Friday, February 25, 2011

bilingual kids

The Bilingual Edge: Why, When, and How to Teach Your Child a Second LanguageSince I'm native Norwegian, Leighton and I decided when I was pregnant that we wanted to raise our child bilingually. We read The Bilingual Edgeand listened to the advice and stories of others. Truth be told, I did find it kind of awkward and challenging to stick to Norwegian at home right away when Lilly was born, even though I'd been teaching a Norwegian literature course in Norwegian up until her birth, surrounded by Norwegian speaking students and colleagues. Because though Leighton had taken Norwegian for a year from a colleague of mine, English had been our primarily language at home.

It helped that we moved to Oslo for a year when Lilly was around 6 weeks; ever since then it's felt natural to have Norwegian be the primary language at home and wherever I am with Lilly.

It's been a little trickier those days I have Lilly's best friend Anna here. When the girls were still one and not big talkers, I used mainly Norwegian still. But when the girls experienced a language explosion after turning two, I felt awkward speaking Norwegian to Anna when she addressed me in English.

A couple of weeks ago, we had some friends over for dinner who'd had a foreign speaking nanny for their child. They highly recommended I try sticking with Norwegian even when Anna was around too.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

popular culture? help me out fellow moms!

I am barely able to follow the news, and so behind on popular culture. It's not just that we don't have television, it's also that there's just no time. I get kind of intense about the things I care about and commit to, and so right now that means my life evolves around parenting and my work writing.

I love to read, but the books with fiction I've checked out at the library lately have not been finished. Instead of reading for "me," I've been spending any "free" time (are there really any truly "free" moments??) reading and writing for work.

InStyle (1-year auto-renewal)Whole Living (1-year auto-renewal)But sometimes, I'm just so fried yet still awake, I want to escape into something else. Lately that's been either whole living or In Style (yes, I see the mismatch). I subscribed to the Yoga journal for years till I got pregnant and it changed to the mothering magazine. Whole living followed, and then now, I'm considering In Style. And I feel like crap for it. I mean, what does my magazine subscription history say about me? Am I going from enlightened to fluff?

The other day, however, I got to thinking that maybe my infatuation has to do with my nostalgic memories of happy hour sushi and martini dates with girlfriends, wearing high heals and fun clothes (unspoiled by a toddler's hands), and life could feel somewhat glamorous. Now it's down to still wearing nursing bras; my feet outgrew my high heals during pregnancy and never shrunk back. I crave some glamor.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

taking time to work on the business - and our relationship

At a workshop I attended earlier this week to learn more about starting up my own Love, Sex, Family business, one of the presenter talked about the importance of taking time to work on the business and not just in it. Yesterday, Leighton and I got the day off to do just that, while Lilly was at her best friend's house. Then in today's paper there was an article on how couples are finding enrichment by participating in retreats. Specifically, the article was about Heart to Heart Workshops, offering "all committed couples the opportunity to examine their relationship together - their strengths and weaknesses, their attitudes, their hurts, desires, ambitions, disappointments, joys and frustrations - and to do so openly and honestly in a private/safe face-to face, heart-to-heart encounter."

As it turned out, Leighton and I got our own little heart to heart retreat yesterday too, because as a part of my homework, I'm supposed to take inventory and record a list of my own strengths, and another of my weaknesses, and then reflect on how the former may or may not compensate for the latter. Since Leighton's working with me on Love, Sex, Family, his strengths become part of the calculation, e.g. his technical skills in programming and web design, his creative ideas, and his listening skills that make him an amazing resource for bouncing off ideas.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

need another reason to co-sleep?

Reports Medical News today: "Cribs, playpens, and bassinets are associated with more than 9,500 injuries in young children each year, according to a retrospective analysis of a national injury database."

Among the findings:
  • Most of the injuries involved cribs (83.2%), followed by playpens (12.6%) and bassinets (4.2%).
  • Falls accounted for two-thirds of injuries overall, although that proportion increased with age, likely because of increased mobility and climbing skills.
  • The most common diagnosis was a soft-tissue injury (34.1%), followed by a concussion or closed-head injury (21.1%).
  • The two most frequently injured body parts were the head or neck (40.3%) and face (27.5%).
  • The vast majority of children were treated and released (93.9%); 4% were admitted, transferred, or held for observation; 1.2% died; and 0.9% left against medical advice.
  • Most of the deaths occurred in infants younger than 6 months and involved a diagnosis of cardiopulmonary arrest or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Hospitalization, transfer, or being held for observation was more common in children younger than 6 months and in those with fractures.
What I find particularly striking about these findings is that most deaths occurred in infants younger than 6 months, involving a diagnosis of cardiopulmonary arrest or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). We chose to bed-share because of recent studies (including Dr. Sears' personal study of his wife bed-sharing with their children, reported in their Attachment Parenting book) indicate that co-sleeping encourages the baby's breathing to synchronize with its mom's, and because when bed-sharing we wouldn't have to get up to go check on her; she would be right there with us and we would know she was fine. Of course, it was also so much easier for me not to have to get up at night to nurse, and we were lucky in that it was easy for us to nurse lying down from the beginning, which I know is not the case for many.

Monday, February 14, 2011


I am excited to present LOVE, SEX, AND FAMILY, my new online resource center devoted to holistic human sexuality information. The resources I've selected reflect my own values and interests in gender equality, not only the commitment to break free from traditional gender roles and stereotypes about women’s and men's sexuality, but also in creating a new gender democratic discourse for sexuality. All resources are intended to inform and inspire.

Catering to adults who value a positive and healthy sexual life, we've also included resources that can help adults educate children and youth about their own sexuality. Check our LSF Amazon Shop and Shop Good Vibrations® Page for DVDs and books that I've gathered and personally recommend. 

LOVE, SEX, AND FAMILY is currently a work in progress, but it is my hope that the site will grow to be a substantial resource for you all. In the meantime, continue checking quizzical mama and new porn by women where I write more about love, sex, and family.

Happy Valentine's Day,
Anne G. Sabo

Saturday, February 12, 2011

friends I've lost since becoming a mom

I was thinking the other day about friends I've lost since becoming a mom; in particular female friends without kids. Am I just not interesting to them anymore? A goner, with a mush brain, the way I used to think of moms with young kids?

When my best friend became a mom, I felt like I lost her. I couldn't see why she didn't have time to talk with me on the phone for an hour every day anymore. Why she couldn't really talk with me even when I came over to visit. Why all she seemed to think and talk about was her baby.

It embarrasses me now that I was so clueless. It didn't take me long as a new mom to see that really, she was the one who lost me.

When I apologized, she said she felt badly too that she'd lacked the words to explain to me how her life had changed. I don't blame her; I haven't figured it out either. Partly, it's the grief that I may not be living up to someone's standards, wishing me, perhaps, to be more like I used to be. Partly then it's also defensiveness about not being like I used to be, while also feeling like I still really am. Then there's also my insecurities about seeming like a complete mush brain were we do get together; I mean, I do have a hard time completing sentences and recalling stuff during conversations. I'm clearly not up-to-date on a lot of things.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

with separation from child: allow no cry, some cry, or let cry?

We had a rough one last night, Lilly whimpering, clinging to me all night. While I was lying there hugging and comforting her, I couldn't make up my mind if I'd rather it wasn't physical or emotional. Yesterday we had our second ECFE class of this semester with new kids in her class, several of whom will cry during separation. And that makes both me and my little Lilly sad. On top of it all, her best friend Anna took a spill head down the stairs from the little doll area.

All afternoon and evening yesterday, Lilly kept processing all of this. "Anna fell. Anna cried. Hug Anna." And then she'd talk about the other children who'd cried, the little snotty girl who kept coughing. The little boy. The other boy. And so on.

Well, this morning I asked why her night had been so rough; was she feeling sick? No. Sad? Yes. And then the same processing all over again.

Ahh, it makes me miss our fall class, no matter how much I kvetched about that. But none of the parents in that class would separate if their children cried. For a while a couple of the parents would stay with their children, but then when the kids were ready, they'd join us. 

I realize I may be in the minority here about not letting Lilly cry. For us, this has meant that I couldn't work out for months, because Lilly would cry if I left her in the gym's child watch area. Now she's happy there, that is except for whenever children there are sad, which aches me too.

The results are in from the poll on crying and children's sleep, and I'm clearly in the minority in that department: 12 % checked no cry, 31 % some cry, and 56 % let cry.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

scream and feel better

I was reading in Lesley Britton's Montessori Play and Learn about the Montessori philosophy of how children acquire a large part of their learning through watching others, their parents in particular, a type of learning sometimes known as "modeling." Aside from encouraging parents to do things very slowly and carefully in front of the child to facilitate copying, Britton also warns parents against being aggressive but also against being gently and friendly all the time at whatever cost.

Whole Living (1-year auto-renewal)This brought to mind an article on "constructive" or "conscious" complaining that I'd read last fall in the September issue of whole living. Writes Karla McLaren; "constructive complaining is especially helpful in a life of striving, good works, and personal growth, where complaining is considered less than saintly,"  because if you never make time for "kvetching, moaning, whining, and complaining, your psyche will become flat and barren. You'll deteriorate into perfectionism, and you'll have no fun at all."

I want Lilly to grow up with a healthy sense of the validity of all of her emotions; I don't want her to be afraid of anger and frustration the way I was as a child because of the unpredictability of my mother's mood. Sure, she struggled with mental issues and anxiety, but even more so, I think, she was completely out of touch with her anger, because frankly back then, and perhaps to a large extent even now, good girls and moms aren't supposed to get angry; they're supposed to be sweet and gentle and kind. So she would strive to be all those things and then suddenly just lose it.

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