Thursday, April 21, 2011

Parenting Artifacts: No-Shock Baby & Toddler Safety Helmets

Much like anthropologist Jane Goodall immersed herself into the world of the gorillas, Amanda and I are becoming a part of parent culture. Along the way, like all social scientists, we are discovering the many strange and unique tools specific to this exotic culture. Here is a sample of one of our preliminary findings.
Ezra had his first big fall last week.  He was dancing on our kitchen step stool.  The square platform was too small to contain his moves, and he danced off the side.  I suspect that is why Go-Go dancers use cages.  He fell about a foot directly onto his head.  This resulted in the immediate growth of a golf ball-sized, purple bump a little above his right eye, and a very concerned mom and dad.

Parenting is a constant source of guilt.  You watch your child fall and then reproach yourself for not being fast enough to catch him or stopping the behavior that caused the fall.  The embarrassing part of this story is that Amanda and I were not only encouraging the potentially dangerous behavior, but also videotaping it.  It was a cute dance!  

Falling, of course, is part of childhood.  Worrying, of course, is part of parenthood.  One of the many catalogs we now receive in the mail specializes in items to keep your household safe for children.  It includes locks and latches for everything you can imagine from safety gates to toilet-guards.  My favorite item is for parents, I believe, who decided childproofing the house is an impossible task, and decide instead to include safety equipment as part of their child’s wardrobe.

The catalog product description reads (note the child is also wearing knee pads): 
Finally: a protective helmet for wobbly walkers and crawlers that's cute and comfortable, too! This advanced baby helmet is made of high-tech foam that absorbs impacts and cushions falls, without bulky padding. Its breathable lining keeps little heads cool. Helmet adjusts to fit kids 8-20 months

Parents live in a state of constant anxiety, and the desire to find a perfect item to always keep one’s child safe is completely understandable.  Deep down all parents must know, sadly, that magical object does not exist.  After Ezra’s fall, Amanda and I initially panicked as we watched the swelling on his head.  We called the doctor’s office to see if we needed to bring him in for x-rays and a CAT scan.  Luckily, we were on hold long enough to take a deep breath and read a few medical websites that reassured us he did not show any signs that his injury was significant.  The fact that he only cried for 30 seconds after the fall and then continued playing should have clued us into this.  We kept our eye on him for the next 24 hours, reminded ourselves that Ezra doesn’t need to wear a helmet (he has a skull), and most importantly, erased that video.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Nursing My Toddler Keeps My Baby Close

Welcome to the April Carnival of Breastfeeding hosted by Blacktating and Motherwear!  More than 30 bloggers participated in this month's carnival sharing their thoughts on extended breastfeeding.  After reading my post, check out the links for all of the other participants.

“They grow up so fast.” Every time I hear this platitude I find it hard not to roll my eyes. It's such an easy, empty statement and I simply nod my head in quiet agreement. Raising a child takes so much time, most of which seems to trickle by during infancy and comes to a standstill during a toddler's tantrum. The time I spend nursing and rocking Ezra to sleep at night can sometimes feel like an eternity. But looking back at the last 18 months, I realize my infant has been replaced with a toddler, and Ezra really is growing up so quickly.

At 18 months, Ezra’s toddlerhood bears little resemblance to his infancy. At birth, he had a head full of dark hair. By four months he was a veritable cherub. He rarely cried during the first year. Now, he has long, blond hair and his legs are starting to thin out. He runs and climbs; he’ll soon be jumping. He’s growing into boyhood every day, playing with balls, cars and rocks. He’s exercising his opinions, which means we’re dealing with tantrums. And I wonder, “Where has my baby gone?”

Then my baby resurfaces. I see glimpses of him here and there. This has been one of the unexpected joys of breastfeeding my toddler. As Ezra has become more active, energetic and started talking nonstop (in sentences even!) it’s a quiet time between the two of us. When he’s rarely quiet and still anymore, everything slows down while nursing. We make eye contact. I’ll sing and talk to him and he talks and hums with me. It’s a time for us to share a private moment. He seems to need it as much as I do, the bonding that was important when he was small. He still wants to nestle in my arms and feel the warmth from my chest.

When Ezra’s nursing, I’m reminded clearly of who he was as an infant. It’s something we’ve been doing since a few minutes after his birth, and even though he’s changed so much, we still have the consistency and familiarity of breastfeeding to help me remember. Most importantly, the fact that he’s still nursing reminds me that while he may be growing up, he’s still my baby too.

Links to other blogs participating in the April Carnival of Breastfeeding on Extended Breastfeeding:

Mamapoeki from Authentic Parenting: Extended Breastfeeding?
Mama Alvina of Ahava & Amara Life Foundation: Breastfeeding Journey Continues
Elita @ Blacktating:  The Last Time That Never Was
Diana Cassar-Uhl, IBCLC: Old enough to ask for it
Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama: A Song for Mama’s Milk
Judy @ Mommy News Blog: My Favorite Moments
Tamara Reese @ Please Send Parenting Books: Extended Breastfeeding
Jenny @ Chronicles of a Nursing Mom: The Highs and Lows of Nursing a Toddler
Christina @ MFOM: Natural-Term Breastfeeding
Rebekah @ Momma’s Angel: My Sleep Breakthrough
Suzi @ Attachedattheboob: Why I love nursing a toddler
Claire @ The Adventures of Lactating Girl: My Hopes for Tandem Nursing
Stephanie Precourt from Adventures in Babywearing: “Continued Breastfeeding”: straight from the mouths of babes
The Accidental Natural Mama: Nurse on, Mama
Sarah @ Reproductive Rites: Gratitude for extended breastfeeding
Nikki @ On Becoming Mommy: The Little Things
The Artsy Mama: Why Nurse a Toddler?
Christina @ The Milk Mama: The best thing about breastfeeding
TopHat @ the bee in your bonnet: From the Mouths of Babes
Callista @ Callista’s Ramblings:  Pressure To Stop Breastfeeding
Zoie @ Touchstone Z: Breastfeeding Flavors
Tanya @ Motherwear Breastfeeding Blog: Six misconceptions about extended breastfeeding
Jona ( Breastfeeding older twins
Motherlove Herbal Company: Five reasons to love nursing a toddler

Friday, April 15, 2011

Storytellers at The Kinsey Institute Gallery

My latest exhibit, Storytellers, will be on display at The Kinsey Institute Gallery on the Indiana University, Bloomington campus from April 8-July 15, Monday-Friday, 1:30-5 pm.

Storytellers provides a rare opportunity to view a wide range of material pulled from The Kinsey Institute’s extensive library collection, with an intriguing selection of pulp fiction paperbacks from the 1960s, illustrated erotic novels, underground comic books, Japanese pillow books, and other narrative texts.  Story-driven artworks are also included in the exhibition, ranging from vintage photographs, prints, watercolors, and drawings by anonymous and known artists to a series of Judy Chicago lithographs.

Monday, April 11, 2011


We are not morning people, and unlike our cats, food is not a great motivator for us to rise and shine.  Yet, we love breakfast food.  We just prefer it as brunch food.  

When we are having a good week and make the time to plan our workday breakfast meals, Amanda and I often make a batch of granola or porridge to reheat each morning.  Neither of these are too labor intensive, but take a little time.  We always forget how incredibly easy and fast oatmeal is to prepare; rolled oats cook in five minutes. I don't know why anyone would ever buy instant oatmeal when home cooked oatmeal mixed with a few simple ingredients is not really more difficult or complicated to make (both just involve boiling water and stirring) and taste better.  

Here is our simple oatmeal recipe:

2 cups rolled oats
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt

Bring the three ingredients to a boil in a covered pot. Lower the heat to medium-low and continue cooking for 5 minutes. Stir frequently.

We usually stir in bananas or berries, chopped walnuts, maple syrup, and a little milk.  See, easy!