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Dec 15, 2011

“Cuddle Up, Buttercup!”

Welcome to the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival hosted by Monkey Butt Junction. Our bloggers have written on so many different aspects of cosleeping. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


How many nights I’ve said this to Naomi, I will never know.  Our cosleeping experience has been more than any of us had expected.  Naomi’s babyhood was wonderful, with very few bumps and hiccups.  Sleeping was one of them.

Early on, we tried to have her sleep in a bassinette.  We anchored it to a small table beside my bed, and we’d bundle her up tight and lay her down to sleep.  Then we would get into bed and sleep.

The first three months after birth are often referred to as the “fourth trimester”.  It’s those times when we stumble and trip over ourselves so badly, trying so desperately to learn and understand everything we can about this precious little piece of our hearts God has blessed us with.  During those first seven days of her life, we learned two very important lessons about Naomi.

1.  She did not like to be restricted in any sense.

2.  She would happily sleep for hours at a time… if she were in your arms.

The first few nights in that bassinette were terrible.  Cry, nurse.  Gently set back down.  Cry, nurse.  Gently set back down. When the public health nurse came to see us a few days after Naomi had been born, she even encouraged me to bring her into the bed with us.  I was resistent.  After all, there were so many horror stories about cosleeping.  How could this possibly be a safe idea?

But after those first few nights, I finally decided to bring her into the bed with us.

“Cuddle up, Buttercup,” I cooed to her softly.  More out of desperation than a desire to share our bed, I snuggled her up to my breast, let her nurse herself to a gentle sleep, and snuggled down beside her.

The first night we did that, I woke up to find we’d slept for more than five hours straight.  Five whole hours!  Without a peep!  I even frantically checked on her, thinking surely something was wrong.  But no, she was perfectly happy sleeping away.  When she woke up, I nursed her again and we carried on that way, never once looking back.

Cosleeping for our family has been a wonderful time to reconnect.  At night, Michael gets to spend some time cuddling with his girl as she goes to sleep.  During the day, I am able to console her gently to sleep with a quiet nurse and a gentle rub of her back or palms.  “Cuddle up, Buttercup,” I say to her when naptime comes.  And she immediately scampers off toward her bedroom, ready for a nap.

At 5 months old, Naomi gave us an indication that she was ready to move into her own space.  She had slept between Michael and I for almost her whole life but at 5 months, she started fussing and whining, thrashing about in her sleep.  We had just assembled her crib in her room, but now, we took off the side railing and moved it into our room, where we were able to attach it snuggly to our bedside.  Right beside me.  After that, Naomi slept in her own bed, almost completely independent of me.  She would go down in her sleepsack, nurse til she was comfortable, and then flop away from me, sigh happily, and drift off to a wonderful, peaceful sleep.  It was never a challenge for us at all.  She was there, I was there, and we were happy.

When she wanted me, she’d fuss and whine.  I would gently pull her to my side.  “Cuddle up, Buttercup,” I’d whisper to her in the dark, and let her nurse, warm and safe.  She’d snuggle beside me and either roll away or stay close.  We slept far better than most of our friends and family who didn’t cosleep.

At 15 months, we decided it was time to night wean her.  I was headed back to work in the evenings and Michael would be the one putting her to bed from now on.  Anxiously, we put into effect our plan to break her of nursing at night.  Gently, kindly, and lovingly, we held her close as she transitioned away from the breast at night.  Those first three nights were so difficult.  “Cuddle up, Buttercup,” I’d whisper to her as she fought and screamed, scratching at my chest.  After the first three nights, she quietly settled into a wonderful routine that let us all have some space and time to sleep.

Now we are beginning another transition.  We are preparing her, slowly and gently, for sleeping in her own room.  We have moved her crib from the side of our bed to the foot of it, a little farther, but still close beside.  She goes down to sleep, while Michael sits on his bed.  She knows and trusts that he is there, watching over her, and will not leave her.  When she wants to snuggle and be soothed, she either crawls up to our bed or she calls out for us.

“Cuddle up, Buttercup,” I say, as I reach for her to come to me.  She snuggles in and wraps her sweet little arms around my neck, and sighs deeply.  We lay like this, me resting my cheek on her head, with her arms wound tightly around me.  We don’t nurse until after 5am, when Daddy gets up for work and we usually do as well.

The idea that others would depict co-sleeping as something so violent and ugly, rather than a loving, safe and comforting opportunity to spend time and teach your child is something that does not invoke anger or hatred in my heart.  I simply feel sad.  I feel sad that it discourages others who might wish to enjoy the experience away from something so wonderful.  I feel sad that it makes mothers and fathers who practice cosleeping feel as though they are doing something wrong.  I feel sad that it might make others feel so guilty that they force themselves and their children into some form of heartbreaking cry-it-out program that will not only cause both of them agony and pain, but could indeed damage the delicate balance of trust in their little one’s heart.

If you have concerns about co-sleeping, please visit the many other wonderful bloggers in this blog carnival.  They have some wonderful stories and practices to share.  As well, there are many wonderful, valuable resources to look to, including:

Cosleeping:  Yes, No, Sometimes? by Dr. Sears

Safe Cosleeping by Dr. Jay Gordon

How to Cosleep Safely: A Tutorial in Pictures by Laurel Wayne (Hobo Mama) <– one of the best articles on the subject

Let Cosleeping Families Lie from Today’s Parent

Ensure Safe Sleep, Physically and Emotionally from Attachment Parenting International

The way you and your child sleep should not be dictated by anyone else, be it your family, your friends, your doctor, or your government.  If it works for you, your child, and anyone else who shares your bed, than it is what is right for you.  Trust yourself and your heart.

“Cuddle up, Buttercup”, I say to my daughter.  Every night and every day.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival

Thanks for reading a post in the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival. On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the #CosleepCar hashtag.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  • Emotive Co-Sleeping Campaign – Miriam at Diary of an Unconscious Mother talks about her feelings on Milwaukee’s anti-cosleeping crusade and its latest advertising campaign.
  • Why Cosleeping has Always been the Right Choice for My Family – Patti at Jazzy Mama shares how lucky she feels to have the privilege of sleeping with her four children.
  • Cosleeping is a safe, natural and healthy solution parents need to feel good about. – See how Tilly at Silly Blatherings set up a side-car crib configuration to meet her and her families’ needs.
  • Black and White: Race and the Cosleeping Wars – Moorea at Mama Lady: Adventures in Queer Parenting points out the problem of race, class and health when addressing co-sleeping deaths and calls to action better sleep education and breastfeeding support in underprivileged communities.
  • Reflections on Cosleeping – Jenny at I’m a Full Time Mummy shares her thoughts on cosleeping and pictures of her cosleeping beauties.
  • Cosleeping and Transitioning to Own Bed – Isil at Smiling Like Sunshine shares her experiences in moving beyond the family bed.
  • What Works for One FamilyMomma Jorje shares why cosleeping is for her and why she feels it is the natural way to go. She also discusses the actual dangers and explores why it may not be for everyone.
  • Really High Beds, Co-Sleeping Safely, and the Humanity Family Sleeper – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama gives a quick view of Jennifer’s bed-sharing journey and highlights the Humanity Family Sleeper, something Jennifer could not imagine bed-sharing without.
  • Crying in Our Family Bed – With such a sweet newborn, why has adding Ailia to the family bed made Dionna at Code Name: Mama cry?
  • Dear Mama: – Zoie at TouchstoneZ shares a letter from the viewpoint of her youngest son about cosleeping.
  • Cuddle up, Buttercup! – Nada of The MiniMOMist and her husband Michael have enjoyed cosleeping with their daughter Naomi almost since birth. Nada shares why the phrase “Cuddle up, Buttercup!” has such special significance to her.
  • Co-Sleeping With A Baby, Toddler, and Preschooler – Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares how co-sleeping calls us to trust our inner maternal wisdom and embrace the safety and comfort of the family bed.
  • Fear instead of Facts: An Opportunity Squandered in Milwaukee – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses Milwaukee’s missed opportunity to educate on safe cosleeping.
  • Cosleeping: A Mini-rant and a Lovely Picture – Siobhan at Res Ipsa Loquitor discusses her conversion to cosleeping and rants a little bit about the Milwaukee Health Department anti-cosleeping campaign.
  • Our Cosleeping Story – Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares her cosleeping story and the many bonus side effects of bedsharing.
  • Cosleeping can be safe and rewarding Christy at Mommy Outnumbered shares how her cosleeping experiences have been good for her family.
  • Adding one more to the family bed Lauren at Hobo Mama discusses the safety logistics of bed sharing with a new baby and a preschooler.
  • The Truth About Bedsharing – Dr. Sarah at Parenting Myths and Facts discusses the research into bedsharing and risk – and explains why it is so often misrepresented.
  • Cosleeping as a parenting survival tool – Melissa V. at Mothers of Change describes how she discovered cosleeping when her first baby was born. Melissa is the editor and a board member for the Canadian birth advocacy group, Mothers of Change.
  • Dear Delilah – Joella at Fine and Fair writes about her family bed and the process of finding the cosleeping arrangements that work best for her family.
  • CoSleeping ROCKS! – Melissa at White Noise talks about the evolution of cosleeping in her family.
  • Safe Sleep is a Choice – Tamara at Pea Wee Baby talks about safe sleep guidelines.
  • 3 Babies Later: The Evolution of our Family Bed – Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about how her family’s cosleeping arrangements evolved as her family grew.
  • Tender MomentsThe Accidental Natural Mama discusses tender cosleeping moments.
  • Cosleeping Experiences – Lindsey at An Unschooling Adventure describes how she ended up co-sleeping with her daughter through necessity, despite having no knowledge of the risks involved and how to minimise them, and wishes more information were made available to help parents co-sleep safely.
  • The early days of bedsharing – Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her early memories of bedsharing with her then new born and gets excited as she plans including their new arrival into their sleeping arrangements.
  • The Joys of Cosleeping in Pictures – Charise of I Thought I Knew Mama shares pictures of some of her favorite cosleeping moments.
  • Symbiotic Sleep – Mandy at Living Peacefully With Children discusses how the symbiotic cosleeping relationship benefits not only children but also parents.
  • Co-sleeping Barriers: What’s Stopping You? – Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she was almost prevented from gaining the benefits of co-sleeping her family currently enjoys.
  • Co-Sleeping with the Family Humanity Sleeper – Erica at ChildOrganics shares a way to make co-sleeping safe, comfortable and more convenient. Check out her post featuring the Humanity Organic Family Sleeper.
  • Why We CosleepThat Mama Gretchen’s husband chimes in on why cosleeping is a benefit to their family.
  • Adding to the Family Bed – Darah at A Girl Named Gus writes about her co-sleeping journey and what happens when a second child comes along.

A big thank you to all of the Safe Cosleeping Blog Carnival participants!

Dec 13, 2011

Saying No to Plastic Toys

Welcome to the December Mindful Mama Carnival: Staying Mindful During the Holiday Season

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Vintage children's blocks

Photo Credit: Adelle & Justin

The holidays are coming, and with it, of course, comes the stress and strain of holiday shopping.  We work hard to maintain a simple Christmas, by only purchasing limited gifts with specific purposes, and keeping our holiday traditions more about Christ than the gifts themselves.  Gifts however, are a somewhat touchy subject in our home, and I thought I’d share our view on gifts for this month’s Mindful Mothering Carnival.

Naomi was the first grandchild on both mine and my husband’s sides of the family.  She was also my grandmother’s first great-grandchild.  So we knew that when present time came, we were looking to be completely overwhelmed with our family’s generosity.  Everyone would want to be giving us pretty dresses, frilly things, girly plastic toys, and other things that are just irresistable to the grandparents of a little girl.

Michael and I strive to live a simple, frugal, minimalist life to the best of our abilities.  We don’t buy a lot of material possessions, and the ones we do have, we work hard to make last as long as possible, and then replace them with as best quality as we can afford.  We enjoy spending time at home with friends and family, we buy organic, whole foods as much as possible, and we make it a priority to surround Naomi with good, high quality, positive toys.  We want her to grow in imagination and spirit, and learn and develop.

So right from the start, we gently — but firmly — voiced our opinions to our parents.  No plastic toys.  No frilly pink dresses.  No junky gifts.  No noise makers.  Nothing requiring batteries. No flashing lights.  We asked for wooden toys, soft cloth toys, handmade toys, or practical gifts like cloth diapers and grocery cards.

Our approach seemed to suit our needs well.  Here’s how we went about it:

1.  Decide why you want your child to have certain gifts.  Michael and I are trying to instill in Naomi, and subsequent children, a different set of values from the ones we were seeing advertised to children on television and in day-to-day living.   We want her to understand that quantity is not better than quality.  We want her imagination to flourish, to grow and mature.  We wanted her to see the joy in a simple piece of play silk, or a bottle of soapy bubbles.  We wanted her to learn as she played, such as how to zipper up her sweater and match her socks.  We wanted her to have long conversations and cuddle with a sweet stuffed bear, and fall asleep with a soft cloth doll.

2.  Say no.  Be gentle, but firm.  At first, it was a bit of a struggle.  My mother would drop by with a new outfit or some plastic noise maker that “just happened to fall in my cart” when she was shopping.  But after I would send her back with the item, again calmly but firmly explaining what we had decided and that we were indeed sticking to our guns, our parents started to understand that we were serious and began listening to our beliefs.

3.  Just because it comes into your house doesn’t mean it has to stay there.  Another well-meaning relative gifted us a brightly lit battery-powered toy.  This relative was one we do not see on a regular basis and we felt it would be impolite to refuse.  As such we graciously accepted the gift and then passed it on to another child whose parents didn’t share our values.

4.  Your home is not their home.  With something like this, remember that the rules apply at your home, but not necessarily elsewhere.  My mother has taken to collecting cute toys that she keeps at her home.  This way she can choose what she wants to have for Naomi to play with, but I don’t really have much say in the matter.  But the rule was set:  If they buy a plastic, battery-powered, light up, noisy toy for Naomi, let them keep it that their house!  It doesn’t come home with us!  This is also a great way to pass on toys that you receive but aren’t something you want to keep.

5.  Let your child decide.  As it turned out, the things Naomi enjoyed playing with most were not necessarily the few plastic things that did make it into our home. It is great fun to stack a tall column of wooden blocks, but it is even more fun to run through them and laugh with glee.  Sitting on the floor reading board books to yourself is an excellent way to pass the time.  A quiet cuddle with a doll infused with lavender and vanilla makes for a great way to get ready for bed.  Crayons and paper can keep her busy for a long period of time.  Our brief stint with an Exersaucer didn’t last very long, as she got bored and wanted to be with me after a very short period.  It went on Freecycle and was quickly taken away.  Our jolly jumper was hung in the bathroom doorway and she sat in that early in the mornings when I showered (and could see her the whole time) or when I went to the bathroom.  This again only lasted until one day she ended up flipping herself upside down and it was banished to the closet.  The only real plastic toys we’ve ever gotten her were some bath toys to play with in the tub.  And that will only last until I can come up with some more natural alternatives!

6.  Good quality toys don’t have to be expensive.  I kept my eye out and was able to come up with some great additions to her toy shelf: a hammer and peg set, a box of building blocks, a wooden car, a wooden train, a wooden puzzle set.  Michael’s favorite stuffed dog was a cuddly friend for long conversations, as well as a soft cloth doll that has been christened “Ba-Ba”.  Wooden spoons, mixing bowls, board books… they are all excellent options that can often be found second-hand or at yard sales.  Just be thoughtful and careful with what you find.

7.  Have examples of alternatives ready.  When my mother asked, “Well, what can I get her?”  I was ready with a list of toys that we felt were acceptable.  A sweet stuffed bear, a set of wooden dishes, a list of board books, a pretty blanket, a favorite maker of cloth diapers, a sweet sling, an amber necklace, wooden teething rings.  I encouraged my mother to visit Etsy, Heartsy, Babyette, Melissa & Doug, and a favorite local store that carried beautiful baby products.

So how did it all work out?  Well, not long after she was born, my father-in-law made a trip to Pennsylvania.  When he got home, he told us he had a doll house for Naomi.  I was in dread.  After driving all the way to Pennsylvania and back, and having purchased this doll house, I felt for sure it was going to be some plastic monstrosity.

To my absolute delight, it was a simple pine doll house, coated in a clear varnish, with simple wooden furniture inside.  There were no lights.  No bells.  No batteries included.  It was a perfect place for little girls to dream and play with little wooden toys and make-believe.  Michael and I were so charmed.  And thankful.

Disclaimer: Yes, I am compensated for some (but not all) of the purchases made via the referral links in this post. You can read my entire disclosure policy here.


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Mindful Mama Carnival -- Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!

On Carnival day, please follow along on Twitter using the handy #MindMaCar hastag. You can also subscribe to the Mindful Mama Twitter List and Mindful Mama Participant Feed.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

Oct 28, 2011

Filling Up Our Watering Cans

with watering can

Photo Credit: Jessica Wilson

When you hear the word “sabbath”, most people automatically think Sundays spent at church.  They think of time being spent at a building with other people in their neighborhood, praying and singing hymns.  They expect rigid dogma to get in the way of having any pleasant conversation or enjoyable time.

But the word Sabbath actually means “to rest”.  It’s really just that simple!  It’s a day we’re supposed to spend resting and relaxing, getting ready for the week ahead.  Sometimes we need an afternoon nap.  Sometimes we need a coffee and cheesecake date with a friend.  Sometimes we need some quiet time to read a book and sip a cup of tea.  But in any case, no matter what your walk and path are, all it means to Sabbath is “to rest”.  It’s a time to take a second, catch your breath, and let your mind stop racing, so you can confidently get yourself ready for taking care of your obligations.

When you make a practice of setting up a Sabbath day for yourself, you are setting aside time to rejuvinate and relax.  Give yourself some time to do the things you enjoy doing, with whomever you enjoy being!  This can take all kinds of shapes and sizes, such as an afternoon of playing at the park, or a day at the beach.  It could include a trip to the hair dresser, a succulant dessert, or a really great yoga class.  In any case, however you do it, taking time to Sabbath is so important.

The reason I bring this up is because I really believe that we moms do not take time out of our busy days to practice Sabbath.  We’re like busy gardeners, swirling around all the beautiful flowers and vegetables we so lovingly and tenderly care for.  Our children, our spouses, our friends, our church communities, our families, our jobs, our blogs, our hobbies.  But you can’t water the flowers with an empty watering can.  You have to take a break, and fill it up again with cool, refreshing water, or you cannot provide for all those flowers.

We’ve all been empty watering cans.  We try to cook nourishing, real food meals, homeschool curious minds, be well dressed and attractive, volunteer with our outside obligations, keep our homes immaculate, write cleverly on our blogs, and so many other daily objectives.  And we’ve all seen what happens.  We grumble and whine.  We snap at our children.  We feel resentment towards others whom we don’t see working as hard as we are.  We feel neglected and used.  We eventually toss our hands up in the air and crash, and feel guilty.

It’s not necessary to be this way if you just take time to Sabbath.  Do something every day, a few times a week, or even once a week, just for you, to relax and rejuvenate yourself.  It is so dearly important to give yourself some time to refill your watering can.  Christian moms are commanded to take time to rest.  Besides that, even God rested.  If you think you don’t have time to spend on you, that would mean you’re busier than God!  And we all know that isn’t true!

I like to practice my Sabbath on Fridays.  For me, Sabbath normally involves me doing as little as possible, such as making the bed, throwing dinner in the crockpot, and then off we go!  Naomi and I spend our day going for walks, browsing the library, visiting with relatives, and having fun making messes while we play.  That evening, we go out with Michael and get our grocery shopping done and maybe get a treat, like ice cream or cupcakes.  After Naomi goes to bed, Michael and I get caught up on our favorite television shows and chat about what’s going on with us and our household. We snuggle, we relax.  It’s wonderful.

You might not have a whole day to devote to yourself, but you must be able to find some time to spend doing something that makes you feel better.  It might be pushing a stroller while you take a nice quiet walk with your mp3 player.  It might be stopping for an ice cream cone on your way home from the grocery store.  It might be volunteering at the local animal shelter to walk and play with the dogs.  It might be no more than an extra long shower on the weekends.  No matter what it is, and how much you have to do, you can find time to be good to yourself.

So please, take the time go go fill up your watering can.  And then go water those beautiful flowers you so lovingly treasure.

Thank you for reading this post from the I Love Me! Carnival. Please take some time to read the contributions from the
other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by the afternoon of October 28th with all the carnival links.)

  • The Art of Being Thoughtful – Becky at Old New Legacy likes that she is mostly thoughtful but wants to become more thoughtful. She shares a story that demonstrates that giving gifts doesn’t have to be expensive.
  • I love me (and running)! – Sheryl of Little Snowflakes writes about her new love of running and how it has helped her learn to love herself!
  • For the Love of Moe – Valerie at Momma in Progress shares her thoughts on a body forever changed, but forever loved.
  • Where I Find My Worth – Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares how finding her worth in worldly things always falls short.
  • Oh Yeah, I’m Cool – Tree at Mom Grooves shares her very favorite gift and the thing she most wants to pass on to her daughter.
  • Loving – Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis talks about some of the things she loves about herself – some easily, and some by choice for the sake of healing.
  • Baby Strikes A Pose – Emma from Your Fonder Heart writes about her family’s decision not to let their 7 month old model, and uses the opportunity to think more deeply about girls (young and old) and how they determine their self-worth.
  • I Love Me! – A Rampage of Appreciation! – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle stops waiting for anyone else to tell her she is wonderful and goes on a rampage of appreciation for herself!
  • Raising Healthy Daughters – In a guest post at Natural Parents Network, Kate Wicker offers tips to pass on a healthy self-image to the young ladies in our care.
  • Unexpected Benefits of a Healthy Pregnancy – How does it feel to have a healthy pregnancy? Dionna at Code Name: Mama discovers that making positive choices can be empowering.
  • Filling Up Our Watering Cans – Nada at miniMOMist believes that practicing Sabbath is the same as being a gardener who lovingly tends to the flowers in her garden. She needs to fill up her watering can first.
  • Better Body by Baby – Jess from Mama ‘Roo and Family Too! shares how having her first baby makes her feel even more beautiful and confident about her body than ever before.
  • These Breasts Were Made for Nursing – Becoming a mother helped Mandy from Living Peacefully with Children to embrace her womanhood and improve her self image.
  • Yeah, I’m Pretty Cool – Amanda at Let’s Take the Metro writes about her own self love and how she hopes to foster the same self-respect in her children.
  • Who I’ve Become – The future is bright with That Mama Gretchen who shares her past and present perspective on body image and how she hopes to become a change agent with her daughter.
  • Ever-Evolving Me – Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about her innate drive to continue learning, growing, and evolving.
  • I love you for your mind – Lauren at Hobo Mama turns a dubious phrase on its head with a little self-loving slam poetry.
  • Stop Think of Love with Your Body – Amy of Peace 4 Parents shares an exercise to gradually transition from hating to loving your body – stretch marks, sags, imperfections, and all.
  • I Love Me! – Jenny @ I’m a full-time mummy shares the things that she loves about herself!
  • caught in a landslide – jaqbuncad of wakey wakey, eggs and bakey! shares a list of reasons why zie loves hir body.
  • Love Your Tree – How do you picture the ways your body and mind change? Amy at Anktangle writes about how trees help her have perspective about her own growth over time.
  • Pumpkin Butt – Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes about how birth and pumpkins are the way to accepting her body
  • I do love me – Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about the lessons about loving herself she wants to pass along to her daughter.
  • Appreciating Who I Am – Linni at An Unschooling Adventure describes the things she likes about herself and the way she appreciates who she is as a person.
  • I love me! : A journey – Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares her journey on arriving at the point where she can say: I love me!
  • My Daughter Doesn’t Care So Why Should I? – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama calls herself on the carpet for the image of self love and beauty she portrays in front of her toddler.
  • Finding out who I am – Melissa at Vibrant Wanderings shares an exercise that helped her identify positive qualities she possesses, and how that has helped her learn to love herself.
Jun 30, 2011

Loving Through Tantrums

This post was written for inclusion in the 2nd Annual Carnival of Gentle Discipline hosted at Parenting Gently. All week, June 27 – July 1, we will be featuring articles and posts about alternatives to punitive discipline. See the bottom of this post for more information.


I lay her down, the cool cloth covering the change pad.  I turn to the windowsill, where sits the spray bottle of mild baby soap and water.  I open the drawer, holding her diapers and cloth wipes.  I can see her in my peripheral vision.  She is never out of my sight, and I am still right there beside her.  But I don’t need to look at her to see what she is doing.  She is sitting up.


I spray the soap onto the clean cloth wipe.  She begins tugging at her socks as I reach for a clean diaper.  She is giggling at her feet.  I tease her and smile.  Then I ask her to lie down for me.  I know she doesn’t understand yet, but I ask anyway.  It is important to make my request verbally as well as physically.


I set down the wipe and lie her on her back again.  She struggles.  She fusses.  And when she tries to get up again, I gently resist.


“Sweetheart,” I tell her, gently.  “We need to change your bum!  Don’t you want a nice clean bum?”


Evedently she doesn’t.  She looks at me, and pouts.  And then she starts to scream and thrash.


I lean forward, wrap my arms along her sides gently, and whisper soothing words to her.  I tell her that she has a right to want to do other things, and it’s okay to not want to have her bum changed.  I tell her that even though she doesn’t want it right now, she does have to do it, and that she doesn’t have to like it etither.  I tell her she’ll feel so much better afterwards.  She struggles and fights me.  But I am gentle, but firm.  I just hug her and calm her down.


Slowly, she stops her fussing and kicking.  She cries and pouts at me.  I smile and speak calmly to her as she sobs quietly.  I make the action swift, but thorough.  A gentle cleaning, a little lotion on the diaper rash we continue to combat, and the application of the diaper.  I kiss her and release her completely.  She shoots up and sits, pouting at her feet.  She is not happy.


I pick her up, cuddling her to me.  She is tired now from her tantrum, and clings to me.  I carry her with me to the bathroom, and wash one hand at a time, holding her with the other hand, and then take the dirty cloth diaper to the laundry room.  I continue to hold her, smiling and softly teasing her, until she is calm and happy and ready to be put down.


Gentle discipline in our home conveys love and patience.  It recognizes her opinions and her resistances.  She has the right to say when she is unhappy and wants a change in the situation.  However, when her wants and needs are not in her best interest, we, as the adults and the parents, gently sooth her and explain the situation and why it must take place this way.  We tell her that we have her best interests in heart, and that sometimes that doesn’t mean we let her do what she wants.


Are we always so calm and patient?  Of course not.  Sometimes we snap or speak sharper than we’d like.  Sometimes we struggle to maintain a kind manner when the battle wages longer than we’d like.  But as we recognize and respect our daughter, we learn to gently lead her toward a pleasant, happy and comfortable life.  We teach her that not everything will go her way, and we explain why at the same time.  But that we, her parents, love and respect her.  And we treat her with respect, and take care of her needs and wants as best we can.


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Welcome to the 2nd Annual Carnival of Gentle Discipline!

Please join us all week, June 27-July 1, 2011, as we explore alternatives to punitive discipline. We have collected a wonderful array of articles and essays about the negative effects of punitive discipline methods, like spanking, and a myriad of effective alternatives. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts – new articles will be posted on the following theme days:

June 27 – Practical Tips for Getting Started with Gentle Discipline
June 28 – It’s All About Feelings: Respecting Emotions and Consensual Living
June 29 – A Fork in the Road: Turning Points in Gentle Discipline
June 30 – Gentle Discipline Recipe: Love, Patience, and Cooperation
July 1 – Gentle Discipline Resources