Sunday, February 24, 2013

Book Review - Tears and Tantrums & Connection Parenting

I don't have time right now to post anything in depth but I just finished two absolutely stellar books Tears & Tantrums: What To Do When Babies and Children Cry and Connection Parenting: Parenting Through Connection Instead of Coercion, Through Love Instead of Fear.

Both are fantastic books that I wish all parents had read. Tears and Tantrums explains how healthy it is to allow our children to cry and how important it is to be present with them while they express their strong emotions rather than banishing them to their rooms or teaching them a control mechanism like eating or distraction.

Connection Parenting has some problems (namely that the author read the Continuum Concept which as I have said in my review is written in an emotionally traumatizing style with the goal of forcing parents to parent a certain way by painting vivid (though inaccurate) pictures of what will happen if they don't. Even as I read it, knowing that what she was saying was false, I was still "traumatized" by this book! Meaning, connection is key, healthy relationship are key. You can have great connection with your child and a healthy relationship with your child while not carrying them around or practicing other overly-exaggerated and sentimentalized ideas from Attachment Parenting (AP has a lot of good ideas too).

Back to Connection Parenting--fabulous! Especially the first two chapters! Says very similar things to what I say in my thesis statement and soon-to-be-book.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Cool, Sexy, Fun Anarchy - part 2

I often wonder if I should be directing any energy at this blog. There is so much fabulous AMLOV (anarchist, minarchist, libertarian, objectivist, voluntaryist) thought out there--is there really a need for yet more thought, however awesome? I do think it is important that I continue to write about the connection between our parenting styles and the society we create but I keep thinking that AMLOV's lack:

1) AMLOV businesses to support: AMLOVs seem themselves as a persecuted people always in danger of being outed, like Jews before WWII. For the most part, they don't feel safe admitting their political identification. This is understandable, but tragic. It does not serve us to hide from one another. Especially financially. AMLOVs, despite their sound economic principles, are not a wealthy demographic. Given the choice, every time I hire a worker, I would rather hire a like-minded person. So would most people. I spent the last ten years working for the uber-wealthy of the Los Angeles area. Every family that I worked for attended some type of religious service and had a church or synagogue directory that they kept on hand. Whenever it was time to hire anyone for anything, they first turned to their directories. I wish I had the opportunity to do the same. I wish there were an airbnb for freedom lovers to crash at each other's houses. Perhaps even just an international magazine--you know all those little ads in the back? Maybe that would be enough.

2) Ways to enjoy life and community with one another: the Free State Project and the Blue Ridge Liberty Project and the gulches being started around the world are doing this but I would also like to see private AMLOV dining clubs in the five major US cities. I'd also love to see (in the major cities) housing situations that would inspire community. Here in LA I would do a Twenties Dorm. It would be styled just like a college dorm but would be for people right out of college that have the financial savvy to know that they need to spend a few years saving before they should splurge on furniture and entire apartments. Imagine graduating from college and being able to rent a room in a dorm with other hard working twenty-somethings. It would be a great place to meet people, extremely affordable and since most twenty-somethings are working long hours there is no need for them to also maintain entire houses, or even purchase furniture. There could even be a health-oriented dining hall on the first floor where they could eat, they could live on the really cheap floors with communal bathrooms or splurge and have one of the apartments with a kitchenette and its own bathroom. There could be a business office on the bottom floor with fax and photo copy machines and entrepreneurs to give advice. There could be philosophy lectures.... I imagine the same set up for young families. Modeled after the state-supported Family Hotels in Scandinavia, there could be an apartment building designed specifically for families. Same idea, healthy dining on the bottom flood, parenting advice and classes, even a RIE style daycare to show parents how to treat their children respectfully. There are enough books about how to respect children, what we need are businesses!

3) AMLOV entertainment: there is almost no philosophically sound entertainment out there. There are almost no children's books that I don't cringe at for some reason or another when I want to read to my son. On YouTube there is some stand-up comedy but no fiction. Fiction is what reaches our emotional brains and mythologizes our values and belief-systems. I'd love to start a Cool Sexy Fun Hip magazine. I'd call it Freedom Culture or something like that. It would serve much the same purpose as many of the blogs out there--it would be a treasure trove of information about what likeminded people are thinking and doing. Perhaps there would be a YouTube morning show so that AMLOVs could get their current events infotainment from each other. Perhaps the SchoolSucksProject would have a weekly or monthly article and Stefan would host an evening interview.

If anyone wants to give up their blogging and go into business down any of these roads, email me :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to NOT treat children comedy sketch on youtube!

Health Note - My First Cold in Nine Years & Primal Experiment Update

My last cold was in 2004. I got sick in 2004 because I had just finished taking a course on nutrition at Wesleyan University. That USDA approved-course convinced me that processed meats, non-fat dairy, diet sodas, sugar and white flour were not bad for me. They weren't good, but they weren't bad either. So for the first time in my life, I started eating them. The six months following my nutrition class I gained fifteen pounds and finally understood cold-medicine commercials. Those commercials had never made sense to me before--sneezing, runny nose, not resting, coughing, pounding head, stuck in bed--OMG this is what it feels like to be sick!?! I was in bed for three days and it was a revelation. I went back to eating the way I had grown up eating--if mother nature made it, I ate it; if man made it, I didn't.

From 2004 until last year I worked with children. They were sick all the time. Their parents would catch their colds, the other household employees would catch their colds, but I never did. I was reckless and cocky around their germs too because--why should I care about germs if they never made me ill? I had no real appreciation of how fabulous it is to be healthy because, over time, I forgot how much it sucks to be sick.

When I met my husband, Tom, he got sick all the time--usually something I brought home. Our first Winter Solstice together I was working for Reese Witherspoon. Both her kids, her ex-husband, the other nanny and her mother who was visiting came down with a terrible 24-hour-stomach bug. I didn't get it, but Tom did. It was comical.

When Tom moved in with me and started eating the way I eat he stopped getting sick and neither of us ever really thought about it again until this January when Tom went to Nicaragua for ten days. He lived off of pizza and burgers and then he sat next to a sneezing, nose-blowing person on his plane flight home. Five days later, he had the whole Sick Experience: sore throat, sneezing, itchy eyes, nose blowing, aching body, dead-head, super tired. This lasted about five days. I didn't worry very much because we both knew why he got sick and we both knew that I wouldn't get sick.

But I did. I didn't get as sick as my husband, but I got tired and sneezy. I even had to blow my nose. Did you know that if you blow your nose too many times in one day it gets raw and uncomfortable? I had faint memories of a similar realization back in 2004.

So why did I get sick? Well, during the month of January I had done a "Primal" experiment, altering my diet to see if I would feel even better than I already do most of the time by not eating grains, legumes or tubers. From my research I had concluded that the Weston A. Price Foundation diet recommendations that I follow regularly are superior to the Primal diet, but I am a sucker for science experiments and every body is different and so many people were swearing by the Primal diet... I figured I had nothing to lose. Well, I did have something to lose. The good health I take for granted! I guess there is something in those soaked/sprouted/fermented grains, legumes and tubers that I normally eat that keeps my body healthy because OMFG being sick sucks!!! How does the average American deal with this four times a year? I am totally pissed off.

You know who else got sick? My toddler. His very first cold. And granted it's amazing that my child did not get sick for the first time until he was fifteen-months-old, I'm pissed about that too.

I concluded my post about my Primal experiment by saying that the Primal diet was a good way for people to kick the Standard American Diet. Now I think: the Primal diet sucks. 

Ugh, okay, in FreedomSpeak: My Primal diet experiment did not meet my need for good health nor did it meet my expectation that I would find something to share with people I like. I feel disappointed. And annoyed.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Cool, Sexy, Fun Anarchy

How does calling yourself a Voluntaryist, Anarchist, or Libertarian make you feel? Do those ideas with which you identify empower you?

To put it another way: if you want people to support a certain cause (peace and freedom, for example) if you want people to take on an identity, what will it feel like for them? How can you make a certain identity an empowering one? Or at the very least--cool, sexy and fun.

Right now, the realization that one identifies with Anarchist, Minarchist, Libertarian, Objectivist or Voluntaryist views (which I will shorten and call "AmLov" views for the rest of this article) is a depressing, horrifying realization. To be a Regular American is way cooler than to be an AmLov. AmLovs are the freaks on the fringes of soceity. They wear a lot of black but they are rarely sexy. They complain a lot about government conspiracies to keep them sick, but they are rarely healthy. They complain about people stealing from them, but they don't look like people who have anything worth stealing. They mostly seem angry, unhappy and lonely. Perhaps that is because that is how they are portrayed on television, but perhaps there is a grain of truth in every stereotype. Either way, who wants to feel angry, unhappy and lonely? 

What if identifying as an AmLov felt empowering? What if identifying as a Libertarian felt as cool as a car commercial, as sexy as a fashion magazine and as fun as a summer blockbuster?

This is what I see as largely the difference between the new and old generation of AmLovs. Old-timers are all about neo-cortex conversion politics. The new AmLovs know that the best way to convert anyone to anything is simply by modeling it, modeling how awesome life is, how confident, happy, healthy, wealthy and wise we are now that we identify as Freedom Lovers. But... are we? Because I don't want to seem anything, I want to be all of those things.

My favorite video on this subject is:

I was thinking about this because of a similar topic: Cool, Sexy, Fun Health

There are some ideas that sell, catch on and catch fire in the public imagination and have the potential of changing the world. Most of the ideas that do change the world are not good ones. There is so much amazing information out there that has a tiny audience.

I was so frustrated with all the bad health advice being given that in my twenties I started a company called Nutritionally Perfect Meals--and then I found the Weston A. Price Association. Their views were exactly what I had discovered after years and years of research. How was it that they had existed that whole time while I was doing all that reading and researching but I had never heard of them? How is it that today, the Paleo Diet, so similar to WAPF yet so inferior, is the one that has captured the public?

My theory is marketing. Check out these two magazine covers:

This is the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Association. Incredible information. Very dense. But look at this cover compared to the one below for the Paleo Magazine. Who would want to identify with this MESS when they could identify with the COOL, HIP Paleo cover below.

I read both magazines cover to cover and the inside of the magazines are the same as the outside. Paleo sells sells sells. Their articles are not long and are fairly shallow but they are upbeat and always make being Paleo cool.

The Wise Traditions (WAPF) articles are long and packed with scientific research, number, graphs, experiments. The information is awesome but it is is just your friendly, local health-nut, librarian with tons of information that you can take or leave. They are above selling themselves.

Whether or not you know anything about WAPF and Paleo, the first magazine cover is the current Voluntaryist, Anarchist, Libertarian movement. The second magazine cover is where I would like us to go.