Saturday, June 27, 2009

And while we're on the subject...

So, there are two bad secret ingredients of Hershey's chocolate...

First, most chocolate is on our don't-eat list (as I mentioned in my previous post) because it has artificial flavors. And, well, it tastes like crap. Luckily there's plenty of real chocolate available, even at the regular grocery store. It's just European and pricey. And there's even more choice at Jimbo's and the like. I remember what Hershey's chocolate used to taste like, how it used to melt in your mouth... it's just not the same anymore. It tastes fake and yucky. And of course Hershey's bought Cadbury and now the Cadbury we get in the USA is not the same stuff from England imported over here (which would be a dream-- yum!) but more of the same garbage. They ruined Cadbury Eggs! The gall.

And of course, another very important reason to avoid this stuff: The other secret ingredient is slavery. Yum!

It's not like I'm going to buy Hershey's if they switch to fair trade, unless they also switch back to selling chocolate and not just chocolate-FLAVORED bar food products. Or what have you. But I will still tell them to stop supporting slavery.


A great news release shared online by my friend:

"CSPI Urges FDA to Ban Artificial Food Dyes Linked to Behavior Problems"

The gist:
A comprehensive 2004 meta-analysis of the medical literature concluded that artificial dyes affect children's behavior, and two recent studies funded by the British government found that dyes (as well as the preservative sodium benzoate) adversely affect kids' behavior. Unlike most previous studies, those British studies tested children in the general population, not children whose parents suspected they were sensitive to dyes. As a result, the British government is successfully pressuring food manufacturers to switch to safer colorings.

The scary part:
Americans' exposure to artificial food dyes has risen sharply. According to the FDA, the amount of food dye certified for use was 12 milligrams per capita per day in 1955. In 2007, 59 mg per capita per day, or nearly five times as much, was certified for use. Dyes are used in countless foods and are sometimes used to simulate the color of fruits or vegetables. Kraft's Guacamole Dip gets its greenish color not from avocados (there are almost none) but from Yellow 5, Yellow 6, and Blue 1. The blue bits in Aunt Jemima Blueberry Waffles are blue thanks to Red 40 and Blue 2, not real blueberries.

The especially infuriating part--these companies can totally do without the dyes!
More than a dozen American varieties of Kraft's Oscar Meyer Lunchables kids' meals contain artificial food dyes, but not so the British versions. Starburst Chews, Skittles, and M&M candies—all Mars products—contain the full spectrum of artificial colors in the U.S., but not in the U.K., where the company uses natural colorings. Even foods that aren't particularly brightly colored can contain dyes, including several varieties of macaroni and cheese and mashed potatoes. Betty Crocker's Au Gratin "100% Real" Potatoes are partly not real, colored as they are with Yellow 5 and Yellow 6, both derived from coal tar. Remarkably, in Britain, the color in McDonald's strawberry sauce for sundaes actually comes from strawberries; in the U.S. it comes from Red 40.

I agree with the mom who is shocked at the FDA... except I'm not really shocked because the FDA notoriously allows all kinds of horrible things to go into and be done to our food... or should I say "food."

This is just like how toys made for the US often have had dangerous plastic parts, whereas the same toys made for Europe are safer. The USA is so crazy stupid about some things!

This is the one line I won't cross, when it comes to what we eat, and what Sophie eats. It's got to be actual food. Sometimes it can be processed, like refined white sugar (but not high fructose corn syrup, because how they process that is especially disgusting, and it's especially bad for you), or white flour, but it's got to at least start as food, not coal tar!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Favorite Parenting Books

Reading: "THIS is the end.  The. End."

Here's links to my favorite parenting books, because we keep chatting about this at playgroup and it's overwhelming. I'm looking for good tips on what to read next, too!

Something funny I noticed is that so many of these repeat the same idea: we need to change our ideas about "misbehavior" and make sure our expectations are developmentally realistic for our children. I know having set routines that work for ME and Sophie make both of us better able to enjoy the day, so that neither one of us runs out of internal or physical resources and crashes. Also, just reading books and articles helps me keep reminding myself that a lot of the time, all Sophie needs is a touch of connection and a few signals that Mommy and Daddy are indeed there to order the world, and she's cooperative and happy.

Two Sophies!

First, here's a list from Mothering's forums with a LOT of book and resource suggestions.

Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn
Amazing parenting philosophy; this captures what I already believe parenting and childhood should be. Not a lot of specific tips and tricks, though. Kohn's writing is very much based in solid research, and focused on enjoying our children as people right now, and helping them grow into independent and loving adults.

Kid Cooperation by Elizabeth Pantley
Wonderful specific techniques you can use immediately, that really work! Very gentle; I ignored the few bits on time out, and enjoyed the parts that remind us that we're really looking to help kids become responsible, happy adults, and that punishment doesn't work. Great advice for specific problem areas of parenting and life. A nice list of things you can try. I think she has a new "No Cry Discipline Book" to go with her No-Cry sleep books.

Adventures in Gentle Discipline by Hilary Flower (and published by La Leche League)
Much longer than Kid Cooperation, but similar in terms of giving you reminders about how to tackle each day, and lots of specific tips.

How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
It even has CARTOONS illustrating the techniques for engaging kids in positive interactions. Perfect for harried parents. I think this is more for older kids, though. I still am glad we have it on our shelf.

The Natural Child Project has many good articles about guiding children, what works and what to avoid. And just lots of interesting information about feminism, parenting history, breastfeeding...

I took her picture because an older woman asked if she could take her picture.

Some other books and resources I'm checking out in the near future:

Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles : Winning for a Lifetime by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, because my friend is finding it useful.

Becoming the Parent You Want to Be

Enjoy Parenting

Playful Parenting by Lawrence J Cohen Because I think we do a lot of stuff like he suggests, and I want more specific ideas, games, etc. Mary Poppins was a Playful Parent/Nanny, I think :)

Our Babies, Ourselves... Hold On to Your Kids... Reclaiming Childhood... Coloring Outside the Lines...

...Ah, and so many from the list on MDC above. I'm glad there's a lot out there, because like I said, it all helps keep me in a mindset that is open to seeing my daughter as a person and not just behaviors, and as a part of our larger family and not a child in a vacuum. I find it grants me patience and the resources to be creative, which is SO necessary.

So I'm looking forward to seeing what else people are reading or have found useful.

On the train-- the best one of many attempts to get us all together

Friday, June 19, 2009

Word Part II -- What IS Attachment Parenting?

Since I'm on garage-sale eve here, I have no time to write, so it's another fun link.

But this is a big one! PhD in Parenting is a great blog I recently added to my Google Reader, and here its author puts together what AP is NOT, which I thinks help explain what it is. So many articles lately seem to be conflating AP with the hothouse/helicopter/status-driven/trendy/be the BEST parenting style going on lately... and that's not true at all. I think APers tend to be more laid back. So here it is, in much better words than my price-sticker/newsprint/hauling furniture brain can summon right now:

Attachment Parenting: What it is and isn't

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Here's an article that says keeping your babies close their first few years results in their being happy and healthy.

Love the book, and this is just DUH! and yet, so radical these days in this culture, it seems...

Our first Mother's Day

Makes me happy to snuggle my happy baby :)


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

In Praise of Not Praising

So, everyone knows by now that Alfie Kohn is one of my favorite gurus. I just found an article summing up a lot of research and his writings on how praise is actually detrimental to children and developing skills.

Kohn's writings are all based on solid research, and his book (and DVD, which we should really watch, although we've read the book a lot) Unconditional Parenting is my favorite parenting book. Others have great specific tips I have found insanely useful, but this book is the bedrock of what it is we're trying to do with Sophie.

We have definitely stayed away from "good girl" with Sophie (because what's the implication? That if she didn't do whatever it was, that she would be a bad girl? There are no bad girls.) And we have tried to not say "good job," but I have found myself slipping into it like a lazy habit. Especially now that she is doing everything "by myself! by myself! Sophie do it!" --especially when she goes all day, even out and about, in panties -- it's too easy to blurt out some comment like "great job!" So this is my reminder to myself why we are so committed to avoiding this language trap. I vow to rout all "good jobs!" and other conditional statements from my vocabulary as much as I can.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Revenge of the Space Pandas

Sophie riding a D-something eagle

Apparently, that's a children's play by David Mamet. Awesome! Someday I'm sure Sophie will love it, seeing how it combines space and pandas. And who knows, it's not too late to develop a healthy taste for revenge.

Today we all went to the zoo (Dashing Daddy having worked all afternoon Sunday with the other business owners/family members who have jobs during the week, he came with!), and it was great fun. The best part might be that Sophie wore panties the whole time. We visited the potty once maybe halfway through our visit (after the drive down and nursing/waiting to assemble with some other parents and babies, plus plenty of animal sightings from the Beco), and once before we left. So we're giving her reminders, especially before leaving the house or going into, say, the library, but we have only used training pants at night for probably a week now. At 25.5 months, she's doing so well. I can't believe what a grown-up girl I have now.

Mommy and Sophie smiling about something, by elephants

Pictures from the zoo coming soon I hope. I'll slap them on here after uploading them.... Okay, they're here! :)

That camel totally came over to pose for us!

Sophie checking out the tusks on that elephant!

And look at this adorable bunny we saw in the rabbit habitat:
What is THIS?! I'm sure she was saying

Monday, June 1, 2009

This is Miss Ivanna DeSweet's Blog


So, a couple weeks ago Sophie was still doing the "I need to be contrary and reject anything presented to me, even if it's nonsensical" two-year-old thing she was doing, and she didn't want to get in the car after visiting the store. She said it wasn't our car. So I said, "Oh, it is Miss Ivanna DeSweet's car?" and Sophie agreed, and Miss Ivanna promptly got in.

Here they come!!!

Now we frequently leave the house saying we are going to the moon in a rocket, and we get in the car as Miss Ivanna and her friend. Sooooo cute to hear Sophie glurble Miss Ivanna DeSweet.

Up in the sky-- Daddy showed up!

Today she had no diapers, no training pants, no nakey bum (except a few minutes in the morning when she caught herself in the mirror and just had to dance for a few minutes while I got dressed-- "I have to DANCE! I'm naked! I have no shirt to-day!") and no accidents. We took a nap with panties/pants for the first time, and rode in the car and did the grocery store and returned home. We'll see what happens when she really NEEDS to go while we're out, but we tried before and after walking through the door, and I had prefolds, potty, clean pants, etc....

Oh gotta go, baby girl calls... erm, Miss Ivanna DeSweet calls....


Finally out.  I can't believe I got her down with Tigger dancing twenty feet away.

My favorite ride! ;)

My sleeping beauty