Thursday, April 30

Thankful Anyway Thursday

It's easy to be thankful for the good stuff, can you be thankful for the not so good?

Well, if you've been here this week, it's no secret that I'm feeling a little blue about not being up on the land. My body and mind is feeling the physical disconnection with nature. Not good for a nature mystic, weed whisperer, mountain wyfe, huh?

To say I've been feeling low is an understatement. I ache to be there.

I'm thankful anyway, because the land is there, just waiting for me.
I'm thankful ayway because I appeciate that if I am not there, I'm not meant to be there.
I'm thankful anyway because being stuck indoors gives me tons of time for my own little piece of nature in the form of the Wildflower, for crochet creations, for bloggy connections, and access to occassional socialising.
I'm thankful anyway because it's a life situation that allows me the opportunity to exercise my ability to love what Is.

Give me a shout out if you do this (comment), I'll add your link to this post.

Other Thankful Anyways...
Jumbleberry Jam

p.s... don't forget that the next monthly review is around the corner.

Wednesday, April 29

corner view - modes of transportation

Montenegro is the Italian version of the country's name. Translated as black mountain. And that's what it is. This tiny little country is mountain after mountain after mountain.

In the small town that we live in, there are plenty of cars around, but the most common mode of transportation is..... feet.

Stairs and stairs, and then more stairs, means that getting easily to most places (if you live close to town) is a matter of walking.

And when you get into the centre of town, well, there's a little more stair climbing to do. I think this is the reason that despite pastry for breakfast, locals are generally slim.

A popular pastime, is walking along the promenade. For us, it means about 250 steps down. It's how we justify the ice-cream when we get there.

Check out Jane for more corner views around the globe.

Tuesday, April 28


Studios, craft rooms, workstations, craft corners. I defy anyone, any creative-minded person at least, to not be inspired by other people's creative spaces.

They inspire me whether they are a haven of organisation or creative chaos, elaborate or serene, a dedicated room or a tiny corner of the home.

1: Modern Acorn 2: Yummy Goods 3: Saidosda Concha

4: My Tiny Robot Heart 5: Lino Forest 6: Patchwork Pottery

7: Shelly Paints 8: Tricia North 9: Polly Painting

10: My Aim Is True 11: Mixed Up Beauty 12: Chimera Creation

Monday, April 27

the weekend

Hope you all had a happy, productive/relaxing weekend.

My last post disappeared for a while. So if you had popped in to comment on that, please give it another shot.

unidentified woodland flower

DIY Dad took me up to the house on Saturday morning. I'm chomping at the bit to get at the land. So much clearing and pruning and general back-breaking work to do. The weather was pleasant enough but by the time we drove up there it was raining! One of our neighbours asked us in for coffee, and it hailed while we were drinking the brew.

It stopped long enough for me to grab my gloves and secateurs. I was determined. DIY Dad took the Wildflower for a stroll and I pruned and pulled and cleared. I was in a state of bliss. Smelling rain-soaked greeness, touching glossy leaves, chatting to the nature spirits. It began to rain softly but it didn't stop me. I can cope with rain, even enjoy it once I'm out there. It's just cold I can't do.

But then it had me beat and I had to say goodbye.

We returned on Sunday morning and this time it was dry. Our 74 year-old neighbour had said a sad goodbye to her only cow. She was finding it too much, to look after her as well as her troop of goats. So after giving milk for many years, the old girl now gave herself completely.

I felt myself psychologically droop on our return to our urban concrete sprawl.

It hadn't been enough to revive me, but it was bliss while it lasted.

And to cap off the weekend, the Wildflower took her first solo steps. That one got me all emotional-like too. She just took it upon herself to let go of furniture a few times, then purposely stepped towards me. Very pleased with herself.

Did I mention that along with mama, she now says: cat (perfectly, which is hilarious), tata (our version of dada. Tough one for her, so often comes out as tatat or just tat) and broom broom for cars (I said it twice to a toy car and she has made the association to real cars on her own). And of course she signs milk. I'm working on a sign for I've just done a poo.

Here's to an interesting week ahead.

Friday, April 24

my aware baby - sleep

I started sharing some bits and bobs from the Aware Baby book. The first post is over here.

In the rest of Chp 2, Solter covers topics such as what to do if your baby has already learnt to suppress crying, how to tell when she needs a cry, and basically offers advice and thoughts that will help the parent feel more confident in following this idea. She also offers some exercises whereby you reflect on issues that might help you, such as your childhood and feelings about your baby.

Chp 3 covers food. It includes further notes about nursing for comfort as well as understanding hunger and introducing solids. One of the basic threads running through all this is that a baby that was allowed to cry and did not nurse/feed for comfort, is able to self-wean and regulate their food intake.

Chp 4 is all about sleep. She advocates co-sleeping and why babies won't fall asleep. Naturally, one of these reasons is a need to cry.

It's difficult to know whether the Wildflower has improved sleep due to age (it's still quite bad anyway) or because of being allowed to cry. But when all this clicked for me, I realised that going to bed with all that repressed stress must make for a fidgety, restless, wakeful baby. How difficult is it for us adults, to sleep when we have unreleased emotions, stuff on our minds, worries, etc?

Solter suggests that a sleepy baby will sleep immediately and spontaneously (once stimulation is removed). She says that,
"True sleepiness in a baby is characterized by a tired, relaxed look. The baby will not be fussy, whiny, fidgety, or hyperactive."

I took a quick look at Sears' The Baby Book, for their suggestions on getting a baby to sleep. Amongst removing stimulation, the other suggestions include wearing baby down, sleeping close and other similar comforting, noise, as well as rocking, car rides, and a swaying crib. Nothing about a good cry before bed.

Solter suggests that a baby needs to be ready for sleep and will do so easily when they are ready. Sears suggests we can help them get ready for sleep with warm baths and massages. And then get them to sleep with the suggestions above.

The idea of making a baby sleep never rang true for me. Fortunately I ignored this part of Sears' book and allowed the Wildflower to get ready for bed when she appeared tired. However, whee things went pear-shaped, is that the appearance of tiredness began as much as 2-3 hours before she would actually fall asleep. Without being allowed to cry, she had a lot of pent up stress. And back then, I believed that rocking and walking her was the best thing I could do.

So what happened was that her tired moaning sounds lasted for an eternity and my rocking was stopping her from releasing the stress. They were very, very long evenings and nights. At the time I just thought, well, that's her way of indicating tiredness and working herself up for sleep. It wasn't until around 8 months of age that I started to question the behaviour.

Here's a great thought I read just this morning. Solter says that most of us read fussiness and whining as indicators of sleep. I know I do! Who doesn't say, upon hearing a whiny child before nap time, 'oh, he's getting tired'? This is just what Solter asks. And then states,

"Whining and fussing are indications of a need to cry, not a need to sleep."

*Mon slaps hand to forehead*

She says that whilst a fussy baby may be sleepy (which is I guess why we make the natural connection), they are not actually ready for sleep while they are fussing.

I think I've understood that on a basic level. Parents tend to do all the things that Sears suggests - to wind baby down from fussiness. But Solter goes right to the core of fussiness - baby needs to release built-up stress. Baby needs a cry.

And now that I think of it, the easiest times for me to try out this crying philosophy has always been right before a nap. Solter says that tiredness makes it harder for a baby to hold in emotions. Anyone who has seen a whiny unhappy child before bedtime can testify to that. But the crucial bit we skip, is that what this means is that it's easier for a child to cry when tired.

Right before a nap, a) I am most confident that she needs a cry, and b) she is able to cry more easily.

I think back to times when the Wildflower has fallen asleep in my arms without hardly a sound, and that most other times there's tons of fussiness going on. I made the connection with high irritability - that she needed to release tensions - but general fussiness was just tiredness to me.

Solter concludes her basic point with,
"[the baby] will not be truly ready for sleep until after she has cried"

I've just been given a whole new perspective on fussiness before sleep. And it is so obvious when you look at it from this side. As hindsight tends to be.

pic: DKImages

Thursday, April 23

Thankful Anyway Thursday

It's easy to be thankful for the good stuff, can you be thankful for the not so good?

When the Wildflower is irritable or cranky for whatever reason, she ends up slapping me in the face. And as tooth number six pushed through, we've had plenty of crankiness these last few days. It isn't usually a direct slap, more like she becomes heavy-handed. She also grabs a handful of skin and flesh and pulls. ARGH. Ah, my Aries princess. And if it was done alongside a raging episode, I could probably accept it better. But it's done with outward calm. It isn't until I stop her that she freaks out.

May I just have it down for the record?

I hate, HATE, HATE, HATE this.

and breeeeathe.......

I reeeeeeally dislike being physically abused. It's way above Constant Whining for getting my screech on. Despite my patience about most anything, this one does it for me.

Deep breath....

I'm thankful anyway because it's an indication of her strong character. Her self-confidence. Basically, her refusal to take crap.
I'm thankful anyway because I am at least able to recognise that it's a definite trigger for me. I'm able to see that I need to release these feelings. That I can step away, go into another room, and scream/cry/beat the crap out of a poor unsuspecting pillow (haven't done any of these yet, but am willing to).
I'm thankful anyway because it means that she doesn't bottle up her feelings for fear of my disapproval.
I'm thankful anyway because this behaviour gives me a clear sign of when she has pent up frustration that needs release with a good cry.

Give me a shout out if you do this, I'll add your link to this post.

Jumbleberry Jam
Lisa, Phillip, & Michael

Wednesday, April 22

Corner View - breakfast

Well it's Earth Day today, I had hoped all week to blog something eco-inspired but my mind wasn't there.... But go here for ideas and thoughts about this day.

So I stumbled across a blog that is all about living in my Madre Terra. And as you know I love travel and am an expat and love connecting to the global community. Well, it's given me a good excuse for a fun post today. The idea is to share a photo about your corner of the world. Today's theme is breakfast.

My breakfast consists of toast and coffee or porridge during the cold season, and usually muesli with cold milk during the warmer ones. I know, not very exciting. Despite my love of cooking, despite that I'm hungry and ready for brekkie, I like it simple.

But over here in Montenegro (on the coast anyway), the common breakfast is drinking yoghurt and burek - a meat or cheese filled light pastry, formed into a swirl or a round. It comes from Albania I believe. Everyone from builders to school children grab this combination from a local bakery on their way to start the day.

Other participants:
jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie,esti, sophie, cele, modsquad,caitlin, joyce, ani, couturecoucou, kim, a day that is dessert, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t.,
jeannette, outi, schanett, ritva, dongdong, francesca,state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, ruth, dianna,
isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy,
jenna, skymring, elizabeth, audrey, allison

Monday, April 20

Child Shadow of Self-Loathing (i)

Please read my brief introductory post, otherwise this might all sound too disjointed to be of interest/use.

“Go out in the world and work like money doesn't matter, Sing as if no one is listening, Love as if you have never been hurt, and Dance as if no one is watching”
- Uknown

My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and my talents and I lay them both at his feet. - Ghandi


The Shadow of Self-Loathing is formed in a similar environment to the Shadow of Arrogance. The parents have high standards, thereby their love becomes conditional. However, the crucial difference is that for Arrogance, the parent's expect the child to be perfect, whilst for this Shadow the parent's do not.

The child is unable to meet the parent's standards. They do not sit still, get out of the way, behave properly, have the right morals, get high enough marks at school, be as good as another child, are a lot of work for the parent, do anything well enough. Or simply, they are not the parent's ideal child. While a parent for Arrogance will greet a child's school test with enthusiasm and then criticism. A parent for Self-Loathing will have little to no enthusiasm.

A very small child cannot intellectualise any of this of course. But a child senses it all. They will sense your own fear of failure. They will sense any, 'I didn't expect anything better from you' feelings. They will sense that you view them as a nuisance or an inconvenience.

Whatever the foundation, children learn that they are not enough, that they have failed their parents, and that they can never be enough.

It is this sense of inadequacy that is the Shadow's food. With the Arrogance Shadow, imperfections are fixable. With the Shadow of Self-Loathing, the child is unfixable.

This is crucial. the child learns that no amount of striving can make them better. They learn to become self-critical but without the belief that things can be put right.

The child learns that the most likely outcome is failure. They learn to dread their parent's demands and later, life's demands, because they believe that they will fail anyway. Therefore, they learn that they are not worthy as a human being.

Their lives become a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are a failure. They attempt a task with that attitude, and fail. And this reinforces their belief.

How can they love themselves when they are such a disappointment?

So the child believes that they are worthless. To survive, the child's psyche prepares itself with the belief of failure. That way, when they do fail it's a moment of success - they were right. The psyche protects itself from the external world, first by becoming small, and secondly by preparing their audience with an apology in advance.

They sit at the back, they try not to stand out, they don't put themselves forward. They might even walk hunched and with their head down.

If they are forced to 'perform', they prepare others with statements such as, 'I probably will get it wrong....', 'I know I don't know enough but....'.

Their best protection comes in the avoidence of success. Failure is inevitable of course, so it cannot be avoided. So instead, they prefer to stop trying, to not start new things, and to give up hope.

I use the words audience and perform deliberately. They feel that they are being constantly scrutinised and on show. They feel that other people are there to make value judgements. A person with a strong Self-Loathing Shadow lives for this audience. Without other people's feedback, they feel unable to find any worth themselves. In the absence of self-love, they place their worth in other people's hands.

Sunday, April 19

Mama's Cornbread

I made a very basic cornbread for the baby's birthday party. I had been wanting to make one for ages as I like the taste of corn and it's so easy, what with no kneading or rising or yeast involved. Perfect.

I used this recipe and followed it to the letter. I know, not like me, but let's remember that this is BAKING. Scary stuff. Okay, I did rebel a little, and threw fried onions into the mix. I'll add even more next time as it gave it an added depth. This one is supposed to be authentic southern cornbread, so I must get me some hog lard.

This is going to be a staple aroud here I think. It's so quick and easy. And I can add other ingredients as it takes my fancy. Like peppers and a pinch of cayenne for a Mexican version. Or herbs, or grated cheese. Mmmmm And I know I'll enjoy actual corn kernels too. It' good with all sorts of meals as well as with a little butter for breakfast.

Saturday, April 18

Wildflower's mini party

We had a lovely day. Thank you everyone for your birthday wishes.

The weather cooperated and stayed mild and dry. So we were able to sit outside. Which afetrwards I realised just how helpful that was what with four toddlers running around like crazed chimps.

Food turned out well. The main stuff being; curried potato samosas, cheesy-oniony mini pastries, tuna pate, roasted veg cous cous, sweet corn 'bites', feta cheese filled roasted red peppers, and cornbread. I didn't make the cake - neither that brave, that talented, nor that energetic. And that picture topping is chocolate, not icing.

How great are our friends, who bought her only wooden toys, without me ever having said anything?

It was all slightly last-minute. I just wasn't that bothered, considering she was only one and the day's significance was lost on her. But I'm so glad we went ahead. The special day was duly noted with merriment, and she has photos and video to look back on.

She was born at 12:15pm, and I missed the moment because I was busy cooking. Then, while looking after her, guests, food, that toddlers weren't totally distroying our home.... for no apparent reason, I looked up at the time. It was around 7:15pm. My stomach knotted and breath escaped me. It was around this time a year ago that I first saw my baby. I took her into a quiet room, held her tightly, and wept. They hadn't let me see her for over 7 hrs. But here she was - healthy, happy, thriving, bonded.

So, what a year, ay?

Looking back on the year, I'm in total shock that it's been that long since I slept for longer than 2 consecutive hours! And so long since I slept for longer than 5 hrs in one night. It's amazing what the human body can do.

Everyone tells you how fast it goes. How you have to enjoy it while it lasts. But how many of us actually do this? I mean, at every moment? I've never experienced time move so fast. I've never had so much to do, so much to ponder. But for me, it was all about the Moment. About being present during each and every moment, both of difficulty and of bliss.

What makes all the difference to me, is that I can look back on the last year and feel content. I can look back and know that I gave 110% for my baby. Not in a martyr type of way, or a Super Mom way. Just in an total awareness of what I have type of way.

Being in the moment gave me the experience of...
Only ever losing my patience a couple of times (and doing nothing other than feeling impatient)
Cherishing every need for holding despite having a million things to do
Waking with a smile on my face despite the lack of sleep
Witnessing every single development
Feeling nothing but love during endless days of irritability
Creating a deep bond between us

On her day of birth, I thanked her for giving me the best gift - learning that mothering is not just about me as creatrix, not just about me doing and giving, All. The. Time. That it's also about me as a vessel. One that, if open, can take in all that this little soul has come to offer. She has taught me and allowed me to experience truer meanings of acceptance, patience, relationship, emotional release, and being present.

One of my spiritual philosophies is that we all come from the Great Dark Mother, which is the dark void of All and Nothingness. What I had never properly understood, was that a void not only produces, but it can also take back into itself. As mothers, I think we mostly forget that, or sacrifice it.

Thank you sunshine.

Friday, April 17

wildflower's day of birth

My little baby, my little girl, is a year old today.

I have been so blase about it because she's been a year since she was 11 months. You know, everyone starts saying, 'ooh, she's practically a year old'. But now as I type this, I'm gettin' teary-eyed... awww.

I'm cooking up a storm, so can't stop long. Just wanted it noted today. We're having a few friends over around 4pm. The day isn't as sunny as it has been, but it's mild enough for the kids to play outside. I'll talk more about it tomorrow.

The first third of year one.... more later....

Thursday, April 16

Thankful Anyway Thursday

Yesterday we learnt that our income (our small covers-the-bills income) is under threat. Feeling the effects of the economic situation.

If it does cease to exist, it means we can't afford to remain here and, worse case scenario, we would have to return to the UK. On a daily basis, right now it means living frugally is no longer a choice. DIY Dad was very down about it.

As all his time is taken up with building our house, he hasn't yet put in a full effort in earning money. Although he has laid some groundwork and always has his ears out for any small opportunity that he can squeeze in. When the economy was better, this plan was workable.

He feels that it's a failure, to come here for a new life and have to return.

I'm thankful anyway because no matter how bad it gets our new house is mortgage free. So even if we can't stay and move into it for now, nobody can take it away from us.

If we can't afford to pay our rent, I'm thankful anyway because it means we are fortunate to have DIY Dad's parents who would not only take us in, but would do so lovingly and with open arms.

If we have to return to England, I'm thankful anyway because DIY Dad's parents get to spend an extended time with their grand-daughter. And they would cherish this.

For this situation I'm thankful anyway because it serves as a reminder to not take things for granted. To appreciate all we have, and to have compassion for those in similar and much worse situations.

Tuesday, April 14

my aware baby

I wanted to share with you all a little update on our crying experiment and some thoughts on the The Aware Baby by Aletha J. Solter. I haven't read it all yet though, so I'm just looking at the first part.

Since the last update, things have continued to move forward.

Those first times of crying were tough. It was like floodgates were opened and it seemed she would never stop crying. And there was so much rage! Which is why I took her onto our bed to thrash it out safely.

Yet since then she's only had a couple of biggish crying sessions and there hasn't been any raging. She did have one 'tantrum'-like episode. And that was our next big moment. I was at that junction that every parent finds themselves - where little baby is now suddenly showing pre-toddler tendencies. Yikes!

She wanted something that I didn't allow her to have. She was a little whiney and tired. And she burst out in tears and had little yells and went very red in the face with anger.

I held her lovingly.

It didn't last long. She had her cry and then cuddled me and soon fell asleep.

I couldn't help but feel that if we hadn't had our initial crying experiences it would have been much more intense. Because she would have had to release the immediate stress as well as pent up stress. And without the knowledge of allowing her to cry, I would have exacerbated the situation and caused her to feel even more frustrated.

I feel content knowing that we'll be entering toddlerhood with some idea of how to deal with tantrums. Which are afterall an extension of baby crying - expressing frustration and releasing stress.

So reading The Aware Baby has been interesting and has confirmed all that I've tried and experienced, and made a few things clearer.

Firstly, Solter tries to make clear the two different types of crying. The primary function is to elicit a response to immediate basic needs (hunger, cold, touch, etc), and the other to release stress. In other words - communication and healing.

In the first, our role as parents is not so much to stop the crying, as it is to fill the basic need, which in itself stops crying. I think that because we equate met needs with no crying, we (especially AP inspired parets) tend to view crying as a bad bad thing that we should not hear if we are being 'good' parents. Our focus turns to stopping the crying. And that's where the confusion sets in. As Solter indicates, many current theories talk about soothing, comforting and settling baby, all at the total exclusion of allowing the release of stress through crying.

According to Solter, our role to facilitate the second function, healing, is to eliminate the hurt, reduce stress, and then to hold the baby lovingly and allow the crying to continue.

Apparently, cortisol levels are high in newborns, which greatly reduces over time. So newborns are very stressed by default. Other stresses are:

prenatal stress
birth trauma
unfilled needs
developmental frustrations
physical pain
frightening events (loud noises, parental stress, etc)

That's a whole bunch of stress that no matter how amazing we are as parents, we cannot possibly ever reduce or eliminate them all.

Some of the ways we are told to sooth a baby is through movement (jiggling, rocking, patting, bouncing, going for car rides), oral things such as nursing or pacifiers, noise (singing, shushing sounds), or distraction (toys, etc).

Nursing is the controversial one, because many mothers adhere to the philosophy that nursng for comfort is a legitimate need. Now, I'm not saying it isn't, and neither is Solter, I think. However, what Solter says is that doing any of the above (including nursing for comfort) when the baby needs to cry to release stress, is not beneficial to the baby at all.

Makes perfect sense. The baby needs A and we offer B, C, D and E. One of our methods might stop the crying, and thereby trick us into thinking we have successfully met the baby's needs. But if the need is to cry?

So she says that a baby can become dependent on any of the above methods. Most importantly, if these methods work what's actually happening is that the baby is learning how to suppress his emotions.

Of course!

This confirmed for me something I did shortly after we started this experiment. I took away her favourite soft toy for bed time. Two things happened. She cried a little more, which was of course good to release any stress before trying to sleep. Secondly, she came to me for more cuddles. The latter was difficult for me, in that I got even less sleep! But felt that for her sake it was better. She was coming to a real person for comfort and security.

Solter calls any behaviour that suppresses crying a 'control pattern' (and from some forums I've visited I see that some mothers have misinterpreted the word 'control'). All she means is that a baby learns that his emotions are not acceptable. Any behaviour done frequently enough (like giving a pacifier for crying) can easily become a dependent behaviour. So the baby learns to suppress crying.

So I guess if we shifted our perspective and thought of these methods not as soothing methods but rather suppression methods, we would feel very differently about applying them.

Thumb sucking is a common control pattern. The Wildflower sucked her thumb for a few months after we stopped breastfeeding and I saw the obvious connection. She mostly did it just before falling asleep, and I think that with so much of my attention she soon gave it up. I don't think she ever used it to stop crying. but many babies and children do.

The last bit I want to share with you for now is Solter's theories on babies and their control patterns.

Movement (jiggling, swinging, rocking)
- baby could become overly demanding
- baby could become a self-rocker, head-banger, or hyperactive toddler

Nursing for comfort (rather than for hunger)
- baby could become overweight
- baby wants to nurse frequently when upset
- baby could become addicted to sweets later on (and I would add simply, baby could learn to use food as comfort)

Giving pacifier or bottle
- baby could become addicted to pacifier or bottle (and see my thought above)

Distracting (toys, books, muic, games)
- baby could demand constant entertainment

Putting baby in crib, ignoring
- baby could suck his thumb or become attached to object (blanket, stuffed animal)

Giving sedatives or ther drugs
- baby could seek relief from stress through drugs later on

She adds that control patterns don't disappear without crying, they simply become modified. Such as thumb-sucking turning into nail biting in an older child.

Control patterns give only temporary relief, they do not release stress.

Researchers found that non-nutritive sucking on pacifiers reduced the amount of crying but not the cortisol levels. Food for thought.

Sunday, April 12

wildflower's week

Week and a bit that is.

She cut her 5th tooth on the 10th. BOY was that one a long time coming through, and number six is following close behind.

She's started eating properly. She even crossed the floor to me to get at something I was eating. It's still small, no, tiny, amounts, but she's willing to try most things.

She danced spontaneously. I haven't danced with her much and I hardly ever have music on, liking my silence.... and suddenly her one toy that makes music comes on and she bops along to it. Hilarious. Now she dances when we say the word dance or if music comes on.

It seems she gets car sick, motion sickness ?? Whatever, it's wet, it's projectile, it's a lot, it requires clothes changes, it once came out of her nose, and it just ain't pretty.

She is baby signing 'milk'. Which is fun to see but sorta pointless because I know what she wants anyway. It seems nice for her though, maybe, to have a feeling of being able to communicate something so clearly. What do you think? Not sure what to have her sign next.

Still wakes up a minimum of 4 times a night, usually 6-8 times. So no change there.

She saw her first chickens, goats and ducks. And was thrilled.

She discovered that she has a section of bookshelf for her books. She went from pulling them off and throwing them on the floor to picking them out, sitting, and reading on her own. Very cute.

She said mama. Let me say that again. She said mama.
Actually she's being saying mama for a few months, but it was mamamamamama and I didn't want to go all silly and just put it down to baby babbling. But now that I think back on it I realise that it was only ever said at night before bed when she insists on me. Now she says it to her Mama, Mama book and has said it when making her way over to me. So I'm sure. I don't know why it's so darn beautiful, but it is.

What a couple of weeks! Like a developmental spurt of sorts.

Friday, April 10

bloggy awards

I've been given awards left right and centre and have been remiss at thanking y'all. Although in my defence, some of you forgot to tell me!

Steph at Ordinary Life Magic and Ladybug-zen at Collecting Leaves and other little experiences, passed on the undecipherable award to me: (okay, think it's about making the online world a smaller and better place)

The one and only The Awakened Heart passed on the humbling award that is,
in recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, & personal values transmitted in the form of creative & original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection & gratitude for work that adds value to the Web. gulp

Sheri at My So Called Homeschool passed on the Tree of Happiness.

Lynn at A Life Worth Living passed on this one:

Lisa at Tardy Homemaker passed on this one:

Thank you lovely people. I appreciate being thought of.

I've given out a few awards in the last 6 months and so will refrain from passing these on. However, there are two things that I love about these awards. One is learning something new about another blogger, and the other is finding new blogs. You know how I feel about promoting community.

So I will do just that, tell you 11 disturbing random things about me, and recommend a few blogs I may not have mentioned before.

1. I don't hum, whistle, nor sing in the shower. I tried the shower singing and I annoyed myself.

2. I have a deeply-seated neurosis distrust of clowns. A middle-aged man with way too much make-up that hangs around kids. Are you with me?

3. Inside any building (or large transportation device such as a ferry) I am aware of all known, and possible, exit points. So if the crapola hits the fan, look to which direction I'm running.

4. When I was 18 I went to a sort of boyfriend's prom in doc martens, fishnets, and tuxedo tails. He glued his hair up in spikes.

5. I got a whole lotta love to give.

6. My dream car (which annoyingly I'll never own because I'm too damn eco and frugal and can't be bothered driving anyway) is a mustang, like this.

7. I'm a pascifist and compassionate but sometimes I wish it were acceptable for me to bitch-slap some people.

8. I cannot stand the feel of velvety things.

9. In real life, people are surprised to discover that I'm a nerd. Like, one of my favourite shows was Sliders, and I make spreadsheets of my books.

10. I enjoy sending and receiving international snail mail, but almost never do (either).

11. Never met a doughnut I didn't like.

Some blogs I frequent often, others irregularly, others still are new finds, but enjoy them all nonetheless.

Along with those above, pop on over to:

Painted Rainbows and Chamomile Tea - THE place for a heads up on books for children
Bohemian Single Mom - a cool chick
Noble Savage - a thinking mama, for the squeamish, she does use 'language'
Knitting the Wind - tendency to go all Christian on yo ass, sorry. *chuckle* but her writing is delicious
Jumbleberry Jam - a fellow mama

And for the Feed Reader die-hards out there who never visit over here. These are my must-reads, on my sidebar:

Darkside of the Broom
The Awakened Heart
Mommy Mystic
Five Flower Mom
The Organic Sister
My Sacred Home
Rants and Dreamy Musings

And Crooked Hooks is my crafty, herby, and mystical blog.

Phew, that should be enough for the weekend. Enjoy your frolicky long weekend or Easter, whichever means more to you.

Thursday, April 9

productive creativity and the uterus

It's been a good week in general and I'm feeling so full of Spring that being Thankful Anyway didn't work for me today. So I will post about other things...

I mentioned productive creativity in my monthly review and a couple of you picked up on it.

As a very cerebral person, I tend towards ideas rather than the tangible. Reading, reading, studying, and erm, more reading, were my focus for most of my life. When it came to the tangible, such as in creativity, it was fine arts - abstract and 'out there' to be gawped at.

I have always enjoyed crafty things. I mean, I've done some hemp weaving, but that was always few and far between because, well, it's only jewellery. So in in general, crafts were made by Other People, not me. There have been times where I wished that I would want to craft because it looked like fun, it looked like a relatively easy way to express some creativity, and some stuff was just so darn purty.

It's only since becoming a mother who has lost several braincells and has minimal sleep, that I have struggled to read as much as I once did. That's how I found myself trying knitting and then taking up crochet.

And it wasn't until this last week that it finally hit me. A large part of the reason I have never taken up craftiness is because of my strong practical streak. D'oh!

I need to create something that has a purpose. I also dislike clutter and waste. I've always wondered what the heck people do with all those 'useless' bits. It must collect a lot of clutter. Granted, I've been crocheting amigurumi dolls, but only because I now have a child who will use them as toys. Otherwise, it's scarves and blankets for me.

I enjoy perusing blogs that showcase all manner of creative bits and bobs, but I realised that the posts that held my interest were the sweaters, bookmarks, dresses, etc. When a blogger posts about the sparkly thing they're now hanging in the window, I admire their creativity, but mostly glaze over.

I completed a degree in Fine Arts majoring in photography. While I loved it, I had to admit that I just couldn't persue something so impractical as arty photography. And practical photography held no interest for me.

Sheesh, if I had known this back then I might have worked harder in the pottery classes! Functional art.

This might all sound very obvious, but it wasn't to me. What a nonce. Now that I have made it a conscious understanding, I can dive with full gusto into all the craftyness that fits my prerequisites.

And something else I've come to see, is that since becoming a mother, my creativity has opened up wide. As if the uterus was woman's centre of creativty in All things. And the stretching and opening of it has made a clearer and wider path for me to search for that all.

Who knows too. Perhaps after time creating the practical, I may uncover a desire to create for creativity's sake alone.

As I gave up perfectionism some time ago, I'm now able to marry this with my new realisations and forge ahead without concerns of how good the end product will be.

Every imperfection will be a symbol of my freedom.

Maya Angelou once said, “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” That's how I'm feeling.

I'm now crocheting like it was necessary for life. I think that my mouth might actually be watering at new yarn and patterns. And even though there are a million crochet projects in front of me, I'm finding I'm stretching out and feeling for other possibilities.

I guess because I've stomped on it for so long that I'm now feeling like it's gushing out. It's like I have a magic overflowing jug and I'm madly searching for cups to fill.

pic: crystalinks

crochet and crafts

We popped into a local handicrafts fair that's part of a current culture festival in the small town we live in. It's quite a big deal as the place lacks this type of arty-crafty thing.

A type of theme running through this year's festival is recycled materials. So there is an anti-plastc bag campaign of which I am a part. We were given plain cotton bags to decorate in whatever way we liked.

I chose crochet of course, and crocheted up flowers from plastic bags.

But we found ourselves being unusually social this week and time ran away from me, so that I was sewing on flowers like a mad woman.

Calvin: “You can’t turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood.”
Hobbes: “And what mood is that?”
Calvin: “Last-minute panic”.

It turned out ok. Mostly, it was fun to do. Although the mad rush and a serious sewing phobia don't mix so well. Three finger pricks and four accidentally-sewed-both-sides-of-the-bag-together moments later.....
I swear it took me less time to crochet the flowers than sew them on!

The fair showcased local craftspeople and included stained glass, a loom weaver, jewellery and wooden toys. And the Husband was happy because there was food.

Tuesday, April 7

I'm going grey

Actually, that revelation is about 7 or so years late.

I started to go grey around my early 30's. Every female on my mother's side has started to go grey before reaching 40.

I used to dye my hair (before the grey years) just because. Then when we were trying for a baby I stopped (the whole chemical thing). I've come to like my greys. I feel that I've earnt each and every one. I joke that each one has it's own story, whatever science might have to say.

I guess it's because I have little feeling towards getting older that I'm so comfortable with greying. I'm so chilled about it that I was rather disappointed to realise that I won't be 40 until next year.

I am so fortunate to be living during an era when being 30+, 40+ and even 50+ is not old for a woman. Many famous women today are not only getting on with things as natural as can be, but are often better for their age. Hmm, wasn't this once just the realm of men? You know, improving with age?

I watched The Women remake (dull & 2 dimensional) the other week and my favourite line came from Annette Bening (turned 50 last year), who is walking through a large store and is approached by a cosmetics sales girl about a free 'facelift'.

"This is my face, deal with it."

I know we are way, way behind getting the same acceptance that men indulge in (heck, they're going backwards), but it's better. I won't lie and say that other women comment on how beautiful are my greys, but I'm living during a time when I'm not made to feel a freak.

My hair has never known coifness, so I won't ever be looking like this...

this is a better indication of my possibilities...

I guess part of the grey wars these days is less about to colour or not to colour, but about 'looking good'. So if the grey is Meryl Streep in Devil Loves Prada style, that is, vibrant and evenly streaked, great, but just plain ol' greyness isn't. Stylish is the key apparently. But what to do when you are more hippie than hip?

I can't really say how I'll feel when I have more grey. Perhaps I'll feel less me, or feel older than I really am, or feel drab. I don't know. But for now. I'm okay with it.

How about you? Going grey? Embracing it, covering it up? Were you treated differently? How do you think you will feel when you find your first grey hair?

"Vogue" Body and Beauty Book, 1977
google search

Saturday, April 4

vaxing for dummies, chp3

Pro-vaccinators often say:

The risks of complications from contracting the disease are worse than the risks from the vaccine. Or, the benefits far outweigh the risks.

How do you feel about these statements?

I felt very uncomfortable. This statement tells me two things.
  1. Vaccines carry risks
  2. I and my child are viewed as statistics

When I was pregnant with the Wildflower, the doctor at the time recommended that I had an invasive test for Downs Syndrome, being that I was the ripe old age of 37. When I mentioned that I thought that the procedure carried a risk of miscarrying the baby, what could be a perfectly healthy baby, his reply was that the risk was about 1%.
In other words, yes, I could miscarry a perfectly healthy baby. I could lose the precious life inside me. But he, the doctor, was willing to take that risk.
Why? Because to him it wouldn't look too bad a statistic on his record. 1% of his patients losing their baby was something he could live with. But she was 100% my baby. I wasn't willing to take the risk. I think that the doctor thought I was a fool. I was willing to take that risk.

And did you notice the 3rd subtle message? Complications from the disease. In other words, the disease, such as is the case with childhood illnesses, is not the problem, but possible complications from it are the real issue.

So my questions became:
1. Am I willing to give my child vaccines with known/possible/unknown side effects?
2. Am I willing to approach my child as a statistic?
3. Am I able to prevent, minimise, or deal with possible complications from the naturally occuring disease?

With self-education, my own answers became, no, no, and yes.

I will deal with number 3 in another post.

Pro-vaccinators will make two main claims: that vaccines are safe and effective,[1] and that there is no evidence for X vaccine causing Y side-effect.

Claim One

The first claim is ludicrous simply because anything can be claimed to be safe if the right agenda and knowledge is behind it.
There was a time when asbestos and lead were perfectly acceptable materials to use in buildings and equipment, and even toys.
So you can read enough studies to make your head hurt and eyes water, and won't truly be any the wiser.

This can be a rather wieldy area, so I'm not going to discuss it here. Really, it could go on forever. Just google the research as well as the problems with the research, if you want to educate yourself in this area.

Two of my biggest issues with the research aspect is who conducts it - often the companies who produce the vaccines - and who funds it - often the companies who sell the vaccines. Conflict of interest anyone?

Claim Two

As for the second claim, 'side-effects' is sooooooo vague. Waiting for iron-clad proof that X causes Y is problematic. Scientists may have yet to uncover the specific molecule that indicates a direct cause and effect. The statement, 'there is no scientific evidence...', is not the same thing as, 'it is not true'. It just means that, they haven't found the evidence yet.
Secondly, side-effects may show up days, weeks, or years later! I mean, how long did it take for scientists to work out that smoking can cause lung cancer? Or that even passive smoking is harmful?

Furthermore, doctors are not required to report side-effects after a vaccination, and are not being taught to recognize vaccine reactions.[2]

Scientists look for 100% direct proof and big numbers. 1% doesn't impresss them. If 100 children develop serious complications after a vaccine shot, this doesn't ruffle their feathers. If 1000, it still doesn't. But every one of those children is somebody's precious child.

A further problem is that they may not need to be looking for anything as direct as, X causes Y, but rather X causes Y in B children. Or even, X causes Y that then causes Z in B children!

Jenny McCarthy asked, "What number will it take for people just to start listening to what the mothers of children who have seen autism have been saying for years, which is, 'We vaccinated our baby and something happened.'"

When we hold up science as a divine field, or the only viable way of perceiving the world, we accept the answers. But if you took your perfectly healthy child to get vaccinated and two days later s/he began showing signs of autism, would you care about the lack of proof? Parents are dismissed as emotional and irrational. But I ask you, if this happened to your child, to a friend's child, would you vaccinate your next child?

"We surveyed over 9,000 boys in California and Oregon and found that vaccinated boys had a 155% greater chance of having a neurological disorder like ADHD or autism than unvaccinated boys." - Generation Rescue

This makes an impression on me, but not on the scientific mind.

Scientists cannot prove that there is a direct cause and effect and cannot make any claims that vaccines cause specific side-effects. I respect this. This is their job, finding 100% scientific proof.

Circumstantial evidence isn't science, the results of surveys like the above cannot be used as proof of anything. However, while there is no 100% proof that any ingredient in vaccines causes specific problems, my stance is this:

Until they can prove 100% that ingredients in vaccines do not cause specific problems, I will refrain from pumping them into my child.

[1] Outbreaks have occurred in 100% vaccinated populations. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. US Gov’t. 12/29/89;38(s-9):1-18.
[2] According to the US Food and Drug Administration, only 1-10 vaccine injured children is ever reported.” Investigative Report on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System. Vienna, VA: NVIC 1987.