Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Calling for submissions for the March 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Day in the Life

We continue to be delighted with the inspiration and wisdom our Carnival of Natural Parenting participants share, and we hope you'll join us for the next carnival in March 2015! (Check out February, January, December 2014, November, September, August, July, June, May, April, March, February, January, and a summary of all our 2013 posts, 2012 posts, and 2011 posts if you missed any.)

Your co-hosts are Lauren at Hobo Mama and Dionna at Code Name: Mama.

Here are the submission details for March 2015:

Theme: Day in the Life: Pick a typical day, and take one photo an hour. Or pick twelve or more photos that best represent what a "normal" day is for you. If you're not a shutterbug, write a diary of your day. Let us peek into your life to glimpse the familiar and the extraordinary in the mundane.

Deadline: Friday, March 6. Because we're posting this late, we're giving you a few extra days to get your submissions in! Fill out the webform (at the link or at the bottom) and email your submission to us by 11:59 p.m. Pacific time: CarNatPar {at}

Carnival date: Tuesday, March 10. Before you post, we will send you an email with a little blurb in html to paste into your submission that will introduce the carnival. You will publish your post on March 10 and email us the link if you haven't done so already. Once everyone's posts are published by noon Eastern time, we will send out a finalized list of all the participants' links to generate lots of link love for your site! We'll include full instructions in the email we send before the posting date.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Winter books for little ones

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We're having fairly mild weather here in the Northwest, but winter is on my mind since my parents have had feet of snow dumped on them in the Northeast. Here are a few of our favorite cold-weather children's picture books to enjoy, whether you're snowed in or not:

Big Snow

Written & illustrated by Jonathan Bean

This is now a favorite for Alrik and me. A young boy "helps" his mom get the house ready while waiting impatiently for an impending snowfall. His mom gives him tasks to do that invariably make him think about snow (the sprinkling flour from baking, the cool white sheets on the bed), and he winds up making a mess each time before racing outside to check once again if the weather is cooperating with his wishes. The mother's frustrated faces are enjoyable enough as catharsis for the adult story-reader — who of us can't empathize with how much our children's help actually gives us more work to do? But I love the overall narrative of a child pitching in, however imperfectly, with the housework. The gentle relationship between mother and son, the boy's vivid imagination, and the charming watercolor illustrations are inspiring. The story culminates in a wild naptime adventure that leads into the actual snowstorm, the dad's return from work, and snug family togetherness for the night.

One element I especially appreciate about this book is that it shows a family of color. It's all too common to find non-white folks in U.S. children's books relegated to the background or playing minor characters; if they are the main characters, it's often a book explicitly about race, which is fine, too — but it's nice to see a regular story with a regular family that just happens not to be white!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Foundling homes and the lost babies of Europe

I wrote this post in its entirety in November 2012 but hesitated to publish it, I suppose because the subject matter is so grim. But I think it's a worthwhile topic to consider, so here it is now, one further baby in for me!

Mother Nature by Sarah Blaffer HrdyI'd like to share some more of my notes and thoughts from reading Mother Nature: Maternal Instincts and How They Shape the Human Species, by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, a weighty tome I picked up in the immediate postpartum period after Alrik's birth and dutifully and interestedly crawled my way through — all 541 densely printed pages. I found it fascinating, and disturbing — informative and resonant (Hrdy is an anthropologist, so she knows humans) and yet frequently distressing (humans don't always play nice, even — especially — with babies).

Today's article is about the crowded foundling homes of Europe, which were most used in the 1400s to 1800s. I give you fair warning now to bow out if talking about abandoned children and high infant mortality rates is triggering or overly distressing for you. (I wouldn't blame you one bit. I sometimes wonder why I read Mother Nature when I had a newborn, but I actually think the discussion of maternal ambivalence dovetails perfectly with the sleep-deprivation period.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Make your own soothing postpartum pads

Welcome to the February 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Do It Yourself

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants are teaching us how to make something useful or try something new.

Hobo Mama wants you to know she's a professional blogger! Look at how professional she's being!

After you've given birth vaginally, things can be rather … tender … down there. Possibilities include swelling, tears, stitches, hemorrhoids, and other fun things. What I wanted most after my births was (a) not to look and (b) to make the area feel better.

Enter frozen postpartum pads!

Also known adorably as padsicles and peri-pops (because they soothe your sore perineum), they're easy to make and can be prepared ahead of time by you or by a birth attendant if you've put it off till the last minute. They take just a few ingredients and whatever pads you can source.

I'll also give you a few other ideas for natural pain relief at the end.