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Baby Taj is Born!

By | Babies, Birthing, Children, Parenting, Video | One Comment

On September 6th, at 6am, Meagan went into labor and shortly after noon baby Tajilo was born. The birth was a splendid success and Taj has been a pure bundle of joy since. Rather than me trying to eloquently capture such a precious moment, we’d like to invite you to watch along as baby Taj is birthed into the world. Meagan had a natural delivery at home, in a birthing pool.

 

15 Quotes That Inspire Better Parenting

By | Babies, Children, Inspiration & Purpose, Parenting, Responsibility, Self-Esteem | No Comments

Here’s a collection of quotes that we can use to inspire ourselves to be better parents. I hope that you find these quotes inspiring and that they continually serve you well on your parenting journey.

1.) “Children don’t listen to us. They watch us.”
~Kevin Cosmo

Occasionally, we may drop a pearl of wisdom from our mouths that our children pick up and keep for life, but one thing is for certain; they will master our tendencies, habits, and lifestyle. Our way of living leaves a lasting impression upon our children, that words cannot begin to encapsulate. We lead by example, for better or worse. Let’s do our best.

2.) “Love is a process of inclusion. Once I include you as a part of me, I will be to you just the way I am to myself.”
~Sadhguru

When we are fully in love (a state of total acceptance, inclusion) with our children, we will give them the same respect we are due and show them the same tenderness of care that we too deserve.

3.) “Your children need your presence more than your presents.”
~Jesse Jackson

Children will remember moments with Mom and Dad more than they’ll remember a toy car or plastic doll.

4.) “Whatever you would have your children become, strive to exhibit in your own lives and conversation.”
~Lydia H. Sigourney

Leading is done from the front. Do as we want mimicked, because it very likely will be.

5.) “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, then we must teach the way they learn.” ~Unknown

We have the best opportunity to help our children reach for whatever dreams they aspire to, by tuning into our child’s needs, desires, and challenges, and then adapting our approach to meet them where they’re at.
Have you ever met someone exactly like You? Then, why would we expect to find a child who is like any other child? Teach to the individual.

6.) “All parents should know that: “He who knows patience knows peace.”
~Chinese proverb

Why didn’t someone tell me sooner?

7.) “A person soon learns how little he knows when a child begins to ask questions.”
~Richard L. Evans

Let’s hop off our high horses, and enjoy life on the same level as our children. Parents may have arrived on the planet a few years before their children, and figured out how to make an income, but children are keenly aware of many things that parents miss and are already masters at finding life’s joys.

8.) “Children keep us in check. Their laughter prevents our hearts from hardening. Their dreams ensure we never lose our drive to make ours a better world. They are the greatest disciplinarians known to mankind.”
~Queen Rania of Jordan

Use children for what you can parents; a reminder that life is truly AWEsome.

9.) “Don’t demand respect as a parent. Demand civility and insist on honesty. But respect is something you must earn — with kids as well as with adults.”
— William Attwood

Respect is a two way street.

10.) “It’s not only children who grow. Parents do too. As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours. I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it, myself.”
— Joyce Maynard

Words are a distant second, behind action.

11.) “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
— Elizabeth Stone

Creating a child takes very little effort, but to create a parent takes commitment, consistency, and effort.

12.) “Call them rules or call them limits, good ones, I believe, have this in common: they serve reasonable purposes; they are practical and within a child’s capability; they are consistent; and they are an expression of loving concern.”
~Fred Rogers

Mr. Rogers is so on point, that I’ll share another gem from him…“Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

Rules and boundaries don’t mean the absence of fun and play. Quite the opposite, actually. Can you think of a game that doesn’t have rules or boundaries? Limits create a safe and trusted place for all the fun to take place.

13.) “If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.”
— Diane Loomans, from “If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again”

We don’t get to do it over again. So parent in a way that you’ll remember with joy and fondness.

13.) “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”
~Jim Rohn

If we plan to be around to enjoy and help our children through life, then that hinges almost entirely on how we take care of our health. Have you thought about playing with your grandchildren? Or your enjoyment of life during, and after raising young children? Invest in your health. It’s worth every bit of effort, for you and your family.

14.) “If a parent loves a child because the child is theirs, it is about the child being their property.
If a parent loves a child, for who the child is, the child is very fortunate.”
~Kevin Cosmo

Kahlil Gibran analogized the parent-child relationship to a bow and arrow. Our children may come from us, but they are not ours. If we attempt to force our children to be daffodils, because we are daffodils, we will likely end up with a wilted flower. Each child is it’s own unique wild flower.

15.) “Parenthood, its not a job. It’s an adventure!”
~Author Unknown

Go live it!

Dad’s To Do List: 11 Tips To Help New Moms

By | Babies, Children, Family, Parenting, Responsibility | One Comment

Feet of a family sticking out from the white quilt
Becoming a parent is a special blessing, but the nuances of caring for an infant can be challenging, especially for first time parents. My partner and I sure ran into our fair number of hurdles, and in doing so have developed ways of working together that allow the needs of baby, mama, and papa to be met.

Early on as a father, I found myself wondering what to do and often feeling helpless. It seemed that the roles of mother were more or less predefined. What was I to do during the many hours of breastfeeding? How can I help during the late night wake ups?  If you are in the same boat or if you have a hubby who looks bewildered as he putzes around the bed and nursery, today’s post is aimed at helping clear the confusion so that dads know what they can do to help out moms; with a list of 11 ways fathers can be involved in caring for infants.

Before I reach the list of 11, there is a key concept that sets the stage for peaceful, pleasant baby care: Dad and Mom are a team, a tag-team to be more precise. When one gets tired, the other picks up the baton. When one side feels irritable or stressed, the other steps in with a cool, calm helping hand. Many hands make for light work, right?

Also as I go through this list, bear in mind that our mother and father roles are not set in stone, and will morph over time. As the infant’s needs change, the balance of mom and dad change along with it.

DADS TO DO LIST:

1. Be Responsive
Every reach, each look, every cry, anything your little babe does to establish a connection with you ought to be honored. Remember: these little beings are, for the very first time, figuring out how to be in the world. Jan Liedloff’s, Continuum Concept, first opened my eyes to the realization that babies are always trying to communicate something when they cry, fuss, squirm, yell, or express themselves verbally. Our children may be tired, hungry, or just want to know that someone is nearby, AKA a snuggle. Dads can snuggle, rock, bounce, and soothe; so no need to let moms be sole first responder in the home.

Imagine not knowing the language, living in an entirely foreign landscape, but still being entirely dependent on other people to take care of your needs. That is the life our children have, until we hone our translating skills, or until they master our language. Our children simply lack our words, but their needs are just as real to them and when we ignore our children’s attempt to communicate we miss a priceless opportunity to deepen our connection with them, to validate their worthiness of life in this world, and we simultaneously, albeit unknowingly, demonstrate a lack of respect for their needs. I encourage you to read The Continuum Concept for more on this vital area of interaction with our children.

2. Supply Water
One of the most helpful things I discovered, to help my partner during nursing, particularly night time nursing was to bring her a glass of water. Sleeping indoors is already dehydrating. Top that off with passing along fluids to an infant, and mothers end up more dehydrated by the time morning rolls around.

Dehydration predictably leads to feelings of lethargy and irritation. Neither mood bodes well for mothering. So fathers can bring a cool, refreshing glass of water to their breastfeeding partners and ensure hydration and morale remain at healthy highs.

3. Clean House
When things are cluttered and messy in our environment, we often have a corresponding level of overwhelm and stress within us. Conversely, people frequently report feeling energized and uplifted when in clean surroundings. Aim to keep things tidy and keep your mess to a minimum. Baby is guaranteed to create an entire assortment of messes, and parents are in a better position to handle the unexpected when things are clean and where you expect them to be.

4. Position Pillows
Parents are bound to find themselves in an awkward position, holding a sleeping infant, while trying to get comfortable enough to secure some sleep for themselves. Often times a pillow under the arm or a couple propped up behind the back, makes all the difference in the world for a mother, or father, trying to get some shut-eye. Also pillow adjustments can be just the thing that makes breastfeeding more comfortable. So, dads be on the ready to grab the boppy or snatch an extra pillow off of the couch.

5. Change Diapers
Every mom appreciates a partner who helps in this department. If you haven’t changed diapers before having kids, then sure there is going to be a learning curve, but it’s short. Not always sweet, but it’s short. Learn this skill and use it.

6. Snuggle Baby
After being fed and changed, dads can snuggle baby back to sleep or place baby into a baby-wearing wrap.

7. Prepare Meals
Who doesn’t enjoy a delicious home-prepared meal, that they don’t have to make for themselves? This is an area where dads can certainly excel at helping the family. In essence, preparing meals for mother provides the nourishment from which breast milk is made for baby. Bear this in mind when preparing foods and aim to create flavorful and healthy dishes for your family. If you want help with healthy menu ideas, visit the recipes area or take a look at the recipe books.

8. Massage
Through touch we can directly convey our emotions to our partners. This isn’t purely my conjecture, this is backed up good ol’ science too. Humans are hardwired for touch and we can use this to our advantage as dads. We can pass along feelings of calm and relaxation to our partners as we massage their bodies. Most lactation consultants agree that more relaxed moms are, the better the breastfeeding experience.

9. Take Shifts
Sometimes babies are just on a different schedule then us parents. Well, at least that was the case for us at various times of our children’s infancy. Instead of leaving it all to mom to handle midnight wake ups, we would take shifts or adjust depending on who needed the sleep most. For late night ‘playtime’, I would place the babies into a wrap and walk around the house, or on the warmer nights we may take a moonlit stroll.

10. Positive Words
For many new moms, motherhood can appear overwhelming. Some women may doubt their ability to handle all of the new responsibilities. Parenting is still new for moms too (even though they almost always seem to know just what to do). Fathers have the opportunity to be a positive beacon of support and encouragement to mother and child. Our words can be powerful. Let’s use this power for good. Extra Tip: Still feel free to slip in appreciations of your wife’s beauty and sexual side too. After giving birth, women often experience changes in how they perceive their own body. All women, so I’ve been told, appreciate being told they are sexy.

11. Give Breaks
As soon as baby is old enough or comfortable enough with dad to allow mom break times, be sure to give mom some. The time length will grow along with baby, but even a break for mom to eat without a baby in arms is oft appreciated. I enjoy early mornings, so I would take baby and allow my partner time to get some baby-free sleep in bed. As the babies got older, a yoga class with a shower became a regular part of mom’s day and is always enjoyed.

Dads, I hope this list serves you well, and moms be sure to let me know what I’ve forgotten to include on this list. Parenting has many challenges, and all of them are better faced with a partner. Enjoy your children and each other. Happy parenting.