Saturday, February 28
Well, you know I missed the recent tango festival. Apparently it was a blast. Ah well, baby first and all that jazz, or tango. There's always next year.
I love dancing in general, and certainly love to watch tango. But I wanted to share with you a dance and a music that is really connected to me. It's the music I grew up with. The music I remember my father playing on warm summer weekends. The music I was dancing to long before Abba (oops, did I just admit that?) So it's the music that not only gets my body twitching, it also sets my soul alight.
It's called milonga and you might be surprised to learn that it precedes tango. Milonga, means the music, the dance, and even the places where the dances are held. Like most music we listen to, its roots are mixed. Originating very near where I was born, around the Rio de la Plata, it combined the cultural mix of the region; European influences with those of African rhythms.
It differs from tango in beat, but I'm not a musical person, so couldn't explain it. What I can tell you is that whilst tango is intense and passionate, milonga is more relaxed and flirty. It has less dramatic movements and is all about the subtle feet. Couples lean towards, but not on, each other.Of course, I didn't learn to dance like this, I just jiggled around the room.
This is a well known dancing duo, El Flaco y Luna. The musical interpretation is astute, their connection obvious, and their footwork is sublime. You probably have to dig this sort of music to really appeciate it, but hope you enjoy it. Expand it to see it best. And ignore the title, it's absolutely milonga.
Enjoy your weekend.
Friday, February 27
The most significant thing for me about the crying periods of the first week was the lack of tears. Once I realised what was going on, it broke my heart.
Although hearing her cry has been a real challenge for me, and something that still alternates between - 'I'm used to it', and, 'I can't let my baby girl cry any more' - I was crestfallen to see no tears.
I realised that she needed to learn to cry. I had stopped her so completely the first 9 months of her life that she didn't really know how to cry. She yelled a lot and made crying noises, but there were very little tears.
However, I think that some of that had to do with raging. I think she needed to scream and thrash about, as much as release tears. It was like she was exorcising something from within her. Once she did that a few times, she hasn't seem to need it any more.
So, the decrease in aggression has continued. A fabulous result of this.
Is she sleeping better? The million dollar question. Yes and no. Well, you see, she still goes to bed between 11:15-midnight and finally wakes at 8-8:30am. And she wakes up about 4-6 times during the night. I know, tell me about it.
However, the significant change is that we go to bed together with her awake. I let her fall asleep when she's ready. She's been fantastic at realising it's bed time, and I don't go until I know she's ready, so it doesn't take her long. Also, I don't sing, rock her, give her her soft toy, or give her more milk/water. Things I used to do.
Sometimes she needs a little cry before falling asleep, but mostly now she doesn't, and is asleep within 15 minutes. (we bedshare in case I hadn't made that clear).
Also, although she still wakes loads, when she sleeps it seems deeper to me. There is a significant reduction in restlessness.
Her irritability is greatly reduced. Where she went in-and-out of irritability throughtout an entire day, now it's perhaps a portion of the day. I mean, she still isn't a great sleeper, so tiredness remains an issue. Overall, a big improvement.
So they're the big behavioural changes.
Let me make a couple of things clear, because I received a few messages that made me think that there was some confusion with this whole letting cry theory.
Firstly, although it's just semantics, I use two phrases differently to to indicate the difference in approach - letting cry and allowing to cry.
Letting a baby cry is when you do not respond. Either you don't approach them, acknowledge them, hold them, or when you let them cry themselves to sleep alone.
Allowing a baby to cry is a WHOLE different thing. It's giving your baby the right to release emotions in a safe and loving environment. You definitely always respond. You almost always hold them. You just don't try to stop the crying.
Think of it like this. A friend starts to cry. You either ignore it, head on over and try to distract her or do anything to stop her crying, or you say nothing but hug her and allow her to release her emotions. The first two approaches are for YOUR benefit, the latter is for your friend.
Cheering up, changing the mood, and so on, ought to come after a good cry.
Likewise with our children.
The second thing is that this isn't an exact science. I mean, we're talking about human nuances, playing it by ear, intuition, emotions, courage, etc.
I read a few anecdotes on Solter-focused sites, and they often say, 'he had a good cry and then was happy and relaxed'. Well, that's all well and good, but I don't believe it's always so nice and tidy. There's nothing less tidy than emotions!
For me, I don't always have the courage to let it go on for as long as it might need to go on. But I don't put pressure on either one of us to 'finish the cry'. I stop when I feel it's okay to do so. I think Solter says that sometimes they could cry for an hour, but I'm not comfortable with that. Also, when sobbing can give a person a headache, then I don't think it's achieved a healing purpose. Or at least, not properly.
Also, she has been teething and going through development changes. She isn't crawling (10mths old) but wants instead to walk. Of course, it's too early so there is tons of frustration this week. A bigger need to cry for sure. But it has meant that a good cry hasn't made as dramatic an impact afterwards. The frustrations soon appear.
I have found the best time to allow her to cry is before a nap or bedtime. That's when I am most confident that she needs to just cry. I think we've all experienced the weepy whining child just before sleep. I've always dealt with this as poor baby is tired and needs me to make it better. Rather than realising that those tears were the tangible stress that needs releasing before they can settle down to sleep, and before they can have a truly rested sleep.
So....... for me, here is my big moment.
This happened just a couple of days ago. She had had her big cry lying on the bed and was now in my arms lying on my chest having little weeps. It was so amazing. I could sense how much she needed this. How she was okay, that she just needed to release. She lay there, relaxed, knowing that she was safe to cry.
That's when I felt the warmest connection. I knew that I was laying the foundation for her to really trust me. Possibly more with this than with everything else I did for her. I was letting her know that I accepted all her emotions. That I didn't judge her for her tears or rage. That letting emotions out was good and natural. That her mama will always be there ready to hear her, unconditionally.
That's when I knew that this was the most powerful thing I could do to foster a connected relationship. I have always hoped that we would be a close mother and daughter pair. That she would come to me with hurts and fears and just thoughts as she matured.
This is it. This is what I am to do to help shape that relationship.
If as a baby she can cry and rage with nothing from mama but love and acceptance, then as a toddler she can cry and scream and know that I accept that as her truth. As a pre-teen, she can have meltdowns as often as she needs them knowing I'll be there if she needs to talk about it afterwards or just to take her to the ice-cream shop. And then, as a teenager, she'll have the trust to come to me when she is troubled and confused.
Growing up, I had a mother who was very uncomfortable with displays of negative emotions. She was impatient and dismissive of me when I was upset. Not an ideal situation for a sensitive child like me.
Unlike her, I accept my own baby's emotions. I just believed that a good parent soothed away the tears. Perhaps subconsciously I was trying to do everything for my baby that my mother hadn't done for me.
Now I'm learning what precious gifts are those tears.
Me and the Wildflower, we are connecting by them.
image: google search
Thursday, February 26
Wednesday, February 25
This is a little bundle of gentleness. The little fish, unlike its sign suggests, is all softliness and cuddliness. There is nothing more sweet and snugly than a Pisces baby.
She will be incredibly sensitive. She will pick up your moods and of others around her. She will be sensitive to her environment and especially to noises. She will likely startle easily and cry easily. Although this sensitivity makes for a vulnerable baby, parents need to remind themselves that all babies need to explore, so that they may learn and to flourish. She needs mindful parents sensitive to her needs, not smothering.
Pisces is the dreamer sign. She enjoys company but will need plenty of quiet and alone time. The little fish has an enormous imagination, that during infancy needs quiet to begin to grow.
She will enjoy all that is gentle and soft; soft toys, silky fabrics, soft and melodic music, gentle games. This is not a rough-and-tumble type of baby. And she will ask for and relish in plenty of cuddles and affection.
Pisces is two fish swiming in different directions. This indicates the vagueness and fluidity of their thinking. She will likely be unsure of what it is she needs. So parents need to be extra in tune with their baby, and be ready with tons of cuddles if all else fails. The directionless fish needs guidance, and as infants they have a great need for feeling secure. They require encourgement. This is a baby that will thrive with co-sleeping, extended and on-demand breastfeeding, and babywearing. She does less well on routine but will instead thrive if you intuit her needs as they present themselves.
Monday, February 23
I dislike this term. Not like in a big huge way or anything, just don't use it for myself. Like, I'm a housewife. Well, I'm married yes. I live in a house.....
It implies, to my ears, someone who does little more than change diapers and play row-row-row-your-boat all day long.
And you all know how I feel about the 'what do you do?' question. So when I'm asked what I do, I refuse to give an answer that pigeon holes me into anything. Now, I no longer work for cash, but I'm not just a mother who stays at home. In fact, I enjoy going for long walks in nature, which is outside. ahem
To the question, 'what are you?', I answer, I'm a mother, crafter, herbalist, nomad, book
And I'm not talking just about women who feel strongly that they are much more than just mothers, I'm also referring to mothers who relish their role as mother. Who find fulfillment in mothering's every day tasks.
How do you feel about that term, sahm? What's the alternative? FSTSSIWC? (freespirit that sometimes stays indoors with child)
Sunday, February 22
Saturday, February 21
It has sent me barmy looking at various videos and sites who, as I have since realised, seem to be using either US or Brit terms. What a crazy way to learn. Nobody bothers to mention which they're using. So I think I'm sticking to US, but I don't really know.
Either way, I've completed a project. Yes, that's right, only after about 3hrs of practice.
First, I learnt how to make a centre-pull ball from a skein.
And here's the first finished project, skinny scarf.
1 skein (approx 100m) black baby alpaca yarn (dk weight, I think)
8mm (size L) hook
4 rows sc
many rows dc
4 rows sc
Made while: watching baby play, chatting to hubby, watching telly, during cooking pauses....
I wanted to show it because I wanted others to know that crochet is easy enough to have a simple scarf this quickly.
Here's the tiny piece of wild grass found in the middle of the skein. As it's alpaca and it's spun in Peru, it's either from the alpaca itself or from the environment as it was spun, like from the spinner's coat. A piece of there over here. Stories entwined.
p.s, for those interested, the next new moonboard is just around the corner if you want to join in.
Thursday, February 19
Not all diseases are created equal.
What I mean is that, for our purposes, we can separate diseases into two very distinct camps:
Childhood illnesses and malevolent infectious diseases.
In chp1 I mentioned that immunisation and vaccination are two different things, and this is an important distinction.
Those that push vaccinations do so with the claim that without them we are in danger of infectious diseases. In other words, a vaccination will prevent infection.
But this is a lie.
We need to separate childhood illnesses and infectious diseases before we can properly consider the issue of immunisation. Immunisation is the goal.
- Childhood illnesses, such as measles and chickenpox, are infections that do not need our intervention to come to an end.
- Malevolent diseases require our intervention.
No medication can end these illnesses.
Malevolent diseases need our intervention to end, and obviously without that intervention the person could have serious complications or die.
- Childhood illnesses, once had, provide life-long immunity to that disease. IMMUNITY.
- Malevolent diseases do not create immunity.
This is why immunisation via vaccination is a lie.
A vaccination for measles, for example, can cause symptoms after the vaccination (so that another child can catch the illness from the vaccinated child!), and the vaccinated child can contract the disease in the future. If the person gets the disease later they have a higher chance of complications.
Malevolent diseases can be caught over and over again. Vaccines provide some protection, not immunity.
Good nutrition and hygiene can provide much protection against some of these diseases. (which is why they are more prevalent in underdeveloped countries)
|Childhood Illnesses||Malevolent Diseases|
Some people get all childhood illnesses, others get only some of them, and people that already had them are immune.
Nutrition, including breastmilk, does not make a person immune. But good nutrition helps treatment. Only contracting the illness makes you properly immune.
Childhood illnesses, when treated properly, do not need to be feared in the way we have been conditioned to fear them.
Malevolent infectious diseases are worthy of extreme caution and even a healthy and informed fear.
For parents who find this whole issue too overwhelming, and want to accept some vaccinations, this information alone can help you decide which vaccinations to choose - ones for malevolent infectious diseases, not the ones for childhood illnesses.
I highly recommend: Raising a Vaccine Free Child, Wendy Lydall. (UK, Aus)
 “Outbreaks have occurred in 100% vaccinated populations.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. US Government 12/29/89/38(S-9):1-18.
“80% of Measles is contracted in vaccinated people.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. US Government 6/6/86/35(22):366-70.
So for this post I just want to make five quicks points.
- I am not anti-vaccination, I am pro-education.
I appreciate that however suspect vaccinations are, they do serve a purpose by saving the lives of hundreds of children and adults in underdeveloped countries.
I believe in educated choices. So a doctor scaring me into giving them to my child is not enough of a reason. And a doctor is NOT a source of education. Ask most doctors what the ingredients are and they cannot tell you.
I feel we should have ready access to all information on the subject. We don't.
- I am pro-choice.
I don't believe the state should dictate to me what goes into my child. They do.
I don't believe any parent should push their agenda or beliefs onto others. They do.
I feel that we ought to have the right choose no vaccinations, all vaccinations, delayed vaccination, and separated vaccinations. We don't.
- You can read/hear great points for each side of the debate.
While one study will indicate a link between vaccinations and autism, another will debunk it.
I never understand a person who says, 'oh, that's been debunked'. I don't understand it because I am not so ready to believe researchers. Who funded the study? What was their vested interest?
For every 'study' out there, there is another that claims the opposite. Remember when fats were evil? Unlike many people in our society, while I listen to it all, I don't pay homage to science.
Likewise, there is little point in arguing in the Comments, because we just end up going in circles and almost everyone can find a study or resource to back up their claim.
Opposing views ARE welcome, I relish them. But be very specific. If you have a larger agenda, start your own blog.
- Media (or other) scare-mongering
A pet peeve of mine. Much like science, we tend to bend too easily to media 'education'. The media has a purpose, to gain viewers through stories. Scare-mongering works.
They are also agents of the state and/or business moguls.
- Immunisation and vaccination are not the same thing.
An easy misunderstanding.
Immunisation (also immunization) is the process of becoming able to resist infection.
Vaccination is a method by which to achieve immunisation.
It is not incorrect to talk about immunizing someone when you are referring to having someone vaccinated, but it is highly misleading. And it's an important distinction.
I will chat further on a couple of the points above. Stay tuned.
Wednesday, February 18
- The Wildflower cut her 3rd tooth on the 16th. Wondering where that 4th is.
- She also fell off the bed last week for the first time. Boy does that make you forget to breathe. I hadn't left the room, I hadn't left her near the edge, I hadn't turned my back on her, I wasn't more than a foot away. She just launched! She was fine, more shocked than anything.
DIY Dad: See, accidents happen (not one to miss an opportunity)
Me: your point?
DIY Dad: well (thinking this may not have been his best move), next time, if it's me, you know, you can't bite my head off.
Me: Yes I can, I'm her mother.
DIY Dad: ....
- We have 2 feet of snow up at the plot. No work today!
- But the stone work is completed, hoo-bloody-rey. Pics to come.
- Local health centre phoned asking why our baby isn't vaccinated, that it's the law, and that a health visitor will have to visit our home to check on the baby. Picked the wrong mama anyone?
- There's a tango night here tonight, with actual Argentinian dancers performing. I'm not going and there is much pity around, as I'm the only mum without a babysitter. I'm very okay not having one.
The Omen (666): (love it, hopefully that should offend someone)
Go to the 6th folder on your computer, open the 6th photo and blog about it. Then tag 6 more people to do the same, linking back to the person who tagged you.
So is that the 6th folder on my desktop or in My Pictures folder? And do I count down the columns or across the folders? I just don't wanna break any rules, you know how I feel about following rules *chuckle* okay, get on with it Mon!
This is the cyclamen up near our plot. We are surrounded by woodland and have several woodland flowers. The crocuses are out right now, following the snowdrops.
I know boring.
I can't even fake count 6th from 6th because I only come up with gems like this:Making breadcumbs.
(If you're squeamish look away NOW)
Or the most 'interesting':
The aftermath of hitting the radiator one sleep-deprived middle of the night with the Wildflower on my hip heading out of the bedroom for something or other.
Your eyes are glazed over like mine, aren't they? The sweet ones amongst you have been grappling with trying to think of something nice and supportive to say. Don't. They suck. You know it, I know it.
So in the words of Stewie Griffin, what have you learned?
Don't tag Mon for photo memes.
Tagging which ever reader wants to play.
Tuesday, February 17
Even if education isn't an interest to you right now, it's worth watching for the ideas about creativity... and he's funny too.
And just about creativity, from an author I enjoy:
Monday, February 16
Well, I came to realise that you were not being helpful at all. In fact, I now know that the knitting suggestion was made to drive me insane (okay, further insane) and then to see me blog it all out and provide for you all some merriment.
In the words of Joe Pesci, am I here to amuse you?
So I practiced and practiced and while it was all quite cool, to learn to knit, I wasn't fully enjoying it. My initial desire was to learn a new craft, as a skill and to create, but also as a meditative and soothing practice.
Knitting . Is. Not. That. Practice.
Okay, sure, perhaps after years. WHATEVER.
Sooooo, I confess. I went behind your backs - that's right, while you were all blogging away yourselves - and ordered hooks, and yarn, and I waited. Finally they arrived a few days ago and I crocheted/crochayed(?) this on my very first try:
But I noticed holes on the edges:
So I went on ravelry (great place!), and showed them and it got cleared up - apparently I was not hooking under both threads. Those horizontal lines were a giveaway. But it turns out what i was doing is a technique in it's own right, so that I learnt two-for-one so to speak. Cool.
After the right way of doing a sc(single stitch), the piece looked entirely different.
And that indent on the left isn't a mistake, I was experimenting.
Okay, but here's the clincher.
I'm hoooked. H-O-O-K-E-D.
I LOVE this craft. I mean, yes, it's about a gazillion times easier than knitting, and this is essential when one is looking for a soothing craft. But what has really sealed the love affair is the way it all feels in my hands. As a hands only weaver, this is like somewhere inbetween weaving and knitting. Whilst knitting, I felt disconnected from the yarn. With crochet, I feel right there with it. And that level of sensual connection I relish.
If you are craft-challenged, crochet is a great choice. If I can do it anyone can.
And the fact that I can eventually crochet up a hat without friggin three needles or circular needles is too delightful for words.
I can't stop hooking! The practice piece above is growing by the second.
Now I'm trying to pull all the techniques together to crochet up a simple scarf with that scrumptious alpaca yarn. Happy Hooker book is on its way too. The Knit Witch videos and the ones at howcast have been a help - recommended. Also, about.com for made-for-dummies photos and instructions. And of course, ravelry has lots of sources listed and other hookers ready to help.
SO, let it be known from here on end, I, Mon, will never, ever, ever ask for your opinions again. Okay, never, ever, ever, after this one - is Tunisian method better?
And don't go too far, I have more questions....
Saturday, February 14
When you live by what society/parents/partner expects of you for so long, you disconnect from your Soul.
I know, sounds a bit full on doesn't it? But you see, when your decisions are based on someone else's beliefs or wishes, you are working from a foundation not within yourself. And if you do this for long enough, you forget how to tune into your own desires.
From as long as I can remember, my mother tried to drive one very strong idea into my mind - to become a doctor. Her wishes were not for me to be happy or a good person, but to be financially independant, to be rich, and to have status.
The prospect was incongruous enough to who I was, that I never persued that route. However, something like that, a parent's powerful desire for you, leaves it's murky print upon your psyche.
As a child, I adored writing creative stories and reading, reading, reading. In my 'tweens', I discovered a love for understanding people. As early as the age of 10, I was interpreting dreams. My thoughts on what I was going to do with my life, my career that is, changed often, but eventually settled on pyschology.
My psyche could not identify the seed - the desire to understand and help others - and allow it the slow maturation to grow into whatever that seed was meant to be. Instead, I pushed and molded it into the shape it 'should' be - a proper career with money and status. I was headed all the way to PhD.
And so I embarked on my university studies, and I was frustrated. Very frustrated. I didn't want to learn about, well, so much that I was forced to learn. I wanted to be out there, helping. and I felt stifled in so many ways that I could not name, because I was disconnected from my soul.
My heart did not sing nor was I not filled with passion for my studies. But I perservered, and I took more courses, and then I changed direction trying to find my passion for living, by taking a Fine Arts degree. I did find joy there, but it wasn't my calling. Yet it gave me a taste of expression, and limitlessness.
In the society that I lived in, everyone would ask the same question within minutes of meeting each other - so, what do you do?
I always asked - so, are you happy?
I had freed myself from an academic hamster wheel, and an abusive relationship, but I was lost.
So I packed up my belongings in a car and tiny trailer, and left Sydney. Left for good, left to find my passion for life again. I travelled, met all sorts of people, hitch-hiked, danced, sang, ate by open fires, slept under the stars or under neighbourly roofs, made cash when I needed it and no more, wrote weird poems, met nature face on, learnt from Life.
Then before I had reached the meat of this journey, I met my husband to be, fell in love, moved to England, And before you could say, God Save the Queen, I found myself in suburbia, in a suburban life, tying to create a life that my partner wanted, not me.
I found myself in university yet again, this time in education and more psychology. I was aiming for Educational Psychology. Why does everything have to have a name, an aceeptable purpose? I found myself being someone I thought I had left behind, yet there I was making 10 year plans. I had worked out how I would fit my Master degree and then PhD around two children. I still have that crazy list somewhere, just to have a chuckle and knowing nod at.
I had it all worked out, how I would be pregnant around the exam years and then take a year off for baby, and then start the next course, and on and on.
I asked myself, why don't I feel joy when I contemplate my career? I certainly felt excitement and that was misleading. It was an excitement about reading and studying, which I do love. It was an excitement about Achieving, which I fooled myself thinking it was for me, but was really for others.
My husband wanted to be financially stable, he wanted the mortgage paid, he wanted to fit into his social group. In his legitimate needs, in his own Fears, he forgot about the wild free-spirited girl he met and married. He wanted me to Fit In too. And as a disconnected soul, I allowed it to happen. I tried, but I was always a round peg in the proverbial square hole.
And every single instance of trying, was a further disconnection from my soul. Courses, jobs, whatever.
Many tearful nights, much emptiness, and two miscarriages later, it all seemed so trivial, so pointless.
I began to let it all go. And we all know that a marriage where two people want two very different things is going to be tough.
Over time, I brought back into my life what brought me joy. Little things like being creative on a regular basis. Big things like dragging DIY Dad through Latin America and Asia.
Sacrifical altar, Isla del Sol, Peru
And from then on, life changed.
I started to recognise the seeds again. I didn't try to push and pull and punch them down to fit mine or anyone else's molds. I let them sprout and grow and only watered them and kept them alive.
I discovered desires and passions that were pure and unadulterated. And this led me to help others without ever trying to help them. Without certificates or titles or appointments or even conscious effort. Suddenly, people walked into my life when they needed what I had to offer. I found that less and less people entered my life without a strong purpose.
I discovered knowledge and wisdoms from the wind, the stones, the chit-chat between those waiting for a bus. My intuition was open and in full receiving mode.
Much superficiality was melting away. The way my soul moved, the force it emanated, left little room for the meaningless.
And this power, this force, is nothing more or less than living an authentic life.
Friday, February 13
And here's a pic of me knitting while the Wildflower catnaps.
And the yarn I received yesterday - goooooorgeously soft baby alpaca black, and organic cotton in sage green. I feel unworthy!
Thursday, February 12
- You know how it was a new moon in Aquarius? And how that can set off ALL manner of stuff? And how it's an 'I dare you' sort of challenge?
Well, holy bovine! has this cycle been exactly that for me. My life was so 'fixed' at the moment, that I had wondered what could possibly be so daring for me. Well, the universe answered, thank you very bloody much.
But my head is too tired this morning, so I'm going to keep that rather heavy post until next time, or something. It involves long lost relatives, sigh...
- I bought myself an apron! Yup. Will get photo soon. I wore it last night making a curry for friends.
- I have an entirely different LibraryThing for each different blog (there's a 200 book limit you see, plus the titles are so vastly different....) I'm still updating and organising them...
- Don't mind the chaos around here as a play with new backgrounds.
25 random things about me
(ah, why the 'ell not ay? I've ignored it on FB so far)
(inspired in no small part by the Vague one and the Feline)
1. I stopped wearing a watch back in 1983. I decided I was anti-time or something. And then I wore two watches on one wrist that had no clock bits in them, as some sort of ironic fashion statement. It was the 80's so I got away with it.
2. I'm one of the few people I know that doesn't complain about the winter weather. To me, it's nature and all that, plus more reading time.
3. I read tarot and coffee granules, but struggle to get people to understand that it is a tool picking up What Is and What is Possible from What Is Right Now, rather than a psychic predictive fortune telling device.
4. I adore dancing. I love doing it and totally lose myself on a dance floor. I belly dance but have never done it in front of anyone. I love watching others dance and will play back to no end tango sequences on films. I watch many awful films just because they have a lot of dancing in them.
5. To say that I love to cook doesn't cut it. I have to cook. It's not just fun, a creative expression, nurturing and such, it's also my mystical expression, something akin to Like Water for Chocolate. But when it becomes a chore I refuse to do it most of the time.
art work: Jhinuk Sarkar
6. I come from a long line of threaders. Sewing, knitting, hand weaving, whatever. It ties the thoughts to the desired reality. It took me many years (being thread challenged, and having a non-threading mother) for me to take up the thread. Now I'm diving in with tons of gusto and very little talent.
7. I feel residual energy left behind in places. But when in the Egyptian tombs, I felt nothing. Weird.
8. I have always felt that I was born 20 years too late.
9. As a Fearer of all things Exercise, I would have been a marvelous Elizabeth Bennet type. I would have been adept at reading endlessly, doing a spot of arty something, and when time came for my morning 'exercise' (a gentle walk around the grounds) I would have been a genius at it. If it weren't for my inability to keep my mouth shut, my unwillingness to adhere to social norms, and my awful singing voice, I might have been considered a quite accomplished young lady and a worthy match.
10. I have several notebooks/journals which are so lovely that I can't bare writing in them.
11. I don't believe in a hierarchy of spirituality. That is, no Higher Power. I believe in a central force of energy that everything is a part of. That energy/power is available to everyone.
12. My long hair is like another limb. Not that I can pick things up with it or kick things, no, that would be circus worthy, just that I would feel lost without it.
13. I dislike small-talk (sorry Doc). I understand it's place, I can do it (even very well), but I don't like it. Simply because it's not natural to me. I want to get to know the real you, I want to discuss the Meaning of Life. For me, it's like nibbling around a piece of cake. All quite amusing I'm sure, but I want the huge bite and to taste the innards. I just get antsy waiting for the real taste. It's my Saturn placing I think.
14. The last time I wore high-heels was sometime in the 90's.
15. Despite being boringly profound a lot of the time, I love to laugh and I love to make others laugh. Most of my school reports include statements such as, 'a disruption to the class'. I was busy making people laugh. I also watch many comedy shows. I like silliness, but Monty Python style, not Ben Stiller style.
16. I've held a weird desire to live in Maine for the longest time. I've never been to USA, but I enjoy the idea of one of those rambling Victorian New England homes, has to be overlooking the sea, and on the outskirts of a small fishing town. I would visit Stephen King's home and stalk him. But the weather needs to change so that there is no snow - too cold.
17. I enjoy waves against rocks and cliff faces. And a deserted beach on a wintry day. But I don't sun-bathe or particularly desire to be on or in the water. Now that we live in such a place, I can't imagine living inland again.
18. My first work experience at school was at a local newspaper office. I ended up tagging along with the resident photographer, getting a photo with a python around my shoulders, and having said photographer try to kiss me in the darkroom.
My time of day is the dark time...
When the street belongs to the cop
And the janitor with a mop
And the grocery clerks are all gone
When the smell of the rainwashed pavement
Comes up clean, and fresh, and cold
And the streetlamp light
Fills the gutter with gold
That’s my time of day.
Frank Loesser, My Time of Day
20. Most people are surprised to learn that I'm very organised (when I want to be). They think of me as easy-going hippy, and seem rather put out that I can organise anything, anyone, any time. I take immense pleasure at seeing other people organise things too.
21. The most physical pain I've ever felt was not surgery, or fracturing an arm, but the tattoo on my back. Having the Peruvian tattoist sing loudly (and badly) and shout at MTV while he was doing it helped a little. However, having another back-packer who proclaimed, 'ooh on the back, yeah, that hurts', didn't.
22. I can justify the purchase of any book at any time.
23. I relish, and require a lot of, silence.
24. When I see a large substantial bookcase I always wonder which book will open the secret doorway.
25. I tend to get along better with men than women, or with 'masculine energy' women better than girly women.
26. I often break the rules.
Go ahead, join in, ya know you want to.
Monday, February 9
My heart goes out to everyone there. So many lives lost, so much destruction, so many animals and natural habitat lost, and still going. Bewildering when you think much of it was intentional.
Amber wrote a post listing relevant numbers to give help.
Sunday, February 8
So February for me will from now on be Library Lover's Month. siiiiiigh
Second only to books. A thing of love, not just because they hold books for our perusal, but also because they are often things of beauty themselves. Many are architecturally divine, or at least interesting. And then there is that undefinable something. The sights and scents of knowledge, learning, everything organised, leather (woah there you!), escapism, infinite possibilities at your finger tips... The hush that is thick in the air, heavy with thinking, pondering and imagining.
In fact, I believe it was spotting the library in a local university back in Sydney that really inspired me to want to attend university. of course, when I did attend I discoveed most of the books were law tomes, vomit, but nevertheless.,.....
I've always harboured a little dream of having my very own library. When I was never bothered about owning a home, I wanted a building that could at least house my library. And it would have two levels, oh yes. A little ladder would help you reach the higher books, or if I was being really indulgent, there would be a 1st floor balcony level. orgasmic.....
As we are online, I have my little 'library' in my sidebar, with LibraryThing (although only about 1/3 way through with adding books). Anyone else fancy wasting hours putting their books online and sharing with me? I have a terrible lack of modern fiction in my collection. I am very fussy about which modern books I will pay money for, so I really need recommendations. I know we all have varying tastes, but sometimes a single title amongst many will fill a gap.
So, if you choose to be my librarytine, here's leaving you with some library candy...
Saturday, February 7
I'm not an exceptionally messy cook, but I usually get some foodstuffs on my person. But that's only one tiny reason to have an apron.
It's, I don't know, a symbol of sorts.
There was a time not so long ago when women probably scorned aprons. You know, like the bra. A symbol of oppression. But now, we have moved passed that. We appreciate that women can truly be whatever they want to be, including stay at home mothers. Cooking, baking, making jam, are activities which have been returned to their rightful place of importance. And if wearing corsets and stockings is now an acceptable way to express one aspect of our femininity, why shouldn't we express all aspects?
It represents house-keeping rather than chores. It's a symbol of hearth and home in the most cosiest way. And as we build our most permanent house, I am coming to appreciate that special roof over our heads that we all call Home. To me, the apron makes me think of simpler times.
It's a symbol of nurturing. The cooking and baking yes, but also it's place in a child's life. It is the Wiper Away of Tears, the Cleaner of Wounds, the Safety Net to Hide Behind from Strangers.
So it's symbolic but also absolutely practical. Quickly grab hot pans, wipe up a spill, carry in some eggs or a few apples for baking a pie, wipe sweat beads from our brow, do a quick dust, wipe and gather crumbs, an impromptu baby bib, wipe your hands after picking herbs from the garden, hold some wood for the stove, and leave you looking immaculate as you take it off seconds before company arrives. And then if you have pockets, why, you can hold all sorts of stuff, such as tissues for all occassions, a few nibbles for the chickens, or sweets/candy for when children visit.
DIY Dad's mother uses an apron. And whenever I see it on, I know something good is cooking.
But I've yet to come across an apron that suits me. They are all too prim, too 'grandma', too girly, too silly, too modern.
If I could sew, I would sew up all that symbolism and practicality and make me an apron.
Friday, February 6
Now, down to this main post. It has taken me a little while to come back here and share this with you. Mostly because it's been emotional and it has needed my focus, and also because I wanted some time to see how it all panned out.
After the day that I came to a new understanding and acceptance of the 'stuff' between the Wildflower and I, I felt SO much more at peace, and no longer sad. That was a good day, a great day really. I am thankful for the experience.
That new peace gave us another gift. The opportunity for me to view the challenges and issues with a clearer mind and lighter heart - all the better to see things m'dear.
A quick recap:
The Wildflower has serious sleep issues (waking every 45min on average, never sleeping for longer than 2hrs, light sleep predominating, waking fitfully, suddenly and agitated).
She is a very smiley gleeful baby. A lot of the time. Ready to be happy. very easy to get her laughing. But spends most of her day irritable. At first, I put it down to her personality. I accepted her whatever she was like. At around 6-7mths of age I started to realise that it was likely due to lack of sleep. And as she has grown I have become convinced of it.
This irritability has been turning into mild aggression recently. Again, something I first put down to personality (being a strong, willful Aries girl). Hitting toys, hitting herself, and finally pinching me.
Also, she is never still. Even when feeding she is kicking her legs or waving her arms about. She has never played alone for longer than 5 minutes. What many people refer to as a 'high-needs baby'.
On Wednesday morning, we woke up as usual. We normally cuddle and have a Moment together before starting our day. This morning she woke with a smile as usual, but then started to pinch and squeeze my face. I react to this by simply pulling my face away, then returning to her. She kept at it, really hurting me. So we got out of bed and carried on with our day.
As I was at an emotionally better place, I was able to not become upset about this. I fed her and then we sat together on her mat to play. Her calmness lasted about 30 minutes and then she started on her irritable sounds. I thought to myself, this isn't right.
She has been like this for so long. Her days consist of tiny periods of peace (usually after a sleep) and then are filled with irritability. Poor baby. It's not enough that I accept her and accept our situation. I have never wanted to run away or have more time to myself or whatever. But she isn't happy, so it needs looking into.
So we sat there and I watched her play and it's impossible to describe the thought process. It's like when one tiny thought bounces off others and one leads to another and another, you know. But somehow I was thinking about my last blog post and about how I cried and felt better, and then one thought to another, I got to thinking about her lack of tears.
You see, as an attachment parent, I have responded to her every need. Whether it was hunger, thirst, frustration, discomfort, whatever, I have always actly promptly. So promptly that in 9.5 months, I have only seen tears from my baby 2 or 3 times. Not because she isn't a crier you understand, because she has had ample desire to cry what with so much irritability. But because I have soothed her every time.
And this got me wondering about whether she needed a good cry. At first I thought I was just grasping at straws, but as I allowed the idea to take root, it began to make some sense to me. Not in a - I have found the answer to all her problems - type of way, but just in a - it might be something she needs, way.
So the laptop was right there and as she seemed focused on her current game, I started googling. Lots of 'cry it out' stuff came up, which I wasn't interested in of course. Then somehow I landed on a page mentioning aware parenting and I followed it just because it sounded like something I would be interested in and lo and behold, there was a whole thing about crying!
I mean, it is a theory people! You all probably know all about it and I am the last to discover it, but there it is.
So the digest version is that crying is a necesity that we all need including babies. Yes, we know this for ourselves (and crazily, I know this about toddlers too!). Crying releases stress hormones which is why having a good cry makes us feel calmer. We have literally released the stress.
When a parent soothes a baby's cry that is NOT a call for food or other basics needs, we are stopping our child from releasing stress.
It wasn't that I didn't accept my baby's tears. or that I couldn't bare to hear her cry (although I couldn't), but simply that I thought that was my job as a parent - to sooth her. When the crying stopped I took this as a sign that she was better. Never thinking of the crying as HER way of healing HERSELF. Crying is healing and I was not allowing a vital healing to take place.
So there I was. I had come to a vague thought intuitively, now there were experts as well as many parents saying how this worked for them. Was I game to give it a try?
So many questions. When do we stop? Do I let her go purple in the face? Do I let her rage?
She was moving towards her first nap, was very irritable by now and it was time for a diaper change. These changes have become increasingly difficult. Not staying still for a second wasn't a problem for me, but when she started protesting and seemingly hating it, I couldn't understand and felt bad for her. So as I knew she was likely to start becoming upset, I figured that this was the time.
I changed her, she become upset. I didn't distract her with a toy, singing or anything else. I allowed her to become upset. I finished and placed her in the middle of the bed rather than scooping her up into my arms as usual, which always stops the upset.
Oh dear me. She started wailing, screaming, and then crying. I lay beside her as she kicked about. Then I hugged her. She protested and pushed away. I persisted. Hugging firmly but letting her go if she wanted. Then when I knew holding her up would not quieten her as it normally does, I picked her up and sat back against a couple of pillows. She sat on my lap sideways. And she cried.
When she stopped for a moment I gave her the gentlest kisses on her forehead. I focused on remaining relaxed and sending out thoughts of love to her. And so she alternated between crying and wailing and quietly offering her forehead up for kisses.
When she was at that point, oh my, how can I express to you how right it felt? It felt so right. I wasn't freaked out by her crying, I felt she needed it, I felt her release.
Then after an eternity (okay, probably 5 minutes) she threw herself backwards and I felt that she might have been done with it. Either way, I didn't have the courage to continue or allow it to worsen. It was our first time and it had gone well enough.
So I stood up and went out of the bedroom and just held her. She had stopped crying. I didn't sing, just rocked her gently now. And within 5 minutes, with not a peep, she was sound asleep. She slept for 1hr 40mins (40mins longer than usaul at that time), and woke with a beaming smile.
Be still my heart.
Since that time, I allowed her to have a cry when going to bed. I normally ply her with water or milk as well as offering her favourite soft toy. So she wasn't hppy. I offered only my hugs. I held her firmly and with my arms enveloping her. She cried, and she grabbed me back and snuggled up close, and cried, and and then she slept. Yesterday, I gave her the opportunity for a cry and she had only a little cry and yell.
So, you're wondering, what are the changes? They are subtle. But knowing my baby girl as I do, I see them.
The most noticeable is the lack of her 'going to sleep sound'. It's this protesting sound, not really a whine but like a mild groaning, that she makes when she is working up to a sleep. Instead, I have picked her up when I think she's ready and walked her and she has fallen asleep quietly in my arms. This is amazing. She has done it every time since her first cry. In 9 months, she had only done this a few times.
I have seen a dramatic decrease in aggresion.
She still wakes often during the night. However, her sleep feels a lot deeper. And when she has woken, it hasn't been fitfully, but a slow awakening.
We haven't had much of a chance to see if she is happier playing on her own, but I will be able to test that today.
The theory says that babies can hold within their little bodies, the stress from a traumatic birth experience or even from a mother who was stressed during her pregnancy. Both issues of ours. So there is deeply-rooted stress. Then there are the everyday stresses, such as developmental milestones, or just being unable to work a toy correctly. If the stress isn't released, well, it remains stored in the body of course. And so the Wildflower is carrying all this stress around with her all day, and then taking it all to bed with her.
DIY Dad and I had sensed that she needed to release energy. So we always gave her some time in her bouncy swing every evening. The problem with that, is that it isn't an emotional release. We had sensed something intuitively, just hadn't made the needed leap to crying.
It's totally common sense. When I nannied toddlers, I stood beside them or hugged them when they had a melt-down. I understood that 'tantrums' were their way of coping with pent up frustrations. I knew they needed the tantrum to release. But I had somehow managed to break that connection for babies. I just saw babies as vulnerable and totally dependent on us and therefore needed soothing always.
Just needing comforting for a baby IS a legitimate need. But I can see now how stopping a baby from crying, when all their basic needs have been met and they just need to cry, is NOT comforting at all. I may as well stop her from sweating because it's somewhat unpleasant. Crying is a physiological tool for releasing stress. But for babies, it is their MAIN tool. What do we do when we see a crying baby? We rock, talk, sing, make cooing sounds, offer a toy, food, everything to stop the crying. If a friend of ours did the same to us when we were upset, wouldn't we just feel more frustrated?
The fantastic thing about this, is that lack of crying can be made up. Apparently. So although I've stopped her from crying all these months, future crying can make up for it.
And although it is somewhat a miracle 'cure', it isn't the end to all problems. New frustrations and issues will arise. But the point is, that once a baby feels safe to cry, they are able to regularly release tension and thereby deal with new problems.
I don't mean to sound like I have it all figured out or that I'm 100% confident about this. I'm not. I still wonder about how far to go with it, if I will always know whether she just needs to cry, and so on. I also know that this is just one piece of the puzzle. But I feel it's the piece I've been reaching out for.