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    Connection and Attachment Beyond Babyhood





    Attachment parenting is often associated with babies and very young children. But what happens when your baby is too big for a sling or your preschooler has weaned? Does attachment parenting have to stop? Not at all. The basis of attachment parenting is getting tuned-in to your child, learning to communicate effectively, and staying connected.  You may not be able/want to breastfeed your five-year-old, but that doesn't mean he no longer wants - and needs - the gentle nurturing touch that you and he shared when he was a sweet, chubby baby. Here are some ways to help strengthen those connections you built in babyhood, and stay in-tuned with your older kids:

     

    Get down on the floor and play.

    Sometimes it's really a challenge to shake the stiff realities of life as an adult and loosen up. Sometimes kids play seems boring. Sometimes all you can think about is what you're "not getting done" while playing with your kids. Maybe you're just not the playing kind? I get that. It can be hard at times, to get down and really play with kids, but it's worth it! Even a bit of an effort makes a difference. Every ten minutes spent helping construct a Lego tower, tossing a ball back and forth, or throwing a blanket over the kitchen table to make a fort adds to your connection bank. We can all find ten minutes. Remember, play is kids' language. We need to speak it now & then.

     

    Hug, cuddle, and use gentle touch.

    Not only babies like and benefit from gentle touch. Keeping attached to our children means cuddling up with them - even when they're nearly as big as we are! Offer hugs whenever you can (wrestle  if kids say they are "too big" for hugs & kisses), offer  a gentle massage to help kids relax before bed, cuddle up on the couch when watching a movie or reading a book, use gentle, reassuring touch (like a pat on the back) when your child is working hard at a task, offer to brush or braid your children's hair (and then have them do the same for you!). Gentle touch is a great way to reconnect and show love without having to say a word!

     

    Write a love note.

    My daughter has told me many times how much she enjoys reading the notes I've left in her lunch during the school year. Jot down a happy poem, an inspiring phrase, or a note from the heart and leave it somewhere your child will be sure to see it - in their lunch box, on their bathroom mirror, or in their sports bag. If you're not the flowery words type, try something simple like a smiley face or "Have a great day!" (I created a few "staying connected" cards - feel free to print & include them in your kids' lunches). Just a few words of encouragement or cheer, reminding your children that you're thinking of them - even when you're apart - can really mean a lot to your child.

     

    Actively listen.

    Listen to your kids when they talk. Simple, right? But I know how challenging it can be to stop what you're doing and pay close attention when your child is in motor-mouth mode, or telling you the details of the latest Harry Potter book, which you both have already read, many times. Keep in mind that while the little details may not be important to you at that moment, what they are telling you is important to THEM. By making eye contact and actively listening, you're letting them know how important THEY are to YOU. Good listening is crucial to keeping your connection strong. And while the stories NOW may seem simplistic or boring, as they grow, if they're used to telling you their feelings and experiences, you'll be the first person they come to when the stories are scary, complex, or they're facing challenging decisions as teenagers. Listening now reverberates.

     

    Attachment parenting doesn't have to stop with breastfeeding, babywearing, or cosleeping. Staying connected our kids doesn't take much effort, and can make a world of difference in maintaining that close relationship you established in babyhood. Go ahead, give your big kid an extra hug today & see how good it feels!

    Posted: Jun 14 2012, 00:00 by kelly | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |
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    Staying Connected - Printable Lunchbox Cards





    I've created these printable cards for lunchboxes, backpacks, taping to bathroom mirrors, leaving under pillows… wherever you want to give your child a special message. Little words go a long way towards staying connected.

    Enjoy!

    (above is the small version, just for displaying on the site.)

    Download the larger printable version here: 

    kellynaturally-lunchboxcards.jpg (509.87 kb)



    Posted: Jun 13 2012, 11:50 by kelly | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |
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    Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie with Chia Seeds





    I’ve recently discovered the awesomeness of super food chia seeds and have been experimenting with them (you can check out my Pinterest Yumminess board for some recipes). The evidence seems to point to chia being a super vegan source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, and protein. Plus, chia seeds add just a bit of texture without much (any) flavor. So, I thought I’d try them in a smoothie. I made this for my dinner last night, and it was so tasty, I decided to post it here for you!

     

    Ingredients:

     

    8oz organic milk

    1 container (individual serving) of organic greek yogurt (I used vanilla)

    1 ripe banana

    1/2 cup of frozen raspberries

    1/2 cup of frozen peaches

    1 Tbs of chia seeds

    1 Tbs of ground flax seed

    1 Tbs of raw honey

    1 tsp of vanilla extract (if you used plain yogurt)

     

    Put all of the ingredients in your favorite blender. Blend & drink!

     

    Note: I did not use ice because I had frozen fruit on hand. If you use fresh fruit, I’d recommend adding a bit of ice if you like your smoothies cold! This made around 20oz of smoothie, so my kids split the extra – it was very smooth, creamy, and fruity-sweet. Delicious!

    Another note: Next time I’ll add some spinach or kale for a vitamin boost!

    Final note: I made this with milk & dairy-based yogurt. I’m sure coconut milk & coconut milk-based yogurt would work as well – and make it vegan! 

    Posted: Jun 05 2012, 14:17 by kelly | Comments (3) RSS comment feed |
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    All Things Seem Possible in May





    The world's favorite season is the spring. 

    All things seem possible in May.

    ~Edwin Way Teale

    I've never done a monthly wrap-up post before, but because May was particularly awesome this time around, I've decided to give it a try. What blessings hath May brought? 

    I RAN ten miles (without stopping!) at the Broad Street run in Philadelphia - My longest running distance ever (so far!): 

      

    The kids completed their first season of Soccer; making me a… (wait for it…) Soccer Mom. Should I get that soccer ball sticker for my minivan yet?


    Speaking of Mom, on Mother's Day weekend, I was treated to a box of brownies, breakfast, flowers, gifts, a drive-thru zoo where the giraffes come right. Up. To. Your. Car. (I love New Jersey), an amusement park, and dinner at my favorite vegetarian restaurant in Philly. Not bad if I do say so myself:


    Many of my flowers started blooming. May is one of the most amazing months in the garden.


    I traveled to a television studio in New York City and met two blogger friends and an attachment parenting guru:


    Next up, my baby turned FIVE. Five I tell you. Unbelievable. My heart:


    Later that week, we took the kids for their very first backpacking trip - 11 miles, three days, and two nights out in the backcountry of Virginia! It was amazing and awesome (and wet and exhausting) but so wonderfully bonding as a family. It was incredibly refreshing to get so close to the earth, and back to basics (No social media! No laptop! No cellphone service!):

     

    And we concluded with a trip to Washington DC to visit the museums and Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day:

     

    It's been a spectacular month. I can't wait to see what's up next - bring it on, June!!!    

    Posted: Jun 02 2012, 10:54 by kelly | Comments (0) RSS comment feed |
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