Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Today I took my five kids, plus one of their friends, to Burger King. It was busy with families of all shapes, sizes, and colors. While I waited for my order I noticed an unusually large stack of newspapers with the photo of the great Martin Luther King Jr. across the top. Ah yes, Martin Luther King Jr. Day… this is why Burger King was so busy; schools are out.

I took a newspaper, my food, and all the cups and went to find my kids in the “mad house” (the designated play area that consists of an enclosed room filled with a network of tunnels and slides). While all the kids played, chased, and screamed together I skimmed through my newly acquired Atlanta Journal Constitution. Opening the pages was like opening a time capsule. The AJC had compiled copies of their own words from the 1960’s, highlighting Dr. King’s activism and the change he helped produce. The pages were moving, to say the least; and if I were being completely honest I would admit they brought me to tears.

What a magical thing… seeing the actual copies of a newspaper from some 50-odd years ago, well before I was born, and reading about happenings I cannot even imagine. I learned that when outsiders marched for equality in Selma, Alabama there was an outcry of rage among the locals to the tune of “Get out of our business!”. Even when priests, nuns, and other church clergy and members from varying denominations marched side by side for peace there was spitting, shouting, and general chaos amongst the crowd. Selma’s own sheriff was said to have paraded around with a button that read “Never”, as in “We’ll never give in to changing segregation”.

Looking around the Burger King today, where all types of families sat in close proximity, talking, sharing, and eating, it was hard for me to comprehend that only 50 years ago this scene was vastly different. All the children busily played with each other and were seemingly blind to their differences of color. It was beautiful. “This… this is so much closer to how it’s supposed to be” I thought as I finally put my paper down.

There was one moment when I felt like we had a long way to go yet, and that’s when my daughter brought my (handicapped) five-year-old son to me and told me that a boy in the tunnel looked at him, pointed, and said “he’s weird”. She seemed to be more offended than he was by this and told me that her response was “No he’s not! He’s just got different arms and legs.” He said “whatever”.  She replied “Well, don’t judge people!”, to which he retorted “I’m telling.” Haha… and I hope he did.

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a magnificent, strong, just, and overall beautiful man. He’s now my answer to the question “If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would it be?” Besides Jesus, I believe that MLK has probably changed more lives and hearts of people than any other person could have, and we still need him.

Inequality is still around, but sometimes we can’t see it.  It’s in races, ages, sexes… even something as “normal” as America’s infant circumcision is a huge human rights violation.  But who sees it? Who battles these daily fights against society’s standard?

I can say with fervency that I know where I would have been in March of 1963. Anyone who really knows me would know I’d have been there, right in the front, holding my signs, getting arrested… Would my friends? I’m proud to say that I know many of my friends would have been there with me; however, a few of them I doubt would have been on the right side, and that’s not to say they’re prejudice, but that they tend to follow whatever they were originally taught, and not hear new information concerning human rights or justice. It’s a tragedy, but I still accept them as friends.  As the great Dr. King said “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear”.  Perhaps, in time, they will come to realize “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?”, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”, and “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.

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So here’s to the beautiful man who helped create our present! Here’s to the many people who marched those miles, held those signs, and looked the ugly face of injustice in the eyes and wouldn’t budge! Here’s to the modern-day freedom fighters, patriots, activists, unschoolers,‬ attachment parents, ‎intactivists‬, ‎lactivists‬, ‎libertarians‬, ‎voluntaryists‬… and anyone else who peacefully but actively fights the status quo in order to bring about a better future for others!

Indeed “the time is always right to do what’s right”.

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My goal as a parent

by Kallen

My goal as a parent is to raise a kind, well adjusted adult. Just like lots of parents. I think it’s so important to be a good example, because you are. Always. I’m hyper conscious of the fact that my daughter is always watching me. This has been illustrated most recently by her attempts to pinch my chin after watching me pop a zit. Gross right? Also really painful to be continuously punched by tiny fingers. I try to set a good example in everything I do, emulating the qualities I want to see in her. I try to focus on the fact that I’m raising an adult not raising a child. I want her to do the right thing because it is right, not for fear of pain or punishment; it’s why we’re a punishment free household. No spanking, yelling, or other forms of discipline. I’m not perfect, I yell on a rare occasion. It’s hard to rewire your brain. Our society touts spanking as the only way to “control” your kids. But I don’t want to control her. I want to foster her wonder and joy in life. I frequently think of something Adam Sandler says in Big Daddy (I know, excellent parenting resource right?) Anyway, he says something like do whatever you want, and I’ll show you some cool stuff along the way. While I definitely don’t let her do whatever she wants, I let her do probably 85% of whatever she wants. As long as it isn’t overly dangerous or disruptive, I don’t mind, and I show her lots of cool stuff along the way!
To me, this is what parenting is supposed to be. I must be doing something right because at 16 months, my daughter is kind, gentle, says thank you without promoting (sometimes), is helpful, outgoing, cleans up after herself, etc etc. I’m a very proud mom, both of her and of myself.

Big Changes Coming Soon!!

By Shanna

I’ve been so absent recently. Sorry about that! There have been some major changes in our household, and I’ve got to tell ya… it’s been no picnic!

My husband and I were going through a rough patch, mainly due to his PTSD.  Now, I’m not blaming him!  He, and many other soldiers, fought bravely to serve our country.  Whether you agree with the reason we went over there or not, the fact remains that our soldiers gave up large parts of their lives, time, other opportunities, mental health, some… body parts, some… their very lives. They sacrificed for America.  Was the war necessary?  Who’s to say?  That’s not my point.  Was their sacrifice and service to their country an honorable thing to do?  Absolutely.  Support our military, and especially the ones who are “rough around the edges” and harder to love because of the traumas and stresses of war!  Support them, always!

Stepping down from the soapbox now…

 

Anyway, we had been going through some huge changes.  I’m still not 100% comfortable putting my entire life’s vulnerabilities on a weblog, but let’s just say that if it weren’t for the goodness of family, we’d have been homeless for the past year and a half.  Life wasn’t just giving us lemons; it was chucking them at us at 60 mph, and laughing in our faces. Through this past 15 months or so we’ve learned to stop ducking and start catching, squeezing with all our might, mixing with sweetness, and BAM… lemonade! 🙂

 

We’re buying a house!  Well… we’re trying to.  My awesome realtor found us a great deal on a simple, small, clean home with a .5 acre yard.  I’m very excited, and hopefully it goes through.  Closing date is May 2.  I’ll let you know!  If we can get into our own place I can promise lots more pictures and videos of our adventures in unschooling, gardening, parenting, DIY fixes, and much more.

Plus, I’m adding a new blogger to our NGP site! She’ll introduce herself soon.  Peace ya’ll! ~Shanna

Down with False Idols!

You wouldn't let a urologist perform brain surgery on you, right? I hope not!

You wouldn’t let a urologist perform brain surgery on you, right? I hope not!

Please, do not make the mistake of worshiping people. I’m speaking specifically of “specialists” who go well beyond their areas of speciality.

For example, Dr. Oz is a heart surgeon. He is (supposedly) a very good one. Here are the things he is NOT:

Audiologist
Allergist
Anesthesiologist
Dentist
Dermatologist
Endocrinologist
Epidemiologist
General/Family Practitioner
Gastroenterologist
Gynecologist
Hematologist
Hepatologist
Immunologist
Infectious disease Specialist
Internal medicine specialist
Internist
Medical geneticist
Microbiologist
Neonatologist
Nephrologist
Neurologist
Neurosurgeon
Nutritionist
Obstetrician
Oncologist
Ophthalmologist
Orthopedic surgeon
Otolaryngologist
Perinatologist
Paleopathologist
Parasitologist
Pathologist
Pediatrician
Physiologist
Physiatrist
Plastic surgeon
Podiatrist
Psychiatrist
Psychologist
Pulmonologist
Radiologist
Rheumatologist
Sex therapist
Urologist
Or a Veterinarian

And he is ESPECIALLY NOT an Andrologist! (The andrologist helps in diagnosing and treating disorders related to the male reproductive system.)

Why do I bring this up?
Because some poor fool asked Dr. Oz’s advice on whether to circumcise their infant son. He apparently told them they should because the foreskin can “strangle the penis”.
*facepalm*
He clearly knows NOTHING about the functions of a normal, intact penis, because no informed doctor worth his Hippocratic Oath would recommend robbing a person out of such a beneficial organ. Besides, no one has ever in recorded history been killed by their foreskin.

Using a TV heart surgeon’s misguided (and probably monetarily encouraged $$) advice to justify amputating healthy foreskin off your newly born infant’s penis is ludicrous.

Seriously… it makes about as much sense as asking the guy who made your Subway sandwich to fill your cavities.

 

In our age of easily accessible truth and information isn’t it a wonder people are still asking celebrities these questions at all??  There are studies and international medical journals free to the public if you know how to find them.  We need to start doing better than TV shows and mommy blogs; (not that there’s anything wrong with TV OR mommy blogs!)  they [we]  just shouldn’t be your go-to source for truth.  😉  Learn to do research, real research, for yourself and you’ll never have to be at the mercy of a false idol again!

Potty Learning, Not Potty Training

I got Horsey's permission before posting this adorable picture of when she was potty learning.

I got Horsey’s permission before posting this adorable picture of when she was potty learning.

(I wrote this a year ago, when little Ox was 3.*) 

When you stop and think about it, potty training really makes no sense. Children are inherently good learners. They want to grow up and become like adults; some of the most popular toddler games are just mimicking adult behavior.

Children teach themselves to walk. They also teach themselves to talk. They require no lessons or scheduled practices to do so. They don’t succeed faster with punishments or reward systems, charts or constant reminders to practice. The only things they require from us are patience and pride in their achievements. The same holds true for potty learning.

To be honest, I was a little worried about how potty learning would go with my current three-year-old. He has a handicap that prevents him from walking or standing.

About a week ago he started asking on and off to sit on the potty. We would take off his diaper and sit him down on the potty. It was cute, and he was just doing it for fun. This morning when he tried, he went! I put his diaper back on, and about an hour later he wanted to go again. He went again! And again! He has had only one wet diaper all day.

I’ll admit, it is a little tiring to stop what I’m doing, put down the baby, take off his diaper, and physically lift him on the potty every time he wants to try, but I am just so proud of him. I will continue to do it because this is his game now, his personal goal, and my job is to help him achieve his goals.

I have already gotten onto my oldest children because they were taking it upon themselves to remind him or ask him if he needs to go. Rule #1 about potty learning… Leave them alone! It’s just like walking and talking. They are not doing it for you. They are doing it for themselves. No nagging. No punishments. No treats. Just pride. Your pride in their own achievements is all they want!

The quickest way to stop his progress and cheat him out of his self-achievement would be to make it MY game, MY goal. To take this project away from him and make it my own project for him to accomplish for me would be a sin! Simply terrible! No wonder so many children have a hard time potty training, or regress once they’ve done so well!

I hope this helps some of you potty training mamas to relax. I know it can be really stressful, especially with your first. But it’s fine, I promise. Believe me, NO ONE wants to be in diapers if they have a choice.

So how do you know when they’re ready? Easy, they start going. 

I hope this was helpful to some people. I just want you to know that it’s not just better and more natural for the child. This way is better for the adult, and on the parent-child relationship too. But, possibly the best thing about them potty learning by themselves, is that once they learn they learn forever!

**Disclaimer** I wrote this in January, 2013, one year ago.  Because he was never able to get himself to the potty, he was never 100% into it. He relies on us right now for most of his mobility, and he eventually tired of making us take him. He still can, and does tell us he wants to sit on the potty, but not as much as when it was new. I know that if he had been able to go all by himself he would never have wanted to go back.  I’m not worried about it though. I stand by my statement… “NO ONE wants to be in diapers if they have a choice.” I also stand beside his knowledge of it. He won’t ever have to “relearn”. He hasn’t digressed, only decided it’s not easier for him. When he gets a bit stronger, and we can help think of a way around this obstacle, he won’t have any problems being independent about it. 

The “Love Bucket”

If/When my children (ages 11, 9, 7, 4, and 17mths) are sassy, act out, moody, or prone to tantrums, we know that it is not their fault. There is always, always an underlying meaning behind their misbehavior. At my house, we call that “an empty Love Bucket”. 

As adults, we can better realize our emotions and work through them ourselves. But we have to admit, sometimes it’s hard even for us! We can’t expect our children to always be able to vocalize their emotions. The reason they are misbehaving is because of their own emotions that they, themselves, cannot control. Instead of scolding them, or going straight to a punishment, we need to first reassure them that we love them, we are here for them, and everything will be okay. 

When I see my children arguing, or misbehaving in general, I can take them aside and ask them (with genuine concern) why they are acting out. I will calmly suggest that maybe they need their Love Bucket filled up.  Depending on which child I’m talking to, they will either stay silent and look at the floor, or they will look straight at me and begin to cry. No matter what their reaction, 100% of the time that means “yes”. I give them hugs and kisses, hold them, and invite them to talk about their feelings. Also 100% of the time, there are no further problems with that child. This is attachment parenting at its best! 

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From the left: Spunky Monkey, Smart Horse, and Loving Dog all wet from playing in the sprinklers

Have you filled up your child’s Love Bucket today?

~Shanna