Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Captain Crunchy vs The Junk Food Kid

The crunchier I have become the more I find that I have had to learn tactful and delicate responses to people who don't live as I do. I don't think of myself as a judgemental or critical person, but there are many times that I have to think before I speak when respond to the comments or actions of others.

This last month has been especially hard. Stephen and I took Midge to Iowa to visit family and I found myself smack dab in the land of processed foods. The first thing I learned was that the term "juice" didn't mean 100% organic juice but Kool-aid. What I call "soda" was "pop" to everyone else and it flowed freely not only to the adults but the children. So immediately I thought "Okay, I need to pick my battles but I also need to figure out how to communicate my feelings on junk food." So I allowed my son to have a sugary artifically colored nutritionally void drink and McDonalds chicken nuggets and fries. In conversation I mentioned that I try to keep a healthy diet at home but on vacation I would let things slide a bit. It was a vague hint but one I hoped would be picked up on. Fortunately our hostess filled the fridge with raw veggies and strawberries and I was sure to make a fuss over them. It was tough because we were staying with the sweetest, most gracious relatives and I didn't want to seem snooty, yet their definition of "the good stuff" was my very definition of "the bad stuff." So to be funny I made a joke or two about needing my "rabbit food" and even teased "I don't know how you all poop!" when I noticed their meals had no vegetables or fruits. I helped with dinners and clean up to show my appreciation but inside there was a loud voice that screamed "That drink has HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP and RED DYE 40!!" When a family member snuck Midge a sippy cup full of soda pop I gave my husband a look that said "DO SOMETHING!" He let him have a few sips and then switched cups out to one with diluted apple juice. And I noticed a huge change in Midge. He went from calm and sweet to grumpy and he was always asking for more junk food. He was more agressive and I could see him riding sugar highs and falling deep into sugar lows. By the end of the trip he was falling apart. Once we got him home and on healthy foods he went back to being his normal self.

I just hope to get the family out this way sometime. It may be a bit of a culture shock, but I guarantee you they will be pooping a whole lot more on a nutritionally dense diet! ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's My Favorite Time Of Year

It's like a sweet surprise every spring.  The orange groves around my house start popping out orange blossoms and their intoxicating perfume fills the air.  I look forward to the tiny white flowers every year.  As a kid I grew up surrounded by orange groves and the smell of orange blossoms fills my childhood memories.  I recall one day lying on my bed writing a love letter (back before email).  It was my senior year of high school and things were perfect in my life.  It was a beautiful 80 degrees outside and the sun was beginning to set.  My windows were open and the sprinklers were on outside.  A cool breeze over me and it was filled with the perfume of sweet orange blossoms.  It was the best feeling.

Now I try to bring them inside with me whenever I see them.  They never last long but I put them in my hair so I can smell them all day.  One night before my husband and I were married I pulled back my covers to find he had picked a bunch of orange blossoms and scattered them in my sheets.  I slept so well that night.

They are more than a flower to me...they return me memories and provide reassurance that I am home.  I will never grow tired of taking time to smell my favorite flower, even if it's only for a month or two out of the year.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Uter-us! Not Uter-you!

With the recent negative media surrounding "Octomom" and her decision to have a large family without the means to support them I feel the need to speak up for the moms who have decided to have more than the standard two and a half children who actually take the time to love and support them so they grow up to be well-adjusted adults.

I have three children, so already I have heard my fair share of negative attitudes regarding my procreation plans, especially since my first two were a girl and a boy and there is an unwritten law about stopping once you get one of each. While I don't necessarily feel the need to justify my choices I feel the need to let the general public know that just because someone has a full minivan doesn't give anyone the right to vomit opinions on the soccer mom inside.

Believe it or not, there are families out there who have more than two children who actually do quite well. They are self-supporting and their children are well behaved with few exceptions. They aren't careless abour their birth control nor do they feel the need to draw their self esteem from their children. While their children might not have the most expensive clothing or have to share rooms or sacrifice some things for their siblings and that is teaching them to live for people other than themselves. The older ones may help the younger ones but it's part of living in a community of people. Most parents understand that whether you have two or ten children that your love is never limited and you will have enough love to go around. Motherly love is truly something designed to be infinite.

I have often considered having "just one more" to finish my brood. I have already heard my fair share of negativity when I have shared this feeling with others and I am honestly already done with it. I work hard to make sure my children feel loved, happy, and that they are well-adjusted. When we go out in public we get compliments on their behavior all the time. All three children excel in one area or another and all three love each other to pieces. My husband and I have worked hard to build up a business that can support a larger family and our finances are not anyone else's concerns but ours.

What I chose to do with my uterus isn't anyone's business but mine. I know I speak for other moms like me when I say that people who decide that their opinion needs to be spewed all over the front of my mom jeans are in for an unpleasant comeback. I'm a fantastic mother and my children love me to death. If I feel I can handle having a fourth child then I can. If that's not for you...great! My reproductive rights are my own and I will exercise them responsibly. If you don't like it bite your tongue and swallow your opinion down hard. It will taste a little bitter but in the long run it will be better for your health, trust me!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our Bear

Today was a big day for us.  Bear has been exhibiting odd behaviors such as hand flapping and stimming and some problems with his motor skills.  His hand flapping happens when he is excited or learning something new and often is accompanied by him rocking his body, flapping his knees and sometimes making a humming noise.  From a distance it appears he is autistic but he doesn't have the main indicators of autism, which is good but frustrating because figuring out how to help, understand, and convey his differences to others is difficult.  He also struggles with opening containers and food packing, such as string cheese and he has a hard time sometimes getting buckled in the car, shutting the mini-van door, and figuring out his jacket.  On the flip side he is brilliant beyond belief.  He is reading above his grade level and can write well and his math skills are far beyond average.  He's also very affectionate and loving with everyone he meets, which makes him all the more lovable.

So today we were given a handout on complex motor stereotypies, which is what the neurologist feels he has.  This diagnosis sometimes accompanies ADHD, OCD, or learning disabilities, but Bear seems to have none of these issues.  We were also told that Bear has ataxia, which means in layman's terms he is clinically clumsy.  We were advised to work on his motor skills at home and he didn't recommend any therapies at this time. 

So now that I have some answers I feel I can move forward and help him a bit.  I am so thankful that it's something that can be helped and something that he will eventually be able to leave behind him.

On a side note, you should have seen the look on the resident's face when I told him Bear breastfed for two years.  He looked shocked and repeated "He was breastfed for two years?"  "Two and a half," I stated proudly and matter of factly.  The guy seemed like he didn't know what to say.  I guess he's never run into a crunchy mom such as myself before!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

A Gift Given, A Milestone Reached

For her 8th birthday Nee-Nee wanted to cut her hair and donate it to Locks of Love so that a child experiencing hair loss could have a hairpiece made from real hair.  She cut off ten inches and boy does she look grown up!

We went to Disneyland for her birthday and the day after we went to a cosmetologist to get her ears pierced.  She was really brave and excited about adding some bling to her ears. 

My big girl showing off her new haircut and earrings:

In true party-animal fashion we had one more celebration with family and ate cupcakes.  She was able to show off her beautiful earrings and her new haircut.  It's the first thing she showed to everyone when they walked in the door.

I am so proud of my big girl.  I can't believe how she's grown!
Newborn Nee-Nee at 4 days old:

My eight year old girl:

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Two Beautiful Natural Births In One Week

I was honored to be the doula for two amazing women who gave birth to their baby girls this week.  Both wanted natural birth and both achieved their goals.

As a business woman I do my best to behave in a professional manner when going to interviews and doing visits.  When at a birth tend to put my professional face on the backburner and become the wise woman, the mother, the sister, the friend.  I don't hesitate to brush her hair out of her face, press my face against her sweaty cheek to whisper words of encouragement, or remind her of her inner strength.  It's the most natural thing to want to meet her needs.

I absolutely love being a doula.  It's an honor and a blessing to be part of the birth process.  I can't wait for the next miracle to arrive.