Jobs an Indicator of Human Dignity?

Recently I was reading an article about employee discontent over retailers opening on Thanksgiving evening rather than “Black Friday” morning. Basically, some retail employees would like to keep the tradition of stores remaining closed on the Thanksgiving holiday so that they can spend the time with their families. When I got to the comment section of the article, I was left in a state of near sickness over some of the sentiments expressed. There were three main themes among commenters– those agreeing that retail employees should have the full holiday like everyone else, those saying anyone who has a job right now should be grateful and not complain about extra hours, and those– this is the one that made me sick– who said that retail workers are uneducated and unambitious so they shouldn’t expect to have holidays free. The tone was often sarcastic, saying things like:

“May I ask what your level of education is? Oh, right– you dropped out.”

“If you don’t like it, start your own business. Didn’t think so. Don’t forget the cheese on my double stack next time.”

This is a frightening trend, not in terms of whether or not stores open on Thanksgiving, but in terms of the sheer number of people (granted through the anonymity of the internet), who really seem to tie human dignity to social status. The message from a large number of commenters seemed to be “you work a low-end job, you don’t matter”.

My husband works for a multi-national coffee chain. He says he encounters this type of attitude daily. There are friendly customers, of course, but there are also those who are downright mean and degrading. One comment I’ll never forget, for its sheer absurdity, is when a man dissatisfied with his coffee said to my husband “you drug addicted high school drop out!” Hmm… My husband has a masters’ degree and he’s never had so much as a cigarette, which makes this man’s assumption comical, but on a deeper level it is quite sad that there seems to be a whole set of preconceived ideas about people based solely on what job they happen to have at the time.

I will insist upon my children treating everyone well, with no distinction between those in a higher and those in a lower social position. People are people, and human dignity is not contingent upon the amount of one’s salary. If my children ever feel it is okay to mistreat or condescend to others based on perceived social status I will consider it a parenting failure.


Newest Words and EC Update

The vocabulary of reading words for Baby D continues to grow. I just made more word cards. The categories are areas in the home, things that belong to Baby D, and the present participle of familiar verbs. Doman says never to show the same words over and over because young children learn quickly and become bored if they are continually shown the same things. He is quite right– I haven’t made new words in a while and Baby D’s excitement had visibly diminished. He is excited agin at the new words! Here are some examples from each category:

Home Words


Possession Words


Familiar Actions


We also are continuing to speak and read to Baby D in several languages. Our latest trip to the library yielded two fun books– a book of French children’s songs that also provides music notation so I can play the melodies for him on the piano, and a book of Chinese and English nursery rhymes that has a cd of the rhymes being sung. He enjoys listening to them. We have found, though, that while he likes to hear the piano played, letting him touch the keys to make sound produces terror.

We continue to practice EC successfully. He now has a noticeable association between his potty and eliminations. He will fuss and look uncomfortable until we put him on his potty, and then he will relax and do what he needs to do. It is amazing to witness at such a young age! We haven’t missed a bowel movement since the last update.

Just because, here are a couple of photos of the little man:

Looking in a mirror during tummy time.


Interacting with Uncle G and Auntie K.

Life is Good

It has been a busy time. Baby D is growing and changing every day, and trying out new skills. He is trying hard to roll from his tummy to his back. He pushes himself up almost to the “tipping point”, but is not quite there yet. He tries and tries to crawl, and he can move forward a bit, and move himself around in a circle, but has not got his knees under himself enough to take off. He is enjoying making “raspberry” sounds and blowing bubbles, and looks right at us and makes sounds that truly appear to be attempts at speech. It frustrates him when we don’t understand. In about four weeks of elimination communication we have had four misses– not bad at all. We show him words every day, and rotate a new word into each set every couple of days. Doman suggests adding a new word and removing an old word from each set daily, but we don’t get to each set three times a day– more like twice, or once on some days. So I let him see each set at least three times before changing any words. He enjoys seeing the words. I say to him “Mommy has some words to show you. Would you like to see the words?”. He usually smiles, and when I show the words he focuses on them and smiles. All in all life is good, and Baby D continues to grow and develop.

Very Informative Post About Toys in Montessori

The New Mommy Files blog has a very thorough post about toys/materials in Montessori philosophy. Please check it out! Her whole blog is worth reading.

Elimination Communication Update

We have been actively practicing elimination communication for two weeks. It has been easier and more successful than I hoped. In two weeks we have had a total of two soiled diapers– one that we missed while at home, one that happened while we were out and did not have the potty. We still have wet diapers because we are not actively trying to catch urine. Baby D sits calmly on his potty when he needs it, and fusses if I put him on when he does not need it. this is an aspect of the communication that I did not anticipate, but I am pleased that he can communicate so clearly what he needs and doesn’t need. As soon as he is able to sit unsupported we will use a potty chair instead of the potty bowl. In my opinion EC is totally do-able and perhaps the best parenting decision we have made. If you are considering EC but feeling apprehensive, my advice would be try it– it is easier than it looks.

Baby D in a serious mood wearing a hat his father wore as a baby.

Mommy in Training


The most difficult thing about distance running while being the mom of an infant is leaving the house alone for a long enough time to complete long runs. For shorter runs baby D can come along in the jogging stroller– if he is in the mood for it– but taking two to three hours to run alone, plus the time it takes to shower after finishing, is hard to do. I am lucky in that my husband is very supportive and always tries to make sure I have enough time to train, and there are two sets of grandparents always eager to spend time with baby D. So the time for training is there… I just have to feel comfortable taking it. I still plan to run the marathon in October, but right now my workouts consist of short runs and bike rides. Of course one cannot expect to complete a marathon without having built up sufficiently long runs, so here is the real challenge: do the weekly long run, no matter what. I didn’t expect getting out the door to be more challenging than the actual workouts, but perhaps overcoming this mental hurdle– and gaining more effective time management skills– will be the greater benefit of marathon training. I expected physical challenges and growth. The mental side is a bonus. To say “I have no time for training” would be the same as saying “Training is not a priority”. It is a priority, and I want to be an example of good use of the body and the mind for baby D as he grows. I will complete the long runs, I will complete the marathon, and above all I will be the best mom I can be.

Third Day Without a Soiled Diaper

Today is our third day practicing elimination communication. We focus on catching bowel movements, and count any caught urine as a bonus. We have caught every bowel movement for three days! We keep the potty bowl with us, and when baby D appears to be on the verge of eliminating we open up his diaper and hold him over the potty bowl. While he is having a bowel movement I make a “shh-shh-shh” sound that, if all goes according to plan, he will eventually associate with the act of eliminating. I also tell him what he is doing. “You are having a bowel movement”, or “You are urinating”. I don’t have any illusions that there will never be another soiled diaper, but three days without one at two months old, having only just begun to practice EC, makes me very hopeful for success. I think using cloth diapers adds an extra incentive to catch the bowel movements. Our FuzziBunz wash up beautifully and there has never been any problem with staining, but it is easier to wipe out and disinfect the potty bowl than to wash soiled diapers. I still wash diapers every day, but just wet, no mess. I was nervous about being able to do EC, but these first few days have made me excited about continuing!

First Diaper Free Time!

We had our first diaper free time today. For a little while this morning baby D was on a blanket with a waterproof pad, adorable little bummie taking the air. He seemed pleasantly surprised– at first a little upset, then vocally happy. He did not eliminate during this time, but I did hold him over the potty bowl. He doesn’t mind the potty bowl, which surprises me. We are definitely taking ‘baby steps’ in elimination communication, but so far, so good.

First Steps in Elimination Communication

I began, gently, to use elimination communication with baby D today. My original intention was to begin from birth, but plans changed and we are just beginning now. We were able to catch a bowel movement, which feels like a big accomplishment. I held him once over his infant potty bowl, and once over the toilet. Both times he had a perplexed expression, as if he were wondering what in the world was being done to him. My plan from here is to offer the potty or toilet at predictable times– upon waking, after eating, and during diaper changes. I will also offer it if he appears on the verge or in the process of eliminating. We will have some daily diaper free time with the aid of waterproof pads. I will give periodic updates on progress.

Lesson Learned

When changing baby D’s diaper, never say it is not as full as you thought it was. He takes that as a challenge.