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Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

Our daughter has wonderfully supple and clear skin today and the journey to achieve this balance came from learning to recognize that our external and internal nourishment needs are intertwined.  As a new mom I committed myself to making many healthy lifestyle choices for the care of my daughter. Throughout my pregnancy my partner and I were conscious of making food choices such as; low/no preservatives, lots of wholefoods; fresh fruits and vegetables.  When it came to prenatal beauty I made a deliberate change to natural and organic products such as cleansers free of Salicylic acid,  paraben free lotion and I avoided nail polish altogether. When our daughter was born I was predisposed to choose skin care lines for our daughter with ingredient lists I could easily interpret, lines that followed the less is more philosophy.

I received a great lead from a fellow mom to try EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database for lessons in label reading. I used their rating system and perused product reviews.  Then, to be honest, I took some time to recover from the sticker shock of switching from the traditional “natural” products sold within most drugstores to a line containing only natural and organic ingredients with the concentrated moisture content we could trust to nourish our daughter’s skin. In my mind, how well something worked and how safe it was for our baby mattered more than the price per ounce. I soon discovered a true benefit to the richer higher quality natural product; I could use less per application since it provided greater protection over a longer period of time.   I also succeeded in convincing my reluctant partner who shared in these decisions that making the switch was the most healthful option (which for him meant learning a sparing approach to product use).

Our daughter thrived and had healthy glowing skin with little irritation until around one year of age, about six months following the introduction of solid foods.  My partner and I began to discover eczema like patches on her legs and arms. They were dry, discolored and would change in shape and size over time.  We tried the oatmeal baths, increased moisture, and cotton clothing, anything we considered to have a direct impact on the treatment of her skin.

What ensued was a lesson in the signs that our skin, our largest organ, provides into the inner workings of our bodies.  At a wellness visit with my daughter’s pediatrician we brought up the patches as a topic of concern.  The Dr. took a look asked a few questions related to the length the patches existed and how frequently they occurred and identified them as possible signs of a food allergy.   This was news.  The year previous to this visit we had thought our daughter had an issue isolated to a lack of moisture or an external irritation therefore we worked to treat her dry patches only topically.  However, at two years of age with the guidance of the pediatrician, the use of a six-week elimination diet and blood testing food allergies were identified as egg and dairy based.   The strongest reaction our daughter had to these allergens was, luckily, mild hives on her face.  However, once we eliminated these allergens completely we saw her blossom into a new state of healthiness.  Her skin cleared up within a couple of months and we noticed her energy and immune system improved.

As a family we have come to appreciate skin as signaling device to underlying health.  We continue to make informed product selection when it comes to our family’s skin care as well as dietary choices.   My partner and I are now well versed in label reading and even our daughter, now four, can identify foods she should avoid.  The great news is that with her annual checkups we can see that she will likely outgrow her egg allergy within the next year.  I can say our family’s focus to include the topical care of our daughter’s skin with the dietary requirements to ensure the needs of her skin are met has strengthened our belief in the holistic approach to living.  All components of our bodies are deeply connected and when one part is not functioning successfully finding the cause may require deeper investigation and is worthy of any “necessary” change required to ensure the overall health of the whole self.

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The thought that fear is in the eye of the beholder came to mind last Thrusday night. My three year old was watching basketball with papa who was transfixed with surfing between the game and an episode of River Monsters. The host and biologist Jermey Wade goes on a night hunt on the Fitzroy River of Australia to track and catch a Sawfish.

I found myself viscerally opposed to the sensationalized imagery and scaremongering contained in the program. A high level of propagandizing nature in its habitat something, in my spectrum of motherhood, I find unsuitable for a 3 year old (no matter how fascinating the information and facts shared). In vocalizing my assessment I was confronted with papa’s comparison of this cinematography to the stories we read to our daughter weekly; the reality that although I found this episode distasteful (alot like a nature program on steroids) among my daughter’s favorite books are Peter and the Wolf, The Three Little Pigs, Where the Wild Things Are, Beauty and the Beast, Little Red Riding Hood (notice the theme here?). She is fascinated with the dark portrayal of the animal kingdom; portrayals such as wolfs, wild things and beasts as symbols of malintention, trickery and provocateurs of fear.

I am comfortable with exploring her fears in a fantastic literary context but when it comes to a cinematic portrayal of the dangerous and scary face of nature, real habitats, I find myself cringing.

Is it that fear is in the eye of the beholder? In this case myself with my deep fear for the unknown especially in dark water (as my sister can attest to) or is it that fear is “trained in the eye” of the beholder? Training derived from a variety of domains and in this case a domain; so effective, so intense, so targeted, it is a domain most of us will not live without……………………… TELEVISION!

Fear is in the eyes of di beholder,
And love is in the presence of the love maker,
Life is in the words of the comforter,
Endure much longer,
Live much longer”

-Damian Marley

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I was 28, my boyfriend and I had been living together for the past 8 months of our going on 2 year relationship.  I was ready.  OK… self filter here, I was ready for the blessings of motherhood and a little rosy eyed at the realities of the lifestyle changes ahead.

What did my boyfriend think?  I found in sharing the news of our pregnancy that some (I think many) men are not brought up to naturally consider themselves fathers; they are groomed to be, in my experience, strategic guys with various appetites.  The ones that are keepers, like mine, are also lovers of their women and their shared community (I’ll leave the evaluation of their communication to foreshadowing for now; ahem…Mars vs. Venus)

Sitting together on our chaise four years ago, in our fresh young pad chatting about the future of his clothing line and necessary career moves I looked him clear in the eyes and shared the news… “we’re pregnant!”

While growing up I embraced my future role as mother volunteering in our meeting’s Sunday school, working as a nanny, lots of babysitting along with listening and caring for my friends thorough ups and downs.  I was provided, through these experiences, VIP admission into the realm of care provider, friend to others and especially children; I loved the inclusivity of this role in my community. I don’t think boys growing up alongside of me were fostered in this way.  They were the “wild things” (rude boys as my pops calls them), funny, wily and carefree.

I will compare my boyfriend’s immediate reaction to news of our pregnancy, to the response you may expect of someone being solicited to run for president of a newly formed republic after leaving their career as a fisherman/boxer/lumber jack for instance.  There was amazement mixed with self evaluation.

However, the moment following what amounts to an earthquake of thought, enforced my faith in his ability as a father.  He was collected and pensive; he shared that he had never taken the time to think of himself as a father and then, very purposefully he pulled out a notepad and began mapping out a financial plan to bring us inline as parents!

Then as now in these churning times, I find these qualities of his mind; steadfast, strategic and solutions oriented excessively valuable to me, our daughter and our family. Leading me towered a gratefulness I seldom effectively express (insert Venus vs. Mars).

Together we bring balance to our family in a classic emotional sense.  This is why, in light of my experience I suggest, that these boys, these wild, carefree beings can be exactly the grounding force a woman like me values. I find their greatness is often punctuated in unexpected times and allows the emotional care providing women lessons in balance between the nurturing drive in ourselves and the realities of life and its surprises.

On the day my love and I jointly acknowledged our conception; sauntering nervously toward the light of parenthood, our declaration rang loud in the heart of my subconsciousness… “LET THE WILD RUMPUS START!”

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