Posted in Team Fox

Changes

It has been a while so I’ll give a recap… In the last couple of months we moved to a new house. One that is in a (supposedly) safer and quiet community (so quiet that we didn’t hear fireworks on New Years) and is right next to a park. It is a 2 story house villa which I love despite the inconveniences that living in a 2 story unit with kids brings.

One of these inconveniences is that our computers are upstairs while I spend most of my time downstairs with the boys. This meant that every time I felt inspired to write something it didn’t happen because the computer was no longer in the living room like I was used to. To try to remedy that I have a bluetooth keyboard now so I can write on my Kindle Fire without cursing the touchscreen keyboard’s existence.

Babyproofing a set of stairs when renting can be challenging. We have a pressure mounted gate at the bottom of the stairs which although it won’t stop Zen if he is determined to go up, it does work well as a deterrent and keeps them from trying to play on the stairs. The top of the stairs is still open and after 3 months it hadn’t been an issue until last week when Zen figured out how to climb down, at least he did it safely!

At our new house we converted the master bedroom into a computer/play room and chose a secondary bedroom as our sleeping room. This room has wall to wall mattresses on the floor and no other furniture making it the perfect cosleeping space.

Cosleeping heaven- wall to wall sleeping space (pardon the mess)
Cosleeping heaven- wall to wall sleeping space (pardon the mess)

During this time Shammy has made excellent homeschooling process. Since he is only 3 years old I wasn’t pushing any curriculum or lessons, just trying the whole homeschooling thing on for size and it’s been working very well. Shammy is now able to read at a primary school level and is starting to write. I admit to using a lot of technology tools such as ABCMouse for math and social science and Kindle Fire apps for writing. We do reading the old fashioned way though in addition to e-books.

While the holiday season was very enjoyable, it also meant the end of the daycare that the boys were attending 1 day a week while I worked at the WIC office. I didn’t expect it to be so hard to find alternate care but it has turned into a 3 month nightmare. Despite the things we didn’t like about the old daycare we now miss it because it has been so hard to find anything after searching for so long with no luck. Granted, we may have higher standards and a lower budget than some parents but it had never been this hard to find the right match. In the meantime my mother in law has helped out but I can’t count on that as a long term solution and I fear that we may reach the point when I may be faced with having to quit my job (which only has me out of the house 1 day week) because of this.

I did the math and working full time after factoring the cost of daycare and other expenses wouldn’t allow me to provide any extra contribution to the household budget than I do now unless I got a REALLY good paying job, something that doesn’t exists in this area.

Posted in Baby Foxes

Trying to feed healthy in a junk food world

So right before I was going to take the first step in furthering my education, the new fiscal year starts and with it comes a drastic budget reduction and my hours at work have been slashed by 67%, so much for paying bills or doing anything else.

At least I still have my Breastfeeding Counselor course to look forward to.  I recently took an 81 question pre-test to determine if I needed to take the full course starting at the basics or if I could go straight to the accelerated course, IBCLCs are the ones that would usually take this test.  The test was open book but because of the constraints of trying to finish it quickly before the toddler destroyed the living room I only got to look up one question, as a result I am very proud that I scored 93.75 on the test given that I didn’t get to research or review my answers.  I’m still waiting on my grade for the essay part but it looks like I am definitely going on the accelerated course.

One of the side effects of becoming a parent, and something that I’m pretty sure happens to everyone (probably to a lesser degree) is the creation of strong opinions on methods and subjects.  If you’ve read anything on this blog before this you know what my big issues are.  I am opinionated and I have to get it out, hence the beauty of having this blog.  I can get the vents out of my system without abusing someone in particular with my rant and whoever doesn’t like it doesn’t have to read it, it’s a win/win in my book.

This system works great on most aspects, I am able to keep my mouth shut when I see a mother feeding formula, leaving their baby in a bucket for hours or buying them a McDonald’s happy meal.  But there are some things where it’s much harder for me to be quiet, improper car seat use, feeding horrible crap to an infant, specially before they’re truly ready for solids and physical violence.  I have no qualms about intervening in a blatant case of child abuse as defined by the police but it’s much harder the rest of the time.

After all, what do I know?  I only have 1 kid and some of these people have been around the block more than I have.  Just because I read a bunch of books, participate in a bunch of forums and try to educate myself more than the average parent doesn’t give me a license to attack the mother that is giving a lolly pop to her 4 month old or the father that is holding his baby in one arm and a cigarette in the other.  Yes, there is a LOT of tongue biting involved.  All the more reason for me to be grateful that my husband agrees with me and that I have this venue for when ranting to my husband alone doesn’t cut it.  It is still a conscious effort to not to turn into the parenting police.

I am not perfect, I am sure that I have been judged the same way by other parents that were kind enough to stay quiet and I thank them for that.

Which part do I suck at the most? that would have to be food.  Even though Shammy doesn’t know what candy, ice cream or McDonald’s is and he thinks that a cookie is a rice cracker, I feel like a failure when trying to present food in his high chair.

His father and I don’t have the best eating habits and we don’t want to just give him a slice of pizza, this means that sometimes Shammy has a separate menu from us.  It’s annoying to prepare a micro portion of something and try to make it balanced and quick.  Making big batches and using leftovers later is not really feasible because he’s the only one to eat the stuff so there is always something going to waste.  It’s always a conscious effort to make sure that I include enough fruits and vegetables.

At least I like to think that he eats better than a lot of kids I see on the street but breastmilk only offsets so much.  Add to that the fact that he is now starting to develop that typical toddler pickyness and sometimes that meal that I spent 20 minutes preparing just for him ends up on the floor and I’m scrambling to figure out what I can feed him.

At least another toddler trait that he’s developed and I’m loving is that he is now big on hugs ::heart melts::
Don't you just want to hug this pirate?

And because I sometimes feel like I am going around in circles trying to defend my opinions from other’s attacks, this installment’s rant has a familiar theme as there has been a lot of debate lately over my support of enforcing the WHO Code for Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes.


I support a woman’s right to choose to feed her baby formula, but I absolutely do NOT support the drug company’s “right” to be in the delivery room, handing out products that are only designed to stand between the mother and her breastmilk.
And contrary to the popular (misguided) belief, the UNICEF “Baby-Friendly” hospitals are NOT denying access to formula, or even preventing women from receiving free formula. It is still there for the mothers who need it. Those who don’t have a medical need for it can elect to purchase it just about anywhere. Those who cannot afford it can get it through WIC. If your baby really needs it for medical reasons, insurance will even help pay for it.
Nobody is in any danger of losing their choice to formula feed, even if we start enforcing the WHO code.
“When we trust the makers of baby formula more than we do our own ability to nourish our babies, we lose a chance to claim an aspect of our power as women. Thinking that baby formula is as good as breast milk is believing that thirty years of technology is superior to three million years of nature’s evolution. Countless women have regained trust in their bodies through nursing their children, even if they weren’t sure at first that they could do it. It is an act of female power, and I think of it as feminism in its purest form.” ~ Christine Northrup
The Fox Pirate Family
Posted in Baby Foxes

School for Shammy and Mommy

A lot has happened over the past few weeks, not all of it worth reporting. After months of constant stress over having care for Shammy while I worked, we have finally found a long term solution.

I had a very strong aversion to commercial daycares when Shammy was an infant but I am ok with the idea after 1 years old. So after our babysitter put in her notice we then started the frustrating search for the right place. It was quite an adventure to navigate all of the options available. Our friends and acquaintances seemed to think that we were made out of money or really needed to save our son’s soul for all of the recommendations that we were getting cost more than I make in a day at work thus making it cheaper for me to just stay home or it was religious based.

We do believe in exposing our son to different religious to foster understanding, acceptance and help him find his path when he is old enough to make that choice but we are against emphasizing a religion that is not our own on a daily basis by sending him to a place that has bible time in lieu of story time.

For a while I was so frustrated and overwhelmed that I started to considering private babysitters again, what a barrel of rotten apples that was. In previous occasions we had found the right person very quickly, but this time it took us almost 2 weeks to find the right place.

Early in my search I had come in contact with a brand new licensed home day care not far from our house. It looked good on paper and the address had symbolism special to us, it took us a week to finally set up a meeting. It has a maximum enrollment of 5 and it is set up like a preschool classroom with a play based curriculum. The price is right, home cooked nutritious meals are included and cloth diapers are cool.

How do I know that we found the right place? When I go to pick up Shammy and at first he is happy to see me and eager to nurse but as soon as he’s done breastfeeding he waves bye bye and goes back to play. He is only going 3 days a week but so far he likes going to “school”.

During his first day of "school"

Over the past month I have been doing in depth research on educational options. Despite what some people may think, I don’t aspire to become a doula or midwife, I don’t have what it takes and quite frankly I’m not very interested in that. Since I get paid to talk about breastfeeding and I still don’t tire of it I feel most drawn to pursuing a breastfeeding specialty certification. The ultimate goal would be the IBCLC certification since it’s the only title that is widely recognized but sadly the fact that when I went to college I took the wrong classes since I never imagined myself working in the health field means that I would have to go back to college for 8 classes in addition to the lactation education required.

I would totally do this is if wasn’t for the fact that I can’t afford such a large tuition cost ($300 per class plus fees at the local college). I’m still struggling with my student loans from my first stint in college over 10 years ago which messes up my changes for financial aid.

So IBCLC is out for the time being but there are a variety of other options available. The title earned varies by school but the course content is practically the same. The tuition ranges from $700-$1,000, still steep in our current situation but not so impossible. There is one program that offers me a payment plan that I can almost afford so I may just go that route, depending on how much time I find to study it can take me 6 months or 2 years. Since the Certified Breastfeeding Counselor title doesn’t open as many doors or brings as much money as IBCLC I have also looked into becoming a Certified Childbirth Educator as an additional revenue stream. So I just need to find a spare $1,200 to get this all accomplished.

So in the meantime, I’ll start small with Breastfeeding USA, it’s very affordable to become an accredited Breastfeeding Counselor through them because it’s a volunteer gig and I’m already doing it with every non-WIC mom that I help. The most expensive thing is the textbook, which is also the required text for the bigger course so if you really want to support me I could use this book

Some people mistakenly assume that I have a problem with mothers that choose to formula feed, my problem is not with the mother but rather with the formula companies and their marketing tactics. While I listened to the Health Department’s Head of Tobacco Prevention discuss their program I saw many similarities between what tobacco companies do in their marketing that formula companies do as well and wonder if we (meaning lactivists) should take the same approach of grassroots work to get local resolutions or ordinances to regulate the marketing of Artificial Baby Milk. I am not advocating a formula ban, not at all, but rather for Enfamil/Similac/Nestle/etc to stop their predatory practices undermining breastfeeding.

And then we come across the latest big debate about the free formula samples given in hospitals, my boss firmly believes that there would be riots in the local hospital if the free samples were no longer available. But like a popular article recent states on hospitals sending breastfeeding newborns home with formula “is like giving somebody divorce papers at their wedding.”

So since formula freebies are an addition for some just like cigarettes and every body ears violence at the unfairness of completely removing them from hospital cold turkey, how about locking them behind a key and distribute BY REQUEST ONLY to moms that are only formula feeding! that way the mom that is breastfeeding and doesn’t need a confidence buster won’t be tempted and the mom that is dead set on her god given right to give her baby substandard nutrition can still get her free can.

And this installment’s rant:

As you all know I hate bucket babies, I totally get the convenience of getting a sleeping baby out of the car without waking them up by just taking the car seat out, we’ve done that here. What I hate is when the baby spends the better part of the day in the bucket and gets minimal skin to skin.

So imagine my disgust when at a consignment sale I come across a contraction that allows the mother to “wear” the car seat, OMG! I’m all in favor of babywearing but this is just ridiculous, those car seats are heavy without the baby and this is far from ergonomic. The one I saw for sale was practically new indicating that the mom didn’t get the benefit intended from it, I would be that the money she was hoping to make selling it would go towards her chiropractic expenses after messing up her back.

My back hurts every time I look at this