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Attachment Parenting of Jacksonville

Wednesday API at NOON!

Hello API families -
This Wednesday is our regular second Wednesday of the month meeting. The time has “officially” moved to noon, not noon:15.

Are there any members who have a particular topic they’d like to bring up? Challenges, issues, questions, anything that needs to be addressed that is API related?

Join us Wednesday at noon at the Southeast library on Deerwood Park blvd.

See you then!
aka Connor, API co leader

Holiday Craft Meetings upcoming this week!

Hello API families!

This week is our annual Holiday Craft Meeting! Reindeers, Santas, Menorahs! Footprints and handprints and thumbprints! Bells! (especially for your listening pleasure;) 

Please do come join us making fun crafts with our children, it’s always a hoot making memories to keep and share.

This month the second Saturday and third Sunday fall in the same week, so I look forward to seeing you either this Wednesday December 12 at the Southeast branch library (12:15-ish) or this Saturday December 15 at the South Mandarin library (San Jose Blvd, 10:15-ish) or both! 

Happy Holidays!
aka Connor, co-leader Jacksonville API

Another meeting reminder, tomorrow! - This month the 2nd wed and 3rd sat are close together. We are meeting tomorrow from 10:15am-12:15pm, at Camp Tomahawk Park in Mandarin, 8419 San Ardo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32217. Bring your family and a breakfast or lunch picnic and enjoy the cool weather! :) We’ll discuss any challenges or questions first - you can either post them to the forum on bigtent or here or just come to the meeting and discuss them there. If there is time when we have addressed all challenges, we will discuss our holiday topic, “How to navigate the holiday season and stay connected and sane. Family stress management techniques and tips.”

Meeting Reminder! Tomorrow!

Hello API Families! A reminder that our weekday meeting is this Wednesday (tomorrow!) at the Southeast Branch Library, from 12:15pm-2:15pm. We’ll discuss any challenges or questions first - you can either post them to the forum on bigtent or here or just come to the meeting and discuss them there. If there is time when we have addressed all challenges, we will discuss our holiday topic, “How to navigate the holiday season and stay connected and sane. Family stress management techniques and tips.”

Attachment Parenting Month with API of Jacksonville, in Summary! 

Parenting Support from Sea to Shining Sea

They say that change is the only constant in the world. My family and I experienced our fair share of change in the past year and a half, and through it all, I benefited from a myriad of forms of parenting support. My local API support group gave me a foundation from which I parented my children through all the changes and challenges, and also served as the place that I always returned when I needed support from far away. While we moved from one end of America to another, this group social support transformed into an indispensible virtual support group that I accessed via laptop or smart phone, and even once by jet plane. Parenting support is one of the primary tools that get me through the thick and thin of parenting, even from across the country.

This story of change, challenge, and support begins in Florida, my family’s long-time home, where I became a parent, and grew into attachment parenting. We were coasting though life with a tremendous parenting support network. I found my greatest support through our local API chapter, where there were always new ideas and parenting tools being exchanged. Beyond API, I found ap-style parenting support through La Leche League, friends who had grown into family-by-choice, care providers, a home schooling cooperative, and play groups. As a parent of two children, then ages 4 and 1½, I certainly had my challenges, but I also had my primary parenting tool: A continuous and diverse network of parenting support. Life was good.

My husband is actively serving in the United States Navy, and was required to attend school in Rhode Island for six months. We decided to follow our family mission: To be together whenever we have the choice, since being together is not always within our control as a military family. Departing my Florida parenting support network was heart wrenching, but as a newly certified API support group leader, I had a vision of rebuilding such a network wherever life took us. Well, life brought us our third baby, and I entered the doldrums of first trimester blahs, living in poorly maintained military housing, and the discovering food intolerances in my youngest child. My calls for starting an API support group went completely unanswered, and I quickly recognized that local play groups and neighbors were poor matches for our family. My husband became my primary source of parenting support. Under rare circumstances, he was actually home every night and off work every weekend. We had fulfilling family time and became so beautifully connected. I filled my parenting support gaps with phone calls, emails, and social media with my vast Florida support network.

Near the end of my husband’s schooling, we learned that he would be deploying overseas immediately upon the completion of his training, and thus would miss the third trimester, birth, and beginning months of our new baby’s life. We opted for our family to move to Wisconsin, my home state, for the duration of the deployment. I found parenting groups that were a good fit for us, but barely made the time to participate and forge new connections during such a busy season of life. By the time our baby was born, my local support network began falling through. My mother was caring for my father, who passed away two weeks after the baby was born, and other friends and family were unavailable to the degree that I needed them. Thanks to the monetary compensation my husband receives while serving in a war zone, I was able to hire support. Between my midwife, her student, and two postpartum doulas, I found the parenting support that got me through a profoundly challenging time. I also reached out to my support network in Florida, pleading for help. Finding that no one could come to me, I heeded the advice of a dear friend, API leader and mentor, and we went to our support network. All three children and I flew to Florida and recharged our batteries for two weeks. Coming from Wisconsin, and all the trials of the winter, February in Florida was never so glorious.

At long last, spring came, and with it, my husband’s homecoming and our move to California. We were finally going to be together as a family again! Even more, we found a home two blocks away from another military family whose path briefly overlapped with ours while in Florida. My friend and I had started our journeys to becoming API support group leaders together, and we were enchanted with the idea of serving as leaders with each other. Our families bonded instantly, and we grew into a beautiful rhythm of giving and taking, loving and supporting, and just being. My husband’s workload was intense while in California, and during our time there, he would be away for months at a time, but I was able to find overall balance in a way that I hadn’t experienced in what felt like eons, thanks to the bond my family had with another.

Wham! We received notice that my husband would be deploying overseas in eight days and would be gone for eight months. Upon receiving this news, we accepted an offer to return to Florida and stay with another family, landing us at our fifth address in only eighteen months. We are living with a family of six, totaling ten in the household, and so far, we are having a ball. Better friends, or shall I say sisters and brothers, there have never been. Not only do my children and I have our adoptive family for support, but I am back in my original parenting support network. Although a lot has changed over this short time, a lot has also stayed the same, and we are working our way back into our niche. It feels so good to be home.

There is an ephemeral state of ignorant bliss in each moment of life. When it comes to parenting, I try my best to revel in that bliss because something is always changing and creating new challenges. As a military family that moved so frequently in such a short period of time, social group parenting support was not always available or accessible as I needed it, but I found many other forms of support that helps us along our journey. Having a strong parenting support network as a part of my foundation and access to technology that bridged the distance, I continued receiving support from the community with which I was most connected. For us, navigating parenting, the Navy, and America has been a interconnected and magnificent adventure forever touched by our parenting support network.

By Elizabeth Pavlinsky, API Leader, wife to Saul Sr., and mama to Adaline (6), Saul Jr. (3), and Victoria (10 months)

This post is part of the Attachment Parenting Month blog event, hosted by Attachment Parenting International.

Learn more by visiting API Speaks, the blog of Attachment Parenting International.

Join us at VegFest and these upcoming meetings!

✷  Come and stop by the Kid’s Area at VegFest at 12:30 pm on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at Riverside Park. API of Jacksonville will be there. One of the leaders will be reading the story “Veggie Soup” by Lois Elhert, to be followed by a craft for the kids based on the book.

✷  Our regular second Wednesday meeting is on Wednesday, November 14, 2012, at 12:15pm to 2:15pm at the Southeast Branch Library.

✷  Our third Saturday meeting this month, on Saturday, November 17, 2012, will be held at Alejandro Garces Camp Tomahawk Park in North Mandarin, from 10:15 am to 12:15 pm. Bring your family and a lunch to picnic! The address for Camp Tomahawk is 8419 San Ardo Road, Jacksonville, FL 32217.

Working to be a Peaceful Family

My husband, Greg, is an amazing dad. He changes cloth diapers and washes them.  He cooks dinner and cleans up (sort of). He plays with our children, even games that he’s not interested in, with enthusiasm. Then he told me that he wanted to  join the Army Reserves. When I asked why, he told me that he wanted to be part of something bigger than his self. I felt crushed! I was barely pregnant at the time and thought that he would go and come back before the birth of our 2 nd child. That was not the case. We found out that he would not be going until after the baby was born, 5 weeks to be exact. How was I going to be the only parent to a 4 year old and a newborn when I had an awesome husband to take some of the duties of parenting?

Greg left, I begged him not to but I knew he had to go. My Mom stayed with us for a couple of months but it was not the same. I was devastated and depressed and so was my 4 year old. She missed her daddy and the way she showed how mad she was was to act out and argue with everything I asked her to do. That resulted in me finally yelling after trying other techniques. I felt like a horrible Mom for a  while. I continued to go to my local API meetings twice a month because without the positive influence I was a monster Mom. There were Mom’s that I admired and wanted to model after at the meetings and I needed that. I tried to remember all the things that my leader said like- “when de-escalating a conflict conflict, bring it down by getting on their level, lower your voice, lower your volume, lower your body”; “we are not determined AP parents by how our children act, but rather by how we respond”; “there’s no hierarchy of APness, each family learns what works best for them”; and “I didn’t become an API leader because of what a great parent I am, but because of how short I fall and I need this community to remind me of the AP principles”. I also used Attachment Parenting online as a resource. After remembering and using those techniques we were a more peaceful family.

Just as I was getting in to the swing of parenting by myself for 6 months, Greg finally returned home. We visited him twice while he was away- once to see him in-between boot camp and OCS, and the other time to bring him home. I thought it would all go back to the way it was before, wrong again. We argued and it was reflected in our almost 5 year old, as if she wasn’t upset enough about not seeing her daddy for 6 months. Greg and I started reading parenting books because we didn’t know what else to do. This new behavior was out of control and we needed some tools to help us. We decided on Playful Parenting & Raising Your Spirited Child. Those books really taught us that if we use different language she hears us better. Instead of demanding that she do what we ask her to, we give her choices so that she’s an active part of our family. I also taught the techniques that our API leader uses.

We still have our challenges with a just turned 6 year old and an almost 2 year old. When we do, Greg and I brainstorm together to find a solution and then start implementing it. I still think my husband is an amazing father and he will do anything for us.

By Melissa Cooper, wife to Greg Cooper and mama to Ari and Alana

This post is part of the Attachment Parenting Month blog event, hosted by Attachment Parenting International.

Learn more by visiting API Speaks, the blog of Attachment Parenting International.

Important: Location Change for Saturday!

Goodness, I hate short notice changes like this!! But this is totally out of our control. Please note that we are no longer meeting at South Mandarin Library on Saturday morning, we are meeting at Wee Sprout Naturally in Mandarin.  The address there is 3491 Pall Mall Drive Suite 103Jacksonville, Florida.  Please call Jenni at 904-226-0928 if you have any questions or need directions! See you Saturday at 10! We are still meeting from 10am-12:30pm :)