Thursday, April 21, 2011

Nip It In the Bud. A Thought On Discipline

Lately here I've been thinking it's about time to put my toddler in a toddler bed. I've been dreading it because , as I told my husband, I just know he's going to get out and I'm going to have to spank him. A lot.  And I don't really want to right now. But, I had no choice when he started hanging out on the front rail of the crib just because he could.  So we took off the front of the crib and put on the toddler bed rail.  Then we took a video of his first impression of his new bed.  At first he didn't see it, then we could barely get him off of it.
Still, I had this picture in my mind of my hard headed, strong willed 22 month old getting out of bed repeatedly every night from now until kingdom come!  Fortunately, God is merciful to me, a sinner.  And even when I don't pray about the piddly stuff He comes to my aid. 
I had the thought to sit at the top of the stairs just outsided his bedroom door with my trusty "spankin' hose" and the first time he climbed out I was in there as soon as his feet hit the floor.  No warnings just a swat to his upper thigh. Not too hard, but enough to sting a bit and leave a mental impression.  He got out once more. I met him with the same swift swat and that was it.  Nap time was in the pack'n'play next day but I sat at the top of the stairs the next night too.  Turns out I didn't have to.  Not once has that child climbed out of that bed since.  And not only that, he doesn't get out on his own in the morning either.  He simply sits cheerfully in his bed talking to himself until I come to get him. 
Not only was this good for Wyatt, but it was good for the middle two as well.  They are both great at making up excuses to get out of bed.  We are usually too lazy to go up there each time and typically warn them until we're angry.  Then one of us will go up and yell (we don't spank if we're angry.  When we spank we want it to be in love not anger) But being that I was already up there I just hopped up and swatted them too.  Just a couple of nights of consistent discipline and bedtime in our house is a much more pleasant experience for everyone.
The thing is, this is something I already know.  I just fail to practice it the way I should. Call it laziness. Call it distraction.  It's probably some of both. Regardless, I forget how well it works! This is what Michael Pearl calls "training".  The idea is that you set up a situation in which you know you child is bound to fail, then you sit back and wait for him to do it.  Not that you get a chance to spank, but so you get a chance to teach them what is and is not acceptable behavior before they have to discover it for themselves and recieve discipline for it.  The child learns the meaning of the word "no", he learns what is not tolerated, and above all he learns self control.  Rather than catching your young child in the act and explaining that it is not ok only to catch him at it again, at which point you wonder if he understood; you set up a situation where you are ready and waiting. As soon as he acts you reprove him repeatedly until you are sure he understands, and he no longer attempts to engage in that behavior.  Then if you catch him at it you know that he knows he is wrong whether or not he can verbalize it.  In good conscience you can spank him, just hard enough, and be pretty sure he is not going to do that again.  If you don't set up training sessions and catch him in the act, he may have already been enjoying himself for quite some time, thinking everything is fine.  Imagine his surprise when you show up and take away his fun.  He's only going to look for another opportunity.  But if before he has a chance to enjoy said behavior, just as he is reaching for it he recieves a quick swat and a gentle "no", he will relate that activity or thing and the word "no" with the pain of that swat and exercise self control in the future.
I like to combine this principle with the Ezzo's principal of parenting inside the funnle in which you allow only the mobility and freedoms your child is able to developmentally handle. I make good use of my pack'n'play when I can't be attentive to the youngest, but even so he's getting bigger and I've been lax in my training.  I've got my work cut out for me!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Small Problem

I've been running into a bit of an issue in the kitchen lately.  Namely my zeal exceeds my skill and my pocketbook.   I just wrote a post on the importance of soaking and souring our grains (and legumes) for consumption in order to get the most from them.  The problem is this: when wheat (or spelt, kamut, rye......) is ground into flour the nutrients immediately start to break down, so buying even organic flour in the store is practically worthless.  I don't want to exclude grains, but I can't justify buying an expensive grinder yet.  To me it would be a foolish purchase without experience in breadmaking first.  But what is the point in making bread when you know that there are few benefits to be had?
So I finally had to make the decision that something is better than nothing.  I can exclude things all day, but if I can't replace them with better things, there's no point.  All we'll do is starve.  So, I'll use store bought flour and prove to myself that I can do it.  I'll get the hang of the processes and the time it takes, and when I'm confident and I've saved enough, I'll buy a grinder.
A main concern I've had  is breakfast.  Cold cereal, even Kashi or Annies organics cereals are formed by a dangerous process called extrusion, which makes the pretty shapes and flakes.  So we cut out cereal, but that has really messed with our schedule.  Eggs are a great breakfast for the weekends, but on school mornings we need something without a lot of prep work or clean up. 
Here is the definition of and reasons for food extrusion by Ohio State University:
Extrusion is defined as "shaping by force through a specially designed opening often after previous heating of the material." Extrusion is the continuous forming of plastic or soft materials through a die. Several types of extruders include ram or piston types and screw or worm types (Harper, 1981).
Cooking extrusion combines the heating of food products with the act of extrusion to create a cooked and shaped food product and is a process in which moistened, starchy, proteinaceous foods are cooked and worked into a viscous, plastic-like dough. The results of cooking the food ingredients during extrusion are:
1 ) gelatinization of starch
2) denaturation of protein
3) inactivation of raw food enzymes
4) destruction of naturally occurring toxic substances
5) diminishing of microbial counts in the final product.
Upon discharge through the die, the hot, plastic extrudate expands rapidly with loss of moisture and heat because of sudden decrease in pressure. After expansion cooling, and drying, the extruded product develops a rigid structure and maintains a porous texture.
Advantages of food extrusion are versatility, high productivity, low cost, product shapes, high product quality, energy efficiency, production of new foods, and no effluents or waste.
In addition, the extrusion process renders these foods toxic. So, I made cereal yesterday.  Once I made the decision is was easy to do.  I got the recipe from Eat Fat, Lose Fat.  The boys haven't tasted it yet, but I'm optimistic. :)


Eat Fat Lose Fat

Nourishing Traditions

Starting with Sourdough

I've decided I'm going to try my hand at bread making again.  Sourdough is the way they used to make bread before the advent of packaged yeast.  It's the way Caroline Ingalls fed her family.  It's old fashioned so it appeals to me immediately.  I'm an old fashioned kinda gal--ask anyone who knows me :) So I just ordered a sourdough starter from "Friends of Carl".  Friends of Carl is an organization that carries on the tradition of Carl Griffith who gave away, free of charge, a bit of the sourdough starter which came from a sourdough culture carefully nurtured and preserved in his family for over 150 years.  It is the same starter his family brought with them on the Oregon Trail in 1847.  I love a bit of history :)  besides, it's free! 
I made an attempt at sourdough bread before, but I think I fed it wrong and it died.  My bread started turning out pretty badly so I threw it out.  But recently I discovered Sourdough Home.  Mike is very thorough and reading through this site has given me the confidence to think that maybe I can do this.
Anyway, nowadays nutritionists urge us to eat whole, unrefined grains--a very smart idea!  Refined grains contain little to no nutritional value.  Because all the nutrients are stripped out during processing they now "enrich" white flour with synthetic vitamins which aren't much better, I assure you.
A look at Egyptian mummies and hieroglyphs will confirm that while the peasantry ate their grains whole, Pharaohs and nobles had slaves pound and sift until they had white flour.  While the peasants seem to have lived fairly healthy lives, their noble counterparts suffered from scoliosis, rickets, and osteoporosis.  The problem is that while the bran of the grain contains vital nutrients, it also contains phytic acid, which combines with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc in the intestines.  This blocks our bodies' abilities to absorb them leading to deficiencies and degenerative diseases.
Grains, whole or not also contain gluten which is difficult to digest.  This country is seeing a rise in grain allergies, celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome, chrones and yeast overgrowth.  But there is a simple answer to all of these problems.  A simple process of which primitive peoples were aware, and practiced, but was lost along the way with industrialization.  Nearly all primitive peoples soaked, soured or sprouted their grains.
When we soak grains and legumes in yogurt, buttermilk, whey or sour milk (or lemon juice if you happen to have a milk allergy) or when we sprout them prior to grinding the phytase introduced from the souring breaks down most, if not all of the phytic acid.  This leaves vitamins and minerals available for absorption.  The souring also introduces lactobacilli which helps to break down the gluten into more digestable components.
And that's where sourdough comes in.  It is a great way to make bread because it sours or ferments your grain for you in the process. It is also quite delicious.