Being a Crunchy Black Parent

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Doing our world schooling thing in Salvador, Brazil.

I joined a Facebook group for crunchy Black parents and until I joined, I wouldn’t have thought to call myself “crunchy”. Lol I know that there are some things that we do that other Black parents don’t do but I don’t think of us as hippies or anything.When I delved into the terminology a bit more, I came to understand just how crunchy I am … or possibly scrunchy. Lol

Crunchy parents tend to be more all-natural. Silky parents tend to be more traditional. Scrunchy parents tend to be a mixture of both. Here are some things we do, in no particular order, that apparently make us crunchy:

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Our son is not impressed by Kirstenbosch Garden in Cape Town, South Africa. Lol

 

#1 Babywearing

We started babywearing when our son was about 3 months old. Until that point, we were carrying him around in his car seat. That thing is HEAVY! Lol Once I realized that I could use a little piece of material to attach him to my chest I was in love. It made me hands-free and helped us bond. Talk about a win-win. We transitioned over to a mei tei when he was about six months old and haven’t looked back. He’s almost 2.5 years old and we still carry him when we plan on doing a lot of walking or when we know there will be tons of people around.

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#2 Baby-led weaning (aka No Rice Cereals)

Everyone knows that babies should drink milk (or in our case formula) until their first birthday but starting your baby on solids is a whole ‘nother deal. I knew I wanted to make his baby food from fresh veggies starting at 6 months but I hadn’t yet learned about baby-led weaning. Basically, baby-led weaning means that you make foods a bit softer/easier for your baby to eat while not creating purees.

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#3 Cloth diapering

Cloth diapering is cheaper than disposables and some would argue better for the environment. I really wanted to use cloth on my little one, but I couldn’t get the hang of it so we used cloth mostly at home and used disposables while on the run.

#4 You dabble in composting

We attended a seminar on composting from our county and the idea took root. I love the idea of not creating as much waste and then trying to use some of the waste you still create. Our county offers a simple composting tube for $10. If you do it right, it produces little smell and created great fertilizer for your home garden.

#5 You have a garden

We went our house, so we haven’t created an in-ground garden. Instead we do pots. It’s easy to do, super cheap (non-gmo seeds are a few dollars a pack), fun to watch grow, and yummy to eat.

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#6 You used elimination communication

I found out about elimination communication before we were matched and loved the idea of it. Many cultures around the world use elimination communication and have used it for hundreds, probably thousands of years. Anyhoo, when our son was around three months old we started watching for signs of when he needed to eliminate and then sat him on a potty training toddler toilet. Around 13 months old, he could signal that he needed to eliminate. Kids are going to go anyway, this just made for fewer diapers for us to change.

#7 You’re considering World Schooling

Kids are learning from the day they are born and some would argue before. We had very different experiences in K-12 but we’ve both come away with the same idea: we’d prefer not to place our kids in the K-12 school system. Once that decision was made, we had to decide whether to homeschool (have class at home), unschool (let the child lead the learning), or worldschool (use the world as your classroom). We chose worldschooling because we love to travel and it would expose our children to lots of different ways to live all around the world.

#8 You believe in gentle parenting

We are not perfect parents but he is a perfect kid. We are making an effort to speak with him in a respectful way and encourage him to feel all of his feelings. He’s a raucous toddler. He likes to throw things down the stairs and leave toys all over the house. He rarely has temper tantrums though. His adoption worker says it’s because our house is so calm. We rarely yell, we try to stop problems before they occur using H.A.L.T. and we don’t believe that he is “too old” to be held or made to feel secure. I’m not saying that we don’t have problems. I’m saying that we try to deal with those problems in a respectful way to all the stakeholders involved.

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Travel toys in Johannesburg, South Africa rental house.

#9 You limit plastic toys in your home in favor of wooden ones.

Wooden toys have fewer chemicals and encourage a child to use imaginative play because they only do what imagine they do. When people started giving us toys most of the toys were of the plastic/singing variety. We did let him keep a few, but most of them were donated. I want him to be able to use his imagination and lead the play, not follow the directions of some toy created by some adult in some lab somewhere.

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I sewed this felt campfire, logs, and stones set.

#10 Borrow, Buy Used, Buy New

For me, part of trying to be “natural” is not spending tons of money on non-essential things and using, or re-purposing, what I already have. I sew soft toys for our son pretty often and almost all the rest of his toys are used. Every piece of clothing and”baby stuff” (blankets, burp cloths, etc.) that he has is something that a friend gave us or something that we bought used. I know as he gets older, we’ll probably have to buy more new things but we try to minimize as much as possible.

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Our little one munching a snack while I put groceries in the car.

#11 Extended rear-facing car seat usage is a must.

This was one of the ones that I didn’t realize was crunchy. Studies have shown that the longer your little one is rear-facing the better chance they have of surviving a car accident. While I hope that we’re never in a car accident, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry, no? Our little one is almost 2.5 years old and is still rear-facing. We hope to keep him rear-facing until he’s four years old. We’ll see. Right now, riding backwards doesn’t bother him so … shhhhh … don’t tell him that other kids his age are not rear-facing.

#12 You taught your little one baby sign language.

They say that most toddlers become frustrated because it’s challenging for them to communicate. One way we’ve tried to help with this is by teaching our little one baby sign language. We used free videos from YouTube. We learned together and he has been signing since about 11 months old. He doesn’t use it as much now that he can talk, but it’s there for him when he needs it.

Since we rarely hear about other crunchy parents of color, please, please, please leave a message below if you’re crunchy or scrunchy (I love typing that! Lol). If you have a blog, link to that. It would be great if we could meet IRL sometime.

 

 

 

 

My Seeds Sprouted!

We planted the seeds on Sunday. It’s Friday and I see the little green shoots! Whoo hoo! There is still a long road to go, but I’m pretty proud that our little mix of potting soil worked and those little seeds are sprouting!

My seeds sprouted! Not all of them but I see about 5 little green shoots!

My seeds sprouted! Not all of them but I see about 5 little green shoots!

Not sure if you can see the shoots in this image. I'm not a great photographer, but hopefully you can see the shoots.

Not sure if you can see the shoots in this image. I’m not a great photographer, but hopefully you can see the shoots.

 

Spring Planting – Day 1

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Today, we started the seeds that will become our spring garden! This year we’ve chosen to plant:

Roma tomatoes

Cilanro

Red onions

Jalepenos

Pickling cucumbers

Collard greens

Italian squash

Green onions

Autumn king carrots

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We bought some non-GMO seeds from SeedsNow.com ($0.99 per packet of seeds) and got a 72 section seed starter (about $7) from our local hardware store. We filled each spot with a mixture of starer potting soil and perlite.

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Then we poured a little water into each spot.

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Then we put two seeds into each spot. We covered each hole with a little more starter soil ….

IMG_20140331_184157labeled each row with a little sticker that had the name of each type of seed.

IMG_20140331_184245and covered the whole thing with the little plastic top that came with the kit. I put it on my dining room table as the directions said to stay away from direct sunlight. Based on my previous experiences, we should see green shoots in about a week!

Happy gardening!