Creative Parenting

Amid summer days that have had both highs and lows, and parenting moments that have been amazing as well as frustrating and exasperating, I feel like my parenting has had some creative moments that I thought I might share.

Creative Parenting Moment #1

I LOVE fabric, and I love to just look at fabric and imagine what I might create with a piece of cloth that has a beautiful pattern on it. As you can imagine, it doesn’t work very well to have 3 children under the age of 6 running around the fabric store and whining that I am taking too long, all while I try to look at fabric, calculate expenses and envision what I might create. Distracting doesn’t begin to explain it. I have had one particularly terrible experience in the past with the kiddos along that has caused me to normally go to the fabric store alone. This past week I was in the city with the kids along already, and needed to make a stop in order to avoid 2 extra hours of driving.

Just the mention of the fabric store caused whining to ensue (why do kids whine like that????), which almost made me turn around until I had an idea – perhaps even a brilliant idea (can I say that?). We parked in the parking lot and I looked at them with my most excited face and told them that we were going to have a scavenger hunt adventure in the fabric store, to which they were delighted! Inwardly I rejoiced. I found a scrap of paper in the car and immediately began to scribble a long list of things they had to find while we were looking at fabric: “Owls, polka dots, trains, zig zags, hearts, flowers, cars, rainbows…..”.

I was able to get all that I wanted to accomplished, and they walked with me intently looking at fabric and getting excited as they crossed off each item that they found (I was very thankful that my oldest daughter is a good reader and could head this up without my help with the list). We left the fabric store happy. All of us! This was a small miracle.

Creative Parenting Moment #2

The hot toy item this past week has been the basketball. Practicing to dribble the ball has become the pastime of the older two, who are definitely improving their dribbling skills. The other day we were outside and both older girls wanted the ball at the same time… Everyone was getting upset when I had the idea of setting up an activity rotation! We got out the walking blocks and they took turns dribbling and walking on the walking blocks for about half an hour until we were all hot and needed to go in to cool off and get some water. This would be fun to do with a whole bunch of activities, and a bigger group of kids too.

Creative Parenting Moment #3

We went into the kitchen to make some popcorn for a snack in the afternoon, and I had some very eager helpers. So eager that one little helper opened the bag of popcorn kernels and then proceeded to bend down to get the popcorn popper out of the lower cupboard with the open bag in hand. Well, I’m sure you can guess that this ended in half of the bag of kernels spilling all over the floor as well as inside the cupboard. I took a deep breath, thought about how unclean my kitchen floor was at the moment, and then had the idea that we could collect the kernels and make some beanbags out of them (I love it when I can get rid of some scraps of material!). So our next project is to pick out the material and sew them up. I also thought that it would be cool to make home made shakers with different things inside each for our impromptu musical singalongs – rice in one, corn in one, dried beans in one. The kids would love it and I’m sure would love the different sounds that they each would make.

I hope that these ideas have given you a bit of inspiration for creative solutions to parenting dilemmas. I know that I am going to try and think outside the box more when faced with everyday challenges. Creative parenting seems to make life go a little smoother, and that is something that I can appreciate!


Diaper Free Baby????

I was at my midwife’s office for a prenatal visit a few months ago perusing her library, when a book on the shelf caught my attention. It was entitled “The Diaper Free Baby”. Well, I guess I am attracted to things that go against the norm and my interest was immediately piqued. I think that I may have been especially interested since my 3 year old daughter has been wearing underwear for over a year, and is “mostly” toilet trained, but still has an accident almost daily.

My husband saw the book on the kitchen counter later that afternoon and immediately sought me out with a look of concern on his face, and I gently reassured him that I was only curious and not to worry about it. Well, that evening I began to read this book and was almost immediately intrigued and excited to at least give this a try!  Apparently, over 50% of the world (mostly undeveloped regions) uses this technique with success. Well, I thought that if they can do it, I can do it!

To give a bit of information about all of this, this technique is called elimination communication (EC), and is based on the premise that just as we learn to read baby’s cues when they are hungry or tired, they also give cues for when they need to eliminate. When they give their cue or it is a time of day that they will almost always need to pee, you hold them over a bowl (or a toilet, or a small potty) and give them a cue that sounds similar to a peeing sound, and they go! Quite quickly they begin to associate the cueing sound with going to the bathroom, and they will begin to hold their pee and poop until they hear it.

Fast track a few months. Our third daughter Karis was 2 ½ months old and I finally got up the nerve to try this. I got out the bowl that I had chosen for this purpose, held her over it and made the sound and….. she went!!!!! (Now keep in mind that I had been making this sound every time I had seen her pee during a diaper change since she was born so she had already begun the association.) Well I was ecstatic!!! My husband was outside doing yard work and right away I opened up the window and announced to him that Karis just peed in the bowl, to which he gave me a look that meant he didn’t quite believe me. My excitement continued as she peed in the container many times that day.

Now Karis is 5 months old and we use less than half the amount of cloth diapers that we would normally use in a day and I have gone from washing them every other day, to every four days. How awesome is that?!!!! And, she does 90-95% of her pooping in the potty which means very little mess, AND no exploding poops.

So here’s the info if you are interested in checking it out: “The Diaper Free Baby” by Christine Gross-Loh.

Thanks for reading!