Posted by: webbhouston | September 18, 2009

This I believe

For those of you who don’t know where this comes from This I believe was started decades ago and continues on NPR to this day. I believe that we all have something to say and that we all need to get out what we believe in… so here is mine.

This I believe.

I believe that reproductive freedom includes a woman’s right to give birth in the way that she needs. I believe that once the choice is made to reproduce the woman should have a birth and pregnancy that is respectful to her and her wishes. I deserve to be treated like a human being not a number when I am giving birth to my children, and my desires should be followed. I believe in the power of my bodyand that I should trust it. I truly and honestly believe, no…. I KNOW that education is absolutely necessary to empower a woman to have the birth that she needs and to fight for her right to have her child in the fashion that so suits her.

I believe that giving birth is not dangerous and that it is not something that women must be saved from.  This rite of passage has been taken away from us over the year and we need to take it back. I am thankful for skilled doctors that have made the few csections that are necessary available for women who need them but am sad that our csection rate is so unbelievably high. I am thankful for the experienced midwives who are here for women who chose their care.   We have lost the art of helping women in labor when labor became a medical event. I believe in the strength that doulas and other support people give to a woman when she is at her most vulnerable and I believe that more of them are needed. I should have the right to dictate how, when, and where I am going to give birth. I and only I, not my husband, not my family, not my friends, and certainly not the government.

I believe that nothing compares to catching your own child in your hands as they are born and having your face be the first one that they see. I believe that a healthy mother matters as much as a healthy child and that once we chose to give life our needs and rights do not cease to be important.  I believe in the thousands of women who have done this before me and who will do it after me, our hearts are one at this moment.  I believe that giving birth in my home is safe and that I have instinct on my side.  I believe in a gentle birth for both mother and child. I believe in my ability to chose what is best for me and my family. Most of all, I believe that my family deserves a peaceful beginning.


Yesterday Yahoo posted an article about a recent study that pretty much confirms what many of us have already known.

Early Spankings Make for Aggressive Toddlers

This is not the first time that an article like this comes out. Cnn came out with something similar over 10 years ago.

Spanking Leads to Long Term Bad Behaviour

Let’s dissect the yahoo article a bit. The studies were on children who were 1, 2, and 3 years old and being spanked.   There was more enphasis done on the one year olds who were spanked an average of “2.6 per week”  while for the 2 year olds it was “nearly three”.

Those of you with kids probably know that at one year old children do NOT understand things completely. If you say “no” they do not really get it. They might repeat the word often, I know mine did. They might say it back to you. They might even say it back while laughing and doing exactly what they are not supposed to do!!! But they do NOT fully understand what it means. Them saying it and them playing with it is their form of experimenting with the word and its meanings.  This is how children learn by mimicking and seeing what the boundaries are. They really are like little scientists in that aspect.  So my question is, why are we spanking one year olds? My next question is, why are we spanking one year olds almost 3 times a week? What are they doing that deserves physical punishment?

When I read this article it was (as I mentioned above) of no surprise. If one year olds do not understand “no” and they do not understand that what they are doing is not right… do you think that they will understand why they are being hit? No, they simply cannot. All they learn is that hitting is ok, they do not grasp that they are being hit as punishment… they just know that it is taking place. Since children learn a great deal by imitating they will assume that this is acceptable behaviour and do it to their peers, parents, anyone that is near them. So they will hit, and then as a result of this hitting they will probably get hit again. This turns into a never ending cycle of violence. These children get older with the belief still in their brains that hitting for no reason is ok and will continue to do so even after their parents tell them not to, because quite honestly their parents are setting the example of why this is acceptable. As parents we teach by example, whether we like it or not.

Going back to my original set of questions… so what where these kids doing that was so bad? I wish they would have told us that in the article because I cannot for the life of me understand what a one year old does that requires physical punishment.  This goes back to something that I preach a great deal about.

Forcing unrealistic expectations on children.

I have heard reasons as to why people spank their young children and they range from not wanting to eat, not wanting to sit in a carseat for extended periods of time, and not wanting to go to sleep when the parents want them to. All of these common reasons are things that children should not be really expected to do…. but our society has said that they are.  What needs to change here? The kids or the expectations?  I would like to know why people assume that a one year old should sit still for a one hour dinner at a restaurant, or why a child who cannot yet hold their own bowels should be ok with sitting in a carseat for hours without making a noise.

There are alternatives to disciplining your children that do not involve hitting. The article actually links to an article in the AAP website that suggests alternatives.

But if you still are finding yourself in a situation where it seems like you are having to discipline your young child all of the time then maybe it is time to re-evaluate your own beliefs as to what is “wrong”. Maybe making some changes to your lifestyle that allow your child to explore and have more freedom are in order. Maybe less pressure should be put on them, and in turn you, for the activities in their daily life.

Our daughter is a child who likes to push boundaries, she is very bright and sometimes a tough cookie. My mother told me during lunch two days ago that she would be “raising her differently” because of something that she did during dinner. As a mother who was spanked as a child repeatedly and voilently I must admit that it is almost natural to me to want to spank. It is true that when you grow up thinking that it is ok, it is something that comes easy especially when angry. I also believe that is is not acceptable even in times when the more gentle ways of disciplining are not working.

It isnt easy but the best path never is… and my children are worth it.  Whether it means re-evaluating my own history and what I have thought to be true all of my life… or it means learning mechanisms to control my anger.  There are other ways and now even mainstream news and media agrees with this belief.

Spanking is bad for children. Bad for Parents. Bad for Families.


Kate says “Spanking is bad mmm kkk????”

Posted by: webbhouston | September 17, 2009

Show me your boobs!

So World Breastfeeding Challenge is October 3rd this year. This is the same day as the BIRTH Fair which I will be going to.

I guess many of you are asking yourselves why it is important to have a day where women show their tits to strangers in group, well… there are many reasons for it but here are a few:

Here are the laws for breastfeeding by location. There are some places where mothers are still not protected from people trying to make them stop breastfeeding in public and even in places (like Texas) where there are laws that protect us people STILL feel the need to try and get us to either cover ourselves, go into bathroom, or stop all together. It has happened to many of us, me included. It has happened to be at the airport where a very rude waitress asked to go into a bathroom and insisted even after I told her what she was doing was illegal. It happened to be at Discovery Green park (and to other mothers) so much that we were on the news for it. They have since completely been supportive of it and had better training for their staff but it did happen to many of us. The point for making a stink out of breastfeeding in public in cases like the Discovery Green one was not to get someone in trouble. It was not to fire someone. It was solely to get them to respect us and the law. Neither I or the other mom who was on the news with me got any compensation for it and we did not ask for the heads of those who wronged us on a silver platter. We have both been there since, it is actually a favorite place of my family’s to go. I love the park and what it does for the green Houston community.  I was there for World Yoga Day with my family and kids two weeks ago and they always have events that we love to go to.



Why is our society such that breastfeeding in public is a taboo? Why do we get sneers and comments? This must end and this is the goal of the Breastfeeding Challenge.  Breastfeeding is simply feeding a child,  why don’t bottle feeding mothers get told to cover themselves or go hide in a restroom?

Breastfeeding must be seen as normal again and to get it that way there needs to be exposure to more breastfeeding mothers. We need to get out of hiding from behind out hooter hiders and from outside of the bathrooms that we have been pushed into. We need to be proud of what we are doing and not be afraid of doing what we need to do for our children.

So take them out, twirl them around, be proud! Your boobs are powerful!

Posted by: webbhouston | September 16, 2009

Little miss muffet and other girls afraid of bugs

This weekend we used it to educate the kids about chemisty, dinosaurs, and butterflies at the Museum of Natural Science. We went with another family with three girls and walked around learning about compounds, polymers, and the extinction of the dinosaurs. It was a fun day and after our friends left we went into the Butterfly exhibit where we found out that Kate is horrified of butterflies… but not only butterflies all types of bugs.

I really do not understand why because it isnt like I shy away at bugs. I kill roaches and pick them up with no problems. We see ants and spiders all of the time and I try to not instill on her that that bugs are there to kill us.  However I have noticed that Mike and others have sort of fashioned her into believing that bugs are evil and should be killed and feared. I am sure even I have had some guilt in this. She is also really into things being clean and I know that she equates bugs with dirt.

This Monday Mike sent me this link that talks about how girls may be primed to fear spiders. I really do not like the article and want to cry bull hockey on it. I believe that children can read our reactions at a very young age. Just how my father said that my son took falling down “like a man” when he didnt cry and just how the first thing people said about when Kate fell and cut her forehead was “I hope it doesnt scar her beautiful face”… we all say and do things that have gender stereotypes built into them.

Every time an article comes out that links having an X or Y chromosome with something it bothers me.  There is a really famous one that many Wolrd of Warcraft widows have cited in marriage related communities about how men are wired for video game addictions.  This article also discusses how this relates to aggression and being territorial.

Raising a child in a world where they are not automatically primed for certain things because of what society tells us is hard… almost impossible. As much as I like to try to raise my kids in a way that gives them equal opportunity to do what they believe is best for them the world makes it hard. My son gets called a beautiful little girl because of his long hair. I am asked why kate wears boy shirts and I see post after post about how OK it is to use a baby carrier that is pink on a boy. My answer is always “if it wont make them burst into flames it is ok by me”. In reality, it doesnt affect the child if they wear a color that society does not think they should be wearing. It doesnt affect the child if their hair is long or short and it wont make them grow a penis/have it fall off.

I even have friends who say “my husband would never go for XXXX” regarding their sons. LIke that their husbands would never allow their son to wear a pink diaper, or a shirt with flowers on it. My answer has always been, “then your husband needs to get over it”. If your husband/partner is seriously affected by their son wearing a color that is not on the blue/green color spectrum then the problem is with your partner, not with the clothes.

Why do we keep doing this to children? Why keep perpetuating the ideas that gender limits us so much?

If Kate is afraid of bugs, so be it. We will still learn about them and pick them up. Part of our plans for this fall is to study bugs in our homeschooling classes by picking them up and counting their legs, wings, body segments, etc. We will not change this because she thinks that they are gross because she still needs to learn about them. Calvin will learn about him at his own pace (when he stops trying to eat them) just as Calvin will also learn how to dance with mommy and he will do a plie. 🙂

Posted by: webbhouston | September 15, 2009

International Babywearing Week 2009

So this year International Babywearing Week 2009 is next week!!

Babywearing is a cause very near and dear to my heart because it is something that saved my sanity when Kate was a little girl.  With Calvin it has allowed me to mother two children under 2 at once and still get things done. Kate still loves being worn and Calvin asks for it when he needs me or knows that he needs to sleep.

Just in time for it Babywearing International put out a PSA.

What are you going to do to celebrate?

Posted by: webbhouston | September 11, 2009

Books for toddlers

Kate is at that point where she listens to stories and gets bored with simple board books. Yes she still likes to flop through Goodnight Moon but she is at the point where she requires more stimulation, a true story.

So in doing research I found a couple of books that I think will work for her.

The first is Peter in Blueberry Land this is an old Swedish story that is simple and has a good message. It really helps kids develop their imagination and explore the fantasy world and pretend. The story is enchanting and it keeps kids entertained while it does have illustrations it is easy to get the child to imagine their own illustrations for what this story would look like.

The other is The Story of the Root Children this delighful little story talks about nature and how flowers and the seasons are intertwined. It does a good job of bringing fantasy and reality regarding the seasons together.

Last night Mike read The Root Chlidren to her and she listened and asked questions about it. I think she really got into trying to find out what things were and why. It is amazing to see her grow up and become more and more her own little person.



We went to visit my inlaws last weekend and she was playing on the piano that they have. She loved turning the pages and it seems like she knows that the notes represent something special.



Of course now she wants piano lessons. I might start looking into lessons for her when she is 3 or 4. At what age do you recommend starting piano?

Posted by: webbhouston | September 8, 2009

The problem with Sigg

So as we probably all know, Sigg announced that their “super sekrit” proprietary liners have BPA in them. They do not leech BPA (well they don’t in the amount that they were looking for but they might in other lesser amounts) but they do contain it.  This is a problem because most of the reasons that people were buying reusable water bottles was to avoid just that, BPA.  They have announced that they will replace them. But they are still not telling us what is in the liner… this does not sound good enough for me. Nope. Sorry. Especially since:

Please note that you will need to pay to ship your bottles inbound to SIGG for replacement as this is a voluntary program – not a recall. SIGG is not offering refunds. This exchange offer is available through October 31, 2009.

So um, you still have to pay for shipping to replace their bottles. I do not trust them and cannot say enough words about how dissapointed I am in this company and will be recycling my Siggs. I have never actually purchased one, I got three as gifts and hate how tiny the necks are. We use Kleen Kanteens.

This is not the first time that BPA causes a stir in reusable bottle-land. Do any of you remember the Nalgene incident? They said that BPA was not a problem and that their bottles were fine, yet they no longer sell bottles with BPA in them… funny how that works huh?

Apparently Patagonia has also decided that they are no longer going to do business with Sigg.

What other options do we have to Sigg for reusable non plastic bottles?

Apart from the Kleen Kanteen mentioned above, good old Thermos makes BPA free bottles  There is also the Kid Basic Safe Sporter,  the New Wave,  the Camelback (which has a great bite valve), the ThinkSport, and the Green Feet bottle.

I have used the Thermos Foogo for the kids and really quite love it. I have a couple of friends with the Camelback and ThinkSport and they are really fond of them. I had issues with cleaning the Foogo because of the way that they are built but I think that if you are careful and use a small nipple brush they might be easier to clean.

All in all, we have many different companies to chose from that do not use shady practices to get our businesses. We do not need Sigg and hopefully they will realize that they need us and that if they come clean, are honest, and really respect their consumers they might be able to rebuild their reputation. Until then, I am voting with my pocketbook and have decided that they are not for me.

Posted by: webbhouston | September 8, 2009

Sometimes children are not convenient

I am actually a little bit angry today.

I do not understand why it is so hard for people to be realistic when it comes to children.  We are all such different human beings, this is why psychologist never truly understand what is going on within our heads. This is why there are many meds that all help deal with the same problem… yet we somehow expect our children to be soothed the same way, at the same age, and at the same time? How is this ok?

There has been some talk that being an attached parent creates children that do not sleep well.  I cry foul here.

I think that the issue is that parents who are attached are more apt to respond to their children’s needs than other parents. This means no CIO and no harsh sleep training… this also might mean less sleep for us for a while if we are “blessed” with a child who believes (like mine) that sleep is for the weak.  This doesnt mean that our kids sleep worse it just means that we do not ignore them for our own needs.

My thought of the day: If you cannot take care of your children because they are too inconvenient maybe rethinking having more should be in order.

Posted by: webbhouston | September 7, 2009

The end of summer

I work in downtown houston which means that I walk 4 blocks to my car.  It also means that I get the luxury that few people in Houston get, the luxury of actually walking every day.

At first I saw it as a bore, ugh… it takes me 15 minutes to get to work, then 15 minutes to get to the car. This just makes my commute longer in my eyes… so annoying. But after a while you learn to really enjoy it. The hustle and bustle of downtown in any large city is like a symphony. The honking and the screeching. The birds and the brakes of the busses hissing…  then there are the smells. The exhaust and the grass. The beer from the concerts the night before that have been spilled all over the floor. The homeless people asking for handouts. The broken glass. No, this is not the most attractive few minutes ever and sometimes it is really almost scary… but on mornings like today’s it is glorious.

There was a slight breeze, and you could see the sun rise above the skyscrapers. It was brisk but the walk helped warm me up.  Leaves were turning on the floor of this concrete jungle and it was so quiet I could hear my dry hair crinkle as I moved. My shoes clicked and clacked along the floor and my keys in my bag jingled… I remembered why I love this time of year.  The heat is slowly dissipating and the morning starts off with dew on my windshield.

There is a very small amount of time when it is actually enjoyable to walk in downtown and this is when it starts.  Walking in the wintertime can be fun if you are properly dressed to handle the cold nipping at you from every angle but this time is when the weather really makes it wonderful. You can feel the sun kiss you lightly while you feel the breeze cool you down.

Unfortunately I know what this means. It means the end of summer in my city. Fall will be here before you know it. If the sounds of the school buses didnt already give away to the end of the days of sunshine and popsicles. This weekend is Labor Day weekend and we will make the treck to the inlaws for our quarterly meet up with them. Their home has lots of trees and space where the kids will play and run around.

I guess we should bring their sweaters.

Posted by: webbhouston | September 3, 2009

Children should be seen and not heard

I have always had issues with this saying. It was beaten into my brain when I was younger as I was forced to sit at adult meetings and dinner. I could not move and had to sit on my hands.

My mother chastized a young mother once because she did not tie her child’s hands together when she started getting into everything because apparently tying kid’s hands together is an acceptable way to not have to baby proof.

This is the mentality that is behind this man slapping a little girl in a walmart.  Why is is acceptable for a grown man to not be able to control his actions when he gets angry, but not acceptable for a child to do the same? A child.  Let me repeat this, because it bears repeating.. a two year old toddler. A child who should not be expected to pee in a potty, wipe their own butt, or even sleep through the night… yet somehow we expect them as a society to be quiet and not cry.

While there is a huge outcry against this man for what he did, the ideas and feelings behind his actions are quite apparent on a daily basis.  If you have children I am sure that you know what I am talking about.

Being in a restaurant and having people stare and shake their heads if your child doesnt like standing in line to order, or if you are sitting down having people look at you in disgust because your child doesnt sit still and is asking you when the food is coming.  Why do we expect a child to like standing in line? Why do we expect a child to be able to sit still for an hour while the adults talk and eat?  I confess that I do my best to not put ourselves in a situation where I knew that unrealistic expectations will be placed on our children… but occasionally I have to. Like when we were on a 3 and a half hour flight to Los Angeles with my two kids who were really just wanting to walk around the airplane… but couldnt. I felt the eyes of those around me burning into my skin while I tried to explain my two year old that she could not race with the kid in the seat across from hers.

I am not one of those parents who allows their kid to scream and interrupt people’s dinners. I actually would prefer to remove myself if I know my child is not going to act appropriately because I respect other people’s time and lifestyles.  But I know that a bit of fussing is expected from a child if they are in a situation that they do not want to be in. As adult I can accept this and know that it is necessary, after all we cannot just stop having children all together.

In my eyes children should be seen, heard, and listened to. Children should be respected as being their own little individuals and their needs should be met. They should not be forced to fit into what a flawed society has told us that children are supposed to fit into. They are not supposed to be quiet. Children should ask “Why” and “Where”. That is how they learn, this is how they interact. I refuse to stifle my child because some people think that my child should act as a miniature adult. That is not the way that it works.

I have already seen the conversation on the websites where this article was posted and they disgust me. They talk about how permissive parenting has made it so that people are tired of hearing children. They talk about how kids are just spoiled nowdays. I was hoping that this would serve to point out the unrealistic expectations of society on children, yet it seems to be doing the opposite.

Where has this world come to? It truly seems like we hate our children. This explains why people are so happy to give up on breastfeeding, let infants cry it out, and treat our children like they are social paraiahs.

How did we get this far off track?


This is exactly the kind of comment I am talking about.

While I do not advocate what the man did – I’m glad it has sparked debate. What everyone is forgetting is WHERE WAS THE MOTHER?
He said: “If you don’t shut that baby up, I will shut her up for you.” Mom did nothing! Didn’t report the man, making me think this happens to her all the time and she ignores it. Didn’t remove the kid from a potentially dangerous situation. Didn’t ensure the wacko didn’t get near her kid.
MOMENTS later and ‘A couple aisles over’, he made “good” on his word – getting in four slaps…
Where was MOM? How did he get close enough, how did he have time to slap her 4 times?
When I was a kid going to the store was a privilege, if we misbehaved we left IMMEDIATELY! I know that’s inconvenient for today’s modern parents but it works and it works fast!

This kind of stuff makes me sick. First we blame the mother then we say the kid was obviously not raised properly.

WTF is wrong with people?

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