Baby Dust Diaries

A Life Less Ordinary

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 2)

Encouragement vs. Praise

Mary, 9, and Jameson, 10, were given a series of IQ puzzles and asked to work on them silently. At the end, the researcher gave each child a score. The research assistant praised Mary for being smart, while Jameson was praised for working hard.

After reviewing Mary’s answers, the research assistant lauded her: “Wow, you did really well at these problems. You got 8 — that’s a great score. You must be really smart at these problems.”

If Dweck’s theory holds, Mary will want to continue to look smart, and when given the choice, will opt for a test that shows it — not something more challenging where they she could learn more.

In the next phase, when Mary was asked by the research assistant what kind of problems she would like to work on next, “problems that are pretty easy so you’ll do well, problems that you’re pretty good at so you can show that you’re smart, or problems that you’ll learn a lot from even if you don’t look so smart,” Mary chose problems to show that she’s smart.

“Problems that I’m pretty good at — so I can show I’m smart,” Mary told the researcher. “I am smart.”

Consider the difference with Jameson, who was praised for how hard he’d worked — not for being smart.

“Well, you did really well on these problems. You got 8 — that’s a really high score! You must have worked really hard on these problems,” the researcher said. Jameson agreed.

Dweck’s research suggests that Jameson — armed with praise for his hard work — will want to challenge himself — even though he got some problems wrong.

Following course, Jameson opted for “problems I’ll learn a lot from even if I don’t look so smart.”

“After they’re praised for their effort, they enjoy being challenged,” Dweck explained. “What we value here is the practice, the effort, the trying of many strategies, and then they can feel satisfied as long as they’ve been engaged in that way. But if you say we value how smart you are, how enjoyable can it be if you’re not shining?”

 

http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/nurtureshock-parenting-tips-praising-kids-hurt/storyNew?id=8475074&page=2

 

This snippet is from the growing body of research that says praise doesn’t work.  In fact, not only doesn’t it work it has the exact opposite effect we desire!

 

This is why it is important to learn the difference between Praise and Encouragement.

Praise always carries an external judgement or label.  Like, “good, best, perfect.”  Praise also focuses on how other people feel or perceive the child.  Like, “I’m proud of you.” This encourages competition and comparison – the idea that your worth is measured based on how you rate along side other people.

 

Encouragement, on the other hand, is focusing on the internal motivation in the child and encouraging them to believe in themselves.  Encouraging kids to see their own, inherent (non-comparison-based) value creates kids that are independent, self-sufficient, and willing to try new things.  It also creates an environment of acceptance.  Without the constant need to compete, each person’s unique contribution is valued.

 

Let’s look at some examples (I highlighted the evaluative/judgmental words and the external words.);

 

Praise Interpretation Encouragement Interpretation
You are so smart! You are valuable because you are smarter than others.  Ergo, your worth decreases around those smarter than you. You studied really hard. You are capable of effort at a task.
What a pretty flower! You are valuable because you draw better than others. Ergo, your worth decreases if you draw something ugly. Wow, this flower has red, purple, and green! You are valuable because you can do things your own unique way.
I am so proud of you. You are valuable because you make me proud. Ergo, your worth decreases when you disappoint me. You must be so proud of yourself. You are worthy of value and can be happy with your accomplishments..
You are the best baseball player. You are valuable because you can play baseball better than others. Ergo, your worth decreases when someone who plays better is around. You are a valuable part of that baseball team. You are a valuable and unique part of the group.
Good job! You are valuable because I approve of you. Ergo, your worth decreases when I disapprove of you. You did it! You followed through and accomplished something you set out to do.
Good job! You are valuable because I approve of you. Ergo, your worth decreases when I disapprove of you. (descriptive) You put away all the toys! You are valuable because you can accomplish things you set your mind to.
You were so good at Grandmas. You are valuable because you behaved in a way I approve of. Ergo, if you behave in a way I don’t like then your value will decrease. You were very helpful with Grandma today. You contribute to your family in meaningful ways.

 

The outcomes of Praise are:

  • Competition
  • Comparison
  • Rivalry
  • Being labeled
  • Feeling judged
  • Selfishness
  • Fear of failure
  • Quitting to avoid failure
  • Dependence on others for self-esteem
The outcomes of Encouragement are:

  • Cooperation
  • Contribution
  • Altruism
  • Acceptance (of self and others)
  • Independence
  • Interdependence
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Try again attitude
  • Hard worker (values effort)
  • Embraces imperfections
  • Self-esteem is internal

Three ways to break the praise cycle

  1. Say nothing.  Always feeling a good deed must be acknowledged assumes that the good deed was an aberration of normal behavior. Sometimes not even mentioning it can enforce that goodness is innate.
  2. Describe.  This is particularly helpful when your kids do something they are proud of (your child comes to you beaming with a new picture he drew).  They are probably looking for your approval (since that is what society trains them to need) but you can switch their focus to their unique effort by describing what you see.  For example;
    1. Instead of “Good job cleaning up your room.” Say, “You put all the legos in the lego bin and all the dolls on the shelf.”
    2. Instead of “You look pretty today.” Say, “You brushed your own hair and put on your headband.”
  3. Ask Questions/Open-ended Comments. Along with saying nothing, saying LESS is a skill parents could make more use of.  Here are some examples;
    1. When your child says, “Look mom I got an A on my test!” say, “you did?!”
    2. When your child brings you a pretty picture focus on their effort, “how did you pick these colors? What was the hardest part of drawing this house?”
    3. Meet “I won the race” with “how did that make you feel?”
  4. BONUS for Siblings – Praising your children when you have more than one can backfire even further. There is a tendency amongst siblings to take the praise of one child as a silent indictment of the other.  So “you are so smart” to child A becomes “I must not be smart” in child B’s mind. Here are a few tips for encouraging a child while strengthening the sibling bonds (works with friends too);
    1. Never compare. Even tacit comparison (after they clean their room saying “Marcy cleaned all the shelves,” implying Tammy did less). Just describe what you see: “I see a clean room!” Marcy and Tammy know who did the most work but they also know it isn’t a competition in Dad’s eyes.
    2. Encourage cooperation. Use encouragement (not praise) when siblings are being helpful and loving. If they work together to share a toy, for example, instead of saying, “good sharing!” say “I see you two are working as a team!”

What are some ways you commonly praise your kids?

Can you turn those into encouragements?

Raising a Family on Food Stamps (SNAP)

The most surreal thing happened to me last week.  I was asked to participate in a live, online discussion on HuffPostLIVE called Faces of Food Stamps.  You can view the 1/2 hour program here.  It is so awesome that my post I’m a Welfare Mom has generated so much discussion here and on Everyday Feminism.

The HuffPostLIVE segment was prompted by a woman in Georgia who was harassed at a grocery store for being on Food Stamps (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP).  The guests were myself, Sandi Bachom, who is living on Food Stamps in NYC, Jojo Rhines, who is living on food stamps in South Carolina, and Mayor Greg Stanton, Phoenix, AZ Mayor who spent one week living on a Food Stamp budget (and limitations).  It was a wonderful discussion that brought up a lot of good points about how we treat people on “welfare”.

Is it Hard to Live on Food Stamps?

It was universal the dehumanized way people on Food Stamps are made to feel so in that aspect it is difficult to live on Food Stamps.  One thing I found interesting was that the other guests were talking about how difficult it is to eat on a Food Stamp budget.  A single person seems to get anywhere from $16 to $37 per week.  The national average is $133.14 per month.  I had never broken it down like this and that is a small amount to eat, let alone eat healthily. That’s $1.47 per meal.

I have to admit that I have found Food Stamps to be more than I used for groceries prior to Food Stamps.  I originally got $768 a month – that sounds like A LOT! – but is $153 per person per month.  The thing is you get economy of scale when you are cooking for a family.  If I make a pot roast I don’t have to buy 5 roasts, 5 pounds of potato, etc.  I can reduce my overall cost by combining and sharing.  Of course, my kids are small so I’d hate to estimate how much a family with 3 teens would need.  However, I still think the amount is high and perhaps the SNAP program could fund increased single-user benefits by calculating in an economy of scale decrease for families?

A couple other things to keep in mind with regards to Food Stamps: it is easy for me to cook from scratch and that is a very privileged position.  I have time, a plethora of tools that I had before going on Food Stamps, and the knowledge from a mother and grandmother that cooked from scratch.  This is not something that all Food Stamp recipients have at their disposal.

I’ve always disliked the image above because it makes a huge white, middle class privilege assumption.  If you are going between two jobs or working double shifts you don’t really have time to cook.  Do you have a functioning oven? A functioning refrigerator to grocery shop in this manner?

I think it is important to realize that everyone does not start with the same tools and opportunities.  We shouldn’t judge what we don’t know.

Are Food Stamp Recipients Lazy?

The other take away I wanted people to get was that many Food Stamp recipients do work.  The Georgia woman can’t work because she’s on dialysis.  Sandra Bechom is on assistance due to disability/age.  It is fitting that the guy who harassed the woman in Georgia gets to live with judging her as lazy when in fact she’s dancing with death.  Judge not, huh?

Here’s the thing though, I don’t like the idea of “well that’s ok because they deserve Food Stamps” implying that others do not.  At no point in our Food Stamp journey has my family been jobless.  Yes, I haven’t went back to work because I’m staying home with my kids instead of working only to afford child care.  My husband worked a retail job during our 5 months of Food Stamps.  He wasn’t lazy he was the working poor.

Food Stamps are available to families making at or under 130% of the Federal Poverty Line.  In 2012 the Federal Poverty Line for a family of 5 is $27,010.  That means you are considered underemployed and eligible for SNAP up to $34,032 (gross) for a family of 5.  Note, at that annual income a family of 5 would get less than $20 per month in Food Stamps so the sliding scale approaches zero quickly at the higher end and definitely does not cover a substantial portion of the needed food budget.

So why should an employed person get help?  For me, the obvious reason is everyone deserves a meal.  Especially kids (note that able-bodied adults without dependent children are normally only allowed Food Stamps for 3 months).  But, Food Stamps and other working poor entitlements like EIC, are often touted as alternatives to increasing the minimum wage.  These programs are designed to make living at a less-than-living wage possible without requiring businesses to shoulder the whole burden.  That is a Republican idea.  Don’t put it all on business and the minimum wage.

The fact is that the majority of Food Stamp recipients either can’t work (elderly/disabled/primary care givers for children or disabled) or are in fact working.  According to Forbes only 16% of recipients are non-working and without children.  A full 30% of SNAP households are working at below a living wage and use Food Stamps to offset the deficit in wages.  The US ranks first in amount of people on Food Stamps and I think this is why: other countries invest in living-wage policies and thus require less food supplementation.

Are you wondering now if you know someone eligible for SNAP who doesn’t even know it?  I bet we all do.  The USDA estimates that 1 in 4 eligible people don’t receive SNAP. During the Bush Administration commercials actually ran to increase enrollment – which worked – increasing participation by 63% (source).  I don’t see any rational reason for avoiding SNAP.  This overblown idea that American’s are “bootstrappers” who “built that” is total bs.  If your country says that increased wages are not possible for x business but this program can supplement your income then why avoid that?  You don’t avoid public schools for those that can’t afford private; you don’t avoid middle-class tax credits like the mortgage interest deduction.

I mean think about it: The government is saying that homeownership is difficult and they want to help people make that happen.  Instead of sending everyone a check for a down payment they decided to allow an interest deduction.  Does anyone say “well I’m not going to take that because I’m a self-starter and can do it on my own!”?  No way!  So if you are working in one of the millions of jobs that the government has decided is not paying a living wage and they are pointing you to this program to help you why is that stigmatized?

Well the stigmatization ends for me.  I refuse to hang my head for supplementing my husband’s income with SNAP.  My husband does an important job keeping the electricity running in this country and the government says we get a little help based on the pay he gets.  I’m taking it!  We aren’t lazy.  We aren’t irresponsible.  If he didn’t do that job then someone else would need to.  They should be able to have a family too.  I’m taking the mortgage deduction.  I’m taking the EIC if I’m eligible.  Maybe some day everyone will get paid a full living wage.  Until then I’m using the programs that are available for me and my children.

My Homeschooling Philosophy: Part 2

If you haven’t watched it yet pop over here to see my first post in this series about defining holistic education.

Today I want to look at three types of pedagological styles.  A pedagogy is a style of teaching so the focus is not on the things being taught (curriculum) or the way of learning (learning philosophy).  You can right away see the problem with this because looking at pedagogy in a vacuum is pointless.  Teaching, in even the least holistic manner, is a two person (at least) relationship.  However, as used by college teacher preparation programs pedagogy allows a focus on methods of teaching.  Some of the major schools of pedagogy are creative pedagogy and critical pedagogy.

Any teaching experience can fall into one (or more) of the following three categories:

Transfering

This is a unidirectional teaching style that assumes the teacher has a packet of knowledge that she is handing off to the learner in a direct transfer.  The role of the teacher is expert. The learners only role is to accept the transfer.

[box type=”info”]For example: “green is made up of yellow and blue”[/box]

Transacting

This is a teaching style where the teacher engages the learner in an exploration of learning.  Instead of handing the knowledge off an event is specifically designed to allow the learner to see the information.  This is the gold standard for most traditional education because it actively involves the learner.  You have probably heard of this in “hands-on” curricula and experiment-based learning.  The role of the teacher is facilitator.

[box type=”info”]For example: “what happens if we mix these two colors?” while students have paints in front of them to try it out.  Learners see that yellow and blue make green.[/box]

Another example would be transfering knowledge that some native americans make rain sticks and the transaction would be creating your own rain stick out of a paper tube, toothpicks, and beans.  In this example there is some type of transaction happening that requires a back and forth relationship with the teacher and learners.  The learners can ask questions, experiment with different methods of making a rain stick, and generally have a deeper appreciation of (and more sticky memory of) the lesson.

Where these methods of instruction fail is in deeper topics that include not just intellect but emotional, creative, and social aspects.  For example, a lesson about racism: you can transfer facts about instances of minority discrimination and you can create a meaningful experience (transaction) to embed the learning (for example, students practice finding similarities and differences in classmates and create a collage like the one here by the Australian organization Prejudice. No Way!).  However, neither of these things will create the type of meaning making that someone who has experienced racism will know.

The question is how do we create a learning activity that moves beyond knowing and understanding into meaning.

Tranforming

The goal of transformational learning is that the teacher and learner embark on a journey that facilitates a change in views and beliefs in the learner.

Say what?

In transfer and transact senarios the goal is learning a new fact or skill (or learning skill like the scientific method) while in transformational learning the goal is learning a new perspective, frame of reference, or habit of mind.  In other words the goal is assimilating information and knowledge into a broader understanding of self, community, or nature.

We are most familiar with transformative learning when it is prompted by a crisis (called a “disorienting dilemma”).  For example, a cancer scare that makes you change your profession in order to more fully enjoy life.  However, educators can create scenarios that lead to transformation without the crisis event.

Transformative learning (TL) is largely the work of Jack Mezirow, Emeritus Professor of Adult and Continuing Education at Teachers College, Columbia University and as such is largely talked about in reference to adult education.  Certainly the full cadre of TL is for older teens and adults because children have a more legalistic (black and white) view of morality that makes full transformation impossible.  However, Mezirow states, “Frames of reference are primarily the result of cultural assimilation and the idiosyncratic influences of primary caregivers” and I believe that an adaptation of TL in childhood would prime children to become transformational thinking adults.  He elaborates;

Children commonly acquire a foundation of the specific learning required to think autonomously. This includes the ability and disposition to (1) recognize cause-effect relationships, (2) use informal logic in making analogies and generalizations, (3) become aware of and control their own emotions, (4) become empathic of others, (5) use imagination to construct narratives, and (6) think abstractly. Adolescents may learn to (7) think hypothetically, and (8) become critically reflective of what they read, see, and hear.

These 8 foundational skills are a normal part of most elementary curriculums and/or parenting philosophy.  I have talked before about awareness of emotions and empathy in toddlers. While TL builds on these in adulthood;

In adulthood, the task is to strengthen and build on this foundation in order to assist the learner to understand new subject content, but, in the process of doing so, to become (1) more aware and critical in assessing assumptions—both those of others and those governing one’s own beliefs, values, judgments, and feelings; (2) more aware of and better able to recognize frames of reference and paradigms (collective frames of reference) and to imagine alternatives; and (3) more responsible and effective at working with others to collectively assess reasons, pose and solve problems, and arrive at a tentative best judgment regarding contested beliefs.

The role of the teacher is provocateur challenging learners to define their assumptions and frame of reference.

[box type=”info”]For example, learners design a role play skit where they imagine life as a settler (given information learned through transfer and transaction).  Emphasis on teamwork to make the skit and post-activity reflection on feelings about the topic, the process, and working with others.[/box]

Summary

A deeper look into transformational learning is definitely neccessary but I hope this introduction brings the three different styles into sharper focus.  Here is a summary table comparing the three styles;

[table id=1 /]

My next post in the series about developing a homeschool philosophy will focus on creating learning goals.


[box type=”info”]

My Homeschool Philosophy Series

Part 1: Introduction Holistic Education

Part 2: Transfer, Transact, Transform

Part 3: Unschooling
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Formula Safety: 7 Tips To Minimize Risks

This week a new study was published in  Environmental Health Perspectives that found alarming levels of arsenic in baby formulas.  The amount of arsenic in one organic formula was 6 times the recommended threshold for adults. This is so distressing to a mom giving her baby formula (like I currently am).  You try to do the best for your baby and the industry just seems to totally fail us sometimes!

 

But this news is hardly exclusive as a reason to avoid formula.  There are all kinds of scary things going on in formula (bug parts anyone?) and the evidence that breastfeeding is so far superior from a health perspective is enough to make a mama scream!  Formula feeding is not always avoidable and until society puts a premium on milk bank breastmilk so that it is affordable many of us will be using formula.  Here are my 7 tips for avoiding the major risks of formula.

1. Don’t use soy formula.

I really feel soy formula should only be given by prescription.  It is horrible and only needed in less than 1% of babies (with a true milk allergy) and yet in the US up to 50% of babies are getting soy formula.  Unfortunately soy’s reputation as a health food makes conscientious parents think it is better than cow’s milk formula.  I avoid soy in all forms and if I must have some it must be organic.  Soy is the most genetically modified and heavily pesticide drenched crop in the world.  Besides that soy is naturally a phytoestrogen meaning it has a compound that mimics the hormone estrogen in the human body increasing rates of breast and ovarian cancers and causing infertility.
If your baby isn’t tolerating cow’s milk well it is to be expected since cow’s milk is not ideal for human digestion, however, your child is probably not allergic to milk.  Try a hydrolyzed formula instead (see #6).

2. Don’t use fluoridated water to make formula

Ever.  Reconstituted formula “contains 100 to 200 times more fluoride (1,000 ppb) than is found naturally in breast milk (5-10 ppb). In fact, while breast-fed infants receive the LOWEST body burden (mg/kg/day) in the population, they receive the HIGHEST body burden if they receive fluoridated formula(source).” Fluoride is a toxic substance that can cause tooth deformity (called fluorosis), cancers, and decreased cognitive skills in children.  Remember, even if you a pro-fluoride for tooth decay it is only beneficial when applied topically NOT when ingested.

The CDC has a website called My Water’s Fluoride where you can search for your city’s fluoride levels.  However, there didn’t seem to be any data for my state at all.  I did find Ohio Fluoridation levels with a Google Search. If you have well water have it checked for fluoride levels.  The levels could be low or high as it varies from well to well even in the same area. Get a reverse-osmosis or activated alumina water filter.  Your average Brita does not remove fluoride. Bottled water has fluoride in most cases.  Bottled spring water is best but just because it says “spring” on the label doesn’t mean it is from a spring.  Besides, bottled water creates a landfill nightmare.

3. Use organic formula if possible.

This avoids pesticides as well as genetically engineered products like High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS).  The recent arsenic scare was in organic formula using brown rice syrup so until better regulation I would avoid that ingredient.

4. Give a probiotic supplement.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help in digestion.  Babies get probiotics from their mother through vaginal birth and through breastfeeding. In formula fed babies the introduction of cow’s milk throws off the delicate balance of gut flora.  A probiotic introduces the good stuff.  I personally like Udo’s Infant Probiotic.

5. Give an omega-3 supplement.

Omega-3’s help the development of eyes, brain, and immune system and can also stabilize mood. I recommend a cod-liver oil and to avoid some of the junk on the market like Flinstones that have HFCS, artificial dyes and flavors, and less bio-available omega-3.  I use an adult norwegian cod-liver oil where I break the gel-caps and pour the liquid directly into the formula.

6. Consider hydrolyzed formula.

I don’t use this because there isn’t currently an organic option on the market but if your child is having trouble with regular formula this provides milk proteins that are pre-broken down and easier to digest.  There is even some evidence that are showing a long-term benefit of decreased allergies, asthma, and eczema when compared to whole-protein cow’s milk formula.

7. Practice gentle, responsive parenting.

This is good for the immune system and brain development two things that breastfed babies have a leg up on.  Practicing gentle and responsive parenting will bathe your baby in oxytocin the love hormone that breastfeeding releases.  This will enhance brain development and develop a wonderful attached relationship with your formula-fed baby.

Lavender Rosemary Shampoo Recipe

Have you tried out the Homemade toothpaste?  How about the Oil Cleaning Method?  Well you are just going to love this one because it is my favorite, good-enough-to-eat (but don’t) shampoo and body wash you can make in your own kitchen!

Lavender Rosemary Shampoo

I’ll talk about the why of each ingredient in a moment but first how to make this luxurious body product:

Ingredients:

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  • dried lavender flowers 2 heaping tablespoons-full (more or less is fine)
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary or 2 tablespoons dried rosemary (fresh really works better if you can find it)
  • 2 cups Boiling water
  • 1 cup Pure liquid castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil, avocado oil, or jojoba oil
  • 10+ drops lavender essential oil
  • funnel
  • stainer
  • old shampoo bottle washed out well

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How to:

[box]

  1. place lavender and torn up rosemary (stems and all just roughly torn to release the oils) in a large mug or bowl
  2. Boil your water as if you were going to make tea.  Pour over lavender and rosemary and allow to steep for 30 minutes
  3. In the meantime, combine 1 c castile soap (I used lavender because that’s what I had on hand but unscented is fine) with 1 Tbls grapeseed oil and 10 or more drops of lavender essential oil
  4. Pour via funnel into your shampoo bottle.
  5. After steeping, strain still warm lavender/rosemary tea into the bottle via funnel.
  6. Shake up and allow to cool completely before use

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To use:

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  1. squirt directly onto your scalp (it is very runny) and work into a lather.
  2. rinse and enjoy the scent!

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The smell is just…amazing!  It makes your hair smell divine.  I use it as a body wash and put a few squirts in the bath.  This is a small batch since it contains water it doesn’t keep for longer than a few weeks.  Plus, a small batch allows you to tweak it each time you make it.

Here are some of the benefits of the ingredients:

photo.JPG

rosemary and lavender steeping in boiling water. Rosemary strengthens the hair follicle and lavender is anticeptic and can treat dry scalp or dandruff

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Grapeseed oil is a powerful antioxidant and contains nourishing fatty acid linoleic acid

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Dr Bronner's is organic and 100% vegan

 

 

 

 


What it doesn’t have:

traditional shampoos contain ingredients known to cause cancers such as;

  • Propylene Glycol (also called Propanediol)– A colorless, viscous, hygroscopic liquid used in anti-freeze solutions, in brake and hydraulic fluids, as a de-icer, and as a solvent.It causes contact dermatitis, kidney damage and liver abnormalities. It can inhibit skin cell growth in human tests, can cause gastro-intestinal disturbances, nausea, headache and vomiting, central nervous system depression and can damage cell membranes causing rashes, dry skin and surface damage (according to the Material Safety Data Sheet).
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)-Used as a surfactant to break down the surface tension of water. It is used in concrete floor cleaners, engine degreasers, car wash detergents, and just about every soap and shampoo on the market.  SLS actually corrodes hair follicles and impairs ability to grow hair! It can cause separation of skin layers and cause inflammation to the skin. If it interacts with other nitrogen bearing ingredients, Carcinogenic Nitrates can form as a result.
  • Behentrimonium Chloride, Guar Hydrosypropyltrimonium Chloride, Linoleamidepropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate– These are toxic ammonium compounds. Ingestion can be fatal. Concentrations as low as 0.1% can be irritating to eyes and cause necrosis (tissue death) of mucus membranes.
  • Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine – Synthetic surfactant; can cause eye irritation and dermatitis.
  • Plus various petrochemical colorants and perfumes.

Is that really the cost of beauty?  I don’t think so!  Start a revolution in your kitchen and just say no to industrial, poisonous products!

I know you’ll love this one!  Let me know if you try it.

Ultrasound tomorrow

I have been so excited counting down to tomorrow. Tomorrow we will *see* our baby and its heartbeat! That is so much more real than a + HPT or even a + beta. It isn’t a number but a visible baby (ok, it is a dot, but the doctor can assure us it is a baby :P).

But tonight I can’t shake a little nervousness. I keep saying that I would be happy with 1 baby and I would 100%. After this long struggle a baby to hold in my arms is all I want. However, I know there were two lives inside me and I find I want both of them to be alive and thriving. I feel like if it is not twins tomorrow that I will feel sad at the loss of one of our babies. This in turn makes me feel very selfish. How dare I question God’s great gift? Of course I will be happy to see one heartbeat! Thrilled! A baby after 9 years of waiting. Hmmm…I don’t know what else to say. I can’t explain it – this feeling is just hanging over me. Tonight may be the last night that in my mind there are two beautiful miracles inside me. I guess it is the same apprehension as waiting for a beta – at least while you are waiting there is still hope. Right now I have hope that both of my ICSI Pixies are safe and warm and waiting to be in mommy’s arms.

Garage Sale Pay Dirt

So our neighbor is having a yard sale today and we went nuts on baby stuff.  We got a pack n’ play, a waterproof crib matress, a tummy time play mat, a back time interactive arch, a 2 part play seat and walker (it doesnt’ walk for little ones), a baby bath lounge, and the cutest panda costume!  All for 1/2 the price we would have paid for a pack n’ play alone. Everything was in great and working condition!  This is so great because I feel like every cent we save is just another week I get to take of (unpaid) maternity leave.  I’ll post pictures of the stuff we got sometime.

Pregnancy Humor

Also, I got a question about how I’m 6 weeks pregnant and I noticed my ticker on the right says I’m on day 28..it is all kind of confusing so here’s an explanation.  My pregnancy started on 5/8 because this was the first day of my last menstrual period.  That’s they way the date it!  So by the time I got to Egg Retrieval I was already 2 weeks along.  By the time the 2ww was over I was already 4 weeks.  Now, the ticker over there is talking about the age of my fetus – my fetus was conceived (egg meets sperm) on 5/22 because that was the day of my Egg Retrieval.  on 5/22 I was already 2 weeks pregnant by traditional dating.  So, both the ticker on the right and the “We are 6.0 weeks pregnant” are correct – one is using gestational measurement (the length of pregnancy – 40 weeks) and the other is using the developmental age of my baby (38 weeks beginning in week 2).  Confused?  I am now six weeks pregnant and my baby is 4 weeks old.  If I deliver on my due date (yeah right) I will be 40 weeks pregnant but my baby will be 38 weeks old.

I’m glad I could clear that up.  =/

6 weeks

Tomorrow I will be six weeks pregnant!  I can’t believe I get to say that!!

I’m getting these great updates from babycenter.com that talk about our baby’s development.  I just find them fascinating – that so many intricate things could be happening to a person so small (we’re up from sesame seed to lentil!)  Here is this week’s goodies (I think the email for 6 weeks is telling you what will happen during the 7th week)

  • The nose, mouth, and ears that you’ll spend so much time kissing in eight months are beginning to take shape. If you could see into your uterus, you’d find an oversize head and dark spots where your baby’s eyes and nostrils are starting to form. His emerging ears are marked by small depressions on the sides of the head, and his arms and legs by protruding buds. His heart is beating about 100 to 160 times a minute — almost twice as fast as yours — and blood is beginning to course through his body. His intestines are developing, and the bud of tissue that will give rise to his lungs has appeared. His pituitary gland is forming, as are the rest of his brain, muscles, and bones. Right now, your baby is a quarter of an inch long, about the size of a lentil bean.

Kissing little nose and mouth and ears??? **faint**

2nd Beta!

My beta today was 5,434.  Yes, five THOUSAND four-hundred and thirty four.  Woohoo!  Since I’m not really sick or anything it is hard to “feel” pregnant so this verification that all is well was much needed.  Our first ultrasound is scheduled for next Tuesday! I can’t wait to see a heart beat.  Here is how my beta increased compared to others.  

You can see I’m on the high side for singleton (one baby) but HCG values can never diagnose multiples so we just have to wait it out.  As my dad said, one is enough for us (even if more would be a blessing).

DH had his first Father’s Day yesterday.  I didn’t go crazy or anything but I did get him a card specifically for Daddy-to-be.  Who knew those even existed?

My biggest symptoms are exhaustion (I slept 11-12 hours several nights last week) and sore breasts – like crazy sore get these things off me sore.  I guess I’ll keep ’em around.  🙂

BabyCenter has a great tool for visualizing how big your baby is.  Here is an idea of where I am at 5 weeks.  that is a quarter and a sesame seed.

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