Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A Quest for Sleep

Three nights ago one of my babies slept through the whole night. I've never been one to focus on how long a child sleeps, (not since the two week period my friend pushed Tracy Hogg in me). I have the expectation that my babies will wake in the night.

But I have limits. Each of my twins wakes 2 to 5 times a night.  So I am usually awake 6-8 times a night, and I get insomnia too, so it is really affecting my mood and health.

So far I have tried feeding them up before sleep, I have encouraged them to sleep without nursing, I have taken them to see a chiropractor, I've moved our mattresses onto the floor as one big co-sleeper, the girls are in sleeping bags next to me, I'm offering water in a beaker,  I have given them a bit of time to do supported crying (when every need is met and we cuddle and I soothe them.
(See Althea Solter book for more details). http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/0961307374/ref=redir_mdp_mobile/278-2904874-2388251

Nothing seems to be working. I believe one baby is teething and the other has gas but still, give me a break girls!

It will get better, I know this to be true. I know I'm doing the right thing by not crying-it-out with my children. Incidentally, what is "it"? Ever wondered? Crying-out-their-dependency on you? Crying-out-their-felt-needs? 

I guess I will never need to know. 06:32 and I'm winning the battle with the babies in our rocker, if only I could sleep in here...

Monday, 29 August 2011

Fitting In

My son has not been invited to another party. Part of me expected it, I don't fit in so my children are rejected too. I wonder, if I had lived in Salem at the times of the witch trials whether I'd have been dunked?

From a child I've always been unsure of myself, untrusting of others - so I guess that puts a lot of people off. I get that.

Where I live, I have returned to be here three times under pressure of my family. But it just hasn't worked.

The best times of my life were at uni and in the year following when I was gaining acceptance for being me. Now I feel like the odd one out. I'm a real girly girl who is also an intellectual, athletic (okay not so much now...) hippy. It's a weird and suspect mix and I know I can intimidate. 

I cannot and should not keep having to explain my choices - why I breastfeed, co-sleep, eat healthily, exercise, aim for attachment / natural parenting, don't watch TV, don't leave my babies to cry-it-out, baby lead weaned, cloth nappy, don't drink really and don't go out, why we try to follow Jesus and go to church, why we try to live Eco-friendly and want to live sustainably. I could go on!

I watched my son today, how easily he makes friends, how full of joy he was; I wish he will stay like that.

Today we made the decision to move overseas again. We have been considering it in the two years since we've been back.  Our aim is to live in an Eco-village, with organic crops, permaculture, and community. It feels right. I believe that if we embrace us we'll be happier, I don't want to keep going against the crowd and alienating our family.

An exciting prospect!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Respecting our Children

Today I went to a twin group, and at the end my son held onto a toy he hadn't finished playing with. Because they were packing away the two ladies prized it off him in a way that suggested "we're in charge." He got very upset and I took him off to cuddle him, getting looks along the way like "aren't you going to tell him off" as he screamed "leave me alone poo head". I understand their motivation and thoughts, people don't know there is another way to treat children. And to be honest I was struggling with my inner demons to not react to his anger.
Up until the last six or so months I didn't know I could be a different way with him because I strayed from the natural parenting path. But punishments aren't respectful. An adult wouldn't get treated like that? Imagine being at a restaurant savouring your desert, and a waiter takes it away because everyone else is finished and he doesn't want to wait? Wouldn't you be annoyed! Wouldn't you have a little tantrum (in our own adult way) and say "hey bring me back my desert!". Then imagine getting arrested for being upset? Can you imagine the frustration, the injustice?

But if children get upset, then society says we're meant to punish them and control them for fear they won't learn self control. 

Children heal by expressing their emotions, however uncomfortable it feels for us as parents. I used to try and distract the boy in my life, because I found it too painful to see him crying or see his anger as I could not express my own as a child. Even as an adult I cannot cry. Now I see that children know exactly what they need to do to heal any pains. In your loving company they can cry, scream, frustrate and then it's all gone. They are happy again and it is all forgotten! What a gift they have, why did I try to take that away because of my own issues?

Children flourish with parents who have self control and can love unconditionally, that is my aim after all. For the children who share my life to grow up experiencing unconditional love. 

Whilst I know this, I personally, have very little self control and find it very hard not to loose my cool. It's all I know. I never felt loved unconditionally (even though I was undoubtably loved by my parents) and I never had  safety in my emotions. This must be true for most people who are parented in the traditional way - but for me it was magnified by my innate sensitivity.

I have to remind myself to empathise - how would I feel in this situation, how would I react, how would I like to be treated? I forgot more than I remembered at first and at one stage I seriously considered getting a reminder tattooed on my hand!

The more I practice the easier it gets, but I have longer to go on this journey. May be the growth I require will be life long, but I am committed.

This week's listen:  This week I am listening to Naomi Aldort's Trusting Our Children, Trusting Ourselves 7 cd set. This is a immensely valuable resource for me. So far my husband has wriggled out of reading parenting books, and the podcasts CDs - but he heard a bit of this and asked me to put it on an MP3 player for him. Something clicked for him and I'm excited at how this could change our family life. I have been reading Naomi's books, articles and listening to her podcasts and CDs for some time and this CD collection really helped me with the issues I need to work on to be a better mother. Thank you!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Money Money Money

This week I took the wonderful children who share my life out to an Eco centre.  Whilst there we went to get a jacket potato for them to share - however my card was declined. I could only think we'd ran out of money!

With 10 days to go before pay day I started running through strategies on how we'd eat and pay any bills. In a way it was exciting, like a project, but then I remembered that this is how some people live every day, only they might not have the pay day coming.

It made me realise how very very lucky we are. We have so much because really we have more than enough. We could failing all else go to family for support. We have options and I am thankful for that.

Today's Prayer: Lord, I thank you for giving us all we could ever need and more. I thank you for the life I share with these three beautiful children and my husband. I pray that I will remember gratitude in every moment. Amen.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

A Day Out

Today we've had a wonderful trip out. I'm still feeling rather low about the whole NHS-cut-up-my-face-without-bothering-to-ask-and-for-no-apparent-reason thing, so I needed the escape from my self-imposed sulking. I know deep down that there is no point in thinking negatively, use these thoughts to make change. I went to see a plastic surgeon for creams to reduce the scaring and he said that the pit in my lip will even out if I massage it firmly 20mins a day when the stitches fall out. And I have a voice so I can campaign for the NHS to treat people with more respect and honesty. I can make a difference for someone else, and that's a great opportunity.

In the vein of seeing opportunity from negative situations, today we acted on our "people shouldn't" thoughts and it yielded a positive outcome.

As we were walking round the Eco centre grounds, we saw lots of litter and dog mess everywhere. My husband and I often get angry, having thoughts like "people shouldn't drop litter, people should pick after their dog".  Instead of moaning, we decided to do our own litter pick.

While I often pick up litter, this time we had a lot of fun because the centre lent us pincers and a bag holder!

Our 4 year old loved it! We were all involved, the beautiful babies who share our lives watched and bobbed from the safety of their slings. In an hour we managed to fill a whole bin liner full of plastic bottles, wrappers, beer cans, cigarette butts, etc., and we all felt so fulfilled.

Litter pincers definitely going on my wish list.

Our next activity involved my walking ahead with a piece of chalk (okay I was sulking again - but I turned it into a game...) I used twigs to make arrows and drew arrows with chalk and my son and Captain Underpants followed us and loved it!

If you have an eco friendly activities for the family to enjoy please share x


For the last six months I'd been on the waiting list for the removal of a blocked salivary gland in my lip. I was told it was a very minor op, would take 10 minutes, in and out.

I was told it would not affect the appearance of my lip - just be a small incision inside.

Imagine my horror when I get home and there is an inch long incision on the front of my lip. The surgeon decided to cut vertically from inner lip to out rather than horizontally without my consent.

It looks horrific and I feel violated. My husband said well there are people worse off, and while I know that, I know, I still feel so angry.

So what is making me angry? My vanity? The fact that my best facial feature is now marred - scarred and missing a chunk? The fact I can't kiss my children? The fact I feel so down I cannot play with my children? Is it shame because I let them do this? Because my parents looked at me so pityingly when they asked why they'd taken a chunk of my lip?

Probably all of the above. But not sure if making myself suffer is helping - I barely sleep last night and I don't want to leave the house.

I am sure there is a lesson here - to be more positive, to be less vain, to take myself less seriously. Whatever it is I don't feel like learning it today.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Seeing the World Through your Child's Eyes

I've been wishing and hoping a copy of Parenting for Social Change would turn up at my house somehow. I went onto Teresa's website yesterday, and read an article hoping it would fill my need but I got so excited it made me want it even more!

I read one of her articles about how to have more empathy with your child. And I had a surprise because for all these years I thought I had empathy but I didn't because I was acting. Or seeing it from my side. No wonder it stopped working.  

So last night I walked into the babies' room and he'd mixed a load of dirty washing with the clean I'd put away and drawn on the carpet with a pencil from a case he'd found and then emptied onto the floor. I started to get really angry, I'm so tired I don't need this! I have enough to do. I started to clean up the pencil and it wasn't coming out. "Why did you do this?" I said angrily knowing I shouldn't but unable to stop myself - perhaps I should have done a count or left the room? But either way, the point about seeing it from the child's perspective came to me.

I started to think and talk:

"Why then. Let me think, so you saw the pencil case and you thought wow that's bright, what's in there? Then you opened it up and there were so many pens! You couldn't wait to see how they looked so you tipped them all out. Then you saw the pencil pen and you wondered - does it work? And it's so far and long away to get paper so you thought I'll write on the carpet. I'm so excited to see if it works I have to do it here..."

I looked at my son, his eyes were alight. "Tell me about when I made the nest with the sheets." he said "tell me about that."

So I did. And then I realised I might have tried to sympathise, but empathy not so much because you have to be there on the floor looking through their eyes.

Today's prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for giving me more clarity, for showing me more truth. I am strong enough now to know. I am ready to know you.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Book review: Conversations with God, Neale Walsh

I was recommended to read Conversations with God by a cousin. There are three parts and I managed to get the first two second hand. Since I was raised Roman Catholic and was actually told not to question  it felt like I was a naughty school girl, reading under covers at night with a torch! 

Neale Walsh believes that God spoke through him and wrote three books answering questions in a dialogue between them. While I cannot say I know this to be true without doubt, what I can say is that the book gave me an answer to all those questions that no-one had answered before.

To me it was a real eye opener. There are some areas that I question still, however everything made sense at least and my faith was cemented. I read reviews that ranged from sheer delight, a must read, to accusations of blasphemy, to a literature review of a theologist who questioned who Walsh was talking to.

Still, for me this was worth reading.