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Category Archives: Baby

Respecting a Baby’s Space

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Babies are so cute! They’re so innocent and non-judging… they make lots of people feel the love, belongingness and connection that we all crave.

And, babies need to be picked up, handled and held for just about every activity they do! As an attachment style parent, I’ve had very close contact with my babies all day and night. Physical touch and connection is vital for a baby’s well being.

But where do we draw the line as to what is respectful to a baby’s body or what may be unintentionally violating a baby’s space? Shouldn’t there be a difference in how a stranger enters your baby’s space as opposed to someone the baby knows? And, just because a baby is smiling, does it mean that he’s enjoying the interaction?

I know, I know, again, baby’s are so cute! It’s hard to not want to tickle them or stroke their soft skin or ask to hold them or to squeeze them and poke all their round delicious parts. My son is just about to turn six months old at the time I’m writing this, and man, is he a ham! It’s hard for people to keep their hands off him!

But… babies are people, let’s not forget. Small adorable people, who can’t talk. Would it be ok to go around stroking a stranger’s cheeks? Or, if you saw a cute looking guy in the shops, would it be alright to stick your finger in his hand? No…

I don’t have the right to tickle, poke and prod or do anything that might make my baby feel uncomfortable. And, I feel like I need to protect my small person from other well-meaning people who can’t help but want to do the same.

I’ve had countless strangers approach my babies and try to get a squeeze, or a poke or a kiss! Even when my babies have been tucked away in the baby carrier, and I try to turn away, I’ve had people touch my baby’s toes, plant a kisses on my baby’s head, put a finger in my baby’s soft hand or stroke my baby’s cheeks (their cheeks are amazing, I admit).

Then, people ask for cuddles…

If the baby is tucked away in the carrier, they won’t ask (thank goodness). But, if the baby’s out of the carrier and they ask, I don’t always know what to say. Saying ‘no‘ seems rude. If they could ask my baby and he could answer, then the answer would be straight forward. But, how do I know if HE wants you to hold him? This is not a game of ‘pass the baby‘, this is a little person with feelings!

How would I feel if a giant stranger, who looked, felt and smelled very different from my mother, picked me up? I’m not sure I would like it…

I love the most when people interact with my son by smiling at him and talking. That way, he can simply snuggle his head into my chest if he doesn’t feel like interacting. Or, he can choose to respond by smiling back. Sometimes my son smiles during an interaction with someone, but I have to look at his body language to know if he’s enjoying the interaction. Is he smiling, but tense and pulling and squirming away? Or, is he smiling with his body relaxed? If he’s relaxed, then I know he feels safe and comfortable.

Don’t get me wrong, other people have definitely held my babies, I’m not that uptight and it’s beautiful when the holding is done with awareness. My parents just came to visit from America and my son spent tons of time on their laps. And, some of my good friends, that I see on a regular basis, get cuddles. But, people whom I don’t see often, I just don’t feel comfortable saying ‘yes‘ to when they ask for a casual cuddle. A cuddle is a very intimate thing, in my opinion!

It’s not just strangers who want to poke and prod babies, I think about how often my husband and daughters (or even I) may accidentally invade my son’s body space. My girls love him so much, tthe second I put him down, they’re all over him like white on rice! It’s a tough one, like I said, because babies need to be picked up, interacted with and helped all day long… and we do love to play with him. So, I try my best to nicely remind everyone to look and listen carefully at his cues to see if he starts feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed.

The whole idea of respecting a baby’s body in the way I’m talking about, is a very subtle concept. It’s not to say that we limit the touching or holding of our babies, because babies absolutely need lots of closeness. And, we should act natural around babies! But, is the touching and holding done with awareness? And, does the baby feel safe and comfortable?

We just don’t know what strong impressions are being made in a baby’s brain at such a young age. True, they won’t remember individual events, but they do remember the feeling. I want to make sure that down the track, my children grow up with the feeling that they have felt safe and respected.

I Didn’t Leave the House AT ALL For Six Weeks After my Baby Was Born: It Was Fantastic!

imageWhen my first daughter was born, I’ll never forget my grandmother telling me over the phone, “Now, Katie, a winter baby stays in the house for 4 weeks, a summer baby stays in the house for 2. Your baby was born in autumn, so you should stay in the house for 3 weeks.Read the rest of this entry

How To Do Elimination Communication With Your Baby

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When I was pregnant with my first child, one of my biggest hesitations about becoming a new parent, was the thought of changing countless dirty diapers and of toilet training. I often wondered if there was a more natural process. I wondered what ancient people would have done! Luckily, just a few weeks before my daughter was born, a lady told me about elimination communication (EC). A lightbulb went off after our brief conversation and I knew that elimination communication was something that I wanted to try. I’ve practiced EC with both of my children and they were both and toilet trained, day and night, right around the time they started to walk. Read the rest of this entry

Ten Non-Reasons Why Your Baby is Crying

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Babies cry. You don’t have to feel bad about it. Either they’re trying to tell you something (they’re hungry, scared, etc.) or they’re frustrated or in pain.  We should always do the best we can to respond to a crying baby’s needs. Yes, sometimes it’s overwhelming and yes sometimes you need to put a crying baby down for a moment. Yes, we live in a silly society where parents live isolated and don’t have enough help. Sometimes, you pick up a baby and they just keep crying. Read the rest of this entry

Should We Never Ever Judge?

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Judgement: The ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. –Oxford Dictionary

I got in a bit of facebook trouble today (as you do sometimes) when I posted a Miss. Judgey Pants remark that went like this:

“Society has taught us to hold into our material possessions, but not to hold on to our babies.

A young fit father was pushing his three or four month old baby in a stroller with one hand and holding a coffee in the other. The baby was screaming and shaking. Dear Sir. Put down your coffee. Stop pushing the stroller. Pick up your baby!”

Read the rest of this entry

Should You Give a Crap About Early Toilet Training?

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Let’s face it, babies and toddlers aren’t stupid. They figure out how to walk, talk, eat, climb, and do everything else. Surely… they can figure out toilet training at a relatively young age if we encourage them? It’s only natural that they would want to stop pooing and peeing on themselves. I recently read an article about a woman who was against putting in any extra effort to toilet train her children and only let her kids toilet train when they were practically begging her. I just about gagged. Read the rest of this entry

From That Very First Day: Birth

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Today, a friend of mine welcomed twin baby boys to the world. Wow, so amazing, I mean, what even is ‘birth?!‘ Oh, I don’t even know… it’s just a miracle, that’s what. The few days before birth, the birth itself and then the few days after. It’s such a precious place in time and space, and it only happens once a lifetime. Read the rest of this entry

Ten Reasons Why You and I Deserve a Medal for Being a Mother

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katesurfs ten reasons why you and I deserve a medal for being a mother

I was cleaning up an ant massacre, by death of strawberry jam, in my the kitchen, when Goldie started yanking on my pants yelling, “UP! UP!” Margo was in the living room twirling around and swinging a hula hoop on her arm screaming, “LOOOOOOK, WATCH ME!!!” Then, Goldie’s nagging grew more urgent, she tapped her groin and exclaimed, “PEE! PEE!. She’d gone a little in her undies already, but I knew that if I quickly took her, she would finish in the potty. So, I dropped what I was doing, picked her up gingerly and took her to the potty I have laying around in the living room. I skirted around the twirling dervish, only to go past and get whacked in the back by the hula hoop. I ripped the little one’s pants off and plopped her on the potty, just in the knick of time. Then, I dodged more hula hooping to grab a tissue to wipe the pee bum and then I thought to myself, “How much money would I be making if I actually got paid for doing this?” Ok, maybe I don’t need to get paid, but I think I at least deserve a medal… maybe you can relate to one or more of the following and you deserve a medal too?

1. I’ve licked food off of another person’s hands and face. In fact, that’s what I’m doing in the photo because I had nothing to wipe Goldie’s mouth off with. I’ve eaten slobbery offerings of half eaten food from the dirty hands of a toddler. Honorable mention is the food that I’ve eaten off of a kid’s shirt and/or off the floor.

2. I, and practically everything else in my house, has, at one point, been pooped on, peed on, and/or vomited on, and that is not all. It can happen almost any time and any where, but it tends to happen most as soon as someone has clean clothes on or I have just put fresh sheets on the bed. Clean. Mess. Clean. Mess. Repeat.

3. I’ve picked a nose that wasn’t my own. That is all.

4. I respond to, “Why“, “Mama“, or “No” eight hundred and seventy times a day. Ninety percent of the time, I respond to incessant questions politely. Does anyone want to come over to have their ear chewed off by a four year old? Even for just an hour? Please… Oh, I’m also a mind reader… not just anyone can understand your toddler tell you about their day.

5. My house is *real* messy. Not that *fake* messy that some people try to say is real messy. Like this one post gone viral about why a lady couldn’t be your friend if you don’t like her messy house… and then the photo had three stray toys laying on the floor. I’m sorry, that does not cut it. If you come to my house, I won’t ask you to fold the laundry, because I only shove the laundry in the drawers. And, there is a difference between messy and dirty. My house is only messy, thus the medal.

6. I. wipe. butts. all. day. 

7. I feed my family *something* everyday and eventually do all the dishes. Don’t open my cupboards, because you might end with an avalanche of half opened bags of pasta on your head. You might find mystery hard stuff on the spoon I give you with your soup, but, I promise, it has been washed, so you can just scrape the mystery stuff off with your finger. And, don’t think that we eat healthy and organic everyday either. Sometimes we eat cereal for dinner, and I’m pretty ok with that.

8. I’ve carried a crying baby on my back AND held a screaming banshee big kid in my arms at the same time, while simultaneously walking down a crowded street in broad daylight. If ever I needed to have my ego busted… well, there you go.

9. I’ve sustained personal injuries often. I’ve been head butted on the bridge of my nose. I’ve also been kicked or accidentally whacked in the in the jaw so that my teeth bashed together. I’ve had my eye poked at and had many more such accidental/sometimes intentional injuries, mostly while I was half or fully asleep.

10. Last, but not least, I freaking love my kids so much that I do it all over again every day without any recognition or any medal.


Old School Discipline is Irrelevant: What We Do Instead

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I was trying to fold some laundry, but my kids were up to all of their typical annoying anti-laundry folding assault techniques. You know, sitting on the folded towels and pulling the middle shirt out of the pile, which in turn knocked the whole pile over, etc. My first thought was, “OMG! Really, just let me fold the f*cking laundry!Read the rest of this entry

Have You Had That Baby Yet? Seriously, Shut up!

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There have been a plethora of overdue babies around me lately, so I had to write this post.

I worked until four days before my due date with Margo. Each and every day that I made it to work, everyone would say the same thing as I waddled in the door, “Oh, you’re here, we weren’t sure if you would make it today! You must be so over it.”  Read the rest of this entry