Tag Archives: babies

Kids and chores – the never ending battle to get things done

11 Dec

three-year old sweeping

When is a child too young to start helping out around the house?

sit... stay... go get it... good girl

sit... stay... go get it... good girl

four-year old measuring pet food

Well, naturally, that depends on the child. But my observation is, if they are old enough to ask if they can help, they are old enough for you to let them help. The key here is that you, as the parent, need to LET them. Oftentimes, we would rather just get it done. It takes too long to watch them struggle through it, we don’t like having to clean up the mess that follows in the wake of their “cleaning”, and they might break something.

fourteen-year old washing dishes

seven-year old shredding cheese

After having four kids the amount of housekeeping required to sustain even the barest minimum of cleanliness consumed almost all of my time. That’s four kids, one husband, myself, and numerous pets (at the moment, one dog and one cat, but we have had as many as two dogs, two cats, and a pair of birds all at the same time).  And why should I be the only one cleaning up after the masses, afterall, I’m not the only one making a mess. So the new regime began – even for the youngest.

three-year old cleaning lint trap

three-year old helping with the laundry

One could make the argument that learning such menial tasks as laundry, cleaning, and washing is counter productive to successful living. This could be hired-out work. Most wealthy and successful people rarely spend their time on housekeeping but hire someone else instead so that their own time and energy can be focused elsewhere. But I firmly believe that everyone should have a basic understand of how to do such menial tasks. At the very least it fosters respect for the work entailed (would you belittle and abuse your housekeeper if you truly understood how difficult the work was). And if you are in dire straights, at least you now how to keep your shirt clean. Taking care of chores is also a great way to foster independence, strengthen self-confidence, and encourage pride in a job well done.

youngest "supervising" the seven-year old cleaning the litter

master "chef" in training

The nice thing about starting out early is that eventually the kids reach a level of proficiency that requires very little oversight and correction. Plus, with so many of them, they help each other out and teach each other.

I finally drew up a little chore chart. But we rarely ever use it because they have already been trained on what needs to be done. The chore chart merely acts as a reminder so that they are able to double check their work.

chore chart

youngest “supervising” the seven-year old cleaning the litter

Nipple Confusion

30 Jan

Hummingbird has finally learned how to make the sign for nursing. It’s so cute and she is so proud of herself. And what a stinker too! She’ll climb onto my lap and cock her head, just so, and with a little pixie grin on her face whisper “peeese” while making the milk sign with one hand and tapping my chest with the other. Who can resist that! I just love nursing. It’s such a wonderful experience. Now, Hummingbird is reaching her 18th month, so she really doesn’t “need” it. She eats regular table food for every meal. It’s just that neither of us are ready to give it up yet. Ah well, it’ll happen.


But something funny happened today. Daddy went to pick her up. She’s all snuggly and cozy in Daddy’s arms. Then she looks at him and taps him on the chest and makes the milk sign! Too funny. Daddy just looks at her and calmly tells her that he can’t do that, only Mommy can. I guess she didn’t get the memo from Safe Baby Handling Tips by David and Kelly Sopp.

Are You Really Pro-Choice?

22 Jan

Did you know that midwifery is illegal in Missouri and Illinois (and 11 other states)? The argument is that delivering your baby at home with a midwife is not safe for the mom or the baby. How are they defining safe? 100% success; no deaths. Really. Those success rates are not even possible in a hospital. According to the WHO (World Health Organization) the infant mortality rate in the U.S. is higher than 37 other countries. This is really pretty bad considering the U.S. is supposed to be the icon of success. The U.S.’s higher death rate is attributed to high intervention rates in hospitals and a culture of midwifery in the lower death rate countries.

The truth of the matter is that birthing is natural. Why do women demand epidurals before even delivering one baby? Because they are afraid? I can’t answer that. I was “one of those” women who tried to have as natural a birth as possible. All but one of my children were delivered without any medication or intervention of any kind.

Really, I’m pretty lucky. It’s hard to find an obstetrician in this area at all. Most of them have fled the county because of the high risk of lawsuits and the rising cost of insurance. But I happen to love my OB/GYN. Let me tell you why.

  • She has never tried to pressure me into any kind of extra medical procedure. In fact, when I was pregnant with my last child, Hummingbird, she was going to be unavailable right around my due date. She asked me if I wanted to induce because she was required to offer this option to all her patients. I chose not to induce and she was ok with it. She even said that she expected me to turn down this offer. I ended up going into labor the day she went out of town and her midwife delivered Hummingbird.
  • She hired a midwife into her practice (the same one who delivered my baby). The midwife is a very capable and awesome person. The sad thing was that hiring the midwife caused a huge rift in her partnership. The other OB left and started her own practice down the street.
  • I got to hold my babies and nurse them immediately after delivering. I don’t have to argue or demand it.
  • This is big. When Squirrel was born, we decided not to have him circumcised. She came into my room after he was born to tell me she was getting ready to do the procedure (apparently the hospital had not notified her of our intention). When I said we didn’t want him to be circumcised she smiled in relief and said, “Good, that’s one of the things I hate doing.” This statement sold me.
  • And she always listens to me and speaks to me like a person.

Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Everyone has heard the horror stories. But if you believe in choice, really, why not let the momma deliver at home?

I did have one difficult birth. Granted, compared to some it really wasn’t that bad. But I really believe that medical intervention made things more difficult. It was with my second child, Pumpkin. I had already delivered one naturally and was confident I could do it again. Unfortunately my water broke. So off to the hospital we went. The nurse checked the fluids and it was definitely amniotic fluid so I was admitted. She also felt the bag of waters, but it seemed to be intact. Apparently I had a second sac and only the outer one ruptured or the rupture folded on itself and resealed. What to do? They waited to see if labor would progress; but it stalled. Policy is that if the bag breaks the baby needs to come out. So they gave me Pitocyn. Now, I had experienced labor before, but this was different. This HURT. It was unbearable. I finally asked for drugs (a local). But it made it very hard to focus, hard to breathe properly. So next I got an oxygen mask to help me breathe. Labor still wasn’t really progressing, so they broke the waters fully. Then when she did finally come I couldn’t hold her until the drugs had worn off. See how one intervention leads to another, and another, and another.

I have not opted to do the home birth with a midwife. As I said, I like my OB (and her midwife). I also like that I don’t have to worry about cleaning up the mess. LOL But why not? Why not let informed parents make their own choices. The sad truth is that sometimes bad things happen. This cannot always be prevented. So why should a fear of some unknown possibility that probably will not happen prevent us from being allowed to choose. Bad things can happen at home or at the hospital. Ladies, make a birthing plan. Include your partner and your caregiver. Allow for emergencies. Take charge of your body.