Thursday, 8 December 2011

Wait... HOW long is it til Yule?

Crikey, I lost a month and I cant even blame NaNoWriMo!  On the plus side, I did get some 'things' done.  Just don't ask me what.  Seriously, what did I do?

Anyhoo.... the Cub is growing up so fast.  He's started Baby Led Weaning and so far has had some nice healthy veggies and some potato and some not so healthy ice-cream that he pinched of his Granny.
'Scuse the mess, it was a hectic kinda day.  Just like lots of other days I have been experiencing.  Mum's face was a picture.  She was eating her ice-cream lolly and the Cub just reached out and nabbed it.  Now no food is safe!

I ventured back into the work environment with my old work's brand relaunch.  It felt very odd.  There were all these people that I knew but, frankly, other than having spent days of the my life working alongside them I really didn't feel a connection to them.  I just felt like a two-dimensional copy of myself.  These people who I worked with actually know very little about me.  Having spent so much time isolated away from them for various reasons (mostly location), I really didn't feel a part of the company at all.  It brought home to me that I really don't want to go back to work there.  They are a great company but I really never quite fitted in.  So, that gives me food for thought.

Oh and I'm actually managing to eke out time to write.  Its not a lot (do greeting card verses count?) but its something and I feel much better for it.  I think I may have a plan for my Oath making at my friend's Jol celebration.  Its all starting to come together.  Another fabulous thing is that I found a rather lovely journal to write in and my mum (see above losing ice-cream to small child) bought it for me.  It's remarkable how much a new journal makes me happy.  I can't wait to write in it!

Monday, 31 October 2011

So I've been thinking...

It's Samhain tonight.  I can feel the importance of the change already today.  I feel sort of like the anticipation of Christmas but without the wish for gifts. I'm planning a ritual with DH (Dear Husband) but the very circumstances of the ritual are a representation of the changes in my life.

Previously, I would have spent nearly the whole of today getting ready.  I would be doing all sorts of tasks from clearing up the house to preparing candles, the whole shebang.  This year, however, I can't focus my entire day on Samhain. There is a small Cub to think about and he just insists on being fed, entertained and generally demanding of attention while he is awake.  So, I have to capture the moments when he is being fed by DH or asleep to sort out the rest of it.  This has necessitated a slight downsizing of events until he is more independent.

No more fancy altars.  No more complex menus to share with the Honoured Dead.  We may well end up with chips from the chippy (which is a nice treat).  I always started my ritual at dusk.  I would watch like a hawk for it but this year (and the next couple of years, no doubt) I will be watching the Cub in his attempts to roll over and make a break for it.  Today's ritual will take place later, after he has fallen to sleep so that could be any time up until 10pm if I'm honest.

So, instead, I'm 'going back to basics'.  We will have our evening meal (possibly even with us both eating at the same time!) and put some aside for the Spirits.  Later on we will remember those who have passed on by lighting a candle.  This year feels important for remembering our family across the Veil.  We have made a new family this year so we need to call to the family and remember them for the Cub.  I've a feeling this will be an emotional day for us here.  It's time to let go of some old feelings and move on.

I will also be going back to much simpler practice.  For a practical witch, I seem to have collected a lot of tools and things to pretty up my altar.  I may even take down my altar or simplify it to a couple of objects in a corner.  Meditation has been an issue for over a year so I am re-examining my meditation practice (or lack thereof) and finding new ways to do it.  Instead of going off on my own to sit down and go 'Om' as it were, I shall instead be spending a few moments living mindfully.  I shall try and remember to report on how it all goes. :)

In other news... I am taking the opportunity of Samhain to start writing 'properly' again.  I will be carving out a couple of hours a week to sit down with pen and paper (going old school) and just write.  As Picasso said, "Inspiration exists but it has to find you working."  It's time to get back to work.

Samhain Blessings everyone.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Unscheduled hiatus

Its been a month since I blogged and I have really missed it.  Ive missed the 'me' time of it. I've missed the process of it.  And, boy, has it shown.  My temperament has been a little... testy.

Cub is growing leaps and bounds.  Everyday happens so fast its hard to keep track of the weeks going by.  He's had his tongue tie fixed, he's now sleeping through the night, he's also now wearing 6-9 month clothes even though he is only 4 months old!  He is so long!  He also weighs the same as my bestie's baby who is almost 10 months old!  He is my lovely monkey.  There have been some fun times, some stressful times but it is just so worth it.  However, it has left me with little time for that little pressure valve of mine called writing.

And now we are rapidly coming up on Samhain.  I can feel the pull of the changing year already.  So much has happened this year that I really need to take time to recognise it.  My spiritual practice has been severely neglected this year and Im not happy about it.  So, time to start thinking ahead again.  I cant go back, that just wont work.  I need to figure out a way to adapt my practice to fit in around life now.  I shall ponder on this a while and see what inspiration I can find.

Monday, 12 September 2011

The End of Summer

On Saturday it was the Last Night of the Proms on the BBC.  This made me kinda sad.  You see, to me, it has always signalled the end of Summer.  The nights were getting longer and it was time to be back at school (yuck).  The freedom of choosing what to do every day was gone and I was back to varied amounts of boredom.  I love Summer.  I always have.  I am a total and utter, unashamed, Sun Bunny.  Nothing makes me happier than to head outdoors into the Sun or even a Summer Storm (freaking love those).  So when it was time to sit down and watch the Last Night of the Proms it was a signal that it was time to go back to 'normal' life.

In our house growing up, it became almost a tradition for me to sit down with my parents and watch the programme.  It was our way of marking the change of season, I suppose.  Sitting listening to classical music (even as a teenager I loved classical music) and then joining in with the songs at the end (my dad can't carry a tune in a bucket but he's still enthusiastic).

This year sitting down to watch it with the Cub in my arms was a special moment.  One of those moments that sort of happen without realising it.  We'd been watching (and cuddling) for more than half the programme when it occurred to me that we were starting a new tradition.  Hubby and I have sat and watched it since we got together and it just sort of extended to the Cub watching it too.  The Cub spent most of the programme snoozing but he was soaking it all up.  In years to come, we will sit down together (when he isnt bored to tears) and enjoy some family time.

I then realised, this was actually his 2nd 'Last Night'.  The last time I sat and watched the programme, I had just conceived.  I didnt know it then but Cub was already on his way.  This year has gone so quickly that I think I needed this Last Night to really appreciate how much our lives have changed.  Last year was just another year watching, this year we are building family traditions.  Scary huh?

I wonder what next years Last Night will mark?

Friday, 2 September 2011

Joy Pockets

Wow.  You know, I had planned to post several times this week and totally failed.  Still, this has been because I have been so busy rather than due to anything bad.

This weeks Joy Pockets are:

  • Going swimming with the Cub for the first time
  • Being asked to Guest Post
  • Lots of lovely fluffy nappies arriving in the post
  • Finally finishing sorting out the nursery
  • Getting started on organising Cub's Naming Ceremony (and the prospect of making lots of invitations)
  • Having a fun night with the Girls - totally impromptu!

Be sure to join in the fun over at Bohemian Twilight!

Friday, 26 August 2011

Joy Pockets

Wow.  What a busy, hectic and fun few weeks we have had.  I think I may have left my brain in bed some days but its been good.  You know its bad when you have to check your diary in order to remember what you did.

Ive missed a couple of weeks of Joy Pockets so here is a quick round up of the Joys from a couple of weeks ago:

  • Watching the Cub attempt to belly wriggle his way across my bed - he got nowhere fast but had lots of fun
  • Getting a new mobile phone - My old phone was regularly freezing me so when we had some spare(!) cash I got a new one. Its black and shiny and helps me send text messages to the wrong people.
  • Unexpectedly receiving money we were owed - Its a nice feeling to look at your balance and get a nice surprise for a change.

Joy Pockets for this week are:

  • Reconnecting with old friends
  • Spending a sunny day in the park with friends
  • Making progress with the Naming Day arrangements - we have a venue and a guest list!
  • Cub sleeping longer at night again
  • Making plans so I can get back to quilting
  • Taking a day to ourselves
  • Family trips out to the farm (and my best friend showing just how much of a city girl she really is)
  • Watching (and helping) the Cub play with a new toy

What are your Joys for this week?

Joy Pockets are a chance to look back over your week and recognise the small joys that life brings us.  This is fun when you have had a good week and picks you up on a bad week.  Join in the fun over at Bohemian Twilight where the lovely and inspiration Mon hosts this meme and explains it all much better than I do.

Monday, 22 August 2011

What's In A Name?

Its been a while since I posted and that is mostly down to the Cub's social life - which is waaaay better than mine.  This week I have been putting some serious thought into having a Naming Ceremony for the Cub.  Now this has brought up some interesting issues.

Firstly, there was the idea that a friend gave me that I do a joint one with my best mate's little one.  My bestie is thinking of have her little one's Naming at Samhain.  I will be a Guardian/Godparent for her little one and she is being Goddess-Mother for Cub.  But... to me Samhain is not the right energy for Cub's Naming.  So, I sat down and thought it over.  When is a good time for a Naming?

Then it struck me. My patron Goddess is the Celtic Goddess, Brighid.  And Imbolc is her Festival.  And is the time for new life.  And Alex will have weathered his first Winter.  And... It just worked.

So, I have a time... and a possible place too... now I just need a ritual.  I led a Naming Ceremony for my Goddaughter (an experience in itself - Loki came to visit thanks to Mama and Baby BOTH have a connection to him) but my own path isnt the same as I was back then.  Plus, that ritual was very much the work of the Mama and I need to keep in mind Hubby's preferences.

So... the decisions so far are:
Ask someone to be Celebrant or have the parents as Celebrants
What style of ritual do we want?
Who do we want to help us?
Order of the ritual?
Do we want candle magic?

Things we do know:
Who the Godparents will be

This is going to be a long process.  Oh and did I mention, in a wild moment of optimism I decided to MAKE the invites.  This in itself is began to take on Epic levels of stress as I couldnt get a picture of Cub that I liked enough.  I now have all the elements now to put them all together which will take a while.  At least by the time the invites are ready we will know what to put in them!  Here is the photo I finally chose... and I absolutely love it!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Mourning Breastfeeding

Some time ago, I blogged about my decision to bottle feed the Cub.  I made that decision for all the right reasons and it was the best decision to make.  However, I am still mourning that decision.

This week is World Breastfeeding Week and it is a brilliant thing.  I support breastfeeding as best for baby in the right circumstances.  I support women who want to breastfeed in public.  I think that people have over-sexualised women's breasts in Western Culture and this is causing us huge problems both for breastfeeding and for women's ideas of body image in general.

But for me, breastfeeding wasnt possible.  Cub's tongue tie made it so difficult that no matter how hard we tried (and, boy, did we try) we couldn't do it.  The support we received at such a critical time wasnt good at all and so we switched to formula feeding.  Now here is the rub.

I see the arguments and debates over breastfeeding and I sit there wondering what right have we to judge how a woman feeds her child based on seeing them once in public?  I say this for women breastfeeding AND for women bottle feeding.  A woman breastfeeding is not exposing herself to be indecent.  A woman bottle feeding is not choosing to do worse by her child for convenience sake.  The decision how to feed your child is not an easy one and that is what should be supported I think.

The Breast is Best campaign began with the right idea but I think it is being used to beat women over the head with.  I already feel upset by the fact I cannot breastfeed, I dont need people who have seen this message judging me on that basis.  However, this response from people who don't even know me has blocked my ability to mourn breastfeeding.  Yes, it shouldnt bother me that people I dont know are forming opinions BUT it does!

Becoming a parent puts you in the spotlight.  People are drawn to babies especially cute ones like my Cub.  And everyone has advice and opinions about how to parent.  So, whether you want it or not you are compared and judged all the time so eventually it will get to you. Add to that all the campaigning that has gone on over the past couple of years then you end up really feeling judged as a bad parent when you get that bottle out.

I supposed what I am trying to say is that I need time to mourn in a non-judgemental environment.  I need time to comes to turn with the emotional aspects of my decision.  At a time when I should have been focussing on the bond that was forming between me and Cub, I was stressed and so was he.  I need to mourn this.  If it goes unrecognised that how can I move on?

I think that the message needs to change.  Breast isnt always best.  Breast is the better option but only if you can do so without a stressful relationship.  The message should be about taking time to think about what is best for baby AND for you.  Unfortunately, I couldnt think of a catchy phrase for it so I fear I may never get to see that message being campaigned.

I will mourn breastfeeding and like others I will have to do so unsupported to a greater extent by the health professionals.  This is a huge issue.  THIS is key to the message.  Support for all, no matter the feed.  If we can support women who choose to bottle feed properly than in itself we will create better parents.  Am I the only one who sees this?

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Joy Pockets

Joy Pockets are a lovely meme which is aimed at getting us to appreciate the moments of joy in our lives and to hang on to those joys and not let them pass us by.  Joy Pockets is hosted by Monica over at Bohemian Twilight. Go and check out her fab blog.  Or, better yet, join in the fun!

Seeing the last Harry Potter film
Eating at the same time as my husband for once
Seeing my baby laugh at his new playgym
Hanging out with really good friends
Finishing a knitting project that has taken four years to complete!
Watching the Cub try to roll over at 7 weeks old
Watching Daddy and the Cub playing together
Having lots of baby cuddles

What are your Joy Pockets this week?

Friday, 5 August 2011

Pagan Parenting: What is it for me?

Warning: This is a bit of a long post, grab a cuppa and settle in.  I hope you enjoy yourself!

Its been a while since I really talked about being Pagan on here.  I think part of this is that Paganism is such an integral part of who I am and the life I lead that I don't always consciously realise the influences it has on my life. To me, Paganism is my lifestyle as well as my belief system.  My values for living are Pagan so when I make a choice my faith influences those decisions almost automatically.  This applies to life in general and especially to how I am trying (success to be determined at a later date, say about 18 years?) to parent the Cub.

The parent style I am using I call Baby-led.  It's sort of Attachment Parenting (far greater and wiser people than I have blogged about Attachment Parenting so I shall resist clouding the message with my version of it here) in essence but I call it Baby-led simply because it's a really good reminder that the focus of my style should be my baby and not me.  Is it important to be reminded?  Yes!  Read my earlier post:  When bottle-fed is baby-led parenting and you will quickly see that I had to get passed my own self-image as a parent to be able to focus on the needs of my baby.

So, how has being Pagan influenced my parenting style?  Well, if you believe that we are all connected to the Divine equally how can you then choose a parenting style which tells you that you are superior to your child?  I have authority over my child as a guide but my child will teach me as much as I teach him (hence the page Things My Baby is Teaching Me).  We are both in this life to learn lessons from those around us be they friend, colleague, parent or child.

I also believe that we are connected to everything around us and that we should endeavour to live in harmony with our surroundings.  This means listening to the Earth, listening to my friends and listening to my family - including my baby - and working to balance all our needs.  My style is led by the baby, it is not dominated or controlled by it.  I balance my need for a quiet half an hour with his need for food and comfort.  I choose to let the house become a bombsite for a while rather than ignore my baby just so I can dust something.  However, I also grab that half an hour while my baby is asleep so that we work our schedules in harmony.

I also believe that we have to work to maintain that connection.  If we don't nurture the connections then they start to die.  I choose to babywear using my baby slings (how did I end up with four different styles, by the way? I swear they are breeding!).  Using a sling keeps baby close to their parent.  There is more face to face contact between parent and child which keeps that connection strong and helps to build a relationship that is strong as a result.  It also makes it easier to use public transport.  Let me tell you, getting on a bus with a large pushchair reminds me of the old T.V. shows that featured contestants running various obstacle courses.  However, walking on with a baby sling means I just find a seat and off we go!

Added to this, the connection I feel to my environment leads me to use Reusable Nappies and to minimise the amount of chemicals I expose my family and my environment to.  I still use disposables sometimes (Cub has had tummy troubles recently and went through a dozen nappies in one day!) but I try and choose ones that are friendlier to the environment.  I recycle (not the nappies, just in case that crossed your mind) and I choose products that are kind to environment.  Being mindful of my environment leads me to prefer soft, cloth toys with less plastic which are in turn better for Cub.

I think what I am saying here (in my usual rambling style) is that my beliefs influence my behaviours naturally and my style of parenting is part of these behaviours.  Yes, I researched many different styles of parenting during my pregnancy but in the end I am choosing the style which suits our needs best.  These needs include our family's beliefs and our practical needs.  By going with Baby-led Parenting, I really am using my beliefs in my every day life with child.  We are all connected.  Baby-led parenting honours that connection and encourages us to work with our baby to fulfil all our needs and you can't get much more Pagan than that!

Here is the Cub enjoying some play time while Mama Kitty eats lunch.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Twitch, twitch

Well... We survived the childminder day.  I only had a minor wobble every few seconds so I count that a victory.  I will say that I wont be using the childminder very often.  It turns out I can be very critical of people when it comes to the Cub.  I did enjoy my day off but it was still pretty hard.  I had resisted writing a list of things I like Alex to experience in the day but I think maybe it would have been better if I had.

I like the childminder a lot but there were still things I would have done that they didn't.  It was a hot day and yet he came back to me in the same clothes as he left despite the fact he would have benefited from losing the long sleeve top and trousers.  They also fed him rather than offering him water which meant his feeding was all over the place for the rest of the day.  But he survived and so did we.  Its been an experience.

In other news: Cub now has his own playgym thanks to his Granny.  And he LOVES it.  He lies on it giggling like a loon.  Now if only we could find my camera then I could show you.  Turns out what I was calling a playgym was actually an 'Activity Centre', who knew?  My goodness the toys you can find for little wriggly Cubs is amazing. :)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Joy Pockets

This week has just flown by.  We've been a tad busy and social.  We've done Health Visitor visits and Baby activity groups and that was just yesterday!  I find myself sitting and wondering just what happened at the beginning of the week because the rest of the week has filled my tired brain and helped me forget.  With no further ado, here are my Joy Pockets... the ones I remember anyway.

  • Seeing medical professional coo over my baby
  • Baby's first activity arch/play gym - a bargain and he LOVES it.  Well, as much as a 6 week old can love anything.
  • Having to catch my trousers when I sneeze - they are my pre-pregnancy jeans and they are a tad big these days.
  • Putting together pictures of the Cub to send to his Great-Grandma.
  • Seeing my Cub in his fluffy reusable nappies.  Unfortunately, my camera has vanished so no photo evidence was possible.

Next week we have are leaving Cub with a trusted childminder so hubby and I can go to the cinema.  I'm really looking forward to going out but dreading leaving the Cub.  So, THIS is what separation anxiety feels like.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

A Week of Firsts

Wow.  What a week.  I am posting this in place of my usual Joy Pockets as this week has been on of 'First' for the Cub.  There has been a lot of new experiences for us and the baby which, naturally, brings me a lot of joy.  There is a lot of focus from health professionals on milestones like sleeping through the night and how much he is eating.  I think this week has seen some important milestones - just not the medical ones.  So, here for posterity are the firsts for this week.

His first:

  • Smile!  It lit up his eyes and made him look sooo adorable and cheeky.  
  • Trip to his grandparents (my parents) house.  This in itself created several 'first's.
  • Trip in his pushchair.  We are mostly using baby slings to get around town with but this trip we decided to use the pushchair as it is a fairly long walk to my parents house for me and I couldnt carry him that far.
  • Trip out without mummy or daddy.  My parents took the baby for a walk to give us a break (I love my parents).  Sure, I spent nearly the whole time he was out thinking about him but I still got some time to be with my hubby alone for the first time since Cub was born.
  • Train journey.  He slept the whole way!  He was awake when we boarded and the motion sent him right to asleep.  Now, if I only install a train in the house to send him to sleep all the time.
  • Nappy in a larger size.  Cub has now busted out of Size 1 nappies.  He weighed in at 10lb 14oz on Wednesday.  We switched him into the next size up after the mother of all poo explosions.  It was truly impressive how much could come from someone so small.

Also while at his grandparents, we followed up on a family tradition - Granny bathed him is the sink!  He seemed to enjoy it.

Well mostly, anyway. 

This coming week will be some more firsts.  Some good, some not so good.  We have his first set of immunisations.  We have discussed the whole case of immunisations and will be giving him the basic immunisations, however the more controversial immunisations will be missed.  My family has a bad history will some immunisations so they will be avoided.

Also this week, I am planning on switching Cub from disposable nappies to cloth nappies.  We have them all ready, its just a case of putting the disposables down.  We are going to use up nearly all the disposables and then switch.  We have a couple of different types to use so we will see which we like the best as time goes on.  Wish us luck! :)

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Er.. oops

It appears I have done something to the comments box... I think I fixed it but Im not sure.

Sorry for that.  It appears in my enthusiasm to change my template I may have slightly changed my settings.  Oh and I made a button!  I felt stupidly proud of myself.  Sad, huh?  It made my head hurt but I got there.  It only took two different tutorials and some experimentation.  But I did it!  So... grab it or exchange with me.  I am gonna try making a page of the blogs I follow.  Wish me luck. :)

Friday, 15 July 2011

Joy Pockets

This week we actually left the house!  This is amazing.  Thanks to having a large family, I am pretty good at packing a bag to take a baby out but it was still like planning a military campaign. I started planning at 8am and we left the house 5 hours later with almost everything we needed.

Anyhoo, here are my Joy Pockets for this week

Finally making headway on Cub's colic
Meeting up with friends
Inspiration hitting and being able to write again.

And finally, Cub is a whole month old today!!!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Attitude - More important than you think?

I wrote this early this morning on a pad of paper (old school, huh?).  Warning: This is a bit of a long post.  Enjoy and comment if you wanna!

The baby is finally asleep and Tigger is passed out cold from a night spent looking after a colic-y baby.  It's OMG o'clock in the morning.  I could resent that my sleep is non-existent right now or I could use that time for me.  Guess which I'm choosing.

There's something about watching the sun come up that touches my soul.  A new dawn, a new beginning - there's hope in that.  There's a chance of something to start and grow whether it's an idea, a small baby or anything else.

A lot of people have commented that I seem to be coping well with the sleepless nights.  Well, for one thing I'm the relief worker not the on-call worker normally (thanks to my lovely, wonderful hubby - and trust me, no-one is more wonderful than a 2am when they get up to the baby).  And for another, I really think it's about attitude.

I hear a lot of negativity about babies.  Throughout my pregnancy I was asked a lot of negative questions - was I sick a lot? was I too tired? was I fed up yet?  It was almost like I was supposed to suffer through pregnancy like it was an alien invasion and I should long to be back to 'normal'.  I'm not saying my pregnancy was a joy from beginning to end but neither was it endless suffering.  And no matter how I answered the questions - yes, actually I do feel crap today - I would get even more negative responses.  I swear, if I heard the phrase "If you think you are tired now..." I was gonna beat someone to death with my birth ball.

The thing was that until the last month, I maintained a positive attitude and felt pretty damn good too.  I was healthy - in fact I was healthier than I had been for a long time.  I was happy and I felt full of energy.  However, in that last month I let all the negative stuff in.  I started to agree that I was fed up with being pregnant for no other real reason than I couldn't be bothered to fight it any more.  It was easier to go with the 'you must be fed up by now' attitude than to turn around and say 'No, actually, still enjoying it thanks,'.  And you know what? In that last month, I was ill twice!  Maybe it was just a coincidence but as soon as I started spouting the negativity, I got ill.

So, what can I learn from this?  Well for a start, I love being a parent (yes, even at 2am in the morning) and while I look forward to when Cub sleeps through, I'm in no rush for it.  Yes, I'm tired but it's a good tired.  It's a productive tired.  Yes, there are days when I wonder how we will get through the next hour never mind the next day but this experience is teach me so much how can I possible see it as a negative thing.

And the things my baby is teaching me?

  • Happiness is in the small details - a clean nappy; a quiet cup of tea; an old lady smiling adoringly at my baby.
  • How to live in the present - I think we fall into the trap of looking ahead (when will he sleep through the night) or behind us (this was so much easier yesterday) and we lose what is happening right now (Cub held his head up on his own on Wednesday!!!).
  • It is possible to do no end of things one-handed - eating, typing, dressing...
  • Planning makes for greater flexibility - a properly prepared changing bag makes a big difference.
  • Adaptability is key! - Before the Cub was born I had ideas about what I wanted to do as a parent including breastfeeding and not using dummies.  I have changed my mind on many things in response to Cub's needs and I actually think I am a better parent for it.  See my post When Bottle Feeding is Baby-led Parenting for more on that.

And now Cub is waking up for breakfast and the day is ready to begin.  Am I tired? Yes.  Am I happy? Yes!  I know which question is more important to my attitude.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

At the River

The voices of the women hemmed her in. Senna longed to escape the sun and the slap of wet cloth of stone. Most of all, she wished she could get away from the river. The water held dangers for her. She focused on the bed linen in her numbed hands. She went through the motions of washing but her mind was elsewhere. By the bank Cora washed their father's shirts, her small delicate hands were much better at getting the dirt out of the complicated embroidery. Senna tried not to compare herself with Cora the way everyone else did. Besides, Senna always came off worse.

The sun glinted off the surface of the water and Senna froze. Seconds passed and she released the breath she held. Nothing happened. This was good.
“Stop lollygagging, girl.” Mara's sharp tones echoed over the river. The other women fell silent.
“Sorry Mara.” The apology was automatic and just as heartfelt. She bent to her task meekly in hopes of avoiding the lectures on the value of hard work. She shoved the sheets beneath the water and light flashed in her eyes, blinding her.

She blinked and saw the deep green eyes of the laughing child. She knew those eyes, they reminded her of her own. He stood on a grass bank playing. She walked towards him and smiled. He opened his hands to show her his new toy. Flames danced in his palms and he giggled. She reached down and the flames moved into her hand. She gasped, expecting pain and feeling only a ticklish warmth. She gazed as the tiny fire in wonder, turning her hand this way and that.

Her head swam and she stumbled. Tripping on the sheets in the water. Another vision. She had to get away. The boy needed her. She didn't know why but he did. Panic skittered up her spine. She had to leave. Picking up her skirts, she ran from the water. The women scattered from her path as she ran. There would be hell to pay later. If there was a later.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Bloggus Interruptus or Something like that

I wanna blog, I do!  Its just that every time I sit down to write something deep and erudite either my brain stops, I fall asleep or the baby cries.

More blogging will happen.  Soon.  I hope...

Friday, 1 July 2011

Joy Pockets

This week has been a week of getting used to a new routine and finding a balance of needs.

Here are my Joy Pockets for this week:

  • A cold glass of Diet Coke
  • The generosity of others
  • Team work
  • Ignoring housework (You can look at the dust but please don't write in it!)
  • Persuading hubby (AKA Tigger) to rest during the day

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Self-responsibility: My Pagan Value

This month has been about Pagan Values for some of the blogosphere.  I had intended to take part and post a few things but babies and hospitals got in the way a little.  I shall probably post some things over the next month or so anyway as the topic is of great interest to me.

Central to my Pagan practices is the relationship I have with my surroundings.  I include my relationship with the Gods as part of my surroundings.  I attempt to live in harmony with those around me and part of that is being responsible for my actions and choices.

Self-responsibility is easy to talk about and theorise about but living it day by day is a lot harder.  To me it means accepting the consequences of my actions.  It also means that I control how I react to situations and the actions of others.  If I let someone control me then it's not that person who is at fault but me.  I have given away my responsibility, my power, to another.  If this is true then I can take that responsibility and power back if I choose too.

However, I need to be flexible as well.  If I do not give any responsibility then I can not share power with another and that is also a very lonely road.  I give responsibility and power to others, most notably my husband, and I call this trust.  I trust others with my responsibilities and they trust me with theirs.  This is responsibility for my emotions as well as my physical world.  In other words, I trust them not to willingly hurt my feelings and to not abuse our relationships.  If that person violates that trust, I must take back my responsibility for that relationship and not allow that person to continue to violate it.  This is self-responsibility in action, to my mind.

I guess what I am saying is that self-responsibility in my relationships is key to building harmony with my surroundings.  I feel this is an important Value for everyone but as a Pagan where we don't particularly have a guiding text or set of texts this is even more important.  Paganism, to me, is such an individual path that we need to be even more mindful of our Values and Principles.  I think that walking a path that is more individual requires more discipline as we have to make up our own minds and decide our own principles for faith.  Hang on, in other words, we are responsible for our own actions as Pagans.

This is why self-responsibility is so important, to my view, to my practice as a Pagan and as a person in general.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Brief update

Two weeks into babydom and I think my brain may actually be starting to re-emerge but Im not sure yet.  I've had ideas for posts here but when I come to sit down and write between feeds and whatnot the words have gone to sleep along with the baby.  We are working on going out today so I am hoping that some fresh air will help.  Fingers crossed, eh?

In other news: Cub now has a gazillion teddy bears and is putting on weight like a good 'un.  I'm not sure if these two things are related but there you go.  He is two weeks today and has put on 13ounces in that time.  Go Cub!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Joy Pockets

Wow, is it Friday already?  Yikes.  This week has been a little blurry.  This week has been lived pretty much on a day by day basis.  Having a baby really does make you focus on the present or at least on the few hours between feeds.

My Joy Pockets for this week are:

A sleeping baby!
Getting out of the hospital
Watching Daddy's face when he feeds his son.

Yes, this week I am a tad obsessed with the baby but I think that is understandable, don't you?

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

When bottle feeding is baby-led parenting

While I was pregnant I stumbled upon the concept of attachment parenting and baby-led parenting.  I like the concept and I think I am becoming a baby-led parent.  This means that I will mindfully engage with my baby and follow their needs.  This does not mean that I will sacrifice my needs for my baby's but instead understand that my baby needs me to be me and that in order to fully meet my baby's needs I must balance those needs with my own.

Going hand in hand with this is the breastfeeding vs. formula/bottle feeding debate.  This has been a hot topic for a while on the internet.  I have seen some pretty strong opinions on both sides of the argument and some pretty inflamatory statements.  The general gist is that breastfeeding is natural and that formula was invented for when women couldn't breastfeed.  At the end of the day, I think that mother's make the decision that is right for them.  This post is not the place to rehash this debate.

Instead, I want to talk about how being a baby-led parent actually led me to bottle feeding.  Cub has a tongue-tie and breastfeeding is at best a trial and at worse a freaking nightmare.  Cub got to the point of hysteria every time we tried to latch.  End result, a baby losing weight and becoming jaundiced.  I could see he was becoming yellower and I decided that we needed to top up my meagre ability to express/breastfeed with formula food.  Feeding Cub from a cup was ok but he wore more than he drank and he got stressed as it took forever to get the food he wanted.  We kept trying to latch on and he got more and more stressed.

Finally, I had to take a step back.  Here was my lovely adorable baby who was getting stressed every time feeding time came up.  I was so tired from trying to settle my baby that I was starting to dread feeding time as well.  The idea of bottle feeding was tempting but I still wanted to breastfeed.  I knew that if I introduced the bottle then I probably wouldn't breastfeed.  Then it hit me.  I was putting my pride before my baby.  My desire to breastfeed was overpowering the real need.  My baby needed food.  How he got that food was really just not that important.  What was important was that he got something to give him fuel.  Cup feeding was still causing stress.  Breastfeeding was making him hysterical.  Bottle feeding was the alternative.

So, we opted to bottle feed the milk I was expressing anyway.  The first feed was impressive with the difference.  Gone was my hysterical, red faced baby.  Instead he stared up into my eyes with his gorgeous baby blues and watching everything around him.  He was a happier baby and is now putting back on the weight.  Listening to my baby's cues helped us to reach the best solution for all of us.  I hope I can remain in a place where I can listen to my baby and reach the best solution that way.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New Kitten

I havent posted in over a week because I became a Mama Kitty this last week.  I was then stuck in hospital with no internet worth speaking of.  The Cub and I are fine and I eventually discharged myself in disgust for the lack of proper care.  Cub is simply adorable and that isnt just my biased opinion.  Everyone who has seen him agrees.

So, without further ado.  Here is the Cub.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Joy Pockets

I am restarting taking part in Joy Pockets from Holistic Mama.  The idea is that on a Friday or Saturday you post things that have brought you joy over the past week.  I love this idea.  It's good for reviewing your week in a positive light and is especially good when you have had a bad week.

So, here are my Joy Pockets for this week.

Ice cream on hot days
Being pampered by my husband
Celebrating many birthdays
Gorgeous fluffy reusable nappies being delivered
Finishing craft projects
Colouring in for grown ups

What are your Joy Pockets for this week?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Pagan Values or the Values of a Pagan?

I found out yesterday that in the Blogosphere June is the month of the Pagan Values Blogging and Podcasting Event.  This event is in its third year and it dovetailed nicely into my last post and also into my thoughts at the moment.

Other bloggers have and will be looking at what Pagan Values are and I will probably post at some point on a similar vein.  However, I was thinking last night about whether my values brought me to Paganism or did I adopt them as a result of discovering Paganism.  And the answer is a little of both.

I was brought up to be responsible for my actions and to accept responsibility when I make a mistake.  I was also brought up to seek out my own answers rather than rely on others to give me an opinion.  Maybe my parents were different to others in their attitudes but they encouraged me to explore who I am and to be who I want to be and to not let others dictate my actions. Independent thought was highly prized in my family.

My values grew up around my experiences in childhood of being shown respect and offering respect in return.  Personal space was acknowledged and permission was sought before entering another person's room.  I remember being shocked when visiting my best friend's and her parents walked into her room without knocking.  The idea that anyone would do that was completely alien to me.  This sense of respect and self-responsibility has stuck with me throughout my life and Paganism, to me, incorporates those values.

I stumbled across Paganism about nine years (eek) ago.  I often think it found me rather than I found it.  I was drawn to it because I found a faith that answered that feeling of rightness.  My path has led me to look at different branches of Paganism but in all areas my own values matched with the values of that branch.  So, were my values Pagan in nature?  Yes.  Had I been a Pagan all the time I held those values? No.

I guess what I am saying is that my values played a huge part in becoming Pagan.  Those values influenced my choices and the way I view the world which in turn led me to a Pagan path.  Have I adopted different values as a result of being Pagan? Not really.  Instead, Paganism held me to solidify and understand my values and how those values fit into the context of my community - both Pagan and secular.  If I had never discovered Paganism would I understand myself as much? I really don't know but the encouragement I have found in Pagan Paths for self-exploration have certainly aided my understanding of my values and why I hold them.

So, my values are Pagan but they are also Pagan Values.  I get a sense of belonging from knowing my values are Pagan Values but I would have them regardless.  So maybe looking at Pagan Values is less about values and more about finding that sense of belonging?  And I think that may be the subject of another post.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Understanding from hate?

Some blogs I follow are currently taking part in a blog contest over at Circle of Moms and it's brought up some interesting insights for me.  There has been some hatefilled blog posts from participants as well as some amazing attempts at understanding.  Yes, it has become very extreme for some - including some death threats from what I have heard - but thing this is, it's actually creating a discourse.  Those who are being extreme are being seen as such and it appears that some bloggers are trying even harder to understand as a result.  There has been open admiration for the spirit of community that Pagans are showing each other and this is something to be celebrated.

Granted, it hasnt been a good ride and I suspect that jealousy has a lot to do with the viciousness (given that the current winner is a Pagan) but at the end of the day the Pagans are coming out as the 'better people'.  By coming together to support each other and refusing to take part in the mud-slinging Pagans are really demonstrating their faith.  The belief in community and spiritual strength being shown really does show Paganism in life and in blogging.

To me, Paganism is about a sense of community and living your life as honourably as possible.  By honourable, I mean treating other respectfully and working to maintain a harmony with the world around me.  That does include standing up for myself as needed but doing so in an understanding way and in a way that helps others to understand my position.  It is my personal belief that understanding comes through being willing to listen to others and being able to accept differences between people.

This competition has created some heated discussion but, at the end of the day, it has created discussion.  When the contest is over what will people remember?  The defamation or the strength of the Pagan community?  How many people that would never have looked at Paganism will have taken the time to look at the blogs in the contest and possibly even reached an understanding of it?  Maybe I'm just a happy optimist but I can't help but see the positives that may come out of all this.  This is not to ignore the strength of feeling of some of the bloggers but to try and see that even in their hatred they are forced to look at their own strengths and weaknesses and maybe gain a better understanding of themselves.

And, to this Pagan, there is no better outcome than a greater understanding of who you are and how you relate to your faith.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Don't Forget to Breathe

I'm not very good at waiting.  Patience is something I have to work at in many aspects of my life.  In some areas I have apparently infinite patience - most notably when people need my help - but in others, let's just say I want it and I want it NOW!

Right now, I want my baby here NOW and I want my kitchen and bathroom NOW.  I would prefer the kitchen and bathroom to be finished first but Im not sure if I will get my wish.

Ok... Here is the story.

I live in a rented flat.  I am now a whole week away from my due date.  Three weeks ago (meaning I was 36 weeks pregnant) we were informed that the landlord would be refitting our kitchen.  Fine, we thought.  Great!  We need a new kitchen.  Ours is/was looking a bit, well, crappy.  We figured yes it would be complicated with a new baby in the home but we would be fine as by then junior would be a couple months old.  Then we got the news... They were starting the refit the following week! And! We would be getting a new bathroom as well.  Cue a slightly (read: mildly hysterical, hormonal, pregnant woman) stressed out me.

My nesting instincts kicked in at about, oh, 24weeks.  Everything had to be in the right place. EVERYTHING.  I had a schedule for making sure this happened.  I had it all worked out when we would have the nursery finished, when we would rearrange the bedroom to make sure we could fit in a moses basket for the first few months and when we would make sure the living room was baby friendly.  It was a little mental to be honest but I felt happier with my list of things to do and my schedule of when it should be done.

Oh my do the Gods laugh when people make plans!

I had just started to get things just right when my living room had to stand in as a kitchen.  My nursery became the only place to put the bathroom things and the bedroom had to hold the hall furniture so that the builders could easily access everything.  I dealt with it the only way I could... I went to bed.  I admit it.  I pulled the covers over my head and, frankly, lost it.

Now, here I sit, waiting.  Waiting to get my home back.  Waiting for my baby to appear.  And just a little... fed up.  However, I am actually learning patience.  I am learning to live with the mess.  I'm trying to find the lesson in all this, maybe even enjoy it.  Until then... where is my bed? ;)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

To Blog or Not To Blog?

I've been debating whether to blog again after Google ate my last blog.  I was having trouble finding the impetus to blog with all the exciting and involved things happening in my life at the time.  However, the last few days I have discovered something.  I need to write.

Blog entries were writing themselves in my head.  Ideas started popping up and the urge to write about them came back.  I need to take these ideas and put them down.  I maintained my old blog for 4 years before it met it's untimely demise.  I love the act of writing, of finding the words as they appear on the screen in front of me.  For the past six or so months the creativity that drives me has been somewhat distracted with other projects, including pregnancy, and I have missed writing.  The ideas just haven't been there.  Maybe I could have pulled something out the ether but I frankly didn't have the energy to spare to plug at it the way it would need.  So I gave myself permission to take a break.

I needed a break.  It's as simple as that.  I needed to take time to myself and to relax, to recoup my energy.  Now, I am a week away from giving birth (if the hospital is correct with my due date, but that's another story) and I have the urge to write again.  I have no idea where this blog will go and where the journey will lead me but that is ok.  I will no doubt burble on about my baby, my beliefs and my writing here but I am giving myself permission to relax and just see what turns up.  In my previous blog I felt I should showcase my writing and writing deep, meaningful entries and I think that contributed to my losing the urge to write.  It became a chore and not a joy.  Now, the joy has returned and I want to keep it going.

Here's to the journey!