Author: sortacrunchymama

WIC and 7 month food list

We visited the WIC office today yesterday.  I love the county health department, awesome folks!  I also like WIC for the services they provide – weight & measurements, answering basic questions that your doctor never takes the time to address, etc.  Not a huge fan of the coupons, mostly because there isn’t much we can use & I tend to buy non-WIC stuff… like almond butter* v. peanut butter (though sunflower butter* is far better & hella cheaper) and absolutely no hydrogenated anything.  I also forget to take the packet with me & just end up handing the coupons back.  I’m lucky if I remember to bring my cloth bags when I shop, heck, I’m lucky if I remember to put my wallet in the diaper bag.  I do like the produce coupon, $10 can go a long way for fresh fruits & veggies if you buy smart.
*You can basically make nutbutter from any kind of nut/seed if you just chop it & grind it enough to make the oils come out and emulsify.  You don’t have to add anything.  It’s a lot of work, which is why we don’t really do it much today, but Once Again Nutbutter is local – and NOM!  How to make it  You do need a good food processor, which I don’t have, which is why I buy the jars.

Anyway, he’s at 8% for weight & 10% for height, and on the breastfeeding charts he’s 50% height-for-weight, which is awesome.
His now former doctor had me absolutely freaking out about his weight, even though I knew he was on his curve & perfectly fine.  Hopefully NewDoc will be better.
WIC dietitian was thrilled with our food intake.  She says she wishes all her clients would eat the way we do.  She also reassured me that the baby weight will eventually come off, and no, I don’t need cholesterol medication, just go for a walk with the kid every day and eat sensibly; no I’m not going to drop dead tomorrow.  Apparently FormerDoc is horrible for ALL of her breastfeeding mommies and apparently we’ve all been frustrated/infuriated rats jumping off that sinking ship.  So, stay on course with the breastfeeding and homemade foods & maroon the doc on a rock.  My husband has a bit of a joke that goes “What does Dr. — say?  Quack! Quack!”
The kiddo is also talking, a few words here & there – so WIC lady says – because we don’t employ the mouth plug.  His binky is a toy, like all other toys, not a pacifier.  We do use the binky on long car rides, but he’s actually happier with the Links attached to his straps because he can’t lose them.  He also likes having a cup where he can reach it to drink.
The MommyWalkMe thing is good exercise.  He’s really REALLY crawling as of this morning.  Not just 2 scoots & done, but distances of 2-4′ then a sit-down, then 2′ more.  Easier on the knees with pants, so I’ll have to make sure we stuff him in them, not just a onesie or diaper cover.

WIC – totally awesome program.  Have I mentioned how awesome WIC is?   WIC is awesome.


At 7 months, here is his food list:  (we’re at 8 months now, but this is what I had typed out).

JR’s Food List
Prunes (1 tbsp ONLY)

Oat Cereal
Cream of Wheat
Soft Bread
Naan bread
French toast bits
Bread pudding

Sweet Potatoes
White potatoes
Cooked celery
Cooked onions
Summer squash
Green beans (mixed w/ other)
Beets (mix w/ applesauce)

Salmon (oat cereal & carrots)
Turkey (mix with veggie)
Beef broth
Chicken (mix with veggie)
Egg yolk (whole eggs are fine, mix w/ banana)


apple juice w/water

butter is OK




Avocado (2 yrs- allergic)
Berries (1 yr – safety)
Grape juice (Puke)

Rice (9 months – tummy upset)

Peanuts (2 yrs – safety)

Yogurt (allergic – 1 yr)

Honey (2 yrs – safety)




Fat Crunchy Mama


Baby Steps

I had a dream last night that we went to a restaurant that served you food based on your BMI.  My healthiest option was a 10 gallon plastic tote of salad steeped in fatty dressing.  I tried to wash it off with the water form my glass, but it just made it worse, and then I didn’t even have the water to drink.

I’m fat.
If I were comfortable with this level of fatness I’d be totally cool with that.  But I’m just plain not.  I’m unaccustomed to my body overlying my body.  This weird post-baby belly thing (love that I got a kid out of it) is just not of the cool.  The boobs are awesome, but there aren’t bras big enough – HOW do women find nursing bras that are big enough?  Companies advertise that they sell “38F” but then you get there & it’s one stupid sports bra that really only goes up to G.  I can sew corsets like a champ, but bras are mind-boggling.  Not like I have time either.

Anyway, walking is keeping me sane.  The little bit of yoga I can squeeze into the day is great.  I really want to bring my AbDobics! machine upstairs – cheesy, yes.  Works like wow.  I’m wondering where I can squeeze it into this already overfull room.

This isn’t just me bitching about my postpartum physique. I promise there is a point.

Here’s the point: My body has been effectively pregnant for the last 4 years.  I got one fantastic, awesome, incredible, beautiful boy out of that and I could not possibly be happier.  My hormones were trashed, I had multiple miscarriages, a stroke, cancer and more bed-rest than I care to talk about cracks in the ceiling – I don’t look up in the mornings – at all.  It took me 4 years to lose the weight the first time, it’ll probably be longer this time.  And I would do it again in a heartbeat.  For all that grief, pain, fear, frustration, anger – all of it was worth it for this little boy.

When I hear the voices in my head that say “you’ll lose all of that weight breastfeeding” and not a pound has dropped…
When I hear “only slackers don’t lose baby weight in the first 8 weeks” and nothing has come off in months…
When I hear “!Ver cómo grandes caderas!” in the store…
When the voice in my head says “My God you are fat!”

I need to stop & consider where I’ve been and what I’ve been through in the last few years.  I need to give myself some grace, and some time to get myself back together.  The primary goal is BOY.  All else is secondary.  Health falls in there, pretty high up the list actually, but not at the top.  Food choices first, then exercise, then we’ll see.  I have to remember that I’m still me.  I’m still worthwhile, I’m still the lovely, funny (am so!), irreverent, hungry for information, nuts over costumes, weird chick my husband married all those years ago… there’s just a little more of me now and I need to boost my HDL.


On a side-note, my kid said “good” today several times.  Apparently peas are good!


Edit:  I realize that this will come off as a fat-hating post.  Yesterday was a fat-hating kind of day.  None of my reenacting clothes fit so I was more than a bit pissy.  OK, the Civil War maternity dress fits beautifully and I still rock that thing.
Anyway, let me just restate that this is, in fact, all about me.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with you, your body, your perception of yourself or anyone else for that matter.  Got it?  Good.
Also, there are days when I absolutely love how I look.  Even naked.  Which doesn’t happen much because there’s always a kid in the room with me.   But still!  I even love the stretch marks that now match the old “I grew way too fast” marks.
If I were actually fat & fit, I would be fine.  I used to be fat & fit.  Now I’m just fat & unhealthy.  Not cool.  In any case, due to my medical issues I am working on it.  Health is important, and actually being here for my son and hopefully his children is really important to me.  To do that, I have to be above ground & at least semi-mobile.
So, don’t internalize this.  Remember, it’s all about me.

Dandelions Are Edible

Dandelions are edible

Hello Tasty Flower

So it’s spring here in West Podunk NY (lovely- really it’s pretty enough to make a calendar photographer cry tears of pocket change) and our yard is basically composed of wildflowers… if we lived in the burbs they’d be called weeds but we never have to water our lawn; let’s hear it for tried & true vegetation… but no mater what you want to call that greenery – purplry? Whitery? yellowblossomsofnummygoodness?, my kid is going to eat it.

Dandelions are tasty

Nom nom tasty flower! Daddy ate one too.

Honest to God I have uprooted and Googled more flora in the last month than I did when I was studying herbalism 300 yrs ago.

Yes, dandelions are edible.  No, you may not eat 5 at once.
Clover is fine.
While purslane should be OK, kid you only weigh 17 lbs, so no.
Violets are cool.
Pansies are nummy
The roses aren’t blooming yet, but he can chomp on the petals when they do.
Lilacs smell and taste delicious – go for it.
No tulips. (they are yes/no sorta edible, but I’d rather he skip them)
Grass?  Really?
Thankfully by the time he can reach our (edible) day lilies they will be done blooming… One flower might survive the grazing habits of my pint size son.

Now, the downside to this floral binge that it has put the whole 4-day-wait food schedule in disarray.  I have things like “dandelion” in the slot where “white potato” should be.  Grapes got put on hold in favor of lilacs.

So, all that scheduling angst aside, it’s horribly cute when he goes tripping outside towing the Mommy Walker behind him, then does a dead stop&drop to nosh on one of those delightful yellow weeds that my father-in-law tries so hard to irradiate in his own yard… in these parts we just enjoy the sunny view & blow the seed heads in the wind for wishes! (or my kid tries to eat those too)…


Oh, I forgot to mention, all that chewing on chewy dandelion heads has helped break a tooth through.  Thank You!  We’ve been waiting for that sucker since he was 3 1/2 months old!  Now if the other 3 would come in we might get a break from the Mr. Droolbuckets for a bit.

Mother’s Day

O-M-F-G!  I get a Mother’s Day!  Holy Sh*t!
Excuse me while I squee like a little girl & weep for joy while my heart breaks into 10,000 pieces of rainbow glitter* love.

OK, I’m fine now.

This was not always so.  For the past four years Mother’s Day has been a pretty dark holiday for us.  Father’s Day too, though that is easier to avoid.  After 2010 I’d just go camping.  Or do a media black-out, or whatever I could to just avoid everyone & everything on Mother’s Day.  Heck, I’d tear up just thinking about it.  I think it was 2012 when I was just able to move around after yet another miscarriage that my parents wanted to go out to dinner and I ended up having a screaming, crying fit at the thought of having to hold it together while watching all those happy parents with their happy kids.

Today, one of my friends mentioned how MD is bittersweet for her because of the early miscarriage of her son.  She still counts the years and thinks “he would be 3/4/5 now.”  I stopped doing that after a while.  The math escaped me somewhere around the 4th or 5th loss.  By the 7th I just wanted one of them to take me with them.  When the 8th tried… but God how I loved them all.  I still love them.  It’s all I could give those little buds of life that never bloomed.  And Mother’s Day was the thorn that gets you after the dead bushes have been pulled out of the garden & you are left with this bare patch where something used to be, and everyone else is loving their roses, and here you are with blood poisoning thanks to that stupid thorn.

But you never give up hope.  A lot of people talk about faith here, but by the time I got pregnant with my son I’d stopped speaking to God.  As in, “I’m so mad at you I’m not talking to you” kind of not speaking.  I fully admit to being about the most nondenominational person out there, but I missed my own spirituality.  By then, I was afraid to love that baby.  I’d just pray that he’d move (without talking to God, because we were definitely Not Speaking), and each and every time he’d move.  By the time we got to 22 weeks and they said “healthy” I almost dared to hope.  Then 25 weeks and “chance of survival” and then 35 weeks and I was overjoyed (huge, couldn’t move, ended up with the hives), and the cake was topped with the easiest labor this side of the Mississippi and tomorrow that little boy will wake up hissing – yes, he hisses – and then his eyes will meet mine and he’ll break into the brightest smile I’ve ever seen, and we’ll both giggle quietly enough to wake Daddy up but he’ll still pretend to be asleep, and the day will be like any other Sunday.  Except now I can be happy, even if I’m sometimes a little sad for the might-have-beens.

Glass Dragonfly

One thing is sure, tomorrow will always happen.


*Crap.  Where did all this stupid glitter come from?


1 month old & right on the tummy.

1 month old & right on the tummy.

So I read this article on yahoo news a few days back & it’s had me chuckling ever since.  Essentially it was about how a good chunk of American parents don’t put their kids to sleep on their backs.

Now, as the mother of a Tummy Sleeper, I can’t tell you how nerve-wracking it was for the first few months to know that my little peanut could, and did, roll himself right over at less than 2 weeks & smoosh his little nose right into the mattress all flippin’ night.  I’d literally stand over his crib making sure he was breathing… for hours.  I got NO sleep.  After going nuts for about 2 or 3 months (I can’t remember anymore), we brought him into bed with us.  I have this hazy recollection of my kid getting a horrible cold & he couldn’t breathe laying down,* so I put him on my chest & we both slept well for the first time EVER.  And there he’s been since.  I’m sure we get the Worst Parent Award for co-sleeping, which BTW, I never, ever planned to do, E-V-E-R.  But here we are.  I still live in hope that someday the All Night Mommy Diner will reduce her hours & the one loyal customer will sleep in his own bed again, but no rush.  It’s awesome birth control.  I do miss my heavy blankets & nice pillows, but at least I can open my eyes, see he’s still breathing (he takes up 4/5 of the bed – HOW does such a little person manage to confiscate so much real estate???), and go back to sleep if I’m not da Fountain o’Boobajuice or getting baby ninja kicked in the belly or thwacked in the boob.  As a bonus, cosleeping has helped regulate his nighttime temperature; poor kid used to freeze or sweat into fits (have YOU tried the “no blanket” thing?).  Now, instead of waking up screaming & unhappy he just sticks his little icicle toes on my stomach and smiles in his sweet dreams.  Let’s not even discuss the insane idea of sleep sacks & swaddling… it was a great plan until the Baby Campaign for Piggy Freedom started. After a tireless struggle the beleaguered PiggyTrapperMommy gave up and the protester won and the piggies are now free!
*So there’s this thing called a crib bolster, which you are supposed to put under their mattress when they have the snuzz to help elevate their heads but not add “stuff” to the crib.  Har-de-har-har.  Ever take a basic physics class?  Yeah, gravity works.  Those little bundles of joy just roll head-down straight to the bottom of the crib, adding to everyone’s misery.

So, back to this article – according to which I am no doubt Satan herself.  Has this (totally unhelpful) author never met a living child?  Babies aren’t plastic dolls, they sure don’t stay where you put them!   In all seriousness, there is no way you can keep your kids on their backs all night.  It’s not going to happen.  Realistically speaking, they move.  It’s when they don’t move that you need to worry.

Yes, keep big pillows & heavy blankets & insanely huge teddy bears out of their crib/bed.  Ban the cat who likes to cuddle too close to the kid (he’s still pissed at me).  Turn a fan on for air circulation.  Lay them down on their backs to start.  Do what you can to keep your child safe, and the rest is up to them and fate.

This & That

I don’t really have much exciting to babble about.

At 7 months & change he’s sitting up for quite a while, can correct his balance, but hasn’t sat up on his own yet.  He pulled up to standing from sitting via his activity center.  Boy was I surprised!
He’s a champ in the walker, but losing interest; he wants me to walk him all over the world unless shoes are involved, in which case sucking on them is the preferred activity.  My back is killing me – thank heaven for my massage therapist, she’s a miracle worker.

The crawling thing… not exactly happening regularly yet.  He’s still rolling, squirming, swimming & rocking to get places.  He’ll make it a few inches & then it’s SPLAT again.  Soon enough.  He crawls in his sleep just fine.

We are up to 3 meals a day, and he’s fussing about nursing in the daytime – my boobs are killing me & I’m pumping because the kid wants to eat ALL NIGHT.  Last night I had 3 dreams, and remember all of them if that tells you anything.  Zzzzzzzzzzz.  The food list is growing rapidly, but then so is his allergy list.  I fear this poor kid will have my food issues.  Yogurt is off the menu, it gave him a rash, the runs & major tummy issues. Not surprising considering I had to cut dairy when he was a newborn, but still disappointing.  We’ll reintroduce it later & see if it’s any better.  He actually tolerated green beans mixed with tofu & oat cereal.  Someday I will win on the green beans thing… or he’ll hate them as much as I do; whichever.  Beets are a win when mixed with applesauce.  Egg yolks are fab when mixed with bananas (so is tofu & bananas, kinda like tapioca, which I miss desperately & can’t eat anymore, so baby-food combo win for the mamma too!).  Peaches & pears & oat cereal are awesome.  peas & oat cereal are great, we’re doing whole peas in the blender now vs. hulled peas in the foley food mill, what a relief that he can handle a bit of texture now!  He plays with his food more, which is good.  That high chair tray is finally coming in handy.  Still only a little in the mouth via fingers, but he piles the goop up & sucks it off the tray.  Whatever works kid.

Object permanence is mastered.  He hides his own toys in blankets & then finds them.

He says “up” “hi” “mama” “ga-ma” “boowa (boob)” also “boob-boob” and “ungy.”  Yesterday was “yeah” which I realize I say way too much.  He said “cake” once but hasn’t said it again, but I haven’t mentioned it either and we haven’t had any.  He does NOT like chocolate cake (YAY! more for me!).

Naps are still MommyLapNap, so nap time is not “get stuff done time.”  At some point this kid will be too big for my lap & we’ll have to adjust.  For now I’ll take it.  He gets a nap, I get internet or book time and he wakes up happy.  I won’t deny being a fan of the cuddles either.

Time.  It has flown and there isn’t enough of it, and some days are empty and some drag and some never end or end too soon.  I’ve been trying to get his reenacting outfits together in stolen moments, but what once would have taken me a couple days at the most has been a week & counting and nowhere near done.  Tick Tock & I still have to make Husband something decent (read “not polyester”) to wear.


5 Commandments of Offering Parenting Advice

“Thou shalt not criticize the parenting methods of others.”

“If asked, thou may givest thy opinion.”

“Once thou hast given thy opinion, in a respectful and intelligent manner, thou shalt shut thy mouth.”

“If thine advice is not taken, thou shalt not take offense and thou shalt henceforth remain silent.”

“Above all, thou shalt not undermine the parental authority of others by mocking, degrading, harping, arguing or criticizing said parenting methods in the presence of said children.”

A little Bath and a whole lot of BS

I’ve had a thought brewing for a few days now, and it’s a rather heavy thought.  I’ll try to phrase this so as not to sound like a total jerk and incite the hatred of all of Internet Land, but if I do, so be it & here goes. 

WARNING: possible trigger reading!

The other day I gave my kid a bath (Boy /boi/ noun.  noise with dirt on it) and rather than scramble to get out as fast as his flailing arms could manage, he sat in the tub & splashed like a curious little mad scientist.  YAY!!!  Total parenting win!  Of course he also tried to drink it & I was like ‘no way Dude, you’ve totally peed in that.’

Anyway, like any proud mama, I took a picture & some video of this mad splashing.

Then, like any sleep deprived insanely proud mamma who had just captured the uber-splashy-shreeking-giggling-cuteness on film, I went to share it on the largest social media site in the world.  And paused.  And thought about it.  And read the Terms Of Use.

I’m still rather confused as to whether or not this video would violate FB’s terms of use or not, but that is a total side-note because I decided not to post the insane water cuteness partly due to the absolutely rabid response I got from my friends.
“OMG some perv might exploit/abuse pics of your son!”
“Someone might THINK bad thoughts about your kid!”
“AACK baby naughty-bits are naughty!”
“It’s illegal to take pics of your kid in a tub!”
“Haven’t you seen that news story about that girl who’s photos went viral?”

Whoa there!  Hang on a minute Internet Land!  Can we please inject some sanity into this situation?  Perhaps a garnish of reality on our paranoia platter?

– First, it is NOT illegal to take a picture of your baby in the bath.  Google it if you don’t believe me.
Yes, some people have been tossed in jail overnight or arrested and even went to trial for bath pictures, but the vast majority of those cases got thrown out, and the ones that didn’t had a lot more to them than splash time.  CPS is not going to steal your kids over a snapshot.  Truly.
(BTW, the thing that made me decide not to post the video is the auto-play feature on FB’s news feed.  To be honest I just think it’s obnoxious and it’s a long video, 20 seconds, which will take 2 flippin’ days to load.  And I get that not everyone is going to want to see my Mad Natural Scientist discovering the liquid properties of bathwater).

– Any picture you put on the internet – anything in fact – has the potential to go viral, get stolen, shared, used as an advertisement without permission, etc.  Once it’s there, it’s there forever and that’s all there is to it.  It’s the internet.  Just so we all understand that. 

– “Someone” might THINK bad stuff about your kid.
Can we take a moment to analyze that?
“Someone” meaning my friends and family and their friends.  Holy Poop that’s a lot of people.  As it happens, the same number and the same people who see every other photo that I post of my kid.
might meaning they may or may not.  The possibility exists, yes; but realistically speaking it’s not much greater than if I never put myself or my child online at all.  My kid might die of cancer too, but there’s not a darn thing I can do about that, so I’m not going to stay up at night worrying about it.   I might regret posting photos of my kid or talking to other humans, but then I might not.  Life doesn’t run on might.
THINK  I am not responsible for the thoughts or feelings of other people.  Nor am I responsible for their actions.  I am responsible for my own actions.  I am sensitive to other people’s feelings and try to avoid hurting them, but an unfortunate side effect of life is occasional pain.  Other people’s thoughts are not my problem, nor are my thoughts their problem.
bad things.  Yup, bad things happen.  Statistically speaking the majority of abuse happens with your nearest and dearest: parents, siblings, neighbors, family, classmates & other direct associates.  These are the people who have opportunity.  Realistically speaking my kid is in more danger from his cousins than from Random Internet Guy.  Please note I’m not downplaying cyber bullying or online abuse, I’m just taking a real-world view of the facts.  1:4 girls, that’s 25%, and 1:5 boys, that’s 20% will be sexually abused before they hit 18, and the vast majority of that abuse is perpetrated by people they know well.  That is a staggering number.  When you consider the corresponding number of abusers out there it’s enough to make you paranoid – because there is no real ratio, let’s call it 1:10 or 10% of people are or have been sexual predators.  But from a survivor’s perspective, worrying about it is worse.  Realistically 75% of girls and 80% of boys will never be sexually abused and that IS a comforting thought.
Someone somewhere will have a fetish about almost everything, and that may possibly intersect with your kid’s lives at some point.  The good thing is that most fetishes are between consenting adults, and while my son will always be my baby, by that time I soooo don’t want to know about that.
Lastly, you are familiar with the thing called The Internet, right?  There are entire sites dedicated to saying & thinking bad stuff about other people.

-Baby bits are NOT naughty.  At all.  To make one part of a person’s body “bad” is pure stupidity.  It also plays into Rape Culture.  Saying “your penis/vagina is BAD” invites shame regarding that body part and shuts conversation down.  It is more likely to make your kid a willing victim, meaning they will keep secrets out of shame rather than coming home & telling you straight out that “Kenny Touched My Penis/Vagina On The Bus,” at which point you can either kick Kenny’s ass, or go through the proper channels & get that kid some psychological help before he abuses someone else.  That may seem a long time off, but it starts right now.
Now, my 7 month old does not know what his penis is.  To him, it’s far less interesting than his toes, which are AWESOME.  Occasionally he grabs it, but that’s his deal not mine; my job is to make sure he doesn’t have poop on it.  I just wait for him to let go & finish changing his diaper.  When we get to potty training it’ll be all about the penis (Lord, please let’s keep the pissing up the walls to a minimum – or at least confined to the bathroom… Pretty Please?).  Do you have any idea how many diapers the average parent changes in a day?  10.  Ten times you wipe your kid’s butt & corresponding sprinkler system.  If I had to worry about my baby’s bits being “bad” I’d go insane.  So stop it.


Realistically speaking, what can we as parents do to keep our children safe(r) from sexual predators?
1: Don’t abuse children.
2: Teach them what NO means.
3: Respect their NO.
That needs a bit of expansion.  That means if you are tickling them and they say “Mommy Stop!” you stop.  If you are playing Sack of Potatoes and they say “Daddy I’m going to throw up (if you don’t stop)!” you stop.  You do not make them kiss or hug Aunt Sally & Uncle Frank if they don’t want to.  Does that risk hurting Sally or Frank’s feelings?  Possibly.  But children do know who they want touching them and who they don’t, and IF you are paranoid about the possibility of sexual abuse, respecting your child’s mind & body as their own is the best thing you can do for them. 
ex: My nephew does not want me to kiss him.  I blow him kisses across the room.  If he still says NO (or ducks the kiss) I’ll “catch” it before it gets to him & give it to someone else.  If he’s really in a “don’t touch me” mood I’ll just wave goodbye & say “have a nice day!” not even “I love you” because that’s too mushy.  I’m totally cool with that.
4: Listen to them when/if they try to tell you that something is wrong.
DO NOT dismiss what they are saying as lies just because you have a hard time believing it.  You may love your brother, but he could very well be abusing your child/ren while you go out on Friday nights   ~ 1:10.  I’m not going to offer suggestions, but I will tell you as a child who was abused over a long period of time, I did try to tell multiple times.  I was ignored, brushed off, called a liar & felt abandoned.  Not having adults listen made it that much worse.  When the adults finally did listen and then didn’t do anything it was terrible. When the kid who abused me abused three other girls it was infuriating. 
If this happens, and it might (20-25%), you as the parent need to get your child some help.  I won’t tell you what kind, but therapy did help me.  It took some doing to find a good therapist, but it really did help.  I lived with a seething pit of black rage for more years than I care to think about, but little by little I was able to let that go.
5: Tell your kids not to sexually abuse other kids.
While it’s kinda horrible to contemplate, your kid may be that 1 out of 10 who ends up being the abuser, and they could be 10 or 25 or 50 when/if they do.  We tell our kids not to steal, lie, cheat, bully, etc. but we also need to tell our kids not to be rapists.  Trust me when I say I’m not looking forward to that talk but we will have that talk.

Now a bit of a tangent:
Our society spends so much time trying to protect our kids from life it’s become a sort of pathology. 
– Since China imported lead-heavy toys (2009) all toy manufacturers have to send samples to be tested for lead to the tune of $3000 a pop.  This has put many small & micro-businesses out of work or driven up the costs so much that normal people can’t afford unique toys without making them themselves.
– Many people consider breastfeeding a type of sexual abuse or incest, (no, really, they do).  So much so that many states have put laws on the books saying that it IS LEGAL to breastfeed your child.  However, you may still be charged with trespassing in some states if you don’t go somewhere else to feed your baby.  This is all presumably because some older kid might see some younger kid trying to eat their lunch (which happens to be a boob – eew, boobs) and get traumatized by boobs or lunch, I’m not sure which here.  O-M-G it’s a nipple!  Someone kill it with fire before it leaks milk all over!
– A boy has been arrested & is facing jail time for his father’s fishing knife under the seat of his father’s car, which he drove to school, without knowing the knife was there.
– A kindergartner was suspended/expelled for talking about a Hello Kitty bubble gun.

There are reasonable safety precautions & unreasonable safety precautions.  Putting your kid in a rear-facing carseat?  Totally reasonable.  Snapping your toddler into a harness on a leash at Disney World – I’m all for that.  Bike helmets? Awesome.No running on a playground?  Totally not cool.  Being afraid to take/talk about a picture you took of your kid because someone/somewhere/might/think/bad things about him/her?  Please.  Check your paranoia at the door & step on in to reality.  You can’t stop your kid from getting hurt, that’s life.  But you can take joy in their childhood & show them that there is beauty and wonder in the world; even if it’s just a splash in a tub that they no doubt peed in.




Homemade Children’s Books

(This is a bit of a cross-post, plus a little).
Original post at

cloth book

NOM cloth book!

Cloth books from the store range from $8-$30, and our Puddin’ Heads are going to gnaw on them, drool on them & probably puke on them.  If you are crafty and want to bulk out your baby’s library with some “made with love” books, here are a few options.

(0-2 yrs. estimate)

Pick a theme:
Colors, numbers, a nursery rhyme, animals, an activity (playing with a ball, eating), etc. and go with it.  Keep it simple.  Don’t fret.  Kids this age just like colors, contrast, things to touch and most importantly, things to chew on.  As long as everything is secure and there are no choking hazards it’s all good.  Double-stitching is good.

For the colors book, I used scrap fabrics in colors and little sections of lace or ribbon and sometimes a shape or two.  I tried for some texture but not a lot.  For the numbers book I just wanted enough contrast between the fabric & the number to be able to see it.  The flat binding was not my favorite.   For the cardboard texture book I used a lot of glue & some duck tape (more texture!)


Colors book:
Each panel here is cut 7×7, made up of different fabrics, lined with cotton for more bulk and it helped reinforce the squares.  I made binding strips for the spine, then stitched right sides together with the binding strip flipped to the inside, clip the corners, turn and topstitch.  The binding strips were sewn together in nice sloppy lines.  Pin those buggers, that much fabric likes to squish and slide.  This is my favorite type of cloth book binding as every page opens evenly, the adult has something to hold onto and it’s kind to your sewing machine.


Numbers book:
No lining (didn’t turn out as well as the color book), used the buttonhole setting on my sewing machine with a regular foot to applique the numbers & counting shapes.  There are turning tabs made from ribbons that he totally ignores.  The pages were “stacked” in order open in the middle, sewn flat to their counterpart (5/6, 4/7, 3/8, 2/9, 1/10, f/b), then layered right sides together (cover + 1/10, 2/9 + 3/8, 4/7 + 5/6) , stitch-clip-turn-press-topstitch and then all re-stacked & stitched down the middle.  I won’t do it this way again as it makes the book difficult to handle and always opens to the middle pages (5/6).  My sewing machine also complained.(9/10 not shown).


The Texture book:
I used old Macy’s boxes from Christmas for this, but any clean cardboard box would do.  Cut them to size, marked the middle, glued random texture things on the pages, then glued the pages together & pressed them between 2 phone books.  Once the book was assembled, I rounded the corners and added a duck tape binding over the spine for ease in handling and more texture.  He pulls things off once in a while, but I just set them aside & glue back on later (or throw away).  The fuzzy fabric & tissue paper are favorites.  He also likes the corrugated cardboard.

Pre-printed cloth books:
You can also buy pre-printed cloth books from quilt shops, etc.  He has The 3 Little Pigs and one on Animals in Antarctica (that I’ve yet to sew together, hurum-um).  These actually end up costing more than store-bought books once you figure in the book fabric, interfacing & other materials, but they have the words and the instructions right there, and anyone who can operate a sewing machine and iron can make them.

Paper books:
You can also print paper books for your slightly older kids out of cardstock, or have them printed in a local shop or online store.  Snapfish & a few other photo printing sites do a great job (not cheap, but worth it for an individualized story).  Laminated pages would make a good cleanable toddler book.  Binding can be anything from staples to tape, spiral or even stitched.  Because kids like simple stories & smaller books, you are looking at maybe 10 pages front & back.  If you need to save on ink, do black & white line illustrations.  I highly recommend scanning in & printing any original drawings while reserving the “master copies” for when the current book gets munched.  Please be polite and don’t steal stuff, this is a great opportunity to write original stories for your children, take advantage of it.  Another option is to use their own drawings and paintings as the illustrations, but take care here because art is precious to children.  Before you do this, get their permission and respect their rights as artists, same as you would an adult.  (This may also be an option for out-of-print books that are too damaged to continue reading, but please check with the publisher first.  Some things are in the public domain, others are not).

Carring This Kid Around

“Ergo is a winner. Made it up to the OTHER corner & back. JR fell asleep before we got to the first corner & he was really snoozing. No sleeping in the other carriers. A little uncomfortable under the arms on me, but my back was loving it, so I’ll take it.
Lovely walk. Coltsfoot is blooming; too windy for animals, only saw one crow.”


We’ve been looking for good carriers and slings, and since one can’t really try before buying unless one borrows from one’s babywearing friends, “trying” can get expensive.  Like most new mommies my back is killing me.  I spend 1/2 my day bent over this kid & the other 1/2 holding him.  Going for a walk has become a daily priority as I hate being this fat and my cholesterol levels leave a bit to be desired AND it gets us out of the house which is critical.  So here’s yet another online review of baby carriers & slings, or at least the ones I’ve tried.  No, I haven’t been paid or offered anything at all, yadda, yadda; so this is raw, unbribed honesty.

The Snuggli is a small slice of hell. The newer versions aren’t much better.  No back support, hard to get the kid in & out, all his weight is on his pubic bones & he hates it.  Also not secure.  I will note that the Snuggli that was given to me is 20+ yrs old, easily adjustable & washable.  That doesn’t speak to durability, she used it once and stuffed it in a box.

Maya Wrap
We both like the fixed sling that I patterned off of the Maya wrap, and the Maya wraps are ok, but the rings dig into my neck – smaller rings are better. They were a favorite for the first 4 months.  The pseudo-maya is great for visiting, stores, events, up and down stuff. It’s more a holding aid than a hands free device. Not good for long walks. I can nurse in the maya, and while it’s possible to nurse in the pseudo-maya it’s not easy. Both are easy to just wear.  Washing is super easy.  Depending on the fabric you could carry your husband in one of them.  I’d call them fashionable for anyone.

Maya-style wrap

pseudo-maya sling, white linen stripe. 6 months old. (sorry, only picture I have of it, but VIKING BABY!)

Pseudo Maya Wrap at Letchworth State Park

Better pic of the pseudo Maya Wrap. This is our favorite sling to just get around in.

Moby wrap (brown cotton)
The Moby is good for short term, but doesn’t work for long walks. It’s a pain to put on but comfortable to wear. I can nurse in it, but it’s hard to fix my clothes after unless I’m just wearing the nursing camisole and hello, NY – it’s cold here. It is warm, which is a bonus, and I can cover his feet, but when he wiggles around the fabric slips and bunches so he’s in that uncomfortable upright carry with all his weight on his pubic bones. Also… not fashionable on a fatty like me. “squished layer cake” about covers it. Add in the disarranged shirt and I’m a candidate for “What Not to Wear.” It IS good for him to face front for a little while. He enjoys the heck out of it for about 20 minutes.  Despite the lower back wrap it doesn’t offer much real support there and I can’t walk very far in it.  Washable but takes a while to dry.

moby wrap, brown

Moby wrap at 4 months

moby wrap

Moby wrap, 2 month old

Ergobaby original
The Ergobaby is great with the one exception of it cutting into my underarms. It is not as stylish as my maya slings, but it’s a workhorse not a fashion accessory; and they do have prettier fabrics available, I just chose the brown because I figured when it got grungy (hiking!) it wouldn’t look as bad as the spiffy ones might. I won’t be able to nurse in it, but I won’t have to totally take it off to nurse either. He actually took a nap in it.  Let me repeat that:
I was able to walk 1/3 farther than I have before without being in pain when I got back. I probably could have gone farther, but I got thirsty. No wiggling for “down mommy down!” It has a baby-head-cover thing so they can tune out & go to sleep, or block the wind, or sun, or whatever. Awesome. And a pocket. It’s also rated up to 45 lbs.  Front side or back carry options; I’ve only worn it front.  Not highly washable, about the same as a backpack.

So far the pseudo maya and the ergobaby are the favorites.