Deep thoughts

The kids and I went to our monthly API meeting this morning, then met up with Jody (since he works only a couple blocks from where our meetings are held) to go to lunch.

While we were driving I said to Jody half-jokingly, “I need a haircut. I don’t like myself right now.” To which he replied, “It sounds like you also need some counseling.” :oP

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I thought, “What am I saying? What kind of statement is that to make in front of my kids?” Yes, it’s true that I am frustrated with my hair lately, but to say I don’t like myself because of it? That’s not the kind of message I want to send.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the things that come out of my mouth in front of the kids lately, mostly because I’m starting to hear a lot of it coming back at me from the little sponge AKA Ava. She may only be 3 years old, but she’s very perceptive and picks up on just about everything. As the saying goes, “Little pitchers have big ears.” I need to be more aware of the words I speak and my tone as well.

Ava is such a sweet, empathic girl and I’d hate to see her outlook on life become warped somehow because of me. We as parents have so much influence in our children’s worlds. It’s almost frightening.

I’m not sure what I need to do to fix this, though I have some ideas. Jody’s statement about me needing counseling was actually quite accurate.

A few weeks ago, my sister picked up a book for me called “The ACOA’s Guide to Raising Healthy Children: A Parenting Handbook for the Adult Children of Alcoholics.” I thumbed through the pages a day or two after she dropped it off and as I read a bit here and a bit there, I became overwhelmed. The personal accounts I read from other ACOAs really hit home for me.

I began to realize that while I tried my best to ignore and forget many things from my childhood, they are still there. I began to realize that they are reemerging in my life now that I have children. I began to realize that these things are keeping me from being the kind of parent I want to be. And then I began to cry. Tears of anger and tears of relief.

I know I have a long road ahead of me, but it feels good to know that by accepting that I have problems and I need help that I’ve at least taken the first step.

It takes two

It was a short weekend around here since Jody was working out in CA last week and didn’t get back home ’til late in the afternoon on Saturday. I felt like I needed another day to recuperate from his absence, but c’est la vie. The mommy show must go on.

Before he went on his trip, he left “I love you” notes scattered around the house. They were waiting for us to discover when we woke up that morning and we continued to find them while he was gone. On the coffee table, Julian’s changing pad, the front window, Ava’s carseat, tucked in a cereal box, on the calendar, etc. It was like a little treasure hunt for Ava (and, I admit it, me too). 🙂 He also painted “I love you” with Ava’s paints and left that at her spot at the dining room table and spelled it out in wooden blocks on the floor. 🙂 Very sweet.

Things around here went pretty well without Jody home, though it was tiring and I admit I am NOT fond of handling the bedtime routine with two kids by myself. I’ve decided that to practice attachment parenting during the bedtime rituals with two kids, you really need TWO parents – at least I do.

I lay down with Ava each night as she goes to sleep. She has a little mama’s milk, then rolls over and goes to sleep. It usually takes 10-15 minutes tops before she’s out like a light and then I get up and carry on with my evening. Attempting to do that with a squirmy, acrobatic nursing 9-month-old who likes to sing and chatter up a storm does not make for such a smooth transition. So a routine that usually takes 10 minutes turned into an hour. It was only after Julian finished his songs and gymnastics, settled down and nursed to sleep that it was quiet enough for Ava to fall asleep herself around 9 p.m. It was a good thing I started the routine early or we may have all been up ’til midnight.

I’m thankful to have my husband home and a part of the bedtime routine once again. It goes so much more smoothly with two parents participating. 🙂

I’m heading to bed now to try to play sleep catch-up. We’ve got music class in the morning and last week it was like an aerobic workout I tell ya. I need all the Zzzzzzs I can get before attempting that again.

Best Shot Monday – 9/10/07

Since I already shared a slew of pics from Ava’s first day of preschool, which I consider my best shots from the week but do not want to repost again, I will share this one (also from preschool, but not yet posted on the blog).


See more best shots:
little bsm button

And if you haven’t yet entered my current babywearing DVD giveaway contest, go take a look. 🙂

Nursing in public – you don’t need to hide

In light of the recent case of breastfeeding in the spotlight – this time with close-minded and unapologetic Applebee’s (if you haven’t read about it yet, be forewarned – it might make your blood boil to hear how Applebee’s handled a complaint that a woman was nursing her baby in the restaurant –…the company responded with a letter stating “we are considering keeping blankets in the restaurants for use by breastfeeding mothers that may not have them readily available,” with the intent that mothers will be forced to “cover up”.), I thought it’d be fun to share a video I found with tips to make moms more comfortable with nursing in public. While many moms don’t have any qualms about feeding their babies, others feel more shy about it and could use some helpful suggestions to get them over their fears.

After you watch the clip, if you have some advice to offer other moms, please share it in the comments. Let’s make a great resource for new moms to turn to to help them feel at ease with feeding their baby wherever they might be.

My tips for nursing in public:

1. Instead of buying an expensive nursing tanktop, wear any old tanktop underneath your shirt. You can lift up your top shirt and pull the tank down to expose your breast. This keeps your tummy and back covered up, which are honestly the parts of me I care about people seeing. Who cares if they see a little boob, I just want my belly and back fat covered. 😉

2. Carry a “license to breastfeed” card with you in case anyone questions your right to feed your baby and know what the breastfeeding laws are in the state where you live (or wherever you are visiting). The law is on your side. 🙂

3. Don’t be afraid to look around at other people while you are nursing. Smile, carry on conversations. You don’t have to hide or be apologetic.

4. If you see another mother nursing in public, be sure to give her a smile to show your support. 🙂

Please add your own suggestions/tips in the comments.

First day of preschool

Yesterday was my big girl’s first day of preschool. Despite my mommy nerves the day before about sending my baby to preschool, everything went really well – for all of us. 🙂 It took her all of about 30 seconds from walking in to acclimating and starting to play. She didn’t even want to stop to kiss me goodbye so she blew me a kiss instead. My little bird is spreading her wings.

Of course, I had to take a few pictures to document the morning.

Ava has all of her stuff (lunch, extra clothes, sun hat, inside shoes, paperwork that mommy and daddy filled out) and is ready to go to her first day at preschool, while Julian wonders why in the world he’s awake and in the car so early.
1st day of preschool 9/6/07Ready for preschool - 9/6/07

Arriving at preschool …
Preschool 9/6/07Arriving at preschool 9/6/07

Ava’s symbol at the school is cherries – on her basket, her cup, her hook and her towel.
Ava’s basket 9/6/07

All of the inside shoes (the teacher’s and the kids’) lined up in a row. (Ava’s new moccasins are on the right.)
All the “inside” shoes 9/6/07

Let the fun begin!
Playing at her first day of school 9/6/07

Dig in.
Sand play 9/6/07

And lastly, here’s her “I’m done with pictures and it’s time for you to leave now, Mom” face. Whomever said attachment parenting doesn’t promote independent children never met Ava. 😉
Enough pictures, Mom. 9/6/07

When I went to pick her up at 1 p.m., she was playing on a bouncy ball with two other children (a boy and a girl), and looked so happy. Then she looked up, saw me, scowled and said, “Go back home.” Aww, I love you too, honey. :oP

The little girl said to me about Ava, “She’s my friend.” 🙂 She and the boy stay until 3 p.m. and have nap time there. Because they weren’t leaving, Ava wasn’t thrilled with the fact that she had to go home. My girl, who never naps anymore, even said, “I want to stay and nap too.” Anyway, we are going to look into how much it will cost for her to stay the extra two hours and see if we can somehow swing that too. (gulp) I think it would be good for her to try it. She obviously loves the place and her friends. 🙂 And maybe it was just wishful thinking, but it sure seemed like Ava was in a really good mood the rest of the day yesterday. AND we didn’t turn on the TV the whole day! I think this Waldorf preschool is going to be a wonderful thing.

After learning my lesson when my kiss request was denied yesterday, today when I dropped her off I made sure to get my hug and kiss in before we went into the preschool. She is much more accommodating when the prospect of playing doesn’t get in the way.

When we walked in I heard the other girl’s dad say sweetly to her, “OK honey, Ava is here. Is it OK if daddy leaves now?” She then said goodbye to her dad. It’s not a surprise, but it’s always nice to hear that my little girl is loved by others as well. 🙂

Tummy 2 Tummy DVD: review, interview and a contest

Tummy2Tummy Babywearing DVD

I recently had a chance to sit down, put my feet up (ahhh) and watch some of “Tummy 2 Tummy: THE Babywearing Instructional DVD.” If you’ve ever had a question about babywearing, I have to say this is THE place to look for answers.

The DVD is broken down into four sections based on four different types of baby carriers: Ring Slings, Pouches, Asian Back Carriers and Simple Pieces of Cloth, with experts in each carrier type providing the instruction. Each of those sections is then broken down into an introduction, techniques – including safety and comfort, demonstrations of positions – beginner and advanced – including nursing in various positions and wearing two babies, and troubleshooting.

If you are like most moms you probably don’t have time to sit down and watch a 2 1/2 hour DVD in one sitting, which is why I love that the DVD allows you to skip around to the sections that you want to watch. So if you are interested in learning how to use a pouch for the hip carry position for a baby or toddler, you can jump right to that section. Want to find out how to nurse in the front wrap cross cradle position? Skip to that section. It’s very easy and user-friendly.

Now that I’ve seen all of the different positions you can wear a baby in and the various carrier types available, Jody is going to have to seriously restrain me from buying more! I’d love to have a pouch for use around the house, a pretty mei tai for more formal occasions (wait, when do I have a formal occasion? hmm, it could happen), as well as some nice pieces of cloth just because I was blown away at how easy it is to MacGyver a simple piece of cloth into a great baby carrier!

I think Tummy 2 Tummy would make a wonderful gift for a mom-to-be or a new mom or any mom for that matter! I wish I would’ve had this when Ava was a baby and I was having so much trouble figuring out my ring sling (which I have since donated). I spent a lot of time holding her in arms when I really just needed to find the right carrier for me.

Tummy 2 Tummy sells for around $19.95 (depending on the retailer). You can find a retail store near you or purchase online. Visit this page for more information.

I also recently had the opportunity and privilege to interview Sharon Pickersgill, the creator of Tummy 2 Tummy. It was wonderful to learn more about her (we have more in common than I originally thought!) and the process of making the DVD. What a labor of love!

Amy: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your family?

Sharon: I am a stay at home mom with two small children. Ashley is 4 years old and Trinity is 17 months. I love to cook & bake, workout at the gym, take Yoga and read books. I’m currently reading Wayne Dyer’s newest “Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life”. My husband and I met in college and have been married for 12 years. So we waited quite a while to have children. I worked full time before having Ashley as an accountant for Coca-Cola and planned on going back to work, but everything changed the moment she was in my arms. I didn’t know anything about breastfeeding or Attachment Parenting but all I did know was I wanted to be there for her and I didn’t want her to “cry it out.” I soon discovered Dr. Sears and knew that this was for me. I applied to be an Attachment Parenting Leader for North Phoenix and started the first ever group in Phoenix, AZ. After getting to know many natural parenting mothers through API, I found the courage to have a beautiful home birth with Trinity. (Ashley, my first, was born in the hospital with an epidural and many complications.) The biggest thing I’ve learned over the last year is to take care of myself. Having two instead of just one has been a lot harder and I consistently take small breaks just for me, like working out at the gym, Yoga, going out on dates with my husband and doing meditation at night after the kids are asleep.

Amy: What was your inspiration for creating the DVD?

Sharon: In 2003, I had my first baby and like most parents went out and bought a Baby Bjorn. After just 6 months, I thought my back would break and saw someone else use a sling. I went to a local breastfeeding store where they sold slings and asked someone who worked there to please show me how to use it. After spending almost an hour with me, I quickly fell in love with babywearing and wanted to learn everything I could about it. I did a lot of research on the Internet and found a few small video clips with a home camcorder but the quality wasn’t that good. At the time, there were only 1 or 2 big name baby carriers that had their own DVD to accompany it, but it was specific to that particular carrier. My husband is a videographer and I said to him that we need to make a DVD on how to wear your baby that is non-product specific and can be used with any carrier. I contacted four babywearing experts throughout the country and flew them to our home, one by one, to videotape the DVD.

Amy: How many months did it take from when you first began working on the DVD to it’s completion?

Sharon: I came up with the idea in Aug of 2004 and got all 4 babywearing experts to agree to do the project within a month. Our first filming took place in Oct 2004. Each expert had to fly out separately for a weekend and we filmed non-stop except to eat and sleep. It was exhausting! A couple of the experts had to come out twice because the first time around didn’t turn out the way we wanted. Babies are tough to work with. They didn’t like the bright lights and heat from the cameras and there was a lot of screaming and stopping because they needed to nurse or sleep or just weren’t happy. It was challenging. As we got further into it, we realized “This is why no one has done this before.” We completed filming at the end of January 2005. Slowly over the next 7 months, my husband edited the movie. He had to go through hundreds of hours of tape and many, many takes to find the best one available. In August/September 2005 we had members of NINO (Nine In Nine Out…a babywearing organization) review the DVD to make sure we were on the right track. They did have a few comments but overall were very impressed with the DVD. By the end of September 2005, after watching the DVD literally hundreds of times, we finally sent the final proof to our DVD manufacturer in California. Because the DVD is so long (over 2.5 hours), we had to make it a duel-layer disc, which is more expensive and can hold more data at a higher quality. Duel-layer discs are what all the Hollywood movies are made on. The DVDs took four weeks to make and ship to us and on Nov. 1, 2005 we started selling them on our website, After the first year, we made the decision to only make the DVD available through our distributors so that it would place more importance on them instead of us. Our DVD was made to be sold with a baby carrier and not really on it’s own.

Amy: I imagine that filming a DVD with several small children could present some unique or possibly challenging situations. Do you have any funny or interesting stories to share from the filming?

Sharon: I don’t know about funny. Those poor babies. Some of them were totally fine and happy when they were not in front of the camera and then when we started filming they just froze and started screaming. Having a screaming baby isn’t going to help people to learn “how to wear” their baby. Some babies were amazing and loved the camera and we worked with them as long as possible. But even the best babies could only do it for an hour or so at a time and we filmed for like 12 hours a day while the experts were here. So I learned to have many back-up babies available so we can switch them out quickly. It was a lot of starting and stopping and having a lot of patience and knowing that it would all be worth it at the end.

Amy: How many baby carriers do you personally own? What are your favorites?

Sharon: I used to really be quite a babywearing addict. I had around 12 carriers but some of my favorites are Silk Zolowear sling, Kozy Carrier, Ergo, Hug-A-Bub Wrap & the Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch.

Amy: If you had to choose one type of carrier (from the four on the DVD) as your only carrier, which would it be and why?

Sharon: Hum…that’s not really a fair question. Seriously, I have one of each in my car right now and use them all frequently. As long as people are wearing their baby with any type of carrier, I’m happy to see it!

Amy: Lastly, do you have any plans for future babywearing DVDs or other projects in the works?

Sharon: We have talked about possibly doing an updated version of the DVD but it would be several years away. I’m seriously not sure if I would do it or not. It was so much work making this DVD and so very worth it but I wouldn’t want to go through the process again. My husband is working on all sorts of other video projects but mostly his aspirations are to make movies full time. This fall, he is going to do just that. He is filming his first full-length feature independent movie. I’m hoping that someday I will accompany him to the Oscars for a movie that he made!

For me, I will continue to stay at home with my two girls, become a better cook, read, exercise and work on Tummy 2 Tummy. Someday, I would love to see my DVD selling at Babies R Us, next to more and more slings as babywearing becomes more mainstream.

Amy: Thank you so much for your time, Sharon, and for sharing a bit about yourself and your wonderful DVD. Best of luck to you, your husband with his film, and your whole family. 🙂 We’ll be watching for you at the Oscars!


Win it!

If you’d like to win your own copy of “Tummy 2 Tummy: THE Babywearing Instructional DVD”:

  • Sign Mr. Linky below
  • Link to this contest on your blog. (Don’t have a blog? That’s OK. Just be sure to tell a friend or two about the contest.)
  • Leave a comment saying why you’d like the DVD (is it for yourself/for a friend/for an AP or babywearing group?)

You must do all three things to be eligible to win the DVD. The deadline to enter is 10 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12. The winner will be chosen at random on Sept. 13 and announced later that day. Good luck!

Updated to add:
On a related note, Steph at Adventures in Babywearing is giving away a Strawberry Fields Forever sling by Rockin’ Baby (valued at $102). Check it out.

“Business of Being Born” – update

The Business of Being Born

Many of you know of my excitement about the movie The Business of Being Born produced by Ricki Lake. I’ve been following developments with the movie since I first heard about it.

Of course I had to sign up for the mailing list and I received an email earlier this week with some good news about the release of the movie…

THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN has been acquired by Red Envelope Entertainment and New Line Cinema. The film will have a limited theatrical release this autumn in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and 11 other cities. After that, it will be available for rentals and internet viewing on Netflix and the DVD will be released in March 2008. Stay tuned for theater locations and dates!

Also worth noting, private screenings are available:

We have arranged a way to rent advance copies of THE BUSINESS OF BEING BORN to individuals and organizations for grassroots screenings. You can use the film as a fundraising event or just an opportunity to raise awareness in your community or University. The screening could take place in a professional theater or in your home – the idea is to get a movement going and to get people talking! If this is something that interests you, please visit the website for the guidelines or contact us at

I think I will email them to find out if anyone in this area is organizing a screening. If not, I might try to organize something myself. I am so excited to see this movie! I have a feeling I could get more than a handful of interested people together here. 🙂

By the way, I just noticed on the official website that there are now some excerpts from the movie available for viewing. Click on Excerpts at the bottom to check them out. 🙂

If you are wondering what exactly this film is about, here is a synopsis:

While the United States has perhaps the most advanced health care system in the world, it also has the second-highest infant mortality rate of any industrialized nation, and many have begun to question conventional wisdom regarding the way obstetricians deal with childbirth. While midwives preside over the majority of births in Europe and Japan, fewer than ten percent of American mothers employ them, despite their proven record of care and success. How do American doctors make their choices regarding the way their patients give birth, and who is intended to benefit? Director Abby Epstein and producer Ricki Lake offer a probing look at childbirth in America in the documentary The Business of Being Born, which explores the history of obstetrics, the history and function of Midwives, and how many common medical practices may be doing new mothers more harm than good.

Also, all you baby wearers, be sure to check back here tomorrow. I’m having a giveaway I think you will all be interested in. 🙂