Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

Figuring out what authentic means. Motherhood and me-ness. Just being.

April 18, 2013

I read a status update on Facebook by an unschooling page I follow. It was essentially all about how difficult it can be to support others, to inspire them, and always have to push your own dreams aside. That it is okay to never achieve your dreams if you help others. The line that really hit me was something like, ‘Sometimes I feel I will always live on the edge of a black pit, helping others climb of their black pits.’ That resonated. Strongly.

The author finished the post by saying hey, that’s okay! This is the good life.

That bit didn’t so much resonate.

Parenting requires, no, DEMANDS more squashing of self than I could have ever prepared for. Of course, I transform, I submerge myself with abandon into this new life, mostly. I want my children to be more courageous and creative than I am, and I feel that I play an instrumental role in allowing them to explore, to be who they are, to experiment and wonder. I want them to be curious and engaged and philosophers. Scientists. Artists. Literary giants.

I don’t begrudge them these things. Sometimes I question myself and my own motives, wondering if I am already trying to live vicariously through them. I pull myself back. No one deserves that pressure, we all need to be our own selves in the most authentic way we can. And that doesn’t come from other people telling us how to live or what to think.

So this status update made me angry, and made me sad, and made me THINK.

Then a lone sliver, a wisp as white and frail as anything else, floated across my mind. That one of my happiest and most fulfilling times in life was at camp. And my job, my life, was about inspiring children, young people, and adults. To help foster an environment where children could play and learn how to be themselves and take risks in a supportive environment. My life was all about helping others, and fuck, was I happy.

But I can’t lie. The campers at that place fucking loved me, and that fuelled me. I was able to be more fully, authentically me there than I had ever been anywhere else. The crazier I dressed, the weird impulse to shave my head, the outrageous singing and making a fool of myself – the more me I was, the more people loved me. And so, of course, that sweetest of lessons helped me grow and be joyful.

I feel on the cusp now, but it isn’t the same cusp I know and am old frenemies with. This cusp has that black pit on one side. I don’t know about the the other side.

The grand dreams, the feeling of factual endless possibilities, I don’t think it is there anymore. Those things may actually be in my own black pit. I think of my best friends I’ve known fifteen years, longer. How we all started with big dreams, and the certainty they would come true. I’ve watched people’s dreams deflate, and I’ve mostly felt sad about that. Because I know what we are all capable of.

But now a quiet voice says, find a third way. You don’t have to always give of yourself so constantly and consistently, this is a season in your life. When that voice is pushy, it asks uncomfortable questions about what sort of model I am being for my children. When it is melancholy, it asks what sort of life I am living for myself. Can I look up to me?

How am I so good at inspiring others, at believing wholeheartedly what I say, but then I sit here, in my tattered and comfortable slippers, perched on the edge of a black pit?

Maybe it is the time to look for an overgrown path. It’s small, dusty. Meandering. I’m not sure where it leads, but I do know it is away from that pit.

Or maybe it is still the time to sit here. Trying to rest and regroup when I get small moments, stretching my neck and checking my supplies. Casting my eyes about for that path, debating if I even want that path, or something else. I’d like my black pit edge to have a stream for my feet to rest in, but then I don’t want it to be too comfortable.

So I sit here, helping my children be and believe in themselves.

While I wonder who I am. That old me, who is still in Country A, laughing in thunderstorms and driving golf carts wildly? Eating ice cream in the summer twilight?

The impossible me who was brave enough to move across the world for true love?

The new and older me, who is often achey and short tempered?

I think I’m all those, but I feel I’m something else, too. Maybe my dreams have shifted, maybe I don’t want to chase them, maybe I’m just taking a breather. Maybe it’s easier to try to forgive myself for not trying at this moment in time. Maybe it’s okay to not know. Maybe it’s fine to let the sun warm my back, to sip water, to extend a hand to others. Maybe it’s not my time. Not yet.

Maybe it will be, soon.

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Finally, I see why TMD gets annoyed when I continually ask her to find my stuff.

January 22, 2013

Am I the only one who scans?

You know what I mean. You walk through a room (or lean heavily on crutches, whatevs) and your eyes swing from side to side, noting important details.

Okay, little Spiderman with the slightly larger yellow eyes is on the floor in front of the couch. Bunny is sprawled in the corner. That tiny piece of impossibly important shoestring is on the bookshelf.

I try to store these nuggets of information so that I can casually and gracefully throw out answers to the constant pleas for assistance to find shit. Scanning is a great tool, if your memory complies. But what the hell do you do when your kid is holding a spiderman and asks for a ‘web zipper’? By the time it takes you to work out that he wants the five inches of thread connected to window suckers, by the time you actually manage to find it, just as you thrust your fist victoriously in the air, your kid says, ‘Where’s my Spiderman? I just had him.’

I’m constantly saying, ‘I don’t know. You JUST had him/it/her. You need to try to remember where you put stuff down, take some responsibility for your toys. Everyone would be happier if we all remembered where our own stuff was.’

They just look at me. ‘But where is my Spiderman? You help me?’

Increasingly, my help looks like guiding them through the process of what it means to search for a missing toy – checking under the couch, thinking about where we last played with it, etc. But no matter what I do, the flood of almost constant requests to find shit never really tapers off. They are getting really good at ‘finding’ stuff they aren’t currently looking for, though.

‘Oh look, here is The Other Twin’s Special Thing! I found it! Other Twin, I found your thing!’ This usually results in them moving it from a visible area to some other zone of lost toys, and thus the circle goes round and round.

Today.

September 26, 2012

I poured boiling water on my hand
as I attempted to pour it into the sink to
sanitize
because we’ve had the same cold for a month.

My ovaries are super sore. I guess
this is good. Grow, follicles,
grow and multiply.

The kids are naked, eating popcorn
in front of a DVD. I’ve just ordered two
pizzas.

My mom sent a big package.
Approximately half the stuff in it featured
peanut butter products. It made me laugh,
and also lock it away out of reach.

I’m wearing a very comfortable
sweatpants based outfit. My hair is
long and loose, like Ayla from
Clan of the Cave Bear.

That’s about it.

So do you want to socialise, or BE socialized? One sounds much more active (and fun!) than the other.

October 27, 2011

While rereading my last post on how Home Ed children naturally make friends with children both older and younger than themselves, I suddenly wondered why that seemed like such a big deal. After all, Snort and Coconut’s default settings are to be interested in other people of all ages. Sure, they love ‘big kids’ and want to emulate them, running around and climbing trees. But both also love babies. They think nothing of approaching a child of any age and trying to interact with them. They also love interacting with adults.

I suspect this is the default setting of many children – whether they are outgoing and act on their impulses, or a bit more reserved but watch other kids with interest.

When does this change? Why, in school.

School is the place where it is terribly uncool to hang out with someone even a year younger than you – while the older kids you look up to either look down at you or ignore you. (I realise I’m generalizing, but fairly accurately, I think.)

I don’t mean to knock school entirely. I know many of you have children in day care, nursery, school, etc. It is the right choice for some families. I think it’s one of those things that people need to consider in a lot of aspects and choose what is right for them – as are so many parenting decisions. Well, all parenting decisions. (I suspect this is why Mommy Wars and criticism of other people’s parenting styles are so rampant – because if someone is doing something differently than you, you could read that as reflecting on your choices.)

For us, thinking about our priorities in what we want for our children, school is not right at this point. I’m very happy to have Snort and Coconut with us for a few more years at the very least. I almost wrote ‘at home’ with us, but what I’m quickly realising is that home education rarely means being trapped at home! We have a very active home education community near us – we are lucky that way – and also lucky that in this country, many (most?) people who home educate do so out of philosophical reasons rather than religious. So we will have the opportunity to mix with a diverse range of people who actively accept difference, creativity, and living life out of the mainstream.

I could go on and on about the specific priorities we have for this one childhood our children get – and will perhaps do that in a future post – but for now I will say that one of the fringe (and still awesome!) benefits is that our kids will have friends of all ages.

Sleep, part two: Daytime sleep.

December 22, 2010

None of the following is as straightforward and simple as it appears. That is my warning. Establishing good sleep seems to be a circular process at times, and is certainly affected by sickness, teething, growth/developmental spurts, and growing up.

The other thing that affects baby sleep is YOUR mood. No lie. It affects them in general, I think, especially when very little. Having twins, I learned some valuable skills that I still use now – such as consciously relaxing my entire body when they were both tiny and screaming. This would inevitably calm and relax them….whereas on the occasions I was tense, the screaming would notch up a level.

End of disclaimer.

Daytime sleep – the wonderful, all powerful nap. This was something I knew would be important from the get go. With two babies, you want tandem sleep. I thought.

I don’t honestly remember much of the first few weeks, but sleep was a near constant thing. I think Coconut may have dropped a sleep between feeds first? We just totally followed their lead. Around six weeks I bought a bunch of sleep books which have since been discarded.

I don’t remember if it was eat, play, sleep or play, eat, sleep – I suspect the second, though again, we just followed all hunger and sleep cues.

That continued as the babies aged, and certain (slow) patterns began to emerge. We are now at one good long nap a day, though we had two jolly nice naps for months before they outgrew it.

How did I do it? I didn’t. Not really. The babies did. (And no matter all the tips in the world below, none will work till your baby/toddler is developmentally ready!)

First rule: never put a wide awake baby down for a nap just because you need a break, you think they should be sleeping, or the clock says they should be sleeping. If we tried sleep and it didn’t work, back on the floor they went to play and we tried again five minutes later. This saved a lot of wailing on their parts, and stress on mine.

Second rule: You need to be pretty cued into your baby in terms of knowing how they show if they are sleepy, happy, hurting, etc.

Each baby got what they needed to sleep – be it babywearing (TMD and myself are both experts at wearing a baby to sleep and then getting them down safely onto the sofa – soft structured carriers, ringslings, wraps. They are all doable. Or, of course, you can let the baby sleep on/with you!), cuddles, bouncing, etc etc.

Gradually certain sleep cues were built in. This was a special toy for Coconut (Pooh, which evolved into her much beloved transitional object and best friend Bunny) and a muslin to suck and hold for Snort. It also involved contact with me, and singing. They do have milk before most sleeping, but milk does not really function as a sleep cue for them, a thing I am very very glad about!

I very consistently sang the same song for every nap (and nighttimes, but you’ll read about that later). I very consistently made sure they had their special thing-a-ma-jig to cuddle. I very consistently would pick them up to calm and cuddle if they got upset…which was rare, as I tried to respond to their needs, made changes very slowly, etc….consequently, they’ve generally been happy during going-to-sleep times. Generally.

I guess you could say the sleeping rules came into effect. They knew what to expect, and so did I….to a point, anyway.

Gradually holding them while rocking switched to rocking till they were dozy, then holding them still. This morphed into just holding them still, which in turn led to putting them down on the couch, me sitting between them with a hand on each tummy/back (and, of course, the endless fucking singing and cuddle toys).

Eventually I would lift my hand away before they were totally asleep…. I then stopped sitting on the couch and began to sit on the floor…which morphed, in time, to putting them straight onto the couch to sleep and them smiling up at me, grabbing their toy, and curling up like little cats.There was even a blissful period where me beginning to sing cued them to run around and grab their toys, and then come up to the couch all ready to sleep.

All of these changes happened slowly and naturally, with no conscious planning.

Third rule: If you try to make a change and it doesn’t work with your baby/toddler, it could be because it’s not suited to you. Or, it could be that you are changing too much, too fast – or, as was often the case in our house, your baby/toddler just isn’t ready.

My contact with them has changed over the course of their sleeptimes – at this point, I keep my face quite neutral, I don’t initiate picking up (but if they ask I will always do so), I don’t make a lot of eye contact. This used to sound heartless to me and I wouldn’t use this approach with baby babies, but I know I am their best love and plaything, so I provide physical warmth and closeness without trying to engage them too much intellectually. Of course there are always times I hold eye contact as one or the other drifts off to sleep, and that’s lovely, too.

This also is not something I made a conscious decision to do, but once we moved into the time when both babies would sleep on either side of me while I sat in the middle, it was impossible to look at/engage with them both at the same time, anyway. The hand on the back is still how I offer them some love and reassurance if they need it. I find that certain patterns of shhing that they are used to also work wonders.

At this point in time, I can sing the sleep song while walking around (though I try not to as I think I’m a distraction) or sitting on the other couch, and they’ll go to sleep by ‘themselves.’ I’m currently morphing the singing into humming the song as they get sleepy, which will eventually phase the song out – not that I’m in any hurry to do so. I like it.

Sounds easy, hey?

Well, I went through a very bad period when Coconut dropped down to one nap and Snort was not ready. I am entering a new bad period where Coco takes much shorter naps than Snort. Responding to each babies’ needs has consistently meant that Coconut’s sleep needs changed before Snort’s did. And even now, there are days where a baby (or two) needs some kissing, cuddling, rocking. Usually, though, it’s some milk, some singing, and then sleep.

If they are obviously tired and just messing around, I am very consistent in lovingly saying, ‘It’s time for sleeping now,’ then firmly putting them back on their spot. (Though on occasion I’ve practically thrown Snort back onto the couch as he acrobatically rolled off the couch!) They now know ‘It’s time for sleeping now’ means no more playing, they need to lie down, etc.

We have found that naps set the tone for bedtimes and night sleep in our house, but that post will be coming next. No doubt TMD will be much funnier than I am, and I believe I have some awesome pictures (*ahem* videos, too!) of her tandem babywearing while marching up and down the lounge singing….and her head all wrapped up in a pashmina so no one can pull her hair. It’s hot.

I can’t stress enough that if you choose to be baby led in terms of letting them gradually develop a schedule that perfectly suits their little bodies and minds (and only possible, I guess, if you are a stay at home mum?) it requires a lot of patience, trust, and long sightedness. We decided early on to never do controlled crying or crying it out with the babies – and TMD has been the one to religiously stick to this, even when I am tempted to let them howl from here to kingdom come.

This post obviously is aimed at people who want a sort of sleep time like we have, though many, many people are content to have their babies sleep all naps in slings, or they crawl into the family bed with their baby and nap too! All a-okay and super deluxe fine in my book.

As things stand, both Snort and Coconut nap on our big couch, while I hang out on the other couch. It’s important I get a chance to physically rest while they do – my days of babywearing all naptime or staying frozen in one position while babies nap all over my lap and boobs are over, as these all aggravate my SPD/PGP. Nighttime sleeping is also on the couch, with TMD co-sleeping beside them on a mattress on the floor.

We have been working hard at clearing out their room (read: dismantling cots, putting mattresses on the floor, and twin proofing), and our next steps will be moving them into their room for all daytime and nighttime sleeps. I think they are developmentally ready, though this (as all things are in our house) will be a slow transition and TMD will probably sleep in their room for awhile till they are used to it.

Reading over this, I can see from a wider perspective that we have tried to keep Snort and Coconut feeling safe and loved. We have done this however we needed to, and would never dream of stripping away all their reassurance in one go – like crying it out does. This means we genuinely have never had either baby cry to sleep.

I think the thing that has served us the best has been trying not to get too caught up in the stress of sleeping. If a nap gets screwed up, it gets screwed up. It’s not the end of the world, though it can feel like it at times. I have a pretty relaxed parenting style and tend to laugh rather than cry (mostly!) when things go pear shaped, and I think this is reflected in the kids….both are relaxed, happy babies. Thank god.

Any questions, please do ask. I probably forgot a lot of stuff, but I hope there is at least one nugget of goodness that the ladies who asked for help can use!

Much love and good sleep vibes to you all.

*The process focused on in this blog only happened once Snort and Coco were ‘older babies.’ I think the move to more independent sleeping only happened as they approached a year old, if memory serves me.

Show me the SEXY.

November 24, 2010

Imagine two hot women, naked, in a changing room. As they move, their bodies occasionally touch briefly. Got that basic image in your head? Good. Let’s see if I can sexy it up for you a bit.

One of the women is bent forward over a changing mat table that has pulled down from the wall. Ignoring all the stern pictures and directions everywhere – MAKE SURE YOUR BABY IS PROPERLY STRAPPED TO THE CHANGING AREA AT ALL TIMES – she has her arms around two toddlers who are sitting on the table. The straps are dangling over the edge.

People keep pushing open the doors, which are on both sides and unlockable.

One of the women says, ‘Two sets of families have seen my boobs.’

The other replies, ‘Everybody in this place has seen my cootch.’

As both women struggle with dressing screaming, overtired toddlers in slightly wet clothing, they are singing. Loudly. So loudly that it almost overpowers the echoing noise of the other 50 babies and toddlers who are also screaming.

So loudly that a lady leads her screaming kid outside their changing door and says, ‘Listen! Someone is singing.’ The kid stops crying, presumably left standing outside the door.

Perhaps he heard one of the women scream, ‘Help! He’s pissing! Pissing all over me!’ as she grabs for a towel (and disturbingly cannot now remember which towel, and no laundry facilities are available) and presses it over her child’s penis. She peels back the towel, starts to use the pee soaked towel to wipe off some of the pee that is rolling down her stomach and coming to rest in her pubic hair, when he begins to pee again.

Strangely, she is so cold and tired that she almost welcomes the warmth of his pee on her goosepimpled body.

Her eye catches the other sign issuing stern directions for the fiftieth time – ‘No one with infectious diseases should enter the subtropical swimming paradise!’ She flushes as she pictures the razor burned mess her inner right thigh has become. Misshapen, red, lumpy. Possibly oozing.

Nevermind, she thinks. At least her swimsuit is red and orange and probably means her thigh/bikini line is not noticeable. Her other side still has the odd merry pubic hair dancing about, but she is now afraid to take a razor to the area again.

Doesn’t matter. In this world, the world of screaming children and tiny family changing areas, razor burn doesn’t matter. Nothing does.

Everyone in this place, this swimming paradise, is human. All of the women have stretch marks and sagging tummies – not to mention their shoulders being pulled out of sockets by children yanking them in every direction. All of the men are far too pale and drawn looking.

Every now and then you hear the low hiss of a father saying to a child, ‘You calm down. Right now. Do you hear me? If you don’t calm down we are leaving.’ This is often in harmony with an unrelated mother a few feet away, grabbing her toddler and heading for the pool, her voice falsely bright. ‘We’d better just go in, darling, there’s no point in waiting for your father any longer.’

‘Passive aggressive,’ one of the women whispers to her wife.

‘Look! There’s that other lesbian couple with twins!’ the other whispers back, nodding her head furtively toward the family walking past.

This is how all ‘conversations’ work. None of them are joined on. You are in the Changing Rooms now, and you are subject to the laws of trying to speed change your 15 month old twins, as an ever growing line of impatient and harried families waits to pounce on the first door to open, staking claim.

You keep singing songs. You eye up the two soaking swim nappies on the floor and consider holding one to your crotch so you can pee, because, let’s be real here, you really have to pee. There is no time for you to worry about your bra being twisted, or about yanking on a winter hat over your soaking wet bun. It goes without saying you have not shampooed or even combed your hair.

You are at a holiday spa for toddlers, and the parents are only along to do the domestic chores. So your thigh is probably getting infected, and is more attention drawing than the original pubic hairs? Who cares. So you leaned over last night talking to two strange men while holding up a small child, only to have one of the men point out that he could see all of your breasts hanging out? Move on.

You have a goal, a primary objective. You will wipe small noses with your thumb and smear it on your sock. You will not bother to rinse off your pee soaked stomach. You will jam your soaking wet feet into socks and shoes with nary a thought for the possible athlete’s foot you are inviting.

You are a mother now. You are in the subtropical swimming paradise changing rooms. You don’t care who sees you naked, you don’t care about sitting on the ground to stop your children from sitting on the ground, you barely have a chance to notice your wife is naked before she jams her equally soaking wet body into clothes.

Your kids are all fashionable and looking gorgeous. You are wearing velour sweatpants and a sweatshirt that is ten years old. Nothing you are wearing matches. Green mittens, brown hat, black scarf, red sweatshirt.

None of this matters.

You are in the subtropical paradise swimming changing rooms. You will spend thirty minutes in the actual pool, but these changing rooms? Prepare to sign away your life, because this is it. Your new home.

People check in, they never check out.

Unconditional parenting….or giving your own kid play therapy?

June 18, 2010

It’s no secret I’m into natural parenting, gentle parenting, attentive parenting, attachment parenting…whatever labels you put on it, I am into paying attention to my kids, conveying to them that they are loved, having fun with my kids. I believe my kids, just because they happen to be babies, are not subhuman. I take their needs seriously. I also trust them to know when their tummies are full, when they are sleepy, and when they want to be cuddled versus left alone to play.

That being said, I’ve been hearing more and more about something branded ‘unconditional parenting.’ I’ve not read The Book on it, let’s get that out there. But I’ve heard anecdotal stuff, I’ve read some research papers online, and…..I’m horrified.

The idea behind it is good: to let your child know they are loved for who they are, not what they do. I AM BEHIND THIS A MILLION PERCENT.

But part of this, a major part of it, seems to be not offering your child praise.

So, if you child has been working really hard on a painting, for example, and shows it to you, you might say, ‘You used blue and red and green.’ Or ‘Tell me about what you have drawn.’

I don’t see anything wrong with this, but let’s be clear: I think these techniques and theories might have been drawn from child centred play therapy. And that is something I have read the books on. It’s something I’ve done, and done well, with children who are needing some therapeutic support. It’s for kids who are having troubles at home – and who, dare I say it, might not be getting positive praise from their parental figures.

I believe empty praise is shit, don’t get me wrong. But if your child does something they are clearly proud of, they have worked hard at, and they show it to you ? I think a lovely ‘That’s a great painting, Snort!’ isn’t misplaced. Of course, you can follow it up with, ‘Coco, looks like you had a lot of fun making that painting, did you? Tell me about it! What a fantastic job.’

When our kids are little, they are self-contained in many ways. They have the seeds – the ‘nature’ bit. But babies, toddlers, and children look to their parents (I include whoever is the main attachment figure here – be it a grandparent, uncle, whoever) to give them feedback…this is the ‘nurture’ bit that helps them grow and bloom. When you convey to your child that you love them, you are proud of them, you think they do a good job at things, it helps them to solidify an inner picture of self-worth, confidence, and resilience.

When I am with a child in the context of play therapy, I stick more to observational comments and questions. For instance, my longest term play therapy client was a child who did not have any consistency or safety from her life. My job was not to be her parent, my job was to help her regain some of the things she’d lost, and to develop things she’d never had an opportunity to do.

My job was to help her explore her pain, her fear, her anger. She was seven years old.

I cared very deeply for this child and believe she knew it; we had a fantastic relationship, we had a lot of fun, we shared a lot of troubled moments where she confided things that she was worried about.

Her life was pretty fucked up, but you know what? Her parent loved her. Her parent gave her praise, and that little girl was one of the most creative and resilient children I’ve had the pleasure of working with.

I believe everything in life is about balance. I adore play therapy and I think the theory of trusting children to heal in their own time is fantastic. I think children are amazing, perceptive, and full of potential – even the ones who are throwing shit around the room, even the ones who are refusing to talk, even the ones who are hitting and stealing and lying. I think those children are even more amazing – and honest.

What I try to let kids know when I’m working with them (and this extends to teenagers as well) is that I trust them, I respect them, I believe in them. I am not a detached sort of therapist, and that’s because I’m not a detached sort of person. I radiate warmth, acceptance, and curiousity – or at least I hope I do.

After over14 years working in a professional and paid capacity with a very wide range of people ages 0-18, I can’t see how it’s good to never give your child praise. Praise doesn’t have to mean the end product is more important than the process. Praise doesn’t have to equate to pressure to be the best.

Praise can be a hug, a pat on the back, a smile, a few words. Well placed and meaningful praise can make your child feel special, loved, and willing to take risks in the world. If they receive what they need to get externally from their parent when they are young, they are able to internalize this and offer it to themselves as they get older.

I listen to myself when I talk to the babies, and there is no doubt that the therapeutic theories I’ve read, used, and taught have leaked into my being. About twenty minutes ago I heard myself said, ‘Okay, Coconut is feeling angry because she doesn’t want her mama to wash her face.’ I am always naming emotions (without any judgment or expectation attached), I am always describing what they are doing – but I am also always giving them a kiss or cuddle when things are going well.

I don’t want to ‘condition’ my children like dogs – that’s not why I do it. But you know, there are lots of things to learn in this world – what do I think of myself? How do I feel when my mama holds my sister/brother instead of me? When I wake up in the night and it’s dark, how do I feel?

I want to make sure my children are learning a lot of good lessons, lessons based in love rather than fear, or anger, or neglect. Praise is a form of encouragement and a message of unconditional love when done correctly, and to suggest that praise harms a child?

What a load of ridiculous fucking nonsense.

What it means to be a parent, and how we do it.

March 29, 2010

Been thinking about writing on a certain topic for months – since biscuit-on-a-plate lady, actually. But for now, I’m going to copy a post from my other blog (written last Thursday)  here:

The only other babywearing mama in my town (aside from my wife, of course!) came over today with her lovely baby girl. She brought along some slings for me to try – an Ocah, a Girasol shortie, and a DELICIOUS petrol fishie from Didymos. Unfortunately I was a bit sore so didn’t do too much babywearing at all, though did have Coconut up on my back  while I toted her into the kitchen and then nursery.

Let’s just say I hope said mama gets sick of the fishie because I lust for it. (Yes, Sarah, I am talking to you. Are you reading? Ha.)

I really do like being around other mamas who are into slinging their babies – and everything that may or may not come with it.

We’re talking cosleeping, cloth diapering, breastfeeding, baby led weaning, natural parenting, attachment parenting, etc etc.  I certainly don’t tick all those boxes, but I tick some of them.

What about you? I’m curious about all the people who find their way to this blog. What’s your opinion on amber teething necklaces? On how to wean your baby? What sort of diapers/nappies do you use?

What boxes do YOU tick?

I ask because people always surprise me. Someone I went to school with responded to my facebook status today, in which I mentioned that we were inadvertently becoming cosleepers (albeit not all in the same bed – we don’t fit) as the babies were going through a weird waking in the night sort of thing. She came out of the cosleeping closet and said she’d been doing it three years!

So many of our choices as parents feel right to us, yet can be frowned upon by other people. I wonder why that is. For me, my priorities aren’t to have my babies walking or talking before anyone else. I’m not really into the whole competition scene that so many people get dragged into – though I won’t lie. I sometimes wonder, ‘Why aren’t they sitting yet? When will they get teeth? Oh my god, is Coconut saying “mama” on purpose?!?!’

I care more about raising my twins to be imaginative, secure, and emotionally intelligent kids. I care more about nurturing their self-esteem than my own – which is why I love them exactly as they are, whether they walk at ten, twelve, or fifteen months. I don’t need to show off their mad rolling skillz, because honestly? Who cares??

Other mothers don’t want to hear me talk about how I am clearly raising two super geniuses, and does it do anyone any good? I want Snort & Coconut to always, always feel loved – at their very cores, not just because of things they accomplish.

So tell me. What are your priorities? What sort of parent are you? What choices are you making for yourself, your children, your family?


Who the fuck knew anyone could be allergic to potato, the most bland food product on earth?

February 24, 2010

Turns out Snort and his indefatigable eczema may have a slight problem with cooked potato, developing a pretty immediate rash wherever it touches his bare skin.

Considering he approaches eating the same way Godzilla, high on angeldust, might approach demolishing New York City, I think it’s not hard to understand why a meal of mashed potatoes could end up covering his face, neck, arms, and legs.

‘At least he’s cute,’ TMD said, as I pointed out that he was that kid – the one with the allergies, the weirdo skin rash, the possible future glasses.

Cute, yes. Beautiful, yes.

But the fact that his forehead is currently crisscrossed with about a million gashes and cuts of different lengths and widths – oh, yes, he’s not one to let a rash die a death. He must SCRATCH and RIP and TEAR at it.

All I know is yesterday there was a Mummy saying, ‘You know, Existere, I don’t really think these rashes of his are linked to anything. It just seems to come and go at random.’

And today there was a Mama who thought, ‘Jesus CHRIST, they’ve been crying all day, I need to break out some sort of entertainment. I know! Isn’t there some mashed potato left over from last night in the fridge?’ And that Mama clucked with pride as her daughter scooped it up and chewed, as her son pounded and squished and bulldozed.

Bad mistake, Mama.

Now there is a Mummy, a Mama, and a cat. There is also Lobster Boy, angry itchy Lobster Boy, who is distantly related to Teething Girl – another one who chooses to emulate killer giant dinosaur things with her ROAR and SCREAM and GNASHING OF TEETH (or gums, as the case may be).

Regardless, we will be steering clear of the old po-tay-toe for now.

God wants you to make sandwiches.

May 12, 2009

Bleary eyed, I looked at the book TMD had put by the side of the toilet. It was 101 Tips to Be a Great Mom – courtesy of the latest love package from my mother. TMD had stuck a note on the cover:

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TMD yelled from the kitchen, ‘Did you see the book I put by the toilet?’ She skipped into the bathroom and said, ‘It’s like this: Tip 78. Make your child a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, it’s a great way to show you care.’

Then her voice morphed into a deep toned, demonic sound and she boomed out, ‘Plus, God loves peanut butter and jelly.’

You can imagine the fun we had with this. We’re left wondering if Mom just picked up a book and looked at the first few pages (nothing about God on the cover or first five tips. Sneaky Christian publications!) and thought it looked nice….or if this is another step in her efforts to convince us of God’s glory.

I’d rather have the pb&j, personally.