Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Vag TV - Not as Fun as it Sounds

Have you ever been really good at something, only to get really self-conscious about it when someone starts to watch you? 

I cook dinner for my family just about every day, but when my mom starts to watch me cook something that I've cooked 1000 times, I start to fumble around and forget steps. Or what about when you are eating something in peace and then someone starts to watch you eat? Eating is easy! You know how to do it! But all of a sudden, eating becomes super awkward when you have an audience.

I've had to learn how to perform well under pressure during my training as a musician. Every Friday afternoon for four years, I attended a class called "Recital Hour." It took place in the recital hall. Each week, a handful of students would perform a prepared solo.

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On stage...

In the spotlight...

For an audience of their peers...

Talk about nerve-wracking. I had to perform in recital hour at least twice each semester. This class was supposed to teach us how to perform for an audience.

I was super nervous on the days it was my turn to perform. What if I messed up? What if they laughed at me? What if I humiliated myself? What if I forgot the music? What if the music falls off the stand? (That happened to me once during a Scholarship Contest. I survived. I also won the scholarship.)

I always practiced at least three hours a day during the week. I always did my best to prepare for recital hour. But no matter how prepared I was, or how great I sounded in the comfortable solitude of the practice room, I always messed up on something during the performance. I just didn't perform the same way in front of an audience as I did when I was alone. I eventually learned how to overcome my performance anxiety, but it still feels very different to perform for an audience.

So when I visited some clients a few weeks ago, I was reminded of what it feels like to perform for an audience. I often remove my shoes and leave them at the front door of a client's home when I go visit them. This was such an occassion. After the visit was over, I walked to the door to put my shoes on. They were sneakers, and I know how to put on my shoes. I really do! I've put on shoes so many times that there is no way I could ever keep track of how many times I've put on shoes. All of a sudden, things got really quiet. My clients were watching me put on my shoes. And I felt really weird. Awkward. So I sang, "I am putting on my shoes right now. And I feel really awkward!"

We all had a good laugh at my silly song.

But still. I felt awkward. And watched. I wanted to run away, or clam up. This experience reminded me of Vag TV. What is Vag TV? Vag TV is:

  • That awkward moment someone asks you how dilated you are. And you've never met the person before. Or maybe you have. 

  • When you get asked when your due date is for the 1000th time. That day. 

  • When you walk around at church, and two people exclaim "You're so big! You're so small!" At the exact. same. time. 

  • When your friends/family/facebook friends from highschool you never even talked to so why are you facebook friends start asking you at 36 weeks if you've had your baby yet.

  • When your sister/friend/cousin asks if they can attend your birth...just to see what it is like...

It is feeling watched. Inhibited. Uncomfortable. Awkward. Rushed. Ogled.

Most people don't mean to do this. It happens, nonetheless. I know I've accidentally contributed to my fair share of Vag TV. I do my best to be mindful of this and stop as soon as I realize what I am doing.

I learned recently that the conditions for birth need to be like that of a date night. The same hormones that flow during a nice intimate time with your partner are the very same ones we want flowing during birth. These hormones don't flow as well when we feel watched, inhibited, uncomfortable, awkward, rushed, or ogled.

Rowan TwoSisters, Urban Curandera and creator of the Labor Whispering protocol, based the protocol off of Vag TV.

Simply put, Vag TV can stop labor.

Let's not do that.

Turn off the Vag TV!

Schedule a Labor Whispering Session if you need help with that. 

Read more about Vag TV from my fellow Labor Whisperers:

Birth Announcements by Maureen of Apple Tree Doula Services

Why Your #32Weeks Post Might Be Delaying Your Labor by Jessica of Illuminated Revelry

Ever Heard of Vag TV? (Pronounced Vah-Juh) by Erin of Mothering Nature Birth Services

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

5 Best Toys for Babies

Babies are born ready to learn about the world around them. There is no better way for them to learn about their world than through play and exploration. As the late Mr. Rogers said, "Play is really the work of childhood." But how does one play with a baby? Do they need toys? What kinds of toys do they need? Not surprisingly, the only toy babies need is their favorite thing of all- YOU! You are the most interesting thing in your baby's life. You are already equipped with everything your baby needs: from warmth, comfort, safety, and nourishment, to fun and entertainment. Here are my picks for the 5 Best Toys for Babies.

1. Your Face

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Your baby loves to look at your face! Babies love to see exaggerated faces with big smiles and big surprised eyes. Because babies process what is going on around them much slower than adults, it'll take almost an entire minute for a baby to mimic what you are doing. Literally, give them a minute, and they will try to mimic you. Newborns can only see a few inches in front of them, about the distance between your face and breast. Lean in close to them so they can see your face.

Things to try:
  • Make funny faces
  • Poke out your tongue
  • Give kisses
  • Wiggle your eyebrows
  • Smile

2. Your Voice

Even before birth, your baby recognizes your voice. It is amazing to watch a brand new baby turn toward the parents' voices when they greet their new baby. Your baby loves your voice! It is a great toy.

Things to try:
  • Sing songs
  • Make funny noises
  • Talk to baby
  • Be sure to listen too!
  • Read to your baby

3. Your Breasts

Breasts are used for more than just nourishment. Even if you are not breastfeeding, your breasts can provide some entertainment, or even just comfort, for your baby. Many babies want to nurse when they are hungry, sleepy, scared, lonely, or even bored. I often ask people, "When you pick up a new kitten, how to you usually hold it?" Most people cuddle a kitten right up close to their hearts. Because they are cute. The same goes for babies. They like to be snuggled close.

Things to try:
  • Let baby have tummy time on your chest
  • Wear your baby in a carrier against your chest
  • Wear a nursing necklace while cradling baby
  • Skin to skin contact on chest
  • Warning: older babies sometimes entertain themselves by twiddling nipples

4. Your Hands

You will do so much for your baby with your hands. Your baby has likely already enjoyed your touch while in the womb. You may have already noticed how your baby responds to your touch with kicks, jabs, and wiggles. The fun continues after birth!

Things to try:
  • Massage
  • Tickles
  • Peek a boo
  • This Little Piggy
  • Let your baby grasp and explore your hands

5. Your Legs

Your legs can provide so much entertainment for your baby, especially when they get a little older and more mobile.

Things to try:
  • Dance with your baby
  • Bouncing games in your lap
  • Sit in the floor and just let them climb over your legs
  • Lie on your back and play airplane
  • Prop your baby up with your thighs and just let your baby look at you

Your body can provide plenty of entertainment for your baby. In fact, they can become overstimulated just with you being their sole source of fun. Signs that your baby is overstimulated and needs a break include (1):

  • Looking away
  • Shielding face
  • Pushing away
  • Fussing 
  • Crying

When your baby becomes overstimulated, things you can try include (2):

  • Let baby suck on something
  • Hold baby close
  • Stay calm
  • Wait for baby to look back at you before resuming play
  • Wait for baby to be calm and relaxed

It doesn't take much to entertain your baby. As you can see, you are all your baby needs for hours of fun. In fact, I still joke that Mommy is a jungle gym when it comes to my three kids, who are 5, 3, and 6 months. You are more than enough for your baby!


(1) And Baby Makes Three, Dr.'s John and Julie Gottman, pages 44-45
(2) Ibid. 46-47