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.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Slightly Sad Slightly Elated

I never in a month of a million Sundays expected anything to come of it. I never in a month of Sundays believed they were ready.  I never thought it would happen so fast.

My. Girls. Are. In. Another. Room. In. ANOTHER BED. Alone, without me. Without me being able to touch them in the middle of the night. Without me being able to hear them breathing and moving and snorting and grunting and farting and talking in their sleep...talking in their sleep for heavens sake....its the best thing to hear, and now I can't.

The playroom has always been the playroom, its never had a bed in it and whenever I called it a bedroom the girls would instantly correct me 'its the playroom mum'.  Last week we finally bought the bunk beds that we have been talking about for months, well ever since Ellie started watching Peppa Pig (Preppy Pigshite as I used to call it) so that's probably nearer a year.  Up until our proper concerted efforts to find bunk beds, I didn't believe anything would come of them.  Given the fact that Maia still wakes for milk early morning and goes back to sleep, snuggled between Barry and myself and Ellie still gets upset if I ask her to sleep in the side bed, which is attached to the main bed, I wasn't convinced they would even entertain the notion of sleeping in them. Alone.  

They went with Barry to go and buy the bed and on the way they played a game 'We are going to get something exciting, can you guess what it is?'.  I will tell you if its bigger or smaller than your guess (who says kids don't learn at home).  Here are her guesses:

Fairy Lighting, Crown, toy Church(???), swing, horse, car, cloud, toy bush, toilet, floor

So Barry said "It's been taken apart and so we need to put it back together again" (crap clue if you ask me).  Ellie's final guess was 'toy elephant'.

We had already decided we were not going to put any meaning onto the bunk beds other than the fact that they are fun.  We made no mention of the fact that they HAD to sleep in them, that they were even for them or that we didn't want them in the bed.  Although in all honesty, lately, with my back seizing issues and needing more space in bed, I have definitely been vocal about that need.  I was very clear though, to tell Ellie it was nothing to do with her, I still loved her even though she was beside me in the side bed instead of beside me in the main bed.  There really is literally my arms length between us (and the small gap down the middle of the two beds).

The bunk beds were assembled that same afternoon, Ellie was beside herself with excitement and  although I'm not sure she is ready for this, Maia was spending the whole time letting me know the beds were for her and Ellie and NOT for mummy and daddy.

We have always felt night time parenting was just as important as the day stuff. So that meant co-sleeping and staying with them till they fell asleep, breastfeeding, stories, songs, discussing the day and being there when they woke up.

So, come bed time I figured, OK this is actually going to happen, so lets see where it goes. It went till after 11pm is where it went.  I think the girls we too excited to settle & kept finding toys to bring in with them, share with each other, pass down, dangle down, throw up, throw off.  They got out of bed, into each others, out to the toilet, into the main bed...back and forwards for two hours.   I am afraid to say my patience was shot by the end of it, there was some shouting and I even considered just closing the door and leaving them to it.  Eventually after much craziness, including Maia chucking me out of her bed and then the whole room.  Ellie wanting us in her bed but nothing on her bed.  Maia wanting me back in her bed and then out again but stay on the chair, they fell asleep.  Barry, all 6ft4 of him with Ellie on top bunk and me sitting on floor beside Maia on bottom bunk.

I figured that Ellie would probably wake in the morning, as usual and would either shriek in fright and upset because I wasn't there and Maia would wake and plod through quietly.  Well I was wrong!

Ellie came in quietly, making her way from the top bunk no problems about 6amish and went straight to sleep on the bed beside me.  Maia woke up 7amish, cried, refused to come through, refused to allow daddy to pick her up 'cried' only for me and had a miss because she wouldn't move.  I brought her to the main bed where she had milk and fell asleep in her usual spot between Barry & me.

I recognise it has only been three days so it may not last.  We were both shocked they were so keen in the first place!

The jury is still out for how I feel, slightly sad and slightly elated. Nothing has really changed for me since they both still wake me in the morning, except now, as I said, they are not in arms or ears reach any more and they are not beside each other.  For that I am very sad.

Meltdowns - in a bunk bed
Losing the Plot - in a bunk bed
Breastfeeding - am I in the minority that can say 'in a bunk bed!'

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Preppy Pigshite

Peppa Pig has a lot to answer for:

1) She had Ellie blowing raspberries at everything and anyone, constantly for a month
2) She has encouraged my girls to want to be in bunk beds and not the family bed
3) She has made the phrase 'I'm very good at this' common place in our home
4) My husband LOVES it

Here is my confession I don't like Peppa Pig, I find her a conceited, boastful and selfish pig, nothing like Hamilton. She is constantly telling us how great she is at everything she does. Telling us how good she is and how she knows how to do everything.  This has meant Ellie often says "I'm good at this aren't I?"  I have always advocated Alfi Kohn's Good Job theory and made efforts not to go down that road, so I was unsure how to respond to this 'boasting'  It grated on me.

The Pig Family also eat a PHENOMENAL amount of cakes and biscuits, every episode practically.  Then they introduced Mr Potato, an exercise spud as if this would counteract and excuse it.  If felt I was being made a fool of by a vegetable.

Mummy and Daddy Pig NEVER lose it and laugh too maniacally for my liking.

Finally they ALWAYS portray daddy pig as dim witted and slow and mummy pig as the one who sorts everything out.  Hardly equal partnership modelling.

The girls instantly recognised
this as George, not Peppa!!
Given my thoughts, I was quite reluctant for Preppy Pigshite, as I affectionately call her, to enter our home, but as I give the girls almost free reign in their viewing choices, it was only a  matter of time before she found it. Oh Boy did she find it.  Episode after episode she was engrossed in for months and months till I thought I was losing her to the royal pink pain in the ass!

For the sake of our connection, I too had to become engrossed in Peppa Pig stuff galore and showed my enthusiasm with Peppa Mazes , colouring PeppaPeppa gamesPeppa pictures, wearable Peppa stuff, plastic Peppa stuff, edible Peppa stuff.  ALL OUT Peppa warfare!!

You know what?  We have finally come out the other end, she's moving on to something else, still has a fondness for the freaky pig family (wants pics for her wall by her top bunk).  We've had one or two arguments about the amount of Peppa viewing but I've come through *this* phase feeling our connection in tact and her need for autonomy met.

I wonder what the next fad will be...after the werewolf one!!

Meltdowns - NEVER on PP, except George going waaah
Losing the Plot - NEVER I mean NEVER on PP
Breastfeeding - on PP HA!!!

Monday, 25 July 2011


I have really wanted to get the girls a dollshouse for ages but they are mega expensive for my design tastes.  So I then really wanted to make them one and had this grandios idea of doing it with real wood and from scratch.  I tried to encourage/persuade Barry to do it but to no avail.  So then I decided to just go for it, after someone suggesting using a bookcase and someone else suggested shoe boxes.  

I thought for a bit about bookcase, I looked on some roadsides for throwaways and I am still checking skips for my next attempt, but I was itching to get started for fear my motivation might wane, so on the way home on Saturday, I ran into a shoe shop and asked for some boxes!  I got 4, all different sizes! 

 I  went about making this a bit backwards but it was really fun actually!!

Meltdowns - in a dollshouse!
Losing the Plot - in a dollshouse!
Breastfeeding - in a dollshouse!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

We are all Erica

Once again I find myself involved in another very upsetting and distressing separation case involving a family and their parenting practices being questioned.   This time I have known this family on-line for over a year, she is not an unknown face like Habiba, she has been 'part' of my life.  For  now and forever, the Henderson Family will be part of my life.

Erica and Jeffrey and their six children have been ripped apart and they are also an attachment parenting, home-schooling,  non-vaccinating family.  Non-vaccinators  are being vilified and this Jewish family is being persecuted in their own home by neighbours and the system.  Once again the issue here is an attack on natural attachment parenting and although this has scared and angered me, this time it is not just about those parenting styles, this about lives.  Real lives are being scrutinised and deemed wanting, .

Their SIX children have been removed and are currently placed in separate homes, separate homes which are non speaking English too.  To me *this* part is the most heartbreaking part of it all.  Not only do they have to endure the horrors of being wrenched from their parents, they have to suffer alone.

Please consider donating to this family, they have lost everything

The full details regarding the case are here but as part of the efforts being done, I made this video with thanks to Janel Mirendah for help reviewing:  

The Henderson Children Belong at Home from Miriam Berlow-Jackson on Vimeo.
The Story - The time Line


created by Miriam Berlow-Jackson

Meltdowns: only one but justified
Losing the plot: my fault, am very tired
Breastfeeding: hubby had kids so could work on this so..not much!!!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Every time I'll Try

Every Time I'll Try

Every time you try to push me away
I'm going to pull you closer

Every time you try to hit me
I'll kiss you on the nose

Every time you try to shout at me
I'll hug you all the more


Every time you try to hate me
I'll love you even more

                                                              Well I'll try to anyway

 ©Miriam Berlow-Jackson

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

catch a glimpse

Ellie, Ellie, Ellie, my dear complicated Ellie.....some days, never enough, always wants more, gets something asks for more already, ask and ask and ask. Can't stand to be touched even slightly, bats my hand away, ducks out of the way, moves away but needs to be close to me, on top of me, sitting on me. Always needs to know what we are talking about, interrupts loudly what are you talking about what are you talking about over and over and over, even if told. Needs to be heard when there are others talking, 'look look look look look look at me'. Its never enough to ask once, never enough to give her all my time for a period of time, never enough to give her my all. Freaks if I have to move off and do something else..yup never enough.  

But then every so often there is a glimpse of, a glimpse of what...an Ellie that 'other' people can handle, an Ellie that fits in to what society can handle...and very often I catch a glimpse of the Ellie that I can see her becoming and try really hard to nurture and maintain connection with...but it ain't easy, I know. some days are sucky!!

Meltdowns - surely not!
Losing the Plot - surely not!
Breastfeeding - surely not!

Share This!

Why does Maia want to learn the value and benefits and appeal of sharing by refusing to share with me?

Why does she have to pick the hard way!  Why couldn't she just want to!!!

Ok, so its really the hard way for me, since i now have to honour and respect her 'NO, I don't want to share' because if I were to now force her to share then what would that be showing her?  That sharing is something you HAVE to do, even if you don't want to.

"The child learns to hate sharing or saying "please" and "thank you", as his formative memory of doing so is that of resentment, being controlled, and being unreal. In doing something while not wanting to do it, he is learning to hate the expression of being grateful (sharing etc.) and the natural authentic development of his manners can be delayed." Naomi Aldort (not PhD)

I happily share anything I have, made a point of it when Ellie was younger and she now shares easily and with no qualms.    Ellie unfortunately also has no qualms about sharing(having some of) Maia's food which I think has made her more guarded of her goodies.  Ellie also likes to swap, which often means when that when she has half finished or accidentally dropped portions, she tries to swap with Maia's fuller portion. Perils of being the youngest.

Its no wonder Maia isn't keen on sharing just now!!

The other downside of 'making' Maia share (its almost laughable to me that people actually do this still!! MAKE your child share, I mean it sounds so ridiculous to me now!!) Anyway, the downside is, in my experience, when my kids feel they HAVE to do something, they resist and that gets us all nowhere on a big fat slide to meltdown.

Resistance is Futile!!

Meltdowns - seem to be on the up
Losing the Plot - holding their own
Breastfeeding - yup!