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Friday, June 24, 2011

{This Moment}

A Friday Ritual inspired by Soulemamma

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
 A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nourish Me:: Week Ten:: Putting Myself First

I found this beautiful artwork here
I've been thinking about this post for a while now. I had lots of different nourishing things I wanted to talk about and to share with you. I have been busy doing all sorts of things and thought I could write about some of those but then I realised that I had been putting this subject off. *Sigh*

It's really hard for me to write about attachment parenting without coming up against all of my wants and needs and hopes and dreams for my children. It's hard for me to contemplate letting some of my hopes go but it's harder still to be here struggling, as I so often do, to do the right thing, but ever at my own expense. Does that sound selfish? Then I'll explain.

Right now, I am sitting in my bed at home choking my way through my fifth bout of bronchitis since last Winter. I have asthma so bad that I can't take an in or an out breath without rattling which leads to more coughing, coughing so hard it makes me gag. Coughing so hard I can't sleep. And so finally, at my husband's insistence, I started taking the cortisone that I have resisted taking in all the other episodes I've enjoyed. I started taking the damn cortisone because antibiotics were having no effect. I started taking them even though it meant abruptly interrupting my breastfeeding relationship with my wee Bear. It was not an easy decision to make but I hope that it was the right one.

The house is empty. As in, without the balls of funny, furiously active and beloved energy that are my babes. It is empty because I am worn out, completely run down (despite vitamin supplements and immunity tonics up the yin yang) and struggling to look after my babes with no voice (literally - I have laryngitis too), no energy and no patience . So my ever practical husband called in the reinforcements and his parents stepped up (as they always do - I am amazingly lucky to have the second family that I do) and the wee ones were whisked away to stay with his mum and dad for three, yes THREE, days. So that I can sleep, rest, get well, stop spreading these godawful germs around and find health, if it indeed still resides in this house of lurgy.

My little Finnamon Bun
The children and I have been consistently sick for a year now - since Finn was 2 weeks old and he got his first cold, followed swiftly by his first chest infection and his first dose of antibiotics. As each cold/infection/chesty episode went, within a week a new one was arriving. The children and I have spent more time at the doctors this year than I have at any other time in my life. I even joked to my GP that I should just camp out in his waiting room. Har bloody har.

So the house is empty and it feels... well barren actually. Devoid of life and energy. I can feel how alone I am in this big house that is normally so warm and full of them. I miss them terribly, particularly my wee bear because I keep feeling like he is so small and must not understand what is going on. Part of it is, of course, my ever present anxiety/PND/neuroses, but the other part is the loss of my connection to my babies. No little greedy face smiling up at me between drinks from his beloved boobie. No needs having to be met. No-one trotting in in the night for 'a quick snuggle' before being tucked back into her own bed. No sleepy, pink-cheeked, grumpy little face surrounded by fluffy bedhair, crying softly with eyes still closed, for cuddles, comfort and a return to sleep. Nothing. Just me and my man (even though that is always comforting) and the quiet of an empty house. And in the night I dreamt that I could hear Beanie calling out for me. "Mamma, mamma, no - I want mamma." I woke thinking that she was in the next room and was then stricken because I realised she was far away and I could not comfort her. Could not fold my tousled, long limbed, thumb-sucking, still so young, Beanie, into my arms and give her a mamma's sleepy late night kisses that let her know all is well. All is well.

Yes, she is asleep.
This is why I struggle. I struggle with the need to sometimes put myself and my needs first without feeling horrible guilt. I struggle with being with my kids and being without them. I struggle with wanting needing space and time and rest, and feeling resentful when I don't get it, the need to be there for my children when they need me to. Something has to give, doesn't it? And I've come to the, somewhat obvious, conclusion that it just doesn't always work out the way you want it to. Someone occasionally has to lose, if only for a little while, and up until now that has been me. I have consistently put myself second and have dragged myself through the days bone weary and tired beyond belief. I have done it when I have wanted to and when I would have given anything to be in a galaxy far, far away. And it has taken it's toll on me mentally and physically.

And this is where I find attachment parenting a little unyielding (and I am prepared to admit that the unyielding part may be just my interpretation of its ethos. I do set my own parenting bar very high). The co-sleeping I love right up until the part where I can't turn over because I have about a square inch of bed to myself and nowhere to put my arms, or I'm getting kicked in the back or boobs, or hit in the face by small arms and legs. Or, God forbid, there is a delicious warm sensation underneath me which suddenly and inexplicably goes cold and wet. The breastfeeding I love except where I get bitten and pinched and where I worry that I am going to affect Bear's health long term by giving him boobie milk tainted, no matter how minimally, with anti-depressants or the fact that he needs to stay attached to the boobie long, long, long after he has fallen asleep and immediately wakes up if I try to disconnect him. The carrying I love (and do a lot of ) right up to the part where my scoliosis plays up and the hip displacement joins in, just for funsies. The gentle discipline I love right up until the part where I want to tear my hair out and scream because trying to get my girl to do ANYTHING without a major meltdown is seemingly impossible, to the point where even my hubble is losing his cool and this man is second only to the Dalai Lama in terms of being peace. I love it all right up until the part where I am worn out, run down and in need of sleep and rest and peace.

Photo by eikei
Don't get me wrong. I don't intend to give any of these things up entirely. I love carrying the wee man for the most part. I love having him in bed with me and have done up until recently when I realised how much I missed being able to stretch out and not worry about accidentally walloping the wee man in the head. I sleep so lightly that its become almost impossible to have the bubs in the bed for any length of time. And you know, I want to be able to put him down in his cot and have fall into a much needed sleep, without me having to stand over him for 45 minutes. And I've noticed something interesting about this. Sometimes he'll be in my bed and restless, grizzling and turning over and over, so I scoop him up, pop him down in his cot and he goes straight to sleep. Perhaps even he needs a little space to himself now.

I guess what I'm trying to say, and what it has taken me over 4.5 years to learn, is that I have to take what works for me and leave the rest. Even if that does make me feel like a 'fake' attachment parent (and honestly, what parent isn't attached to their child?). I have to accept that in order to give them the best of me, I need to put myself and my needs first when I can. Mamma needs her body, her mind, her sleep, to herself sometimes. I need to trust that I am enough even in those areas I fail seemingly every day. Who gets it totally right? Even attachment parents who do everything by the book get things wrong. We are fallible human beings and it has taken me a lot of time and sadness to realise this. I won't be the 'perfect' mamma no matter how hard I try. I can only be me - a woman who stumbles and falls all the time, but still gets back up and tries again, tries harder. I have spent a lot of time wanting to be other people. It's probably why I studied acting. Yet, comparing myself to others never made me feel any better about being myself. It just gave me a whole other box of reasons to dislike myself and to question hate myself as a parent. I do want to get my issues under control. Of course i do. But I want to do without beating myself up all the time. I DO hold myself accountable. I DO take responsibility for myself and my actions but I don't need to exacerbate the problem with unkindness and a lack of compassion for myself. In some ways, I am still a child too. I need to put aside the fear based thoughts of what will become of my children in the future because what I have 'done to them' in the past, and trust, really trust, that their innate goodness, their own unique light, will shine no matter what. And that loving them, as deeply and as overwhelmingly as I do, will be enough. That I will be enough.

So my nest is empty and I am trying to drop into this new space and take care of myself without my thoughts consistently swinging towards my Beanie and Bear, wondering how they are, if they want to come home, if they are needing me... and concentrate on getting well. I'm not used to it. Normally I relish my time alone simply because it is so fleeting. Now I have three days of it and I don't know what to do with myself. My hubble insists that I sleep. He has told me, in no uncertain terms, that 'resting is not the same as sleeping'. I guess he doesn't get how restful crafting is for me but he's also got a point. Sleep is the one thing that has been consistently missing from my life for 4.5 years. Nourishing, deep, deep, restorative, dreamless sleep. Is that possible for me I wonder? I am so attuned to my babies sleep rhythms that I suspect that this kind of sleep may still elude me.

In my immediate future I forsee lots of expressing (not quite ready to give up feeding the wee boy yet, just while I am on nasty cortisone), knitting, sewing, napping, eating maltesers, reading, napping, watching movies, napping and then some of the aforementioned sleep.

I will leave with my sweet nourishy bites because everyone needs something cheerful at the end of a long rant.

:: watching :: Game of Thrones. If you haven't, you must. MUST.

:: loving :: crafts, crafts, crafts. Oh I have discovered dry needle felting and I cannot be stopped! Show and tell next post.

:: longing for:: this illness to be gone and to feel truly well again. Punching the air and leaping into the air kind of well.

:: looking forward to :: being rid of the old man 60-a-day phlegmy smokers cough, to finishing Finn's sheepy pants and starting on my 'Tea Leaves' cardigans for me and the Beanster (thanks DocWitchy!). Oh and starting on a little project for my lovely lady Sol-Y-Luna - she of the big heart and healing hands. She gave me a massage and now I am giving her something soft and warm and knitted, just for her own self.
:: heading towards :: adventure. Maine being the focus of that adventure. We are seriously looking into moving to Maine for a few years, just so that I can enjoy some snow and some time in the Northern Hemisphere, where everything makes sense to this northern girl again.
:: enjoying :: the cold, the mist, the bare trees, the occasional hail, the spare simplicity of Winter in the southern hemisphere. Audio books - fiction mainly because I have overdosed on non-fiction in recent years. It feels good to just sit back and enjoy a different kind of yarn (often with my yarn!). My creativity being stimulated by the lovely Goddess Leonie's e-courses and Goddess circle group. Don't be put off by the hippy look of the site, the woman is sharp as a tack and gives an amazing package for those creative ladies who want to delve further into their creativity or start up a new business. There is even a Goddess Circle which gives you access to support from other women and a chance to make connections. It's awesomeness. Chai, mocca lattes, Kate Bush and her wonderful album The Hounds of Love. Now that's winter in an album. The link takes you to my absolute favourite track from the album. Listen to it and you'll understand why I love it so much.

::making:: more wool roving summer fairies but this time with embellishments (piccies to come), sewing little birds for summer swaps, winter things for winter swaps and the beginnings of a daily rhythm chart for Lily, so she has some idea of what is happening next. It makes our days more peaceful if we have our path illuminated somewhat.

:: surprising myself ::  not at all.
:: feeling :: weak and tired but at least I'm resting.
:: hoping for :: good health, energy and some time with good friends.
:: grateful for :: my supportive hubble and his amazing family.
And I've added a new nourishy bite - 
:: just for funsies :: Funniest video on YouTube - I'm afraid that this is why people of the pagan persuasion are not often taken seriously. And where are they running to?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Perfect Kiss

I LOVE this picture
 Not long ago, I joined a writing e-course called 'Writing Our Way Home'. It was a lovely course designed to stimulate a little writerly creativity and the support of the other group members was really lovely.

It's been over for a few months, well, two to be exact and in that time I have written zippety doo dah. In the course we were encouraged to observe something for five minutes, anything, the view outside your window, the children in the street, the changing season - whatever captures your attention and your imagination. Really looking takes practice. It's not the same as observing - that's more detached. This is about dropping into the moment and breathing it into and through you. It's about being fully present. Then you write a 'Small Stone' which is to say, a miniature poem or piece of prose like this one:

The rain a tin fingered metronome on my roof
my heart and unquiet mind is lulled
by the beat
of natures steely tears

Or this one:
His milky sleep
soft weighted in my arms
sweetly snoring

The idea is to write one small stone a day and to share it, if you want to, on the site. I have found that I very much enjoy writing these little 'proems' (a word I made up - see what I did? I joined poem with prose...clever, eh?) and will endeavour to write one a day. It's much like the oft mentioned fridge poetry, (using those magnetic word kits that stick to your fridge door), in that it stimulates your creativity and lets you play around with words for fun or for catharsis. I like both personally. Maybe we can call it 'funarsis.

"We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when..."
 Anyhoo, the people who run the courses (Kaspa and Fiona) have just gotten married and they requested that everyone who cared to, submit a small tone for their wedding, so that they could collate them into a big wedding book to commemorate the day. I thought this was a lovely idea and so here's what came to me:

Every moment
is a gift
Every breath
a wish
Every glance
a promise
Every touch
a union
May you always
Open into these moments
Like you do
Into a perfect kiss

See - big knickers can be sexy. It's what I keep telling my husband.
I like it. I especially like it when things come to me without any effort or time spent actually thinking about it. I simply thought of them and wrote. Stream of consciousness baby!

Anyway, I'll keep it brief for today. Suffice to say it's difficult to write a post on nourishment when one is up to ones dandruff in phlegm, with a hacking cough that could cut through wood. Oh and asthma - did I mention the asthma? That I haven't had since I was fifteen? That made its unwelcome appearance in the first of these FIVE (yes, that's what I said, FIVE) bronchial visits? That now requires a permanent use of puffers (oh, the memories of freezing school hockey pitches in England) and oh, an assortment of tonics, vitamins and, in this last bout, the abrupt breech of my breastfeeding relationship with my wee Bear while I take a three day course of fekkin' cortico-steroids, and the whisking away of aforementioned wee Bear and my Beanie-girl, while I attempt to recover. Well apparently, the one steroid makes me sleepy and, in my doctor's words, "If the baby wakes, you won't hear him." I am also not allowed to drive on them. What the? They have suggested this course of action the other four times but the fifth is the charm I suppose. I am SO over it and it's happening so often. But I really hate that I have to do it. Hate. It.

Frustrated much?

So, I'll keep my hands busy, try not to feel bereft of my babes (I do need the rest, I admit that) and attempt to free myself from the dastardly lurgy once and for all. 

Oh and I completely lost my voice at the weekend. And we had visitors. And my husband had to work from home because I had to talk in a whisper. And it didn't come back. Until now. And I still sounds like a phone sex line.

"Hi, my name is Candy. What would you like me to do for you tonight..."

End scene.

Beanie & Bear

Friday, June 10, 2011

{this moment}

 A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemamma

A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
 A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Little Birdie Told Me

It's sort of like Tree Lightning, don't ya think?
 So - I'm working on another nourishing post right now but while we're waiting (cue elevator music), here's something we made earlier...

The lovely (and enormously creative) Margaret over at We Bloom Here hosted a wonderful little 'Birdie' swap recently and I was excited to take part. (I know, I'm turning into some sort of swap slut now too). And so I whipped up these little critters for my two swap partners.
Inspired by the beautiful Fairytale of The Wild Swans
 They are made of wool roving following a lovely, easy tutorial from the Living Crafts magazine. I have linked up to the page with the free patterns but you will need to buy the magazine to get the tutorial for these babies.
Birdie Num Num
 I should have made them in black as we have black swans over here in Australia, rather than the more traditional white. But I'm from Britain and they don't make black wool roving around these 'ere parts, so white they is.
Showing off now...sparkly white winter tree..yum
I enjoyed making these birds so much that I made too many (even after the one I made for my beanie girl) and so I thought it would be nice for Margaret to have her own. After all, she created the swap and organised it all. So my little swan flew half way around the world to land on the cutest little heart doormat outside the gorgeous red door of the Blooms. It was serendipity I think.
Swan Lake
Would rainbow coloured swans be weird do you think? I've gotten quite the passion for them now.

Oh and I had the delightful news that something created by those wonderful crafty hands is winging it's way to me! I shall have to prepare a comfortable nest for it to rest in - it's a long way to fly after all. So excited.

So now, go check out her wonderful blog, be inspired by her thoroughly original creations, take a gander (gander, get it?) at all the fabulous birdies people have made here,  and keep an eye out for her next swap. I'm sure it will be wonderful.

Oh and here's a little Gnome, Toadstool and Fairy love to show y'all what else I have been making.

Rainbow Fairies

A wheel of fairies (as opposed to cheese)
These delightful little flutterers were created for the One Hook Wonder craft swap. We had to make 16 items! 16! Naturally, as I had access to her at the time, I took sore advantage of the lovely Docwitchy in order to complete mine in time for the deadline. I swapped her skills for dinner and red wine, heh, heh, heh. It was good fun and the two little witchlings got to take home/keep some of the loot too, some of which they they made themselves. Awwww.
Lovely to look at, lovely to make, but if you eat one, consider yourself dead. 

A gnome away from home
The toadstools were made for the Mushrooms, Hedgehogs and Gnomes swap with Bits of Goodness. Can't wait to see what I get back, there are some seriously talented crafters on that site!

Anyhoo, I'll be off now. It's late and I have more swap items to make. Well, I what can I say except..."Lookin' for a littull company, Sir? I can show you a real good time wiv wool rovin..."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

{this moment}

 A Friday ritual inspired by Soulemamma
A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.
 A simple, special, extraordinary moment. 
A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.