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'Parentelligence' posts

More than the ABC’s

What is it that compels adults to “do the right thing”, or “go out of their way”, or “go above and beyond”?

There are those people that are outstanding in their jobs or in their interpersonal relationships with friends, family, and even strangers.

This is that interconnectedness, or sense of community that some of us feel towards our fellow human. We respect our fellow man and respect the plight that they are on.

Social sciences are looking at how spirituality effects our health. Spirituality does not automatically mean religion. Spirituality is the way you find meaning, hope, comfort and inner peace in your life. Many people find spirituality through religion. Some find it through music, art or a connection with nature. Others find it in their values and principles. And some adults I know still find it with their parents.

As humans, we have 4 different parts to us that need nurturing and development. We have our physical, intellectual, emotional, and social/spiritual parts. When we see an amazing athlete who is also well-spoken and intelligent; who is a caring well-adjusted person, we tend to appreciate the wholeness of the person. For some athletes, they spend too much time developing the physical part and can neglect the rest (which is why we had/have “no pass, no play rule” in schools).

As parents, we have a responsibility to nurture the whole of our children. We know that we need to read to them, help them get the exercise they need, and emotion coach, teach them to be nice to their playdate but sometimes we neglect the spiritual side.

There are ways to help develop your child’s spiritual side:

Baby blues or something else?

Most women start planning for their baby’s arrival as soon as they get pregnant, and even sometimes before they’re pregnant. There are clothes to buy, toys to pick out, car seat to decipher. We start sorting out a birth plan. We often hear about how the first few weeks can be difficult, but we don’t realize the truth until we live it.

The changes our bodies go through during the pregnancy is incredible, but what happens afterwards is astounding. There are physical changes (lochia, involution, hemmorhoids, etc.). There are hormonal changes (drop in estrogen & progesterone, increase in prolactin). Psychological changes such as, “I’m a mom” and “That’s my baby”. (There can also be the overwhelming feeling of love towards the baby or sometimes it can take women several days to feel like the baby is really theirs. Both are completely normal and both can be shocking.)

Now let’s add on sleep deprivation.

In our culture, within a few days of childbirth, we are back home with the baby, maybe partner is there, maybe they had to go back to work quickly, but we’re alone or with one support person and trying to take care of a newborn while experiencing all these changes at once.

It’s no wonder we get the blues.

“Baby Blues” are normal. Approximately 85% of new moms get the blues and dads and adoptive parents can get them, too. The blues usually goes away or starts to get better by 3 weeks or so. As we pass the blues, we start to feel better and are beginning to adjust to the ‘new normal’.

There are things we can do to lessen the risks of more serious postpartum mood disorders:

It Is Time

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week next week, I’d like to talk about the issue of feeding a baby. You’ve probably heard the statistics on the benefits of breastfeeding but, I’d like to talk about the history of breastfeeding, how formula fits in, and tolerance.

Over the last century or more, women have been searching for an alternative means to feed their babies, rather than breastfeed. We’re too busy or we want our Independence. Unfortunately, maybe the mother died during childbirth or the baby was adopted. Then there’s the sexualization of the female breasts which has caused some people to turn away from breastfeeding or to persecute those who choose to breastfeed.

Prior to 1867, there were limited ways for a baby to be fed. The mother could breastfeed, family members or a ‘wet nurse’ (a breastfeeding surrogate nanny), or there was the milk from a nonhuman mammal such as a cow or goat. The latter two options did not prove very successful because of the difficulties for the baby to digest the milk.

A ‘formula’ developed in 1915 based on nonfat cow’s milk, lactose, oleo oils and vegetable oils became the basis for modern, commercially prepared infant formula. Although there have been improvements to infant formula over the years.

As parents, we make 100’s of decisions everyday. There are some that are easier than others, like whether we want to wear pants or a skirt, high heels or flats. We get so used to making decisions that oftentimes we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

Some decisions carry more weight....

Rules and Chores

Everywhere we go, there are rules. The mall, at school, at work, at other people’s houses, etc. Our children learn early on that rules of acceptable behavior changes from place to place. We can yell and scream at the park but not at the grocery store. We teach our children to use ‘inside voices’ at the appropriate places and when it’s okay to run and play. The child whose parents have not taught them how to behave in the classroom (by taking them to the library) can have a rougher start at school. Ask any kindergarten teacher.

There seems to be a trend in parenting nowadays, where the parents want to give the child what they want, because they fear that their child will not like them.

Will not ‘like’ them? We’re not talking about Facebook ‘like’, we’re talking about genuine “my child won’t like me if I make them clean their room”.

Knock. Knock. Helloooo, parents? I’ve got a secret.

To Doula or Not to Doula

Human nature is such that we don’t like seeing another human in pain. Even the natural pain that comes with childbirth can be disconcerting for the unprepared. The best way I’ve come to describe labor for someone who has never gone through labor is to find something that most people can relate to: ye olde hammer meets thumb moment.

If you have ever hit your thumb hard enough with a hammer that you can’t speak or you can’t think logically enough to do a simple math problem, then that’s sort of what labor can be like with each contraction for hours.

Now, before people get upset by my analogy, let me explain.

What's the perfect baby shower gift

One of my worst nightmares is receiving an invite to a baby shower. I end up standing in a corner, watching all the presents get opened and in my head repeating things like “Cute, but it’s not safe” and “Yep, everyone has that but it’s not recommended.”

So, here you’ve just received the dreaded Baby Shower Invite, now you’ll need to venture into the land of pink and blue bears to purchase something that chances are the parents will end up not using. There is so much stuff on their registry, so you have to make a decision by reconciling what you like with your budget. If you know nothing of babies, it’s quite a mystery as to where to start.

Here are some great baby shower gifts. They won’t be the flashiest, but they’ll be useful and practical, so the parents will appreciate them all the more when the time comes:

Shall We Play a Game?

Do you remember asking your parents to play a game with you when you were young? We would play dominoes and card games, like Gin Rummy and War. The cousins would get together a play epic, marathon games of Monopoly and Risk. The parents and grandparents played Canasta. (That was the only game I ever heard my sweet, adorable grandmother cheat at).

My kids enjoy games as well. We play cribbage, chess, and Cranium games. We also play video games together. Recently, I’ve heard a few parents tell me they don’t play video games with their kids. I think they’re missing out. We’ve had some rousing games of Super Smash Brothers Brawl or Wii Sports and Wii Play. There are more times than I can count where we’ve had to pause the game because everyone is laughing so hard that we’re crying.

When I play, it gives them the chance to teach me something:

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