Tuesday, June 30, 2009
It was a freaky kind of tired until we got down there. You mama’s know the feeling –that soggy headed extremely sleep deprived brain and not being able to call in sick the next day.
Big sky. Healing sea. Lovely.Winter at its best. Tide was just coming in so we got to climb the rocks and splash in rockpools. We picked up some rubbish (i mean really people), made friends with our mama n jed shadow, found anenome’s that sucked on our fingertips, ,seaweed, YELLOW lichen, a horse to ride (large rock), sea snails, mussels, much wind and plenty of smiles. Feeling better. MUCH better!
Sunday, June 28, 2009
I am very fond of vests. For myself, and now, inflicting them on small people. I find they are especially good for small people. Vests keep the chest and back warm and cosy while leaving those active arms uninhibited and free. No risk of overheating.
Sad thing is, i am not a knitter. I love handknitted stuff, i craft and sew up a storm but alas, am not a knitter. I have tried, really i have, and each patient teacher has kindly dissuaded me of any yarnlike aspirations. So, no knitting of vests by these fair hands.
But! I have found a way.
I love how this one turned out.
How to make a vest:
- Find an adult size secondhand wool jumper to recycle (i used a yummy blue angora)
- Felt it. Sounds fancy, but what i really mean is: put in washing machine on hot wash.
- You can use the existing seams or tweak it – i ended up using the shoulder seams and taking it in at the sides. I left enough room for growth and another warm shirt underneath.
- Step four: embellish. I got out my tin of old buttons and used a piece of the jumpers sleeve to fashion a big pocket. He loves the pocket. 'LOVE pockets mama, more!' I edged the pocket with a bright coloured cotton print to stop if from stretching out of shape.
I put it by the bed and was woken the next morning but Jed saying’ beautiful!’ and wanting to put it on immediately. Nice way to start the day.
Friday, June 26, 2009
I heard from someone today that i just always seemed so ‘together’. I laughed.
Believe me, i have lived hard and fast and there's been many a hard time. I’ve just got my head out of a mire at the moment. Hard times will come again. This i know. I have had alot of practice at staying calm in the centre of a storm. I try to stay present to what is going on for me and if i have ‘stuff’ up, try and address it as it comes. I have chosen the kind of life where i took a bunch of time out to heal after extreme trauma so it didn’t haunt me in the years to come and have done work on well, my inner world...oooh, how to put this with-out sounding twee or have you run screaming from the computer? ...Since i was 12, i have taken time out to figure out who i am (my challenges and gifts) and have chosen to be around people who enrich my life rather than tax it. It’s like unravelling layers of myself as my understanding deepens with each person i connect with and rub up against the triggers to places i need to heal.
I still stumble. I still flounder and feel stuck sometimes.
Ironically, i forget the things i most need to do when i am stuck. It’s harder as a mama. I can’t just walk away to get perspective and there is the scarcity of time issue. I find my way. Gracefully or with the knowledge every moment is a new beginning. The worst is the rare times i find myself being out of balance in relationship to my son. That really sucks. When i catch myself doing it, i explain to Jed what i have going on (in terms he gets, not going into any ridiculous adult stuff) and apologise if i was putting it on him. (You know the scenario...you are tired and stressed and an exploratory project/mess turns into an irritation rather than seeing it as the play it is...) Kids learn from what we model, not from how we say they should act. I think he needs to know that my feelings are my responsibility and witness healthy ways of working through anger, sadness, fear etc so he knows:
a) i’m human,
b)it’s okay to feel whatever it is he feels,
and c)so he can develop tools he can use instead of hitting out with whatever big feelings he’s got going on.
On a more practical note: if you are hands on parenting (and especially if you don’t have much support), when else do you get time to work through stuff? The small ones among us are so in tune with what goes on around them (and especially in their mama's) i reckon it must be relief to have it acknowledged and know it's not their fault.
What ARE my tools to cope in the hard times?
They change as i do. At the moment:
-I go for walks, a change of scenery (and sea air in my case) works wonders.
-I write a letter to my MP or current political or environmental ‘bad guy’, channel the strength of feeling in their direction.
-I write. Computer, paper or in the sand and let the sea wash it all away.
-Sometimes if it feels TOO much, i’ll want to take a nap, curl up somewhere warm and safe awhile and then get back to business.
-I turn the music up loud and dance hard.
-Light an oil burner with appropriate essential oils.
-I do tarot. Great for cutting through circling thoughts in the head.
-I weed the garden. As i weed, i imagine the no longer needed defense mechanism’s i am weeding out of myself.
-I play. I get down to my sons level and put my own stuff to the side and let him remind me of what is important in life.
-I do something nurturing – let myself know that if i slipped up, it’s okay. Bath, handpicked herbal tea in nana’s special tea cup and saucer, pick wildflowers for my room, something, anything.
-Do something caring or thoughtful for someone else. This gets me out of my own head and gives me pleasure. It is amazing how a kind act can transform the giver.
-I practice tonglen.
-Find a place deep in the bush or tucked away in the roaring of the surf and let rip a primal scream. Or if you are close to ‘civilisation’ big sighs work and so does using the breath to release. Oh so therapeutic and kids love it. Many of these things kids love to do.
-I craft something. Or ask for a cuddle. Or reach out to a friend.
These are just a few. Many of them are child-friendly.
Ahh, expressing the feelings. Identifying what is actually going on for me and whether it hooks back into some painful part of my childhood and then having some space to question where my big emotional reactions come from is priceless. Then i have compassion for myself if i know where it comes from. I'm more likely to choose a healthier way of communicating or coping next time round. Kind of like re-wiring. I figure if i’m not learning, i’m not very alive. Consciously choosing to grow in this way has gotten easier over the years. I was recently re-united with some very old journals and was heartened to see how thought patterns and behaviours i had become aware and was trying very hard to shift have become unconscious and easy.
Let go of the hard stuff and the fun flows easier. Phew.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
With all the sewing going on around here deep into the night (project to be unveiled soon), one vital piece of sewing system was missing. A pincushion. Nana was right. They are indispensable. I did a search on sewmamasew and came up with this tutorial. It saved me from having to think too hard at 11pm when i’d been up since 5.30am. Thank goodness for that. Now, i am limited in my abilities to follow instructions precisely but i am happy with the result. I was thrilled it involved using a button. Another opportunity to use some of the old buttons in my collection! I used fabric scraps cut up small to stuff the cushion rather than buying synthetic stuffing. I was amazed at how many scraps it took to fill it. It was lumpier and a slightly different shape to what i'd imagined but I’d do it again for the satisfaction of recycling something that would otherwise be thrown away.
One hand made feather cushion with cool floral cover(mama’s ‘treat’), one teeny metal whisk (jed’s ‘treat’), one metal spatula with wooden handle, three books with beautiful drawings, and one hairy mc clary puzzle (with all its pieces, we counted!) all for 6 dollars and 10 cents. Fabulous.
Thanks for the enthusiasm about Flashback Fridays - it's, er, still on hold while i sort out this pesky scanner. Not for lack of material. Oh no... it's been a full life so far.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Pregnant, moving out west from town and having co-parented before in intentional community (Twin Oaks Community), i knew i needed to meet likeminded mama’s nearby.
I went mama hunting. Yep. I shamelessly approached mama’s i felt attracted to (in that mama to mama sense you understand) in cafe’s, on the street and asked people if they knew anyone out west mothering ways i resonated with. I guess attachment parenting is the term being bandied about at the moment. I didn’t hear of it until well into Jedland but that comes close.
It was my sister who gave me Angel’s number. I jumped on the email list and went along to a Thursday morning hang. The only one with babe still brewing, i watched this magical lot of kids with sparkling eyes relate to their mamas in a beautifully respectful and fun way and i knew i’d come to the right place. I felt an affinity with the group as a whole and individual relationships have grown from there. It wasn’t just about the babies either. I liked that – there was room for the political me, the crafting me, the writer in me and plenty of good stories from the frontlines of mamahood and juicy LIFE in general. Whether you needed info on sleep stuff, the best organic veg box or seedlings, cloth nappy propaganda or groovy days out or just a ear...the mama’s were there. Wildflowers and cake arrived at my door one birthday when i was so exhausted from lack of sleep and tending a sick bubba i could hardly string together a sentence.
M's gorgeous solstice birth day cake
Diverse and each committed to living their own truths and parenting in unique ways i am still grateful to them (and you know who you are) for opening their worlds to us. There is nothing like the feeling of solidarity. Especially when living oceans and seas away from my mama-tribes. Especially at 3am at the third breastfeed of the night and knowing other mama’s likely to be up too. These yummy mamas have known Jed pretty much all his life.
I love the tumble of bright colours, handknitted deliciousness, and good oldfashioned organic mess of fun and discovery that unfurls when we get together. Granted, sometimes it is hard to string together a full conversation as we manage the aforementioned organic mess of fun, but those wee snippets of conversation and connection feed me deeply.
And, shucks, hearing about mama’s long full days (some juggling longterm debilitating sickness with mindful mothering), I am just amazed, all over again, at how incredible mothers are. How blessed these children are. How they shine.
Headed out the door the other morning, my partner asked me what we were doing that day. I smiled and said ‘ the Holi Mama’s are stirring!’. We’ve been quiet and deep in our own lives awhile. Many a Thursday has passed without our circle adorning it’s morning. Brought back together this past week for the baby blessing and gorgeous one’s 2nd solstice birthday, i want more.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
It was a simple plan. Reclaim some neglected garden from groundcover. Plant parsley and kale plants. Empty compost bucket.
Throw a fun biased mama and an almost 2 year old into the mix and well, we got kind of distracted.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I made a hat from recycled fabric and scraps (recognise those spots?). Unfortunately it didn’t fit Jed quite as well as i’d like, but that hasn’t stopped him (or i) from wearing it.
Also in me-time, i went over the hill to the madness of town to dig up fabrics for a large project i have embarked on. Enjoyed the conversations had with old biddies while facedown in the bargain bins. (More about the project later)
Thought long and sketched ideas for new project. I love that pre-production dreaming it all up phase!
Met up with some yummy West Auckland Holistic Mama friends (otherwise known as the Holi Mama's) and kids. I love Manawa’s bat cape and barefeet ensemble and the conversation it stirred in Jed. ‘ Mama, what super hero do?’
Picnic morning teas hiding from the wind. Got out in the glorious sun as much as possible.
Climbed the perfect tree and watched the world wander past. Pretended to be a tui.
Played pooh sticks on the eel bridge.
Thought about cracking open our last homegrown pumpkin but couldn’t quite do it.
Our community had a Matariki celebration and hangi today – i love the array of people out here.
Marvelled at Jed. When all three of us were together, he’d jump in the middle, wriggle and say ‘family.... family’. It’s been hard work, but yes, we are family. It’s a good feeling.
LOVING that the nights are at their longest.
Reflecting on the weekend, feeling the glow the winter sun has left behind and ears echoeing with the weekends conversations, what stands out for me is the feedback i got about the peaceful parenting workshops. So many stories of increased connection and fun with their children and insights into their own stuck places, i am reminded all over again how important this work of mindful parenting is. Somebody very close to me, who shall remain nameless, had an 'aha!' moment and said 'that's how wars start'. Uh huh.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
On Fridays, when the spirit moves me, i plan to wander down memory lane...a chance to remember people and places, a chance for me to keep alive wonderful pieces of me and my dances with others through the years. An attempt to reconcile this new growing into mama-me with the wild haired free-spirited drifter woman who lived and worked in over twenty countries, up mountains, on the street, in tipi’s, benders, vans, squats, tents, on communes, the occasional house and organic farms.
For today, a taster. Snapshots from my illustrious past. A brainstorm of post titles to come. (This’ll buy me a week to get my scanner operational – i hope.)
- Getting sawn out of a Kryptonite bicycle lock attached to the 1995 UN Climate Change Summit delegates bus. (Part one)
- Thoughts from a jail cell. (Part two)
- Co-parenting willow and the Star Family. Four adults all in open relationship, parenting together.
- Organising a major eco-peace event on a beautiful island in the war zone that was the Balkans in the early 90’s.
- Rituals: landmarks of the year turning and a chance to reflect on life. 100 people dancing around huge fire singing at the tops of their lungs – it’s an incredible thing.
- Stories it amazes me i survived from my wild teenage years. (Otherwise titled ‘ things i hope Jed has the wisdom NOT to do when he’s a teenager’ ...but secretly kinda hope he will.)
- Living on the land in the French Pyrenees – cutting wood by handsaw, harvesting wildfoods, no electricity, learning plant lore and coming to terms with my bathroom being a freezing river.
- My crafting through the ages: most notably the handsewn dress that began life as a tablecloth in a rubbish bin.
- Musings from the gutter – living on Europe’s streets. Homeless, but by choice.
- Double agent in London. Nanny by day and radical activist by night.
- Stories from the herbal frontlines. And i mean strictly medicinal in the purist sense or culinary.
- Living on a commune. Life, loves, laughter as well as: frustrations, freedom and a few expletives.
And yes, i do realise it’s Saturday. I had intended to post this yesterday, but it was my birthday and i got well, kind of distracted. A very pleasant evening it was too.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
We climbed up the lookout path, crazy steep and many stepped, to look out over the night creeping in over the hills. It feeds me this place. I love it here. Jed and i know it intimately and yet the faces of the land change daily, hourly and there is always something new. Am i totally crazy to be thinking about moving on from this magical place? Am i?!
Monday, June 15, 2009
This is our floor play quilt. $10 for someone's love and devotion gone into making it. Love those crazy colours.
And, and and, it gets better. It has soft yummy paisley for its backing. Sigh!
You know, all this is my taste (however addled you may find it)...there are finds of every flavour out there waiting for YOU.
+Environmental – sheesh, there is waaay too much STUFF (see the story of stuff) in the world already without me contributing more. I wont even start to go into the politics of excessive and unecessary packaging.
+There may be an element of guilt-free shopping therapy going on here (i’ll get back to you on that one). At the risk of sounding shallow, i am of the opinion that it’s good for the soul. Ahem, mine anyway.
+Financial – i just refuse to pay several hundred dollars for almost anything. Even if i had that kinda money –really! It would cost a small fortune to buy Jed’s clothes new, he grows so fast.
+I can’t think of anywhere else to shop with a toddler anyway. You don’t have to worry about exorbitant charges if they (or you!) break anything, they often have a box of kids stuff for them to explore and the best wooden and hand-made kids stuff i have found came through exploring with jed.
+You support good projects by your purchases (while saving money yourself, gotta love that)
+Unique and unusual finds to adorn your house, yourself and your kids
+And finally, it’s just so satisfying. Good for the soul and the earth. Really!
-Get some trawl tips from a friend who knows the best places to secondhand shop in your area. It’ll save you time working it out.
-Don’t bargain, these charity shops need the money and they don’t ask for much.
-Set aside some good leisurely fossicking time – that’s half the fun.
-If your child’s frustration levels overflow and you’re in a charity shop and give them a cuddle and allow them to express whats going on for them, i reckon it’s much more supportive atmosphere than in any mall. You may even get the back room and a cup of tea afterwards!
-Try not to look for anything too specific, i find that shuts down my abilities to be open to the other wondrous finds.
-If you ARE looking for something specific, don’t be afraid to ask if they’ve got it, these places often have many treasures lurking out the back or behind the counter.
-What i find secondhand shops especially good for: kids handknit jumpers and vests (gorgeous and mostly brand new like some nana has been slaving away only for them to go to the charity shop), tins for those biscuits and cakes, fabrics and craft stuff, babywear by the bucketful, quilts, childrens toys (wooden and handmade especially), clothing and shoes. Retro or rustic housewares. Almost anything really.
-Apart from charity shops, in NZ there’s local retro or recycle clothing stores. Pricier but still cheaper and fun. There’s carboot sales and church and garage sales, dumpsters, ebay and trademe online, markets and Savemart, although a chain, are still pretty cool places to rummage.
Jed has the eye i am proud to say. I mean, modesty aside, with all my years of practice, i am pretty darn good. But Jed can cover ground i have already cast my eye across and pick out a real beauty of a treasure that i had totally missed. Last week while i was up to my eyeballs in the fabric bin he dragged across a shirt saying, ‘mama, found sump for mama wear’ . Lo and behold, i love it.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Parents are the most amazing of creatures aren’t they? As various women spoke during the day i was just gobsmacked all over again by the love and sheer frigging devotion of mama’s. What a treat to share workshop space with a diverse group brought together by their desire to learn and grow through parenting. Most important job in the world. (The oldest profession and terribly paid compared to the other oldest profession.)
A therapist and healer for years, Genevieve does great work, often co-facilitating workshops, with her partner Dan – building on attachment parenting she addresses what could be called democratic parenting or intuitive parenting. It’s simple, deep stuff. That babies and children have emotions and need their needs met. That children act out when they are out of balance and it’s our job to guide and support their emotional release so they can get back into balance. She calls us to become aware of what healing of old childhood wounds we parents need to do. Or put simply, 'how not to squish your kid'. Oh, it’s good stuff, check it out!
Oh yup, the mamadom is certainly my spiritual path these days. I used to be terrified of the Buddhist precept ‘no escape’ and these days i live it daily. I have a great teacher.
I loved that gorgeous love rush of boy that hurled himself at me when i got home.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Taking showers with small one around has been challenging at times but Jed has come across a nifty and fun solution to this conundrum. Spray mama while she has a shower. Hilarious! Hint to mama’s: make sure it has warm water in it or it seriously compromises enjoyment of aforesaid shower.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
There was an accident on the road last night. This, sadly, is not unusual. But it was a big one. The road was shut for hours. People were texting to check that we weren’t caught up in it. Half of our wee coastal ‘town’ was unable to get home and ended up camped at the cafe at the top of the Waitakere Ranges. A nice wee community moment was had with the random collection of people who found themselves stranded amid sober thoughts of what was going on up the road. Someone died. Jed overheard me say there’d been an accident between a car and a scooter last night, talking on the phone. He went off to get his boots and was headed for the door. I asked him where he was going and he said ‘Accident, mama. Big doof. Them need cuddle'.
He’s not 2 yet, his grasp of some contexts, his emotional intelligence (see Dan Goleman’s book of that title) and the language to express them astounds me sometimes.
My other thoughts ran to wondering about the world he dwells in. What a magical place we roam in. Where doof’s can be helped with cuddles and my mamaheart hurts a bit to think of the embracing of all the world ahead, in all it’s beauty and pain, joys and struggles ahead. I try not to label stuff as good or bad but hey, no mama likes to see their baby in pain. I wonder if that ever gets easier.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
i'd post a picture of the finished product but the small one among us deleted it
I was away from NZ for about 16 years and one thing i missed was feijoa’s. I must’ve waxed lyrical about missing them as a friend carried two, carefully nestled into her backpack, from a trip to florida to me in Central Virginia. What a gift! The smell of them brought with it so many memories of childhood. I kept the empty skins on my altar, for oooh, probably a bit longer than i should have.
Easy and most delicious feijoa cake:
125g butter, ¾ cup sugar (i used less), 2 eggs, 1 1/3 cups flour (i used a mix of white and wholemeal), 2 teaspoons baking powder, teeny pinch of salt, ½ cup coconut, a splash of vanilla essence, 1 grated apple, about 500g ripe feijoa’s skinned and chopped, 200g natural yoghurt.
You know the deal...mix ‘em.
Bake 50 minutes then turn oven off and leave to sit in there for another hour – or overnight.
Delish! I do love cooking with fruits and veg from our very own garden.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Jed got to pull a carrot out, wash it and eat it. He’s still talking about that. Nothing like it. That boy has quite the discerning palate. We tried to serve him up soup out of a package (um, natural, from what i could tell) one night and he took a taste and said, ‘hmm, not real mama’, then, ‘want some food’.
First night back home and he slept until ten past 6. He woke me up by whispering in my ear,
‘mama, want more adventures’. That’s my boy.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I could hear the surf crashing, the tui’s mad-dash flights as they tussled mid-air, and a hum of some bee wings. I couldn’t remember the last time I just sat. Still. Just me. Felt like such a luxury. I’ve been busy with what I termed a beautifully crowded life but seems since Jed was born I’ve been doing, doing, doing. Or in desperate need of sleep, or sharing my still moments with him. Which is so special but different somehow. Right now, riding this wave of serenity, I realise just how important rediscovering my own rhythm is.
So satisfying to see him cavort in them today, their maiden day of puddlejumping, library visiting, running through fields, hand wiping and tumbling. Sigh.