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. :)