Monday, June 7, 2010

Bicarb Quickie

This is a quick No Poo update. It is almost three weeks since I last washed my hair with shampoo and, contrary to my expectations, it feels soft, clean and not at all greasy. I want to make it clear that I would not be saying this if it was not true; I did not go into this expecting bicarbonate of soda to work.

My hair does feel a little different to how it used to. It is slightly heavier and fuller than it was after a normal shampoo. After two days without a wash it feels even heavier and thicker, but not as greasy as it would have done two days after a shampoo wash. The appearance of my hair is much the same as it always was, only now I don't have to use serum or blow dry it to get it to look smooth and nice. The biggest change is to my scalp. Previously it was dry, flaky and itchy. All of that has stopped now that I am not using harsh detergents on it.

My routine is currently: put bicarb mix on scalp (about 1/2 tsp bicarb to 1/2 cup water); massage and leave 2 mins; rinse well; squirt on some dilute cider vinegar (about 1 tsp to 100ml water); rinse. I am still doing this every two days. I have tried going longer but I don't like the heavy feeling of my hair; maybe I will be able to leave longer between washes as time goes on.

I am curious to see how things develop and if my hair changes further. The transition period is meant to last anywhere from two weeks to two months, so I might still be in it. I would urge anyone who has a passing interest in No Poo to give it a go because it really is so much less scary than I imagined, and if you have a sensitive scalp then it might be the solution you have always been looking for.

PS I'm going on holiday now so please don't think I'm rude if I don't respond to any comments for a while.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Different Strokes (Or Why I Hate Crying It Out)

When you're encased in your happy little attachment parenting bubble, it's easy to forget how differently some other babies experience their first few years. So I have to admit that I was shocked when I spent the weekend with a family who err on the stricter side of things. My thoughts on this are all in a bit of a jumble, but I wanted to get my reactions down while they're raw. These are my opinions - they may be right or wrong, but they are mine.

First of all there is the discipline issue. This other family seemed to be overwhelmingly negative in their approach to discipline. If their baby girl (just over 1 year old) did something unwanted, like put something in her mouth, their first strategy was to say "No". If that didn't work (and of course it didn't because she was only just 1) then they punished her by removing her from the place of interest or picked her up so she couldn't do anything. There was no attempt to interest her in a safer or more desirable activity - it was just "No, that's it, no more fun". To me it just seemed so joyless.

Our family's approach to discipline is to first consider whether the activity really is undesirable. For example, should I really tell my daughter off for digging in the flowerbeds? Should I accept that she's copying me and learning? Should I direct her to a bit of the garden where I don't mind her digging? If something is unsafe or I really don't want her doing it then I say "No" and direct her to an alternative activity. I am not one of these parents who refuses to tell their children off, but I just think we need to give them a bit of space to explore and learn in their own way. That's just my opinion and it fits with my personality and upbringing. Different people do things different ways.

The thing that really shocked me was the crying it out. There I was, trying to nurse Cave Baby to sleep, while across the hall this other child was screaming her lungs out trying to get her mum to come and comfort her. I fucking hate crying it out. What's so bad about giving the baby a quick cuddle and sitting with it while it dozes off? The particular parents in question are not totally insensitive bastards and they did eventually relent, at which point the baby went to sleep quietly, easily and calmly. But I could not understand why they were so reluctant to sit with it in the first place. How have several generations of parents been persuaded that they should forget all their instincts and ignore their quite plainly desperate babies?

Don't get into the whole "I was at my wits end and I was about to break down and so I left him to cry" business. I understand that, and I understand that sometimes you just have to shut the door and take a deep breath. What I despise is systematic, repeated crying it out. It's not necessary. It stresses babies. Done frequently, it could harm their mental health as children and adults. Why are we, as a society, so afraid of admitting this? We are afraid to say out loud that formula feeding kills babies and we are similarly petrified of saying that crying it out harms babies' brains.

There, I said it. I put my cards on the table. I fucking despise crying it out. It troubles me more than any other parenting issue. I was almost crying myself when I had to listen to that baby's pleas. As my lovely partner himself said, "That baby is such a free spirit, I hope they don't damage her".

I know there are many people out there who are going to disagree with me. But this is what I think. If you are interested in this issue, I would suggest reading "Why Love Matters" by Sue Gerhardt. In the meantime, do tell me what you think about discipline and sleep training.