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Below are the 14 most recent journal entries recorded in Parents Against Judging Other Parents' LiveJournal:

Sunday, April 15th, 2007
9:43 am
Ronald McDonald House
I just heard that at a Ronald McDonald's house in Houston...a mother of a 17 month old (recovering from brain surgery) was told not to breastfeed her toddler in a public area. She was told to go up to her room to do it.

Easy if you have one child. Not too hard to move. But the child has siblings. Not so easy to move the whole family back to the room each time the little tyke wants to nurse. And I'm sure the child is wanting to breastfeed a lot.

Very sad.

I think all places should allow babies and toddlers to eat....whether that be breastmilk, formula, or some kind of crumb-free snack. Older kids (depending on health and family situation) could probably wait.

The only exception I would see is places that are adult-only.

But if you're going to allow toddlers and babies, they should be able to eat.

If you have a fancy store and don't want milk dripping on the expensive furniture...provide a lot of benches.

Very sad that this is a Ronald McDonald House.
Thursday, April 12th, 2007
9:12 pm
In praise of spit-up
A couple of months ago I told my friends how one of the great joys of parenthood is sucking boogers out of my son's nose with a snot bulb. Well, it gets even better. I love being doused with the baby's fluids: drool, spit-up, even when he pees on my jeans in a "wardrobe malfunction."

Okay, love might be a bit of a strong word. But I do feel an affection for his spew. I like the fact that my clothes bear these marks of his. It's so intimate and transgressive, if ya know what I mean. That is, in polite society it is considered the height of impropriety to barf on someone or wipe your nose on their sleeve or piddle on their shoes. The only bodily fluid that it is ever acceptable to deposit on another person is to cry on their shoulder, and even than is rarely done in public.

Babies, of course, don't know these rules. I'm just a human handkerchief to my son, an extension of his own body. So just as he pees and drools and barfs on himself, so he does also unto me. And I take a strange delight in that. The wet patches down my shirtfront say, "Baby on Board."

Perhaps this baby baptismal font is especially important to me because I did not give birth to him. Pregnancy is, obviously, an extremely intimate physical act. To carry another person inside you and not be able to put her/him down even for a minute. To feel their kicks and hiccups and somersaults. I didn't get to experience that with the padawan. But I do get the spit-up, and I am happy to sacrifice my wardrobe to him.
Friday, April 6th, 2007
10:57 pm
Hi! I just found this community a day or two ago. I am the proud, single, working mother to a four month old son. As a new mom, I have read and researched WAY too much, and some of what's out there is really scary. Some parenting books can be so very judgmental and rigid. For example, while I love a lot of the ideas of attachment parenting, I cringe every time I come across people lambasting "crib and bottle" raising. My son sleeps in a crib, and he is formula fed, so you can imagine how that makes me feel!

I've come to the realization that parents (namely ME) need lots of support and encouragement, and not judgment and guilt. Anyway, this community is exactly what I need, and once my shyness wears off, I may just end up spamming this community with all my parenting thoughts.

Here is a pic of my pretty boy.
Thursday, April 5th, 2007
10:27 pm
Hey, I don't remember if I was in this group before or not, but if I was I ended up leaving for some reason, so I suppose it's time for either an Introduction, or a Re-introduction. Either way, here goes.

My name's Josie, and I have 1 18 moth old boy named Miles. I've been married for 7 years to a guy named Aaron, and he's a great guy.

I joined this group because I wanted to be part of a parenting group that wasn't all snarky and full of flaming. Ugh, that gets so old on LJ.

So anyway, it's nice to meet everyone. =)

Current Mood: hungry
Monday, March 26th, 2007
6:06 pm
Day Care
There's some kind of article out right now (saw it in google health) about how daycare causes behavior problems.

I think it's so ridiculous.

It seems every few months there is some overly publicized study about daycare. Sometimes it says something positive about daycare. Sometimes it says something bad.

I think unless it is shown that daycare has a 75% chance of turning your child into a crazed serial killer, we really don't need to know about it.

What is the point? Except to make us feel guilty. Or make us worry. Or make us feel superior because we stay home with our children.

Do parents have a choice about putting their kids in daycare? Oh yes, they do, some would argue. But it's kind of like the choice of "You can either eat your greenbeans or not eat anything at all." It's not a REAL choice.

A real choice would be you can eat your greenbeans, an apple, or some carrots. That is a fair choice.

A real choice about childcare would be

You can take 18 months off or work and stay home with your baby with 80% of your salary. Or you can send your child to a free HIGH quality daycare.

The real current choice is:

A) send your child to a very expensive, but low quality daycare. Be torn in two directions. The boss wants you to stay late. The daycare wants you to pick up your child because he's barfing all over the carpet.

You never get the promotion because in order to achieve that you need to work 15 hours a day.


B) Stay home with your child. Make financial adjustments. Not too bad. You don't need to go out to dinner every weekend. You don't really need two cars. You can move into a smaller house. Stop going on vacations. You don't need a career even though it's what you wanted to do your whole life. Being with your child should fulfill you enough. Who cares that everyone will look down at you at cocktail parties and give you the patronizing "Oh, motherhood is the most important job in the world." Uh, but let me go talk to someone more interesting.

And then your husband walks out on you and suddenly you are stuck looking for a job. Kind of hard when your resume has that big blank spot. Do you have any REAL skills? I mean obviously parenting isn't one. Because if it was one....if your type of work WAS respected, they'd be paying the daycare workers a higher salary. And if they had a higher salary, the daycares would be better quality.

So instead of spending moneys on these stupid studies, why don't they just pay daycare workers a high salary? What if daycare workers were paid the same amount as doctors? It would be a highly competive job. Daycare workers would be well trained and have college degrees. People would be fighting over the jobs. Children would be taught by the creme of the crop.

Childcare and parenting would be a TRULY respected job.

I've been a teacher.

And I'm a mom.

I am so sick of hearing how parenting is the most important job in the world. Or how teachers are so important.

Money speaks more than empty compliments.

I am so sick of advice thrown at parents. Or worse...all the warnings. Wash your child's hands frequently or they'll get the flu. Don't wash your child's hands too much or they'll end up getting diabetes or asthma.

They should throw money instead.

Put more money into daycare.

And pay parents to stay home with their children for the first few years.

Then parents truly WOULD have a choice. Put their kids in a wonderful daycare or stay home with them for awhile.
Wednesday, February 7th, 2007
7:23 am
ParentCenter email letter
I still get these crappy letters from BabyCenter/ ParentCenter. Whatever they're called.

I don't read them anymore because they usually end up making me feel completely paranoid or a horrible parent.

Anyway, for some weird reason I decided to open the email today.

These are things I saw.

7 SIGNS YOUR CHILD LOVES YOU (and if we don't see any of those signs, should we get really depressed? Really? Are we so dumb that we can't tell that our kid loves us? Do we really need signs? Even when our kids are teens/tweens and act like they hate us, I'm sure once in awhile we have the wisdom to know that really really deep inside they love us)

POPULAR SPORT SENDS 100,000 kids to ER EACH YEAR (yes, lets get more paranoid about safety issues.)

DOES YOUR CHILD PREFER ONE PARENT OVER THE OTHER? (this is a poll so you can compare yourself to other families. If you weren't depressed already and remembering how your child seems to like your spouse better...here's a reminder for you)

SHOULD SPANKING BE OUTLAWED (oh yes! Controversy! How fun. All us bored moms can fight and "scream" at each other about our parenting decisions)

WAS THERE A PARTICULAR MOMENT THAT YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH YOUR CHILD? WHEN DID IT HAPPEN? TAKE OUR POLL! (again, let' s compare ourselves to other families! A place where we can brag about how fast we fell in love with our kids! Maybe make other moms feel bad because they took a much longer time)

VAGINAL DELIVERY LINKED TO GYNECOLOGICAL DISORDER (something else to be paranoid about. But as soon as we start leaning towards C-sections...they'll surely have some bad scary news about that)

LAVENDER OIL LINKED TO BREAST GROWTH IN BOY (Oh shit. Does this mean that because I used that Johnson and Johnson nightime lavender soap stuff, that now my son is going to grow breasts? )

WHEN WILL MY SON BE OLD ENOUGH TO USE THE MEN'S ROOM BY HIMSELF (this is the only article I'm even the slightest bit tempted to read. But is there really a set age? Doesn't it matter about the family? The child? I'm so curious what the article says. I'll probably read it. But it will probably make me feel like crap)
Monday, January 22nd, 2007
7:34 am
Comparing myself to another Mom
Last night, my family had dinner with a new mom. Her child is about 6 weeks old.

She was the most beautiful new mom I've ever seen. Not beautiful as in she lost the right amount of weight and is wearing the right make-up and the right fashions. Just truly beautiful. Glowing. Happy. Perfection.

She seemed so easy going....as if parenting was the easiest and happiest job in the world.

I know I was not like that when I had a 6 week old baby. I was stressed out, tired, grumpy, paranoid, angry, slightly depressed, etc. I've seen pictures of myself. I was NOT beautiful. I looked frumpy and blah.

I keep hoping maybe I did a good job of faking it. Maybe I SEEMED easygoing and happy to other people. I know not with my family. We have video of my parents and sister's family visiting our house. I seem ready to explode with anger.

But maybe with other people? Maybe I was good at faking it.

I know I shouldn't compare, but what can I say? I just naturally do it.

I guess motherhood is different for all moms. Some of us come into it saying "Wow, this is so easy and fun. I love it." Others of us come into it feeling it is the hardest thing we've ever done.

I guess it depends on our personality, our baby's personality, and the support we get (or don't get). Maybe other factors too....such as hormones.
Saturday, December 16th, 2006
8:49 pm
Having a second child
This is a current topic that I feel a lot of pressure around. There seems to be a lot of opinions about the NEED to have a second child. Most people appear to be campaigning against the only child. Is anyone out there campaigning for having ONLY one child?
I have to admit, my husband is one of the biggest campaigner of multiple children. Having been an only child himself, he hates the idea of only having one child. Someone it seems Brock would be doomed to a lonely fate of caring for his parents (as my husband is with his mother) if we do not birth him an accomplice. And not only must we produce this new soul mate for him, but it must happen soon... otherwise we miss some mystical window of opportunity to have them be close enough in age to relate to one another.
UGH. I don't think I have the energy, patience, money or space for another child. I've grown accustomed to having lots of space that is not occupied by infant paraphernalia. Plus, I don't feel compelled to wander through the wilderness of figuring out another human being! Are you hungry, wet, sad, mad, WHAT? Why are you crying? It's a very long 2 years before they can manage coherent thoughts with speech.
MMMM... well, that's my thought for the week. I know this community is about no advice... but, um, I'd still like to hear people's thoughts on the topic. It just won't have much bearing on what we decide to do on the reproduction side of things.

Current Mood: exhausted
Tuesday, December 12th, 2006
9:33 am
Babies and Sleep
Now that I no longer have dogmatic opinions about co-sleeping vs. crib-sleeping, I'm trying to figure it all out.

We co-sleep. We still co-sleep. I love it and am happy to do it until Jack is not a cuddly little boy anymore. It might be a bit too weird when he's past the age of 10. Or maybe not. Or maybe we'll kick him out sooner. I don't know.

We didn't have definite plans to co-sleep. I had read about it when Jack was born and considered it. But pretty much planned that he'd sleep in a bassinet and later move to a crib.

Before he was born, I imagined that our life would be like this. I'd stick him in the bassinet all day. Wheel it around with me wherever I go. Every 2-4 hours, I'd take him out, breastfeed him, change his diaper, hold him a bit, and then stick him back in the bassinet.

Things did not turn out the way I had planned. It ended up that Jack would not sleep unless someone was holding him. He'd sleep on a lap. I could nurse him laying down and he'd sleep next to me. Or he'd sleep in the sling. He needed skin-to-skin contact. We even tried one of those little infant co-sleeping nests. You put the baby right between you and your spouse. But it is protected in it's own little mini-bed. Jack would not sleep in it.

He WOULD sleep in the carseat though. The problem is we could rarely transfer him. As soon as we removed him from the carseat, he'd wake up. Same with the sling. I had to walk around until he fell asleep. I COULD sit down once he was asleep and do something like type on the computer. But I couldn't remove him.

It pretty much ended up (or at least seemed) that the only way we could get decent sleep is to co-sleep. So we did. And we read books that said not only was it okay to co-sleep, but you SHOULD co-sleep. And that's how I got my high and mighty I'm-better-parent-than-you-attitude.

But now that I've come to my senses, I realize that if Jack had been one of those newborns who easily fell asleep when you put them down in their little bassinet, we'd never become a co-sleeping family, we'd be a crib family.

What I'm wondering though....if someone is REALLY against co-sleeping....if they really do not want to do it, but they have an infant like Jack, what do they do? Do they just not get any sleep for a few weeks and finally the baby gives up and sleeps without being rocked, fed to sleep, or sleeping next to another human body?

Maybe co-sleeping families are like ours....Or like me. I am a sleeper. I love my sleep. I NEED my sleep. I gave up fast. I found a way to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night, early on, and I went with it.

A family who has a child like Jack, but the parents are used to getting less sleep (maybe they did all nighters in college, or partied a lot) maybe they could go on weeks with less than 4 hours of sleep a night. Maybe they have the stamina to train the newborn to fall asleep on its own.

Anyway, my opinion on the subject is whatever works for the family is best. I liked and still like co-sleeping. My husband loves it too. We're all happy to sleep together.

I'd feel bad though for a family who does not want to co-sleep and feel they are forced into it. I am hoping there IS a way to prevent it. From the beginning. Some way you can gently guide newborn into falling asleep on its own. I know Elizabeth Pantly has a book "The No Cry Sleep Solution". But I wonder if her ideas really work. We got the book too late, but her ideas for "If you got this book to late and your baby is over 5 months" didn't work for us. It sounded good in theory, but we tried them and they didn't work.

Maybe if we got the book before Jack was born, the newborn ideas would have worked on him. Or maybe like most parenting books, the author assumes it will work for ALL children, but it doesn't.

It's like my friend. If I thought I had it tough....I could eventually (when Jack was about 6 months or so)...nurse him to sleep in bed and then leave. I could stay up later, do stuff while he took a nap, etc. But my friend couldn't leave her child period. He wouldn't stay asleep unless she stayed with him. A part of me felt so frustruated and wanted to imagine it was her fault. If I could leave Jack after nursing him to sleep, she should have been able to also.

But it was like me with my older sister. She kept telling me I should put Jack to sleep the way she did. Just dim the lights, stick the baby in the crib, and play lullaby music. That's how her daughter fell asleep. They didn't have to co-sleep or struggle with crying-it-out. Just lullaby music and dimmed lights. Wow.
Saturday, December 9th, 2006
8:59 am
strollers at Disney World
We just got back from Disney World which is full of parenting controversies. Not there really, but on Disney World message boards.

One of the biggest controversies is older children using strollers. How old is old? Who knows? For some people, three years old is too old. For other people, older is the 9 and 10 year olds they see in strollers.

Jack is 5 now and this is the first time we took a heavy-walking trip without a stroller.

It went pretty well. I've never seen that kid walk so much. I'm guessing he walked about 2-3 miles a day. I enjoyed not having a stroller. It's easier to talk to him when he's not in a stroller. We also didn't have to worry about him having a long nap and then not being tired enough for bedtime.

On the other hand, we did have to carry him a lot. We rarely carry him anymore in our day-to-day life, but the amount of walking we did was too much for him to keep up with. I carried him a little bit, my husband carried him more. We're in relatively good physical shape. But what if we weren't? What if we had back problems? Then a stroller would be very helpful.

I think it's wrong to judge families who use a stroller at Disney World. Who knows there situation? Just because a child is sitting in a stroller, it doesn't mean they don't get exercise in other ways. Or they might have already walked 2 miles that day.

The child might have some kind of behavior-emotional issue and it helps to keep them in stroller. Jack used to feel more secure being in a stroller when there were large crowds.

And the parents might not be physically capable of carrying the child. And I think Disney World has too much walking for most children to keep up with. I've heard the average amount of walking per day is something around 10 miles...or more. If there is no stroller, many parents are going to end up carrying the child.

Anyway, I feel our family is ready to give up the stroller...at least for Disney World. Still not sure about our trips to NYC. But I don't think there is any reason to judge families who choose to use strollers for older kids.
Wednesday, November 29th, 2006
10:23 am
Being Overprotective
Last night I dreamed I dreamed that we were in a public place. Jack had to go to the bathroom. I was busy and too lazy to take him, so I let him go alone. I didn't pay attention much to him leaving or his absense. I was too busy. He returned shortly very pleased with himself for going to the bathroom alone.

I felt bad for letting him do it, but then wondered if it really was that bad. Is it so horrible to let a five-year-old go to the bathroom alone?

The dream was a reflection of something that happened this holiday weekend. I was about to take Jack and my two nieces outside. The next thing I know, Darcy says "Jack went outside." He had gone out before us. Alone. He had never done this before. I was more shocked and amused, than scared and angry. We went outside after him and found him near the pool. I explained gently, but sternly that children do not go out without adults. He seemed nervous and a bit guilty. I could tell he understood the message and would not do it again.

I don't think he would have gone into the pool, but I do think accidents can happen and he could have fallen in. So it's not an incident I want repeated. But I started thinking that even if we didn't have a pool there...or a lake, we still wouldn't allow him to go outside alone. And how sad is that? What kind of society have we become where five year olds aren't allowed outside by themselves. Or at least some of us don't.

I look at our society often now and think we are too overprotective. We are too obsessed with health and safety. I am especially. I am a paranoid parent. I won't let my five year old eat popcorn because I read a news report about a 3 year old choking on it and dying.

We keep our children so well protected, but is there a cost? Maybe not. I don't know.

I try to cut back on my paranoid parenting, but it is hard. It's kind of like Lost and punching the numbers into the computer. A part of me wants to ignore all the parenting magazines and books...all the warnings. Let my child play on a playground that does not have little woodchips or sand underneath, use a babysitter without doing an extensive criminal background check, take a brief ride in a cab without a carseat, spend five minutes alone in a hotel room while I go downstairs to grab something......

And I have given up my paranoia a few times. I have done some of the above. But as Locke was scared to test out the system by not pressing the button....I'm scared I'm tempting fate. Everytime I relax a bit, I am nervous I'll be punished for it. Some horrible catastrophe will happen.

How do we keep our kids safe without being overprotective?

How do we know what dangers are real and common enough to need extensive precautions. And what dangers are rare and simply hyped up by the media? Lots of little children eat popcorn and survive.
Monday, November 27th, 2006
5:54 pm
Advice I ignored
Here's a partial list of parenting advice I ended up ignoring.

I'd love to hear advice that other people ignored.

1. NEVER leave your baby alone. Not even for a second.

2. Don't let your baby sleep in your bed.

3. Don't let your baby cry it out.

4. Wean your baby before he's a toddler.

5. Don't pressure your child to wean. Make it completely his decision.

6. Don't bribe your child.

7. Let your child potty train at his own pace.

8. Don't praise your child.

9. Don't have the TV on when your baby is around. It will mess up his language development.

10. Don't use disposable diapers.

11. Stop carrying your child so much

12. Have another baby so Jack can have a sibling.
Sunday, November 26th, 2006
10:46 pm
baby shower
I went to a baby shower this weekend.

There were many planned-activities.

For one of them, we were asked to write advice for the mom-to-be on a notecard. I cringed at the whole thing and wrote an anti-advice message on my notecard. Something like "Don't feel obligated to follow any parenting advice. Follow your own heart. Every family is different."

At the end of the shower, someone read all the cards. Most messages were not pushy or judgemental. There were one or two messages suggesting the mom-to-be check out Love and Logic parenting (not sure what that is about), a message saying don't read Spock, many messages similar to mine (I was pleasantly surprised).

Only one message was bitchy/judgemental. It said "Have the baby sleep in its own room. Don't let it sleep with you and your husband." That hurt my feelings because our son sleeps with us.

But I didn't say anything. I decided it was best to just chuckle with the rest of the crowd and move on. I can imagine, in the past, I'd write something just as hurtful. Something like "Don't wean too early" "Don't use Babywise" "Don't force your baby to sleep in a crib".

I also reminded myself that although it SEEMED everyone was laughing and agreeing with the comment, there were probably other co-sleepers in the crowd who were equally uncomfortable. But I see no need for a debate or to try to sway the mom-to-be to our camp. Her mind is probably made up about the sleeping issue and there's a good chance baby will end up changing her mind. Or maybe she'll stick to her original opinion. Who knows.

I just don't think the mom-to-be needs advice. And I certainly don't think she needed a debate or a fight.
10:11 pm
What do I do?

Should I start posting now or wait for more people?

I have never started a community before.

Maybe I'll give a brief intro.

Or maybe I should wait.
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