Thanks for your feedback on Unschooling. I'll probably keep coming back to it as something I'm thinking about (as you all suggest, there's a balance to be had and each of us will probably find a different balance).
Here's a recent article about a related subject: attachment parenting, which has raised a lot of discussion in parenting circles. When Noah was born, I hadn't heard of attachment parenting, but I did a lot of AP-like things. With Eli I'm much more conscious of what these things are- baby wearing, cosleeping, breastfeeding. Rather than being anti-feminist, which it's accused of, I found attachment parenting made me feel like I could rely on my instincts; I did it because it was easier and gave me confidence, not because it's necessarily better.
It would be a sad kind of feminism that didn't allow us our instincts and our connection with our babies. It's also silly to take things to extremes: I forget to put Eli down occasionally, which leads to ridiculous things like being in the toilet with him for two days straight and not brushing my hair or washing my face. But that's silly, because Eug is available and Eli also does great laying on his lambskin.
I'm not all that strident in many of my beliefs around baby care, but I really believe the context and timing of our choices may matter more than the actual choices. Research offers support for breastfeeding, but otherwise I simply don't know enough. Rather I want to use the wisdom of our instincts, of trusted friends and family, not because they're necessarily right (each generation has their own strange ideas), but because we can glean the context in which a particular child-rearing idea worked, or didn't.
Given how little we know and how much changes, wisdom is most powerful in the context of relationship and environment and figuring out what is working for a family: So if unschooling or attachment parenting is running you, your spouse, or your child into the ground, maybe it's time to change tactic. And if using some crutch (computer, running water, watching this 20 times with Noah) to pass the time is the difference between feeling like a run down, exasperated parent and not, I'd say use the crutch. Though it's not always so easy to identify what's not working, is it!?
I've started taking Eli to pee in the bathtub (this is the only potty that's big enough for this boy) and it's fun. It's easier now, when he can't move around and he's peeing and pooping pretty much continuously.
When Eli was first born it felt a bit daunting to start, because he didn't like the potty and it's getting colder here, so it doesn't make sense for him to be naked for any length of time. But taking him to the bathtub with each diaper change has been a really easy way to start out.
Transitioning to Cloth Diapers/Nappies
The last thing that's happening here is the transition to cloth diapers. We spent the first two weeks in disposables- for the sake of sanity and because it was raining so much- and it's a little tough to get used to washing again every day (multiple loads). Eli also came out a little small for Bumgenius Diapers, our diaper of choice. Another reason to do elimination communication: laziness. The cost of disposables and the amount of trash we created in two weeks was staggering.
Happy Mother's Day! Here's to trying whatever works. Noah turned two yesterday! He also pulled out the external hard drive with our photos, so it no longer works- note how calm I am? That's how much I trust Eug to work miracles or look up on the internet how to work miracles.