Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Where, oh, Where?

Where, oh, where has my lanolin gone?

I made it a whole 14 months of breastfeeding without needing it (ok, ok, so I'm one day shy of 14 months of breastfeeding, and I did use it several months ago for a pair of Bug's wool longies). Fourteen months with it sitting exactly where it belongs...except when it was in Bug's toy box...or on the living room floor. BUT, at least then I knew where it was, just in case I did need it.


I used to think those women who need and use lanolin were just silly. I never had a problem with getting dry or chapped in those areas that are involved with nursing. Well...except when I had to deal with thrush. But then you aren't supposed to use lanolin. So I didn't. I don't think those women are silly anymore. Lanolin is a gift from God. Or it would be if I could FIND it!!!

Under the couch? Nope.
In the couch? Nope.
In one of the computer desk drawers? Nope.
In the drawer under the stove? Nope.
In Bug's toy box? Nope.
In any conceivable place? Nope.
In any inconceivable place? Obviously not, because I've looked.

That's it. Tonight I'm headed to Wal-Mart.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Creepy Crawly Bug

When I stop and think about where Bug was developmentally last year, it blows my mind to watch him now! His little body is growing. He is working hard on his motor skills, both gross and fine. And it is amazing!

Even before Bug was born, he was a mover. I would sit on the couch with my huge, swollen belly and watch the rolls and jumps of that precious little life that was inside of me. And then he was born, and he just kept moving. His scrawny arms and legs would wave and pump almost the whole time he was awake.

Then he learned how to roll over. And I was in awe.

Then he learned how to crawl. And I was in awe.

The he learned how to walk. And I was in awe.

It is just that amazing to me. And now, he rolls and crawls and walks and runs. And I am in awe.

Bug even likes to impress me with walking backwards. Oh yeah, he is just that good! And when I laugh at him, he tries some other physical feat to make me smile some more. When he gets really excited, he tries to run...but he doesn't get very far. Instead of running, he ends up hopping from foot to foot very quickly. And then he often falls down. He may need a little work on his balance.

But, boy oh boy, you should see that child dance! He has rhythm. (I think most kids are born with it.) And anything can be a beat to dance to: the tick of the toaster, the washer, the dryer, the hum of the air conditioning units, my phone's ring, the alarm clock. Bug's got the latin groove in his little body, and when he dances, it shows.

I swear, he puts Elvis to shame with his little, swingin' hips.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Retiring the Razor

I wasn't always a crunchy, hippy, earthy, natural, granola person. But I have always enjoyed being unique. I have always been abstract. Artistic. Creative. Different.

I knew I wanted to have natural births, because my mom gave birth to all four of her children without pain medication. Birthing naturally was one of those things that I thought was so cool! Of course, I didn't learn until much later that the only reason my mom went natural was because she couldn't afford pain medication. And, of course, birthing “naturally” seemed to me then to only give birth without medication.

And then I met Ingrid.

Ingrid is a woman that I met at church. I first remember watching her from a distance. I saw her wearing her baby in a ring sling (although I wasn't familiar with slings at the time). I saw how beautiful she looked, even while wearing light or no make-up. Then, one day, I was sitting close enough to her to notice that her legs were unshaven. I was completely absorbed in curiosity and interest in this strange woman. She was so different from all the other women that I knew. She shocked me with her lifestyle. But I liked her. I even talked to my mom about how I admired Ingrid for being different. Ingrid had, unknowingly, touched something in my soul. Something that had been there all along, but had been small and weak. Like an unlit candle. Ingrid's touch was a small flame for my candle. The light helped me to see things more clearly. I had a library of information to learn about. And so I began learning.

When I first got married and started thinking about having children, I was only just interested in the crunchy lifestyle. I was willing to do a home birth with a midwife, if I could easily find one. I fully planned on breastfeeding, but only to a year. I was shocked when I learned that Ingrid breastfed her children much longer than that. I also planned on vaccinating my children. And when I found out I was pregnant, I bought a crib…because that’s where babies sleep, right? But I kept studying.

I learned about Attachment Parenting. It sang to my soul and brightened that little flame. And then I found out that Ingrid had birthed some of her babies at home. With no medical personnel in attendance. Unassisted Childbirth (UC). I was floored. I didn’t even know you COULD do that! I didn’t think it was quite for me. However, I studied it. Intrigued. I kept seeing a regular OB for my prenatal checkups. But I still studied. Home birth. Unassisted birth. Unassisted pregnancy. Free birth. Pure birth. Intimate. Loving. Comfortable. Safe.

I studied the whole world. There is so much out there that I had no idea about. Breastfeeding. Sleeping arrangements. Vaccine free. Babies’ cries. Circumcision vs Intact. Birth. Diapering. Slings, wraps, mei tai’s, simple pieces of cloth. Ancient parenting. Natural remedies. Red raspberry leaf. Colloidal silver. Life. It all sang to me. It was right for me. For my family.

I waltzed happily down that path. And I’m still waltzing happily down that path. I believe in and practice attachment parenting. My baby sleeps in bed next to me. My baby has no vaccines. But that’s ok, because he is still breastfeeding at 14 months. And I will let him breastfeed for as long as his precious, little heart desires. My sons will all be kept whole, intact. And my children’s precious bums will be softly wrapped in cotton diapers…when I am willing to do the laundry for them! I will carry my babies when we go out, wrapped in a simple piece of cloth. And, although my first child was born in a hospital, it is my desire to birth the rest of my children at home. In just the company of my loving husband and family.

And through all these parenting choices that threw open wide the door to my crunchy lifestyle, there are other changes that I am continually making in my life. Like trying to eat healthier. Like wearing less make-up. Less jewelry. Like going “no-‘poo”. I haven’t used shampoo or conditioner on my hair for nearly two weeks now, thanks to the inspiration of TopHat. And I love it! [Perhaps I will do a whole post dedicated to this topic, including my recipes for washing and rinsing]. And, I have almost completely retired my razor. I have chosen to wax my legs and armpits occasionally. But, in the months between waxing, my hair grows out long, and my razor sits alone. Unused.

Perhaps. Just maybe, I will light the candle in some young girl’s soul as she sits next to me, and sees my unshaven legs.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Survivor....I think

I'm still alive. Barely. First it was the thrush. No, wait. First, it was Bug becoming a toddler. Then, throw in some teething, then the thrush, maybe a little bit more of the whole toddler thing, and it's been pretty much a natural disaster around here. I just barely regained control of my kitchen. Sure, sure, we got rid of the thrush, and that tiny little tooth broke through. (Though, I'm inclined to think there are more on the way). I just can't do anything about the toddler part.

Hmmm...the toddler part. What do I do about the toddler part? Seriously. What do I do?

Bug throws things. Everything. And pushes heavy things off of tables. This normally wouldn't be a huge problem. But we live on the top floor of an apartment. That means there are people below us. They are probably incredibly annoyed with the thumping of The Complete Sherlock Holmes hitting the floor every stinkin' day. And the thumping of that 5 million pound water and glitter filled "bouncy" ball that grandpa so lovingly gifted to Bug. And the clang-thumping of every pot lid we own being thrown onto the kitchen floor.

Bug hits. He hits my face, even after I continually help him gently stroke my face while cooing "gentle", "soft", and "nice". He hits my head. My arms. My back. He hits my chest when I tell him he has to wait for "nursies". He hits my chest, even when he is getting "nursies".

Bug pinches. This is usually during "nursies". But he has also been known to grab fingerfuls of skin and squeeze as tight as he can. This is usually accompanied by Bug clenching his other fist and straining his whole little body. It's like he can't pinch hard enough.

Bug bites. These bites usually start out of raspberries being blown on exposed skin. Apparently mom and dad are just too dang delicious. He does it when you would least expect it. And, sometimes, he does it when I am expecting it (but can't stop him quickly enough). I think he does it for revenge sometimes. Not that a toddler has much reason to plot a vendetta. Except, of course, when I tell him not to pinch/bite/hit/scratch me.

Bug scratches. Luckily, I can control this part of Bug's violent streak, by cutting his nails short. But, then again, those little claws of death grow really fast. And really, they are claws. Especially because Bug has figured out that the best way to scratch is to hook his little finger and dig into the targeted flesh with as much force as he can muster.

Bug pulls hair. Fistfuls. Mommy's head. Daddy's chest. Mommy's head. Daddy's leg. Mommy's head. And he shrieks with delight if I punish him. I'm beginning to think my son has an intense need for violence.

I truly don't know how to handle my crazy, maniacal, sadistic son. I've tried everything I can think of to get him to stop his behavior. I KNOW he is doing this because of the learning stage he is in right now. If I can patiently wait, he should grow out of his love of torture. But it doesn't help me to love him. Well....that's hard for a mother to say. I always love him. But I sure as heck don't want to be around him when he is clinging onto me and trying to poke his finger in my eyeball. And if I don't let him poke my eye out, he pulls my hair and bites me. Now that's what I call a lose-lose situation.

There are some things I never thought I would say. One of those is, "I can't wait until my kids are teenagers". And I haven't said that....yet. And I may never. Teenagers aren't cute. And no matter how destructive Bug may get, no matter how mangled I may get, it can take less than two seconds for my demon child to become the funniest and most adorable creation on earth.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Thrush: Revisited

Thrush, how I laugh in your face! Ha!

I tried Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE). It helped. I could see those little white patches scampering back on Bug's tongue as I swabbed. And swabbed. And swabbed. And swabbed. And....swaaaaaaabbed. (sing that like you would that Pioneer children song). I tried different ratios for the GSE solution. The stronger solution, obviously, worked better. But then I noticed Bug's throat sounding raspy. And my affected tender parts were taking a lot of abuse, too. Drat! The GSE seemed to be too irritating. So I stopped swabbing. And the thrush crept back up on Bug's tongue. But, I continued using a solution of GSE to spray on all the toys that went into his mouth.

I tried acidophilus powder. For both of us. It probably facilitated the GSE. And I think it's a good idea for good health in general. But it wasn't cutting it.

I decided I would try Gentian Violet. I was resisting. You know, what if we get cancer? What if we stay purple for the rest of our lives? What if I get the dye on our apartment carpet? But, I would rather try Gentian Violet then make a trip to the doctor. (Have I told you that Bug hasn't been to the doctor since he was 1 1/2 months old? Well, he hasn't. And I'd like to keep it that way.)

First I tried Wal-Mart. They are supposed to have everything, right? I asked at the pharmacy window for Gentian Violet. "Hmm..what? Vitamins?" Oh dear, this isn't looking good. After asking the real pharmacist, the lady at the counter told me that I would have to try a smaller pharmacy. I let that settle into my brain a little bit. A big pharmacy doesn't have it, so a little pharmacy would? The logic made me roll my eyes. So, then I drove around looking for a CVS or Walgreen's. Where the heck are these places?? I couldn't find a single one. So I stopped at my trusty neighborhood Kroger store. I approached the pharmacy and asked for the elusive dye. "Sorry, we don't have any, but we could order it for you." Ugh. People. You don't know how this thrush is killing me, starting with any woman's pride and joy. Not to mention, I have the whiny-est kid on the planet right now! I asked where the closest "small pharmacies" were.

Finally, I made it to a CVS. And guess what? They didn't have it either. I ordered a bottle. Then I drove over to where the Walgreen's was supposed to be. And the building had a faint shadow of a where the Walgreen's sign used to be. Bummer. I guess I will just have to wait until I get that bottle from CVS to start the treatment.

At last. I paid for my small bottle of purest purple and skipped out the door.

I was warned that the Gentian Violet would get -everywhere-. Yeah, yeah. Everyone else is just not as skilled as I am at the non-mess-making Violet-applying technique.........Well, let's just say, it wasn't as bad as everyone makes it out to be, but there was definitely a lot of mess making.

To make the adventure a little more exciting, Bug decided to dive headfirst off my bed before we did the treatment, and get a nice scratch on his chin. It was really superficial. But, there's nothing like purple dye to make a small scratch look like a near beheading. Oh yeah, and there's that little warning on the Gentian Violet bottle that says not to use on ulcerative skin, or tattooing could occur. I must admit, I was a little worried that my son would have a permanent purple tattoo of a caterpillar creeping across his little chin.

Three purple days later, the thrush has all surrendered. Thus, I laugh it its face.

Oh, and the purple is gone, too.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Just What is a Progressive Pioneer?

I would like to present Amy, of Progressive Pioneer, for our June guest post. When I went to take a look at Amy's blog, my first thought was, "Where have you been all my blogging life?" Really, it's that great! Go check her out. And, Amy, thanks for your contribution to my blog!

Sometimes the most progressive ideas are the oldest and simplest, the ones that took place 100 years ago, when no one saw anything revolutionary about them at all. Today, there are so many parenting options, so many ways to feed, clothe and care for our children. Many spring from media moguls and business tycoons, others are born in laboratories and research centers. In the midst of all these high tech, color coordinated, safety tested, pediatrician recommended options, the most radical choice can be to simply say, "No thanks."

When we trust our intuition, and look within, rather than to external sources for the answers, we will often find that the simplest solutions are the best. Why feed our babies deconstructed, vitamin-fortified, puffed cereals when we can simply cook up some nice, hot oatmeal, vitamins all intact? Do we really need an entire car seat/carrier/stroller system that makes it entirely possible to go hours at a time without ever touching your baby? Hold that sweet babe tight to your breast, wrapped in a simple cloth as millions of mothers have done before! The latest parenting books urge us to let our babies "cry it out", when every cell in our body tells us to fold them into our arms and soothe them to sleep. Listen to your body! Forget the cribs, the baby food, the play pens. We women have been doing this for eons. Choose to follow the examples of our pioneer forbears; live simply, live close to earth and close to your loved ones.

There is a line of reasoning called Occam's razor [link] that states that when faced with multiple theories, the simplest answer is usually the correct one. So it is with mothering and life in general. When all the world is turning to the latest gadget, the latest expert advice, the latest health fad, we can pioneer the way back to our roots, back to simplicity.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

"What did you do today?"

Do you stay-at-home moms ever get this question from your husbands when they come home from work?

I know my hubby doesn't mean to make me feel bad, but I always feel so guilty when I get asked this question. Seriously though, I can't do it ALL everyday. And I know it's only going to get worse with more kiddos. But I have to remind myself, the hubs is asking what I did today, but what he means is "How was your day today?" Which question would be answered by me rattling off every little thing that I did that day, and why it was good or bad (minus the hours that I may or may not have spent online reading blogs.) But, what did I do today???

Today, please just ignore the layer of toys on the living room floor. I know you probably wouldn't believe me if I told you it was clean this morning (which you don't have to believe me, because it wasn't; I haven't touched a single toy today.) Instead, please focus on the kitchen. Isn't it lovely today? Observe that the dishes are all done. Feel free to pull a fresh glass from the dishwasher. You may notice it is still warm. That's because the dishwasher just finished washing. Otherwise, I'm sure that glass would be in the cabinet by now! The table, as you will have noticed, is also cleaned off (as are the counter tops). I also remembered to feed your son...and continue on our quest to de-thrush-ify him. Oh yeah, dinner is in the Crock Pot.

Yesterday, it was the laundry. I managed to do three full loads. I folded and put away two of them...plus the remains of the past three loads that we have been living off of for at least a week. You know, the ones in the baskets that kept getting dumped on the bed to fold, then put back in the baskets at night -still unfolded-, so we could sleep. But, this time, I folded! AND changed the bedsheets!

Four days ago, it was the living room's turn. Oh yeah, I even vacuumed.

Another day, I may even shower.

I figure I'm doing things in a similar fashion to God. One thing one day, another thing the next day. Create a person every now and then. Throw in some rest, and you get a world of goodness! Now, that's what I did today!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The torture known as Thrush.

Doing some Internet research, I found that Thrush can be caused by:
a.) taking antibiotics. The antibiotics kill off bacteria, including the good kind. This opens up space for yeast to have a little party. This isn't our case, though. No antibiotics here.
b.) stress. Stress can do all kinds of weird things to your body, including throwing your bacterial/fungal system out of whack...resulting in a possible yeast infection. Once again, I don't think this is our case. Unless Grandma Marty taking Bug to the park to look at ducks counts as stress. Unlikely.
c.) no reason whatsoever. Interesting, is it not? That sometimes these things just pop up out of nowhere? Well, whatever you say. This must be our case!

As many of my readers have probably figured out, I am not big into the modern medical world. So, the first thing I did when I found those cheesy, white spots inside Bug's mouth was head to the nearest natural foods store to pick up some Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE) and some Acidophilus powder. I've been alternating between the two with various types of treatment (oral, paste, solution).

I haven't seen much improvement yet. Bug's mouth is still patched with white, and my....erm...nursies...are tender, red and blistered. Which is where the torture comes into play. Nursing a 13 month old is a complete joy and pleasure. Most of the time. I know Bug still needs to nurse. Unfortunately, that is the only thing keeping me from weaning him right now. And I will tell you what, thrush is NOT helping. It is so painful for me. (So, you if you want to comment, make sure you are only telling me to keep up nursing, that I can do it, that I'm supermom, that this too shall pass. Or tell me how you cured your own case of thrush. But if you tell me it's ok to go ahead a wean, I will find your house and put Gentian Violet in your washer.)

I can't tell if the thrush is painful for Bug. He still nurses and eats and puts everything in his mouth. (Yes, this thrush is probably going to be difficult to beat, because of Bug's mouthing habits.) But, I do suspect that it is bothering him to some extent. How can I tell??? He has turned into a complete and total pill! I know it may seem selfish of me, because I don't know the extent of Bug's discomfort, but I really think I'm getting the short end of the stick here!

My last bit of hope...before resorting to all kinds of anti-fungal treatments that may or may not work, from the doctor...would be to get Gentian Violet. I feel like this is a middle of the road treatment. It isn't nystatin, but it isn't GSE, either. Oh, and have I mentioned that it has been linked to mouth cancer!? And that it stains -everything- so well that biologists use it to stain and look at microscopic organisms!? Let's just say, I'm hesitant to use this stuff.

All this because of...nothing. Or maybe those ducks did stress out Bug.