Category Archives: Carnival

My children, my teachers

Welcome to the August 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Life Learners

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have talked about how they continue learning throughout life and inspire their children to do the same.

Travelling in Scotland

Life learning is an interesting, relevant, large and worthy topic for parents to explore. Here’s my post about how I continue to be a learner now I’m a parent with two young children.

Background

I was fortunate to be to able to spend the majority of my twenties studying, training or travelling. My son was born just shy of my thirtieth birthday, my daughter followed almost three years later. I have spent the past half decade parenting, finding some time to also pursue my hobbies of writing, yoga and walking. More recently, I started volunteering at my children’s playgroup, which has led me down a new and exciting career path in Forest School.Our family in Quebec

Forest School training

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On the forest school training course

I am at the beginning of a year of training to be a Forest School Practitioner, having taken an initial training course and now consolidating my skills through further voluntary work, studying in order to complete my portfolio and the start of paid employment one session per week in the role of Leader at Woodland Adventurers, an outdoor session for 2 to 3 year olds at playgroup. If all goes to plan, I will be a qualified practitioner by the end of 2016. Studying is in addition to my main role as mother and home educator of my children, who are now 5 and 2 and a half years old.

Learning and parenting

Ewan and his Mummy
Baby Ewan and mummy

After my son was born, I spent many hours devouring every natural parenting book available, mainly when Ewan was nursing. I was in the very fortunate position of being able to dedicate most of my time and energy to my son, without a job to return to or other children to already care for. Becoming a mother sparked a period of new self-directed learning, with the ultimate aim of becoming a better, more informed mother. This more choice-based, learner-led research was a far-cry from the more formal, directed learning of my past. It also bore in me a period of creativity in writing, which is still developing. Continue reading My children, my teachers

Talking to Myself; Dear pre-parenthood me

Welcome to the June 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Talking to Yourself

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written letters to themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Dear Pre-Parenthood me,

Below is some helpful advice about what is in store for you in the first five years of parenthood. It will serve you well as you enter the most exciting, rewarding, challenging and beautiful journey you are ever likely to make in this lifetime;

believe in the power of yourself as a strong woman and mother. You are doing the most amazing job anyone could ever do, raising the next generation. You know being a stay at home mum when your children are young is right for you, regardless of its status in our society. Be proud and stand tall.

trust your intuition when you are birthing your first-born son. Demand the right to be both active and left alone in labour, to be monitored safely from a distance. Be strong and proud even when this birth goes terribly wrong, far from how you envisaged it. Write and talk as a form of therapy to help you mourn the loss of a natural birth. Believe that next time around you are capable of birthing naturally, because you are. You achieve this almost three years later, your daughter born naturally at home. By becoming in-tune with all mothers, spanning the millennia, you trust in your body’s ability to birth, blocking all non-constructive chatter from reaching your ears. This will only contaminate you. Congratulate yourself in this second birth, for you have proved that you could do it, your inner strength won. You know you are capable of doing so again, if you so wish.

mother through breastfeeding. Nothing could be simpler, but more challenging at first in our culture. Be a confident, open, proud nurser who has the strength to develop her own nursing style, feed in public with your head held high, whilst gathering experienced, full-term nursers around you. Join and attend La Leche mother-to-mother breastfeeding support. Rise above your cultures bottle-feeding culture. Advocate and normalise breastfeeding. You will have nursed every single day by the time your first-born is five years old, with no end in sight. Nursing is a way of life for you and your children. Let it remain that way as long as this feels right for you all.

give time to your children. This may sound simple, but it can be difficult in our busy lives. Cultivate mindfulness in your actions, slowing down, stopping, getting on their level, empathising, listening, living in the moment, feeling the joy in that moment for what it is: yes I am smelling my daughter’s skin, I am walking with her in the sling in the woods, I am basking in my son’s smile, I am hearing him give me another long account about a building. It is true that our children grow so fast, too fast, so do not rush it, savour it. Life with your young children is fleeting and precious.

turn off or leave your phone and the internet behind once in awhile. Be vigilant about this. Stay connected to your children, not to the net. It is virtual, whilst your children are real.

give elimination communication a go, it will amaze, surprise and delight you. It will help put you further in tune with your daughter. Trust you are able to read her signs and that she is able to communicate to you. By the time she is eighteen months old, she is dry day and night. Continue reading Talking to Myself; Dear pre-parenthood me

Day in the Life of our Family

Welcome to the March 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Day in the Life

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have given us a special glimpse into their everyday.

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1st March 2015

In this blog post you’ll find twelve photos taken every hour from 8am to 7pm on Sunday 1st March 2015. I include a blurb underneath to further illustrate the photos. It is a ‘typical’ day in the life of our family, as far as any day is typical!

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8am  Morning bath time

Every morning, Ewan and Tessa have a shower, which becomes a bath as we keep the plug in. They’ll happily play for long periods in the bath, fascinated with the very simple pleasures of splashing and water play. I’m usually dashing around getting ready for the day ahead whilst they’re happily occupied, or if I can, I’m doing my morning yoga stretches. Ewan is looking a bit peeky in this photo, as he was up with a fever in the night and was not himself today. That is why there are fewer photos of him than usual in this blog post and why it appears we only have a daughter!

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9am Tessa writing a sick note

Tessa saw Ewan writing a ‘sick note’ in his medical vet toy kit and insisted on doing the same. Whatever Ewan is doing, she wants to emulate him, so here she is mark making with daddy’s help.

Continue reading Day in the Life of our Family

Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season

 

Welcome to the January 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting:
Recovering from the Holidays

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about how their families get back to normal after the holidays are over.

Continue reading Learning to slow down after a busy Festive Season

My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness

 

Welcome to the December 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Childhood Memories

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about memories of growing up — their own or the ones they’re helping their children create. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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My family
My family

As the theme of this month’s Carnival of Natural Parenting is childhood memories, I thought I’d share with you a few of my memories. As 2012 draws to a close, I have started to reflect on the events of the past year, focusing on more recent memories, yet some of my childhood memories almost seem as close as memories of 2012, perhaps because they are wedged so deeply in my unconscious mind that they shall dwell with me always. This is the magic of precious childhood memories; they last a lifetime and continue to impact so deeply on my life now.
Since becoming a mother I have realised how significant my own upbringing is in the way I parent my son, memories like a guide shining a light into the darkness of child-rearing, with all its questions, uncertainties and conflicting directions. So, here’s the list;

A joyful childhood
A joyful childhood!

My earliest memories
My very earliest memory is when I was about two years old. I have a vague memory of being in a pushchair in a park in Bolton (England), where I lived for the first few years of my life. I remember my mum opening a gate and pushing me through it. I know my mum was there, but am unsure if anyone else was. Like most of my very early memories, my mum is simply present in them, probably because she was always close to me in my early years, a stay-at-home mum caring for four children. In the 1970s and 1980s it was far more common for mums to be at home caring for their young children, though I know my own mother would have taken extended maternity leave even if she been a mum in a later decade, because she is so maternal and absolutely dedicated to her family, loving children so much. Her life as a mother and a teacher has very much centred on children. If I have inherited just a little of her dedication I shall be eternally grateful.

First meeting of mother and daughter
First meeting of mother and daughter

How my mother’s presence impacts on my own parenting choices
My mother’s utter dedication to her children, in offering her time as a stay-at-home mother, is one reason I always envisaged being a stay-at-home mum myself; I just couldn’t imagine it any other way, it simply feels the natural and right place to be. Coming from a strongly maternal family, where many of my female relatives have stayed at home, to return to work Continue reading My Childhood Memories; beacons of light in the darkness