2/27/09

MY list of Healthy Weight Loss Habits..

As an attempt to get my eating in order I used some online sources to make my own list of some weight loss habits I will try to follow for at least a week. Would love to know about any weight loss tips you find helpful.1. Cleaning up your home in order to increase your physical activity level. 
2. Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. 
3. If you are going to school (I'm a teacher),  go for a walk in between classes. Try to walk for at least 10-15 minutes. Taking these short walks on a daily basis adds up.
4. Park your car farther away from your destination. 
5. Workout for 30 Minutes Twice a Week
6. Do workout DVD with Nora (she loves yoga-ish poses)
7. Walk my dog more often. 
8. Do pushups during commercials
9. Listen to my favorite music. Adjusting your eating habits is important for losing weight. Let’s face it, all those extra pounds are the result of foods that were consumed at one point or another. Starving yourself certainly doesn’t work and isn’t practical, instead here are some tips to help you eat smart and lose weight.
10. Read the Nutrition Facts food labels. Eat within the serving given. 
11. Eat 5-6 smaller meals per day instead of the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner.  12. Decrease your consumptions of bread, rice, fried foods with breading, cereal and pasta.  
13. Drink lots of water. 
14. ELIMINATE fast food restaurant visits. 
15.  Track your weight loss progress daily. 
16. Take Before Photos.  
17. Take a nap or a shower when feeling strong cravings. 
18. Book your next beach vacation. 

Just Watched A wonderful Movie


I just watched a wonderfully moving film on HBO called Taking Chance. I cried during the whole movie. It's based on a true story of a Marine's experience while escorting another Marine killed in battle.  It is an absolute must see for all Americans, left, right, center. For a complete schedule of showing times go to HBO online.

While on that topic. How come we never hear about the American Military casualties in Iraq anymore? 
I looked this up.....It's very important to know. 
* Total Wounded: 31054 total, Over 100,000 
* Iraqi deaths due to U.S. invasion: 1,311,696

I look at that number, 4251 casualties and try to wrap my brain around what that looks like. I then came to realization that what I saw tonight has been repeated FOUR THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED FIFTY TIMES; all across America  It's too much to bear. 

Would love to know what you think. 

2/26/09

If you have not discovered ETSY......you are missing something in your life




This necklace can be found at www.Sproutonline.etsy.com

 It was about 4 years ago a friend of mine was surprised I knew nothing of ETSY.com. She told me I'd love it and about it's many ways to search for items and I decided to go and have a look around. I was addicted at hello. Since then most of my holiday and birthday gifts come from ETSY.com.  They are well priced but most importantly, everything is unique and sometimes even one-of-a-kind. Below are just some items I found at etsy.com that I'd love to get if I had the money......(I also have my own store on etsy, www.MiriamsArt.Etsy.com).

For the jewels below just click on the link provided and you'll be taken to the appropriate etsy store. 

 This necklace and the ring below can be found at www.Sproutonline.etsy.com
 This ring and the necklace below can be found at www.jealousydesign.etsy.com
 This amazing bracelet can be found at  www.Jealousydesign.etsy.com

Antigay Violence Endangers Gays and Straights Alike....

                                        Jose Sucuzhanay was beaten after leaving a party at a church. 
I read about the case of an Ecuadorian immigrant beaten to death in an apparent anti-Latino and antigay hate crime in December. "Jose Sucuzhanay was beaten after leaving a party at a church. Police arrested Hakim Scott, 25, on Tuesday and charged him with second degree murder as a hate crime. A second suspect is still at large."

"On December 7, 2008, police say Jose Sucuzhanay and his brother Romel had left a party at a church and were embracing each other to keep warm in the cold when Scott and another man approached them in a car in Brooklyn's Bushwick section, about a block from the brothers' home. Police say the two assailants shouted antigay and anti-Latino vulgarities and attacked the brothers."

"Jose Sucuzhanay, 31, died of his injuries in December hours before his mother arrived in New York from Ecuador. Romel Sucuzhanay, 34, suffered minor scrapes."


Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said the incident should send a message that antigay violence endangers straights and gays alike.

How have we come to this where seeing two men hugging can make someone angry enough to get out of their car and beat you to death. Let's look at this fear we have of men being soft. As a teacher I have experienced parents who comment negatively upon seeing a boy wearing red. It's so so sad to see how fear can create such horrible and deadly results. I'm sure Hakim Scott felt real stupid having to now do time for killing two brothers and not two gay men as he had ASSumed. 

I pray to see the day when both men and women are allowed to be anywhere in that masculine/feminine spectrum and not just on the peripherals. I personally think masculine men and feminine women are overrated. I have always found men who are in touch with themselves and boyish women much more interesting than the boring-ol' mainstream paradigm. Think about it.  If all women were the same and all men were the same life would be so boring. 

 

2/25/09

Little Princess Pageants -----Oh the horror



I just finished watching Painted Babies on cable TV. It's a show about little girls whose parents enter them into national pageants to win big money and prizes; some are as young as 8 months old. I can't help to feel so bad for these little girls. All the mothers claim it really helps with self esteem, confidence and presentation skills. One grandma said that one competition they give out cars to the top 5 winners and she needs a new car. Another mom claims the money won at pageants will be placed into an account for college. 
What's my problem with it?  I have many....too many...

1. At every competition only about 5 out of about 20 win the big prizes. One girl lost and she cried and cried..I could hardly bear it. In the future, will this learned life of total perfection allow her to be happy just being herself?

2. In most of these cases the parents were way too invested in the results. 

3. One judge was asked what she was looking for in a girl and she said, she is looking for a total package.  Not just performance, or just looks.....the whole package.  If the child fails to 
deliver are these parents prepared to know how to help their child not internalize the perceived rejection. 

4. The girls are already beautiful....will they know this though about themselves or will they forever think they are not attractive unless they are decked out like a princess?

5. These parents are treating these kids like objects.  I can tell these girls like dancing and singing, etc....yet, the intensity these pageants require does not allow space for other forms of entertainment. 

6. Some of these kids are just too young.....they should be playing in a dollhouse not feeling all tense because they have to perform. 

7. I heard 2 parents sating about their daughter, "she likes to have her way." These kids will grow up to believe they are the center of the world based on the disproportionate amount of attention they get in this odd world. The real world will never be this intense. 

8. Last, they are wearing makeup.....at this rate they will never feel beautiful without it. 


2/24/09

Luke Will Discover Dinosaurs Tomorrow!!!

We went to the Museum of Natural History in NY this weekend. My son got interested in Dinosaurs. In the middle of the night, when ALL good ideas visit people's minds, I get this idea of creating a anthropologist experience fit for a 4-year old. 
 
Archeologists use a drawing of bones to identify new bones found.
 
Bones are placed over the printout.
 
Cool picture!
 
So I thought of using a whole chicken, boiling it, using the bones to place in plaster of paris and Luke could "find" them using a chisel, a face mask and a thick metal nail. 


 But as I am boiling the chicken, I realize I could make soup......so I add some veggies and barley. 
So I looked online and found this great image of a chicken skeleton.


I love the internet.....because after a little more searching I find this amazing image if the chicken bones in order. 

     I know this will be a blast!  
I will order this book from my local library and see what else we can do with chicken bones. 

Know any other cool science projects? Let me know about it. 

Parenting- My 2 cents...


When I was pregnant with my first baby people gave me all sorts of advice about being a parent. So, I thought I was well prepared to take on the challenges of parenthood. Boy was I wrong. With my second, I came armed with the knowledge from my first and thing went smoothly. Currently I see lots of friends and family around me that either have babies or about to have them, so I thought I would put together my own personal list of advice on being a new parent, or just on dealing with those 1st few days...

There is a good chance some of this advice might not apply to you. But more information is always best in my opinion. 

* It's much easier to deal with night feedings if you're nursing. My daughter can find her "food source" in pitch darkness.....even when I'm asleep.  With bottle feeding, you need to get up, heat up bottle, sit up and feed baby......I think I would have gone crazy doing that. 

* Don't be embarrassed if your child has a tantrum in public. Most people don't even notice. 

* Spontaneity in your life will grind to a halt.  No more "just grab 2 outfits and drive out of town for the weekend". You now have to pack and plan for so many what-ifs....what if he poops, what if he gets a fever on the NJ Turnpike, What if he spits up on my nice top, what if we get stuck on the highway in the winter.....

* Kiss spontaneity in the bedroom goodbye.....for a while.

* When you go to the hospital (if you end up there), you will have hopefully one nurse out of the endless parade who is just awesome.....remember her/his name.....thank them later with a gift. 

* Get ready for "what-I- think-is-best-for-baby arguments" with your partner. 

* Write/record/photograph the important moments.  You might think you will remember it all, yet, they all fade because there are so many quirks that appear and then pass through even in a year. 

* You must keep a journal for each child. I do this and feel it will be the best present for them for when they come of age. I write an entry on each of their journals a few times a month. 

* If you are the one always taking pictures, make sure you make others take pictures of you with your baby. 

* Wait for 2-3 days to take pictures of baby......they get their best color after being out for a few days. 

* My hubby and I saved $884/year on putting Nora on washable diapers. We use the Bum Genius brand; it's one-size-fits-all, expandable, and has strong durable Velcro tabs. When we use them, we place the inserts on top, no in the pocket it comes with as indicated. And....I made extra inserts with extra cotton baby blankets we had laying around. My hubby washes off poop which helps.....I could not do it otherwise.  

* One thing I wish I'd ask for at my baby shower was "babysitting coupons". 

* At the hospital prefer you not do this, you can always have the baby room with you after birth......I had Nora in bed with me the entire time I was there the day after my c-section. It broke my heart to have her in the baby room screaming her head off. 

* If you are exhausted and need more sleep in your day.....get a huge bed and bring in baby with you....you both will sleep better.....oh, and about rolling over baby.....unless you are dead drunk, or drugged, I never worried about it. 

* Feeling like you are not getting anything done during those long nursing sessions and too much baby time?  rent some CD books on tape from your local library, rip them to your I-pod and relax.......

* As a pregnant woman you get all the attention.  Once baby comes, it's all about baby......Some women have a hard time with this......

* I wish with both my kids that I learned a lullaby that the baby would listen to and help baby relax.....oh well, next baby...

* Before baby is born decide on some new fun traditions you will add to your new growing family.....One we decided on was going to the Thanksgiving Day Parade each year and the photo of us there would be our X-mas photo for that year. 

* Don't waste your money on commercial photo places.....pics you take at home of your child in natural settings will always come out better!  

* YOU NEED a digital camera...you can take as many as needed to get the right shot....have it charged and ready nearby in case.....and save pics in folders labeled by month/year format ....(0902 is February 2009). You can back them up also by uploading them onto an online album such as Snapfish.com....(my favorite online photo place). 

* As much as you may want to quickly get to see how they'd be at 5, 8, 12.....21 and imagine all the fun things you'll be doing together then, put those thoughts aside and enjoy them as they are now......They'll never be this small again....Even tomorrow they will be one day older....


***The print above is a digital collage created by myself and could be purchased at my older Etsy store. 

2/20/09

A look at Presents.....and Gift Wish Lists


I know we are now a hop and skip away from Christmas and focusing on Spring coming, yet I need to address an issue that's been bothering me. Presents.   Presents are supposed to be an expression of care or love from one person to another and given on special occasions such as the holidays or birthdays. 
It's been a few years now that I have heard parents tell me about their kids' Christmas lists and stressing out majorly about fulfilling each itch and scratch on that sacred list. How did this process ever get this intense and specific.  As a person who hates to waste and buy things for the sheer motion of spending, I am literally appalled at the idea of kids making these lists of numerous toys they just must have and then expecting them to be fulfilled to the letter. Where is the spirit of Christmas in this process?

I know to some that are wedded to this letter-writing process like water to fish, questioning this concept can seem very extreme.  Yet, when you look at the reasonings behind the actions, writing a letter asking for what you want is completely incongruent with the true message of Christmas. It encourages children to be more greedy, needy and self-centered. 

I intend fully in raising my two kids thinking about and buying gifts for others on this day and learn how to make others happy through their giving nature. What lessons are we really teaching our kids if they are taught from the start that all their needs must be met or else the world falls apart. Isn't this more teaching kids that they SHOULD always get what they want or else you will be miserable. This feeling of entitlement will only hit a harsh life lesson sooner or later. 

To be perfectly honest I do not ever care what is on someone's wish list for it sets up a self-centered focus of which I want no part of. My gift is a part of me and my world, carefully chosen with you in mind. I place a lot of thought into my gifts. You might claim that through my plan the gift might go unnoticed or unused or un-thanked because of its incongruence with the personality of the receiver of the gift. Yet, what you do with that gift says more about you than me. You might not appreciate it now, or much later.  But at one point in life the receiver will appreciate the individualized thought that went into the choice before them. 

Last, I believe in gift courtesy all the way. Verbal or handwritten thank-yous matter in gift giving. As I said, no one is entitled to getting anything and everything they want. If you get it and no matter your thought on it, be thankful. 

17 Things that Being an ART TEACHER has Taught Me (A list)



I absolutely love teaching children....especially art.  Below is a list of things that this line of work has taught me about people, children and the education system.

1. There are 2 kinds of adults, the ones who think visual art instruction is essential in education and ones who think it's optional. 

2. I have been teaching for 13 years and only as an art teacher are you adored!

3. Children who keep asking if they are doing right do not trust their own instincts and need to be encouraged to answer their own questions. Helping kids to do everything does not help them.

4. Testing and bubbling in bubbles, a, b, c or d do not make creative, innovative citizens.  It simply makes good followers. 

5. In every class the child who draws best is often labeled the "class artist". I can't stand it when teachers verbalize this opinion in front of the whole class. It kills anyone else's chances of succeeding in this field.  All children and human beings are creative in all sorts of ways. Talent is too often tagged onto the ones whose self-esteem has been uplifted to a higher level.  It's our job as teachers to elevate all children to know they too could reach a higher level with hard work, passion and vision. 

6. Paraprofessionals are teachers too....they should be held to the same standards as teachers. 

7. Telling a child that the sky is blue not yellow stunts his independent spirit. 
8. Difficult children do not need to be elsewhere....you need to change the way you talk to them and deal with them in order to bring learning to them. Children learn in different ways and just b/c they do not learn in your teaching style, does not mean they need to be elsewhere. 

9. Feeling successful at something is more important that learning all the facts.....years later you have forgotten the dumb facts anyway, but you will remember that you felt stupid forever. 

10. All cranky, easily frustrated and lazy teachers need to be fired.....they have no business working with kids. 

11. Talk negative to a child and he will remember you and those words deep into adulthood. 

12. Artists get a bad rap....but all those famous people everyone drools over are ARTISTS....

13. Spend more time praising than reprimanding.....sounds better....

14. I play relaxing music in my art classes for the teachers, not the kids....they relax and let me do my thang....

15. If all the work looks the same it's a craft....I call them recipe projects (no brain work there).....if they are all different, kids learned to look within......

16. I teach directly to the sacred inside each child.....their behaviors and little once in a while annoyances are tiny temporary bumps.....not who they truly are.  When you see each child as sacred, they see it and dare not give you grief. If you have them shaking with fear of disapproval, they are too stressed to learn. 

17. Teach with love......respect....and most importantly, patience. And if any of those 3 ever stop..quit. 

2/19/09

My Two Cents on the Anti-foreclosure Plan


The very bare-boned basic facts of the Foreclosure plan set out by President Obama are the following. The plan will allow lenders and borrowers come to new terms. Most of the funds will pay for incentive money to encourage lenders to modify troubled loans and to subsidize lower interest rates to reduce borrowers’ monthly payments. Yet, after five years, the interest rate will begin to gradually adjust upward again. 

 Although this plan could possibly help four million at-risk homeowners to stay in their homes, I can't help to this this as a temporary solution. I assume that what drove most of these desperate  people who are so close to losing their homes, was buying homes they could not really afford. I hate to paint a broad brush across this problem, yet one cannot deny that greed is the fundamental root of this problem; on the part of the banks, mortgage companies and yes, the home buyers. I can't help thinking that this plan will simply postpone the inevitable; the eventual loss of the home. If most Americans feel they are somehow entitled to being a home owner, regardless of their financial situation, then the issue is more about what we feel we need to have to be part of the "American dream".  For if one does not know how to live simply and wisely within their financial means, always craves for more than they have,  then the problem will never be solved by just throwing more money at it. 

My husband and I did not buy a home during the boom. We simply could not afford it. We wanted one very much, but realistically we could not do it at that time. We saved money instead and now have more than enough for a 20% down payment. Therefore, now that homes are more reasonably priced, we are finally looking.  Yet, in looking at President Obama's Plan, where is the reward in being responsible when people who lacked self-control and sound judgement are being offered reduced interest rates among other concessions. 

I absolutely feel it's a horrible thing to lose a home. It must be a terrifying and desperate situation for the entire family. Yet, in trying to explain my position I am reminded of Suzy Orman who told a single mom on Oprah who were about to lose their home that they should sell to the lowest bidder and get a one-bedroom apartment as a way to make ends meet comfortably. Worse things have happened. 

Now if only President Obama would just come up with a home incentive (more than the 8K one form the stimulus package) to help home buyers who do have a qualifications and down-payment buy a home. It would fill up a lot of those empty homes in no time, and maybe get things moving once again. 

A little sanity into the LEAD Poisoning panic


I went to my favorite thrift store 2 days ago and was in shock to see they no longer sell toys at all, nothing. For as long as I can remember that was always the best part of going to a thrift store; the cheap toys you can get for your kids. For pennies on the dollar you can make your kids happy and your wallet stays intact. I asked the lady at the desk about this change and she said, "It was because of the lead issue and they could not take the risk."  In my mind I'm screaming, "Oh, come on!  are you kidding!"  

From my experience 99.9% of toys in thrift stores are toys that were sold in toys stores in the U.S.  Perhaps this lead epidemic was considered a real problem the real issue should be addressed at the step of the problem.....like when U.S. purchases cheap toys from China with the help of very low standards.  But to so indiscriminately get rid of and throw away all the toys from stuffed bears all the way down to soccer balls is a very absurd and over-the-top reaction to this issue. 

I searched online to find out if this was going to be a wide ranging change and to my surprise it's an effort made mostly by Goodwill. A Goodwill official states that they have been "working hard to make sure the toys on their shelves are safe for kids." They are removing metal jewelry, toys with lead paint and mini bicycles because they could potentially cause lead poisoning. That is much more understandable, but to obliterate the entire toy section, as my Goodwill did,  is so wasteful and an overreaction to this issue. 

I am writing a letter to my local Goodwill and letting them know I want toys back in my thrift store and to demand they go through the toys in order to prevent lead-filled items from being sold. 

If you are interested in getting a signed and numbered limited-edition print of the above digital collage, go to my Etsy store. 



Jogging Again!



I am very excited to announce that I have started jogging again. I have always loved exercise and the way it made me feel afterwards. When I was younger I would run 6 miles almost every day. In college I also jogged, although not as obsessively as in my teens. Yet, come motherhood and after two c-sections something changed in the way I saw myself. The reasons behind such changes are too tangled and deeply rooted in my subconscious to bother going into in great detail, yet I generally felt a disconnect with my body, particularly my lower stomach muscles where the cuts were made and no matter what I felt weak.  Feeling strong and able is one of those feelings you naturally get when you exercise regularly, and I did not feel that anymore. It's not a feeling you can just turn on or off apparently. I just could not think of myself as strong. I felt fundamentally weaker to the core.

Interestingly, these days I feel the beter living in my body than I ever had than I did in high school where I weighed 120 lbs. (which would be a dream come true now). In high school, I felt just  miserable about my weight. I went to a high school in NYC where fashion and super-skinny was the fad. If I could only go back and actually enjoy my body then I would do it just to see what it would feel like to be there and feel fine. As a 35 year-old I do not intend on feeling bad about my body now no matter what I weigh. The me inside will shine through regardless. 
I am reminded of a woman who once posed nude for a drawing class I took in college. She disrobed and revealed a beautiful overweight figure and did it with pride. This blew me away. I then knew instantly that what one felt about themselves had nothing to do with weight....but what was going on between your ears; your thoughts. Since then whenever I revert to my self-deprecating thoughts,  I'd invoke her image and imagined myself as her, proud and just loving my curves!

Having a daughter I will make sure she knows she is whole and perfect in her body. I will also work on my personal body issues so that she does not ever have to grow thinking she's lacking anything as I did in my body. 

Gotta go jogging.....

The Value of Visual Images-A tattoo is born

This is a great image I found online.  It's a print done by an artist Laura Cesari. I am not too crazy about celtic designs for me personally, but what a great transition between woman and tree.  


This one print is sold at an Etsy store called, Redwisper. These 2 are great for generating ideas. 

I am a big lover of tattoos. They are a source of great strength for the individual and I am glad to see less stigma due to their widespread popularity. 

As an artist I have a very developed imaginative visual world that coexists alongside this one. When I hear a song I imagine myself dancing in the air like a bird, when I am full to the brim with laughter I imagine myself a child. I know these visual scenarios are just thoughts and have no reality.  Yet, they certainly help keep me occupied. 

So it came no surprise when I began visually seeing myself and identifying myself as a woman turning into a tree. I have always experienced and interpreted trees  to be a pure representation of nature and what is very right about this earth.  The visual image of me morphing into a tree alludes to an instinctual turning inwards for answers and growing in a way that does not conflict with nature and all of its creatures.  

I then realized that having this image on me would reinforce my movement in this positive direction and also strengthen my resolve to stay on this route for the rest of my life. The plight of having this tattooed  became of spiritual  importance. I found several pictures online that carried a similarity in the image yet varied on the clarity of force of the message I was looking to express. Now it's a matter of finding the right tattoo artist...."Artist" being the key word here. Someone that would add their own personal style to the whole design. Any suggestions?


2/18/09

Second Update on Recycled Paper Mosaic Collage


Okay....I know this mosaic collage is going very slow. Changes in the kids' time schedule have now withered my free time to a mere hour during each day. Not much for personal time I know but I am not complaining. I love being there for and with my kids and playing with them 100%. Some artists might have different set of priorities, yet my art is always second to my time with them.  They are only this little once. 

I need to still finish the top....

Details of the unfinished bottom

Details of the yellow

My spiral work......I am just learning about all the cool possibilities. 

America's Obsession with BLING questioned...


So we are in a recession. People are lessening their expenses, and being forced to live a simpler life in order to make ends meet. In the middle of all this, two nights ago, I am looking for a channel to help me relax as I  nurse Nora to sleep. I catch a show on WEtv, none like I've seen before called, Platinum Weddings. It's not a new show by all means, it's just the first time I've seen it. This program showcases couples who spend extraordinary and unbelievable amounts of money on their wedding.  As I watched an entire show something about it bothered me, yet I could not quite put my finger on it. 

Aside from the obvious thoughts that could pop up such as, "With that 130K, someone could pay for an entire house"....etc....there was another idea that began to take form. The idea of the unquestioned fascination with BLING as being an unquestioned American obsession. The most, the biggest, the loudest seems to always win out over any other paradigm. Does it?  Does money really bring happiness? 99.9% of the population will say "No, material objects do not bring happiness" yet, still drool at the sight of a fancy car or act amazed at hearing about some celebrity's extravagant spending spree. These ideas of materialism's empty promises are as old as I am, yet I think most people do not really believe them. Deep in our core, we still value ourselves by how much we can frivolously spend. 

I was told once by a very bright principal of a school I worked in 4 years ago, "If you have a problem do not come to me unless you have a solution." My solution to this show would be to change it's focus. I would love to see a show called Creative Weddings.  In this show people of all walks of life, people who are more like you and me, make their day special. As a naturally creative person who places supreme value on creativity over expense, I do not see any merit in buying a chandelier worth 30 thousand dollars for a one time event; what is creative about that?!!   I do on the other hand find merit in a couple that thought up some incredibly unique way to make their day stand out without all the expenses. If you open your mind, beauty does not come dressed in diamonds....beauty is everywhere. 

2/16/09

Our Day Trip To The Empire State Building in NYC in Pictures

View of Pire from 86th floor observatory
Shadow of the empire on the city below
I was here in chinese.....JK....I can't read it.....but I think it's cool
The gals, Nora and Moi!
My two men, with their beautiful smiles. 
What a beautiful city....you can catch the curve of the earth....amazing!

2/15/09

Do All Four-Year-Olds Have QUIRKS?

Today as I chased my son Luke, who's 4, around for a picture as he ran and hid deep under an table (picture below).  Just then, I thought to myself that he surely has many odd quirks such as these where he hides when mommy want to take his picture. It's been months since I've been able to easily snap a shot of his beautiful smiling face without having to make some sort of "deal" with him. I wondered to myself as I chased him, "do all 4-year-olds have odd quirks as these?".  What I have learned from these quirky behaviors is that they are short-lasting and not worth fighting or placing efforts into changing; unless of course you want to have high blood pressure.  The best lesson all parents learn through experience, and experience alone,  is that, some battles are just not worth fighting. You might start out with all sorts of neat ideas of hoe you want to raise this child but the child will MOLD you into a more flexible parent in not time; to put it mildly.  Before I had my own children I thought myself very sensitive to other parent's parental-related issues due to the fact that I had quite a few years teaching under my belt as well as a fancy education degree.  Yet, looking back now, I realize that I was often too quick to judge parents on how they dealt with their children's misbehaviors.  Yet life seems to always come full circle in the most ingenious of ways. For now as a parent I experience the reverse situation.   I see and feel the ways in which people without kids are often too quick to judge me in ways I deal with my child. What might seems like to an observer as us allowing Luke to carry on some less-than-pleasant and possibly disruptive behavior is actually a well planned approach on part of my husband and me. As hard as that may be to swallow, I actually choose not to fight some battles. 
 Luke making a face.....did not want his picture taken
He even hid under the table
It does not bother me one bit to see people without kids think of me as doing things wrong.  It's actually a reaffirming situation that shows me first hand that life has all its lessons built into time. In time, all knowledge will reveal itself and everyone is exactly where they should be in terms of their learning cycle. I smile and think to myself, "wait....just wait...."