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.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

FB or bust: plug me in please

On my very very slow journey of self discovery, happiness and learning not to 'give a fuck' and be that strong confident mum I profess to want to be on my blog title, I am finding myself conflicted. 

The last time I came off Facebook for a few weeks, we found a new home! I've now been off for nearly a couple of months enjoying that new home!! Part of me really thinks the FB break gave me the time to contemplate the situation and then deal head on with hubby about our living arrangements.  I keep imagining what would have happened if I had just carried on complaining on FB about the old place and the neighbours and the this and the that and just carried on putting up with my situation hoping things would get better. I know for a fact that the support I received on FB also spurred me on to making a change. And there is my quandary.

For a start, the repetitive nature of FB (seeing the same memes and articles) irrationally irritates me. I keep wanting to shout 'where have you been? I knew/saw/laughed/gasped at that aaaaaaaages ago'. 

The different time zones and paces of life on FB means I sometimes miss connecting with certain people and then it's becomes hard to follow their story. There's a lot to catch up on sometimes and feels hard to ask 'WTF? are you talking about' because most people have limited time and that kind of question requires longer responses and an actual real time dialogue! 

Apparently, 'I haven't been on FB for a millisecond' isn't an adequate excuse anymore! Soon it will be streamed live into our brains and diminish the capacity for original thought. 

The other annoying thing with the time zones is I end up staying on FB for so much longer than I had planned because I want to scroll right back through the whole day or two or however long I was away from it just to catch up with all sides of the globe.  I acknowledge that this is probably a 'my addictive personality' annoying thing rather than entirely FB's fault but I do think FB has a lot to answer for too. It's a bit like giving a gambler a freebie at the casinos every so often. 

Hello my name is Miriam and I am a FB addict. 

The final thing about FB is, it is very very hard to have an opinion and keep it without someone somewhere getting really nasty shit on you because they disagree with you. It's uncalled for and doesn't really happen in real life, does it?. That level of nasty can be quite upsetting at times especially for someone as emotional and sensitive as I am realising I am. 

Anyway for all those negatives, I keep coming back to the one crucial crutch that keeps FB going....

Being off the main wall and my groups has been good for me and my addictive personality but I'm finding I'm really missing connecting with my FB friends. 

I have been so busy with the moving and the summer holidays and the country life that it's only in the rare quiet moments do I realise, I am still quite isolated here and it was comforting having all my FB friends, some who are now IRL friends, so 'on hand'.  

My quest to find new friendships here is a slow going process and with the kids back at school the quiet moments are becoming longer.  

So that's my quandary. I don't know what to do! 

What did people do before???!

I used to be a prolific letter writer. If you fancy becoming pen-pals with us. Drop me an email: Miripips@hotmail.com 
My girls love sending wee letters to friends. 

Even better...want to come for a visit? Having a shot of the electric chainsaw is mandatory!!

Meltdowns: sister frustrations
Losing the Plot: the air is really doing me good
Breastfeeding: and gardening

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

It's not about you

Even after all these years my mum is still quite defensive about my parenting style. 

She has kindly offered to be with Millie for 4 hours whilst I do my breastfeeding training course. It's the longest Millie has been away from me (not including daddy) and it's a whole new experience for her. 

Last week was her first week and even though she ended up having a lovely day with my mum, she still expressed the desire not to be left without me. She wasn't distraught or upset about it happening, but she made it clear she wasn't too chuffed about it. Talking about this week she again, simply and clearly and expectantly, told me she didn't want me to go. I went through similar with my other girls at nursery but they were older. 

The night before, I was trying to explain to mum that I would see how she reacted. I would bring her over with an expectation that she would stay but that I knew she wasn't keen. I received the usual 'oh they need to get used to not being with you' line. 

For our family, the premise of an emotionally secure, happy, confident, capable child is based on a healthy attachment to a primary caregiver. Early years attachment has far reaching positive consequences for the child. 

In order for this to effectively work, the child needs to feel secure and confident that their primary caregiver is available and capable of providing for their needs. For a newborn, this equates to almost 24/7 care (practical, emotional and boobal!!) and constant reassurance that they won't be abandoned or left to fend for themselves. Newborns needs are constant and demanding! 

As a child grows, so too does their confidence and security and comfort level at being left with a secondary caregiver. A child first needs to have dependence which leads to codependence which will eventually lead to healthy independence. 

In the absence of the main caregiver, the child needs to know the secondary caregiver has the abilities and skills in order to help them feel comfortable and secure in their situation. This relationship takes time to develop and for a young child to get to that point may take some time. 

Prematurely severing attachment has long term consequences. Rushing the attachment/detachment process at a young age, can lead to connection problems, which can manifest in what are generally termed 'behaviour problems'.  Whenever there are ongoing issues (or meltdowns) it is usually down to connection. 

It's always good to be reminded that the long term goal, really does takes longer!!

So back to my situation, whilst *I* know my mum loves Millie and they have a great time together, and as my mum said she can manage if Millie becomes upset, I had to remind her that this isn't about me and it isn't about her. This is about seeing it from Millie's point of view. This is about Millie feeling secure and ready to be separated for an extended period of time from me.

Although I didn't say this out loud, it is also definitely not about 'managing' or 'dealing with' an upset child!!

I am in the fortunate position that it's not truly necessary for her to stay as she is able to come with, so she has the opportunity to ease into the transition.  

I feel great pain towards those that truly are unable, yet want to be with their child. It must take a lot of instinct squashing and heartache to do especially when even younger.

Had that option not been available and she were to become more adamant or distraught at me leaving, I would need to listen to her and re-evaluate our arrangement. I would most likely need to reconsider the course for another time. 

Dismissing her feelings or denying her emotions are not conducive to a happy secure Millie. Or a happy relaxed me.  It more often than not leads to a more needy girly who requires additional connection to feel balanced again. 

Losing the plot - mainly over sibling rivalry. Must reread'finish' the book. 
Meltdowns - few and far between...today
Breastfeeding - doin' a course. I'm gonna be legit not just some boob shoogling loony!!

Monday, 25 August 2014

....and then you go and spoil it all by saying something stupid....

Farmer John came by today, first time I've spoken to him since the field debacle. The field was mowed and the grass removed by the best looking machines! I stood and watched them for ages. So hypnotic!!

He pointed out that he had nailed our birdhouse in place against the wind which I thought was unusually  sweet of him. I hadn't even noticed!

Then, in his usual way, he made grumpy comments about our garden needed sorting, grass mowed hedges cut etc. I asked if he had seen the work I had done, weeding and wood chipping. He seemed unimpressed. Pah! *I'm* impressed with my work even if he isn't!!

Then he starts on about the girls going up the road on their bikes and how they shouldn't be and how the boys on the tractors go really fast and he went on and on about it again (he mentions it every time I see him).  I suggested he speak to his boys and remind them that there are kids out playing and I'll speak to my girls again. I know he is just worried for their safety but I am not curbing my kids freedom just to placate him. It's a relatively quiet country road which leads to a country estate a few miles down so it's not a through road to anywhere. They are only going less than half a mile to a friends farm. The girls know to keep to the side and be vigilant. I believe they are old enough to manage and this nanny state that we live in where mums are going to be prosecuted for leaving their kids to play in a play park is becoming completely ridiculous.

Anyway, back to Farmer John. It was all going so well and then he goes and spoils it all by asking if we've sorted a gate yet to lock the kids in!!!

I calmly said well actually, I think we've changed our mind about a gate and they are not animals to be fenced in!!

Meltdowns - none!
Losing the Plot - none, the tractors hypnotised me and calmed me down!!
Breastfeeding - as ever

gathering the grass....

raking the grass.......

Friday, 22 August 2014

Finally, the day has arrived!!

Monumentous occasion today for our wee family. 

We are finally flexi-schooling!! Many of you know I have always wanted to homeschool, so this is our compromise :)

We will be going to Nurture in Nature in the morning and then the girls will be going to RE in the afternoon. 

Of course on our first day of flexi, it is absolutely bucketing but that hasn't stopped the girls enthusiasm and the theme is water so that works!! 

We are kitted up and ready to greet nature and all her elements. 

A whole new chapter for us all. So very exciting!!!

Meltdowns - over a sugar packet!
Losing the plot - too busy 
Breastfeeding - unusually not in the rain today 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Of all the mums in all the school!!

I am sitting in the empty play park across the road from the school having dropped the girls off (on time, well a few mins before the bell) and I'm noticing little groups of mums chatting. I'm wishing some would come into the park with their little ones but one do. I realise the only way to get this mum ball rolling is to just walk up to a group and introduce myself. I chicken out of the first group, too big, too far away, Millie stills wants to be in play park, excuses excuses!! 

On the way back to the car I see two mums outside the gate and just go for it. "Hello!!" I say. "I'm new here, I have a kid in p4 and p2.", how about you?" Turns out they are new too with P1's, one of them had followed the school bus as her wee boy had insisted he wanted to go on it alone and she wanted to make sure he didn't pop over to the play park instead!! I ask about any groups for Millie and find out about that. We stand chatting for a bit and I tell them where we've moved from and to and how my girls seem happy and are already talking about this friend and that friend and it's such a difference from the previous school where it was so cliquey and I'd often be heartbroken watching Ellie sitting alone in the playground. 

Suddenly another mum comes striding up calling my name!!!??? "Hello, you probably don't remember me, we went to school together, you haven't changed a bit!!" Turns out she lives in the next wee village along and her son is in Ellie's class. I invited them over any time to play.

Soon we all dispersed and I walked with 'busmum' back to the car. We stop and chat a bit more. She has a 4m and is worried about her not getting enough milk and thinking of mix feeding. Of all the people to tell that too! How serendipitous!! I advise her that baby is probably upping her milk supply and her body knows what to do and makes the perfect amount, she is still early days post partum, she should be taking it a bit easier (hard with another kid!)

Now hear comes the craziest part.  I'm sure I've mentioned before I have this weird intuition thing, well it kind of extends to freaky coincidences too. 

Well, 'busmum' turns to me and says "Actually I know the house you live in, that was my family home and I grew up there with my two sisters. I was so happy to hear from my dad (who lived there 40yrs) that another family with 3girls had moved in". I was gobsmacked. I of course invited her over any time she wants to because she said her wee boy keeps asking to see inside. She was delighted. We swapped numbers. 

Of all the mums to pick to chat to!! 

Fingers crossed the girls continue to enjoy their first week and I continue to meet friendly mums who have a crazy connection to my life in some way!!

Meltdowns - a few after school tired ones from Maia 
Losing the Plot - far less this week although getting pissed off with lack of help from girls
Breastfeeding - using ma skillz!!

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Wild outside girls

We've been back from LFC camp for a couple of days now but Ellie and Maia still think they are outside. They are still shouting. Still running about (inside and between rain storms). Still playing. Still laughing. Still fighting. Still being wild care free independent children. I love it!! The shouting is getting a bit much for us but it's still brilliant. They still think the tv isn't working (although Ellie woke up and came in whilst we were watching a fim, maybe she'll have been too sleepy to remember!!) but they finally have their tablets connected to the internet.

It's slowly creeping back in to their time but not even half as much as it was before (practically 24/7). I do think I will have to keep a watchful eye on their screen time but I would SO love for them to be able to carry on self regulating but I worry that with school starting soon and there being less hours in the day to use the tablets, they will increase their tablet time rather than their 'play' time.

Before camp I suggested to the girls that they only go on them twice a day for an hour or so and they seemed amenable to it but I couldn't really work out how to 'police' such a thing without 'dictating' and I didn't want it to become something I would have to enforce. All of which..police, dictate, enforce really doesn't sound so wonderful to me.  I envisioned me giving them their tablets (which would mean having to hide them) then forgetting they were on them whilst I was busy doing mum things and before I know it, it's lunchtime!! Either that or I would say, "ok times up" and they would say no and I would make an attempt to take it off them, feel like I would have to somehow physically remove the tablets and be mean nasty mum and then change my mind, wanting to avoid the conflict!!! 

At the end of camp, Ellie asked me to do something her friend gets called "tablet time". She seemed quite enthusiastic about it, having completely forgotten we had discussed this very idea not ten days prior.

Perhaps they *will* be able to turn them off if I suggest it. So far I haven't needed to. I haven't felt they've been on them way too much, to the detriment of other play possibilities. Mind you it has only been two days!!! To aid in our downsizing media time, I have decided to deactivate from Facebook for a while longer. It's been almost a month and with the busyness of moving and the craziness of camping, it's actually not been *that* hard. I know though, for an addict and socialbee like me, it will be harder and harder to avoid FB time as the nights draw in and the girls are back to school!!!

Here's hoping the lure of the countryside and the new house exploration and the 'not yet connected tv' will be enough to keep them busy otherwise it's going to be a whole load of stressy tablet time hassle I don't need (and I'm sure they don't want either)!!!! 

Meltdowns - Millie is joining the ranks
Losing the Plot - usually starts about 4.36pm
Breastfeeding - in all honesty I'd be keen for it to stop, well maybe not completely.