Sunday, August 29, 2010

Friday, August 27, 2010

This might ruffle some feathers..

But y'all love a bit 'o' controversy so here goes...

Being a connected parent is meeting your children's needs. I always liked the Dr Sears 7 Baby b's.
-birth bonding
-breastfeeding
-baby wearing
-bedding close to baby
-belief in the value of baby's cry
-beware of baby trainers
-balance

As children get older it's about respect, not using manipulation and staying connected.

Somehow this has blown out. Now there are some Mamas who make it seem that to be connected you have to do a whole lot more. Like elimination communication, cloth nappies, homebirth, homeschool, making meals from scratch and eating only the most organic, local food there is around. I think a lot of these things are great! I'm a big advocate of lots of the "extras", but I know a lot of families who do it differently who are just beautiful. A mother who's kids drink green smoothies and wear all re-purposed clothes is no better than a mother who's child wears the latest season brand name clothes and eats maccas. You may argue about who is more sustainable but that is NOT a pre-requisite of great parenting.

It's OK to hate hanging out the washing. It's OK to use disposable nappies. It's OK to take your child to the Doctor if you are feeling unsure. There are no medals for the most crunchy, eco-friendly, local eating, longest breastfed, off the grid, raw vegan, op-shopping, nappy-free, TV free, school-free families. Chances are your kids don't give a shit about any of this.

If you love doing these things then great! Do them, enjoy them, set whatever type of examples you are comfortable with.

What I'm concerned about is the pressure a lot of other Mamas feel. Some Mamas are struggling with the day to day of being there for their kids and can feel intimidated by what a "good mother" is becoming in the eyes of the hippy-la-la world. Having a pram does not make a disconnected parent unless there is a baby in said pram being ignored while it screams to be picked up. If you are ignoring your children while you struggle to perfect the art of lacto-fermantation the maybe eggs on toast would be a better option.

Get back to basics. Concentrate on listening to your kids. Stay connected. Do what you can. Find your community. If you want to do any or all of the other stuff go for it! But if none of those other thing appeal to you remember they have little to do with being a connected parent.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

We play! With borrowed toys.

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This last month my kids have been enjoying some lovely toys form the Mobile Toy Library here in Melbourne. We paid our monthly fee and chose 2 baskets of toys. All their toys are natural, wooden toys-right up our alley! It was nice to try some big ticket items to see what might show up at christmas! We loved playing with the Plan Toys city-definitely something we would like to have around here permanently.

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I love the idea of having beautiful toys to play with that we can swap over each month. I'm pretty sure the girls enjoyed it too.

We Play


We're playing along with Childhood 101 We Play! Go and check out some other great play ideas HERE.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The winter of her discontent

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Harper is unhappy. She is almost 17 months old and the world is one big ball of frustration to her. There are things that she just can't do, there are things I don't let her do. She can't understand why. She can't verbalize enough tell me what it is she wants or what she is trying to do. She is seeing what is OK and what is not, and she is not always pleased with the outcome. As much as I try to be patient and understanding of her age I can't help but feel exasperated at times, like when she comes to me covered in lubricant of the KY variety, or when she harasses the puppy over and over and over until the puppy growls at her, or when she climbs up onto the bathroom counter and tries to drink pierced ear antiseptic spray. I want to be OK with her tipping any liquid she can get on the floor, or the dog, or herself. I try to be calm when she gets around a childproof latch and smashes a heap of bowls from the cupboard.

It's all a learning process for her. I'm really aware of that or there would have been much more yelling when the toilet got clogged up with the roll of toilet paper. I'm making the house as much of a "yes" zone as I'm able. I'm getting better at carrying her around while she points at what she wants. I'm trying to keep more of an eye on her without stalking her.

I'm also looking forward to more words and understanding. And feeling grateful that she is my last pre-verbal toddler!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In search of snow...

Having grown up in south east Queensland with all it's lovely warmth I still get a kick out of the fact that it sometimes snows about half an hour from where we live in Victoria. I am yet to see actual snow at Mt Macedon but I sure feel those chilly winds when it's happening!

It snowed there yesterday,enough to cover the ground, and more snow was predicted for today. I got up and surveyed the weather. It was freezing cold and overcast with some showers, it felt like it might snow here! I decided to pack up the kids into their warmest clothes and head for the Memorial Cross The gardens there are lovely and there is a yummy cafe as well. And it's pretty much at the top of Mt Macedon-snow altitude!

As we were driving up I was driving in a bit of sleet and was feeling pretty hopeful that it would be cold enough for the sleet to be snow when we got to the top...but alas the sun came out and hopes of snow were dashed.
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I did have a lovely lunch with my girls and we had a walk around in the frosty air. There was a big discussion about bushfires as the cross was damaged in the tragic Ash Wednesday fires and there are some photos of the cross in various states of damage and repair. We also had fun estimating how many steps it was from one tree to another. And I chased Harper around and tried not to have a heart attack as she climbed all around the steps surrounding the cross.

All in all it was a lovely outing, even with the lack of snow....which happened late this afternoon apparently.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

In-head planning

I have a few ideas in my head of stuff I want to put into action around here. I've had a rotten cough for 6 *SIX* weeks and it has made me slow down (hmmm maybe I should be careful what I ask for?) and I've been thinking up a storm. Here are a few bits floating around my head.

-a picture board of our weekly activities. I bought a magnetic whiteboard forever ago with this plan. Divide it into days of the week and take photos of us at our activities and stick them on the relevant day. Also take pics of friends we regularly catch up with and pop those on there when we have a play date coming up. Kids like to know what's going on and this will help, I think.

-prune my blog reading list and switch them to Google reader.

-sort out the shame that is my recipe situation. Keep only stuff I cook and tear stuff out of magazines and write out some ones again that are trashed.

-Get medieval on our budget and keep it logged

-plan some spring craft

-I feel a clean out and a clean up coming on. There are some seriously messy areas that don't warrant attention daily and they seem to gang up on me. Like the windows. Like the garage. Oh my.

-get all the stuff to register Tannah as a home educated child. Fill stuff out. Hand stuff back. Look forward to school start bonus next Feb lol.

-plan some regular one on one time with both Tannah and Willow. I think we all enjoy a bit of quiet time with each other. Talk to girls about things they'd like to do.

-plan trip to see the Titanic exhibition at the Melbourne Museum. Kids and Luke not interested so looks like a day in the city for me!

How about you? Any plans?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Things I know

-when your 16 month old goes to bed after your husband it puts a dent in the old sex life.
-distance from family seems more real when you want to give someone a hug.
-if you have a cough for 6 weeks your pelvic floor will just pack up and leave. And peeing your pants is inevitable.
-cream tiles + puppy + backyard of mud after a heap of rain = don't bother mopping til spring
-once the kids figure out the cushions come off the couches be aware that is where they will be most of the time.
-if your kids are new to ballet they may misinterpret the teachers request to "make a picture" as a ballerina and just show the teacher their muscles like The Hulk.
-hearing all 3 of your children laughing and playing together is such a heart-warming sound.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Real" Women

That phrase shits me no end. Only "real women" have yadda yadda yadda. Really? Because I thought all women were "real".

You know what real women have?

Huge breasts, small breasts, saggy breasts, perky breasts. They are thin, fat, athletic, curvy or not curvy at all. They have all kinds of body hair, or they choose to remove as much or as little as they like. They wear make-up and bras. Or they don't. They jog, do yoga, swim, play cricket, football and do ballet. Or they do none of those things. They are loud, quiet, sensual, confident, shy and even mentally ill. Some are in wheelchairs or have one leg or are blind or are completely physically able. Some have long hair, short hair, dreadlocks, braids, colour their hair or maybe they just trim it every 10 years. Some wear a burqa, or a scarf, or a cross around their neck or have no outward sign of their faith. Or no faith at all. They have tattoos and piercings, or not or maybe just earrings. They are tall, short and everything in between. These women are white, black, yellow, olive or any other colour you can imagine. They love men, women or both. Some women are men.

Real women are Mothers, children, aunts, sisters, friends, lovers, grandmothers, matriarchs, exes, enemies.

I'm a real woman, and you are too.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Short break

We're back from a weekend away. We drove to Warrnambool on the coast of Victoria to see southern right whales.
It was about a 3 and a half hour drive to our destination and because it is winter and I don't do cold the tent stayed at home and we lived large in a cabin.
Did we see whales? Yes we did! Well, the adults and the older kids (some other school-free families met us there) saw them. Tannah did, I think and Willow saw "the beautiful water" which was just as amazing for her. They didn't do big whaley displays a-la humpback whales. They did hover under he water and blow air out of their holes and kind of pop a bit of their back out occasionally. I still loved it.
We spent a lot of time at Lake pertobe which is the best park I've ever been to. We also went to Tower Hill. An amazing national reserve that was once a volcano. Heaps of wildlife. We saw kangaroos, emus and their chicks, a wallaby and some koalas. We did a bushwalk there. We also went and played on the beach. And we kicked back in the unit. And more playing on at Lake Pertobe.
But you know the one thing none of us did?

Was take a single photo!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blossoming

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Tannah is really coming out of her shell of late.

She has always been happiest close to Mama and Daddy and everything that is familiar to her. She has always been very cautious when it comes to the unfamiliar which could mean anything from a group of kids she didn't know or a big slide at the park. She is a sensitive soul, our Tannah. Sensitive to change, pain, noise, film content and so on. I know that we have been judged as "making" her that way by never forcing her into situations where she felt uncomfortable. I know The "rod for your back" police have told me on more than one occasion that she needs to "get used" to other people and situations. I know that when she has cried for not wanting to join in with big groups of kids it has been judged as because of my parenting, not in spite of it. I know that my consoling her for what is often seen as little things to be upset over has been seen as re-enforcing her fear or "babying" her.

But Tannah is blossoming.

Because she knows she won't be forced into situations and she won't be judged for being scared or cautious she is challenging herself a lot of late. She is more than happy to spend a night at her grandparents house (at her request) and has even had a sleepover with her besties that was very much enjoyed. She really enjoys the company of some very loud and physical boys from a few different places-the type of kids who would have had her glued to me 6 months ago. She found out she can be dropped off at her circus class and loves waving me off and seeing me arrive back to tell me all about it. At circus class she swings on ropes, hangs on a trapeze and is in a large mixed sex class. All of these things would have been a huge issue in the past. We went to the cinema recently which we have never done because of the noise and she enjoyed it-she did complain about the volume but was happy to stay until the end.

I feel like all my (most of the time) patience is paying off. I think that if we had pushed her before she was ready to test her own boundaries we might have made her more fearful. I know she is grateful for us being there to support her in whatever she does and doesn't want to participate because she said this-

"I'm not scared of staying at circus because I know you'd stay if I want you to. And I like doing the trapeze because it's fun, even though it's a bit scary. And I know it's OK to be scared, but it's fun to try to forget the scary!"

What a big grown up girl huh?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Why this matters.

Homebirth in Australia is now in the hands of Doctors and Obstetricians. Not in the hands of the women who are giving birth where it belongs. Too many people are ambivalent about this and don't realize the follow on implications. Women who choose to birth at home outside the hospital system are a small group, but our rights should be the same rights as those of every woman.

We should all have the right to choose where and with who we birth our babies. We should all have the rights to our own body.

Don't think this affects you? Think again.

Supermodel Gisele made the news today with suggestions to making breastfeeding compulsory for 6 months. As much as I am a staunch supporter of human milk for human babies I in no way think laws surrounding a woman's body are acceptable.
Same for abortion. It is up to the woman who is pregnant to make that decision. It is not up to a government to decide what is and is not OK for her to do with her body.

Too many women take for granted their right to choose an elective cesarean, to bottle feed their child, to breastfeed their older child, to have an abortion(there are some restrictions there), to get tattoos, wear pants and to have a same sex partner(though not a wife). These things are not without discrimination or judgment, but there are no laws inhibiting you.

Women are being forced to enter the hospital system. They are being forced to play by their rules by submitting to tests they would have avoided otherwise. They are losing the choice of preferred care provider. They have lost the rights to their bodies.

Though we may be a small group of women who are affected by the current homebirth laws our right to make an informed choice should be the same as everyone else. Those who aren't affected should maybe consider what bodily autonomy might be handed over to the powers that be next.

Happy third birthday Willow!

My midgie firecracker girl is three today. This time 3 years ago I was still high on the hormones from our ecstatic, easy and beautiful homebirth.
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We were resting on the recliner with her snuggled into my dressing gown. That was all we did for the first 12 hours. Snuggled and fed. Skin to skin.
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Willow walked at 10 months and was running and climbing by her first birthday.
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By the time she was 2 she already had a baby sister who she has always been beautiful towards-sharing everything without being prompted, even the boob.
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Willow, you are so kind, giving and passionate. I feel so blessed to have such an affectionate and forgiving daughter. I could live without the epic tantrums you are capable of but I think they stem from your passion ;)

Happy 3rd birthday my girl. We love you so much!
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