Posts Tagged ‘AP’

Tutorial: Doll Sling

(note: I wrote this post last summer; it’s the one I became frustrated with and abandoned–along with this whole blog.  I’m posting it with all it’s warts in an effort to move forward, both blog-wise and universe-wise.)

It happens that my wee’est was two last week!   It seems just yesterday I was revelling at my HBAC (homebirth after cesarean) success and a brand-new baby girl.  Since she’s the second, she endures many hand-me-downs.  (Luckily she’s not a complainer about this–yet.)  But, coming up with a birthday gift for the second child who has everything and more was hard.  In the end, we decided to invest in a custom-made waldorf doll.  It is just beautiful and I hope she gets years of play.  Since I’ve been a little bit crafty these past couple of weeks, I thought maybe a doll sling would be in order as a complimentary, made-by-me, gift.  Turns out it was the easiest and quickest thing I have made in a long time!  Her elder sister gawked and swooned about it, so as a surprise, I made her a larger one.  And, because the first one was so easy, I put together a tutorial!

Baby Doll Sling
adapted from an Elizabeth Lee Designs pattern

*It should be noted that these slings are toys and are in no way appropriate for a living baby. Only a properly-made baby sling should be used for babies.*

Supplies: 1/2 yard for smaller size, 1 1/2 yards for larger size (makes 2); pair of 2″ craft rings

Cut your fabric: You’ll need a rectangle of fabric.  Cut a 18 x 44 piece for a small (2-4 yrs) child or 18 x 50 for a larger child (5-8 yrs).

 Hem the sides:  Fold a 1/4-1/2 hem over twice for a finished edge on each of 2 long sides and 1 short side.  Leave the remaining short side raw.  Iron in place (I also pin the folded corners down to help me keep them aligned).

Sew a basic stitch down both long sides and then on the short side, securing the corners in place.

Attach the rings: On the raw edge, fold the fabric in to the center twice so that the folded width is 1/4 the unfolded width.

Fold unfinished edge over once, and thread through both rings.  (I find it easiest to pin this edge in place while threading the rings.)

Attach to body of sling with a reinforced stitch straight across.

 Create sling: To make the sling operable, thread the body of the sling through both rings and the end through a single ring, as pictured.



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Bed Sharing and Intuition

Much of how we parent our daughters is led by intuition.  My generation (the end of GenX) has yet to outgrow the strict and controlling rules and parenting philosophies of our parents and rediscover the ease (and challenges) of intuition-based parenting and its natural consequences.  Recently I’ve rediscovered the joy of co-sleeping and bed sharing (co-sleeping: sleeping in the room with or within arms reach of a child; bed sharing: well, sharing a bed with a child).  Though many people find it proper to ridicule or scoff at, I find it unsupportive of parents and undermining of truly intuitive parenting.  When my youngest was 2 months old, she only slept well in my arms.  So, I slept with her in my arms.  For 6 months.  It was helpful for both of us getting the sleep we need and it also helped us navigate another, older bed sharing 3 year-old.  At 8 months, the youngest was done with sleeping in arms and the oldest spent more of the night in her toddler bed, beside ours.  Now, our wee ones are almost 5 and 18mos and both still co-sleep or bed share.  A couple of nights ago, I was reminded of why.  Why we as parents endure children’s limbs tucked into our limbs or under our bodies, children breathing and coughing in our faces, sacrificing sleeping next to one another for years on end.

As I was sleeping in bed with the wee’est and my partner was up doing chores, Em sat up in her toddler bed, threw up, and started crying.  I was able to get up immediately, call my partner and go to our daughter to help clean her up, cozy her and strip the bed.  Who knows how long it would have taken her to cry in her sick state until we had heard her in her own room?  Sick children don’t sleep well and want more comfort than ever.  So, having her able to cozy up to Mama allowed her body some much-needed sleep and allowed me to monitor her fever through the night, getting more sleep myself.

There is much commentary about how co-sleeping and bed sharing contribute to breastfeeding success and duration, reduced SIDS rates and better sleep for everyone in the Family Bed, but after suffering limbs under my body for nights on end, sometimes I need these fresh reminders of why we bed share and choose to nurture our children instead of manipulating them with fear into sleeping alone in a dark room.

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Patience, I Beckon You

We try our best to follow attachment parenting principles in this house.  It doesn’t all come naturally for us, since most generally parent as was modeled for us, and it was a rare breed to raise children in an AP way in the 70s and 80s.  A recent intense blog post about “crying it out” has me thinking of all the ways we parent purposefully and compassionately.  We do our best, and still are far from perfect.  For me, for my personality, it is hard to be compassionate and patient when there are many tasks swirling in my head and all my littlest wants to do is be held for no obvious reason.  With my oldest, I too often rely on manipulation through threats and disconnected consequences.  When she refuses to complete a task in a timely manner (if she decides she wants to do it at all) it really comes through–say taking away bedtime books when she’s “winding up” at bedtime instead of putting on pjs.  Lately I feel as though the fun of life and childhood is whisked away with demands, rules, safety monitoring and messes, all created or prioritized by me.  I want to be the parent who takes time to go to my child, place my hand on her shoulder and offer to share the task.  Or, who can put down everything in my hands (and in my mind) to personally help my four-year-old put on her boots since she wants to wear sandals in 15-degree weather.  Last week, in the mall, I heard a mother call her three-year-old a brat and she wouldn’t tolerate him being a brat.  No other explanation of his actions and what might have been inappropriate or unacceptable about his behavior.  Just name calling and threats.  If we don’t treat each other as adults this way, why do we feel it is appropriate for children?  I felt for the boy, who looked unaffected, like it was an everyday occurence.  Separating actions from a person is a difficult task, especially when that person is a child and has an entirely different way of understanding the world and the general inability to understand adult logic, let alone anticipate it.  Only on a couple of occasions have I ever resorted to this and I am ashamed that it happened at all.  I try to explain my requests and how they relate to my children’s lives (“If you can help me pick up this mess, we may have time for all our books at bedtime” instead of “if you don’t/can’t pick up this mess you will lose a book at bedtime”).  I try to explain why being late in certain circumstances is rude or otherwise unacceptable and follow through with natural consequences.  However, when I’m backed against a wall between a stubborn child and a goal, I don’t always quite hit the mark.  With a bit of understanding for myself, I’ve been missing that mark all too often lately.  Being a parent is exhausting.  Dealing with life while parenting around-the-clock is indescribable.  But, I’m trying to take time at the beginning of each day and sometimes during the day to visualize better skills on my part and more cooperation on my childrens’ part.  And, I’m hitting that mark more often.  And, they’re responding.  Now, it’s about making this kind of gentler, more compassionate parenting resource more habitual rather than an after-the-fact “Doh!” moment.  A little closer everyday.

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