Thursday, November 26, 2009

Practical Parenting

I forgot to mention this (so much other stuff on my pondering how my tiny newborn got suddenly so substantial), but I started a monthly column in Practical Parenting magazine.
The November issue has the first column - but I think the December issue is already on sale! I never even got to see the November one.
December's has ideas for a more sustainable gift list (and one that won't break the bank).
I must admit, I inspired myself! :)

Friday, November 20, 2009

deconstructing conventional wisdom

I was recently visiting my Dad who had been reading a book by his favourite biologist, Desmond Morris - Illustrated Babywatching. I read it while I was there for the weekend. It's absolutely fascinating, full of baby-related trivia such as why babies are called babies, why they cry, and how quickly they learn to recognise the smell of their own mother's breastmilk.

But one section I thought could be amended. The section on toilet training averred that, among other things, baby chimpanzees start to hold themselves away from their mothers when weeing only once they are about two years old. Until then they urinated on their mothers. This was the sole piece of biological evidence Morris gave for saying that human babies had no control of their elimination processes (or sphincters).

However, Umi is now nine weeks old, and I have held her over a pot to do wees and poos from her first day of life. At the beginning I would undo her nappy, which would often be dry, and straight away she would wee, stimulated by the cool air. But from about six weeks on, she had enough control to wait until I held her over the pot. At night she would keep her nappy dry between feeds. At other times, she'd make a special noise so that I would give her a 'potty opportunity'.

I think human babies are born having the awareness of when they eliminate. EC is about recognising small signs of this awareness and acting on them. It's not the same as toilet training.
Morris says you can't 'teach' an infant how to toilet. Of course - neither can you teach a baby to cook and use a knife and fork. However, you can help a baby to eliminate hygienically and comfortably, just as you can help a baby to access milk.

Seems a no-brainer, really.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Flannel Fings nappy

Do you like the sassy denim nappy Umi is modelling here on my mum's lap?

Tricia, who has a wonderful blog, sent this to Umi for her birth-day. Look, Tricia, it still JUST fits! The design of the all-in-one interior is really clever and fantastic for fast drying (though I didn't photograph that as Tricia tells me the current design is a bit different.)

But best of all I think is that this beautiful nappy is made entirely from reclaimed fabric - denim and flannel. Lovely and soft!

It arrived in a bag made of jeans (I'm going to sew a strap on and call it a shoulder bag) inside a compostable plastic wrapping (lucky, as it arrived in the rain), and included a pile of lovely soft face flannels made of reclaimed fabric, that reminded me of a simpler, prettier life. Tor loves these flannels - he sucks them in the bath. So much nicer than cheap terry towelling.

Monday, November 2, 2009

A box-full of 'new' toys, without spending a cent!

Do you know how to provide your small child with a whole lot of fresh toys without having to go out and buy them?

Just do as I did this morning and have a big toy-cleanout. Whether you are putting them away for the next child or taking them to another family or a charity (I was planning all three), pack up your child's most neglected toys and put them in a big box or bag. Or just get them out of their old dusty hiding-place and shine some daylight on them.

If your child is like my three year old (and I suspect they are), they will immediately grab the toys and start avidly playing with them. They will declare undying attachment to the said toys, and absolutely veto your taking them away :)

I had one particular pull-along wagon of unpainted blocks, of strange shapes which didn't really lend themselves to any particular building task, that I picked up at a charity stall. Torsten has never ONCE played with it. Today, 'rescuing' it from the throwaway heap, he found it fascinating!

Anyone else witnessed this phenomenon?

It kind of shows that it's not the toys, but the child's interaction with them (depending on his stage of development) that makes the play.