Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I’m a hippie

If you asked my father-in-law to describe me in one word, he’d probably say hippie. Or awesome. But probably hippie.

Truthfully I think it stems from the fact that broccoli doesn’t make me balk. Or it could be our parenting style. Possibly a toss up between the two.

We do some weird parenting things, it’s true, but we don’t adhere strictly to any child-raising techniques. I’ve never read up on attachment parenting or the Ferber method or anything like that. And I know I’m not a granola mom because I still shave my armpits and I’m pretty sure that disqualifies me from ever holding that title.

We just do what feels right. It’s like using an AED—I’m happy, you’re happy, we’re all happy! Of course that “everybody’s happy” rule of thumb doesn’t apply for disciplinary action…nothing works in every situation, anyway.

I took a quiz online to see if I really was a granola mom (because online quizzes are totally accurate judges about things like this*), though, just in case they changed the rule about shaving armpits, and I scored in the “pretty crispy” range…I’ll explain a few things that we do that tip us over into the hippie side of things and earned me some high scores on that quiz.

I had Rachel with a spinal block. I hated it. So with Miriam’s birth I went natural, though in a hospital. For the next birth I’m seriously considering a water birth, at home, with a midwife because I think that would be a much better experience than being strapped to a table.…

Miriam sleeps with us. She’s much easier to sleep with than Rachel ever was—Rachel attempted co-sleeping, too, but we kicked her out of bed because she’s a horrible sleeper. Miriam’s an awesome sleeper. Plus we don’t have a mosquito net for her so she has to share ours which means she’s in our bed all night, every night.

I hold/wear my babies as much as possible. I do put them down every once in a while, but mostly I just hold them. Rachel reached the independent, put-me-down stage pretty fast. Miriam seems to be a cuddlier baby (as in she actually likes to be cradled in my arms instead of being held upright and facing out, which was Rachel’s preferred position) so she might last in the sling a little longer.

We use cloth diapers, prefolds and fancier ones (BumGenius). We aren’t against disposable diapers, it’s just that from an economical and ecological standpoint, cloth diapers make more sense to me. We have spent zero dollars to diaper Miriam so far—we were gifted a lot of disposable diapers, which we’re using because they make more sense from an indolent standpoint, but we don’t plan on purchasing any ourselves. (We also use reusable nursing pads.)

We also employ elimination communication. Rachel started when she was five months old and she’s been completely “trained” for over a year now—except that we’re still working on that nighttime thing. We wake her up in the middle of the night to “pee” her.** Miriam started as soon as I felt alive enough to hold her over the potty. Now our bathroom floor is littered with potties (because sharing the yellow potty was killing Rachel) but I haven’t changed a single stinky diaper in over two days…and I think that rocks.


IMG_1572Communicating with a two-week-old is tricky but we have this little method worked out where she grunts and groans and passes gas while acting like she’s starving to death. Then I try to feed her but she won’t calm down and latch on so I try her on the potty and she either relaxes and goes…or she doesn’t. We still have a few kinks to work out. I can’t wait until she can start signing. Potty’s going to be her first word. Or “more.” I’m pretty sure Rachel signed “more” before she signed “potty.” For some reason she thought getting more food every time she made that sign was more exciting than being plopped on the potty.

We breastfeed. Rachel went for 19 months and she probably would have kept going if I hadn’t fallen pregnant. I’m not into the whole tandem-nursing—I don’t think it would be physically possible for me to consume enough calories to keep me, a fetus, and a baby alive—so we gave Rachel the boot in February. I tried to wean her in January around her 18-month birthday but it didn’t work out.

And I know I just said that I’m not into tandem-nursing because I wouldn’t be able to consume enough calories, but I’ve definitely thought of becoming a wet-nurse, or at least donating my milk to a milk bank. I’m an amazing milk machine, so amazing that I, personally,*** could be considered the solution to starvation in Africa. Half of me thinks it would be weird to nurse someone else’s child, but the other half of me—the engorged-to-tears half—thinks it sounds like a completely logical idea.

I also eat broccoli. I’m definitely a hippie.

*  They’re not.
** Because in EC talk “pee” is  a transitive verb. Cool, no?
*** Not quite.


  1. I like your hippie-ness. I wish I was braver than I am. But the truth is I'm a sissy. But I sure do like the idea of no messy diapers.

  2. I took that quiz and I also scored "pretty crispy" it was entertaining non the less. :)

    Glad to see that EC is going so great! I'm excited to try it earlier with our next baby. 10 months is a bit late for that boat. . . . :)

  3. Hehehe good stuff :) Honestly, I better keep shaving my armpits, because if/when I'm married and having kids, I'll be doing probably about the same thing!

  4. I'm jealous of your lactation talent. With Evelynn I did not produce enough milk, no matter how hard I tried. With Eloise I produced barely enough. Hopefully I'll be able to produce enough comfortably next time. If not, would you please just keep nursing until my next child and then ship me over your excess milk? Thanks, I appreciate it.

  5. I think you've already found the key to successful parenting/birthing/life--you do what works for you and what you are happy living with. It's taken me much longer to come to that myself after getting so much advice and reading about the latest craze. I'm finally realizing that for myself, as life circumstances change so do my parenting techniques and that's ok. I've also become much less judgmental on what others decide to do. So I say, you go hippie girl!

  6. May I say, without hurting any feelings, that, my dear Nancy, you sound very European to me, maybe even our type of Frenchy...
    I guess it's no longer a sin to say this ever since most Americans are back to eating French fries :)
    We eat broccoli too and even tho we gave a lot of thinking on how we'd raise JC, we never ever followed "How to"s.
    We were pretty natural raising our son, a lot like the way you act with Rachel actually. Which is probably one of the reasons why I feel so close to you guys.
    By the way, do you know many parents who start a crocodile farm under their son's bed???? :0)

    (Before i forget, Nancy, JC was born using a very natural method (very similar to all the women in my family before me, for a long time) and I never was strapped to a bed!)
    We never were typical parents either (so maybe you are not really European after all but just your own bright self after all) at least for the "older-wiser" generation.
    We now have a problem: we are not at all typical "getting older" people! Some like it and some don't!
    Congrats to you and Andrew for being the way you are!
    By the way, "hippie" is a little bit quaint, isn't it?
    Please, please understand that I'm in no way judgmental about your father-in-law while saying all this!!!

  7. @ Marie -- The word hippie is used with only the most gentle of teasings, I assure you. :) I hope that Andrew and I aren't the typical "getting older" as well.

    And the crocodile farm is a fabulous idea, but now that Rachel's seen Schnappi we haven't had any problems.

    @ Geneen -- No, really. Maybe we should be neighbours one day so that I can just pump and send the kids over with a nice warm bottle for you. I'm pretty sure I make enough milk for at least two kids at a time...

  8. What is Schnappi? And I think I was a hippie mom, too, and I think my kids have turned out pretty good. :o)

  9. It's a German cartoon. Marie showed it to me to show to Rachel (found here).

    Andrew and I have been singing it ever since. No wonder it topped the charts. :)

  10. What kind of washable nursing pads do you use? I really want to use them with our next, but I don't want to spend a fortune trying ones that don't work.

  11. I just have the Gerber ones. They work fairly well, I think...if you have "regular" milk flow they probably would work perfectly. For me they work about as well as disposables (from Gerber) which means that I have to change them constantly...but they're the cheapest ones I found and they work as well as the disposables.

    They are a little bulkier, though, but I didn't find that to be much of a problem.

  12. so, i read your blog from time to time - i am crystal slade's sisters good friend :) hehe. angi and i worked together while crystal and you lived together in jordan (was it jordan? i can't remember)...

    anyways, just wanted to say i liked this post because i do a lot of the same things you do! it's kind of hard to come by people that are similar in those ways and sometimes going against the grain can be annoying because people think you're weird or outspoken for doing it. so it's nice to see when someone else has similar views!

    i am due with my second at the beginning of january and we're having a homebirth with a midwife. i had my first in the hospital with an epidural when i was at 8 cm. i was so disappointed that i didn't go naturally with him because i really wanted to. because of that (and a LOT of other reasons) i'm doing things differently this time. i also breastfeed - i breastfed my son until he was almost 16 months old but had to quit (i was 18 weeks pregnant and it was just getting painful, otherwise i would have continued...nursing while pregnant wasn't hard for me at all as far as fatigue, etc. goes). we also use cloth diapers - we started when he was 11 months old and have loved it. we use bumGenius. i'm curious about cloth diapering a newborn because i have never used them on a newborn, but i am sure it'll be fine because i just love cloth diapers :) i didn't wear max a whole lot (although i held him all day long!) but i just made myself a moby wrap and am excited to wear this baby a lot more. oh yeah and we also co-slept too but max was also (and still is) a fitful sleeper.

    oh and i am going to use cloth nursing pads this time too. where did you buy your gerber ones? i was thinking about making some out of prefolds since the ones i have found to buy have been rather pricey.

    okay sorry this comment is super long...i just get excited about these topics :) and it's nice to see someone else gets excited about them too!

    if you ever feel like taking a peek at my blog, it is

  13. @ Kamille -- It was Jordan. ;)

    I found the Gerber ones at Target. I would imagine that Wal-Mart has them, too. They're like $5 or $6 for 3 pair, which isn't terrible.

  14. PS, Kamille--BumGenius don't fit Miriam yet and she's 3 weeks old...just a head's up.

  15. thanks, i'll check target! oh and yes, i have bought some gently used kissaluvs newborn diapers and pro-wraps covers for the stage when the bumGenius won't fit the baby. i hear they fit when they're around 10 lbs. you'll have to let me know when they start fitting her!

  16. Kudos to you guys! I guess I wouldn't be quite as "crispy".... I do the breastfeeding thing, we don't adhere to any methods, we definitely eat broccoli and tofu, gave birth naturally to Vivi but we don't do the EC or the cloth diapers...though I am curious about them. Maybe we're just part Asian and a little granola....hhaha, I am glad that you are doing what works for you and your family. There's a lot less stress that I think.

  17. What is Schnappi?
    11 November 2009 at 19:48

  18. And I think I was a hippie mom, too, and I think my kids have turned out pretty good. :o)
    11 November 2009 at 19:49

  19. It's a German cartoon. Marie showed it to me to show to Rachel--

    Andrew and I have been singing it ever since. No wonder it topped the charts. :)
    11 November 2009 at 20:34 ·

  20. is that the one with the giant bunny? Kai likes that one too.
    I put flax seed and wheat germ in almost everything I can and I try to eliminate the sugars we consume does that make me a hippie mom too?
    11 November 2009 at 22:30

  21. Jessica Layton ShankJanuary 9, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    This made me smile, I love that you just do parenting by what feels right. I see so many people come in looking for the latest book on how to parent and I find it rather frustrating. I'm hoping I can raise my kids that way as well but my hubby isn't quite as easy going so we'll see. I also love broccoli!
    12 November 2009 at 21:2