What “Extended Nursing” Really Looks Like


momenoughNever read the comments on an article about extended breastfeeding. In various levels of bafflement and contempt, they boil down to two ideas:

  1. Boobs are for men.
  2. Nursing is weird.

Every other permutation – extended nursing makes you a child molester! You’re doing this for your own benefit! You’re trying to keep your child a perpetual infant! – comes from these two premises. Throw in some ideas about how we have to foster independence in children as soon as possible, usually by cry-it-out, suck-it-up, spare-the-rod-spoil-the-child schools of thought, and you’ve got a recipe for some serious nastiness.

So don’t bother reading them. Seriously.

But even moving past the crazy, there’s still a lot of misconceptions about what extended breastfeeding means and what it looks like. We don’t see toddlers nurse in public. We don’t talk about nursing a three-year-old to sleep. When we think of breastfeedng a four-year-old, we imagine the infamous Are You Mom Enough? Time Magazine cover. But for many reasons – and many mothers – that’s far from reality. “Extended nursing” is actually a lot more boring than the tabloid-ish sensationalism lets on.

“Extended nursing” is actually a misnomer.

As Barbara Higham, managing editor of La Leche League’s Breastfeeding Today schooled me, the correct term is “full-term breastfeeding.” “I  don’t like the term ‘extended’ breastfeeding,” she says, “because really it is just sustaining something that is perfectly normal. ‘Extended’ makes it sound unnecessarily prolonged when in fact natural weaning is just trusting children to stop when they are ready, which they all do of their own accord.”

Basically, you can trust your kid to wean well before his SAT prep class. “Extended” breastfeeding isn’t weird – it’s normal. In fact, anthropologist Katherine Dettwyler estimates “the minimum predicted age for human weaning” at 2.8 years, with a maximum of 7.0 years. Makes nursing your four-year-old totally unremarkable, doesn’t it?

A toddler or preschooler doesn’t nurse like a newborn.

When we imagine nursing, we think of the newborn every-two-hours-or-more schedule. What we don’t see? Nursing once in the morning. Nursing for naps. Nursing for sleep. Once your kid passes two years, you’ve probably stopped whipping your boob out in public. Because you aren’t nursing for nutrition only, you can set some boundaries.

Toddler nursing symbol
Toddler nursing symbol from Dr. Momma

And full-term nursing pairs have boundaries.

The WHO recommends nursing for two years, and then “as long as mother and child desire.” That mututality is key, because, face it: no one really loves to pull her shirt up in public. If I let my three-year-old nurse whenever he wanted, I’d be attached to him for half the damn day. He has to have boundaries. For us, that means he nurses once in the morning and maybe once in the afternoon. I say “no” a hell of a lot more than I say “yes.” He also isn’t allowed to pinch my skin, roll around, or pat my breast while he nurses (all normal nursing behavior) because I don’t like it. This teaches him about physical consent, which is super important in today’s world.

Mamas don’t choose to full-term breastfeed because they like it. It’s often frankly a pain in the boob.  

They have lots of reasons, but it’s certainly not for cheap thrills. Most women say it’s rather uncomfortable, in fact, to nurse a toddler. They do annoying things like dig their chins into you, or forget to flange their lips properly. Some lose the wave-like sucking motion infants instinctually use. This doesn’t mean they’re ready to wean, but it does mean it doesn’t feel the same to nurse a toddler as it does a younger infant.

Plus, they whine for it, some more than others. When they whine, you have to say no. Then they throw a tantrum. This happens at least once a day in my house.

Full-term nursing has psychological benefits.

Attachment theory suggests that meeting a child’s needs – often allowing dependence – encourages future independence. Secure attachment in childhood, achieved partially by allowing that dependence, predicts secure attachment in adulthood. For some children, full-term nursing encourages and aids that attachment – in our case, particularly after an unexpected sibling.

It also stop tantrums. And everyone want a magic wand to stop tantrums.

It also has physiological benefits – for both mother and child.

Immunological benefits of breastmilk don’t magically end at age one. Your child continues to get immune-boosting help as long as he continues to nurse. There is some evidence it may help his gut as well – a reason I’ve continued to nurse well into toddler years.

And the longer a woman breastfeeds, the healthier she is, with a lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. The last three run in my family, so I’ll take all the help I can get.

You know someone who practices full-term breastfeeding.

Just because you don’t see a mama nurse her three-year-old doesn’t mean she isn’t doing it. In fact, many mothers nurse their children past the expected one-year mark. While there are serious problems with determining how many, ask around. Especially if you’re a hippie parent, you know someone who nursed past the age of one, two, or even three. You’ll find many toddler mamas nursing to sleep. Because of societal stigma, they usually don’t broadcast it.

It doesn’t produce weirdos.

I had two friends who nursed past the age of four. Both are stable individuals who manage to integrate into normal society and even raise children without wearing prairie skirts, molesting kittens, or evidencing blatant sociopathy. One remembers nursing quite well, and is grateful to be able to nurse her own children. She doesn’t think it’s gross or strange, either.

So if you practice extended nursing, you aren’t alone. Rest assured you’re making a choice you feel is best for your family and your child.

And for Pete’s sake, don’t read the damn comments.

Have you practiced full-term breastfeeding? Did you decide it wasn’t for you? Share your story! 


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Oscha Monk’s Belt Review

dinoConfession: I never joined the Oscha madness.

I remember when Oscha was The Hot New Company. Thebabywearer.com had a thread for swapping Oscha to Oscha only, because no way would someone trade their unicorn fuzz Oscha – and all Oschas were unicorn fuzz Oschas – for a mere regular wrap. Think the handwoven craze was the first run on wraps? Oscha beat them, people, with only mechanized looms, a website with serious carting issues, and some Scottish pluck.

Like any craze, the Oscha madness died down. But the wraps remained, and most of them still fetch retail or above. That reason is simple: like true unicorn fuzz, they wrap well, they use quality materials, they have a devoted following, and they offer stellar customer service.

They also have good designs. Zoe and Mike design most of the wraps in-house (another recipe for a successful wrap company). Their dragons (shui) are highly sought after in all forms, and their roses have been copied by pretty much everyone but Didy*. While their politically-timed Scottish tartan** obviously isn’t an in-house production, it’s seldom Oscha releases a wrap they didn’t design.

cha3So Monk’s Belt is a rarity to begin with. And yes, the design does come from the pattern of actual monks’ belts: tiny squares, with a double-warp/weft overlay gradation. Yes, that sounds confusing. Look at the damn pics. The red and blues and teals meld into gorgeous purples. The wrap’s beautiful in pictures and stunning in person, with plenty of shimmer.

The pattern promised lots of stretch and bounce – the squares would lend an extra diagonal stretch – and the wrap delivered. Monk’s Belt wraps with enough bounce to get Sunny bopping up on and down on my back, and stretches well while wrapping. The design also creates some grip, so the stretch helps make the wrap job less of a wrestling job.

I wore Monk’s Belt pretty regularly for over a week; it came on what we’ll call holiday in honor of its Scottish origin. I liked its medium-thickness (270 gsm) in the Mordor-like cold of the Northeast, but didn’t find it overwhelming in milder temperatures. The bounce made it a decent ruck wrap for a 25 pound baby. I didn’t prefer it as much in a one-layer carry with a Baby Bear (30 lbs) or Dragontrainer (37 lbs), but at that point, you need a designated toddler-weight ruck wrap anyway.

It feels solid on the shoulder, with some bounce; this isn’t the wrap for someone who wants memory-foam cush. But the stretch gives you a fairly moldable wrap job. I didn’t find it saggy, but fans of wraps with less give may find the stretch becomes sag after some wear.

oscha2I think this is a wrap that will shine more as it breaks in. With 100% combed cotton, it promises to resolve into kitten-belly softness, much like other combed cotton oschas. The weave makes this feel less floofy than motherhood knots or roses, but I’d bet that with time it’ll develop a little more cush.

I liked this wrap best in multilayer carries, though it performed well in a ruck tied under bum. Once I worked the passes into place, it rocked a shepherd’s carry. And I got compliments on the colorway everywhere I went – it was distinctive enough for non-wrappers to notice.

Three years ago, this wrap would have sold out in about thirty seconds, then fetched triple retail on the secondary market. I suppose it’s still available from oscha because the pattern is something of a departure from their usual figurative jacquards.  Maybe it’s a pre-Christmas wrap buying freeze. But the intricate coloring should woo some mamas, especially since the colors do resolve themselves into some purples.

Expect this to sell out once the holiday season is over. I’d love to see this weave in some other blends and colors. Oscha still weaves with unicorn fuzz, people. This wrap proves it.

oscha
See Manic Pixie Dream Mama on Facebook to win!

**Though you can argue their On Roses is within shouting distance of a copy.

***Yes, some of us Americans noticed the release date timed with the Scottish independence vote.


Bonus Bear comments on Monk’s Belt: “You mean the one with the crazy Spiderman colors? Yeah, that’s pretty. Everyone you showed that to has been like [insert high girl voice] I need this for the colors!!!!!!!”


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Toys from the Attic: Retro Gifts to Buy This Christmas

Admit it: you don’t buy toys for your kids. Oh, you purchase mounds of them, all right. But they aren’t for the rugrats gathered ‘round the Christmas tree. Nope. You buy toys for yourself. Oh, the kids might play with the toys. But we’re only living vicariously. It’s a hard truth. It’s an embarrassing truth. But that stuffed sloth? That was all about me, people.

Toy companies have finally gotten hip to that truth. So this Christmas, Matel and company have rolled out some serious 80s and 90s toy envy. Buy yourself the childhood you always wanted with this year’s top toy picks – for you, not them.

These kids are inside, waiting to beat yours over the head.

Star Wars

Han, Luke, and Chewie are back. There’s an animated series. There’s a new movie on the horizon. And Lucas and co. knows you’ll succumb to the siren song of a plastic Jabba the Hutt figure. While the new stuff might confound you – who the hell is Ezra Bridger? – you’ll find plenty of the old school trilogy to keep you happy. I hear Target’s even stocking a limited edition, super-slutty Slave Leia.

Barbie

Sure, Barbie never died. She’s sexist, unrealistic, with proportions that would make it impossible for her to even stand. But the accessories! Buy that Barbie Dreamhouse. Buy the pink corvette. She’s an astronaut. She’s a fairy. You can buy her a unicorn. Because, somehow, that acid-trip pink explosion was never complete without a unicorn.

My Little Pony

These ponies definitely look, well, sluttier than the ponies of yore. They’ve somehow contracted Barbie’s eating disorder and acquired anime-freak eyes. But you can brush their manes. That’s all you ever cared about, anyway.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Heroes in a halfshell! Turtle power! These make exactly as much sense as they did when you were ten. But just like when you were ten, you totally don’t care, because you can buy a strap-on shell and some nunchucks.

Chrissy the giraffe: because I'd have killed my dog for a 5 foot stuffed giraffe.
Chrissy the giraffe: because I’d have killed my dog for a 5 foot stuffed giraffe.

Giant Stuffed Animals

I mean, these were always around, but your parents never bought them for you. You really, really, really wanted that life-size stuffed dog, didn’t you? Your parents bought you the tiny one instead. You knew they couldn’t afford the big one, but dammit you really wanted that dog. Buy your kids a five foot tall Melissa and Doug giraffe to assuage that inner child.

Care Bears

Ah, the rainbow-colored fuzzy bears that live in the clouds and shoot love from their bellies. Like many products from the 1980s, they can only be explained by the excessive use of cocaine. But damn if they aren’t fuzzy and cute. The reboot bears look much like the old ones, and even include Funshine Bear and Tenderheart Bear. I’m buying them right now, even if they are a thinly-veiled advertisement for ecstacy.

Old School Lego Sets

Screw all that canned complicated Lego bullshit. Lego Bricks & More are all simple sets meant to encourage the same messing around you always loved about Legos. Sit down and build without some super-confusing instructions and tiny, specific pieces. Or just say screw it and buy your kids the Lego Millenium Falcon. The choice is yours.

Playdough

Complicated bakery playsets that encourage eating the inedible? Or just a giant pack of dough in a rainbow of colors? The fun comes from mixing them all up, anyway. Roll it into snakes. Make a ball. Feels good, doesn’t it? Only now you’re the one scrubbing it out of the carpet.

Easy Bake Oven

Complicated bakery playsets that encourage eating the marginally edible. You could always let your kids use the real oven, but where’s the fun in that? The Easy Bake oven’s so much cuter. Bonus: your kid can scar themselves the same way you did two decades ago. Sort of like matching tattoos, except burn marks!

Snoopy Snow Cone Maker

Grind the ice. Cover in dye-laden, artificially flavored syrup. Eat. It’s still a pain in the ass to turn that crank, but damn it: you’re eating a snowcone. For almost thirty bucks, you’ll use it twice. But snowcones!

Cabbage Patch Dolls

Your parents beat each other up to buy one for you. Now you can purchase identical dolls at Target, complete with weird birth certificates and Xavier Roberts signed across the ass. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. But their creepy mythology and unsatisfyingly unbrushable yarn hair remains.

What retro toys are you yearning for this Christmas?


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Peter Pan and the Roots of Racism

Peterpan-disneyscreencaps-3773It seems trivial now. Amid the ugly roil of Ferguson, the choking brutality of our police forces, the I-can’t-breathe, serve-and-protect, hands-up-don’t-shoot rhetoric of an increasingly angry protest movement, talking about Peter Pan seems faintly ridiculous, if not outright offensive. “Let this one go,” someone told me. “There’s too much else going on.”

And it certainly seems that way. But the issues with NBC’s recent Peter Pan live – and indeed, with Peter Pan in general – lay bare the dark heart of American racism. White America strains away from the ugly truths of Ferguson, of Garner, of the black men shot by a police force sworn to protect them. But a beloved fairy tale? How could something so innocuous be wrong? How dare we go after the ur-childhood, the ultimate fantasy of Neverland?

Peter Pan means magic. He is adventure, imagination, pirate-fighting and adult-confounding, lost to the straightjacket of civilization. He can fly. And how many of us yearned to go with him, to take off towards first star to the right and straight on til morning? We thought lovely thoughts and never, ever said we didn’t believe in fairies. We loved Peter Pan. We love Peter Pan now.

Even those who agree that America has a serious race problem don’t want to face the fall of the boy who ran away the day he was born. We’ve lost faith in our police. Surely we can’t now go after a beloved childhood classic.

Except we have to. No matter how painful, no matter how stomach-churning, white America must take a long, hard look at itself. That includes casting a light on our beloved stories: among them, Peter Pan. Yeah, there’s an Indian thing in there, Princess Tiger Lily. The Disney version has a squirm-inducing song titled “What Makes the Red Man Red.” But surely, while Neverland isn’t exactly politically correct, it’s not that kind racist. Right?

Well, considering that the stage play has Chief Great Big Little Panther saying to Peter that, “You Great White Father,” and considering the caricatures can’t be excised from the story, yes, it is racist. And while the fantasy has long been protected by its intentions – the Indians are portrayed through the Neverland, child-fantasy mindset – it’s time to confront the deep-seated problems with the story itself, and even with modern portrayals.

Peter Pan Live! - Season 2014This eyes-of-a-child excuse is the first problem. In a land of childish savages, of civilization rejected, the Indians are the most degenerate. Even the children treat them as other, and even the (all-white) children are superior to them. They speak in gibberish – ugg-a-wugg-a-wigwam, which the NBC production augments with actual Native American phrases – degenerated to nonsense.

And they are just “Indians” (though orginally, at least in Peter and Wendy, Barrie calls the tribe the “Piccaninny Indians”, which, seriously – wow.) “Indians” is enforced as a catch-all culture of feathers and loincloths and teepees, of wigwams and tomahawks. They fight the white kids, who save the flower of their tribe from the evil pirates.

Lumping all American Indians together as one monolithic caricature is grossly offensive, because these are real people, with many, many different cultures. American Indians exist not in the dim past, not in a white fantasy land, but in the real world, on the reservations we herded them onto. Their portrayal is the American Indian equivalent of blackface.

Even the most hardened among us (usually) deplore blackface: it reduces blacks to a subservient caricature. Neverland’s Indians accomplish the same. We wouldn’t let our children to watch blackface. So why do we show them native peoples as feather-clad tomahawk wielders?

Authentic Native American dress?
Authentic Native American dress?

NBC tried to divert the racial issues by Tiger Lily’s casting: she’s played by an actress with (some) Cherokee background. Bully for her. It doesn’t change that the character’s name is Tiger Lily (a name given to a native North American plant by European settlers).

These issues lie at the heart of American racism. We give them a pass. We build up stereotypes of sub-par people of color early on in life; we resist questioning them. We might cringe a bit. But we don’t want to give them up: we love Peter. Calling out the racism in Peter Pan would mean losing him, somehow, and we don’t want that.

Racism begins here. From the seeds of the caricatures come Billie Holiday’s strange fruit.

We value a childhood story more than the respect of an entire people – a people whose subjugation continually benefits us. Live in America? That land once belonged to the caricatures on your TV screen. Our political ancestors raped, killed, pillaged, burned, marched, and stole from them. We built our country on their backs. These facts matter. And so our portrayal of American Indians matters.

When we close our eyes to this racism, we close our eyes to the roots of Ferguson. And until we show a willingness to acknowledge it, Ferguson will happen. More deaths will happen. Our country will explode, and explode again, and explode again, until we are willing to look at ourselves and our stories. We must see the ugliness in ourselves.

And we must confront it.


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Top Ten Comments My Family Made During NBC’s Live Peter Pan

We made the mistake of watching all three hours of NBC’s live Peter Pan. This involved a calling Comcast to figure out my mother-in-law’s DVR (she didn’t have one), explaining commercials to my hippie three-year-old, and lots and lots of hate-watching. Here are the top ten comments from manic pixie clan (special kudos to my texting sister-in-law).

Christopher Walken is a walking qualuude.

He’s making Jack Sparrow look like a shining bastion of heterosexuality.

Is this taking place at Burning Man?

People will look back and think, yep. December 4. A girl was asking another girl to kiss her while Captain Hook wore rouge. That’s when I became a homosexual.

This is why we don’t have cable. One day, this will become like Rocky Horror Picture Show. Or The Room. Probably The Room.

At least they aren’t singing “What Makes the Red Man Red.”

Captain Hook looks like an ancient, dying Angelina Jolie.

forbritisheyesonlyLook! They just flew over Little Britain!

I think the 29 year old Lost Boys are a comment on American society.

Well, I just wasted three hours of my life.

Baby Bird Handwoven Review

babytaiwaneseSuper cute story: so Lisa, the weaver behind Baby Bird Handwoven, had three girls who were mostly outgrowing wrapping. But she got her first handwoven anyway because hey, we’ve all been there. Instead of being carried in it, the girls made the wrap into a nest and played baby birds. When Lisa started weaving, the girls collected the loose threads and fluff to make – you guessed it – bird nests. So Mama Bird named her company Baby Bird Handwoven, because how could she not?

My boys usually pretend they’re dragon nests. Maybe we should cut down on the knights and dragon stuff around here.

Cuteness aside, Baby Bird was born (hatched?). Lisa sent me her first (!!!) tester, a gorgeous green striped number in plain weave. It feels a solid and exact medium in hand. It’s unicorn-gorgeous in person, and because the tester’s been around some, unicorn-soft, too.

I sometimes like plain weave, and sometimes don’t – it’s a hit or miss depending on the quality of the thread and the phases of the moon and the weaver’s astrological connection with the planet Venus. Greenlove was woven with Brassard 2/8 cotton, so maybe that helped me feel the love. But it wrapped it up and yum.

bbsleepGreenlove, which is not its name, has more bounce and stretch than most plain weaves. I’d say it wears more like a twill. It has some nice shoulder cush, though it’s not memory foam, and plenty of stretch that gives a moldable ace-bandage carry.

I used Greenlove with Baby Bear and Sunny, in both front and back carries. It gave me a nice kangaroo, though I preferred it in a carry like double hammock: it has more grip than slip. Like pretty much most plain weaves, it wouldn’t be my first choice for a toddler ruck wrap, though I liked it fine tied tibetan or in multi-layer carries.

I didn’t find it saggy with big kids; it was soft for Sunny. Plus the green is basically to die for (hence the nickname Greenlove, because I have to call it something and Lisa didn’t share its name other than The Tester). This would wear well on long hikes or Target runs, and didn’t give me pressure points with semi-sloppy wrap jobs. The no-fuss weaves means this is a handwoven you can use as a beater wrap, too.

bb1Unicorn hair? Maybe a touch. There isn’t anything specifically and particularly magic about Greenlove, other than the green. But, somehow … I’m rather mad for this one. It’s got decent stretch and bounce, with enough grip to stay put, but not enough to fight back. It supported both my boys, without some magic elf cloud on the shoulders, but without any pressure points or digging. If I owned this wrap, I’d drag it through the mud, use it as a picnic blanket, and then hike ten miles in it. That’s some high praise, people.

Lisa only started weaving this year – March, in fact. I’m looking forward to seeing what she has in store for the wrap world. I’ll definitely be stalking.


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Top Ten Worst Parts about Christmas Shopping for Your Kids

  1. They want all the things. You cannot possibly purchase all the things on an income less than that of Bill Gates.
  2. You suffer with the cruel, cruel knowledge that whatever you buy will simply add to the vast amounts of clutter stuffing your house. You buy it, and you’ll clean it up.
  3. Legosaugust
  4. You hate the Teenage Mutant Star Wars Anorexic Barbies. Your kid loves the Teenage Mutant Star Wars Anorexic Barbies. Your kid claims s/he will die without the Teenage Mutant Star Wars Anorexic Barbies Jumbo Party Bus Playset. It costs $59.95 plus tax.
  5. Other people are also shopping for their kids. Other people are inevitably assholes.
  6. You cannot escape the Christmas music. One more repetition of Merry Christmas (War is Over) and you might commit sepukku on the front steps of the Mall of America.
  7. The Starbucks lines are inevitably, cruelly long, and the chick in front of you want some peppermint mocchino limited edition vanilla crush thing. You just want a double shot of espresso. Bitch.
  8. You blew your babysitting budget – to go to Toys R Us.
  9. It’s Christmas Eve, and who forgot the kids’ stocking stuffers? (You won’t remember your husband’s stocking stuffers til Christmas morning.)294066_10101185600279457_731134514_n
  10. You’re outside the store before you remember you’re out of one of the following:
    1. wrapping paper
    2. scotch tape
    3. ribbon
    4. vodka

What do you hate most about Christmas shopping?

 

Poe Wovens: Herringbone Neige

neige2(and a giveaway! See Manic Pixie Dream Mama on Facebook for more details!)

Poe Wovens has come a long way. Since their release of Harlequin Neige, they’ve started a handwoven line, begun a popular lending library program, and now finally stand poised to begin their long-awaited herringbone release.

Herringbone was one of the first weaves Poe proposed, and for a variety of reasons – mill delays, sewing issues – it’s taken a while to come down the pipeline.  It’s no surprise Poe decided to add this weave to their line. Since Didy released its first Lisca in February 2013, babywearers have loved herringbone weave for its fluffiness, smooshiness, and diagonal stretch. Its drawbacks? It tends not to be supportive enough for big kids, because that stretch can turn easily into sag.

birdieHerringbone neige is 50% mercerized cotton (also called perle). Stand by for a quick fabric and chemistry lesson, because a) it’s interesting, and b) it  makes wraps amazeballs. Mercerization is a chemical process that adds sodium hydroxide or other acids to cellulose fibers under tension (i.e. cotton and less frequently linen and hemp). It changes the chemical structure of the cotton fiber, swelling the cell walls. Then several very scientifical things happen: the fibers become more lustrous (they become smoother and hence reflect more light); they absorb more water; they absorb dye better.

Mercerization makes cotton smoother in hand, and shinier. It has a lovely heavy drape and hand-feel; it’s softer then regular cotton (which makes sense, since it’s already had some chemical breaking in). Basically, in lots of cases, mercerized cotton beats the pants off the regular stuff.

Still listening? I know, it got science-y. You can do it. Cotton fibers under tension + acid = yummy yummy mercerized cotton that’s shiny and soft and drapey and smooshy.

bird2Herringbone neige uses 50% of this wondrous shiny stuff, and another 50% regular ol’ cotton, in the familiar lisca/herringbone weave. And it’s glorious.

It came to me  cuddly and memory-foam smooshy with one washing and wearing under its belt. And, well … I handed it to a friend while it was here. She glared at me golem-like, gathered it into her lap, cuddled it, and began scheming over how to make it into a poncho.

Herringbone neige has all the parts I loved about harlequin neige – without the harlequin pattern, and with extra smoosh and cush and cuddle. Herringbone delivers a lovely stretch, and this wrap’s no exception. The mercerzied cotton gives it that extra little itsy bit of diagonal stretch that makes all the difference, and it also lets the wrap glide over itself.

bird1This glide and stretch makes this a great wrap for practicing new carries. It delivers an ace-bandage stretch, and it moves around more easily than anything I’ve ever wrapped with. I spent my time with this playing around – herringbone neige is too fun for my average double hammock. I did Charlie’s Cross Carry, and Taiwanese carries, and back wrap cross carries with fancy finishes. I got wonderful wrap jobs from this because of the glide and moldability.

The stretch also gives it plenty of bounce. I love bounce, and I know something’s awesomely bouncy when Sunny bounces himself to my step. And he did with this wrap. It bounces like a jade or like harlequin.

I preferred it to Didy Liscas for several reasons. I found the mercerized cotton more glide-y and less grippy – good for new carries, and bad for sticking in place (I prefer slip to grip). It also felt softer in hand. I’d rate its smoosh about equal, though I liked it better for big kids.

Yeah, when Poe gets it right, I’m in love. I like the softness of the mercerized Egyptian cotton in this, and I really love Nancy’s affinity for diagonal weaves that give lots of stretch and bounce, with an ace-bandage moldability that gives you tight carries. We have the same taste in wraps, I think. I know I’m gushing but realsies: love this baby.

Basically, it feels like butta. Super-fancy Kerry Gold, butter, y’all, because this wrap feels fancy. Yeah, you can dress it up or down, because it’s neutral. But for reals, I want to fringe the edges and make it all fancy. It’s perfect for baptisms and weddings, but works with jeans too. My only complaint? I didn’t want to use it in rainy parking lots.

I didn’t feel like the stretch degenerated into sag, either. At times, with my big kids, I had to be careful to get alllllllll the stretch out before I tied. But as long as I made the extra effort, I didn’t find them sagging down my back. Herringbone neige lent big-kid carries a lovely smooshy shoulder feel, with plenty of memory-foam cush.

And for squishes? I practically ovulate when I wrap with it. The softness makes it perfect for a new baby, and it’s not too thick to hang up newborn legs. At 225 g^m, it’s actually thinner than a lot of wraps coming out lately, but the mercerization gives it a heavier drape while actually making the cotton lighter. See? It’s magic!

I know, the wonders of chemistry are less sexy than unicorn blood.

ANYWAY, I was hooked and I’m buying the tester. So no giveaways with this baby!

No ponchos either, bitches.

lakeLuckily Nancy sent me a scarf. So head over to my Facebook page to find out how you can win a Herringbone Lake scarf. No mercerized cotton, but it’s gorgeous anyway.

Herringbone Neige comes out on December 10 and will start at $165 for a size 6, going up and down $5 per size.


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Oh yeah, and there’s a giveaway going on. So go over there!


Language Systematically Dehumanizes Michael Brown

But it might as well be.
But it might as well be.

Officials announced yesterday that a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson on any charges related to the shooting death of 19 year old Mike Brown. Since then, reports have focused, almost exclusively, on the rioting in Ferguson. 100 shots fired! 150 shots fired! Twitter screenshots about molotov cocktails! Fox New takes a whole article to breathlessly inform its readers that the FAA is diverting some flights over the Ferguson area (10 flights, because of gunshots fired into the air – but there’s still a “restricted airspace” over Ferguson! Just like Iraq!).

No charges. Not murder, not negligence, not excessive use of force. Wilson will not be charged for any of his actions or inactions in Brown’s death. Neither, it seems, will the negligent medical examiner whose dead camera battery precluded him photographing the scene

Officials have released the usually-sealed grand jury testimony, and all major news outlets have used it in their articles. They’ve quoted. They’ve summarized. CNN broke down major findings point-by-point in a seven-page mobile click-through. And insidiously, those news outlets use those quotes and summaries to dehumanize Michael Brown.

Liberal bastion MSNBC criticizes Brown less than most, though its article ends with Wilson’s discussion of how Brown has the crazy eyes:

“I’ve never seen anybody look that, for lack of a better words, crazy. I’ve never seen that. I mean, it was very aggravated, um aggressive, hostile. Just, you couldn’t, you could, you could tell he was lookin’ through ya. There was nothin’ he was seeing.”

Fox News hardly bears discussion, mostly because we expect them to dehumanize people of color. But Jesus takes the wheel when Fox quotes Wilson:  Brown looked at him with the “most intense, aggressive face… The only way I can describe it, it looks like a demon, that’s how angry he looked.”

So let’s go to CNN, whose reporting America imagines as middle-of-the-road unbiased rationalism. Their article summarizes what Wilson told the grand jury. Like the others, it upholds the status quo; the first bolded point notes that Wilson had never previously fired his gun on duty.

Wilson says he wanted to keep Brown “contained” until he could get backup. In what he’s already called a “not well-liked neighborhood,” “hostile,” and “with a lot of gun activity,” he needs backup to make an arrest – especially since he wasn’t carrying the sole stun-gun owned by the Ferguson police department.

Newsflash: you use stun guns to keep animals “contained.” The word itself carries a clinical, animalistic connotation; he could have kept Brown “in sight,” or “in the area,” or “under police observation.” The different words point to the different choices Wilson could have made. Most notably, he could have surveilled Brown until he got backup.

CNN tells us Wilson said Brown “turned on him,” generally the way you describe a mad dog rather than a human. When Brown is shot, “His body kind of jerks” – not him, but his body. Brown is reduced to his physicality rather than his status as an actual person. Wilson underscores this when he says that, “And the face that he had was looking straight through me, like I wasn’t even there, I wasn’t even anything in his way.”

Brown made, Wilson said, “a grunted, aggravated sound” when he turned to run at the officer. Not speech, not a word, but a grunt, merely a “sound.”

This psychological distancing is normal for soldiers in a war zone. That’s not just what Ferguson’s become, that’s what Ferguson already was: a “hostile” neighborhood, a community that “doesn’t like police.”

But it’s natural to dislike those who see you as animalistic and inhuman, isn’t it? When news outlets continue to highlight Wilson’s testimony, and to emphasize the rioting over the injustice, they uphold the status quo of race relations in America. They keep up the tensions in what has long been a cold war – a cold war getting hotter with every reported molotov cocktail.


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Stop the Frozen Soundtrack: Songs to Play for Your Kids

They’ve commandeered your radio. Drivetime used to be your own. But now, even your Sirius/Spotify/actual CDs have given in to the tidal wave of kid. Yes, you’ve got to feed the beast. But there’s ways to keep the kids content without losing your mind. If the Frozen soundtrack has you thinking about an ice pick to the brain, here’s a playlist both you and the kids can love.

“Godzilla,” Blue Oyster Cult

Giant mutant dinosaur, destruction, driving bass and a simple chorus. Your little kaiju will love this one. You can scream the lyrics pretty tunelessly, and when your kid shouts the “oooooooh” part, you’ll have to hold back the giggles. So cute you’ll make them sing it at parties for your half-drunk relatives.

“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” The Flaming Lips

Small girl fights robots: gender equality and robot warfare. You can get away with the rest of the album, too, and have a decent conversation about music theory during the instrumentals. But you don’t want to think. You just want to listen to the Flaming Lips.

“Little Ghost,” The White Stripes

Awww, just like Casper. This song has an easy chorus, a catchy beat, and quick wordplay. Your kids will, however, sing it unendingly, and tunelessly, and probably make you long for Let It Go. That is, until you give in and sing along with them. Just like Frozen.

“The Hardest Button to Button,” The White Stripes

You really can’t top Meg White for super-simple catchy drums. This song starts with getting a baby. Try to make the kids clap along! And forget that you, too, have opinions that don’t matter, and a brain that feels like pancake batter. In fact, if you’re really at a loss, just pop in a White Stripes album and pretend you’re in college again. Those people shrieking behind you? They’re just drunk and sucking helium.

“Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen

Big, outsized emotions: kids get that. See if you can get them to do the voices. Succeed, and you automatically become the coolest mom of all time. Then make them sing it at parties.

“Sink to the Bottom,” Fountains of Wayne

It’s simple. There’s an ocean, cars, and planes. My kids really, really love to scream this one. Which is sort of disturbing.

“Psychokiller,” The Talking Heads

Yes, it has the word “psychokiller” in it. But once you get past that, it’s got … a great beat and some easy lyrics. It’s also an essential part of any budding hipster’s musical education. Make them clap along, and bonus points if you teach them what “q’est-ce que c’est?” means. See? Your kids learned French!

david-bowie-venture-bros-sovereign“Space Oddity,” David Bowie

It’s about an astronaut! Your kids will remember this part, and not the sense of crushing isolation and suicidal elation. Your kids need David Bowie, mostly because everyone needs David Bowie, and again: hipsters.

“Beat on the Brat,” The Ramones

My sons sing this gleefully and loudly: it’s just transgressive enough to be fun. They’ll also sort of adopt the Ramones’ weird version of staccato British accent. If the suggested violence offends you, go for “Sheena is a Punk Rocker.”

“Boss of Me,” They Might Be Giants

You know this as the theme song to Malcolm in the Middle. You didn’t know it was performed by musical titans They Might Be Giants, better known for such tunes as “Istanbul (Not Constantinople).” “Boss of Me” is a good, kid-friendly intro to the must-hear band, but only if your kids already know the phrase “You’re not the boss of me.” Otherwise, this song will teach it to them.

“Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” The Beatles

You can play the song. Or just channel high school and play the whole damn album. Somehow, the LSD weirdness meshes well with childhood. Later in life, they’ll think about you playing this and ask if you inhaled.

What adult music do your kids love?


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