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Archive for April, 2010

4.30.10

can you imagine that i have it in me to get annoyed with him? sometimes we are flowing along so nicely and i can’t remember why or how we ever get into our mucky spots. my gosh i love him and he is so amazing, kind, gentle, thoughtful, funny, and sensitive. right now he loves to run, to dig in the sand, and to tell jokes like this, “poopy pants!” or “banana face!”

we had a really nice morning today. well actually, we had a really rough early morning and a really nice morning from about 9:30 on. it was so nice to make the switch from tough to nice. i am going to be sure to revel in it for the rest of the day no matter how it goes.

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did i tell you all a little while back that my very talented photographer friend decided to use me and the kids as an example of attachment parenting for the focus of her final (mixed media) project for her degree? she came to our house a lot in march taking photographs of us as we went through our days. she asked me questions and she did a lot of recording of my answers. then she transcribed it all and she asked me to look at it. now i can tweak anything i want and we are going to rerecord it with pauses between sentences and such so that she can more easily put the audio portions into the final piece.

phew.

i thought it couldn’t hurt to share my thoughts here as long as i am working on them. any of the rest of you want to answer these as well?

how did your fascination with AP start? (<— fascination is what she calls it in her question but each time i read that it makes me giggle.)
before i even had the first baby i was in graduate school for my counseling degree and that is where i first learned about attachment theories. i had one friend in grad school who had just had their first child and it was from him that i first heard the term “attachment parenting.” he also introduced me to dr. sears and his collection of books. that is how i first knew ap existed. then when i got pregnant i wanted to have a natural birth and it seemed like a lot of the natural birthing sources also had ap information. i was already into using more holistic remedies to take care of myself and i found that a lot of the books on natural parenting, using homeopathy and herbal remedies for kids, were written by people who were also practicing attachment parenting. they would include sections on the family, baby wearing, and those kinds of things.

once he was born it wouldn’t really have mattered what i had read because if i listened to my natural instincts i was ap. i should say, i was glad i had read what i had because it gave me more confidence to listen to my instincts and that what i wanted to do was an ok way to parent even though no one else i knew in real life was doing it. the first few days i got to be with him (he was in nicu for a few days) i had no desire at all to put him down. then when he started to wake up more his temperament just made me even more committed to ap. he really wanted and needed to be held all the time so that is what we did. he wouldn’t sleep on his own so we coslept. he wanted to nurse all the time so we nursed all the time. i felt like it made sense to meet his needs and trust that the process of doing that would create a nice stable way for him to develop. he would feel secure.

i had some problems with our nursing relationship in the beginning and i found kellymom though that. i asked some questions on the forums there and got helpful answers and then the boards were also ap so i got support around ap stuff there too. that was very helpful because i didn’t feel like i had a lot of support in my real life relationships.

i am a researchaholic. so i found books to read, and websites, and blogs, and i read and read and read and i figured out my theory of what i wanted to be doing. i am also pretty stubborn so once i decided this was the best way for our family to do things i wasn’t going to change my mind. instead i had to convince everyone else that it was the best way to do things.

what are the most important aspects of AP from your perspective?
i think the basic most important thing to me is that my children’s relationship with me (with both parents but i am talking about myself as the mom here) be secure. i believe that a strong, unconditionally loving, securely attached relationship is the most important thing in any child’s life. it is the one thing most important for a person to grow and develop into a healthy, happy, secure adult. my goal is always to have my children experience their relationship with me in that way (secure, unconditionally loving, etc) and if i feel like we are getting off track in some way i always try to return to that. (getting off track can be behavior, tantrums, not sleeping well, acting out, and so on.) i definitely do not experience a perfectly loving time with my children all day every day but when i feel like things are getting off kilter i return to my faith in the importance of relationship, connection, attachment.

then there are the little pieces of ap, the practices associated with ap that people sometimes think are what ap is. i personally think these things are just signs of ways that you are trying to meet your child’s needs and create and maintain this loving secure relationship. the pieces i am thinking of are cosleeping, night time parenting, babywearing, nursing or extended nursing, not sleep training, gentle discipline, things like that.

all of these pieces have been important to me because i think they are ways to meet my children’s needs. i have shared a bed with them when they wanted me to feel safe and secure sleeping. i have nursed, rocked, and laid with them until they fall asleep because i believe that it is healthy for them to have me with them while they fall asleep until they are old enough that they feel safe and secure going to sleep on their own. i have done a lot of baby wearing because i believe it helps a child to feel happy and loved to be with their mama (or other care provider) all the time. they get to be right with me for kisses on the head, to see what our life is, to watch what i am doing and be interacting with me while i am also living our life. with my first born the baby wearing was so much for him – he needed to be in physical contact with me all the time. otherwise he would be so upset. for my second born it was also a way for her to be involved in everything i was doing with the bean and around the house while also being able to nap, nurse, and just be held by me – in my cloth arms. i want myself, my husband, or another loving adult to be available to my children twenty four hours a day every day. i know that is intense but i believe that is the most natural and healthy way to do things and i think it is my responsibility to figure out how to make that possible. what do i need for myself to make it so that i can handle parenting young children all day every day? who do i need help from? how do my husband and i stay connected and in love while we are in such an intense phase of parenting? these are the challenges that i continue to try to learn and grow with – to figure out.

i decided early on that i was not going to worry about how soon my children would be more independent. i believe that given a secure base, a loving attached relationship to a parent, all children will develop and become independent in their own time. i never wanted to force them to be independent sooner in ways that were scary or harmful to them psychologically. that is a huge reason why i practice ap.

what did you take/learn from reading about the waldorf approach?
when i became interested in waldorf i was really attracted to the holistic approach to the development of children, the stress of the importance of connection with the natural world, and the sense that they were taking things slow. i continue to be deeply inspired by the idea of being somewhat protective of my children’s childhood. i feel like in this day and age kids are encouraged to grow up faster and faster. i don’t want that for my children. i want them to play and develop their imagination and dig in the dirt and believe in magic.

i like how waldorf teaches that my children can be learning everything they need through just being at home with me and helping me with our daily work. they do not need to have gym class, dance class, music class, and a play date each week. they are learning about life and about them selves mainly through imaginative play which can happen right in our backyard. they also can be entertained by helping me run the house. they can help me cook dinner, they can help me clean the house, they can wash the windows and knead bread. it sounds a little overly romantic when i say it all in a row like that but honestly i have tried to incorporate this belief and lifestyle more and more and it see how it works. it truly works. right now the bean is in preschool two mornings a week for a few hours and that the only thing that is on their schedule each week. that feels like plenty to me. i am not trying to say that taking a class with your child is going to kill them. i just know that if i chose to do a gym class or something that is for me not for them. it is for me to get out and be social with the other mom’s. all my kids need is to help me fold the laundry, run around in the yard, dig in the sand, take a bath and go to bed. that is a full life for them.

one other major thing i took away from some waldorf reading is the idea that children are existing in a place where their imagination is so much more alive than an adults. i used to sometimes feel like my job as their mom was to get involved in all their games. somewhere i read this very helpful idea that i actually cannot really play they way they can. their imagination is so much richer and i am in the adult world. i can help them set up a game, i can play a side role in the game, i can be their when they need me in the play but i can also be folding laundry (notice a theme here…), or cooking dinner, or sweeping the kitchen floor.

i don’t say, “no i won’t play with you.” i say, “oh you want to play fireman? wonderful! i will be the fireman who is staying in the station to answer any emergency calls that come in. i am here in the station sweeping the floor and listening to be sure i don’t miss a call. the other firemen are going out on a mission…” and with that he will take off to play out what the fireman mission is. this was a huge change in perspective for me.

i could go on and on about other waldorf things i like and try to bring to our life even though i do not consider us to be a waldorf home. i’ll end there to save us all from my ramblings.

how does it benefit/affect your children, why do you think it’s good to be raised this way?
like any parent i want my children to be the happiest and healthiest (physically and psychologically) that they can be. my reading, research, and my intuition, instinct and heart guide me to practice attachment parenting as the best way to do this. i think and hope that this will benefit them in countless ways throughout their lives. at the very least, i think it is a very peaceful and loving way for us to be with each other in the present moment.

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sometimes

sometimes as i am going about my normal hectic day i suddenly start writing a blog post in my mind.  i notice something, or have an idea, or a moment of clarity and i just start the post in my head.  then the next day i sit down while the pea naps and i try to think of something to write about and my mind is blank.  i know i had an idea yesterday and i even remember sometimes what it was related to but it seems so obvious and simplistic i can’t quite believe i had anything to say about it.

all the best teachings seem to recycle through my life and i learn them again and again.  each time i think, oh wow that is so nice.  and then, i’ll share it on my blog.

but when i sit down to share it i hesitate to repeat things said so much better by others.  and potentially the same things i always say.

yesterday afternoon the bean was pushing my buttons in his new and deeply gifted four year old self way.  i was getting myself into a nice combination of frustrated, angry, and irritated.  it was lovely.  this is not really new.  his energy has shifted to being more expansive and he is much more interested in testing my boundaries and just being generally disagreeable to my desires.  yesterday he had pulled all the pillows off the couch for bouncing.  then he wanted to put one of the dining room chairs on the couch.  i wouldn’t allow it and i told him it was not safe.  he was pretty upset and i was in one of those spots where i was asking myself why i wouldn’t allow it.  is it really dangerous?  i decided to tell him he could put one of the small  chairs that came with our kid sized table on the couch.  as i told him this i felt a huge chunk of something free up in my chest.  being with him felt so much more fun when i was able to let go of, “should i be allowing this?”

i wish i could explain how it felt when i sat with this for a moment.  it was like taking a blanket of darkness off my body.  i made a mental note to myself that i wanted to play around with the idea.  i think as the bean continues to test and test i get into a defensive stance and i keep trying to get him to stop.  stop pushing.  stop trying.  stop being so independent.  the more i feel like he is acting out the tighter down i clamp.  what if i could free myself up a bit and give him more freedom too?

it’s not a solve all but i think it helped some.  the thing was for some reason i was able to let go of my irritations as the moments passed.  he would do something, or not do something i wanted him to, or whatever and i would flare up.  then it would pass by on the stream of the day and i was able to move on to the next moment.  instead of getting more and more angry i just went up a little and back to ok over and over.

i don’t know what worked.  was it the decision to be less concerned about being permissive?  was it the decision to try to enjoy more fun?  was it just more practice with this new version of my beanie boy?

this morning he didn’t want to get dressed and i caught myself thinking, “he really should get dressed.”  so i ditched my efforts.  i asked, “are you warm enough?” and he said, “yes.”  then i encouraged him to tell me if he got cold or decided he wanted more clothes on.  he agreed that he would.  guess what, he is wearing clothes now and i am not grumpy at him.  hmmmmmmmmm.

last night i stayed up late reading cesar millan.  love love love me some cesar milan.  the guys is totally woowoo but he sneaks in with his behavioralism and it WORKS.  he is rockin’ the woowoo.

i am so excited and nervous about adding this mini doglet to our family.  i can’t wait for saturday afternoon to arrive so that he is here and yet i worry that we are not ready.  i hope that being with him and feeling his energy in our physical proximity will ease my worries and help me feel secure that this truly was the right step for us.

meanwhile a whole gang of people (including the kids) have enjoyed coming up with names for him.  so far he is “rolly, (sweet baby) james. fergus, rigo, drinking water, climbing up tree for ball, castle”.  that really rolls off the tongue right?

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hint hint

a photo texted to me on friday:

a trip to the library today:

we are eagerly awaiting saturday afternoon when several creatures we already love and one creature we hope to come to love arrive back in our home town!

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i ran today through the forest, holding my iphone to keep track of the time but with the ear bud’s tucked into my t-shirt.  i decided not to wear them because i knew the local hunt was out this morning and i wanted to be sure i stayed out of their way as i was running on their land.

my feet landed on the rocky and root filled paths in as much rhythm as they could muster.  i was in that space that comes some times where my running had hit a pace, a pace that kept time and left time.  i was both fully present and no where at all.  i saw the pine needles, the roots, the occasional horse manure at my feet.  i saw the sun light coming through the thin spring leaves.  i was breathing in time with my steps.  cadence.

then, in a moments switch i lost the pace of my breath.  as this happened i felt suddenly tired, concerned that the run was not going well, aware of how much time i had left to meet my goals, achey, fearful, breathless.  i decided to take my breathing back.  forget the song my legs were singing up at me and just rebalance the in and out of the air and my lungs.  not to force the breathing but to take a moment to find the flow that is my true breath.

anytime i am in a class or position where someone tells me exactly how to breath i feel frustrated with the ill fit.  how can your right breath be my right breath?  in yoga, where i am told to move with my breath – that i can be with.  but when i am doing the 30 day shred and jillian wants me to breathe each time i punch the air i have to ignore her.

as i have been learning how to run (using the couch to 5k program) for the last several weeks i have discovered again and again that it is my breath that decides the feel of my run.  when i can find the rhythmical pattern of in and out that fits my body as it travels at this pace i can run.  when i slip out of that pattern and my breath comes and goes in irregular spurts i am suddenly overwhelmed, lost, flailing around.

i know this is not the first time i have learned this lesson but the continuity of it across disciplines and moments in life astounds me.  it is always the breath that carries me in and out of balanced calm.  the force of allowing my breathing to be what i need it to be is the power to stay present and ok with what is happening in my environment and in my body.

when i was birthing the pea, i remember a moment during my transition when i lost my breathing rhythm and i found myself gasping and sucking at the air too fast and short.  one of my midwives waited until she had my eye contact and then she asked me to slow my breath down.  mostly i wanted to shout at her that slowing anything about this birth down was impossible, but i couldn’t speak, so instead i tried to do what she said.  it took me minutes perhaps but i got there.  when i fought my way there i couldn’t arrive, when i allowed myself to get back there i found it.  and with that i realized i was having this baby and having her soon and i was ok.

today as i faltered on my run i simply told myself to take a moment to seek out a breathing pattern that felt like home.  i bounced around a bit, i felt my feet pounding the ground and i was aware of my body’s fatigue, and then i landed on my breathing spot.  when i was there – in in out, in in out – i was ok again.  i heard the birds and felt the trickle of sunlight through the trees.  my body felt like it was working hard in a way that bodies should.

it is nice to remember.  to breathe is life.

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keepsake

the other morning flash and the bean went to the grocery store to grab a few things. they brought me home this plant just because. the bean was so excited to give it to me and i was doubly excited to receive it. my heart touched that my boys remembered me and wanted to give to me for no special reason at all.

on tuesday i braided her hair for the first time. some days having a girl is all that.

this week has been tumultuous for us. i have done my best to stay grounded and not to take my own stress and worries out on the kids. the truth is that at times i have failed. in those moments what i have fallen onto is trying to be accepting of my own bad moments. to love myself right through them. and not to give them more power than they need. to be in a bad space for a few moments is not a decision to go sour for the week. the more i remember this the simpler it gets.

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on thursday

:: green smoothie for breakfast (spinach, arugula, celery, grapes, strawberries, peas)
:: we went to a local farm, fed the goats and bought their chicken’s eggs.
:: we ate lunch at one of favorite local spots.
:: we went to the library and then played in the gazebo outside.
:: i substituted 30 day shred level 2 for my couch to 5k run.
:: i ate four mini chocolate rugula.
:: ms. pea took the mini-est nap ever.
:: i packed up a cart at the reusable bags sale
:: i realized that sometimes i need to get out of the house and have fun with the kids even if (i have laundry to fold, i think being at home is healthy, the house is messy, i don’t know what’s for dinner, eating lunch out is too expensive, i don’t have a plan for the day…)
:: i tried to remember that there is no perfect life. this one is good. another one could be good too. there is no way to know right this second so we’ll just have to sit with it.
:: it is only 2:30. what else will thursday be?

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tuesday thoughts

this morning i took the kids a few towns over to look for new summer shoes, stroll the shop lined streets, and enjoy the sunshine.  they really stuck by me and went along with my plans for the most part but i still found myself emailing flash at the end of the trip, “one hour in wellesley with the kids feels like one full day.”

yesterday afternoon we walked to the park.  when i got there i noticed a group of women i didn’t recognize and who immediately triggered my i-am-not-like-them radar. (do you know that feeling?)  they were dressed so perfectly with manicured nails and long just so hair and designer sporty flats.  before we left i overheard them complaining about the “local earth mother types” who sometimes allow their children to be “naked!!!!” at the nearby pond during the summer.  “DISGUSTING.”

i was insulted and hurt to hear them talking like that.  i walked home in a huff and i snapped at the kids when they accidentally tripped me as we unloaded the stroller.  oh gosh, i wanted to call up one of my friends and tell her the story and call these other mom’s some choice names.  i wanted to be able to say, “earth mothers and nudity is BETTER than manicures and nannies and name calling!”  

i challenged myself to sit with it though.  i acknowledged that i felt like they were talking about me and so my feelings were hurt.  i thought about how i believe that my calling them names would be no better than feeling like they were calling me names.  i thought about how i want space in the world for mother’s to be supportive of each other despite differences in parenting choices, in life style choices, even in attire.  i told myself that calling up my posse to badmouth this posse didn’t change a thing.  what might be change would be NOT doing that.

i don’t know how well i did.  i didn’t call my friend but i still felt a lot of animosity.  oh well, baby steps.

i know i will face these women again so i will have ample time for practice.  maybe there will be others like them another day at the park or maybe it will just be the echo of their condemnation when i let my young child play naked for a moment on the local pond beach when i get her out of the swim diaper and into dry clothes.  either way i am prepared to tell myself that it is ok that my feelings are hurt.  also, it is ok for people to feel differently about things.  maybe, on a really good day, i’ll find a mom with a manicure and a nanny who thinks my naked baby is totally inappropriate and i will smile at her.  that should be my goal.

remember awhile ago i started my little daily planner project?  well, this weekend i found the time to finish them up.  here are a few snapshots to give you an idea of how they turned out.

monday

tuesday - wednesday

thursday - friday

saturday & sunday

i had a few copies of each day made so i can try using them and see how they feel to me. on the originals i got right up to the edges of the page and some of that got lost on the copies but i almost liked that. i kept telling myself to enjoy this project instead of getting caught up in wanting it all to be perfect and this felt like a nice reminder. imperfect copies and all i am so happy with it!

ahhhh sweet imperfect life.
i was awake in the middle of last night worrying about things that might be and then the pea reached out for me, wanting to climb onto me and have her milkies, and so i assumed our middle of the night feeding position. i wasn’t annoyed that she was up. i was comforted to be touching her. i realized that no matter what life brings us i am happy to be spending my time and energy with and on my children. where ever they are i can be and be okay. then i fell asleep.

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monday is

the marathon

flours stocked up to go gluten free

discarded sweaters

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ch-ch-ch-ch-changes…

recently i have taken to having a green smoothie for breakfast and that is it.  i used to think i needed something solid too but i am experimenting with what my needs for food really are at this point in my life and finding a giant greenie holds me nicely until lunch.  (and of course my coffee!)

break-ie

todays smoothie:

1 c. chopped chard

1 c. baby arugula

1/2 a cucumber chopped

1 stick of celery chopped

combine these with about a cup of water in the blender and blend away.

then add:

1/2 c. frozen peas

1/4 c. frozen blueberries

1/2 c. frozen strawberries

a few tablespoons of ground flax seed

another few oz of water

blend well…i let it buzz along for a few minutes it seems.

later in the morning our newly found and much appreciated babysitter arrived to watch the bean and pea while i treated myself to a haircut.  when i got home beanie offered to take a picture of it:

me with a fresh hair cut

it’s hard for me to put that photo up without obsessing about if i look ok in it and because it is so hard i am doing it!  i did crop the outlet out of the image but other than that it is the bean’s photo.  go beanie bop.

speaking of the beanie bop.  he is 4.  i could wax poetic about the last four years, oh yes i could, but for now i’ll just share a few photo’s of the cake we ate with him the other day to celebrate.  (thanks for the cake gramps!)

and those are some recent changes around here.

p.s.  i am feeling kind of inspired by this project. fun? awesome? crazy? time-suck? hmmmmmmmmmm.

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