Yep, I Do the Cooking, the Washing, the Childcare and I am a Man. {Part II}

API is pleased to recognize this blog post for its contribution to AP and to share it with you, our readers. API does not review other content on the author’s blog or website and takes no responsibility for how that information may or may not align with API’s ethos or API’s Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting. We thank you for remaining supportive and encouraging when interacting with the author and with other readers, whether or not the ideas presented work for your family.

Last week, Torsten gave us a peek into the world of the stay-at-home Attachment Father. His perspective, continued…

 

T Klaus and sonAt the same time I “teach” my children that boys can clean up their mess too, whether it’s the loo or their plate. Or I involve them in cleaning. Yesterday my sons and I had our weekly cleaning party. We took turns in vacuuming, washing up and tidying the house. After the job was done, we sat on the sofa and read a book. So, it turned out to be fun. We just made an effort not to see it as horrible task.

So yes, I would say spending the last one and half years as a full-time dad has been extremely rewarding and the changes I and others can see in me are only of a positive nature.

However, there were times where I did ask myself whether I just had to live with the fact that my “colleagues” were now, almost exclusively women. Don’t get me wrong, I have made many wonderful female friends, but I also did miss male company here and there, especially just sharing my experiences with someone who is in the same boat as me.

Being out and about with my kids on a weekday I still get “the looks”: a mixture of pity and suspicion when dealing with the daily toddler struggles in a public domain or entering a playgroup. So maybe, this is the reason why, why there are not as many men as full time parent? Yes, who would want this to happen to them? The more confident of men don’t blink an eyelid, while others just feel completely out of their comfort zone.

So, more than two years later I’m still a happy stay-at-home dad. And actually we went a step further. My wife and I both work from home now, so that no one has to miss out: neither on the children, nor on the washing up.  This has become more enjoyable for both of us.

I think to achieve a harmonious home life both partners need to be involved and active in parenting. I find humans are not made for JUST one or the other. There are so many passions, wishes, dreams inside us. So many different things we can and want to do, that just choosing one path makes most of us dissatisfied.

So, equal parenting it is for us and this works best for us AND our children.

 
t klausTorsten is a stay-at-home dad, embracing all the beautiful and difficult things about it. He believes that fathers and men of today want to explore and express their feelings, expectations, worries and emotions. In his blog, Dads Talk, he talks about fatherhood and about the way dads of the 21st century could live a happy, content and relaxed life. He’s a Parenting Coach and he runs groups, workshops and support sessions for Dads and Grandads. And yes, whenever there’s time left he also teaches parents Baby Massage.

Yep, I Do the Cooking, the Washing, the Childcare and I am a Man.

API is pleased to recognize this blog post for its contribution to AP and to share it with you, our readers. API does not review other content on the author’s blog or website and takes no responsibility for how that information may or may not align with API’s ethos or API’s Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting. We thank you for remaining supportive and encouraging when interacting with the author and with other readers, whether or not the ideas presented work for your family.

Yep, I Do the Cooking, the Washing, the Childcare and I am a Man.

by Torsten Klaus

I’m a stay-at-home dad. I’m one out of 1.4 million in the UK. Quite impressive number you could say now. And it does get even better: the number of fathers, who are the main carer in their home, is increasing. Compared to a decade ago, there are now 10 times as many stay-at-home dads in the UK. Again, great numbers.

T Klaus and sonStill, I wish there were some of those 1.4 million around where I live.

When I became a full time dad to my young sons, I felt very lucky. For me it has been one of the best decisions of my life. Even if this sounds cheesy, it’s true. I was looking forward to doing this job, despite knowing how tired and exhausted my wife had often been when she was the main carer.

At the same time my wife was looking for a change. Yes, full time parenting is hard work too. We decided against nursery, childcare and co. as this felt and still feels right to us.

We had lived the life of a classical family: he works full time, she is at home. And even when I reduced hours to have more time for kids and family, I felt that I missed out on so many things. I wasn’t there, when my boys said their first word. I couldn’t watch them doing crafty, messy things in the day time. (Well, I often cleaned up when home in the evening.) And I was longing for those little moments when your children make you smile. When there is a celebration in the family. Cakes are always the important part. You can make your family cakes. It isn’t difficult to do. There are numerous ways you can start this. Wilton makes a lot of cake pan shapes. You can start there. get your Durian cake at Emicakes and just ice it with bought icing. That is easy enough. Try to add details as you see fit. Use your imagination. The latest family cakes craze are silhouettes on cakes. Anyone can do these. Bake your cake a 9 x 12 pan will work. Take the cake out of the pan. Freeze it so it will be easier to work with. Ice the cake after it has been in the freezer a couple hours.

At the beginning I pressured myself a lot,  I thrust myself into great outings, craft activities (I hate doing crafts!), even baking with my cake enthusiastic boys. And can you believe it, me, who has always said, cooking yes, but baking no thank you, has actually perfected the best gluten-free muffins in town?

It was fun but incredibly exhausting at the same time. It took me a moment to figure out that this time table which covered more or less each day from 8am until 5pm, was not needed and actually more destructive.

I switched to child-led modus again and see – it was so much easier this way. Most days are filled with activities anyway, but now they come more from my children. And I also like the mornings where I wake up and I know: hey, there is NOTHING planned for today. Awesome.

Many women are still (!) astonished to hear that I do most cooking and household chores. Why? My wife and I have a simple rule. Whoever has the time and motivation will do it. We don’t blame each other for not doing it. We both know when the dirty dishes pile up or the bathroom sink gets scruffy that we have a choice: do it or leave it – but be happy with your decision.

Check back with us here on APtly Said or follow API on Facebook so you don’t miss the rest of Torsten’s story, coming soon!

 

t klausTorsten is a stay-at-home dad, embracing all the beautiful and difficult things about it. He believes that fathers and men of today want to explore and express their feelings, expectations, worries and emotions. In his blog, Dads Talk, he talks about fatherhood and about the way dads of the 21st century could live a happy, content and relaxed life. He’s a Parenting Coach and he runs groups, workshops and support sessions for Dads and Grandads. And yes, whenever there’s time left he also teaches parents Baby Massage.

Becoming an AP Mom

I imagine that my journey to Attachment Parenting was typical to some degree. I believe we all learn, grow and evolve as individuals and parents when a child enters our lives.

For me, it’s hard to remember life before my son and even more difficult to remember ideas that I had about parenting. I do know that prior to my pregnancy with my son, I was very career-oriented and spent long hard days either in the office or traveling for business across the country.

My husband and I waited many years before I felt ready to have children, and when I initially became pregnant, I believed that nothing about the professional aspect of my life would change.

I was wrong. Shortly after learning I was pregnant, I became violently ill and was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. I was hospitalized twice and so sick that I remained on medical leave from my job until the beginning of my third trimester.

When I was at the height of my illness, I recall so many things shifting for me internally and spiritually. Most importantly, my view on motherhood began to shift.

Because I and my son were so nutritionally deprived during my pregnancy, I felt compelled to breastfeed him. I felt that because I was unable to nourish him while he was in my womb, I must nourish him after birth.

I know this is not the reason most women give when asked how they arrived at the decision to breastfeed; however, for me it signified a very important shift on my journey to becoming a mom.

In addition, I also started to view my son and I as a team—a partnership whose one goal was survival. This belief made me strong on the days where I was weak, and I truly believed that my son was doing all he could to survive. Reframing our relationship as a loving partnership rather than a hierarchal parent-child dyad drew me even closer to Attachment Parenting.

If this was our relationship and we were bonding so closely for survival in extreme conditions, then how could I possibly allow that to change once he was born?

At the time, I did not understand what this shift meant or how it would change me to my core.

Upon my son’s birth, instinctually, I knew that I didn’t want to be separated from him. My husband shared this feeling as well. During our first few nights with our son, my husband and I took shifts holding him in our arms while he slept. We were both so exhausted, but we felt compelled to be close to him.

Our friends and family advised us on other methods for sleep. Initially, we hesitantly followed their well-meaning advice but quickly learned that it didn’t feel right to us and clearly did not feel right to our son because he was unable to sleep unless he was in our arms or in our bed.

I remember feeling alone and isolated at that time. Doing what we felt and knew was instinctual was discouraged by others in our lives. Despite this external pressure, my husband and I persevered and we continued to follow our instincts. I was compelled to actualize the commitment that I had made to my son during my pregnancy.

Fortunately, I was able to find information about Attachment Parenting as well as related research. This information resonated with my husband and I, and it helped to solidify and strengthen our belief that what we were doing—what felt instinctual and right—actually had a name and was backed by a plethora of research. It was that information and our strong will that enabled us to initially define ourselves as Attachment Parenting parents.

Following these initial insights, I soon discovered a local API Support Group and quickly became an API member. Joining other families who felt similarly about parenting was extremely validating and served to normalize our feelings and our experiences.

Finally, we had a group of nonjudgmental, supportive families who provided us with resources and friendship. Further, as the years progress, our API Support Group has imparted upon us so much more, including friendships and nurturance, continued strength and support, and the unconditional caring that I believe is needed during the parenting years.

I often question why I was subjected with extreme illness during my pregnancy, and I truly believe that we are all presented with life challenges from which we have the opportunity to learn and grow. As difficult and traumatic as the experience, having hyperemesis gravidarum afforded me the opportunity and ability to transform myself as a person and to prepare for my role as mother. It enabled me to envision my son as a loving partner, and for that, I am forever grateful.

My son is now two and a half, and I am currently pregnant with my second son, who is due within the next few weeks. This pregnancy has been equally, if not more, challenging than my first pregnancy.

However, with the support, guidance and wisdom of my family, friends and API Support Group, I have found this experience empowering and strengthening. Although I do know that adding to our family will lead to additional challenges, I feel confident that we will succeed.

 

 

Tara Bulin, LCSW-R, is an Attachment Parenting-friendly licensed clinical social worker specializing in working with individuals who have experienced trauma (including pregnancy and birth trauma). She is currently writing her dissertation on women’s experiences after having a high-risk and traumatic pregnancy. Tara also has a private practice and meets with clients in person and via Skype. She is a two-time survivor of hyperemesis gravidarum. The mother of a two-year-old son, she is expecting her second child in March.

Feature Friday: Why You Should Always Apologize to Your Kids

API is pleased to recognize this blog post for its contribution to AP and to share it with you, our readers. API does not review other content on the author’s blog or website and takes no responsibility for how that information may or may not align with API’s ethos or API’s Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting. We thank you for remaining supportive and encouraging when interacting with the author and with other readers, whether or not the ideas presented work for your family.

 

Why You Should Always Apologize to Your Kids

by Nina

On a recent blog post, one of my readers wrote:

I think it’s also important to know that it’s okay to apologize to your child and explain why you reacted the way you did.

I couldn’t agree more. We adults apologize to one another—we should extend the same gesture to our kids. Perhaps we fear losing our ground, likening an apology to forfeiting our authority. Or maybe we feel vulnerable admitting our mistakes. Or our pride holds us back.

Despite the challenges hindering us from saying sorry, doing so provides several benefits, both for parents and children, such as:

Apologizing shows kids that we make mistakes

I want my kids to learn that no one is perfect, even their parents. When they realize we make mistakes just as they do, they’ll understand that things aren’t always their fault. We’re not exempt from the same fallibility as they are. We’re also just as bound to the consequences of our mistakes. And they can question something that an adult has said or done.

Considering how much we want to protect our kids, it’s vital they know that adults can be wrong, too.

Apologizing shows kids how to say sorry

Modeling the behavior we want to see is one of the best ways to teach. If we want our kids to learn how and when to apologize, we need to take that first step and do so ourselves. Parents apologizing makes more of an impression than simply forcing our kids to say sorry.

Apologizing respects children

Despite our role as their parents, kids are still fellow human beings deserving of the same respect we would bestow on another adult. Apologizing teaches both parents and children that kids warrant an apology as much as any other person.

After all, we messed up. The next best thing to do is apologize. Whether the mistake was grand or a simple oversight (“Oops! I’m sorry I forgot to bring your toy.”), kids aren’t less valued as to simply be brushed aside.

Apologizing humbles parents

And perhaps most importantly, apologizing reminds us of just how much we have to learn. We’re not these big bad head honchos of the family—we’re constantly learning, often from our mistakes.

Nor should we expect ourselves to solve every problem or perfect every craft. We guide and nurture, but we also make mistakes, sometimes to the very people we mean to guide and nurture.

I’ve apologized to my kids, whether they can understand my words like my four-year-old, or have to rely on my tone and body language, like my 11-month-olds. I’ve apologized for various reasons, from simple oversight to losing my temper. And while apologizing can never undo the mistakes I had made, it will at least have shown my kids how sorry I felt.

Does apologizing come easily or difficult for you? What do you think about apologizing to your kids? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Nina is a working mom to three boys—a preschooler and infant twins. She also blogs at Sleeping Should Be Easy, where she writes everything she’s learning about being a mom.

Courageous and Creative

We end our 2013 AP Month blog event with this post from Zen Honeycutt, founder of Moms Across America.

Today I invented the possibility with my accountability partners (yes, I have two … it takes two to keep me in line) of being Courageous and Creative. That is my theme for this year.

No more business as usual.

That means some things are changing. I am completing things that aren’t working. I am giving up things I once loved to create a new future. I am purging my home of the unnecessary and unused. I am catching myself when I speak the usual broken record words or sound like my parents in their frustrated moments. Not always, but an astonishing amount of miracles are emerging where I would least expect them.

Simple miracles in simple moments that become the most meaningful.

Today after school, I picked up my eldest son at the second pick-up for the day, the sixth errand perhaps, and because I told my accountability partner that I would, and because I knew I could, I asked my children what they wanted to do.

“What would we do if we were being courageous and creative?”

Now, normally my son would get in the car, the kids might bicker a bit, talking over each other, vying for attention suddenly, and we would go home, spread out to our corners … Ben on homework near me on the computer and Bodee playing with a toy, his back to Bronson to protect his momentary obsession. We would have a snack together, maybe read a few books, but the day would continue predictably for the rest of the evening, including much whining as I cooked dinner, and terse reminders that the dinner table is not a trough and we are not pigs.

But this time, today was different. I am committed to being and causing Courage and Creativity!

We declare Hike Time! And then Ben suggests afterwards we go home and write about it. “That would be creative!” he says cleverly.

Boys in tree with Glee Gum

We hike through a new area by a secret marsh in Irvine. Being courageous, it’s a new area and we don’t have a map. As soon as Bodee even sniffs a whiff of boredom, I suddenly stop in my tracks and point, “BIGFOOT! TRACKS!” The boys are on high alert, and we urgently inspect the huge tracks of what seems to have been a very large-footed walker. Then … “SNAKE!!! The longest snake in the WOOOORLD!” I shout … at a long striped water hose.

“Oh Mommy, you’re funny, that’s not a snake.”

I am inspired by being considered funny. “Are you suuuuure?” I say slyly, and they realize they are not sure and boldly approach anyway.

We courageously go off the path and walk through winding trails. The boys pee in the bushes with glee and we christen it the “Pee Bush,” walking past it with our noses pinched. The afternoon is a delightful adventure of nature, trees, rocks, mud, birds, lizards, flowers, marsh ponds and singing boys filled with freedom.

We go home, and their drawings and writing about the adventure are as if we had gone to Disneyland.

Bodee also created an apology letter to a boy he insulted in school. It took great courage for him to acknowledge that he did that, and he very creatively wrote, “There were two boys who were MAD and then became friends.” Instead of, “There, ARE YOU HAPPY?” like he wanted to. It took courage for me not to get angry with him and to create understanding and the freedom to express himself … even if it did take three attempts at an apology.

We ate a delicious dinner and made a video for Daddy, who was working late. Bodee and the boys sang a song about how much they love Daddy. Priceless.

We even did a Venus Fly Trap science project afterwards–even though I really wanted to check out and write–because my children wanted to create something WITH ME. And it matters that it’s me that does it with them.

I am inspired by our creation. Inspired by the joy and glee in my children. When I bought them a pack of gum on one of the errands, they sang songs for ten minutes about Happy Glee Gum. When we found a new path, they shouted at the top of their lungs with bravado.What if we created like that? Expressed joy like that?

When my boys saw a tiny path, they took it, regardless of knowing where it might go. What if we were courageous in everyday actions … what new things, what miracles, might show up?

Courageous Boys

Why I Hate Art

This AP Month Blog Event post was submitted by reader Elizabeth Wickoren, who blogs at Mothering from the Maelstrom.

Each year we try to celebrate the 12 days of Christmas and not just Christmas Day itself. Makes for a somewhat less frantic early December when you don’t feel like you have to cram a year’s worth of joy and Christmasy-ness into two days. We’ve been doing a lot of yummy Christmas baking the last few days, socking away a little bit of each batch in the freezer for our Twelfth Night party, but mostly just gobbling it down as fast as we make it. We’re also making time for lots of the things we really love, like board games, feeding the wildlife, thrift store shopping, movies, video games, theater and today, ART.

Art is one thing I feel like I really don’t do enough of with the kids. I am a big old scrooge when it comes to any art other than drawing, really. The thought of clay, paint and the like just makes me cringe. All that mess and chaos … ugh! Don’t get me wrong, I love to do art myself. I LOVE it, love love LOVE it. But I tend to be kind of lazy when it comes to breaking out the messy stuff for my brood. Or I thought it was laziness. Today I’m thinking it is more like a self-preservation instinct.

I was reading a Deep Space Sparkle article describing a lovely winter trees project involving shaving cream, and thinking, “I bet the kids would get a big kick out of shaving cream.” So, figuring it was the season for fun things, I got a couple of cans of shaving cream and cleared off the kitchen table.

Things started out innocently enough …

S4010001

They were swirling colors and dipping papers …

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Even the baby got to participate …

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Don’t worry, hers is whipped cream, not shaving cream.

If you want a fun blog post to inspire you to art projects of your own, stop reading now. Get some cans of shaving cream and have fun. If you want to hear our horror story, however, read on.

At this point things took a turn for the worst. Mitchell was really enjoying the shaving cream. Enjoying it so much that he started rubbing it all over his stomach. I sent him to go clean up a bit, and while I was getting him to clean up, the other two decided to follow suit and start spreading shaving cream all over their bodies. So I sent them to the bathroom.

While they were cleaning up, Mitchell decided to stir his shaving cream as fast as he could so all the colors mixed into a really putrid olive green. So much for lovely swirls. Then the little two came back from the bathroom, and Henry decided to make his a solid-greeny mush, too.

I started to get a bit irritated that they were ignoring the whole concept of making beautiful art and instead were just focusing on the smoosh factor. I tried not to let it get to me. Intellectually, I KNEW that boys will be boys and that they were having a great, fun, tactile experience even if they weren’t making art as I had planned. I praised Violet’s lovely swirls because they really were lovely, and the boys ended up asking me to help them have swirls, too, so we added more color to their green shaving cream. In the end, I was a bit frazzled, but everyone had fun and had some swirly art.

Now, we could end the story there, but as you may have noticed, this last section didn’t have pictures to go with it. My hands were full of shaving cream, and I was just too crabby to take any pictures of the green goo.

There also aren’t any pictures to go with this next section.

Once everyone had made several swirly art pictures and I was sufficiently out of patience, I started to get things cleaned up. While my back was turned, setting pictures out to dry … Violet started rubbing shaving cream on her tummy, and the boys started to dive into the shaving cream up to their elbows. Their laughter started getting that crazy sound to it. You know, when it starts to shift from joyful, delightful giggling to insane, overstimulated, maniacal laughter. Plops of shaving cream started landing on the floor, on the chairs, on clothes. Things were officially out of hand.

I will admit, this was not my finest moment. I yelled a bit. Tossed out some choice phrases that had no business being said to children. Maybe “yelled a bit” is being too kind. I screamed. I really lost it. All I could think was that I had spent all this effort trying to do something fun and special with them, and they were almost literally throwing it in my face. Mitchell, especially, got the brunt of it because he is the oldest and “should know better” and his innovative little brain started all the mischief. Everyone except the baby got sent to bathrooms.

The baby was wondering what the HECK all the fuss was about. But another round of whipped cream stopped her wondering, and she got back to business.

As the baby was getting round #2 of whipped cream, shenanigans started breaking out in the various sinks. Thankfully, at that moment, Daddy walked in the door before I could strangle anyone. He bustled the little kids off to the bathtub for a thorough cleaning. Mitch was sitting in Grandma’s bathroom where I had exiled him, and I was left with a table to wipe up and a moment to catch my breath.

After a few deep breaths, I went in to talk to Mitchell. I apologized for screaming and told him I shouldn’t have said the things I said. Then we talked together about where things went wrong. I asked him if he were at school, would he have taken the art supplies and started rubbing them all over his body? He laughed and said, “No!”  I explained that I was angry that they had misused the art supplies like that for me. And he said, “But the shaving cream just feels so good!”

I started telling him how there is a time and a place for whole-body art. And the time and place is outside in the summer, where they can be hosed off afterwards and not wreck any hardwood floor finishes or anything. Then I had a light bulb go off. “The other place for whole-body art,” I said, “is in the bathtub. Where all the mess can be rinsed down the drain. Hop in.”

So Mitch continued his art exploration, and I went to bathe the baby.

M4034S-4211

Bathing the baby always cheers me up.  And Fergie (our dog) helped with the clean-up.

So, what is the moral of this story? The moral is, I need to approach art with no expectations except mess. Expecting any kind of aesthetically pleasing results is just setting myself up for disappointment and stress. I mean, the whole point of art, in my opinion, is to enjoy the process and not worry too much about the end result. I kind of lost that as I gazed at the Deep Space Sparkle pictures of magical, snowy trees and imagined that we, too, could make something so preciously cute. The kids didn’t lose sight of the purpose, though. Their entire aim was to enjoy the process, so kudos to them. And I apologize for raining on their parade.

Underestimating the amount of mess that can be made with two cans of shaving cream was a grave error in judgment on my part. Frankly, I think all art should be done in the bathtub in the future. It’s really the perfect location. Actually, we have an unfinished room in the basement, with a drain in the floor. Shall we tile that sucker up for a whole-body art studio?  A very tempting idea, actually …

And today, as I reflected on what I could have done differently, another factor popped into my mind. I had forgotten that the day before had been Mitchell’s birthday. We had promised him that a special ADHD diet didn’t mean he could NEVER have the food he liked again. We said on his birthday he could eat anything he wanted. And boy he did. We had McDonalds, pizza, donuts, the works!

The thing about Mitchell’s food sensitivities is that they generally don’t affect him until the next day. It’s not an immediate thing. So planning a messy art project the day after he stuffed his face with preservatives, gluten, dyes, milk and high fructose corn syrup was just asking for trouble. So–note to self–don’t try to do ANYTHING the day after Mitch has blown his diet except manage his symptoms.

So, while it wasn’t one of my finest moments, I think yesterday was not without merit. Everyone got bathed, swirly art DID get made and mama learned (and relearned) a few lessons.

We Heart Collage

This AP Month Blog Event post was submitted by reader Chwynyn Vaughan, who blogs at Mama Is Inspired.

At all times, there is a work of glue art on the go atop my kitchen table. Since my son’s other first language is French, my husband finds it amusing that glue art is what my son and I have come to call collage. However, since my son has not created a hierarchy for the colorful scraps of paper images and the glue used to hold them down, this name is entirely à propos. While most adults would be satisfied to employ glue only for the purpose of adhering cut paper pieces to a backdrop, my son makes use of his glorious glue to add another dimension to his work.

A two-year-old contemplating collage

A two-year-old contemplating collage

 

I was truly startled the first time I watched my son handle the glue in this fashion. It seemed like so much work. For a two-year-old, squeezing with both hands, it takes all the strength his little body can muster to get a good stream of glue going. He also tends to forget that gravity is at play. Sometimes he gets a little frustrated. In spite of this, he never gives up.

Eventually, he manages to spread the glue around like paint, thoughtfully laying down drips, spots and trails. He is young! Of course he makes use of glue in this manner! He still possesses the artistic freedom of a child who has not yet been told that pictures are more important than white, drippy goo.

I was also surprised by how thoughtfully my son considers just where each image and extra pour of glue should go. I am not sure why this surprised me so much. It is a work of art, and he does not imagine that he is just slapping disposed paper on cardboard. Of course he cares about his project!

My young son’s passion extends beyond the white glue and many-colored images. I never imagined that I would allow my son to use scissors all by himself at the tender age of two. After a couple of times observing me cut out his collage pictures, my son worked up a desire to wield the scissors on his own. I didn’t consciously set out to grant him his wish, but on a whim one day, I bought a pair of children’s scissors that beckoned to me from a store shelf of art supplies.

When we arrived home, my son was ecstatic to find out that I had actually bought these scissors. I do not think he expected to be using scissors any more than I did. These scissors did not disappoint. My son is in love with cutting. In fact, cut and couper are the only words my son regularly uses to express a single concept, in both of his languages.

A love affair with scissors

A love affair with scissors

 

Now my son is able to manage every step of glue art or collage all on his own. He sees his father’s own collage work and notices there is not much of a difference between the work the two of them produce. No wonder collage is my son’s favorite work to make in his kitchen-studio.

Collage is also a great way to reuse and repurpose cast away items in our home. Mostly for the worse, we live in an age of excess print material. I am trying to make the better of this wasteful trend. Collage is a fun, creative place to start. I look at mail-order catalogs, nonprofit materials and museum membership drives with new eyes. The same goes for food boxes and packaging left from new toys. We take apart old crafts that my son has made at library story-time or parent-and-me classes and salvage all the materials we think we would like to use again. We have a bag full of items to be cut up and another sac of images and craft supplies that are ready to glue.

Sifting through and cutting up images gives me something to do so that I am actively involved in my son’s project, while at the same time letting my son create on his own; I am present the way he wants me to be, but at the same time, he has all the autonomy he seeks. This works out very well for both of us. Glue art has worked its way into our hearts.

Finished art

Finished art

Creative Parenting

The AP Month Blog Event is here! All month we will be featuring posts that best demonstrate this year’s theme of “Parenting Creatively: The Art of Parenting.” We hope you enjoy this post by Amy Ahart, who blogs at Moonpie’s Nap.

“In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in book stores, child raising is still a dark continent, and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck–and in the end, of course, courage.” – Bill Cosby

Today is Mother’s Day, and the babes are still asleep. I am stealing a few moments in the peace of the dawn, watching their eyelids flutter, one on either side of me, cozy in the nest. This morning I have “creative parenting” on my mind, prompted by a post from API.

My husband and I never set out to parent “attachment” style. I didn’t even know it existed until my first daughter was one year old. Creativity and intuition defined my parenting style in those early days. I was just a new mom with a strong internal guiding force telling me what to do and what my baby needed.

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I tried to read the advice in the baby books, but at the end of the day my child and my intuition held all the answers I was seeking. Creativity and intuition guided me those first few hours to follow her hunger cues and to let her soothe herself at my breast. Creativity and intuition guided me to bring her into our bed where we could all catch up on precious fleeting sleep. Creativity and intuition guided me to swaddle her close to my chest through three long months of reflux-induced colic.

One thing I was lacking in those early days with my firstborn child was confidence and courage. When I finally discovered API, it gave me the reassurance I needed to keep parenting in the way my baby needed me to parent, the way she needed me to be her mom, the way I needed to be a mom. I realized there are tons of AP parents out there just like me. I also realized this “attachment” approach is an age-old practice, rooted in science, nature and psychology.

My girls will wake up soon, here next to me full of smiles and giggles. That is the most precious gift any mother could receive on Mother’s Day. I will continue to give them all I have. As a mother, I pledge my heart that every moment of every day that I will strive to be attuned to their needs. That is my gift I will give to them; that this day and every day, I promise to parent them with creativity, intuition, confidence and courage.

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