Raising Elves

As wild as nature. Myself, parenting and natural remedies blog.


6 Comments

Unsupervision, and a reason to look at your phone while your children are playing.

We arrived at the empty skate park at 9.30am.

The two year old achieves a new ‘first’ by climbing up the mound herself, scaling the fence on the (relatively) steep hill and succeeds in reaching the top of the high ramp and sliding down it with her sister. They get straight into a game of save me while I fall off the ramp complemented with a monster chasing child off of ramp finale.

I don’t cheer her or give her a gold medal and I don’t sit there with my stomach in my throat. Risky play is normal for us these days. Risky play is a decision I made a while ago when I decided to stop being so anxious and worried. I am going to enable my girls to take risks, trust their instincts, their bodies, their boundaries while building their strength and agility.

They do it well and of course we have bruises here and there. I also accept that sometimes serious incidents happen but I don’t believe hovering over them will prevent that.

Sometimes I’ll hover. Like when my squinchy two year old is walking across slim bars that stretches her legs and arms to the max.

I make a conscious effort to butt out unless I otherwise think or feel so.

I discern.

I know what my children are capable of and I expect that most parents and caregivers do too. Although I do recognise that everyone’s gut instinct may not hold the same strength, therefore I understand that some may not easily access the part of themselves that allows them a deeper sense of discernment. So, I don’t judge hovering parents. Whatever their reason, it’s none of my business.

Baring in mind that I have an extremely strong gut instinct, today, when I was comfortable that my two and five year old were body confident in their risky game, I switched on my phone and thoroughly enjoyed indulging in a very interesting article on one of my favourite topics.

When I finished the third article (because one always leads to another) I said to myself, now, that’s enough and I switched my phone off and put it away. To my surprise I found a man hovering around about 10 feet away from the mound that my girls were playing on. I had noticed him arriving a while before and bringing his own children into the playground.

Despite the fact that he had three children of his own, he left them in the playground to go hover around my kids and give me a body language lecture on what seemed some kind of criticism.

We made eye contact. He seemed surprised that I didn’t hang my head in shame, so I speculate. He turned around and shook his head at me while he walked off.

I laughed inside at two things, the fact that he didn’t have the guts to look me in the eye while he was shaking his head at me and the hypocrisy of this caregiver leaving his own children to climb around a playground unsupervised just to come and pointlessly stare at my two climbing from ten feet away. I don’t know, maybe he can jump ten feet in 0.5 seconds so that if one of my children had fallen he could have saved them. You never know.

Or, he left his own children unsupervised to stare at my children on my behalf so that I could read my articles. How kind.

Or, he is so pleased with his own parenting that when he sees another parent not parenting the way he thinks they should parent he likes to leave his own children unsupervised just so he can go over and shake his head at said failure of a parent.

Did I mention that he left his own children unsupervised so that he could come and supervise my children for me?

So, if there is one single (ok, satirical) reason to look at your phone in a playground it is this:

You might give another person the chance to feel so smug and wonderful about themselves. Although the smugness is a false sense of security, do you know what? A false sense of security is a good start. Fake it till you make it, as they say, and I’m a giver, I can’t help it. I bestoweth upon thee smugness. They can stand there looking at you, or glaring at you to the point that they can no longer see their own children. If they can’t see their own children, for just one moment, you are giving their children the opportunity to play unsupervised. To explore. To take risks. See how much you are giving to the world? Future leaders. Children with self confidence, intuition, self reliance, agility, freedom.

And that is not the only smugness going around. Look at me now, writing this. Smug as fuck because I don’t have a stick up my ass and my hardy kids have knees full of bruises. I read my out of date articles while I trust them to be kids and have fun and connect with their bodies and boundaries. And of all the things I get wrong I get this one thing right (and I get a lot wrong), so do you know what? Thank you.

Thank you, hovering man with what I think is a weird set of priorities. At a period in my parenting timeline when I have heard myself say ‘I am a shit mother’ more times than I can count, you have given me this one moment where I am confident enough to be happy with the decision I made that one time I consciously took my phone out to read articles while my young but capable children engaged in risky play involving uneven ground that contributes to their development in the most incredible of ways far beyond what any flat surfaced playground can offer¹. Thank you, over concerned citizen, for giving me the opportunity to support myself in reading something that made my brain feel temporarily alive whilst reminding myself that the dates on these articles are from 2015 and January 2016 and that is how many months I am behind in world news because I don’t spend enough time reading articles because I am busy committing myself to “conscious parenting” and general survival.

Read your articles. Close your eyes for ten seconds and breath in. Daydream. Meditate. Chat. Chill out. Read the magazine or stare at your shoes. Its ok to give your kids a little but of well discerned unsupervision sometimes. Its also ok to give other parents some well deserved unsupervison too.

Trust your instincts. Trust their instincts. Discern what you can entrust in them. Trust their abilities, do not judge them on the size of their bodies, their gender or their age.

They can do this, if you let them.

¹Preschool children who play among trees and rocks and who move over uneven ground develop stronger skills  in motor coordination, balance and agility than those who play on conventional playgrounds. (Fjørtoft.I(2004) Landscape as playscape: The effects of natural environments on children’s play and motor development. Children,Youth and Environments, 14(2),21-44.

 


Leave a comment

Back to School with MyNametag- Review

Elf is starting school this September.

I couldn’t tell you where the last five years have been. I’ve had two babies, two pregnancies, two post-pregnancies and really, only starting to feel like myself again in recent months.

I am coming out of the haze and into a new phase.

I simply can’t believe I am here, preparing my eldest for school, reading chapter books, listening to opinions and slowly but surely starting to realise that she will be okay. I can start to breathe and look back to myself again and make an attempt at finding balance.

I had started my back to school Pinterest board ages ago and had saved some iron on name tags with the intention of looking for some recommendations on which ones to go for.

My Nametag contacted me and asked me if I’d like to review their Mr Men &  Little Miss range.

The exact ones I was looking at. Yay!

Elf loves orange and the fact that Little Miss Fun was orange fit perfectly.

My Elf is a lot of fun.

She was delighted watching me iron the tags on to her new uniform but the real test was in washing them.

Would they last?

MyNametags

I wonder what she wants to be when she grows up this September.

Yes. They survived the wash.

Elf is delighted that there is a little bit of fun on her uniform. Every time she looks at the Little Miss Fun tag she smiles. I like to tell myself that it will be a nice start to her day seeing that as she puts her uniform on. A positive affirmation. A reminder that she’s a fun person to be around.

And of course they will find their way home if any part of her uniform gets lost as we have the phone number on it.

MyNametag.ie posted the labels the next day. Great service.

56 iron on labels cost €18.95 (incl postage).

I would definitely recommend them.

Do you have any back to school tips?


3 Comments

Every depression is valid

Sometimes it’s acute.

Sometimes it’s chronic.

Sometimes it’s severe.

Sometimes it’s mild.

Sometimes it’s just depression.

Sometimes it’s depression and anxiety and paranoia and ocd

maybe mania alternating with severe lethargy,

or suicidal ideation

or suicidal

and millions of other symptoms that there are no words for,

that have to be labelled as a condition beyond depression.

Sometimes it’s just depression.

Sometimes you can get out of bed, strap a smile on your face and nobody,

NOBODY, can guess what you are hiding.

Sometimes you just can’t hide it.

Or get out of bed.

Sometimes you’re nuts.

Sometimes you’re sane.

Sometimes you can’t control yourself.

Sometimes you can’t stop controlling yourself.

Sometimes you have it once.

Other times it doesn’t go away and is a chronic illness, you need to manage.

Depression is a wide, infinite, spectrum.

Every single experience is unique.

It’s genes, it’s receptors, it’s environment, it’s lifestyle, it’s trauma, or, it just is what it is.

No matter how severe, or mild it is,

whether you use prescriptions or exercise or counselling,

or everything.

Or nothing.

EVERY depression is valid.

 

 

My Random Musings


19 Comments

Wave Riding (when depression ends)

It’s no secret that life is tidal.

Up and down, back and forth.

Always moving, sometimes crashing.

Some of us handle it better than others.

Some are riding bigger waves.

But we’ve all had to learn to ride them.

Some are natural born wave-riders.

Others are swallowing buckets of salt water and barely reaching the surface for air.

Magnificents were born deep under the water but found their way out and won life over.

Then there were those of us who were born wave-riders but trauma set us back.

****************

That is me. I was born upright, skimming those waves on fearless feet.

But I got hit.

Literally.

***************

By a car.

When I was ten.

I left my body.

I came back into it.

Changed.

Fearful. With a hole inside of me.

When I recovered, I built myself a ship. So I could ride the waves of life, protected.

Although I was protected behind this hard steel shell. I was dry.

This ship floated from destination to destination,

I stayed dry while I watched others surf, and fall.

Then surf and thrive.

Inspired, I might have dived back in again.

Only to quickly swim back to ship because I’ve forgotten how.

Then after a while, you realise your life is stuck.

There you are, sitting on your empty ship, listening to the ominous creeks,

trying to remember,

when you used to be wet,

and alive.

So you work on a way to dive back in.

You tie a rope around your waist and dive in, only to pull yourself back up.

Unfinished business.

You keep trying. Waiting.

Waiting for the clouds to lift.

You experiment with chemistry to see if they’ll go away.

All kinds of tricks.

Everything. You try everything.

Sometimes, if you are lucky, you find the formula.

Sometimes there is no formula but you have to find a way to just ride the storms.

Bring your crazy to the ocean because those clouds are going nowhere.

****************

When the depression lifts and you feel like your real self again…

It’s magic.

I’m ready to cut that rope and dive in.

To clear, fresh moments and cloudy aspirations.

Coming up for simple, deep breaths, for no reason.

Not to relax or unwind or to become mindful.

Just me right there, breathing that air, with no need for a reason.

Or an explanation.

Or a purpose.

Just being.

***************

Of course, I have to start from the beginning.

I have to relearn everything- joy, peace, survival.

There I am, in the deep with unborn souls, babies, kids and the plenty of adults who,

like me,

delayed.

For whatever reason.

My arms are weak but they keep going. Once I get afloat I’ll find it.

My wave.

And I’ll f*cking own it.

You will see me soon, at the shore, and we will ride alongside one another.

And I’ll realise that there is room for me on this Earth.

I have a place.

Then we’ll meet on the beach, light a fire, laugh.

We’ll look at the stars,

and I will feel the universe in my belly,

again.

And for the first time, in a long time,

I will want to be alive.

***************

Radical Face: Welcome Home

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8a4iiOnzsc

 


Leave a comment

Baby-Z’s First year

Here I am trying to sort out First Birthday preparations. I simply cannot believe it has nearly been a year.

I still feel pregnant!

My little tiny baby has grown into an incredible heart melter. She is adored by us all and pulls herself round the house on her bum, with her arms, like a baby chimp, getting up to all kinds of mischief, trouble, danger and playing with anything she shouldn’t play with.

Always with a smile (mostly), she is stubborn, bossy and heavy handed. She knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want. She is so goddamn loud when I am not giving her what she wants fast enough.

I love it.

I love how headstrong she is. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pain waking up to slaps in the face (translation ‘Wakey Wakey Rise and Shi-ine‘) but I just cannot help but smile when I open my eyes to her bare grin, snots and those eyes.

Still waking through the night. Still eating and drinking birdy portions. Still defying any sense of routine.

Just do it my way Mama.

Of course she has taken her first steps though because, you know, getting up to higher mischief is more important than sleeping or eating.

Despite all this, and her nickname ‘Babyzilla’ derived from it all, she is also the sweetest, most gentle, most affectionate little baba. She is so expressive in her love. She idolises her big sister and is her shadow. She loves the dog and offers numerous open mouthed kisses and hugs. She loves the cats. She loves dolls. She loves nature.

Nature really quietens her. She sits back in her buggy soaking in the trees, the wind, the birds and the lakes. Oh and water! Oh my does she love the bath. Splashes everywhere and water all over her face. She doesn’t care.

This one has high needs in terms of affection and physical touch. She spends witching hour in my arms while I try to make the dinner. When she is tired or unwell she just needs my arms. I love taking time to hold her and am so grateful to be at home to give her this.

She drags her sister’s doll around the floor and is really committed to getting that soother into it’s tiny mouth. It fascinates me to see her drawn to this toy. It makes me aware of her more nurturing personality. I’ve picked up a lovely doll suitable for her age. We’ll give her this for her birthday.

She also loves books and she fights for her corner of my lap while I read stories to her sister.

Happy Birthday little fairy.

drunk

 

 


6 Comments

How watching My Little Pony helped my 4 year old

A friend recommended My Little Pony on Netflix. She described it as not too PC but appropriate and relatively watchable for adults too.

I have found myself grateful for My Little Pony in how it has helped Elf figure some things out in relation to socialising, friendship and so on, which is a challenging area for her. I don’t think I’d have had the ability to teach her the subtleties and politics of friendship, especially because I always struggled to navigate those areas of life myself.

The recommendation wasn’t wasted breath and I am so surprised by the good that has come out of My Little Pony and here are just a few simple examples as to why:

Friendship is Magic: The overall theme of MLP is friendship. The series’ as a whole runs through the ins and outs of friendship, the good and bad, how friendship is an investment, why friends are important etc etc. My (mostly) introverted and (easily) hurt/offended Elf has really needed help in this area and MLP has given her the opportunity to process that there is a value to being a good friend and also how to cope when others aren’t quite as friendly.

Archetype identification: Each character has a characteristic and virtue that allows children (particularly girls) the opportunity to find an identifiable archetype that is beyond the scope of pretty, agreeable little girlies. Not that there is anything wrong with that but it is nice to allow girls the opportunity to explore beyond the stereotype. The reality is, each pony symbolises a little of some ‘virtues’ we might find in us all and I’ve been able to appreciate my girls’ leniency toward different archetypes and through that I feel like I understand them more as individuals.

Music: How do I get to turn the TV off without a row? I tell them they can listen to the MLP music on Spotify. The music is surprisingly tolerable for a kids TV show and it’s clear that a lot of effort went into it. After a while we know all the words and have a sing song in the car. Even Dad doesn’t mind it. I love watching Elf as she sits beside the computer with her eyes off in the distance as she really open her ears to the lyrics and rhythm of the different songs.

I never thought I’d have written something like this over a kids’ TV show but here you have it.

All of the My Little Pony series’ and the Equestria movies are on Netflix.

StreamTeamBadge (1)

 


2 Comments

Today, my child replaced me.

Today, whilst driving home on yet another wonderful grey rainy day here in Ireland, my darling Elf told me she would like her teacher to be her Mam.

Cue silence whilst Mother staples her eyes to the road so her child cannot see her heart bleeding out of her nostrils.

I have survived. And here is the tale.

tumblr_inline_mniznzxZCO1qz4rgp

No 1: Hold it together

 

giphy.gif

No 2: Suppress instant defensive anger mode (she is just a child)

new-girl-gif-blog-7

No 3: Give yourself time before you answer

anigif_enhanced-buzz-5920-1382476601-5_preview

No 4: Suppress inner clingy insecure person

heartkick

No 5: Try to find a way to express your hurt without too much drama

rich.gif

No 6: Hmmm, maybe I should’ve processed it a little longer

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 851 other followers