The Perfect Family

Welcome to the first Family Size Blog Carnival!

This post was written for inclusion in the Family Size Blog Carnival hosted by Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling and Patti at Jazzy Mama. Today our participants share their decisions on family size and whether or not to grow their families. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Photo by Green Pin Chang

After the birth of our second child, my husband and I received a lot of comments about how we had the perfect family: one son and one daughter. The people who made such comments went on to say, in various degrees of subtlety, that we could now stop having children, having achieved that sought after one child of each gender. Only, we weren’t having children to fulfill some societal expectation.

There were some disapproving stares when we were expecting our third child. One older man even came up to me and asked me what I was doing, going on to point out that we already had a boy and girl. I explained that we liked having children and wanted another. He jokingly made some comment about us having to have another child to even things out. He wasn’t prepared for my comment that we might just have another child, or two.
The birth of our fourth child brought us back to perfect family status. Not only did we have two boys and two girls, but they were born in alternating order: boy, girl, boy, girl. The comments we had received after the birth of our first daughter were nothing compared to the comments we now receive.
The thing is, there is no such thing as a perfect family. Every family is a blend of many aspects. Whether one child or eight, one gender or a mix, every family is a unique blend that makes it right for them at that point in time. Every child is a person to be cherished for his or her individuality. To compare families with one another based on number of children, or the genders of those children, only serves to diminish the special qualities that family has in the eyes of others.
I don’t know whether we will have any more children or not. The idea is something my husband and I both struggle with. If we do have another child, it will not be because of someone else’s predetermined idea of what a perfect family is but because we feel that another child is what our family needs.
Our family may not be perfect, but the size of our family is what it needs to be for right now. If that changes in the future, then we will change the size of our family. We may just need to buy a bigger van.

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Visit City Kids Homeschooling and Jazzy Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Family Size Blog Carnival!

Please take some time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants below:

  • The Perfect Family The family at Living Peacefully With Children isn’t perfect, but the size is just right for them…at least for now.
  • Family Size Carnival Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses how she loves the extremes of being happily child-free for life to being a mom of several. And on knowing when her family is just the right size.
  • Is Adoption for Me? Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares why she would consider adoption as the socially responsible way to have a large family.
  • Getting Used to Having Kids Lauren at Hobo Mama went from “probably one, maybe two” to wanting a handful, but not without some major struggles and soul searching along the way.
  • Magic Number For a while, Phoebe at Little Tinker Tales has wondered what the magic number will be for their family, but now thinks she’s finally settled on an answer.
  • How Did You Get That Size Jorje explains how she “chose” her family size and why they aren’t planning to grow again on Momma Jorje.com.
  • Family Size On A Per Kid Basis Sarah at Parenting God’s Children shares how plans change as families grow.
  • More Babies: How, When, Why Joella at Fine and Fair writes to her daughter about when, how, and why she might get a sibling.
  • Family Size Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she has no idea what size her family will end up being; though she used to be sure, a few factors have recently come up to change everything.
  • Thy Will Be Done CatholicMommy hasn’t decided how many children she’ll have. And she never will. Because, you know, she’s Catholic.
  • Sanity and Health Kat at Loving {Almost} Every Moment talks about sanity and health considerations when deciding on her family’s size.
  • Love Comes In All Sizes Melissa at White Noise and Mothers of Change shares her family’s journey to becoming a family of six!
  • Family Size Liz at Homeschooling in Buffalo discusses how this carnival occurs less than two weeks after “closing up shop” by way of vasectomy.
  • Family Size Blog Carnival Billy, a single mother by choice, writes about the size of her family at My Pathway to Motherhood.
  • Creating Your Perfect Family Size Dr. Alan Singer shares insights from his new book, Creating Your Perfect Family Size.
  • Our Family Size You might not be surprised to learn that Patti at Jazzy Mama can’t find any reasons NOT to have more babies.
  • Economics of Family Size Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling uses an economic cost-benefit analysis to determine her family’s optimal size.

When Children Don’t Listen

Photo by Dru Bloomsfield

“You aren’t listening to me.” “Please listen.” “Listen to what I am saying.”

Most parents have uttered, or at the very least thought, one of these phrases or something similar at some point. It’s usually said in frustration.
However, when we say this to our children, we don’t really mean that they aren’t listening to us. While that sometimes is the case, a quick look in their eye or a gentle touch of their hand is generally sufficient to catch the attention of a person who didn’t hear us. What we really mean is that our child isn’t doing what we say. On the surface, it’s an artifact of poor communication. On a deeper level, it’s an issue of control.
When we stop to examine why it is that we want our children to do what we say, we’ll find that there are varied reasons. For some, it is a genuine attempt to control another person – one who is smaller and probably can’t do much about it. Even that has deeper levels – often resulting from a parent’s lack of personal empowerment in childhood or of feeling inequal in his/her own adult relationships.
Generally speaking though, most parents have much simpler reasons if they stop to examine them. It may be convenience, fatigue, hunger, a desire to feel respected, or one of many others. Demanding compliance through poor communication doesn’t rectify the situation. In fact, it’s most likely to exacerbate the frustrated feelings of all parties involved, because it doesn’t get to the heart of the matter – the needs of both parties.
When we wish our children would just do as we say, we need to consider the needs of both parent and child. Whether the parent is tired and needs a break or has a need to feel respected, understanding what we really want is an important first step to asking for it. Understanding what is going on with our child (anything from being tired to a lack of impulse control and beyond) is vital to finding a solution that will work for everyone and meet our own neglected needs.

Top 10 Reasons to Leave Your Son Intact

Welcome to the March Carnival of Natural Parenting: Natural Parenting Top 10 Lists

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have shared Top 10 lists on a wide variety of aspects of attachment parenting and natural living. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Photo by Beth

10.  80% of the world’s male population is intact.

9. It is easier to clean an intact infant’s penis than to deal with open wounds in a diaper which is routinely filled with urine and feces.

8. Foreskins are functional, protecting the glans while containing sensitive nerve endings and blood vessels.

7. It is a parent’s duty to protect his/her child. Circumcision is painful.

6. Pain and shock from circumcision disrupt bonding, breastfeeding, and sleep patterns in newborn infants.

5. Complications include infection, abnormal bleeding, removal of excessive amounts of skin, loss of part or all of the glans, urinary issues, and death.

 4. It is illegal in the United States to circumcise a female against her will or who has not reached an age of majority. Circumcising infant males is discriminatory.

3. There is NO medical benefit to routine circumcision. Removal of the foreskin does not prevent STDS. It does not lessen the chance of developing penile cancer.

2. Once done, it cannot be undone.

1. If it isn’t your body, it’s not your decision to make.

Circumcision is a deeply personal decision. Let’s leave the decision to the person who owns the penis. Say NO! to routine infant circumcision.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon March 8 with all the carnival links.)