Monday, February 20, 2012

Why granola?

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
-Mark Twain

I have never been one to jump on the latest fad diet bandwagon. I know there is truth to many and health - more or less - in most. But I will admit that when one or most of my friends are singing the praises of the new "south adkins blood-type super clean power diet" I mostly just roll my eyes. Ok, I'll admit that is not very nice. But neither is making me feel like a terrible mother because I serve my children products made with white flour or gluten or whatever else is evil at the moment. Honestly, at the base of it all, they seem to be all the same to me. Sure there are differences. But the basics are  - eat more things that were once alive, eat less things that were once in a factory.

Lately I have been terrible at the whole "eat living things"...oh goodness that sounds terrible! Not that "eat dead things" is much better...but you all know what I mean. My kids are good at it, I am pretty careful about what they eat. I am a "do as I say..." I am embarrassed to admit. Or I wait until they are resting...

I am even now drinking coffee at Panara bread and eating cookies. Cookies I am quite certain were never, and will never be alive. They are completely terrible for me and they taste magnificent. Usually when I get on a bad route such as this I have to cut out desserts entirely for a while. That time is coming, I can feel it. I hate that time. But for today, the cookies I eat. Desserts are really the only thing that holds me back. I find it very easy to eat healthy meals...I just want a big giant bowl of ice cream afterward!

I do like being healthy, and I have been wanting to write a post lately about some of the ways I am healthy as well as some of the tree-hugger, natural things I try to do and how I have managed to save money doing it. I doubt very much I will finish this post tonight - But be patient, the rest will come soon enough. 

Now, I will contradict myself. You know how I just poked fun at those that follow the latest health trend? Well, I am not ashamed to admit that I fall under a category that is known as "crunchy." Why it is called that I have no idea. Perhaps because it can easily be put into the different stages. "instant oatmeal, a sprinkling of granola, chock-full-of-nuts....errr." or just "crunchy" I suppose there are more categories then that, but it is getting late and I can feel my creativity lacking tonight. Probably too many cookies. And please know, these are all the choices I have made. "Mommy Guilt" is rampant and often un-necessary. So long as kids are being loved and well cared for I do not judge what other moms do or do not choose to do.

Why am I granola-e you ask? Well, most of you won't ask. Most of you are just wondering why I am  stating the obvious and eventually just checking the time and/or facebook again - you have moved on. This is a boring post after all. Nothing new will be learned here. Alright - call this just a self list then. I like to have this sort of thing written down and organized. It is the influence of my mother in law. I like being organized! And someday I will be....

But for now, to answer the un-asked question (because after all that, I couldn't get anyone to ask it after all. The ones that are still here are only there to make sure that I list everything, so that if I do forgot an item they can remind me of it). 

Well, first off,  I have natural labors and deliveries of my babies. I don't have them at home, though had there been a local in-home mid-wife in my town I may have. I wish I had this last time. It would have spared us tons of frustration and un- necessary and very evasive medical procedures.

I breastfeed my babies and I will breastfeed my babies wherever is needed and for as long as it is a positive thing for both of us - my last child was weaned at 2. I am a "baby-wearer"which basically means that if I can be holding my child, I will be. There is no reason for them to sit in a carseat at the store when I can put them in a carrier on me. There is no reason for me to put my baby down, when I can be holding her. I want to drink in my little babies as much as possible. I want to smell them and give them kisses and hugs and let them be as close to me as they can for as long as they want. I personally believe that this is how secure children are created. I don't think it comes from forcing them to "learn to self-sooth" at 2 months. Security is born by knowing they are safe and that their call will be answered. I will admit though, that as my kids get close to that half-year mark I do let them fuss for a few minutes as they go to sleep, or while I eat dinner. 15 minutes of fussing while I spend some much needed time with my big kids will not hurt them, and so I do that without guilt. I tell my big girls that "they sometimes have to wait while I do things for the baby, she can wait while I do something nice for them." She will be just fine.

I cloth diaper. I have gotten soooo many interesting responses to this over the years. There are people that are really really against cloth diapers and they will beg their friends not to do it. The funny thing is, the "terribleness" of it is all in their heads. Never have I known someone to start using cloth, cloth that they really like - I am not talking your grandma's diaper pins and rubber pants. I mean good quality items that you pull out of the dryer all clean and want to put up to your face to enjoy the warm freshness. Trust me, other fluffy moms (yes, that is the correct term) know what I mean. I have never known someone to start and not love it. Sure, it takes a little extra work. But what can I say, I love me a big bottomed baby! And it is so easy these days, and saves sooo much money! I should add it all up someday. The approximate amount I have saved in the last 4 or so years of using cloth. I also get a lot of "I could never do that" or "Is it really gross to change?" I personally think that you never know unless you try. And many places do let you try. They have sample packs you can pay a small price to use for a month. And you know what, disposable diapers are not all roses and sunshine to change. You are going to find baby poop under your fingernails either way at some point. Just give them a good scrubbing and move on. And I personally find cleaning poop off cotton a whole lot less gross then poop mixed with chemical sitting next to my babies skin. And those gross little beads that make it out of the disposable diaper all the time? Maybe it is just me, but the thought of those getting inside my baby girls delicate parts makes me shudder.

Another decisively "hippie" thing about me...have you noticed that the definition of "hippie" has changed in the last 30 or so years? It used to suggest drug use and long  hair. Now it just means you make your own shampoo...(which I actually do), buy organic and wear long skirts. I am a next generation hippie. Hippie2.0 if you will....

Ah, I lost my train of thought. I know the restaurant is closing in 10 minutes. And although there is no hope of me finishing this post tonight it is still stressing me out.

Back to the subject - the next "granola mom" thing I do is I don't give my babies any baby-food. Now think about it, years ago they had no way to puree baby food. Mash it good with a fork or grind it with a rock maybe, but actually puree it? Nope. No strained carrots or chicken paste were given to babies. They just got bits of what the grown-ups ate when they were big enough to grab it for themselves. Now I am not saying that giving baby-food is wrong. I believe it is a parenting choice, much in the same line as using cloth diapers. But it is something that I have chosen not to do. I think the technical term for what I do is "baby led weaning" It is the idea that when babies are ready for real food, they will eat real food. Giving them pureed food just makes the whole "chewing, swallowing" thing take longer to learn. Instead they learn that when food goes in, it automatically goes down the hatch. I personally think teaching this is a bit of a choking hazard. I do bits of things first. Cheerios, bits of avocado, bits of banana (which was The Monkey's first food) and if they are not ready for it yet, they push it right back out of their mouth. So I wait another week or two and try again. I knew the moment my babies were ready for real food. There was no guess-work involved. And while they occasionally gag on things that get in the way. They have never once choked on anything (and by the grace of God never will) because they are used to "chewing" before they swallow. If it can't be chewed, it doesn't get swallowed.

I wish I could say that I made my own baby clothes - That is something that I have yet to do. But someday.

I also do not really co-sleep. I wish I did. I wish I could. But I get very little sleep and I wake up the next morning with a headache from not moving all night. I do answer my babies call during the night - not sure that goes into this category or not. But I don't night wean until after a year old. They are only tiny once, I really don't want to rush through it. I think that is probably why I am so relaxed about everything you are "supposed" to do as mom of a baby. Like "start veggies first so they don't get a sweet tooth." Which I think is ridiculous. Or "Baby should be sleeping through the night by 4-5 months." It goes so fast, why would I rush it? And tired as I may be, sometimes 3 am is the only time I just get to rock my baby without interruption. And that I hold onto. Whenever my house is a mess and my baby is smiling happily in my arms I always think of this poem:

Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing and butter the bread,
Sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
Oh, I’ve grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren’t her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(Lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
For children grow up, as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.     - Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

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