I'm excited for today's blog installment on parenting issues. Not sure it will spark NEARLY the controversy the last one did, but I sure liked having 9 comments on a single post. :)
So, the longer I'm a parent, the more my tastes and desires and goals are changing. If you had told me even just 6 years ago that today I would the stay-at-home-Mom of two girls, and was planning on homeschooling, not vaccinating, using natural remedies for illnesses, co-sleeping, having 4 kids, and dabbling in photography and organic vegetable gardening ... I would have LAUGHED IN YOUR FACE. So, let this be a lesson to the whole 5 of you who will read it -- never say never!
Here's what we're trying to do, as much as possible, and that is ... get back to the way things were when God CREATED us. I try to think how things must have been back then, how families worked, what they ate, how they slept, what they drank, what they would have done when they were sick ... and that is what we're trying to mold our family after.
For instance, they used herbs, plants, and such for dyes, flavors, and medicines. So - we have cut artificial food dyes, preservatives, and flavors out of our diets (as much as possible anyway). That means, specifically : no candy, no "boxes" of food like macaroni and cheese, and no snacky foods unless they're organic. We buy organic crackers, cookies, and popcorn so they have no artifical anything.
Back in Bible Times, they ate a lot of what they could gather themselves. Grains, nuts, berries, and fruits and veggies. We try to eat like that, as much as possible.
There weren't chemicals and pesticides back then, so about 75-90% of everything we eat is organic these days. No genetically modified, irradiated, nutritionally-lacking foods where all the good stuff has been bleached out and all the bad stuff has been added back in to make it taste good. We use evaporated cane sugar, not white sugar, and we use honey instead of syrup. We buy mostly all organic fruits and veggies, even when they're canned or frozen. Especially corn. ALL corn is GMO unless it says organic, folks!! Genetically modified corn is BAD BAD BAD for you, people!!! Just fyi.
Another thought on chemicals - did you know that the vast majority of chemicals in your tap water AREN'T filtered out before you drink it? Flouride, chlorine, and other things are in your water. Flouride is just bad for you, simple as that. Do your research folks - it should have never been put in our water system to be ingested. It should only be applied topically to your teeth. And chlorine, even the "small" amounts in your tap water, has been shown to KILL bacteria in your body - not the bad guys either, the FLORA - the GOOD bacteria! - that line your intestinal walls and are responsible for 80% of your body's immune system function. Yeah, seriously. And as if that wasn't bad enough, water treatment plants don't filter out HORMONES in water. Get ready to be grossed out! There's bazillions of women on birth control pills (none for me thanks, they make me CRAZY!). Very little of the hormones in the pill are actually absorbed by the body, and the rest is flushed out during urination. That's why the doses are so high in the pills, compared to something like the patch or the shot. Anywho, those hormones are saturating our water systems, and the water treatment plants do NOTHING to filter them out. So, get a nice big glass of estrogen next time you fill up your glass at the sink!! Here's just one piece of research about the study of fish living in streams near water-treatment plants (boy fish now have female parts and eggs!). http://www.garynull.com/Documents/erf/fish_sex_hormones.htm (This is also my own personal theory on why little girls are going through puberty so early these days - average age is NINE!! - and why the amount of people "coming out of the closet" has skyrocketed in the last decade or so, but that's just me.) So we drink spring water only. And just a tip, that "purified drinking water" you're paying for is really just tap water that has been through one extra filtration cycle. Aquafina, Dasani, etc. Only spring water or artesian well water actually come from sources that haven't been contaminated (as badly) by industrialization.
Meat sources back in Bible Times were mainly from FISH. So we try and eat a lot of that. It's insanely good for you, and both my girls like to eat it because they've been eating it since they were wee ickle ones. (Did I say that right, Niecey?) On top of that, animals weren't kept in pens where they tripped over eachother or had no room to run or stood around their whole lives in their own waste or were fed unnatural food sources (such as cows eating corn/grain instead of grass like God intended) ... so we try to only eat organic, free-range meats, like organic free-roaming grass-fed beef, and cage-free-hen eggs too. (I will make a confession here and say that we do have a bag of chicken nuggets in the freezer for use in emergencies. Sometimes it's quick and easy when there's nothing else in the house.) We drink organic milk only. We would drink raw milk if there were a herd-share program near our house. The closest one is about 1.5 hours away, and driving that far to get a gallon of milk once a week is just silly. So, bummer.
Things in a typical American home with kids that you won't find here :
hot dogs ... popsicles ... sugary cereal (ok there is a box of Cap'n Crunch, but it's Matt's and the rest of us don't eat it!) ... candy ... Spaghettio's ... white bread ... fruit snacks (like the Kellogg's brand and such) ... refined sugar ... Velveeta ... chips (unless they're organic) ... sugary fruit juices (we only use 100% juice ones) ... most other processed foods ... sodas/gatorade/CapriSun (BUT I will confess to having Dr Pepper in my house, for myself. It's my one vice, so back off, ok people?? Hee hee!)
Now of course, we're not perfect, and there are definitely times where we resort to quick easy fixes and fast food. There's times where we splurge on the sugary stuff or let Kyleigh enjoy a piece of candy that's loaded with sugar and artificial food dyes. But we TRY to be organic, raw, and natural whenever possible.
On to NON-food topics : We don't vaccinate our kids. We probably will get them a few vaccines, when they're older, say like 4 years old or so? Maybe even as early as 3. But we're still discussing it. We don't go to the doctor for every little thing. In fact, Maezie has only been to the doctor ONCE in her entire life. Kyleigh has only been twice since she turned a year old, and she's nearly three. (Three times if you count her trip to the ER when she had a nasty stomach virus and had to get IV fluids for dehydration.) We aren't scared of doctors and don't think they're bad, but doctors push drugs and surgery as the ONLY options for healthcare solutions. We FIRMLY believe that God made this world and He made the stuff in it to work WITH our bodies. So we use herbs, supplements, and natural cures whenever possible. Usually, to great success. There are certainly times where modern medicine intervention is needed, and we aren't going to be stupid when it comes to healthcare. :) We grow an organic vegetable garden. We compost. We use apple cider vinegar (both topically and ingested) to cure a vast array of illnesses. We are going to homeschool our kiddos. We aren't going to let our kids watch things like Hannah Montana and other teenagerish shows that promote promiscuity, parental stupidity, and rebellious defiance. (Kids have to deal with those emotions anyway, why let them watch shows that make it worse??) We are going to TRY TRY TRY to be open-minded with our kids when they are teenagers. Teens need a way to express themselves, a way to differentiate themselves from their parents. If Kyleigh tells us someday that she wants a purple mohawk, we're going to cry at the loss of her pretty golden curls, but try to oblige her. In my experience, squashing a child's expression puts them on the fast track to rebellion once they're out of your house. Now that's expression within reasonable limits, of course. Like wearing a thong bikini will NOT be an ok form of expression, and neither will pole-dancing, but odd hairdos, weird clothing (as long as it's modest), and art are great ways for a kid to express themselves without getting into trouble. ... But, as mentioned earlier, we do discipline our children. Families in Bible Times had GREAT RESPECT for elders, adults in general, and especially their fathers. We want our children to say "yes ma'am" and "no sir" and be polite and kind to strangers, and respectful to adults, especially us!! These are family values found in the Bible, and we want to emulate them. Teach our children to "honor their father and mother" as the Bible says. Try, I said, hee hee!
We co-sleep. In other words, our babies sleep in our bed with us, or at the very least, in a bassinet/playpen right next to our bed, for their first year, or thereabouts. I nurse our babies a long time. Nursed Ky to 17 months, planning on going for at least 18 with Maezie. We kiss and love and hug and massage our babies. I still get up twice at night when my nearly 13-month-old cries for me from her crib in her room, and nurse her overnight too. If Kyleigh cries at night, we still go into her room to console her. We think our kids should be dependent on us for comfort, love, security, and reassurance. Although there are times that we have resorted to the "cry it out" method, for the most part, we are comforters. Back in Bible Times, most families all shared one giant room to sleep in. They weren't all separated.
I "wear" our babies. I wish I had done this more with Kyleigh, but I didn't know about my precious SleepyWrap then. (http://www.sleepywrap.com) They don't go in the carseat carrier thing unless we're eating at a restaurant or something, and mostly, not even then. Maezie was in the Wrap while I cooked, cleaned, shopped, went to the bathroom, hiked -- you name it. Do the research, baby-wearing is good for your kids! I know back in Bible Times they had carriers kind of like the Native Americans had papoose sacks/backpacks/whatever they were.
There are some more things that we haven't started doing yet that I would LIKE to be doing. One of those is sewing. I'd like to be able to sew the girls some clothes and teach them how to sew. I'd also like to do some studying/schooling on herbs and homeopathy, and then grow an herb garden in our backyard and use that for healing and such. I suppose that means that someday I'll be the funny old lady who lives in a house covered with plants, who makes her own clothes, is a vegetarian (Matt and I have discussed becoming vegetarians!) and grows her own food and herbs. Hopefully I wouldn't smell like patchouli inscense though. :) But yeah, in some respects, I guess we're hippies!!!
In addition to everything above, there is one more thing - we are so selfish these days. So closed-off from everyone around us. We each have our own home, and sometimes go days or weeks without talking to our neighbors. Whole families used to live together back in Bible Times. If a family member got sick, there were others there to help with the cooking and cleaning and child-rearing. Matt and I keep wanting to win the lottery so we can buy a nice big plot of land and build all our family members and close friends a house on the land, with a big community center in the middle. We'd have a big kitchen and gym area, so that the families could play together, cook together, and eat together. There would always be help close by if it was needed, and there would always be kids around for our kids to play with. Since we haven't won the lottery yet, we're trying to open up to those around us, inviting friends and neighbors over as often as possible, and just generally enjoying fellowship. We try to cook meals for sick friends, offer to babysit when friends need help, and loan out our stuff if someone's in need. Naturally, we're just starting this and aren't always perfect at it. Society teaches us to say, "Mine, mine, mine!" and so it's hard to overcome that and try to think about how you can bless OTHERS with what you have, but we're TRYING. Hee hee, we're not succeeding all the time by any means. Hopefully by the time we're 80 we'll get it figured out. :)
We are Christians, saved by grace and not legalistic works, and we owe HIM everything. We believe that God's Way is BEST! This is why we are trying, as much as possible, to get back to the way things were when He made humans ... back to Bible Times.