Recovering from Attachment Parenting

Sometimes a selfie is all you need - recovering from attachment parentingI have two things to say right off the bat before I start this post. First, it has taken me a long time to write this post because I’m so afraid of people’s reactions, so please be kind. Second, I have friends and know people for whom attachment parenting works beautifully and I love that it works beautifully for them! This is me sharing my experience with it, as promised in the parenting buffet.

So, let’s dive in shall we?

When Dominic was born, I sort of fell into attachment parenting. It was a pretty easy thing to do. As you are probably aware by now, I am the kind of person who researches and reads everything. So, when I was pregnant, all of my research lead me to attachment parenting as “the best” way to parent.

Attachment parenting promised me wonderful things. Your child will be securely attached, it said, and have the confidence to go out and explore the world. It painted all other methods as causing insecure attachment, where your child will be clingy and too afraid that you are leaving to have confidence. It paints attachment parenting as the way that children are meant to be raised. So of course, with all these good things, it is hard to go against.

Actually, I read the Dr. Sears discipline book (copyright in the 1990s, though there must be newer editions by now – which may or may not claim the same things) and he promises such wildly outlandish things such as if attachment parenting had been practiced earlier, the Holocaust never would have happened. And that attachment parenting can prevent ADD/ADHD. I don’t know if later editions promised such things, but this early one certainly did. I wish I had saved pictures but I already sent the book off on Paperbackswap (referral link) before writing this post. Actually, I may have taken pictures, but I have so many pictures, it’s impossible to find them without remembering approximately when I took them.

Anyways, I digress, I don’t want to get into too much of the problems with attachment parenting, which I think I will save for another post.

No, in this post, I want to focus on how attachment parenting made me feel. I also want to talk about why I describe myself sometimes as a “recovering attachment parent.”

For me, personally, attachment parenting brought me one thing.

And that thing it brought me? It was guilt. And fear.

It brought me fear that if I ever for a second did any of the things that attachment parenting said was bad, that I would ruin my kids. That they wouldn’t love me or be securely attached to me. And the guilt them came hand in hand with that. When I left Dominic, I felt enormous guilt when I left him. I felt as if my leaving him for a few hours could undo all of our attachment. This was part of the reason that I didn’t leave him with anyone other than Nick until he was 5 months old. It was the fear that leaving him would break our attachment and he would be an insecure and anxious child.

There is more that I’ll get into in later posts. But, short story: eventually, I realized that attachment parenting wasn’t right for us. Sure, I still took some things from it (I still babywear Allen! for an example) as part of my parenting buffet, but I no longer identify as an attachment parent.

So, why do I call myself a recovering attachment parent? It’s because the guilt and fear stuck with me for a long time. It’s only in the last year that I’ve been able to move beyond that in a real and meaningful way. I can see that my children are securely attached to me. I can let go of a lot of that guilt and fear. Though, to be certain, it still comes from other places occasionally.

I feel, however, that if I had not believed so strongly in attachment parenting at the outset that I would not face so much fear and guilt. Attachment parenting blogs and facebook groups had me convinced, convinced, that to do anything else would ruin my children. So when I realized that it wasn’t a good fit for me and my kids, it was hard to let go. I still had the feeling that somehow, I was ruining them, even though I could see that I was not. It has taken me a long time to undo all of the ways that it had gotten into my head.

Anyways, there are more posts coming on this subject because I have strong feelings. However, like I said, I didn’t write any of this to people who find that attachment parenting is working well for them. I mainly wrote this for myself, as a way to process. I also wrote this for other people who might feel the same way I do, to let them know they are not alone. Again, this is only my experience, as I know for some people attachment parenting is great.

Please recognize that I am making myself vulnerable by putting this out there. In light of this, please be kind if you choose to comment. This is me eating a big old slice of humble pie that I should have eaten years ago. I’m also sorry for everyone I judged when I thought that attachment parenting was the only right/good way to parent. That was wrong of me. I know that now.

Have you ever got caught up in something you regretted? How do you feel about attachment parenting? (Can of worms, that question right there, I know 😉 )

Lessons from Our Time as a One Car Family

As many of you know, we were a one car family for six years! It’s only recently, less than a year ago, that we’ve become a two car family. As you may imagine, I have a lot of thoughts on being a one car family. Well, I have a lot of thoughts on most things, but today this is what I’m talking about.

Because, to be honest, there are pros and cons to having one car. Yes, there are actually things I miss about having one car. In the end, I still feel the benefits to two cars outweigh the benefits to one car, but that was a simpler time I do miss.

So, here are the things I miss about being a one car family.

It was easier to say no.

There are so many awesome and amazing opportunities nowadays. Especially living in a big city, if I wanted to, I could be doing something with the boys every single day of the week. This, however, is a recipe for burnout. Even if all those things are good things. Saying no to the good things was easier when I thought about how much of a time commitment it was to take Nick to work. Was doing something for 20 minutes worth the extra time taken out of my day? Which overall was just under 2 hours. Often it wasn’t. So having only one car really did help me to weed out the difference between things I wanted to do and things I felt obligated to do. One car family

Dedicated talk time

In the car, there’s not a whole lot of options for what to do. This is especially true for me since I get car sick if I read or do things on my phone. So I would often talk to Nick or the boys. When we picked Nick up from work after a co-op day, the boys would get to tell Nick all about co-op. I do sometimes miss this time where we could just talk without anything else going on, with fewer distractions.

My kids are really good in the car.

Okay, so I can’t prove that this is the case because I’m aware that correlation does not equal causation, but my kids are pretty chill in the car. Even though we often had to wake them up early to get in the car, they never once complained about it. I was the one doing all the complaining. They seem to take riding in the car in stride and while I definitely can’t prove that it was because they were frequently in the car, I am sure that it didn’t hurt.

On the flip side, here are things that have improved since we have had two cars.

I have less anxiety.

I don’t know how many of you know or remember this, but when I was in college I was involved in a car accident. I fell asleep at the wheel and rolled my car. It was terrifying and traumatic and even though that was 8 years ago, I still have some underlying lingering anxiety about driving, especially driving while tired. Now, don’t get me wrong, my anxiety has gotten a lot better. But, when we were a one car family and we were having to be in the car so early in the morning (when Nick started work at 7) and then I was doing so much extra driving because I had to not only drive to and from wherever we were going, but to and from Nick’s work as well, I was having a lot of anxiety about it. On nights when I had to be up early to take Nick to work, I would often have trouble falling and staying asleep because I was worrying. Since having a second car, I’ve noticed my anxiety has decreased a lot. I’m sleeping better and this makes me a better mom, parent, and person.

It is easier to say yes to things.

This is the flip side to the one above, but before, saying yes to things required a massive amount of coordination. I could never just say yes to something. I had to think about the schedules. I had to think about if the thing coincided with Nick’s work times. Even if someone was picking me and the boys up, I had to make sure that car seats got out of the car before Nick left for work. Saying yes to anything took a lot of pre-scheduling on my part and I could almost never be spontaneous. Now, I can be.

I have more time.

We didn’t take Nick to work every day. However, on the days we did, that was a serious chunk of time out of my day. Almost two hours. There are a lot of things that I can get done in two hours. Not to mention, it disrupted the flow of the day often. I’d have to wake the boys up, either from night sleep or from napping. We’d be in the middle of something and we’d have to drop it. Things like that. It has been so freeing to have that time back. Of course, one could argue we filled it with other things and to some extent, that is true. However, I still like to think that I keep a good level of balance between going out and staying home.

So, these are my pros and cons of being a one car family. Do you have experience with being a one car family? What was it like for you? Or, what are some reasons you would never consider being a one car family? 

The Parenting Buffet

The Parenting Buffet: Yes, you can babywear and sleep trainOnce upon a time, when Dominic was first born and I thought I knew everything (hahahahahahaha, oh how I laugh at my younger self. I hope everyone that I was a total jerk to forgives me), I held fast to a certain parenting philosophy (more on that in another post).

What this philosophy was wasn’t important, but I now regret it. I held on so tight to this parenting philosophy as if it was a holy grail. And while I don’t want to get too much into that today as I’m working on another post that will talk more about that, what I do want to talk about today is the philosophy I embrace now.

You probably won’t find any parenting books or blogs about this, because if they exist I haven’t found them. But I embrace what I’ve come to call the parenting buffet or if you prefer, Smorg parenting. Though I don’t use the word smorg as often as I do buffet, so I thought for clarity’s sake, I would call it the parenting buffet.

Simply put, I no longer believe there is one overarching parenting philosophy that will raise the best kids (this will also be another post later) but that there are many good ideas from all walks of life and most parenting books and philosophies.

Now, I still like to read and take in information.  Then I can make a decision for myself about what I think will work for my kids.

I am sure that to some of you this may sound like a ‘No duh!’ realization, but for me, I really feel best when I have instructions to follow. I don’t think admitting this about myself is a bad thing. Sometimes this is a strength and sometimes this is a weakness. In parenting, this is definitely a weakness because there are no instructions out there for parenting. Of course, the vast number of books out there would try to convince you otherwise.

Realizing that I could take parenting advice and pick and choose from it like it was a buffet was a huge shift for me. Don’t like green olives? That’s fine, in the buffet you don’t have to take them. Don’t like some parenting advice? That’s fine, in the buffet of parenting advice, you don’t have to take it. But vice versa, you can pull separate parts of different schools of thoughts and bring them to work together. Like french fries and cream cheese frosting, not all combinations that work well together seem obvious from the get go.

Yes, you can babywear and sleep train. You can feed your kids organic and also go to McDonald’s sometimes. You can give your kids choices and also give them things they have to do sometimes. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing. This isn’t a restaurant where they serve you one thing and one thing only and you have to eat it for the rest of your life. No, you can make the combinations you want because it’s a buffet.

I hope that you stuck with me to the end and that this post made sense to you. This was a freeing concept for me and I hope that it might be for you too.

How would you describe your parenting philosophy? What do you think of my buffet approach? 

Tiny Polka Dot

Disclaimer: I received Tiny Polka Dot for free as I am a part of Timberdoodle’s review team for the 2017-2018 school year. I’m excited about the opportunities this brings me to my blog and very excited to showcase some neat products for you. I hope that you’ll find these reviews enjoyable and helpful as well! As always, this blog will only ever be my 100 percent honest opinions. 

Tiny Polka Dot size reference pictureAs you may know, in our house, we play a lot of games. For as long as I can remember, I have loved board games and card games of all kinds. My family even has our own card game. So, it has been my great delight to be able to pass that love onto my children. We play together frequently.

But we don’t just play for fun – we also play because games are a great way to build so many skills. There are skills that they teach that can’t be measured. These are things like taking turns and learning how to be a gracious winner and loser. Then, there are other skills that can be quantified more easily, like math, which is the main skill focus on Tiny Polka Dot.

I assumed from the name Tiny Polka Dot that it would be small. However, it was a lot smaller than I expected. Which is great! I love small games because they travel so well. This game is a great size to toss in a bag. We frequently bring games places we might have some downtime. You can see from the picture that it’s easily held in one hand. Allen playing Tiny Polka Dot

Don’t let its small size fool you. With 66 cards in six suits, it also includes 8 rule cards which have instructions for 16 different games. Plus, that doesn’t even touch the number of games you could invent with the cards on your own. Dominic loves to invent games. After we had played a few of the games, he was already wanting to make his own.

For me as the mom, one of the things that I most appreciated about the game besides its small size was the durability of the cards. They will hold up well, though they will bend if you are being too rough with them. I also appreciated that the cards weren’t just numerals. Actually, the six suits have different visual representations of numbers. There is the traditional dice representation, but also a grid representation, a circle representation, and more. The dots are great for one on one correspondence, which I am working on with my youngest Allen, who is 2. But this game is incredibly versatile and can really grow with your kids as they grow up. With the same set of cards, we could play games that were easy enough for Allen, but also challenging enough for Dominic, who is 5. Tiny Polka Dot CollageMy kids definitely enjoyed this game. It helped Allen to slow down and really count the dots. Frequently when counting he just rattles off numbers rapidly. But this game is definitely helping to teach him to actually count. Dominic was having so much fun I don’t even think he was learning different ways that you can add up to 10 or 15. He found the blue dot cards which have the numbers in a grid of 10 especially helpful. These cards allowed him to easily see how many were left that he needed in order to be able to add up to ten. When I asked him about Tiny Polka Dot, he told me it was cool. He also said he liked how many different ways you could play it.

The only downside that I could see to this game is that I felt like a few of the instruction cards weren’t clear. However, with so many ways to use it, you are still having a fun time with your house rules. You don’t need to play it 100 percent the right way to have fun or to learn. Overall, I’d highly recommend Tiny Polka Dot, it’s a really great bunch of games in a tiny package and a reasonable price point! It would definitely be a great addition to any home or classroom.It’s also a new addition to the PreK kit from Timberdoodle, which we used last year and loved. I think this is a solid addition to that kit in the math department.  This is especially true since it will definitely grow with your kids. You will be able to use it in PreK and well beyond as well.

Have you ever played Tiny Polka Dot? What are your math struggles? What are your favorite math games? 

Weird but True: The Kentucky Meat Shower

The Kentucky Meat Shower happened on an ordinary farm, just like this one

The Kentucky Meat Shower happened on an ordinary farm, just like this one

Today, I’d like to take you back in time to a weird but true part of American history that I recently heard about. The Kentucky Meat Shower.

Now, you may be asking yourself. What in the world is a meat shower?

Well, it is, in some ways, exactly what it sounds like. Meat, raining from the sky, like a rain shower. It happened in March of 1876 in Kentucky, when flakes of meat fell from the sky. Some pieces were big, other pieces were merely like snowflakes. It was witnessed by a woman making soap in her front yard and her husband.

And I know what you’re thinking, it’s a hoax! But actually, it was reported on as being serious by several major sources, including the New York Times, so it’s unlikely that it was a hoax. (The New York Times article, by the way, is delightful in only the way that old style reporting can you. You have to read it.)

Nobody is quite sure what kind of meat it is, though some people who tasted it said it was either mutton or venison. I’m not sure about you, but I don’t think I would have been brave enough to try mystery meat that fell from the sky with no apparent explanation. Some also said that it was beef or even bear meat.

Scientists even came to collect samples and they thought it might have been lung tissue either from a horse or a human infant. Now, it sounds like those two things would be hard to mix up, but you have to remember that this was 1876 and things were not the same for science as they were now. For context, the meat shower happened about a week before Alexander Graham Bell made his first successful telephone call. So for it to spread as far as it did and for as many people to hear about it as they did is kind of remarkable. Imagine if there was a meat shower today and how fast that would be all over Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

However, they were able to further back up that these samples were muscle, cartilage, and lung tissue, even though they didn’t know what kind of animal they came from.

For a while, they thought it was Nostoc. Which apparently you can eat, but look at that, who would want to? There was also, briefly, a theory that like the asteroid belt, there was a meat belt in space. I mean, we know this to be completely impossible, but I find it highly amusing to imagine.

Now, do you want to know what caused it? The most likely theory?

Vultures. Yup, those carnivorous scavenger birds. Apparently, they will vomit when they are scared or need to take altitude quickly. Definitely reason number two not to eat strange falling meat from the sky because it could be vulture vomit. But, then you ask, how come no one saw the vultures? Well, apparently, some species of vultures can fly at 40,000 feet.  That’s taller than Mt. Everest, so I understand that that might not be visible to the human eye.

Have you ever heard of the Kentucky Meat Shower before? What’s your reaction to this strange but true history? Do you have any great alternate theories about what caused it? 


Bible Reflection Sheet for Kids

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Last week or so, I turned to Facebook looking for a Bible reflection sheet for kids in Dominic’s age range (Kindergarten/lower elementary). We are reading through the Bible one chapter at a time. This will probably take us forever, but I think it’s good for both of us. However, I wanted a way for him to not just hear, but also think about what we were reading. I asked my friends and in a Facebook group, but I wasn’t finding quite what I was looking for, so I decided to make my own. I also googled, but there are about a billion things on google when you are looking for Bible stuff and when I couldn’t easily find it, I figured it would be faster just to make my own. And then, I figured, if I was looking for this, other people probably were too. So, I thought I’d share it here for you.

I asked my friends and in a Facebook group, but I wasn’t finding quite what I was looking for, so I decided to make my own. I also googled, but there are about a billion things on google when you are looking for Bible stuff and when I couldn’t easily find it, I figured it would be faster just to make my own. And then, I figured, if I was looking for a Bible reflection sheet for kids, other people probably were too. So, I thought I’d share it here for you.

do have to tell you that it is not pretty or fancy. It is very basic, but it gets the job done. I wanted a space where Dominic could draw a picture as well as write what happened. While he can write, at this point getting his thoughts down in long sentence form can be frustrating for him. His brain often moves faster than his fingers. So, usually, I let him dictate that part to me and I write it down for him.

We do talk about what happened, but I try very hard not to guide him in what he says in the dictation part, though sometimes I do give him prompts about what is happening if he tells me he can’t think of anything, like “What did Moses do?” (We’re in Exodus).

I also included a section to circle what part of the Bible it’s from. This is because we’ve been having a lot of discussions lately about Old Testament and New Testament and what the difference is.

You can see an example here of one we did last week. In case you can’t tell, the picture is a tent and the little circles around it are Manna.

Bible Reflection Sheet for Lower Elementary Students

BibleReflection.pdf (151 downloads)

Let me know if you download the Bible reflection sheet for kids what you think of it! 

Ella Builds a Wall by Ruth McKeague Book Review

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free, but as always, this is my honest and truthful opinion. If you buy the book through my link, part of the money will come back to me. Just through reading this review you are supporting me, so thanks! 

I am very excited today to bring to you a review of a new book, Ella Builds a Wall by Ruth McKeague. As you might know, we are big readers in this house. I read a lot. My kids read a lot. We own over 1,000 books, 800 or so of those alone being children’s books. Needless to say, including library books, my children and I have read a lot of books. However, just because we have read a lot of books, it does not stop us from the Ella Builds a Wall by Ruth McKeague continued search for children’s books. Reading has so many benefits. And our continued search for children’s books helps to broaden my children’s view of the world. You can learn about so many people and places and parts of the world through books.

But enough about reading – let’s talk specifically about Ella Builds a Wall. 

Name of book: Ella Builds a Wall

Author: Ruth McKeague

Summary: I think that these videos do a great job of the summary, so instead of reading my summary of the book, I’d encourage you to watch the summaries below instead! You can also read about Ruth’s journey of writing this book. 

Rating:  5 stars

Reason for Rating  

In Ella Builds a Wall, Ella learns from her Sensei about the walls that we build around people. She learns about the walls that make us stronger and help us defend ourselves. She also learns the walls that make us weaker by shutting people out. As a kid, I was bullied and I was often told to Dominic Reading Ella Builds a Wall by Ruth McKeagueignore the bullies, which, to be honest, I don’t think is exceedingly helpful advice. Even if I didn’t ignore them, it didn’t change how I felt on the inside after hearing mean things. I feel like this book provides an excellent framework, as a parent, to be able to discuss with our kids what is in their control – which is their emotions and their reactions. I want to use this with my kids to be able to talk to them about how we are the master of our feelings. That’s something that I still struggle with as an adult. However, I hope that I will be able to give them the tools so they don’t have to struggle when they are my age. I loved that it wasn’t just about Ella fighting bullies. It was also about how to be a good friend to people that you think are strange and not at all like you. In the book that’s Sarah, who is not the bully, but who Ella thinks she has nothing in common with. The book shows them able to become friends. The book made me think about all the times that we build walls and shut people out. We think that their actions are directed at us. Really, they are just trying to live their lives and get through the things we are all trying to get through. Dominic told me the book was “very cool” and “great!” I’d recommend this book for kids who are struggling with bullies or with big emotions. I think that you could even use this in sibling relationships. I think it is a good read with Dominic now. However, I’m excited to see how he can grow with this book and how we can talk about it more as he grows and changes.

Thank you again to Ruth for providing me with a copy of this book! It was an excellent read and I hope that you enjoy it as well! If you’d like to purchase it, purchasing through the link is the best way to go as a part of the proceeds will come to me if you do! What are your favorite books that deal with feelings and bullying? Will you pick up a copy of Ella Builds a Wall

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