Simplicity, Sanity, & Supermoms. Part II {FOOD}

So here’s part two of my Bare Minimum series: What I Cook.

 I have definitely cooked crappy dinners. We definitely have days where (as Jen Fulwiler puts it) my children’s meals consist mostly of goldfish, or graham crackers. Cereal is always a fallback. Good ol’ trusty.

This is like the fourth or fifth time I’ve sat down to finish this entry, and each time I do, I’m like,”WHY am I writing this, again?” I feel completely unworthy of the advice I’m giving. I’ve got friends who are way more motivated and organized than I am, who should be writing this, and who could contribute way more! So just keep this in mind. I am constantly asking for advice from my family and friends. I was only half way finished putting this series together when I had a conversation with a friend about couponing!  NO! I don’t really coupon! WHY!? I just don’t know enough! So there you go: Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone is in a different place, a different pace and of a different temperament. Take something I do that might work for you and your family, tweak it, make it better, then share it with me! Or take something that I do totally wrong, and relieve me of my ignorance, please!

That said, let’s set the foundation about what my family and I consume:

I’d probably qualify myself as semi-crunchy. (crunchy= granola hippie or, as some have called me, “Earthy”) If I had the funds and inexhaustible drive to search for the optimum health foods—- I’m not gonna lie, I still would probably drive through McDonald’s and order some fries and a Coke. I try to maintain a balance of healthy food choices, and ingredients, but we allow some junk. That’s us in a nutshell.

It all boils down to what I’m willing to sacrifice. Health, money, or time?

If I were willing to sacrifice my money, my health and the health of my children, I’d buy a ton of frozen foods and prepared meals. We’d eat out often. I would never cook.

To me, I like to believe that my time is well-spent cooking meals for my husband and children. By doing this, I’m saving money and I’m looking after the health of my family. There are many days during the Bare Minimum Mode when I can barely find a minute to pee, let alone cook a meal. So here is what I do:

My Basics for Meals:

  • Stick to what you know: Now is not the time to try recipes which contain ingredients you’ve never tasted before. I can’t afford the time or money on a meal experiment.
  • Don’t be enslaved by brand names. We buy the store brand for just about everything save for a few items that I definitely notice a difference in flavor/quality or ingredients. It saves money. I always laugh, thinking of the Dave Ramsey line about Heinz 57 Ketchup vs the store brand ketchup “…Heinz claimed to be thicker, tastier. The store brand is accused of being watery, uglyyy …and made in the same factoryyyyy…”
  • It pays to shop around. There is a particular store which I refer to as The Russian Storefront. I can’t stand shopping there. It’s always cold, they’re always out of essential groceries, and their produce sucks assmar. I don’t like it, my husband doesn’t like it, and even my oldest boy whines “NOOOO, I DON’T WANT TO GO TO W**-***T!” when we pull into the parking lot. But guess whaaaat: the groceries they do carry are cheaper than everywhere else. Shopping there cuts our grocery bill in half. I go elsewhere for the other items. I go to Target when I want a vacation. Tarjay Vacay!
  • We buy fresh and organic to an extent. I’m aware of the partially hydrogenateds, the high fructose syrups, and the artificial sweeteners that are packed into nearly all dry grocery foods. I buy organic if it’s ever on sale- mostly, I wash fruit in a water/vinegar mix. I read the labels and avoid buying food for my boys containing any of the above ingredients. At first, it took a little extra time at the grocery store, but now I know what’s semi-healthy and that’s what I go back for. I also have ambitions to drown -er- grow a tiny garden this summer with the aid of my mother and my green thumb husband.
  • I make the bulk of my meals from scratch. Cooking from scratch is the best for my family because I can better control what ingredients go into the dish, the recipes generally make larger quantities or are easily doubled, and it’s cheaper.  No, I don’t roll out and make my own pasta, milk my own cow, nor churn my own butter.  I definitely buy some frozen foods, I put half a pack of instant vanilla pudding into my cookies, and I always keep a box or two of cake mix for an easy dessert when family visits. We buy a frozen pizza every two weeks and it qualifies as our “ordering take-out”
  • We never go out to eat.

I internally freak out pretty easily when we go out, so eating out with three baby boys is a trifecta for me.
Imagine me, for a moment:    

Attempting to discreetly wrestle a 4 month old under the bewildering fabric of a nursing cover while he flails his limbs, gazes distractedly at the fabric’s print, perhaps screaming, perhaps squalling, while I’m having letdown (MILK EVERYWHERE). Baby perhaps sputtering, coughing, or possibly drowning, whilst my middle child may or may not be wailing in protest of the bondage of highchair-ery, or of the crackers he’s not being fed quickly enough because I’m busy with the noodly nursing baby and the fabric which feels like the volume of a ship’s multiple sails yet also like a simple tea cozy because noodle boy is now wrapping himself with it, negating its purpose and threatening boobie exposure. All the while, my husband frantically waits (in a forced, nonchalant manner) for the YouTube app on his phone to detect WiFi to silence the middle child, while our oldest boy jovially rattles on about EVERYTHING he sees, does, tastes and touches, as well as providing the sound effects of pirate life and animal bellowings because he loves to hear his own voice- but who can blame him?

I repeat, we never eat out.  I know I will someday be wined and dined, but I don’t even want it right now.

  • Generally, I cook 2-3 HUGE meals (dbl batch) a week and freeze half of each, so that I have two meals I don’t have to cook the second week. 
  • The rest of the week I keep very simple. Meat & veggie, with pasta or rice.
  • I freeze nearly everything. Especially uncooked veggies or cooked pasta or rice. Those items thaw nicely and can be used or added to any meal with ease. Here is a pretty good Pinterest link on the basics of freezing food. I have hopes to save for a deep freezer un jour

 Pinterest is a great source for meal ideas, if you know what you’re looking for!

The Pinterest Recipes that have earned a permanent fixture in the family menu are:

BREAKFAST:

  • Breakfast burritos- I’ve shared this one before, here. It’s such a great breakfast go-to. Instead of wasting $6-9 dollars on a small box of 4 frozen (full of mystery ingredients) breakfast burritos, taking 2 hours (which includes stopping to change diapers, feed children or get them to nap) on a Sunday afternoon gets me 2 weeks worth of breakfast for my husband and I. I don’t know if that can be beat!
    image 
  • Bacon, Egg, & Cheese Biscuits.  OH.MER.GERSH.

    image 

LUNCH:

  • Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad– I make this maybe twice a month instead of buying lunch meat. It’s mostly to feed ME. It makes a quick sandwich, and I save myself from grazing or eating the boys’ graham crackers as a meal. I cut this recipe in half. It calls for 4 large cans of chicken, I use 2, etc.. However, I used more Greek Yogurt than the recipe calls for. This is a flexible recipe. I used chopped almonds instead of pecans, I added way more celery because I love the crunch. image
    [Source: http://foodfolksandfun.net/2011/12/day-4-of-12-days-of-christmas-fun/]

DINNER:

  • Pasta Milano- A chicken dish derived from a recipe from Macaroni Grill, it’s my favorite dinner. Full of flavor, freezes and reheats wonderfully. This recipe calls for only 2 chicken breasts, three strips of bacon and half a pound of pasta, so it’s fabulously easy to double and freeze for a quick meal next week.  This one does take a little more time than the other recipes, but once you get the method down, it becomes second nature to throw it together. If I can do it, so can you!
    image
  • Chili– There is no such thing as a small pot of chili.  I’m not a huge chili fan, but my MIL’s recipe converted me. I just found the above Pinterest recipe today, and it’s nearly identical.  I do not double this recipe.  In fact, I cut it in half (only 2lbs of meat, etc.) and there is still enough left to freeze for dinner next week in addition to lunch to send with my husband to work for a few days.  It can be served by itself, or over rice or pasta. You don’t have to use beef.  I use a mix of beef and italian style sausage. My sister makes chili with ground turkey, and I think it’s delicious.  A very flexible recipe; one can use the beans they like, can add potatoes or extra vegetables, make it spicy or sweet. 
     
  • Polska Kielbasa with vegetables- This one is my easiest go-to. Chop up veggies of choice, sauté to desired tenderness, throw in diced Kielbasa and brown.  Serve over rice. You don’t even need any sauce or dressing with it because the Kielbasa is so flavorful. 
    image
  • Crock Pot Roast.  I haven’t made this in a long time, but the secret ingredients make all the difference!  This is another flexible recipe, as you may add veggies and serve with pasta or rice.

EXTRAS:

  • Crusty Bread- This is hands down, my greatest Pinterest treasure. It’s a three ingredient, no-knead bread. I whip it up in a bowl at bedtime, let it sit til the morning or until the next evening, throw it in the oven, and I have fresh bread with dinner (spaghetti night, anyone?), or toast for breakfast, or extra bread when I’m out of regular sandwich bread. It freezes nicely.
  • image
     I recently cut my dough in half and made two mini loaves: cute little baby loaves.  I used to work at Jeff Ruby’s and they serve bread with a salty crust which I still think about and drool, so I sprinkled coarse sea salt on the top of one loaf before baking and it turned out beautifully. Make sure you read the instructions carefully, and read the comments for further ideas and tips. Before my mom gave me a dutch oven with a lid, I simply used my crock pot with foil as the lid to bake the dough.  For these two loaves, I used two of my mini crock pots with foil.  Chopping fresh rosemary and mixing it into the dough before baking is absolutely delicious. The blog gives other flavor ideas that sound lovely!

So there you go! visit my Pinterest board for more ideas.  As far as food goes, I try to pin recipes that are realistic to accomplish, and that I’ve tried and approved. 

Next week I’ll post my final part to my Bare Minimum Mode series: How I function with 3 Boys at home. 
Please message or Tweet me with your Bare Minimum recipes! 

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The Circus Act of My Natural Birth

{In this photo, I was in labor. Early, happy, excited labor -but labor nonetheless, and I wanted a last shot of luxuriously blow-dried hair, because I know by now, that won’t be happening for the next few weeks… months maybe.  It’s good.  I’m at peace with neglecting my vanity.}

So we’ll just dive right into it then…

Friday evening, the 14th I began feeling mild contractions— heavy menstrual cramps for the ladies who’ve never experienced them— or waves of the sudden onset of impending diarrhea for the men who’ve never experienced menstrual cramps.  Also, I experience a sudden congestion in my sinus cavities before each contraction.  Strange, I know… but relevant, now that I think about their location in relation to my body’s central blood vessels and nerves.

The morning came and they persisted. I knew that my labor had officially begun. How exciting!  I’d been preparing for this for 9 months and was anxious to put my knowledge and research into practice!  The playoffs had arrived, and this was the championship game.  My husband and I called/texted my parents who took our boys for the day so that I could labor peacefully at home.

It made such a huge difference to labor in the quiet, comfortable of our home.  Instead of my previous two births: basically panicking and hustling out the door for my epidural, instead, I eased my way into each contraction.  For the better part of the day, I was able to shuffle about, crocheting my blanket project, napping and lightly snacking as each contraction came and went.  I mostly experienced one or two every half hour.

The contractions slowly increased in intensity throughout the day.

 After a long afternoon nap, my husband and I took a tour of the grounds on our property.  That’s saying something for me, as I never take “tours” or hikes or walks outside… I’m not the outdoorsy type.  Walking is supposed to help gently encourage the baby further into the birth canal (gravity, duhhh).  I really enjoyed just slowly walking with and being by my husband, talking, joking and laughing. 


{On the far side of our little pond, which I never visit.  Bugs.  That’s why.  I don’t enjoy bugs or their bites.}

We decided to install the infant carseat and took a small drive to get a “dying man’s wish” of some greasy McDonald’s French fries. 
I know that’s a terrible choice, but whatever.


{my husband snuck a lot of ridiculous photos of me…}

So after a relaxing, restful day, the intensity of my contractions picked up at 4pm. I remained in our living room with our orange medicine ball, hanging over it, sitting on it, kneeling over it while crocheting the blanket I’ve been working on through each contraction.

I decided to upload a contraction timer App for my phone which helped a ton. My children have a little Pottery Barn Kids chair that I moved to and started leaning over for support.  As the contractions picked up in intensity and frequency, I didn’t want to move from the chair.  My husband made a joke that I normally would have laughed about, but as another contraction began, I told him, “No, no, no, that isn’t funny, this is serious right now…” and I began to breathe through the throbbing wave.

{My husband later told me that this photo made him think of the scene in Disney’s Tangled where Maximus hides and poorly disguises himself behind a rock… like so:}

I realized we needed to head to the hospital when I found myself in a meditative rest -almost sleeping- in between each contraction.  Yet the contractions were 3-4 minutes apart.  I knew I would absolutely refuse to get into a car for a 30 minute ride to the hospital if I’d waited any longer.

 I had probably 10 contractions which I had to work through in the car, in the parking lot and into the emergency entrance.

Of course, we enter and I’ve got a large audience in the waiting room, silently watching me work through the one contraction I had at the desk. Seriously, why were there 20 people in the waiting room at 9:30 on a Saturday night!?

I refused a wheelchair and Craig and I walked our way to the labor and delivery floor. It was difficult and I began to become emotional, knowing “this is really happening”. Craig let me hang onto him and supported me through each surge of pain that coursed through my body.

We finally made it to triage where I was examined and told I was dilated at 6cm and fully effaced. 
My doula, Maren came, as well as my OB (to my great surprise!) and we all walked to my birth room.

There I chose a chair to kneel in front of, on top of a cushion, and work through many contractions. 
Sitting on the toilet actually felt nice too, but I could tell I was making my nurse and OB nervous that I would deliver into the toilet, so I moved toward the bed…

I felt extremely relieved to not be forced to have a hep-lock placed into my hand.

Quickly, I realized the nurse attendant was extremely respectful of our crunchy wishes (no medication, no IV, ability to freely move, intermittent fetal monitoring, no vaccinations, eye goo, etc) and she asked me before she did anything to me or in preparation of the baby’s arrival.

Such a stark contrast from my last experiences. It was so nice to be fully mentally present and feel fully integrated into my labor and delivery of our child. Not just a vessel.

I began to be so uncomfortable that I sought different positions. The labor bed had the capability to transform into a sort of step ladder shape so that I could squat on it foreword or backward, with different handles for me to use for support or to hang onto. The nurse and Maren attached a huge metal bar, encased with soft sponge, as I decided to turn forward and rest semi upright on my back in between contractions.  (Not typical of a natural birthing mom, but it brought my tailbone some relief!)

I began to feel some relief in pushing and crying out during the intense waves of insanity that tore through my lower back and hips.

Here’s where the one man—er, woman— circus act began.

I lost it.

Completely lost it.

I was pushing, but our baby wasn’t moving.  

With each push, the pain intensified instead of bringing the reported relief that each laboring mother is supposed to experience.

As I had just finished a particularly shocking contraction, we heard a knock on the door and in walked a man with a table full of tools and medicines, “I hear someone called for an epidural?” he sang merrily.  (&!^%!@?#%*!!!!!!!!?)  

“NOOO!!!” shouted everyone synonymously. 
“no thank you, ” I heard myself squeak.  And everyone laughed at my little, polite refusal.  

Out backed the epidural man with his table of drugs.  If I had a chance to back down and get an epi, I’d lost it now, I thought to myself with a sense of finality and triumph over the temptation to escape the fear of the unknown…

The contractions were double-peaking and so closely on top of each other by now that I refused to let my OB (who’d remained in the room with us the entire time) check my cervix for progress.

When he finally did check me, he informed me that he needed to aid in pulling the cervical lip back; that it was keeping our baby from being pushed to the point of crowning.  Which explains the abnormal pain.  I was pushing our baby into a wall, basically.  


{This diagram illustrates why I was experiencing such pain.  I wasn’t fully dilated, yet still pushing.  Ouchie.}

So instead of my OB doing the typical perineum stretching that happens in the final pushing stage, he was aiding in cervical stretching. And it hurt. It was like rubbing salt onto exposed nerve endings in an amputated arm.

At this moment, I closed my eyes and did not open them to anyone for the last half of my labor.  It was me against myself, I knew, by myself.

I sang the opera: 

http://youtu.be/ojeLyPo_Wz4?t=20s

Held a long, low note of a male Tenor with each contraction and crazily thought I might be auditioning for the part of a pirate in the musical Pirates of Penzance. (which I did do in 7th grade).

I bellowed like a blind, old cow. 
I barked like a constipated, fat dog (Craig’s favorite sound to recount).
I wailed like a banshee,
Screamed like a girl riding down a roller coaster. 
 

Screamed like a horror film heroine.


{Psycho, anyone?}

I Bellowed in such a way that I actually heard my OB utter the word “water buffalo” during my resting period.  


{Now I know what a water buffalo is, and what it sounds like}

When hollering proved insufficient, I punched my own thigh in disbelief of the reality of the pain. I slapped it like “DAYYYYYUMMMM!” as if I could not believe such sensations were gaining victory over me. 
I thrashed my head- shaking it saying “NO NO NO NO NOOOO!!!!!” absolutely forbidding the pain to triumph. 
And then, after each contraction, I raised one hand or the other into the air, eyes closed, like a passionate gospel singer, and slowly grasped at absolutely nothing.


{Or Mariah Carey.}

The few times I did open my eyes, I refused to focus them on any one.

I was gone. Lost. Completely lost. 
Craig tells me it frightened him to see me so lost, knowing he could do nothing to help me find my way out.

At this point, soaked in sweat, I actually sobbed, saying “I don’t want to do this anymore!!! What else can I do! Please!!” I looked my husband full in the face for the first time and I knew there was nothing. He firmly urged me on. My nurse urged me and my doula reminded me that I was born to do this. Finally my water broke— 

And I felt a new pain.  A welcome pain.  Our little boy was descending.  Finally descending.  I gave two great pushes, and out came our little boy’s head.  

“Open your eyes and look down!” I was told.  But I refused to open them until my husband placed our boy onto my chest.  

Craig caught our little Collin John Paul.  I opened my eyes as Collin was handed to me, and I was completely taken aback by the shock ofjet black hair covering his head, his beautifully colored, baby pink skin (our other boys came out grayish/purple because of the epidural I believe), and the amount of vernix still coating his little body (indicating that he perhaps wasn’t overdue like we’d all believed).  

And it was: love at first sight.  I feel bad for my first boy…I didn’t know and I was too afraid of the unknown to appreciate seeing him for the first time.

I was filled to the brim with a complete sense of peace.  Of love.  

And then I barked, “NEVER AGAIN!” to the whole room.

And 15 minutes later, I caught myself saying, “well, next time…” 

I realized my voice had a sudden similarity to that of a heavy, life-long smoker, and I laughed at my labor charade. 

This birth humbled me to my core.  It fulfilled my identity as a woman.  

My life is full of incompletes, of goals never accomplished, of things started backward, or not carried out from A-Z. 

But this one.  This I can humbly claim.  I can know in my heart, “I really did it.” 

It wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t enjoyable.  It wasn’t.  

But it was amazing. It was better than winning a sporting event.  Better than winning a gold medal.  Better than getting a raise, a promotion, a new possession, being famous, walking the runway, jumping from an airplane…better than any achievement, award, reward or drug I could ever possibly attain.  And I got to experience it.  I did.  Just me. 

And I am humbled by that privilege.

But I must admit that I’ve never in my life felt or understood the genuine meaning of the word GLAD.  I was SO GLAD it was over and completed.

Will I do it again?  

…how about asking me that question again a year from now… ;)

Busy

Busy I’ve been. I’ve been reading but not taken much time to regurgitate any of my thoughts. And that’s fine.

Now that I’m in the grand third trimester, I’ve finally felt myself motivated to clean and organize: something I’ve not felt even a tiny inkling to do for the previous six months leading up to now. Yikes. So, imagine what’s to be done. I mean.. YIKES.

I wanted to take a moment while having difficulty falling asleep comfortably, to reach out to mommies.

I have a beautiful Cathsorority ( what’s that? http://caffeinatedcatholicmama.com/what-is-cathsorority/) sister who recently posted that for each time she feels the stress or uncomfortable pains of pregnancy, she offers her suffering up for all women trying to conceive or struggling with fertility. Is that not beautiful? 
By doing so, my Cathsister is not only praying for others, but taking the focus off of herself: off of obsessing over every little detail of her pregnancy and wallowing in her pity or even the limelight of pregnancy. I believe that by praying for others when we are suffering, God not only hears us -as the Beatitudes tells us- but it can lessen the possibility of postpartum blues. It’s just a thought. No real science behind it other than the realization that when we are busy taking care of or sacrificing for others, we leave little room to feel sorry for ourself. I could be wrong there, but I don’t think it could hurt to think about it further.

Regardless- the reason in writing is because I’m getting less and less sleep. Which I guess is fine because it’s preparing me for the imminent future anyway. However I can’t totally agree with that because depending on the parenting style used, a mom may get just as much or better sleep once her child is born.

Our first baby, I did not sleep. DID. NOT. 
Up and down. Up and down. Nursing. Rocking. Laying baby down with the greatest care. Tiptoeing back to bed. Crying. Up and down up and down. Repeat. All night.

Second baby… We coslept and that was the end of the story. No crying. No ups and downs. No rocking. No soaked diapers. No spit ups. I actually woke up right before he would, knowing that he’d stir and I’d nurse him. (there’s actually science behind that! http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/attachment-parenting/4-ways-ap-can-reduce-risk-sids)
After our second child was born, I’d get looks from family members full of pity as they said, “are you getting ANY sleep at all, you poor thing?”
And my honest response was, “I’ve never slept better.”

But as of right now, as my children sleep through the night, I am not. In fact I’m up almost hourly. Yucky.

SO: my intention is to pray for all mommies who are not getting sleep at night. Every hour I wake, I think of and pray for you, dear mothers who are comforting your children. I pray that you’re filled with love and peace as you hold your angel, who wants only you. I pray that you’re given the graces needed to endure the night. I pray that you do get a good handful of hours to rest. And I pray that when the day comes, you find rest at some point. 
It is truly a full time job. There’s no clocking out or saying, “I’m gonna sleep this off and recharge.”

It takes all of who you are. What a noble career.

Goodnight -hopefully- know that when you’re up, frustrated or just plain exhausted, I’m praying for you, along with the Virgin Mother and all the mother saints. I’m praying for you, probably while I eat a toasted bagel with cream cheese.

Baby, You Were Born This Way.

I want to write about something that may be obviously apparent to parents of multiple children.
But to the parents with only one child, they might not yet have fully grasped it. For I only began to REALLY notice it after our second child was born.

Especially to the individuals who’ve never had children before, though, is who I write for: DOUBLY especially, to the pro-choice, pro-contracepting individuals who’ve never had children, is who I write this for; for perhaps they’ve never thought about this to quite the extent they should.

I’m sure there’s much more intellectually stimulating writings than mine out there. In fact, I’m absolutely aware of the world of scientific research to support what I’m sharing.

The average, curious Joe may do a tiny lifting of his finger to find this information. I’ve done it and so can you. I’ve generally found that whether or not I litter my blog with links and endless amounts of scientific research backing up what I have to say, whomever reads my blog ultimately rejects what they’re reading on an obstinately angry prejudice or is open to finding out more and does the research him/herself. So there you go, do what you will.
Moving on!

I believe that babies are born, with their personality, their disposition already intact.
I believe that babies are given their personality from the earliest moments of conception.

Because otherwise, when is a human being given his/her personality, his/her predisposition to the way s/he handles emotion, the way s/he communicates, his/her temperament?

At 6 months in utero? 9 months? AFTER birth, a random string of personality traits, plucked from the combined genetics of the mother and father, just spontaneously erupts within his/her brain?

Or perhaps the baby is born with absolutely no personality whatsoever and it’s only developed after coming into the world and being influenced by the environment and people in the human being’s life?

I believe that common intelligence will tell us that the latter must be mostly false.

Common intelligence, from a parent of more than one child, will observe that at the first moments after birth, if the parent is a perceptive one (trust me, not all are) each child is very different than his/her older sibling.

The cry not only sounds different, but a parent can perceive the urgency, the demanding or un-demanding of the cry. Parents more closely observe, over the next few days after arriving home from the hospital, how their baby handles the daily routine of the family: the changing of the diapers, baths, feedings, naps, “tummy time” …etc. All of these mundane events sound like pathetic material to have for observations and conclusions, but if one can consider the newness of life, how drastically different these events must be for the newly born human life, can one not wonder how that baby might handle the situation, depending on his/her disposition?

The differences are sometimes subtle, but if you’ve had more than one child, you can attest to the observation that the baby isn’t JUST yet another baby, like any other baby. Each new baby speaks his/her own personality differently.

My first son- beginning with his kicks within the womb! -was much more vocal about his presence. He was wound tight: vocal from the very beginning. If a diaper was too tight, or a bottle not warmed enough (I only breastfed him for the first three months: he went on a screaming nursing strike after I felt pushed into introducing the bottle to him very early on.) he let me know, loudly. He was up at all hours of the night. He was walking at 7 months and literally running at 8. He was talking before he was one year old and then varying his octaves and tones of voice before he was a year and a half. (I could ask him to say “momma” in a very high-pitched tone or a very low-pitched tone, and he would do it and then replicate the tones with other words.)

My son, now almost 3 years old, is a running, jumping, rollicking, screaming, yelling, non-stop talking wild child in a blaze of endless energy. I truly believe that he has only now begun to reach a satisfactory communication level (according to him) equalling the personality he has been given.

I believe that as a parent, after giving birth to our children, it’s not a matter of “training my baby” to do this or that, or follow a certain schedule that I desire. I believe that instead, my job is to get to KNOW my child. My already uniquely made child. (hence, my Attachment Parenting style of parenting… check out Ask Dr. Sears and this: )

A baby is a human being before s/he is born. This human being is born with limited abilities to communicate his/her personality until s/he reaches the earliest age possible to fully communicate his/her needs. Until then, a parent needs to be perceptive enough to read and understand the newborn human being’s personality.

My second boy barely cried after birth. He slept through the night from the get-go. He only cried (if I could even call it that) when he was hungry. He grunted instead of bellowing or screaming. He is now 1.5 years old and still has yet to purposely say “mom” or “dad”. He started walking at 10 months. He still only becomes whiny when he’s hungry, if I haven’t already fed him. Normally, he’ll just walk up to me and arch his head backwards and look at me with huge, chocolate brown eyes, raising his arms for me to hold him, and I know it’s the “feed me something, Momma,” look.

One might say that the differences in my son’s personalities lie in how I ate while I was pregnant or whether or not I had medication during birth.

First, being medicated isn’t going to be the source of development for my child’s personality. I was given an epidural for my first, wild boy. For our second, laid-back boy, the epidural was placed too high, never reaching lower than my belly button, and was ceased to be administered 2 hours before I began to push. We know that, instead, medications during labor may affect the health of the baby (i.e. drowsiness, unresponsiveness, lack of interest in nursing right away… etc.).

Secondly, I barely consumed any caffeine at all with my first crazy boy. I drank coffee (nearly daily) and Coke a Cola with our second, very calm boy. This third time around, I have had coffee daily.

I understand that environmental influences DO affect the health of the new human life. I do understand and acknowledge that if I were a smoker or consumed alcohol abusively or ate obese levels of sugar while pregnant, I would definitely be putting the physical health of my child in danger. But I cannot agree that I would be putting his/her personality in danger of alteration. This is a difference that many people misconstrue: especially the pro-choice, pro-contraceptive lot.

These people do not understand, or refuse to acknowledge that at the very moment of conception, parents have created, in union with the Ultimate Creator Himself, a very literal separate and unique human being. Like a snowflake, non-replicable. A snowflake the size of a zygote.

To the people who do not or will not understand this, they view having a child as either a commodity, or as an inconvenience. They may contracept, willfully, yet ignorantly flushing down the toilet all other human life that was “accidentally” conceived while on the Pill or IUD or Patch or shot.

We know this happens for a fact. We know that women get pregnant while contracepting. Google “pregnancy rates among contraceptive users” and you’ll find that even Guttmacher Institute (Planned Parenthood’s research arm) gives statistical evidence of failure among chemical contraceptive use. Yep, there’s failure for all types of birth control, natural and chemical. Honestly, the percentage rate does not matter… 0.1% or 10%, the failure rate is absolutely present, and who am I or you to put full faith into a failing chemical that will harm the newly created life, just banking on the assumption that “certainly I’m not likely to be that 1-10%”?

ESPECIALLY when the percentage of failure weighs upon the death of a human life.

But the even more questionable concern rises when we understand that when pregnant, a woman must not continue using her contraceptive because the chemicals will kill or greatly harm the already conceived life.

THEREFORE, how can we pretend to be blind to the “unsuccessful zygotes” that are the result of the effectiveness of the chemical abortions that take place without the knowledge of the poor mother and father who do not view each human life as sacred and unique (even though they think they do)?

We know that within hours of conception, the brand new human being’s DNA is fully formed (check my link below); DNA unique to the mother, unique to the father, unique to any other human being in the world. Hence, my snowflake allusion.

From what minimal biological knowledge I acquired from my college education, in combination with the light scientific research I have found through general internet searches, I am aware that fundamental personality cells are stored within the human DNA.

I have read that complex personality development is later developed and influenced by environmental forces; Yet we are born, already having been given our base personality. At the moment we are given our DNA. at conception.

Yikes. The people who think that contraceptives are OK and that abortion is OK have some answering to do.

What I have written is in the most elementary, rudimentary basics of human development. Pathetic, to some it may be, I really think that one doesn’t need to be a scientist to fully acknowledge these truths. One only needs to have a willful stubbornness to adhering to his/her personal convenience, though, to reject them. And sadly, so, so many people do.

http://www.ehd.org/dev_article_unit1.php