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.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

You Don't Want To Know

Ok here is why,  i woke up with less than 45mins to get two girls, who between them don't want to brush their teeth. eat breakfast(that doesn't involve doughnut) or get dressed, up, dressed and having breakfast to make it to take Ellie to nursery for 9am, a task which on our other days takes me at least two hours and is not stressful and rushed and we don’t need to be out till after 10. Actually we don’t NEED to be out at all THAT is the key to it all.   I then took a child saying 'I don't want to go', to nursery where I felt compelled to say "pretend I am not here because we are doing this so you get used to me dropping you off and then coming back for you later" when really I want to say 'ok, lets go home then".  Then watch her run off without looking back and me having to stay in another room listening for signs of distress whilst trying to pick up after a two year old in a cornucopia of toys.  Then knowing I would have to rush back to catch the health visitor, who was arriving at same time as nursery finishes because I forget  to let her know we would be late, to defend my parenting, sorry to discuss my parenting and ‘bring her up to speed’.

Anyway, it turned out she was running late too so that worked out beautifully.  I decided the best thing for me to do was to be keeping busy whilst talking to her and our lunch needed making, life goes on. So whilst I was making pumpkin, carrot and lentil soup with the girls running in every few minutes to help by opening stock cubes and plopping them in, or cutting potato or putting veggies into the water, she was asking me if the girls were eating healthily.  She exclaimed that she would NEVER have let her child use a knife at that age, I pointed out that this was not the first time Ellie had used a knife  (she is not dead yet Grow Slow Sunday Herald 2008) and that since she had been attached to me since birth, and seeing me doing this very same task over and over and had progressed through plastic, butter and onto ‘proper’ knife, she was fully equipped with the knowledge and skills in order to perform these everyday necessary, being part of the family type things.  Likewise being around hot water and cookers hence the lack of ‘be careful that’s hot’ type comments that were flying out of her aghast mouth. 

Next she brought up the subject of boundaries to which I mentioned natural consequences to which she replied with the inevitable.  In fact before she even had the chance to respond with the inevitable I countered with “Its very common when looking at this kind of parenting for people to automatically go for the OMG BUT WHAT IF THEY WERE TO RUN ON THE ROAD OR PICK UP A LOADED GUN type scenario” In reality though, I am not actually going to allow my child to maim or kill themselves,  because well, BECAUSE I AM NOT A MORON.  Well I didn’t really say that.

Look I said to her in as open and calm as way as possible, I have had these children attached to me since birth, I have maintained my connection with them and still intend to maintain my connection with them for as long as I can.  They understand about the world, age appropriate,  because I have been with them and explaining to them exactly what is going on and how things happen and why since birth and frankly how can attachment possibly be a bad thing, compared to say….unparenting where the parent just sits watching TV all day NOT interacting with their child much.

I try to parent without using coercion, threats, bribery and sometimes I manage!

We briefly talked about the Triple P parenting Course she had been asked to talk to me about by the SS but it turns out that its not in their remit and so she knows nothing about it and doesn’t offer it at her practice.  I said I had looked online and frankly whilst some of it was interesting and (obvious) I was not about to start using time out or any other punitive discipline technique and IF I did go on the course, I would most likely disrupt it with my own views and if it was during the day, my kids would need to come too and they would disrupt it even more.  She laughed knowingly. 

Interestingly when I asked her how much of it was actually MY choice to go on the course she didn’t have a straight answer for me but the fact that I was happy for her to come over was a positive sign, meaning if I had refused and even though the SS had specifically stated it was my choice for the course, I could have been in for a whole more world of trouble.  AND even though the SS said they were having no more involvement, she said she was going to speak to them and....and....and...anyway 

I dispatched her with the Alfie Khon Unconditional Parenting and we had our lunch on the floor on a towel infront of the TV.

After lunch, we set about going to support our friend at her jewellery launch but once in the car were beset with meltdowns on all fronts.  It turned out, after stopping the car and finding out exactly why Ellie was screaming and flailing, that she was upset because Maia was wearing the hat she had on. The hat Maia always wears, because Ellie wanted to have it as a spare when the one she was wearing got wet.  When I pointed out that I understood her upset and that Maia was actually wearing that hat and she would be upset if Ellie took it, she wailed and stated that when she was unplugged from her seat she was going to grab the hat of Maia’s head.  See, sometimes, car seats are not the devil!!  When Ellie had sufficiently calmed down enough for me to continue driving, we made our way with occasional grumblings of grabbing and askings of would she would be happy to have something grabbed off her.  We arrived with an agreement, that since the hats probably would not get that wet, we would stick with the ones we had on.  THEN, between getting out of the car and walking to the venue, about 3feet something happened…I can’t be entirely sure what and it may well just have been a culmination of a very rushed and stressful day (or doughnut for breakfast), anyway Ellie had a spectacular meltdown which was made worse by me trying to have said meltdown inside the sports centre rather than in the rain or right next to the smokers corner.  So I manage to move everyone inside whilst trying to figure out exactly what the problem was.  It was really a lost cause, I had no clue, she was screaming, I couldn’t understand her, then she was roaring and saying ‘lets go home, I don’t want to be here’.  I decided to just sit.  Maia crawled about the seating area whilst Ellie screamed and I sat.  I was aware of the staff behind the counter but I was mostly focused on not making the meltdown worse by attempting to touch or speak! Then the phone rang and the woman behind the counter got nippy with me and asked me to make her stop  - HA!!! Then several staff went ‘shh’ and to my dismay I used the ‘Ellie the woman on the phone can’t hear’ line.  I wish I hadn’t, simply because I feel it makes Ellie think that woman’s phonecall is more important than Ellie’s feelings.  Anyway it was distraction enough and as quick as it had started, Ellie suddenly stopped and we were on our way minus shoes, a small concession in my eyes.

The jewellery launch was a fraught affair, simply because she wasn’t keen on us touching the stuff, even though they were being careful and knew it was delicate, even though I was crawling on the floor at their height and looking at the things with them, even though I was taking extra care to make sure they were taking extra care…it was too difficult so we got grandma’s present and left.

Home sweet home…sort of, because Maia who had now been woken from two falling asleeps decided not to have her afternoon shloph and spent the rest of the day oscillating between being upset and wanting milk, so not much was done.

BUT for a change,  dinner was actually made! Well ok, half was made, half was oven cooked from the freezer already made, but THAT in my book is enough!

Anyway, Its all kind of ironic because I spend my entire life encouraging Ellie and Maia to discuss their feelings and talk about what is bothering them rather than suppressing hitting pushing kicking grabbing or screaming the place down in the vain hope that they can find ways to deal with their emotions in an effective, affective and healthy manner in the future  and to help them see that what they say and do matters WHEN most of the time it feels like I am keeping all MY  real thoughts and feelings suppressed….hence the phrase ‘you don’t want to know’

Meltdowns - several 
Losing the Plot - 0
Breastfeeding - obviously!

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

really mad

i am starting to get really MAD that MY parenting is being put into question....are my kids happy? are my kids confident to be themselves? are my kids questioning? are my kids secure? are my kids inquisitive? are my kids acting like kids? You FUCKING BET THEY ARE

Meltdowns - Losing the Plot - Breastfeeding - all part of being kids

All For the Want of a Nail

Sometimes is good to have a schpeigel.  In this case it was a 30minutes hoover schpeigel of the downstairs...well minus the back room, because that means more than just hoovering .   Its freed up at least another couple of weeks where I can get by on occasional surface hoovering time!!  This in turns means more time doing other stuff.  (Believe me, no matter if we hoover every single day which, I used to try to do, I quickly realised it wasn't worth it in so many ways. Now, I don't have the inclination or time for it and anyway, it wouldn't matter because this carpet is all one colour, a lovely deep red colour.  It was amazing new, pre mobile children,  but to cut a long story short which most will 'get', next time i am going 70's patterned in creams and brown swirls)

Anyway back to the schpeigeling, things have been tested to my limit for me recently, what with unbelievable pain, social services and MASSIVE fight (again) with my mother.  Most will know my view on the whole SS visit which while quite stressful and definitely not something I would want or need every week....was just another way of cementing to me that I DO NOT want to be the kind of parent you see dragging their child out of a place kicking and screaming, I WANT to be the kind of parent that comes to some kind of arrangement where everyone leaves feeling happy, secure satisfied and feeling the love.  Yes I know there was nakedness but G-D dammit we were all naked once.  And YES I am irked that my girls don't get the choice to meet daddy naked when he comes home from work...and I have to coerce them with a threat of not being able to meet daddy...I always LOVED dancing naked in the rain for a few moments!!!  It's more about having that choice.  It's always about having the choice.

The inconceivable pain was from a month of me trying to manage my sciatica without pain medication culminating in me screaming the pain was worse than childbirth and demanding more drugs than ibuprofen to which I literally laughed in the Dr's face at and got tramadol and diazepam for my incredulity.   I just received a text from a friend who suggested that sciatic pain means one is dealing with emotional issues maybe needing more support or needing to stand up for oneself.  Usually deep inner issues.  All related to muscle tension which is a direct expression of emotional tension.  Hello, my name is Mummy and I have emotional issues.

Which brings me to the show down with my mother another one where she makes a comment too much, another show down where she complains about the state of the house...oh no wait, this one included my children this time... that's a comment too far...... I am not proud to say I did not respond with the level of compassion and love I so desire which slightly negated most of our argument about breaking the cycle of emotional abuse that she doesn't believe has a placing in her relationship with her grandchildren..or even existed with me.  ''You could be so pretty...if only you did x y whatever condition I am putting on my unconditional love for you today''.  When push comes to shove though....I always revert to what I am trying  in desperation to avoid.  I am proud to say that I stood up for myself and my children.  Hello, my name is mummy and I have emotional issues that I am trying DAMN hard  not pass on to my children.  

Anyway with our amassed time from not having a spotless home, we managed a trip into town to see a wee theatre play, it was totally delightful, Maia was mesmerized, Ellie was engaged, they both were laughing and no-one took their clothes off, no-one peed in the gutter, no-one ended up in tears....well ok......at the end, Ellie in her excitement to go down the lift BY. HERSELF. pushed Maia over which made her very upset then indignant then rendered unable to walk and ended up with me having to carry her back to the busstop but it's a different upset from a beginning of the day upset which can change the whole dynamic of our day.

Siblings without Rivalry is arriving in the post soon and for the record, this is the room AFTER a schpeigling, I think two weeks may be an over estimate.

Meltdowns - 0
Losing the Plot - 0 - 
Breastfeeding - of course!

Saturday, 9 October 2010

What a Difference a communal Day Makes

Its amazing what I can put up with when I am busy and productive and occupied....I just spent 10days on a DIY camp and realised that if I am busy doing, in a wider space than indoors at home, then the girls can get on with whatever they want and I don't feel the need to control or get too involved and they can get involved with what I am doing much more easily.  The environment was such, that they could run free from one end of the field to the other, it could take them all day if they wanted as there was so many other people around to talk to, things to see,  stuff to climb, tents to colour in.  Ellie even voluntarily decided to spend time on her own. Without. Needing. Me.  Their independence soured it was incredible, they would come find me throughout the day to connect and more often than not, the time they would need me most would be the time I would be coming to find them anyway, like some finely tuned team!! It was incredible.   Even Maia spent time away from me happily because she had Ellie or someone else around.  For the first time ever my two girls spent time with each other, dealing with themselves and not having me there to interfere!!  They must have felt so grown up and trusted!! I have no idea what went on and that's such a strange feeling.  There were a few tears but no major catastrophes which in my book is a bonus!!  

I can always tell when I need to be more hands off, because Ellie will come and taunt me with something and say 'look mum, looooook, look what I found/am doing/eating/smooshing/breaking/cutting/messing up' and I know its my cue to stop stressing and freaking out so much!

It was phenomenal to be living in a way I have dreamed about for such a long time.  Of course there were niggles and issues that had we been there longer would need to have been dealt with.  i learned some amazing new skills, I was even slating a roof for heavens sake and the experience in itself has affirmed for me how much we are missing out on in this insular lifestyle we have created for ourselves.  

And So brings me home

I needed someone to be with the girls for 30mins until sister-in-law turned up and could I find one person on my street? Nope. I asked 3 or 4 different houses.  That's just not right.  I should be able to just say 'hey watch the girls for a minute whilst I.....'
I can go through a whole day without having spoken to another adult until hubby gets home.  That's not right.  I should be able to just turn around and have another person to talk to if i want or need it or just someone there to hug or smile at me and say 'today is a good day'

I have a need to connect and feel purposeful and useful. I lack the resources and skills.  That's not right.  I should be able to share the skills and resources of many to create an amazing working lifestyle

I am raising my tribe without my village.  That's not right. I should be amongst friends and family, living our lives together amongst love, cooperation and authenticity. 

Its a frequent and common lament for CC parents, I don't have the answers but I am willing to be part of a solution to try and change it.   I just need a little help from others....you with me?

Meltdowns - much easier to understand and help with
Losing the Plot - much easier to come down from
Breastfeeding - when Maia could find me!!