Monday, April 30, 2012

Review: Mayim Bialik's Beyond the Sling

As promised, I started Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way by Blossom and  Big Bang Theory's beloved Mayim Bialik (she's got her Ph D. in neuroscience now, if you haven't heard, the woman is SMART!).

Anywhoo, Bialik is a self-proclaimed "green" and "granola" mama. So I knew what I was getting into when I picked up her book. I say this because, I'm typically an "eye-roller" when is comes to the Granolas. I am the opposite of a Granola, at least by most measures of the term. I had a scheduled c-section, I breastfed until my lady bits just couldn't take it anymore--and couldn't establish a supply (read stopped for my convenience), fed organic baby food until we just couldn't afford it anymore (WIC only provided non-organic for us while my DH was unemployed), we eat a standard American diet including beef, I use disposable diapers, and my son plays with gasp, PLASTIC toys--some of which are even from China, double gasp
Image from

But, after reading Bialik's book, she (almost) has me as an "Attachment Parenting (AP)" convert, at least I feel a little more "crunchy" after some shifting of my thoughts on certain topics. What is attachment parenting? From what I glean from Bialik's book, attachment parenting is a form of parenting naturally, where you use your primal instincts to raise your child, providing the ideal attachment to the mother, and sense of security for the child. Some of the things that AP parents practice are:
  • "Natural, drug-free birth
  • Breastfeeding
  • Sensitivity to your children and their needs
  • Bonding through touch
  • Co-sleeping
  • Be an available parent
  • Positive discipline, i.e. no spanking or other forms if corporal punishment
  • Balance of the child's needs and your own" (Beyond the Sling, p.10)
Bialik goes on to back up all of these practices with scientific evidence from reputable sources like the AAP.  But all of the beliefs are rooted in the fact that these are all practices that our "cave people" ancestors did, and most Non-Western communities still do as the norm.

Her argument for natural childbirth, and VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) has me really considering establishing a natural birth plan for when I have my next child. And her honest approach to breast feeding and her tips for establishing breast feeding support, have given me the power to actually WANT to breastfeed, where as before, I viewed it as an obligation to my baby.

With my next child, I also hopeful to be an avid "babywearer". My son, was diagnosed with colic, but it is evident to me in hind-sight that he was just a "high-needs" baby
\ that wanted to be held a lot. I was of the school of thought that you can hold a baby too much, and that the only way to establish independence is to put them down. Bialik's emphasis on a baby's "wants are their needs" for at least their first year of life, really changed my mind on this. I truly believe that if I just would have worn my son, and kept him close, that he would not have been such a screamer and I wouldn't have ended up with post-partum depression.

I also endorse Bialik's take on buying limited amounts of "baby-stuff", and staying away from "unnecessary medical intervention". However, there are some portions of her book that I disagree with.

For starters, Bialik does not let her children watch TV or movies. The book seems to illustrate that her main reasoning for this is because it encourages consumerism in children. I.e. they see Dora on T.V., so they are going to want the Dora doll at the store. Though the AAP doesn't approve of limited T.V. watching until after age 2, my son has been "watching" T.V. since about 3 months. I view the T.V. as a learning tool. My son ONLY watches educational television, with no commercials, with one exception. Disney movies, specifically Cars. It was evident in my son's ability to sign around 9 months that the Baby Signing Time DVDs encouraged his signing. It is also evident in his ability to count to 10 and name all of the letters of the alphabet before the age of two, that watching shows like Team UmiZoomi and SuperWhy are encouraging his alphanumeric skills. Does he point out all of the stuff in the store that has Lightening McQueen and Dora on it? Sure he does, but do I buy all of it for him? No. Because that is part of effective parenting too, that is, teaching kids that they can't always get what they want.

I'm also not totally on board with Bialik's takes on pressure and discipline. 

Overall, Bialik's Beyond the Sling is a great book, and well argued. It really got me, a not so crunchy mama, thinking, and provided me with a very well-reasoned, and honest approach to this alternative way of parenting. To be honest, I couldn't put the book down, in part because I find this style of parenting so fascinating (Bialik's second son being "potty-trained from birth" and the topic of Elimination Communication was a jaw dropper.), and because I now wish that I could parent in such a fashion (I think I would have to develop a WHOLE new idea of patience). Overall, I give this book 5 out of 5 stars for it's honest, real-life application and it's ability to open my eyes, and leave my judgement behind. 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mother's Day Giveaway!

PhotobucketAs moms, we're all overworked and under paid. Not to mention, being a mother is something that only a mother can understand.

So this mother's day, moms Susan and Janice over at 5 Minutes For Mom have decided to honor us all, by allowing us the opportunity to win a TON of swag from Coldwater Creek valued at a whopping $476.65! 

Not super stoaked about a Coldwater Creek giveaway? There are other giveaways (necklaces, cash cards, handbags) for mother's day too! You can enter until May 4th, so make sure to check them out here.

Head on over to 5 Minutes For Mom to enter! Hint: Or just hit the button on the right of this post :)

Happy Mother's Day All!

Fingerplay Friday-Springtime Showers

Five little flowers standing in the sun (hold up five fingers)
See their heads nodding, bowing one by one? (bend fingers several times)
Down, down, down comes the gentle rain (raise arms and wiggle fingers as you slowly lower arms illustrating falling rain)

And the five little flowers lift their heads up again! (hold up five fingers)

Image from

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"What Are You Reading?" Thursdays-One Foot, Two Feet

I've decided to start a new weekly meme, aren't you lucky?! On Thursdays, I'll be featuring a link-up called "What Are You Reading?" (Fun Blog Badge coming),  for you to share with others what you're reading to your kids, or even what you're reading yourself. The most important thing is that you're reading! Here's my post for this first week. Link-up and leave a comment at the bottom. Can't wait to see what you're reading!
This morning's read to Little Man

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday-Fun With Great Grandma

I never had the opportunity to say that I have a Great Grandma, at least an alive one. But Little Man is lucky enough to be able to say that he has TWO!

Little Man and Great Grandma April 2012
Little Man and Great Grandma on her 91st Birthday!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Early Lit Tip Tuesday-Don't JUST Read a Book

Reading to your child is one of the best ways to prepare them to read on their own, as well as develop a love of reading--so that maybe you won't have to twist their arm totally off to get them to read in high school.

If you are currently reading to your child. THAT'S GREAT! *HIGH FIVE*
And if you are not, I encourage you to start.
Here are a couple tips to consider, to make sure your child is getting the most out of a book that they can.

If you are reading a counting book, read the words on the page, and then reinforce the numbers by counting the items on the page.

If you are reading a book about colors, read the words on the page, and then reinforce the colors by naming the items that are that color on the page.

If you are reading a rhyming book, read the words on the page, and then reinforce the rhyming words.

In today's fast paced society, parents sometimes rush through a story just so they can "get it done" and "have read to their child", but it's important to remember to slow down. The techniques mentioned previously do not take up all that much more time, and the amount your child can learn from them is infinite.

After all, what could be more important than slowing down, spending quality time with your child, and preparing them for a lifetime of learning?!

Monday, April 23, 2012

26 Years Young?

Image borrowed from
Today, is my birthday. I turn 26 today. Greater than a quarter century, 4 years less than 30. Yes, that is how I'm measuring time these days. I think that's because I feel SO OLD most days. Some of the reasons I feel SO OLD I'm proud of, others, not so much. For example-

At 26, I never would have dreamed that:

I would celebrate my 4th wedding anniversary with a much better guy than my high school sweetheart.

I would have the most AMAZING, GIFTED, ADORABLE, 2 year old son (that serenaded me with the most precious rendition of 'Happy Birthday' I have ever heard this morning).

That I would have such a passion for promoting literacy in young children.

That I would be on the verge of entering grad school to obtain a degree in library and information science.

That I would be a fledgling blogger.

That I would be an aspiring children's book author.

That I'd STILL be trying to find my way financially.

That I'd be in bed by 10p.m. on BOTH Friday and Saturday nights, while my friends that I hardly ever see are out partying at the bar.

BUT it is through these "dreams" that I'm deriving my goals for my 26th year.

I am going to spend as much time with, and enjoy, my son and my husband as much as possible.

I am going to make time to see my girlfriends more often.

I'm going to apply to grad school this fall.

I'm going to put as much energy into my blog, as I do into watching TV. (That's kind of a lot. LOL)

I'm going to start actively writing and revising my children's book--and pandering it out to publishers. And stop making excuses that I don't have an illustrator for my story.

I'm going to find a way, through writing and/or promoting literacy, to provide for my family! (If you have opportunities, send them my way. wink. wink.)

I guess there's just one thing left to figure out, WHAT I'M GOING TO GET MYSELF! :) 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Child Actors Grow Up To Be Parenting Book Authors?

Okay. So maybe I've been living under a rock. But, I just discovered (while trolling Amazon for free Kindle books) that Mayim Bialik is not the only child actress to write a book on parenting. Punky Brewster, aka Soleil Moon Frye also wrote a book on parenting (not that she has a degree in Neuroscience or anything else that I'm aware of)....hummmm....maybe I'll be looking into this too....not to say that I'll believe anything that a celeb puts my way, but it is interesting to see how/why they are raising their children--particularly because we all get to watch and see if it worked!

Disciplining a Two-Year Old

Little Man turned two not too long ago, and if the "Terrible Twos" really do exist, he is expressing them quite vibrantly.

Since he was able to grasp the concept of time out (and even before), we've used the Jo Frost "Supernanny" approach to discipline.
Her approach is such:
Time Out-Explain why they are in time out and leave them for their age in minutes
Ask why they were in time out
Ask for an apology
Give hugs and kisses

But now, Little Man has gotten plain old sassy. I can't even tell you how many times I sit him in the timeout seat and he screams "Muma! Shut-Up!" (Yes, I know that he's heard this "somewhere" before), or I'm "Shhhhhh-ed", or he just sits there in defiance and screams. It's annoying. He's also started to get out of the chair, at which point I've been restarting the timer.


He RARELY is this defiant to his father.

So I'm on the hunt for a new disciplinary action plan.

Image borrowed from whom
 Mayim regularly writes for.
A couple weeks ago, I was watching The Talk on CBS and Mayim Bialik was on. I have so much respect for Mayim. She started as a "child actor" on Blossom, didn't let fame totally F up her life, got married had two kids, got her PhD in Neuroscience, and now acts on The Big Bang Theory. Pretty cool lady, pretty cool story if you ask me.

Image from
Anyhoo, when I found out that she had published a "Searsesque" book about parenting called Beyond the Sling: A Real-Life Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachment Parenting Way, I was dying to check it out. I know that both Mayim and her good friend Sara Gilbert are both pretty "granola" when it comes to raising their kids, and I have been far from such, but I at least want to see what she says. Heck, if it fixes Little Man's crazy defiance problems--I'll listen to anything she has to say! I got a copy of the book from the library, sorry Mayim--but I'm quite a bit of a frugalista, and I'm starting it tonight. I'll let you know what I think! Stay tuned!