I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Tomorrow is ball day

Tomorrow is ball day
Tomorrow is playful day

I keep realising that I am not being as playful as I could be....I am just too damn tired most of the time to remember.  

It's a clever tool and I watched it in action today....but actually it didn't properly work in the end.  I think for me it's really a distraction from the reality of what is going on.  Yes I see you are upset...but hey lets make light of it and turn it into something funny and light..its not that important to you is it?  It works for a moment but then...hey hang on I was upset about something and that wasn't acknowledged, now I am upset and annoyed to boot.  I still admired the imagination and quick thinking to try and distract though....certainly useful in other ways.

The other playful parenting technique which is meant to work really well is turning things into a game like getting dressed....run past me and if I catch you, you have to put these clothes on....I'll chase you for a bit and then you put these clothes on.....I do play this game sometimes where I shout 'come here' in a really loud over the top voice......all very exciting but in the end my two still won't put their clothes on if they don't want to....oh yes mum, we'll play your game...but only with our rules.  The main problem I have with this playful parenting technique is, as I said, I can't be bothered with the faff.  Just put your clothes on or don't I don't care ether way and it doesn't really matter!

Anyway, I decided to be playful mum in a different way and we took a ton of different balls including the big birthing ball, to the park, went to the tennis courts and released them all.  My mother turned up just as Maia was running about screaming loudly, as kids do when excited in a big open place in a park, outside.....she told her to be quiet...then told me to shut up when I suggested that if Maia couldn't shout with joy in the park where could she?  I wonder where I get my not playful side from???

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Involved means?

Do I get involved?
I used to get involved, I used to be right in there getting involved and doing what needed to be done and trying to sort things out.
yet I became uninvolved?
I am sure I have tried to become uninvolved before, I can't remember, its been an ongoing feature in my life.

Its just not working, its never going to work and I can't see any way any more of how it could work
I used to think it could work but I wasn't sure how.  
I am still not sure and part of me used to think it could work
now I'm not so sure 
part of me wonders if I should have ever got involved in the first place
then I remember that it is impossible not to
so maybe i shouldn't become uninvolved?
I used to have hope that it could work
Do I get involved?

Saturday, 15 May 2010

It's Not Right

I often feel I dont read Ellie as well as I should or could and then in the interest of removing self-guilt I rationalise that she doesn't let me in as much as I would want.  She finds it hard to tell me how she is feeling either this is something to investigate or she doesn't know herself yet, can't put it into words,  is only three and has a lot going on for her.  I'll go for the latter, just because the former takes way too much exploration just now and will probably be due to MY mother-daughter relationship and I don't need to go there just now or at 4am in the morning when I was a teenager and my mother decided was a good time to 'chat' about difficult things. And anyway I am exploring MY daughter-mother relationship.

It's not easy to articulate your feelings but you can let someone know something is not right by your behaviour.

Ok, so what does Ellie do to let me know that things are not right...aside from telling me and 'using her words' which she often does, she often doesn't and does something else instead. 

She starts off trying to connect and let me know something is not right but if I miss these cues, it can escelate into other forms of communication...She screeches, she whinges, she whimpers,  she cries, she screams....or she does them all by which point my brain can only take so much haranguing and shuts down.

Maia can spend her entire trying to get back to sleep without the boob time pitifully saying 'its not right' meaning the blanket is not on properly but I can't help answering her 'no its not right' and marvelling on the  merits of the phrase.

So we have a  multitude of  missed behaviours which can lead to meltdown.  Which can after an either particularly long  meltdown or a series of seemingly 'random' ones ( there is always a reason but sometimes I am just too 'not there' to quite get it) lead to me losing the plot which is basically the point where she can't cope I cant cope no-one can cope and its all out of control.  Scary place to be in for all of us. 

The trick is, to cut it off at the pass...to recognise before it becomes a meltdown.  To be on the ball and open  and ready for everything that comes our way.   To be able to negotiate and confer throughout the day on a manageable level.  This takes communication, skills and tools. Sometimes I have them and I know exactly what's going on and am able to work out exactly what the best thing to do is, sometimes I don't. Sometimes that's the answer because doing nothing, being a passive observer is what's needed. They can work it out for themselves, all be it with some frustration.  The accomplishment is worth the pain.   Sometimes doing very little is what is needed, being an active observer, providing words that are needed, having some frustration but knowing I am on hand to offer support or facilitation eases the anguish.   Sometimes doing a lot is what is needed, being an active participant, getting right in there and doing it because the whole thing is just too overwhelming to possibly endure.

I remember the days when cues were generally about boob, sleep or poop and Barry would say wow, isn't it hard work being a baby....WOW its complicated work being a toddler and  blimey its challenging work being a toddlers mum.

Meltdowns - several
Losing the Plot - one massive one
Breastfeeding - not today thanks

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

I have a idea

I have a just had a pee revelation, whilst giving Ellie a pee opportunity, I said to her in her mostly asleep but still need-to-pee-sleep phase, the one where she probably doesn't hear me, but the possibility is always there and some of it goes into her psyche "Soon enough, you will be able to pee just before bed and then hold it all night".  Thought I might try and subconsciously plant the  'going to the toilet just before bed' idea  in her head since she is resisting it just now.  Because it wasn't her idea. How manipulative is that!!

Then i thought....hmmm I am sometimes not able to hold it in all night myself...( although two kids could be the reason, that and not keegling).  So then in the interests of less pressure, I said 'or until you are able to go to the toilet yourself' because we all know that going to the toilet in the middle of the night is not an easy task to master straight away..  You have to be steady on your feet, in the dark, you have to know where everything is, in the dark. You have to be able to find the toilet paper, in the dark...all difficult things for a three year old during the day never mind at night...who wants to put the light on at 4 in the morning? You want to feel calm and relaxed and able to go back to sleep, not stressed and upset because you misjudged the bed edge and tripped on a toy brick only to find there is no toilet paper left.  

We've decided that although Ellie is able to pee on the potty, which is on the bed, then go straight back to sleep, that perhaps she isn't ready for the walk to the toilet even with help.  Barry suggested carrying her there...as a starter for full on 'on your own without freaking out and needing someone there' toilet mode.  She'd freak if Barry tried that and there is no way I am carrying her!

Sometimes though I think if I am having this thought, then its for a reason...is it to change things or to realise that the way we are doing it is actually ok and working.?  

Maybe we could try the sleep walk to the toilet walk.......maybe another night!

Sunday, 9 May 2010

stop the guilt repair the connection

Maia has a hard time imagining that she could ever get back to sleep without the boob, sometimes so do I, she tries and tries and tries, sometimes so do I, she decides she really can't do it, the problem is sometimes so do I.  So starts night weaning, later than some mamas, earlier than my 'inspirational mama's.  The ones who completely extendedly full accessedly on demandedly breastfeededly until child wants to end itedly.  Because I know in my heart and in my instincts this is what she needs and wants.  Its just not what I can give.  I managed later with Maia than I did with Ellie and I still have some residual guilt and possible connection problems for that. I blame early natural weaning and having another baby and having her daddy go back to work and her nana die suddenly...I guess they all contribute.....stop the guilt repair the connection.....stop the guilt repair the connection....stop the guilt repair the connection....anyway...

I notice a difference with Maia than I did with Ellie and I don't know if it's because I night weaned too early or if its just a  temperament thing.   If I am removing breastfeeding I need to provide an alternative.  With Ellie I told her a story about farm animals sleeping next to mummy and being comforted in different ways.  I played with her hair, she hates her hair being touched now.  I rubbed her back, she hates her back being rubbed now.    The only thing that's lasted is eskimo and butterfly kisses, got them from my dad.

Ellie accepts very little form of physical touch and comfort from anyone.  It took her over a year to allow people she had met twice a week to touch her to say help her off a high wall or tree or bus or just hold a hand and it's only now she won't have a full on screaming meltdown from a stranger trying to help her off and on a bus, if my hands are full.    Sometimes she now holds hands with a stranger (that freaked me out slightly, but I know she wouldn't do it if she didn't have my hand too) if we are grouped together, like waiting to leave a room. Maybe she gets confused about who we all know and who we don't, although she knows way more people than me since she asks EVERYONE she meets 'what's your name?'

In hindsight I wonder if my story involved too much touch from me and not enough boob. Nowadays she goes back to sleep only if she can lie on my arm...probably to make sure I don't touch her.  I sneak in a sneaky stroke of the cheek once I know she is fully asleep,  she is so soft and snuggly looking.

With Maia, she likes me to play with her belly button, I tell her how we used to be connected there.  I nibble and kiss her ears, she asks me to bite them.  She is fulfilling that 'oo i could eat you feeling'.. I love it! I get feedback, she asks me to do these things, she asks me not to.....sometimes it takes longer than I would like for her to fall asleep and usually on those nights,  it takes for ever because she knows I am going to leave the room as I have the 'wrong' bed energy head on.

Yet still when she is finally asleep and I sneak downstairs, I think...is it too soon?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Hangers or bust

It wasn't even about hangers.  You know that way, you are trying to make out like everything really is ok, you can push things out of your mind and the day really is going to go great....well the hangers spoiled it.  They were all hanging there at funny angles sticking up, sticking out instead of just hanging like hangers should and that's when it hit me.  That's when I realised that actually I am upset. The hangers weren't how they should be.  Things aren't how they should be.  I spend an inordinate amount of time realising that things just aren't how they should be...when really I should just be getting on with how things are.

I can't even possibly begin to tell you all the things that Ellie learned today but one of them was that people don't like being constantly harangued or bullied.  Maia among other things, learned that she has a voice and is heard, not that she was in much doubt.  Maia was enjoying herself tremendously in the bath tonight and decided she didn't want Ellie to join her since most times it ends up with Maia being harassed by Ellie, becoming upset and wanting out.  Ellie came downstairs with her I'm upset face on and telling me she was upset about Maia not wanting her in the bath with her.  I could tell it was her 'I'm upset but really I know why' face and not her 'I'm upset and I don't really understand it' face, so I asked her if she knew why Maia might not want her in the bath. She changed the subject and refused to talk about it!  Amongst other things, I told her Maia loved her, Mummy loved her and Daddy loved her and to go get a book and we can read it together instead.  

But...Before I can breathe a sigh of relief that I didn't say "serves you right you annoying little snotbag, now time for bed", I probably should have thought more about reading Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy,  because whilst it's a fun book with great pictures of Elephants, it doesn't really follow the previous conversation. "Yes you are my wonderful daughter and I love you and would share my bath, beanbag and life with you but I want FIVE MINUTES PEACE!!"

or maybe it does....."Yes you are my wonderful daughter and I love you and would share my bath, beanbag and life with you and I want FIVE MINUTES PEACE!!"

Anyway she chose the book, not me and either way, she went to bed happy... that's always a good sign

Meltdowns - a couple but not major
Losing the Plot - none
Breastfeeding - saves the day as ever

love the crazy mean people

Why do I just expect that family would want to see the girls.  Would want to spend time with them, would want to get to know them, would want to be part of their lives?

Is this some crazy notion that I had of all living in a community?

According to continuum principles, one should let another person 'be' until they are ready, willing and able to become part of the community in which they live

Why do I find it so hard to ask for help?

I just can't ask, its strange, I just find it so difficult to ask for help with the girls.  I often desperately need it and I find myself wondering 'What's my problem? Why can't I just ask?'

I think the main problem was that I thought.... I shouldn't have to ask and following from that I don't want to force my should on to people, so I just waited until they wanted to....I mean its family...of course they would want to?

One reason is fear of rejection...the pattern for me has always been....involve people in my life....be myself, show them my 'me' side then invariably end up fighting with them.

Another problem which I have realised, is that with my way of parenting, Ellie and Maia did not spend time with family and friends alone until they were much older. So their bond is always going to be harder to develop, but not being able to spend alone time, shouldn't have stopped them from trying to develop it, then maybe it wouldn't be so hard now?  Maybe I should have been the one to go to them?  It took me almost a year to perfect actually getting out the house with two kids, so I am inclined to think not.

Edit* This post is from 2010 that I never published at the time 

What if you come from a broken continuum and have a fucked up attitude to life? How can you accept that, how can you allow that to be....maybe you should love it more.

love the crazy mean people

Meltdowns - Losing the Plot - Breastfeeding -

Old post never published from when the girls were young)

Monday, 3 May 2010

The Need Me dance

Ellie and I are doing the need me don't need me dance
I am pushing she is resisting
I am resisting she is pushing

She is independent and yet she is dependant. 

It makes me dizzy sometimes
It makes me exhausted sometimes
It makes me scream sometimes

Yet I love dancing

She still wants me carry her when we dance.   Today I did. 

We danced 

We connected

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Three reasons

It's one of those mornings where if you are a company trying to sell me something, it is a REALLY good idea NOT to call the house.  Clearly the finance company that has been calling me ALL week and hanging up when I get there, didn't get my memo.  So when they tried again today I called back and spoke to a man called Harry...very nice Harry...just doing his job Harry...."you can't keep calling me and hanging up, I have two kids under the age of three at home, Harry.  You need to stop doing it, just stop doing it, take me off your system Harry.  Harry you NEED to take me off your system.  Take me off your system NOW".  It wasn't until my husband very quietly piped up 'oh they might be able to help us' that I changed focus to him and his inability to let me know a little bit sooner.  Lovely Harry...sort out our financial predicament and I promise not to shout at you again.

There are two possible reasons for feeling this antsy, ok maybe three. The first is a more long term issue and involves me thinking that come Saturday I might be able to switch off a little bit more than normal because Barry is home.  Invariably though, he also takes the opportunity to organise household stuff and basically I just need to lower my expectations and remember that hey I did get a lie in, even if it was a feeding lie in with Maia

The second reason is we had a massive argument last night.  How come its ok for the girls to says 'I don't want to' (help) but not for me?  We are raising free thinking conscious girls who will, I hope, eventually offer help or give help because they want to, not because I want them to or they feel obligated to or guilty not to.  The reality is though, if someone asks for help and doesn't get it......its really irksome.

The third reason is my period is due.

All these reasons a TOTALLY and COMPLETELY valid and I challenge anyone to state otherwise.

Meantime, I am going shopping and buying chocolate.  If you see me, smile or hug me but don't disagree with me.  And yes that is my kids running wild through lidl picking everything up exploring, don't they look happy and care free?

meltdowns 2
losing the plot 1
breastfeeding always