Oct. 17th, 2007
02:42 pm - wasting my time...
Aug. 20th, 2006
Can you believe that Haley is turning 1 in just 6 days?!?!?! Time really flies by. She started walking a few days ago. She's such a sweet beautiful little girl and I feel blessed every day for her.
I'm feeling stressed a bit lately because my parenting choices, though very well researched and thought out, are not mainstream nor widely accepted. If someone else told me that this is how she mothers her child BEFORE I had Haley, I probably would've thought "crazy hippie, those kids are going to be so weird," but once my mothering instincts paired up with my need to read up on everything and my newfound open-mindedness, and here I am. I feel strongly about my parenting choices and have plenty of facts to back them up. The thing is, it is seeming to alienate us from others who make very different choices. I have found a community of like-minded mothers at the Birth Center, so I'm feeling more confident to stand by my opinions, but unfortunately, my husband is still left feeling like an oddball. He stands by our decisions (though there is a slight difference between how each of us feels about certain issues, we basically agree with one another on the bigger issues). This whole stress was made much worse yesterday, and recently in general.
After much research (Dr Fuhrman's "disease-proof your child: feeding kids right" among others), I've made the switch from a lacto-ovo vegetarian to a strict vegetarian (almost vegan, but I'm not throwing out my leather belt/wallet or my honey mustard and I'm still finishing up some of the veggie foods we already had that contained eggs). I feel this is the best way to eat for both moral and health reasons. I want to raise Haley on a plant-based diet. Even Ethan is making the switch (he won't call himself vegetarian and he's finishing up his meat stash, but we're eating vegan meals together and keeping mostly just vegan foods around.
Haley still gets probably 90-95% of her nutrition from breastmilk depending on the day. She's totally healthy, growing and developing exactly as she should be. We aren't witholding food from her, she just doesn't eat too much and loves nursing. Not a problem for us. In fact, she wasn't eating much of anything until she was 10 months old. I don't mind. She doesn't need anything else just yet. But family members seem to think that our poor Haley is totally deprived because she isn't devouring chocolate cake or pizza yet. My brother-in-law, Matt, teases like mad. He always right away starts with "oh, give her some cotton candy/chilli/chocolate!" then his wife, Becka, has taken it upon herself to almost feed Haley chips and chocolate cake. We stopped her both times, but a few weeks ago, she told her daugter, Makaila (who will be 5 on Thursday), to give Haley a chip and yesterday, she stuck her fork covered in frosting down by Haley's mouth. No, it woudn't kill her, but 1) chocolate, wheat, eggs, dairy, and strawberries are all allergy foods to be avoided AT LEAST until her first birthday (I'll be making her an allergen-free vegan cake for her birthday) and 2) it doesn't matter if it makes sense or not, you don't take liberties like that with other people's children. Then my mom has been the worst. She seems to think that I will be depriving Haley of all fun in life if I don't let her eat whatever she wants. I'm sure she'd love to play with matches, too, but it's my job to protect her. I'm not going to say that she can never ever have any sweets, but I see nothing wrong with not having it around the house and providing healthier animal-product-free alternatives. I'm really getting sick of people saying to me that "Haley wants ice cream" or that "you never had any problems with food allergies" or "can she eat cheese???" or "she'll be able to eat cheeseburgers with us next summer!" Haley is very happy and healthy. Until they get the call that she's in the hospital for chocolate deficiency, they can just keep their mouths shut. And for those of you wondering "what about her calcium? or protein???" I urge you to look it up. Haley eats quinoa. She eats amaranth, too. yep, I've done my research.
Now back to yesterday... We were going to visit Matt and Becka for Makaila's 5th birthday. It was horrible. First off, Matt is very last minute spur of the moment kind of person. He does what HE wants to do regardless of what everyone else wants. He decided a few days ago that Carol and Gary (my mother- and father-in-law) would meet him at the fair because he wanted to take Makaila to the fair. Just a few weeks ago, he said it was going to be at the beach, then it was a barbeque, but whatever, no big deal. They were going early and since it's a 2.5 hour drive for us, we'd leave at Haley's nap time (about 1pm). So we didn't know if they'd all be at the fair or at Matt's house when we got to town. Well, Haley woke up when we were maybe 45 minutes away and was sick of being in her carseat. Ethan called both of his parents' cell phones AND Matt's house and got no answer after trying repeatedly. We didn't know where the fair was, so we just went to their house to at least stop for a minute and check Haley's diaper. Becka was at home painting (they just had a big addition put on their house, so everything is messy and unfinished at this point), but everyone else was at the fair, so she gave us directions. It was maybe a 20 miute drive and when we got their, we realized there was an entrance fee and we didn't have any cash on us. Yeah, it's dumb, but we didn't know there'd be a fee, we didn't even know if we'd be going... So we turned around and left and went to K-mart where Ethan FINALLY got ahold of his parents. They would be leaving the fair soon and would meet us at Matt & Becka's house. So, back to their house after almost 4 hours of driving total, Haley was mad that she had to sit in her seat so long and was crying, we were stressed because we had driven around all over the world. Then we go back to their house which has paint and pieces of wood all over (not their fault, but hard to occupy a curious toddler in those conditions) and finally an hour or so later, they got back. Next issue: food. They never cook for us, we never go out to eat with them, it's usually just they decide to make hot dogs or to pick up take-out and everyone goes along with it. So this time, I came prepared with vegan pumpkin muffins (yum) and some vegan potato salad. Ethan talked to his mom about it being difficult to eat there, especially for me (last time we had to drive out and get subway), so she said that she'd make sure that we got food, that we'd maybe go to a restaurant or even just a grocery store if needed. She had said that it might be considered rude if I bring food, but I wasn't going to risk being stuck again. So guess what? Matt decided he wanted Hungry Howies pizza. Becka at least asked if she should order a veggie pizza, but no one ever asked if pizza was okay or what everone else wanted. So Ethan, Carol, and I (and Haley) just ate a little bit of my potato salad and a muffin for dinner. Ethan could have eaten the pizza, but my man was taking a stand against it always being "EVERYONE can eat burgers, but what about Chrissy?" and that sort of mentality. Thank you, honey! So we were NOT Happy. I'm not saying they should go out of their way, but if they'd at least ask us what we wanted to do. Then they weren't too nice in general. Becka teased that I was "watching my figure" whan I politely said "no" to their cake. Matt complained about having to leave the fair early to meet us at home.
We also left feeling terrible because of how they treat Makaila. The poor child. Yes, she's a bit hyper, but he treated her like an animal. He screamed at her in short little commands "MAKAILA! SIT DOWN!" or "CALM DOWN!" whenever she moved too quickly or sand or yelled. He grabbed her, threw her on the couch and whacked her telling her to "cut the crap" when she wasn't doing anything terrible (Maybe it was when she was upset and couldn't find her toy, I can't remember). When she hurt her knee, Ethan went over and asked "are you okay? did you hurt yourself?" nicely while Matt screamed to her "you're fine! that's because you were going too fast!" Poor girl, she couldn't do anything without making them angry. Plus I'm firmly against physical violence against other human beings (or animals for that matter).
Needless to say, it was a terrible visit. On wednesday, we're going to my parent's house for Haley's party (which will be on Saturday). Hopefully my mom won't give me too much grief about our healthy eating habits. Oh, and she seems so worried that we stopped vaccinating Haley, too. We may get Haley tetanus later, but I don't feel she needs anything now. Ethan and I have done our research, I've read a few books on the issue, yet my mom still tries to argue with me. Her qualifications? She saw some scare-tactic report on the news and talked to her school nurse. I urge her to read the books herself so at least it will be an educated argument, but she doesn't seem interested. She also seems nervous that I'm interested in homeschooling/unschooling. She complains about the schools and all the problems with the kids, but I guess anything is better than having a relaxed learning environment without tests and grades and bullies and cliques? We aren't dead-set on home-schooling yet, but the more I read and just think about the issue, the more it makes sense.
I would have never thought this stuff before. But now, it just seems so natural. It's my job to ensure that Haley has a happy healthy life to the best of my ability. And I don't fall into the sensationalist media-fed panic. All my decisions are well thought out and researched. Then people basically act like I don't know what I'm doing. I'm a new mom, yes, but a new mom who is confident in her choices. No one else will have to deal with the consequences of the way Haley is raised.