What I believe: Brad Pitt, Kevin Kline on co-sleeping

I tend not to write much about celebrities on my blog. As a general rule, I find there’s just too much other stuff going on in the world (especially my family’s world) for me to discuss who’s doing/saying what out in Hollywood. But when I heard that Brad Pitt (and then Kevin Kline) recently made comments about co-sleeping, something I just wrote about a few days ago, it was a) timely, b) something near and dear to my heart and c) I felt compelled to post.

From People magazine:

Brad Pitt

Brad Pitt says he and Angelina Jolie are going to need a bigger bed Γ’β‚¬β€œ for their expanding brood.

“We’re not done,” Pitt, 43, quipped, acknowledging public interest in the family’s growth. “They say, ‘Any plans for a fifth?’ And I say, ‘And a sixth, and a seventh, and an eighth, and a ninth.’ That’s my answer.”

“We also made a 9-foot-wide bed” that fits him, Jolie, 32, and all four children, Pitt who is starring in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, told the Associated Press. “Just big enough. One more and we’ll have to go to 11 feet.”

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From OK! Magazine:

Kevin Kline, 59, agrees with fellow actor Brad Pitt when it comes to the family bed, also known as co-sleeping. He and his wife, actress Phoebe Cates, 44, still allow son Owen, 16, and daughter, Greta, 13, to join them at night.

There is a theory that a child has to teach itself to go to sleep, and if every time it cries you whisk them out of their bed — the jury is still out on that. But our kids still sleep in our bed.

Kevin admits that every parent questions whether or not to have their children sleep with them.

There are so many books that say ‘It’s the family bed, why not?’ and there are others that say ‘Oh no.’ It all depends about their age.’

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Jane London, a deejay from local radio station Mix 100, recently spoke her mind on the air about Brad Pitt’s co-sleeping, calling it “creepy.” When questioned about her statement she responded, “I find the thought of having 10 people in one bed to be somewhat disturbing, to say the least.” You will notice from her bio that Jane has no children. I think it’s easier to pass judgment on others’ parenting when you haven’t had the experience of parenting yourself. (To read more about Miss London’s comments, click on over to A Mama’s Blog. You’ll have to scroll down a bit to get to the part where she describes the radio show and her emails with Miss London.)

what i believe

Personally, I think it’s great that Brad and Angelina are co-sleeping, for a couple of reasons. My guess is that children of celebrities don’t have the most stable lives. One parent is off working, while the other cares for the children, then the one parent comes home and the other goes off to film a movie. (Brad even indicates this in his interview.) When they are out in public, they are hounded by the paparazzi. I would think that could be rather frightening to a child. I think by providing a safe nighttime environment, such as a family bed, they are helping their children feel secure and a closeness with the parents and siblings. The other thing is that three of their children are adopted and I think by having a family bed, the kids are able to bond more quickly with their family. And just because Brad says they have plans for more children does not mean they will be biological children. I think there’s a good chance they will be adopting again. So the family bed will help the children with the transition into their new family.

A friend of mine is in the process of adopting two children and she told me that when you are adopting, it’s advised that you treat the children the same way you would treat a biological baby for the first year to facilitate bonding. In other words, if you would co-sleep with a newborn, then you should co-sleep with your adopted child as well. There’s actually a really good article about the family bed and adoptive families

And I’m glad that Kevin Kline is showing his support by admitting that his family also shares a family bed from time to time. I believe that when kids know that they can go to their parents, whether it’s during the day or in the middle of the night, that helps to foster a secure and trusting relationship. And as the children get older, like in Kevin’s family’s case, hopefully that equates to the children feeling like they can talk to their parents about anything – drugs, alcohol, sex, abuse, etc. I believe that to have a secure parent-child relationship, you need to keep the lines of communication open, and not shut off to them just because it’s dark out.

A different friend of mine made a very important point in that people seem to forget that we are mammals. She said, “Mammals give birth, lactate (and nurse their young until about the age when permanent teeth erupt) and sleep with their young closely attached. If humans had given up these behaviors, even in the last 200 years, we would probably be extinct as a species.”

She also pointed out that just because we can afford larger houses with multiple bedrooms, it doesn’t mean that our needs as mammals have changed. A lot of this is covered in the book, “Our Babies, Ourselves” by Meredith Small, and is a fascinating read if you ever have the chance. I read it a few years ago and should really get my own copy since it’s such a great book (and highly quotable). I’m kicking myself now for not having a copy of my own on hand.

I did, however, find some related information on The Natural Child Project: Throughout human history, breast-feeding mothers sleeping alongside their infants constituted a marvelously adaptive system in which both the mothers’ and infants’ sleep physiology and health were connected in beneficial ways. By sleeping next to its mother, the infant receives protection, warmth, emotional reassurance, and breast milk – in just the forms and quantities that nature intended.

My point is that I know co-sleeping is not for everyone, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the people who do choose to do it. Just because a family bed is not something everyone in this culture subscribes to, that doesn’t make it bad or wrong. There are very valid reasons to support co-sleeping. If Brad and Angelina want to have the Biggest Bed in the World, more power to them. But to say that they are “creepy” because of their choice just seems ignorant and close-minded to me.

It sounds to me like Brad and Angelina are trusting their instincts and doing what’s right for their family. We could all learn something from that.

For more information about the family bed, visit Ask Dr. Sears or The Natural Family Project.

Lastly, this is a bit of an odd request, but if anyone out there knows how to get in touch with Brad or Angelina or their agencies, could you please Contact Me? Attachment Parenting International is hoping to find a way to get in touch with them. Thanks! πŸ™‚

Want to play along with “What I believe”? Click on over to The Natural Mommy and read more about it.

Housekeeping (of the bloggy variety)

You may have noticed that I’ve added a few new pages lately over in the right sidebar under well, pages, of course. πŸ™‚

The first is the Contest page, where I will list contests of note that I’ve entered around the blogosphere. If you are ever looking for some contests to enter, please check out my list. πŸ™‚

The second is my new submit a product for review page. I’ve done a few reviews here lately (have a few more scheduled) and am interested in doing more. Here’s a bit about what I’m looking for (taken from that page)…
If you have a product that you think would appeal to me and my readers (who are generally moms of young children), please contact me. Things that are of particular interest are items promoting breastfeeding, babywearing, attachment parenting or green living, natural toys, anything photography-related, as well as clothing and shoes for babies, toddlers, kids and mamas. Natural products for babies, children or mamas are also of interest.

I also started up a more linky love page where I have buttons to some contest blogs as well as buttons for my blogging pals. If you have a button for your blog and would like it to appear on that page, please contact me. I’m an equal opportunity bloggy love linker (uh, whatever that means).

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My last matter of bloggy business is that Nell over at Casual Friday Everyday (I love that blog name and her slogan – “Where every day is take your kids to work day” hee hee) recently honored me with the BFF: Blog Friend Forever award.

Ò€œThis award is presented to awesome BLOG owners who keep their readers excited about their posts. Their blog posts are interesting (NOT spammy) and worth reading and keep their subscribers looking forward to each and every post.Ò€

Thank you, Nell. πŸ™‚ I really appreciate this especially because there are some days when I write a post and I wonder if anyone is getting anything out of it. But then the writing makes me feel good so I keep at it. πŸ™‚

I have several blogs I visit regularly, but the bloggers I’d like to pass this on to are:

  • Steph at Adventures in Babywearing (even though she already received it from Nell, I too am always looking forward to her posts) – She’s always posting about current events and challenging her readers. Plus she has some pretty kick ass giveaways.
  • Leigh at Mere Mortal Mama – She doesn’t post as often as I’d like (guess she’s too busy caring for her 2 month old and 2 year old – the nerve *wink*), but I always look forward to what she has to say. She’s a doula, an amazing writer, and I feel like we have a lot in common – including our breech baby home births.
  • Heather at A Mama’s Blog – Heather is my friend IRL (in real life) and I know she started her blog as a way to document her children’s lives, but she also has been touching on many important issues relating to women such as alarming c-section rates, breastfeeding, etc. I feel like she’s doing a great job getting the word out about issues of which we should all be informed.

That’s all the housekeeping I have for today. Thank you and good night. πŸ™‚

Ava: “It boings.” (speech evaluation)

I’ve written in the past a little bit about our concerns over Ava’s speech. She’s had difficulty pronouncing certain sounds – S, TH, J, R, F, Z. I mentioned it to her doctor at her 3 year check-up (ooh, that reminds me, I still need to get Julian in for his 9 month chk-up. He’ll be 10 mos. in 4 days.) and she suggested that I get her hearing and speech tested. Her hearing test was normal and covered by insurance. The speech test was not going to be covered by insurance so I set out to find a free or low-cost testing alternative.

I discovered a program called “Child Find” which is free (paid by tax dollars) that is actually operated through our school district. A friend of mine had her daughter assessed a while back and it took a couple of months to have her seen. When I called last week to schedule an appointment for Ava, I figured we wouldn’t get in until November. I about fell off my chair when she said they had an opening for a week hence – today, and I took it. Jody made plans to stay home from work for the morning to take care of Julian so I could take Ava to her appointment.

The testing, developmental tests including sight and speech, only took about 45 minutes and it all went quite well. Ava was shy at first, but it didn’t take long for her to warm up and she cooperated very well. I admit that it was hard for me to sit there and observe and not try to help Ava answer some of the questions or give her prompts in some way. But I didn’t want to interfere with the diagnosis (or get kicked out) so I kept my mouth shut. πŸ˜‰

One of the tests involved placing different objects in front of Ava and the woman giving the test asked her to “tell me everything you can about this.” It was so interesting to hear her responses. The first object was a red ball. Did Ava say, “It’s a red ball?” No. She said, “You can bounce it.” And then, “It boings” πŸ™‚ and “you can kick it.” And then the woman asked her what color it was, what it was called and what shape it was and she answered all of those correctly. It was cool to me that her first response was not, “It’s a red ball” as mine would have been, but instead she described what you can do with the ball. πŸ™‚ It’s so cool the way kids’ brains work – so vastly different from us as adults.

Next came a blue button. This time the first thing Ava said this time was, “It’s a button.” And then something about it can be on your shirt or on your shoes. When asked what shape it is she said, “It’s a circle as well.” The woman got a kick out of “as well.” She’s been saying “as well” a lot lately at home. hehe.

Lastly, when she was shown a yellow car, she said, “It drives.” And then, “It crashes into other cars if it goes too fast.” LOL Wonder where she picked that up? πŸ˜‰

Anyway, Ava tested normally for everything, with the exception of being assessed as having a “possible delay” for speech. The woman who did her testing said that she did well with repeating back when she had her watch her mouth when she slowly said the sound or word, so she thinks we just need to work more with her at home and have her watch us and repeat back to us. And I think she’s probably right. Just in the past couple of weeks I asked her to repeat back some F sounds for me and she did it. And now she’s saying most of her F words (well, not *that* F word) correctly. So I guess it’s just going to take some work and practicing.

I admit I kind of shied away from asking her to repeat sounds back to me in the past because I didn’t want her to get a complex and think that she wasn’t speaking correctly or something, even though that is the case. But I think maybe if we don’t do it all the time and aren’t constantly correcting her, she should be OK. Right? Or should we be consistent and correct her all the time? Anyone else go through something similar and have any advice for me?

I’m glad that I went ahead and scheduled the testing even though I had my initial fears of “Oh no. Is there something wrong with my child? How could she not be perfect?” The thing this has helped me realize is, of course, that none of us are perfect. Even our children, as hard as it can be for us to admit it, have their quirks.

I think it’s important to have these types of things assessed so that help or treatment can be sought if needed. In our case, it doesn’t look like Ava needs extra outside help, but we are aware now that we should start working with her to help her get a handle on these sounds. If for some reason she’s not showing improvement in 6 months, I can take her back to be evaluated again. And I will if that’s the case, because I’d rather get her the help she needs now than have her suffer or be teased or have trouble communicating later because we didn’t.

Here’s a link to Child Find which operates in six states – Connecticut, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, New Hampshire, and Vermont. If you aren’t in any of those states and are in need of a similar assessment program, my advice is to call your local school district. They should be able to tell you what is available in your area.

Green lunch kits for back-to-school and a contest

Updated: The winner of the bags is #41 – Jill H.! Congratulations, Jill. And thanks to everyone who entered. A new contest will be coming up next week!

“According to the New York State Department of Conservation, parents who pack a child’s lunch in disposable bags or containers generate 45 to 90 pounds of garbage every year. That equates to 18,760 pounds of lunch waste for just one average-size elementary school.”

When Ava went to the farm camp this summer, I went through a lot of plastic sandwich bags (Disposable plastic baggies can take 1,000 years to decompose!) and napkins and felt that there had to be a better way to pack a lunch and cut down on the trash. I started looking around for a reusable lunch kit to use for preschool and found the Laptop Lunch Kit at Reusable Bags.

laptop lunch kit

I bought the Laptop Lunch Kit for Ava to use for her preschool lunches this year. I love that the small colorful containers allow for a variety of healthy foods to be packed, better portion control, and I won’t have to use 3 or 4 sandwich bags each time I pack her lunch. The kit includes a thermal, zippered carrying case that houses a large snap-shut tray, five reusable microwave safe food containers, a sport bottle, and a stainless steel fork and spoon. Also included is a 96-page “User’s Guide” loaded with healthy recipes and tips for reducing throwaways which I’m sure will come in very handy on those days I’m feeling less than creative about packing a lunch.

I really think this will make packing Ava’s lunches more fun for me and more fun for her to eat. And we will be doing something good for the environment.

1st bento

Here’s a picture of the first lunch I packed in her snazzy new lunch box. It wasn’t that creative (I’m still learning), but I thought it looked pretty. πŸ™‚ It included an almond butter and jelly sandwich (no peanut butter allowed because of another child’s allergies), mandarin oranges, cucumbers and baby carrots, Ranch dressing for dipping in the little blue container, and Annie’s whole wheat bunnies.

Ava’s preschool teacher loved the lunch box and asked where I got it. She is thinking of getting one for her mom to take with her to work. πŸ™‚

Even before I heard of this study, I’d been having my concerns about chemicals from plastic leaching into the kids’ drinking water and had been on the lookout for some stainless steel cups for the kids. I came across the Klean Kanteen Sippy Cup, also sold at Reusable Bags, and decided to get one for Julian. Ava heard me talking about it to Jody and chimed in that she wanted one too, so I got one for each.

I stumbled across an online coupon code for 20% off my total from Reusablebags.com, which helped soften the blow a bit. If you are in the market for some cool lunch kits for your kids or other reusable bags, water bottles, etc., feel free to give the code – mth6cp – a try yourself. πŸ™‚

Win it!
And now for the giveaway…

Reusable Bags has offered up two of their best-selling reusable bags to one lucky winner : the
Workhorse Style 1500 and the Lightweight Recycled Cotton Tote with Dual Handles, both made by ACME Bags.

Workhorse ACME bag Cotton tote ACME bag

If you’d like a chance to win the bags, please:

  1. Sign Mr. Linky below
  2. Link to this contest on your blog (or tell a friend about the contest if you don’t have a blog)
  3. Leave a comment

The deadline to enter is 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 26. The winner will be chosen at random (using random.org) on Thursday, Sept. 27, and announced that day. Good luck! πŸ™‚

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Co-sleeping for sanity

Welcome to the September Carnival of Breastfeeding where this month’s topic is something that weighs heavily on every parent’s mind and eyelids – SLEEP.

Ava in bed - 4 mos. old - Oct. 2004 Julian in bed - 3 days old - Nov. 2006

During Ava’s first few months of life, she slept in a co-sleeper beside our bed. Being first time parents, we were too nervous to have her in bed with us, plus our queen-size bed seemed a little too small for three of us. Because I had to remember to put her back in the co-sleeper after each time she nursed, I’d force myself to stay awake and not nod off while she was at the breast, even though I really wanted to. This, as you can imagine, lead to some serious sleep deprivation on my part.

I recall a few occasions where I woke up with a start in the middle of the night and, in my half-conscious stupor, had no idea where Ava was! My first thought was that she’d fallen off the bed. I’d quickly sit up and survey the room (we had a small night light to assist in nighttime parenting). On the floor? No! Whew! But not on the bed either. Hmmm. Ah-ha! Safe and sound and sleeping peacefully in her co-sleeper. Of course.

The second time around, with Julian, I wised up and he came directly into bed (a king-sized bed we’d purchased just months before his birth) with my husband Jody and me. He was born at the foot of that bed and he spent his first night sleeping in it. πŸ™‚ Not having to worry about moving him back and forth from the co-sleeper to the bed made my nights so much more restful. He would stir to eat often (heck, he still does), but I would latch him on and we’d both fall back to sleep together. Ahhh. No more middle of the night startled waking to find “missing” babies. πŸ™‚

Having Julian in bed with us has truly been a lifesaver for me. There’s no way I could care for a baby and a 3-year-old if I wasn’t getting some half-way decent shut-eye. I think as long as some basic safety (common sense) guidelines are followed, co-sleeping can be a very safe and very helpful (think sanity-saving) practice when breastfeeding. πŸ™‚

Please take a moment to read some of the other carnival participants’ take on sleep:

Grilled panini – recipe

It’s been quite a while since I shared a yummy recipe on my blog, so to get back into the groove, here’s a delicious one I discovered this summer.

I have to say I am quite fond of this new recipe for Grilled Panini with Provolone and Basil I got out of Vegetarian Times. I am also fond of the fact that I got to use fresh basil right out of my garden for it. πŸ™‚ (I’m so excited to have my mini garden this year.)

Grilled panini

Grilled Panini with Provolone and Basil
Serves 8 – 30 minutes or fewer

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
3 cups shredded smoked Provolone cheese (about 8 oz.) – if you can’t find it shredded, simply stack sliced provolone and cut into thin strips and then smaller pieces
1 15 oz. can white beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped red onion
8 5-inch sandwich rolls (or 8 5-inch pieces of French bread), sliced open
Optional: Additional veggies. I added chopped spinach and mushrooms to mine.

1. Preheat grill to medium high. Combine basil and mayonnaise in small bowl, and set aside. Toss together cheese, beans and onion (and spinach and mushroom if you include them) in medium bowl.

2. Spread 1 Tbs. mayo mixture on each roll. Divide bean-cheese mixture among rolls. Close sandwiches, spritz with cooking spray and wrap in foil.

3. Wrap 4 bricks in foil. Place 4 sandwiches on grill, and set bricks on top of each. Grill 3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Eat ’em up! πŸ™‚ They taste great the next day as leftovers too.

Taking care of (bloggy) business

First of all, there’s this cool new (FREE) service available to help drive traffic to your blog called BlogRush. Most of us want more readers and more traffic, but don’t have the time to go out and find new readers. This is where BlogRush comes in. Basically all you need to do is sign up, insert some code into your blog (see the widget on the lower right side of my blog?) and that’s it. Sound too easy or too good to be true? Well, you can promote it on your blog by writing about it like this which helps too, but it’s not required. Check out the short video on BlogRush to see for yourself how BlogRush can work for you. Gosh, I sound like an infomercial. Too bad I’m not getting paid for this. πŸ˜‰

Secondly, there’s a sweet contest going on over at Mums the Word where they are giving away a $100 gift card to Natural Pod – an online store with natural and SAFE toys. With all of the recent toy recalls, it’s refreshing to find a store that makes good quality, safe, natural and imaginative toys. There are some amazing toys over there. I clicked through a few of the items yesterday while Ava stood next to me. She was very interested in this doll (I want her too) and this pots and bowls set. Not to discriminate, she also said she wanted one of each of these. Just to be sure Julian isn’t left out, we decided this would be perfect for him. With all of these awesome toys available, you can see why I’m going to need to win the gift certificate for sure. πŸ˜‰

Holding onto hot coals

Earlier this week I finally got around to configuring my iGoogle page. If you haven’t set one up yet, you should do it. I like that I can have several important (to me) things on one page and I especially love that it has a To Do list right there. I’m constantly wanting to jot down reminders to myself and I either can’t find a pen or if I do, I end up losing the little slip of paper to a pocket abyss or the paper/receipt monster that lives in our house. So yes, iGoogle To Do list = Happy Amy. I added in some news headlines, of course my gmail, weather info for my city, a dictionary search bar, and a Buddhist Thought of the Day.

The first Buddhist Thought of the Day I read a few days seemed like it was written just for me. It said: “Holding onto anger is like grasping onto a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else. You are the one who gets burned.” – Buddha

I am always doing this. I have the hardest time letting things go.

Take today for example. I’m trying to sell some things we have laying around the house/yard on Craigslist. I posted an ad for 12 steel fence posts that we used to block off part of our yard while we tried to reseed it last year. The posts have since come out and were just sitting around. I had no idea how much Jody paid for them originally so I just went ahead and listed them at $1 a piece or $12 for all 12. When I told Jody what I priced them at, he thought it was a little low. So I added $3 on and changed the ad to say 12 for $15. But this was after a few people had already emailed me to express their interest in them. When I replied to the second guy on the list to tell him that the first person found some other ones closer to her house and mine were still available, I told him that my husband asked me to ask for three more dollars and asked him if he was still interested, when could he pick them up, etc. His response? “Tell your husband, no thanks. Go ahead and spend some more of your time trying to sell them.” I’m sorry, but why the attitude? Why couldn’t he just say no thanks? Why act like an ass?

So I’ve been trying to figure out what this guy’s problem is all morning. I wanted to write back and tell him where to go, but I haven’t and won’t. I guess I could just post his email address here and everyone could spam him for me. LOL That might make me feel better. πŸ˜‰ Just kidding. But seriously, I am trying to let go of this hot coal, but I haven’t yet and it keeps burning me. Why can’t I just let it go?

Perhaps this is yet another reason why I need therapy. Speaking of which, I should go make a phone call. πŸ˜‰

Tummy 2 Tummy DVD winner

The winner of the Tummy 2 Tummy Babywearing Instructional DVD is #18 – Deb – Mom of 3 Girls!

Congratulations Deb! I hope you enjoy it and can pass it along to others when you are finished with it. πŸ™‚

For those of you who didn’t win, the good news is that Sharon Pickersgill (the creator of Tummy 2 Tummy) has said she’d be happy to offer up another DVD for a second contest in a few months. So be sure to check back to win!

I’ll have a new contest (of the green variety) coming up early next week. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, if you are looking for another babywearing contest right now, check out the From Dates to Diapers giveaway where Christine is giving away a Ziggy Stardust Baby Pouch from Rockin’ Baby Sling. I’ve been checking out pouches for a while now and would love to have this one to use with Julian. πŸ™‚ It looks awesome!