"How Can You Have Too Many Children? That's Like Saying You Have Too Many Flowers" ~ Mother Teresa

A Peek Into Our Hectic, Crazy & Loving Family of Eleven

~♥~

Monday, May 31, 2010

Co-Sleeping

Next up, co-sleeping. We have always co-slept in our house. Mostly motivated by laziness. I do admit to not really intending to co-sleep, it just happened. We all just got more sleep that way. Still do. I find that my kids even sleep in longer in the mornings because they get that early morning snuggle time. And co-sleeping is just a MUST when you breastfeed. All I have to do is roll over, hook the baby onto the boob and go back to sleep. Now, it is a bit more of a juggle with triplets but we do it. We have turned our crib into a sidecar. Awesome. And Gwendolen does prefer to sleep a bit more solo than her sisters so she sleeps mostly in there. I still just jump from baby to baby to nurse them at night, and you know what? I GET SLEEP. Lots of it. So, it's either laziness or convenience, or, maybe its the fact that babies need to be with others, not only during sleep, but all.the.time. I'm pretty sure that we are the only culture, in all of our civilized glory, that forces our babies to sleep in a "cage". Plus, who can argue with the fact that co-sleeping drastically reduces the rate of SIDS.

So, in our king sized bed, your likely to find, at any given hour of the night, Aaron, me, 3/6 month old babies, a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Here are some links on co-sleeping, and above, the sidecar link is clickable and shows you how to turn your crib into a sidecar too.

Happy co-sleeping!!!

Why Human babies should not sleep alone

Infant Sleep

Co-Sleeping & SIDS


Healthy Infant Sleep


SIDS, Co-sleeping, & Breastfeeding

A Transcultural look at co-sleeping

You will notice that most references come from a parenting blog that I follow. I highly suggest following her blog. She is amazing!

Peaceful Parenting

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Circumcision


I decided to start with circumcision. It is the hardest topic for me to write about. It's probably my biggest regret as a parent. I would say that I feel guilty, but guilt is an emotion you feel when you knowingly do something wrong. It's not guilt. It's regret. Both of my boys (now aged 12 and 16) are circumcised. And I hate every single day that I put them through one of the single worst events that they will probably ever go through in their entire lives. And yes, I do truly believe that. To those that want to believe that the babies won't remember, or don't feel anything, I would just like to say " YOU go get yourself strapped down to a board, all spread out, nude, and have a chunk of your genitals cut off. Will you remember it? Will YOU feel the pain?" Not a pleasant thought is it? Why is it that people in our society refuse to acknowledge that babies are people? They have feelings. They feel pain. They will remember. It's your babys' body. Leave him as perfect as he was the day he was born. Leave him intact. He has a right to his body, his life and genital integrity. And to those people that just have the ridiculous thought that baby boys should look like their dads (which is what I was told by my mom when I was struggling to make the biggest decision, oops, I mean mistake of my life) all I have to say is, REALLY??!! REALLY??!! Never have my boys stood around comparing their penis' to their fathers'. NEVER. So, hows that theory work? It doesn't.
**I would like to edit my post to add something that I forgot to mention. A comment from a reader made me realize that it belongs in this post. I have talked with my sons about circumcision and the choice that their Dad and I made. I have apologized to them, probably more than they want to hear. I can only hope that they forgive me and that I have changed the cycle within our family. I hope that they take this knowledge that I've aquired and will apply it when they too have their own baby boys.

Alot of my Facebook friends are very anti-circ. I've been lucky enough to gain alot of knowledge through them and learn some very interesting facts. I'm going to post as much information here as I can. I'm hoping to post alot of links so that everyone can research at their own pace.

Please, keep one thing in mind as your traveling along in your parenting journey, especially when it comes to things such as circumcision :

Research. Learn. Educate yourself. You are your childs' voice. You are his strongest advocate. Make your decisions wisely.

All links below are clickable

Circumcision Video (graphic)

Flesh Eating Disease, Herpes, HPV and Meningitis increased with Circumcision

Very graphic pictures of a circumcision gone wrong

Dr's Case Studies and Meningitis

More case studies from The Internet Journal of Pediatrics and Neonatology

Circumcision causing UTI's

Risks and Complications

Plastibell complication

Letter from the ACS/AAP regarding the cancer/circumcison theory

Study showing how infant pain changes the way they perceive pain as adults

Study showing that infants remember and feel circumcision pain

Dr. Sears on circumcision

Which do you cut?

Stories from mamas

Babies opposing their cicumcision

Can you do it?



And if all those links aren't enough to convince you, think about when your baby boy grows up. You want him to be healthy, successful and happy. Sex is a huge part of our adult life. It's hard to think about your baby boy being an adult and having a sexual relationship, but one day he will. The following are "adult" reasons to leave him intact.

Compare the intact penis with the circumsised penis (some may consider this graphic)

What is lost due to circumcision?

The function of the foreskin

The funcation of the male prepuce

Video of a computer generated model of the function of the foreskin during sexual activity

Mobility of real foreskin

I would like parents to reconsider what they might have been told about the male prepuce (foreskin). The laymen term "foreskin" has been directly used in American culture to wrongly downplay how much health tissue and nerves are amputated. It is not "just a snip of skin" but a complex organ of muscle, immune cells, bands, nerves, blood vessels etc that are vitally important for protecting the body from viruses/bacteria and sexual function.

  • The Foreskin,which comprises up to 50% (sometimes more) of the mobile skin system of the penis. If unfolded and spread out flat the average adult foreskin would measure about 15 square inches( the size of a 3x5 inch index card). This highly specialised tissue normally covers the glans and protects it from abrasion, drying, callusing(keratinisation), and contaminants of all kinds.The effect of glans keratinisation has never been studied.
    [1. M. M. Lander, "The Human Prepuce," in G. C. Denniston and M. F. Milos, eds., Sexual Mutilations: A Human Tragedy (New York: Plenum Press, 1997), 79-81. 2. M. Davenport, "Problems with the Penis and Prepuce: Natural History of the Foreskin," British Medical Journal 312 (1996): 299-301.]
  • The Frenar Ridged Band is the primary erogenous zone of the male body. Loss of this delicate belt of densely innervated, sexually responsive tissue reduces the fullness and intensity of sexual response.
    [Taylor, J. R. et al., "The Prepuce: Specialized Mucosa of the Penis and Its Loss to Circumcision," British Journal of Urology 77 (1996): 291-295.]
  • The Foreskin's 'Gliding Action' , the hallmark mechanical feature of the normal natural, intact penis. This non-abrasive gliding of the penis in and out of itself within the vagina facilitates smooth , comfortable, pleasurable intercourse for both partners. Without this gliding action, the corona of the circumcised penis can function as a oneway valve, scraping vaginal lubricants out into the drying air and making artificial lubricants essential for pleasurable intercourse.
    [P. M. Fleiss, MD, MPH, "The Case Against Circumcision," Mothering: The Magazine of Natural Family Living (Winter 1997): 36-45.]
  • Nerve Endings transmit Sensations to the Brain: Fewer Nerve Endings means Fewer Sensations. Circumcision removes the most important sensory component of the foreskin - thousands of coiled fine-touch receptors called Meissner's corpuscles. Also lost are branches of the dorsal nerve, and between 10,000 and 20,000 specialized erotogenic nerve endings of several types. Together these detect subtle changes in motion and temperature, as well as fine gradations in texture.
    [1. R. K. Winkelmann, "The Erogenous Zones: Their Nerve Supply and Its Significance," Proceedings of the Staff Meetings of the Mayo Clinic 34 (1959): 39-47. 2. R. K. Winkelmann, "The Cutaneous Innervation of Human Newborn Prepuce," Journal of Investigative Dermatology 26 (1956): 53-67.]
  • The Frenulum is the highly erogenous V-shaped web-like tethering structure on the underside of the glans; frequently amputated along with the foreskin, or severed, either of which destroys its function and potential for pleasure.
    [1. Cold, C, Taylor, J, "The Prepuce," BJU International 83, Suppl. 1, (1999): 34-44. 2. Kaplan, G.W., "Complications of Circumcision," Urologic Clinics of North America 10, 1983.]
  • Muscle Sheath: Circumcision removes approximately half of the temperature-sensitive smooth muscle sheath which lies between the outer layer of skin and the corpus cavernosa. This is called the dartos fascia.
    [Netter, F.H., "Atlas of Human Anatomy," Second Edition (Novartis, 1997): Plates 234, 329, 338, 354, 355.]
  • The Immunological Defense System of the soft mucosa. This produces both plasma cells that secrete immunoglobulin antibodies and antibacterial and antiviral proteins such as the pathogen-killing enzyme lysozyme.
    [1. A. Ahmed and A. W. Jones, "Apocrine Cystadenoma: A Report of Two Cases Occurring on the Prepuce," British Journal of Dermatology 81 (1969): 899-901. 2. P. J. Flower et al., "An Immunopathologic Study of the Bovine Prepuce," Veterinary Pathology 20 (1983):189-202.]

    And a special thank you to my Facebook friend, Guggie Daly, for all her valuable information

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This And That: The Beginning Of My Series

I intended for this post be be about cloth diapering. But then I started thinking. I can't just post about one aspect of my parenting choices. I've done a few blog posts about parenting since I started this blog. This is one from April. And I'm sure I've mentioned how we parent in a few other posts. We practice Attachment Parenting. I say that almost as a label, a way of life, much like some people would label their religion. To me, parenting IS my religion. It's my job, it's my passion, it is my life. Its what I DO. And I try so hard to do what I feel is best. I have 9 little people that are my responsibility to raise to be the best that they can be. To do their part in society as good people. My job never ends. It is a 24/7 life.

The main idea behind Attachment Parenting is to raise children who will become adults with a highly developed capacity for empathy and connection. It eliminates violence as a means for raising children, and ultimately helps to prevent violence in society as a whole.

The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. Attachment Parenting challenges us as parents to treat our children with kindness, respect and dignity, and to model in our interactions with them the way we'd like them to interact with others.

Taken from this site: API

This is a good resource site if your new to what AP is. Check it out.

For us, we have extended our belief of AP beyond the emotional raising of our children. We also use cloth diapers, babywear, breastfeed, extended rear-facing, selectively/no vaccinations, co-sleep, and are anti-circumcision. As my husband would say, we are crunchier than we ever thought we would be. He calls me a Modern Day Hippie :). I'll take it :)

I thought that it would be nice to highlight each of these areas that I feel so strongly about in a post every few days. Now, this is not to say that MY way is the best way (although, I feel it is) but just to get some more knowledge out there for others that need some more info. I'll try to make each post as informative as I can, with pictures, links and info. But, keep in mind that I have 6 month old triplets. This may take awhile :)

I'm going to start with circumcision. Mostly because I have a few friends that are currently pregnant with baby boys and are torn as to what to do. I feel the urgent need to get this information on here quickly so that they can make an educated, informed decision. There are alot of links and literature that I want to include so this may take me a few days, be sure to check back. It will be worth the wait!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Business Venture For Me

I decided I needed something that was for ME. Mine. Something that would give me a break and possibly, hopefully earn some money too. I'm going to sell Scentsy. I love candles. I love my house to smell good. So, it just made sense. If you've never tried Scentsy, you MUST! Wickless candles. With scents that last up to 80 hours!!! Ingenious! So, I have a webpage and everything. :) If you want to order from my site, feel free, just click on Open Parties/Buy From Party. Or, if your local to me, HAVE A PARTY! They are sooo much fun! And simple!

You will become addicted. Promise!

SCENTSY

Monday, May 17, 2010

Happy 18th Birthday Madeline! (Did I just say EIGHTEEN??!!)


Oh.My.Gods. The day has come! (and gone actually, since, as usual, I'm late with the birthday post) I now have an ADULT child. I am the parent of a human that is an ADULT. My child is GROWN. No matter how many times I say it, or how I word it, it's still weird. How did my 6#15oz baby girl get to be EIGHTEEN (freakin'!!) YEARS OLD??!!


Happy 18th Birthday Madeline Elizabeth.


I have a song for you.. It says it best. I love you baby girl :) More than anything in this entire world. Thank you for being my daughter.


video

Sunday, May 16, 2010

*NIP* Otherwise Known As *Nursing In Public*

This is a HUGE issue. HUGE. Everywhere you look, woman are being asked to leave, cover up(have you ever tried to eat under a blanket? Yeah, it's HOT), go to the bathroom(Ok. that is just GROSS, how would you like to eat off the toilet? Yum), or go to their cars to feed their babies. WHAT?! REALLY?! Are we so repressed as a society that women cannot even feed their babies the way babies are meant to be fed anymore? I mean, really. The SOLE PURPOSE of a breast is to provide nourishment for an infant. The fact that they are used for "fun" should be secondary. If breasts are (supposedly) used only for sexual reasons and that is why people are so uncomfortable with NIP, then maybe some people shouldn't talk. I mean, you use your mouth to kiss. That can be sexual. You use your hands to, well, pretty sure it goes without saying what, but hey, that's sexual too, should we all wear gloves? Or is it the fact that breast milk is a "body fluid"? So is spit and people do that all the time (and it's GROSS). Crying? Tears are a body fluid too. I've heard people say that the don't want their children to see a breast/nipple. Why?

I'm very proud to say that I NIP. When my babies are hungry, they will eat. And they will eat anywhere that they happen to get hungry. If feeding my baby/babies makes you uncomfortable, look away, walk away, leave, or better yet, YOU cover up!


This is a writing that I found on the internet. I'm not sure who wrote it, but THANK YOU! IT.IS.PERFECT!

"Women should cover up their bottles when they are feeding their babies...
I wasn’t exposed to bottle-feeding much growing up and seeing it makes me very uncomfortable. I mean if you think about it, a bottle is a substitute for the breast, and since breasts are sexual, doesn’t that make a bottle kind of like a dildo?! Eww, gross.

When I see a mom bottle-..feeding, I don’t know where to look. I can’t look directly at the bottle or the baby because the idea of feeding a baby formula makes me sick to my stomach. It’s just gross. And the way babies sound when they eat??? They slurp and suck and dribble formula everywhere! It’s just nasty and it *smells*! I shouldn’t have to see that! And what about my young son? How am I supposed to explain to him why a woman is bottle-..feeding? I mean, he’s too young to understand how different parts of the body function. It’s going to be hard to explain to him that women actually choose not to nurse, or can’t for one reason or another. It’ll probably upset him to know that lots of babies don’t get "nurse-nurse" like he does. I don’t want to have to deal with him being emotionally scarred by seeing bottles.

And imagine the therapy bills I’ll have to pay for when he’s older!

So bottle-feeding moms should either go into a bathroom, re-lactate so they can use their breasts in public, or cover up with a blanket. Sure, I know the excuses......bathrooms are dirty and no one should have to eat in there. But women could still re-lactate. Oh, yeah I know how hard it would be, but ya know, we DO have nice pumps available nowadays. She could get a good supply going for the sole purpose of feeding in public. If she would just use her breasts, we wouldn’t have to see those indecent bottles all the time. And if she has a hard time re-lactating, she could always just cover up with a blanket when she has to use a bottle. Oh I know some babies aren’t comfortable under a blanket. Re-breathing their own carbon dioxide for 20+ minutes must come at a price, but who cares? At least I wouldn’t have to see bottles.

And if a woman doesn’t want to go through all that trouble, she could just schedule outings around the baby’s feedings. A bottle-fed baby only has to eat, what? Every 3-4 hours? She can just bottle-feed at home, go out, and rush back with a screaming baby if he needs to eat sooner than the schedule allows.

I’ll admit that I’m uncomfortable with bottle-feeding in public. And as an American, I have a right to not have to be exposed to that sort of thing. Women should be aware of everyone else and accomodating to all others.

After all, our right not to be offended is more important than a baby’s right to eat, right?"



response to a critical reply:
"I turned it around so people could see how ridiculous is is for ANY woman to hide to feed her child. It sounds a bit ridiculous when I say women should cover up their bottles, huh? I hope it makes you think.

Disclaimer...
Ok, so forgive me for assuming people would see the sarcasm in the post below. I don’t *actually* think women should cover up their bottles. I used all the arguments against nursing in public and turned them around to bottle-feeders in an attempt to show people just how idiotic it is to ask women to hide while feeding their baby.

The point is, breasts are not lewd or indecent. If you see a little nipple, get over it. Breasts are for feeding babies, first and foremost. The day you hide your bottles is the day I hide my breasts.
Also...
I realize the dildo reference may make some people’s jaws drop in disbelief, but that was possibly the most important part of the post. It seems the main reason people freak out about nursing in public is because breasts are also sexual, therefore should be covered all the times. Well, a nipple on a bottle was designed to replace the original thing, just like a dildo is meant to replace a penis. Sorry, but it’s true. If it sounds outlandish to you, then maybe you should reconsider just how sexual the breast is. It’s not sexual to feed a child at the breast any more than it is to feed a child with a bottle.

IF (and that’s a big "if") nursing WERE sexual, then I would assume people would have the same reaction to a bottle as they would to a dildo. But they don’t. It’s something to think about anyways."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Here We Grow Again.......

My how time flies....
Beautiful Baby Girls. 5.5 months.







Saturday, May 1, 2010

**HAPPY BIRTHDAY** Joseph Alexander SWEET SIXTEEN! (A Day Late Again)


SIXTEEN YEARS OLD. Wow. Just wow. My baby boy is really growing up.

Drivers' license

Freedom

Girls

Friends

High School

College


So much to do. So much to look forward to.

Happy Birthday, My First-Born Son.

I Love You so very very much, And I am so proud to be your Mom.

One-On-One

Let's not sugarcoat things. Having 5 month old triplets, 2 toddlers, 2 preteens and 2 teens is STRESSFUL. It's stressful on so many levels. It's stressful on the kids. On the parents. On a marriage. On the family. On EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE. Sometimes I feel as if we are all just barely hanging on.

So far we seem to be doing fairly "ok". Sometimes I have to sit back and watch to be absolutely sure that everyone is doing ok. I still feel that it's my job to keep everyone happy. I've tried to delegate some of that to Aaron, but I have a hard time letting go of that control. Between the 11 of us, we've had a few meltdowns, and a few arguments.

I do notice that Noah is the one that seems to get swept under the rug, so to speak. Many things that he wants to do, don't get done. We have a tendency to think that his wants/needs aren't as important because they mostly revolve around trips to GameStop. But that is when I sit back, and realize that it's important to him. Just because its not soccer practice, a basketball game, work, or a Dr's appointment, doesn't make it any less important. He also doesn't give us grief if we can't do things. The kid is just GOOD.

So last weekend, Noah and I went to GameStop. Then pizza. Just us. Two things that he wanted to do. Two things that were important to him.

I've decided that the one-on-one time needs to be our first priority.

Today, Lilah wanted to take a shower with me. She was in Heaven. Just her and Mommy for 20 whole minutes. She did keep asking "Where da babies?" So, I know she loves them. Even if they are alot of work and very time consuming for me right now.


We will continue to work on the one-on-one with all the kids. It may be our biggest challenge yet, but definately our most important one!