Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Going Shampoo Free

I have decided to go one step further in my bid to reduce my chemical calories and am going shampoo free. I was advised to not wash my hair for 6 weeks in order for it to regulate the grease production. Alternatively, you can leave it a week and start washing it and I guess the adjustment period takes a bit longer.

One site I read advises to use a clarifying shampoo befire starting the process, which then means you don't need the greasy adjustment period!

So, after one week - I made a baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) paste with warm water, I rubbed it into the top of my scalp, working backwards and then the sides. After rinsing with water, I did an appled cider vinigar and water (1:4) rinse.

My DH thought my hair looked gorgeous! 4 days on notso good, so did it again and not looking so hot! Guess I am still in the adjustment period...

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Slinging It - Continuing the Continuum

I am so excited as I am finally getting round to ordering a Mei tei - our first Mei Tei from new!

It is custom hand-made, and we cannot wait to recieve them and go for some lovely long walks over the Christmas period. 

Here is the make of Mei Tei we are getting:

Our Baby Wearing Story Societal change requires a change in the way we view children and how we parent - and for me it started with realising that my instincts to respond to and nurture the children who share my life were always right.

Before the boy who shares my life was born I had a vision of orderly control. I painted a nursery and filled it with things. In the instant that he was born, time stopped just for a moment and then everything changed. When he came home with me and he didn’t go in the cot for long, soon we were co sleeping. I had a pram but I found he preferred to be mostly in arms. 

Then when I discovered that we were expecting twins, I wanted to have the same bond I had shared with my son with them.  So after some research on the long-term benefits of respectful attachment parenting I discovered "proper" slings. 

At first I was scared to put the twins in slings as it seemed too complicated, but it soon became second nature. We started off with a piece of jersey to wrap, then used thicker fabric to wrap but discovered that woven is better (Storch, girasol, Didymos). I have also test driven my friends Ergo and that is a fantastic buckle carrier, really comfortable but only goes up to around 18 months as far as I know.  Kinderpacks are also highly rated in the sling wearing community. I love mei teis but also love the double hammock wrap carry when I can do it right!

Making Paint

I have been slowly working through the house and trying to make everything non-toxic. Then I was loooking at the remnants of the "washable" paints we have and I thought how wasteful they are due to the plastic bottles, and then I wondered what is inside the bottle?

As luck would find me at the moment - I found a lovely home made paint recipe from the Greenparent magazine and we tried it. Success! The paint is a lovely consistency and the colours bright - the only set back is that you have to mix the colours before reusing.

1 tablespoon of cold water
1 tablespoon of cornflour
1 cup of hot water
Food colouring

Mix the cornflour with the cold water to make a paste. Add the hot water a bit at a time - then add some colours of choice. Put in a jam jar and use!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

A Story to Make us Think

"When I was about twenty years old, I met an old pastor's wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn't believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time.

"But one day when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking — the first in his life. And she told him he would have to go outside and find a switch for her to hit him with. The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying.

"He said to her, 'Mama, I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock you can throw at me.' All of the sudden a mother understood how the situation felt from the child's point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone.

"The mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. Because violence begins in the nursery — one can raise children into becoming violent."

~ Astrid Lindgren, author of "Pippi Longstocking" (From a peace prize acceptance speech)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Toys and Television

One year after darling boy came into this world, I can recall a friend being horrified that I hadn't bought him a gift. I reasoned that he didn't need one. I bought most clothes and toys from a second hand sale, and just, didn't need anything.

I was shamed enough on her insistence to then and there go and buy a plastic toy vacuum cleaner. Two days after his birthday it broke and I returned it secretly pleased.

For starters, I hate plastic. I hate throwaway culture and how disposable people deem plastic to be when it is actually not degradable and often toxic.

What I find even worse than plastic toys, are light and sound toys. Not only do they drive me mad but they are so tacky and for want of a better word, patronising! You may wonder how can a plastic toy be patronising, perhaps it can't, perhaps manipulative is a better word. It is just that children learn exactly what they need to learn when they need to learn it, given opportunities. But manufacturers think how can I get people to buy our tat and make money? Hmm we'll pretend babies need this! We'll make parents think babies need to be super-stimulated and need more and more toys in order to learn and be "clever". That brings me to an even worse toy crime - having too many toys.

Many would not agree with me. Therefore I will start with my television argument. There is a plethora of research stating that brain activity is at its lowest when watching TV. The brain activity when watching TV is LESS than when one is sleeping. You may think what is wrong with that, but then consider how a child's brain could be developing in that time instead.

I believe or propose at least, that having a lot of toys makes play passive; in a similar way that TV works. Notice that when a child is infront of a lot of toys they don't play with anything for long. They move from one thing to the next very quickly, there is no involvement or play going on. Compare this to a child instigating play and being deeply involved in exploration? E.g tonight whilst in the bath Curly Locks picked up a boat and scrutinised it for a long time, she dipped it in and out the water, used it as a cup, dipped her fingers in it. I watched her exploring the boat for quite some time. Left to self-regulate, children have a long concentration span. When exposed to a lot of TV they don't.

As a result of not having television and having a few toys (mainly wooden toys and puzzles) I wonder if this has allowed the children in my life more freedom to direct their own learning and play.

Today my son found a DVD he had been given as a handout 5 months ago. He asked to watch it and I put it on as such requests are rare. I worry slightly less about the occasional DVD because there is slightly less brainwashing. On this DVD however, the first words echoed in my mind "we hope you enjoy this Episode from the Disney Channel, do watch us every day" - at that point, as I walked up the stairs, I didn't doubt our opposition to television and a room full of toys.


Photograph courtesy of the boy who shares my life

Monday, 31 October 2011

Talking to the Little You

The boy who shares my life was going to school one day, and as we were leaving he told me that a little boy who I shall name Timothy was being put in a naughty chair “all of the time”.  When I asked what naughty meant he said it meant he was not being nice, when I asked how he said he wasn’t sitting as the teacher wanted him to, and pushed, hit and hurt other children. I just felt very sad for Timothy because for a boy of his age 5-6 years to be wanting to hurt other children he must be feeling hurt himself, frustrated, misunderstood even. And to be punished for that just doesn’t seem fair. 
I understand that it is not appropriate to hurt other people but I thought it could be handled differently, and singling him out and sitting him in a naughty chair must just compound his ill feelings towards himself and others.
I thought about if I met Timothy, what I could say to him to make him feel better – all I could think is that he would want to feel understood.  I thought about what I would say to him, and then I realised it was what I would have wanted someone to say to me.
I can remember being may be 7 years old and playing hopscotch. This friend of mine was playing really excitedly and freely and I got really irritated and angry, may be because I couldn’t play like that, and when she went to jump over me I purposefully tripped her up. I can remember how it felt, how satisfying it felt, how it healed some hurt or at least reduced it for a while. But I can also remember the shame I felt about feeling like that.

 I would say something like: ”When I was at school I used to hurt other children and I didn’t want to do what the teachers wanted, do you know how that feels? I am so happy you understand, I always felt like no-one understood. And I hurt inside and that made me want to hurt other people. Do you know how that feels. That makes me feel better knowing someone else gets it. And you know, when the teachers or my mummy or daddy told me off, it just made me feel worse. It made me feel wrong but what I was feeling was right and perfectly normal. Do you know how that feels?” 

And then I thought about the boy who shares my life and how I loose perspective and empathy with him. May be if I saw myself as him more it would allow me to respond to him more compassionately?

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Boundaries Part Two

I also trust that the children who share my life will learn things as they need to without being taught. Some people may say that children need boundaries in what they are allowed to say and do. If you have an issue in what a child says that is your issue surely and if it triggers something, then that is an opportunity for you to heal. As an example, I was sat in the car talking to the boy who shares my life, and he turned around and shouted “be quiet, stop talking to me” and it got louder and more angry when I questioned him. I normally would have gotten angry and not known what to do but yesterday I sat in it. I said nothing and I felt what he had triggered – it wasn’t really anger it was deep shame and self-hatred and resentment. Partly because he was just repeating what I had said to him(and really shouldn’t have). Manners are taught through being respectful. I have written about this before but I really believe that being told to say thank you, please etc robs a child of their ability to learn about gratitude, because they are being humiliated and shamed to parrot expressions!
I have been told that I need to push him to socialise. Well he is very chatty to people he meets that he instinctively trusts. When we go out and someone talks to him that he doesn’t want to talk to, I am not going to humiliate him and call him “shy” or push him to “say hello” because I trust his instincts. There are some people that we just get a bad feel for and I do not want him to loose his ability to know himself. I am there to talk to them and be the source of manners, and he will learn small chat from seeing me.

Another area of self regulation is with food – as a child we are told when and what to eat. What if we never were? People wonder why there are so many unhealthy people who overeat and have completely lost touch of what they need to eat, or to eat when only hungry, to distinguish thirst and hunger– well is it really a surprise when from an early age purees are shoved in unwilling babies mouths, babies are weaned before they are ready, children are coerced, forced, bribed to eat even just one more spoon or to try something, disallowing certain foods when someone thinks they have had enough. Imagine baby led weaning and trusting your baby knows exactly what to eat and when (I am not talking junk food which is in effect a drug and no-one is able to regulate because the hydrogenated fat and refined sugar is addictive). As an example, one of the baby girls in my life is going through a phase of just wanting to eat yoghurt, I trust that it is a phase and after a few days she will recognise that her body needs something else – so I’ll wait it out. Again my son was not baby led weaned, and I went through a naive period of using reward charts to get him to eat and now he has little self-regulation so I need to step back and let him learn to self regulate again before it is to late.

The difference being in the first list of imposed boundaries, to the second set which I do not impose which I have been told I should, is that in day to day life we don’t play on a road so neither will the children who share my life – it is always dangerous, we don’t play with chemicals – but we do have confidence in what our bodies can do and we do have faith in our ability to use basic tools.


  • Aldort, Naomi. Raising our children, raising ourselves. (paperback)
  • Aldort, Naomi. Trusting our children, trusting ourselves. (CD)
  • Graham Brent. Teresa. Parenting for social change.
  • Grille, Robin. Parenting for a peaceful world
  • Jackson, Deborah. Letting go as children grow. (paperback)
  • Jackson, Deborah. Three in a bed: the benefits of sleeping with your baby. (paperback)
  • Liedloff, Jean. The continuum concept.