Perfect Swaddle

Yay! Finally Baby Larry has arrived, and I can share my step-by-step swaddle instructions!

This swaddle uses two regular old receiving blankets, like the kind you can steal from the hospital. It doesn’t matter what size they are, or if they are even square.

20140125-142125.jpg

Fold the first blanket into something resembling a triangle, roughly the length of your baby.

20140125-142256.jpg

Fold the second blanket completely in half, and lay it on top of the first blanket about one inch higher.

20140125-142426.jpg

Lay your baby in the center with his/her shoulders about one inch above the top of the blankets.

20140125-142544.jpg

Fold one corner of the top blanket over one arm, and tuck under baby’s body.

20140125-142715.jpg

Wrap and tuck the other corner.
If your baby is small, one blanket is enough. But you can adjust this swaddle to fit your baby as he/she grows. You never need to buy fancy, expensive blankets.

For bigger babies:

20140125-142940.jpg

Wrap and tuck one corner of the bottom blanket.

20140125-143059.jpg

Repeat with the other corner.

There you go, the best fucking swaddle ever!

20140125-143258.jpg

Space is left around the neck and shoulders so that baby can’t get his/her head nestled into a pocket of blanket, and then start breathing only carbon dioxide.

The legs are left free so you never have to worry about hip dysplasia.

There is no age where you have to stop swaddling. If your baby rolls over WHILE SWADDLED, it’s time to stop. But I have seen 12 month olds who love to be swaddled and remain on their backs while swaddled, even though they’re perfectly capable of rolling over, and even walking.

So get yourself some cheap ass blankets and go to town!

People Are People

Get ready to have your mind blown…

What the hell is wrong with these idiots?

What the hell is wrong with these idiots?

Did you know that your kids are people?  Even your newborn is a person!  A whole entire person, albeit a small one, with a whole entire range of emotions and ideas!

Do you know how I know?  I mean besides all of that science mumbo-jumbo that gets thrown around (read Dr. John Medina).  I know because I was once a child.  Crazy.  I know.  I consider myself lucky to have very vivid memories going all the way back to toddlerhood.  If for no other reason than I can pull from them in order to help myself understand children.

The most prominent thing for me is my “inner voice”, you know, the thoughts you think, and the “voice” that narrates them.  I do a lot of thinking.  I remember doing a lot of thinking as a child.  Here’s the thing, that “voice” is the exact same voice I “heard” when I was an itty bitty.  That voice HAS NOT CHANGED in the least.  You know what this tells me?  It tells me that I’ve always been me.  That children are always the same person.  Of course, as grown-ups we know many of the changes that lie ahead, but kids don’t.  They can’t, because they learn through experience.  And frankly, how much experience can a three year-old have?

On my fourth birthday (which is Christmas Day, go me!) I got a baby buggy, like an old-school pram thingy.  I loved it!  I remember thinking something along the lines of: WHOA!  THIS SHIT IS TIGHT, YO!  I’m paraphrasing, but you get the idea.  Anyway, bonus for me, not only did I have a brand new, sweet-ass ride for my dolls… I.  WAS.  FOUR!  FOUR!!!  Come on people, go there with me.  HOLY SHIT!  I’M FUCKING FOUR YEARS OLD!  This is as old as I’ve EVER been!  I am CLEARLY fully grown, and I’m ready to take on the world!  Look out, bitchez!  I’m four, and I’m coming for you!

Do you remember being four?  Try.  Try to remember how you felt.  Hell, try to remember how you felt on any day when you were little.

Yes, having your birthday on Christmas blows.  But at least no one was concerned about safety back then, and I got to walk my happy, four-year-old ass two blocks down the street to my “Gramma Charlie’s” house (where we had family gatherings), IN the snow… WITH my awesome baby buggy… ALL BY MYSELF!  Actually, I walked it alone before I was four, and in all kinds of weather.  But GOD DAMN IT!  Today I’m FOUR!  FUCK YEAH!

Seriously, I tear-up remembering how happy I was to be four.  I wore THE BIGGEST smile while I was walking, all the while, absolutely BURSTING!  When I got to Gramma Charlie’s with my buggy, I announced to everyone, “I’M FOUR!”  And the grown-ups were all like, “that’s great”, “happy birthday”, and shit.  Obviously they had never been four, because this shit was off the chizz-ain!

The point here is that no matter how young, in your child’s mind, they are always the same person.  Think of who you are now, and then think about how you like to be treated.  That is all your children want…  To be treated like a person whose feelings matter, and whose thoughts are validated, and to be respected as an individual.  Trying to control children, dismissing them, thinking that this time while they’re little is just an obstacle to a time when they can do everything for themselves and your life will be so much easier – is a recipe for disaster.  This time DOES matter.  Every fucking day matters.  Not all people have memories going back so far, but even if you don’t remember being little… it still happened.  And it shaped who you are right this very minute.

Your kids are people, treat them as such.

And PS, now that you’re a parent, your life will never be easy again.  I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but it’s true.  “Newborn” is as easy as it gets.  For the rest of your life you will lose sleep over, have your heart broken by, and worry about the safety of your children.  At least newborns can’t drive, say they hate you, or marry a total asshole.

 

Rape Culture, Consent, and Young Children

With all of this talk about “Rape Culture” of late, I feel I need to point out some really fucking obvious things that often go overlooked by parents.  First, know that your child will be affected by rape/sexual assault; as a perpetrator, a victim, or a friend/family member of a perpetrator or victim.  Hell, or even all of the above.  If you are unaware of how prevalent rape culture is in our society, or if you are worried about how to raise your child in this ass-backward world, this is for you.

What it boils down to are some major flaws in the way we parent our children, the way we were parented as children, and the way our parents were parented as children, and so on…you get the idea.  God, I hope you get the idea.

Fear not! I don’t want any parents to feel lost or hopeless.  So, here’s what I’m gonna do, I’m gonna break it down for you. From where I sit, it comes down to three things:

1: Raising obedient children.  “Because I’m the parent, that’s why!”  Listen up, if that’s your attitude, you’re missing the point.  Your goal as a parent should be to raise a functioning adult, NOT an obedient child.  Children need to be taught how to make good choices, how to take responsibility for their behavior (both good and bad), and have a sense that their thoughts and feelings are not an extension of you, mom/dad/caregiver.  Here’s a hint that’s easy to remember; your child is not a mini you.  No matter how much you want them to be, they are not.  Get over it now, so that you can raise a happy, healthy child.  They won’t always make the same choices you would make, and that’s okay.  Give them loads of opportunities to make loads of choices, even ones that you don’t like. Remember, you’re raising a functioning adult!

2:  Not having and/or enforcing boundaries.  You know what I’m talking about, threatening a punishment you will never follow through with, giving-in to begging 30 minutes after you said “no” the first time, because you’re just sick of listening to it.  Both, really, really bad ideas.  Really.  I mean it.  If you want to confuse your child, do those two things.  I’m 1000% anti-spanking, but if you threaten to spank your child, you damn well better be prepared to do it.

So… Why do these things matter?  Because they teach your child that you’re the boss? No. The opposite actually. They teach your child that people have (and should have) boundaries, and that those boundaries are to be respected. It teaches them that it is okay for them to have boundaries too. AND that anyone who is not respecting their boundaries is not a good, safe person. (Right here I want to scream, “FUCKING DUH!!!”) Your child cannot set boundaries if they don’t know what boundaries look like. Your child cannot enforce said boundaries if they’ve never seen it done.
Boundaries are a huge deal in every aspect of life. It’s never too early to start teaching your little one about them. 

3: Teaching children that their bodies are not their own.  You know how you do that?  You physically snatch them up without a word when it’s time to go somewhere.  You use time-outs where you have to restrain them.  You tell them, “That didn’t hurt.” when they bump their head, or fall down. You use any type of physical punishment at all.  You force them to clean their plate, and/or use food as a bribe, punishment, or reward when it suits you.  You punish them when they miss their potty break.  You make them give Crazy Aunt Lisa a hug and kiss when they don’t want to. You intervene when they are not completing a task quickly enough for you, or to your liking.
No, I am not shitting you.  All of these things send the message to your child that their body doesn’t belong to them.  It may be subtle to you, but it’s loud and clear to itty bitties.  And the worst part (I love when parents say, “They won’t even remember…”), it gets wired into their developing brain.  So that later, when they’re grown-up, they will have all kinds of weird body issues…but won’t remember why.  And we wonder why people need therapy.

The above are also good ways to teach your child that they don’t need to respect anyone else’s body either.  Not exactly what you were shooting for, huh? 

This is what we’re talking about when we talk about “consent”. Your body belongs to you. And other people’s bodies belong to them. You don’t put your hands on someone without their permission. You don’t snatch toys away from another child. When someone tells you to stop chasing them, you stop. These are just examples, but again, you get the idea.

Please know that I understand that parenting is REALLY fucking hard, and that you’re a human being. So, let’s just say that there are ways around enforcing EVERY single rule, ALL of the time, that still respect your boundaries. There are many situations where you have to touch your child without their permission. But for our purposes here, I need to stress these points in black and white language.

And one last point: parents and caregivers, you don’t have to be perfect. Just do your best.

Science Catches Up With Lisa Blye

I have been saying this for YEARS! Finally, the American Academy of Pediatrics gets it right!
Check it out here!

 

Elimination Communication

ECLet’s talk about Elimination Communication (EC). Some people call it “potty training a baby”, however those idiots are wrong. EC is not potty training in the traditional sense. Actually, I would describe more as potty training the parent.

Don’t start getting all weird and judgmental!

There is so much written about EC, so to keep it simple, I stole this description from Wikipedia:

“Elimination communication (EC) is a practice in which a caregiver uses timing, signals, cues, and intuition to address an infant’s need to eliminate waste. Caregivers try to recognize and respond to babies’ bodily needs and enable them to urinate and defecate in an appropriate place (e.g. a toilet). Caregivers may use diapers (nappies) as a back-up in case of misses some or all of the time, or not at all. EC emphasizes communication between the caregiver and child, helping them both become more attuned to the child’s innate rhythms and control of urination and defecation. The term “elimination communication” was inspired by traditional practices of diaper-less baby care in less industrialized countries and hunter-gatherer cultures.  Some practitioners of EC begin soon after birth, the optimum window being zero to four months, although it can be started with babies of any age. The practice can be done full-time, part-time, or just occasionally.”

I have potty trained 34 kids and one cat, but I’ve never had the opportunity to try EC. I just haven’t had the chance to be around one baby 24/7 in order to establish that relationship. But I gotta tell you, I really want to try it!

I believe wholeheartedly in Attachment Parenting…which has become a bad word for some reason…which is weird because when I hear people talk about how terrible attachment parenting is, they don’t seem to be describing attachment parenting, so much as helicopter moms…but whatever, that’s another topic.  At any rate, I think people should breastfeed, co-sleep, and wear their babies, and I see Elimination Communication as an extension of that.  Plus, I would LOVE to see fewer shitty diapers in landfills, and less poop stored in people’s homes.

Sure, EC is not for everyone. You need to be completely in sync with your baby, and let’s be honest, that’s hard to do with all of the crazy bullshit we have going on in our lives. However, I sincerely urge you to keep an open mind about this. If you think about it, it makes a hell of a lot more sense.  And don’t worry, it’s not an all-or-nothing endeavor.

1. You introduce your child to the toilet early, which means far less fear down the road
2. You develop a relationship with your baby that most people will never have, and I imagine this makes it easier for your baby to communicate all of her needs
3. It is NOT any grosser than changing a diaper, so if that’s your deal, get over yourself
4. Imagine the savings on diapers
5. You’ll be like a fucking ninja mom, which will surely impress your friends. Be honest, you know moms live for one-upmanship

Of course, if you’re the only mom who does EC in your mommy and me group, just know that the other moms will judge you for it. Only because they’re bitchy and jealous, not because there is anything wrong with practicing EC. To them you can just say, “Bitch, I didn’t say YOU had to do it! So, why don’t you not worry about the loving, trusting relationship I have developed with my baby, and have another fucking fruit snack!?!”  Wave your finger around and move your head a lot for emphasis.

There are like a billion websites out there, I encourage you to check them out, if for no other reason than to educate yourself. Look, here are some now!

Diaper Free Baby

EC Simplified

If you have practiced EC, I would LOVE to hear about your experience.

PS – Before anyone gets their panties in a wad, I am NOT saying that this is what every parent should do, and if you don’t, you child will be ruined forever.  I FULLY RECOGNIZE THAT DIFFERENT FAMILIES HAVE DIFFERENT  NEEDS!  So pipe down.  I am merely sharing my thoughts and information.