Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Book That Made Me a Better Mom!

Book 6 – Diaper Free, The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene, by Ingrid Bauer
                This books not only changed my life but my children’s lives too because it helped to change the kind of parent I want to be.
                For my first daughter, I did everything I was told, disposable diapers, breastfed till six months, potty trained around 2-3 years old, etc. It wasn’t bad but she had a lot of diaper rashes despite my best efforts to keep her changed and clean and there were the inevitable defiance surrounding ‘potty training’. She turned out ok though.
                When I was pregnant with my second daughter eleven years later I knew a lot more about raising a baby and about environmental impacts and health impacts on children. I kept thinking that there must be another solution to this diapering problem. I was all ready to use cloth diapers but still felt that there was something I was missing.
                Then I picked up a Natural Parenting magazine and in it was an article about ‘Diaper Free’ and it sent me to the book titled the same (actually there are two books with the same title and both are worth reading). I had the ever elusive ‘eureka’ moment complete with light bulb over my head and angels singing!
                Actually what I read just made sense, it talks about how children are born able to tell us when they are hungry, tired, and scared, and guess what, they can even tell us when they have to ‘go’! The truth is that conventional use of diapers wasn’t introduced until the late 1800’s and only as a means to help catch ‘oopsies’ when children were in public. We as the lovely enabled western society we’ve become took to it like flies to honey and started using them exclusively. With the use of diapers blossomed a trillion dollar industry full of diapers, creams, bins, books, aids, etc. Everything we needed to teach our children to eliminate in their pants only to teach them three years later that this was wrong.
                Now if you went for a walk in Africa, China, Russia, Northern Canada, etc., you would find that very few children wear diapers. It’s not because their parents just let them ‘go’ anywhere, it’s because their mothers learn to read the child’s signal and teaches them at a young age how to control and release their developing muscles (a skill they learn in the womb). Most children in every other country except Canada and USA are completely ‘potty trained’ by a year old.
                Believe me it’s not only possible but it’s easy too, a lot easier than cleaning and changing diapers over and over. My daughter started using a ‘yogurt container potty’ when she was two weeks old. For six months I never had to change a ‘number 2’ diaper and by a year old she could tell me with words when she had to go. Now at two years old she is almost completely toilet independent.
                I wasn’t perfect in my use of the ‘Diaper Free’ model written in the book, there were times when I got lazy and put her back in diapers, times when she was ill or travelling when we had minor relapses, but all in all I am very proud of her and myself.
                The book goes in to much more detail about the whole process and I highly recommend it for anyone who is expecting or who has children who are ready to get out of diapers. It’s a wonderful book and like I said, it opened up a world of gentle and respectful parenting that has improved all of our lives.
(Sorry went a bit over the 500 words but this is a topic I am passionate about – educating women on their empowering mothering skills and knowledge.)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Author that brought me to the Dark Side!

Book 5 – Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

                I often wander through the book store just looking at books and jackets to pick a random book by an author I don’t know. This practice has led to many wonderful discoveries but I think the best one that I ever picked up was Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey.
                It’s a fantasy novel and yet the setting of the story is remarkably similar to Europe and Asia in history, even some of the names she uses relate to real life historical events.
                The story centers around Phedre no’Delaunay an orphan adopted by a spy.  She has been chosen by the God’s or Angels of this story to fulfill a very hard path. One of the angel’s is Kushiel who finds pleasure in pain and who took the lash unto himself in order to protect the ‘God’ that the angels followed. The other angel who has chosen her is Namaah, who laid down with strangers in order to secure food and lodgings for their God. She learns to become a ‘companion’ which is a woman who sells herself for profit. However this occupation is revered and has strict rules to follow. Despite this the novel doesn’t center on the sexual, it is simply a part of who she is and a part of the wonderfully rich society that Jacqueline Carey has created.
                This book changed my life for a few reasons; one because it opened my mind up to the real possibilities of fantasy writing – I had previously thought it was all about epic tales full of dwarfs and elves. Second, after contacting Jacqueline Carey by email through her site, she taught me a valuable lesson, how to let go of my own insecurities and fears.
                Before she told me that I was always worried that if my family and friends read my work they would think that I was either very sick or had very disturbing fantasies. She taught me that it’s ok, as a writer, to delve into the dark side of humanity and even the perverse and disgusting side too, because they exist. Just because you can write from the point of view of a serial killer doesn’t mean that you want to be one, it just means that you have a very good imagination and understanding of human nature.
                These revelations helped me so much in my own writing and  letting myself jump off the ‘safe’ topics I wrote about and delve into the darker side of my mind as well as my characters. She freed me to just go for it, go as deep and dark as you can and then find your way back to the light, or sometimes not, as in her Banewreaker Series.
                I have since and continue to read all her books because her characters are so wonderful and ‘real’ and when I pick up her book, it’s like going home and visiting family that I loved and missed.
                If you haven’t already then I highly recommend getting lost in her world, it will be a trip well worth it.