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Archive for March, 2011

Let’s Talk About Poop!

Cover of "The Story of the Little Mole Wh...

Who Pooped on My Head?

I occasionally get overwhelmed with everything it is necessary to research and consider and question and decide upon when it comes to becoming crunchy…today in particular I was reading this post by Kitchen Stewardship over at Simple Organic about 10 Childbirth Norms Parents Can Refuse, and while I’m truly grateful for the information, it can start to make my head spin sometimes (there are dyes in our prenatal vitamins? awesome. :p ).

She also discusses refusing the newborn eye ointment, which I SO wanted to do, but I was told that it is the law here, that if I refused the hospital could actually report me to child services if they so chose, even if I signed a consent form.

It became one of those things that it seemed easier just to give in about…particularly as I find it more difficult than I would wish to contradict a doctor (some of them really have a neat way of making you feel incredibly stupid).

So I decided, enough of the difficult (admittedly very necessary) decision making and research this morning.

I want to talk about poop!

I know that if you are a mother, poop is probably very interesting to you.

I know this because I rarely have a discussion with a fellow parent that doesn’t at some point involve poop. I occasionally talk about poop in front of non parents and it quietly amuses me to see how uncomfortable it makes them. I once met a mom at a baby yoga class and within 5 minutes I was discussing poop with this total stranger.

A lot of people who are repulsed by the idea of cloth diapers seem to mainly have issue with the poop (though any cloth diapering mama can tell you you’re probably gonna have to deal with that no matter what kind of diapers you use!)

And I know for me, one of the reasons poop is so interesting is that it is an important key to what’s going on with baby. I’ve used this visual guide from Babycenter more than once in my 7+ months of being a parent!

But guess what? Read the rest of this entry »

Love Letter for a Bean

Love Letters for a BeanI’ve been inspired by Zoie over at Touchstonez (who was inspired by SausageMama) to begin writing a monthly letter to my dear Baby Bean. If you blog and you’re interested in joining in, you can grab the badge here. (If you don’t blog, you could just…I don’t know…write it down? tee hee) :)

So here goes…

My dearest Baby Bean,

I love you so much it is ridiculous. I never understood such love before you came along.

You’ve made it easy for me, of course….ever since the very first morning you came along and smiled a real smile at me so brightly, I have loved the little person you are.

It’s so fun for me to watch you interact with this world…to discover how fascinating little hands and fingers are; to understand that a straw must be observed from every possible angle, multiple times…to see what a grand experiment is putting one hand on a soft blanket with the other on rough carpet.

You’ve always been a mover…ever since I felt that first kick when you were still in my belly and you rarely stopped (I remember having to wait an hour longer at the midwife’s office a few times when you got your heart rate up so high they were worried and had to give time to check it again…you just didn’t want to settle down!)

Your world has expanded greatly now, and you still want to explore all its boundaries. You were so very persistent in teaching yourself to roll over…your concentration and effort were so incredible to behold. I wanted so badly to help you, but I knew you would only be content when you could do it all by yourself.

With that same determination you taught yourself to crawl, and now all you want to do is zoom around the room.

It’s presented me with new challenges, too…I have to do things like allow you to pick up the dog toys and put them in your mouth. I need to let you laugh when Luther licks your face instead of grabbing you away from him. I need to let you rejoice in the momentous occasion of getting the chance to grab Sage’s tale, waiting for a minute before I pull the gobs of hair out from between your fingers. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Fear in Pregnancy (and Birthing) Inevitable?

Lilith's Birth

happy mama :)

I promised more from my experience with hearing Ina May Gaskin speak recently in downtown Toronto, so here it is…

I learned something that was kind of revolutionary for me this past weekend – and that is that pregnancy and birth are not inevitably something to fear.

You may have already come to that conclusion, but it was sure news to me!

When I was pregnant with my daughter I was very drawn to the idea of home birth, but didn’t even consider it as an option for my first child. My thought process was:

  • I don’t have any actual idea of what birth is like.
  • I want to be at the hospital just in case something goes wrong.
  • If everything goes well the first time, I’ll probably go with home births for any upcoming pregnancies.

The most overwhelming feeling for me was the fear – what if something terrible happens?

I had high levels of anxiety throughout most of my pregnancy. They were feelings I generally kept to myself, but they were always there gnawing at my mind. What if I miscarry again? What if she stops moving? What if I’m not eating healthy enough? What if she is stillborn? What if I have to have a c-section? What if I don’t get any milk?

On and on and on…and that’s only a small sample!

I know it sounds super morbid, but my mind was frequently consumed with thoughts like this. And I have to wonder, where did it all come from? Read the rest of this entry »

The Power of Women…the Power of Community

Cover of "Spiritual Midwifery"

Spiritual Midwifery

In regards to the lack of blogging this past weekend, I must explain that I became a little Ina May obsessed. :)

I spent all day Saturday listening to Ina May Gaskin speak at Victoria College on the U of T campus – an amazing experience, to say the least! I also spent the entirety of Earth Hour telling hubby what I learned that day (poor hubby!)…he was a good listener though.

I found my way to a few Babble blog posts that were written by or interviews of Ina May, and followed through hundreds of comments of debate that she actually participated in – quite interesting. I finished Birth Matters: A Midwife’s Manifesta, and got about halfway through Spiritual Midwifery, and the whole time I kept wondering…

Where was this woman and where were these books when I was pregnant??

Of course, they were around…I just didn’t know where to look for them. I read plenty of pregnancy books, but I didn’t really know much about the natural parenting movement until fairly recently. I didn’t really get the power of reading and hearing positive birth stories, and of surrounding oneself with a community of supportive women (whether that be in person or online – I believe they are both very valid).

I’m not even sure exactly how I got into it all…I think it was coming across some information about cloth diapering – the idea of it both (initially) repulsed and intrigued me. I started doing more research, and that was my entry way into the crunchy, natural, peaceful parenting world.

I resonated with it instantly, as I did with Ina May Gaskin as soon as I came across her as well. The minute I heard she was coming to Toronto, I knew I had to be there. I knew that seeing and meeting this woman even once in real life would be something I would want to tell my grandchildren about (as well as being incredibly inspiring for me).

And I honestly don’t believe this is simply because I’m a mother or because I’m attracted to things like natural birth and natural parenting…I really, truly believe that Ina May Gaskin is one of our modern day heroines – she is a champion for women (and children) whether they ever get pregnant and have babies or not.

And I felt that inspiration and power of being a woman and being supported by other women throughout this past weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

Birth Matters – and Ina May Gaskin Rocks!

Ina May Gaskin

Ina May Gaskin

Yesterday afternoon I braved driving to downtown Torontosomething I really hate doing! – but it was so worth it, because I had the opportunity to hear Ina May Gaskin, midwife extraordinaire and really a hero to women all over, speak at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore (you can actually watch a video of it here).

She shared some of her amazing wisdom, read from her new book, Birth Matters, A Midwife’s Manifesta, answered questions, and then did a book signing.

First let me say – she is so cool!

I loved her clothes, and she was hilariously funny…I am truly grateful to have had this chance to see and hear her in person!

Here’s the thing…I feel that there are a few people in this world who have incredible wisdom, and that it would be amazing to just sit at their feet and learn. For me (and many others, I know), Ina May is one of those people, so when I heard about her coming to Toronto I was on it right away.

I was actually at the book store super early to make sure I didn’t miss it, which gave me the opportunity to start reading Birth Matters. And speaking of cool, Ani DiFranco wrote the forward! In it she said, “When I read Gaskin’s words, I get the sense of a sage trying to show us a way to creating new frameworks. Pointing us not to new answers but back down an ancient path to new questions.”

That is exactly how I feel too, Ani! :)

Both the book and her talk have a great emphasis on the fact that women are made to fear birth. She quotes a Dr. Hugh L. Hodge as saying: “…if females can be induced to believe that their sufferings will be diminished, or shortened, and their lived and those of their offspring, be safer in the hands of the profession; there will be no further difficulty in establishing the universal practice of obstetrics…

Well isn’t that just lovely.

And of course, Ms. Gaskin has a wonderful way of teaching that we actually don’t have to fear birth (and for someone who has attended as many births as she has, I’m pretty sure she knows what she’s talking about!).

In fact, one of the reasons she became interested in natural birth was due to the brutal forceps delivery of her own first child (at a time when forceps delivery was at a rate of 65% in the US!). As she discussed this in the bookstore, she said in her matter of fact voice, “[I decided on] home birth – that would be safer than going to a doctor who’s crazy!”

One of the other main points she touched on was feminism and the power of women who give birth – a power that is not defined in terms of male power. From her talk:

We women have to not denigrate other women’s choices – we need to honor them. That’s the kind of feminism I want to see. We shouldn’t be making other people’s choices for them – and there’s a lot of different stories out there“. Another favorite quote: Let’s not be dissin’ each other!

Well said, Ina May! Read the rest of this entry »

Becoming Crunchy is in Style!

At least, Jessica at The Cloth Diapering Mama thinks so. :) She was so kind to pass on the Stylish Blogger Award to Becoming Crunchy – it gives me warm fuzzy feelings down to my toes!

I am thrilled to accept this award and its pay it forward concept, which involves the following 4 steps:

  1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Award 10-15 blogs you feel deserve the award.
  4. Contact these bloggers and let them know about the award.

So first of all – thank you to the Cloth Diapering Mama! She’s got some awesome stuff going on over at her blog – be sure to go check it out! :)

Now…7 things about me… Read the rest of this entry »

March of Kindness Update – Thoughts on Kindness

March of Kindness

In the past few weeks of Code Name: Mama’s March of Kindness challenge, I’ve had a blast doing things like buying hubby a gift card for one of his favorite video game stores, helping a fellow mom at swim class figure out how to give her little one a shower (she had only ever had baths) and leaving an extra $20 on top of the tip at a restaurant.

There were a few times where I even did acts of kindness for (gasp) myself!

I know…really not that big of a deal – but I want to share my first gut reaction when I first saw those suggestions on Code Name: Mama’s site of acts of kindness to do for yourself:

“Well that’s just dumb.”

Yes, I’m being honest – that was my first thought.

Followed by: “Doing acts of kindness for yourself doesn’t count! Moving on to acts for others now…man, some people…!

And then came that day… Read the rest of this entry »

I am Loving Becoming Crunchy!

My room, circa 1970

Can I be her?

I am loving becoming crunchy

Not the blog (though I do greatly enjoy writing it :) ) but the actual changes we’re making in our lives one step at a time.

I feel like becoming a parent has finally allowed me to become the person I’ve always wanted to be.

For as long as I can remember I’ve had secret leanings towards being one of those earthy, hippy, granola types. I always thought those people were so cool!

My admiration probably started with my older sister – she was crunchy before crunchy was in style! :) As little kids she had us organizing Earth Day clubs and studying up on Greenpeace.

As a mom for years now she’s set an amazing example to her kids of healthy eating, breastfeeding, and being active…I’ve always wished I could be more like her.

I don’t know why I never acted much on those desires…I don’t know if it was pure laziness or my focus was just on other things or I felt constrained by pre-defined roles or what…but now I just don’t care about any of that – my true hippy self is emerging in all its glory! Read the rest of this entry »

It’s a No Poo Monday!

No poo!

No poo!

A few weeks ago I posted about going No Poo - basically using baking soda and apple cider vinegar to wash my hair instead of toxin-laden regular shampoos or super expensive organic products.

Starting today, I’m committing to 2 months (at least) of No Poo.

I’m actually super excited about it because I have a partner in crime – my new friend Delena over at The Modern Aboriginal Mama – she’s going No Poo with me today! :)

(We would love to have you join in too!)

Yesterday I assembled everything I could to make this transition as easy as possible:

  • I bought a pitcher with a pop top for the baking soda – I hate trying to get baking soda out of that little cardboard flap, and I figured the lid on the pitcher will help keep the humidity from turning it into baking soda rocks.
  • I moved an old plastic measuring cup up to the shower so I can mix up the apple cider vinegar and water right there (I am not always that bright – when I originally tried this for a few days awhile ago I mixed up the proportions downstairs and brought them up with me – when I dumped it over my head it was freezing! Yes…I know…but I make these confessions so that if someone else has mommy brain like me I might be able to save them from making that particular dumb move :) )
  • And I mixed up a natural detangler based on a recipe I found on Livestrong.com – I have no idea if it works yet, but here’s hoping! :)

My first test will be tonight after my swim. Read the rest of this entry »

Healthier Nachos and Green Brown Rice

cooked brown rice

How do you like to spice up brown rice?

So last week I made an attempt to go one week without processed foods.

I wasn’t as successful as I hoped I would be in all honesty, but I do think I did a LOT better than I would have on a normal week.

On the weekdays, I was a home-cookin’ dinner star – take a look at this menu:

  • Monday: 9 Bean Fennel Soup
  • Tuesday: Salmon baked on a bed of fennel leaves with baked sweet potatoes on the side
  • Wednesday: Spinach Quiche
  • Thursday: French Onion Soup
  • Friday: We went to a BBQ at the in-laws, but I brought the leftover soup (it made a lot! :) )

But oh…the weekend. Weekends always seem to derail my good intentions – I have such an ingrained idea of it being ‘reward time’, and unfortunately I still seem to enjoy rewarding myself with junk food!

The main fail was Saturday night – we got invited out to eat at a tasty (but extremely unhealthy) Chinese food place. I could have said no…but I didn’t (I mean, free dinner!) Then hubby put the cherry on top by going out and buying ice cream…sigh.

A few more cheats – I bought the pie crust I used for the quiche, and I had 2 diet cokes.

Otherwise though, it was a pretty good food week. I ate a lot more fruit than usual, had lots of veggies at lunches and dinners, and even remembered not to eat white rice at my in-laws’ (I had already scooped some on my plate when I remembered and tossed it back in the pot :) )

It is hard to eliminate processed foods! Read the rest of this entry »

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