past 6 desiring his Special Time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Outdoor Garden Notes

I can't take any credit for what was already at the house at closing.

  • mangoes- A huge healthy tree. I picked fruit off daily and the critters got the rest. Now I know, they will ripen nicely indoors once harvested and I will pick them all early June, next year.
  • Bananas- We've picked a few bunches and took the trees down as they don't fruit again. These bananas are delicious. They reproduce by sending more trees out from the roots. We have 7 small ones yet to fruit. We spaced them out to give them all space.
  • Limes- It's a small tree, but some fruit is growing now.
  • Orange- I saw the first Orange Blossom on August 1st.
  • Grapefruit- While waiting for a closing date, I noticed big grapefruit on the small tree. They were gone by the time we closed. Next year....
  • Avocado- I would love it if this tree produces.

What's new...

I have been sticking the tops to my pineapples in the ground. I have about 7 that have taken well.

When I moved some compost over to fertilize the above trees, I noticed vines growing from seeds in my compost. I have two healthy vines. One is growing what I think is butternut squash. The other is growing "fuzzy gourd's." I've never heard of a fuzzy gourd, but I quickly got a mature fruit and sliced for my salad! I can't decide if its more like a cucumber or zucchini. But I like it and it looks like I am going to have lots of it. It's not prickly, but hairy and has small yellow flowers. Any ideas? Also, since I can't remember eating this before, I wonder how the seeds got in my compost. I eat the seeds of cucumber and squash. .

In containers, I have aloe, rosemary, more basil, a little chive, and parsley. I soak seeds and nuts also in my kitchen. Recently I found out how delicious & easy, soaked and dehydrated raw, organic sunflower seeds is.

Lauren gave me horse compost. I have been saving seeds from my organic produce. I need to sort through my seed collection. I buried a few seeds with the horse compost. Coconut from our neighbors tree ( I won't be hanging a hammock anytime soon.), Lychee pits from Gerrie, dragon fruit seeds from Stacey, ginger root from co-op, papaya. It will be fun to see what sprouts!

All this might sound impressive, but from I haven't really yielded that much yet. Lots to look forward, too! I love the potential!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

2nd Annual Sling Fling

My day started at Sams getting a new camera.
I often get asked what kind of camera I use.
Lately its they disposable digital (why don't they make kid proof cameras).
I asked for a camera that I can walk out of the store and start photographing. I had my doubts if I'd get anything good without even having a chance to familiarizing myself with this new camera. Meet my manager, Scott. He was so proud to dress up, but sooo bored.Mary's Max kept him company for a bit.
This is (one of) my favorite photo!
Mary is a midwife student and this his her daughter.
Any day now!
Scott also took a few photos of me after I got babies in slings.
These two natural slings are Peonies slings.
have them available in my office for sale.
Getting the hang of having free hands!
Your ring sling is going to come in handy. ;)
Animal print accessories are in!
How cute! Meaghan displayed her accessories today.Leader Sophy is our MC.Our models!This is Joelle from Barriga Babies and her daughter who is 10 months old. Joelle makes gorgeous pouch slings and she is here with some of her merchandise. Katrina and her 18 month old is riding in a Connecta structured carrier. LLL Leader Lisa and her daughter.Dad with an Ergo.Two Mommas Designs makes this cute carrier that can also be worn on your back.

Just like Mom.I love seeing the Dad's carry their baby. Trish brought cute little Lainey out for spin in her Poppy Pouch, another vendor.
Poppy Pouches are available at the Fort Pierce Farmer's Market. This fashionable Becco Baby Carrier is being modeled today by
Pam and her daughter who is almost 22 months. Melissa and her 11 month old modeling one of her homemade slings.
She is a vendor today.Meaghan wearing her 11 month old Serenity in a ring sling made by Charlene of Princess and Junebug. Charlene is one of our vendors today. Keirsthen's beautiful homemade wrap. She nurses discreetly.Danica with her 5 month old in a Sleepy Wrap.
Jen's 7 month old in a Mei Tai
Christy with 2o month old Alex in a Ring Sling on her back.Great breastfeeding help always available.Thanks Lauren for co-ordinating this with our leaders!

Time to go to sleep.

Thanks to all who participated!!

(Let me know if I got names and wraps down right.)

Looks like my new camera did its job. 'Til next year....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

My Aerogarden

John gave me an aerogarden about a year ago. At the time the herbs on my porch were doing good, so I took on the challenge of growing lettuce and then tomatoes. I never produced much and put it away. I admit, I didn't prune as directions said. My fault, it didn't work. I recently decided to pull it out and plant all the basil seeds.

This time, it's a big success. I get tons of basil. I've made pesto and add basil to numerous pasta dishes. I am so happy with my garden. I love having the herbs growing right in my kitchen. The fresh basil tastes so much better than the waxed basil from the grocery store. Next time, I start another round, I probably don't need so much basil. I plan on getting more variety with a herb kit with basil, dill, cilantro, and parsley seeds. Anyone else have an aerogarden?

Anyone try the topsy-turvey system for tomatoes and vegetables?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Reading Breakthrough

Scott's curiosity got the best of him this weekend. He wanted to research dogs to find out which breed is best for him. He wanted to do more research then my time allowed to assist him. He took the initiative to research on his own. He took an on-line quiz answering questions to narrow down the kind of dog he prefers. He followed the links to check out the breeds, especially the ones that were new to him. He went back to the quiz to change answers (like the size and weight) to see what other dogs may come up as options. Here he is looking at a site for a Tree Walking Coon Hound. He also decided take notes on his research in a journal so he remembers these breeds and the sites he liked! Yeah, reading, spelling, and writing!

We've been diligently working through his reading and spelling program 6 months now, 5-6 days a week. The latest topic we are now covering is suffixes in BartonReading Level 5. It's amazing how many words have suffixes (and many have 2 suffixes.) These past few lessons have really expanded his reading vocabulary. When he was reading about dogs he was quick to know which words he hasn't covered in his lessons and to ask if he couldn't figure it out instead of fumbling. But I also noticed him reading much more fluently.

I haven't posted on Scott's reading progress since June and my friend Elizabeth in Georgia asked me if I was still concerned about his Dyslexia. Five - six years ago when were near each other we use to talk a lot about when our homeschooled kids would "automatically start reading." It seemed reading was no where in sight (despite both of us mothers both being readers and writers). Recently she said she was surprised to see dyslexia on my blog because after I moved, she had finally figured out her oldest needed an Orton Gillingham approach to learn to read (she used the Wilson Program). After a year of study, her daughter broke the barrier with the Little House Series. Now Elizabeth uses the O/G approach with her younger children, like I want to do with David. After you've used O/G, a logical way to learn reading and spelling, nothing else makes sense to use (and nothing else worked anyway).

We still have lots of work to do with Barton Reading. Dyslexia doesn't go away. Even though he can read, I still see the amazing amount of effort he puts into it. This weekend he also read the expository essay, William wrote for his Language Arts class. Scott's earning spelling rules that Willliam doesn't know (because reading came natural). Scott sometimes has a chance to explain spelling to William. I am benefiting from some of these spelling lessons, also.

Lessons coming up for Scott over the next year include prefixes, silent E (Level 6), vowel R (Level 7), and advanced vowel teams (Level 8) and then the advanced levels that cover the influence of foreign words on English. Even if he figures out how to read the words from pursuing his interests, the lessons still provide the spelling rules and practice.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Reading: If David were starting Kindergarten

Kindergarten starts in my county in two weeks. David will be six in September and this would be his year to start public school. I have been carefully analysising his (lack) of reading skills to see if he is at risk for learning disability and what's next.

This is what he can do:

He can recite the alphabet.
He recognizes most uppercase letters.
If you ask him what letter comes next, he recites the alphabet up to that point to figure it out. He does not know the sound for each letter.
If you ask him to say a word like "coat. " Now say it with out the /K/ sound, he will say "oat." correctly.
And most recently he learned that bike, bat, boat, etc... all start with the /b/ sound. He does not show full understanding of this for other letters yet.

So... if he went to Kindergarten my guess is that "they" would teach him to read this year. They would start by teaching letters and the sound they make and move in to phonics from there.

I KNOW he would not be successful at this.
Because he lacks phoneme awareness. Phenome awareness comes before reading. I know my kids need explicit phenome awareness first.
What the heck is Phoneme awareness?

It's the pre-reading skills that comes before reading. It often comes natural in natural readers. It doesn't necessarily need to be taught. It's something you lmay earn by being read to without explicit instruction.

From here is the skills listed to have phoneme awareness.

Phoneme Segmentation: what sounds do you hear in the word hot? What's the last sound in the word map?
Phoneme Deletion: what word would be left if the /k/ sound were taken away from cat?
Phoneme Matching: do pen and pipe start with the same sound?
Phoneme Counting: how many sounds do you hear in the word cake?
Phoneme Substitution: what word would you have if you changed the /h/ in hot to /p/?
Blending: what word would you have if you put these sounds together? /s/ /a/ /t/
Rhyming: tell me as many words as you can that rhyme with the word eat.

David does not have these skills. He's not even that great with rhyming. That's how I know he would not succeed with the reading expectations of K.

It looks like I got my work cut out for me making sure he learns this stuff. The main purpose of writing this out is so I have a record of his reading skills and can monitor his progress.
David will excel in our home environment at his pace this year. I have no qualms that he will miss an educational opportunity by staying home. He has the advantage of all the things his older brothers have taught me!

Now, I'll leave you with something for you....

One of the /b/ flashcard has a picture of a baby bottle on it. I should of pulled the card out of the deck because I usually don't leave bottle and bottle images laying around the house, but I didn't. When I got to the card with the bottle, I didn't want to ask him what sound it started with until I was sure I knew he knew what it is. My haunch was right, he didn't exactly know. He called it a "juice box for babies."

Now, don't you just love it when a Kindergartner is too smart to know what a baby bottle is called?

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