......

......
I want to be that mother who can stand up and say I am a strong confident mother and I know what is best for my children. We breastfeed and co sleep, We listen, We include, We eat chocolate and snot smoothies, we trampoline and grow frogs, we sling, we carry and we try and understand and work with our children without resorting to punishments, threats or coercion.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Permanent Shell Shock

I've been thinking about something and how to word it. Most evenings I feel like I'm recovering from the day..each and every day feels like an achievement yet I feel like a bit of a failure....I was trying to find a way to explain it....I kind of wanted to use the PTSD term..but kind of didn't as it's strong and has associations with soldiers and combat but there is that feeling sometimes like I am in a war zone...we've survived this day, the next will be easier!!  Sometimes it is, realistically though most days are a quagmire of negotiations and dealing with situations to avoid meltdowns and mayhem. I've often felt I have to be on a constant state of high alert and 10steps ahead of game. Always trying to make life go smoothly whilst ensuring all my children feel heard and understood and worthy and wanted. Many days it feels like I needed to carefully manage and control how the day goes....an impossibility I realise with 3 kids, but with one having Aspergers it's become a necessity. So at the end of the day when all 3 are finally asleep until the next wave of night time parenting begins, I breathe and allow myself to relax...a little!

We only recently received a diagnosis so before the 2 year process began, I often questioned my parenting skills and continually looked to the future benefits of Continuum Concept parenting. Now I realise the many ways it has absolutely benefited us as a family and even enhanced our situation....never using CIO, never using naughty step or time outs or other punitive yet ineffectual techniques and punishments.

As the diagnosis became more and more  apparent I wondered wether having a label would help other people be more understanding and tolerant of Eliie's flooby behaviour...it has helped me too.

I wondered whether it would help her make more of an effort to try and control her floobiness, because she will now know that there is a reason that sometimes she can't dial herself back....I'm beginning to realise how difficult this actually is for her.

I wondered wether maybe it would stop her feeling so bad about herself being unable to dial herself back in those moments....or indeed if she even does feel negatively towards herself...I'm seeing that she rarely connects the two and thankfully has positive self esteem for the moment...apparently this will become harder for her as she gets older.

One of my goals for my children is I never want them to feel bad about themselves. This hasn't changed since the diagnosis but equally I don't want her giving up trying to be a kinder person who understands others feelings as well as her own. Saying it out loud I realise thats a difficult request of anyone let alone someone with Aspergers. Who really knows how to understand and deal with their own feelings? I clearly dont!! I realise how difficult it is for Ellie and try to help her navigate this daily.

The day we got the diagnosis I was kind of numb and kind of not surprised and kind of shocked and kind of scared and kind of wish we hadn't started the process and kind of not sure what to do next and kind of wanted to curl up and cry and I was kind of all over the place and then I realised I kind of have a reason for such a difficult parenting journey and then I started to feel sad for her and Maia who seems to handle it so much better than me.

I started to realise a few things too.....I worked out that my idea of having lots of kids playing together and keeping themselves busy and not needing my involvement much hasn't really worked because Ellie never 'played' and always needed my guidance and input and now they are older her and they spend a lot of their time on their tablets doing minecraft and poor Millie who loves imaginative play doesnt get the chance much and when they do play together it usually ends in upset because Ellie takes control and doesn't do imaginative play very well and they always have the same narrative and the whole thing ends up in arguments and fighting. I feel Maia and Millie could play well together given the chance but Maia still feels Millie is too young and Maia is on her 'safe' tablet all the time where fighting and arguments happen less.

I'm sad for what everyone has missed out on and that I haven't provide Maia and Millie with more opportunity to play. It felt like they have lost a lot of possible sibling together playing time. We have now started to organise situations where Maia and Millie can have that time together and Ellie can have 1-1 time with one of us. Finding 1-1 time individually with each child is proving more of a difficulty.

After the diagnosis I started to wonder was it purely down to rules, boundaries, fear of authority and doing the wrong thing that has allowed Ellie to go through the school system unnoticed? Questioning my parenting style again.  Every parent's evening has always been glowing academically and behaviourally and we were always left wondering how can she be SO remarkably different out of school. Is it a girl boy thing? Would it become more noticeable in secondary school? They said it may start to become more of an issue the older she becomes the whole girl high school socialising thing. ...this scared the shit out of me as I struggled SO much with bullying. I console myself that for now the lines of communication are very open, Ellie always feels able to tell us everything  (for the moment!) and the way we raise our kids is totally different to how I was raised.

Since the diagnosis nothing much has really changed....there is still that daily struggle and endless stressing. There is still the constant reminders about ok behaviour and pre-empting them, something I have always struggled with.  There is still a lot of managing and handling and dealing and sorting but now there are finally some answers to the craziness that is my life and with the support from the school and the help of outside services I am starting to worry less and less about authorities swooping in and tearing us apart...my focus is returning, the sun is returning....I can feel my resolve returning.....I feel I can maybe do this...this being a parent thing!!

Meltdowns - so glad I embraced this term and it's connotations rather than being sucked into the whole tantrum bad behaviour naughty girl slap back of knees paradigm.
Losing the Plot - it's still possible, there's a shit more parenting needs to keep happening and a shit load more crazy from me
Breastfeeding - it's been an interesting 10yrs so far and I am thankful for never having mastistis.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Love me more and more and more and forever

Ellie and Maia were out for the evening tonight at the theatre. Barry and I played hide and seek with Millie (5) in one room..it was really funny...I wish I'd filmed it...she hid in the same place every time! She basically had our undivided attention for almost 2hrs and she absolutely loved it!  She was heard and understood and no-one called her an idiot or stupid or pulled her hair or hit her for no reason.   

 It was an interesting and relatively easy experience nighttime parenting only one child and I'm going to be honest, I did for a brief moment wonder what life would be like if life hadn't happened and we were parents to just the one. I'm not proud the thought slipped in there, but there you have it, it did. Anyway, as quickly as the thought appeared I confused it out my head with the complications of time travelling and Millie being the youngest (or would she be older?) and the other two not existing and ages being different and would she still be 5 or would we always have started a family when we did and...sod it. ...it wouldn't work, no point even thinking about it. Yet I did.....

I remember parenting one child and how overwhelmed and different I felt. The only one *still* breastfeeding at 1, the only one not initiating weaning to go skiing, then only one actually carrying my toddler in a sling and *still* sharing a bed. Then the 2nd came and I carried on parenting in this different way, by then I had found a few others who parented the way I did, through La Leche League and Nurture in Nature.  I saw others breastfeeding part babyhood and bed sharing with their children. There was no-one tandem feeding but I didn't feel as different. I did begin to feel the tug of war between siblings and with my body....one needs me over there, one needs me here...then no3 came along...I didn't know the meaning of overwhelmed and different!!! 

Having more than one kid changes the way you are able to love each child. There is always love to go around, just most-times there isn't enough of me to go around.  There is a constant battle of guilt in my head about giving everyone what they need and that constant nagging feeling that I'm somehow failing each kid of their right to have a complete childhood because they constantly have to divide me and share me and fight for my attention. I realised yesterday I could distinguish each child by their repetitive mum mum mum call. Each one is different!

The girls came home quite late but full of excitement from their trip. I deliberately took the time to connect and listen before encouraging them upstairs. Words are futile at times like these. Times when they are beyond tired yet still enthusiastically awake. Repeatedly asking them to start bedtime falls on deaf excited ears.  I know they just need a bit of mummytime before the mundane. Listen. Connect..then let them follow me to toothbrushing and bed. 

My girls are getting older....soon all three be in school and that 'me time' I am constantly trying to carve out will become that much easier...a new phase awaits us all. 

Last night Millie eeked out every ounce of mum and dad time she could until hubby went to pick up the older two, then she squeezed just a bit more love from me until she fell asleep....mummy "whisper in my ear" she said...."say I am worthy, I am wanted, I am loved...mummy loves Millie". Yes she does. She loves each and every one of you. Completely. As much as she can.






Meltdowns - none tonight with only one
Losing the Plot - not even a little
Breastfeeding - Natural term feeding at its finest



Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Love the crazy mean people again

I have this massive almost sometimes debilitating fear that people I dont know very well, but see almost daily (so IRL...in real life) don't like me and that I have done something to upset them and then I have this GREAT urge to talk to the person, apologise for anything I have ever said or done or thought incase I did, say or think something that might have upset them.  It's a vibe I get....you know you can just tell....stink eye.

Then I go through phases of thinking fuck it who cares. It's their issue with whatever I was saying. Transference, it's about something else. We all live differently. I've got nothing to apologise for...it's me not them. 

Then I don't want to be thought of as someone who hurts other people's feelings. I don't like it when it happens to me.

Why do I have this need for people I hardly know to like me? I'm already stressing about the people I do know and wether I've upset them in any way...I don't need it with strangers!!!!

I think I'm basically top of the needy chain..but I'm not sure what I need. It's not a comfortable place to be.

I don't want my kids growing up feeling like they need to apologise for themselves all the time. Like they might have done something wrong for having a different way of looking at life. I want them to feel freer and happier with who they are and be around people who are kind and understanding. I want them to feel confident and happy with who they are but not in a mean way.

I try to be that for them but I know they are learning meanness from me because some days it's not easy and some days I am mean to them. Hopefully they are also learning how to apologise and know when to.

I tell my kids that consistently grown up mean people sometimes didn't have enough love around them growing up and probably just need a hug from their mummy or daddy. People who are sometimes mean are maybe having a hard time at home or they are tired or hungry. I try to help them understand it from their side and hopefully that's helping them not feel it's their fault all the time. Sometimes it is....believe me sometimes it is their bloody inconsiderate unhelpful ungrateful fault!!!

Sometimes I say they weren't breastfed as a baby..you know, cos I like being controversial... 😜

Love the crazy mean people. I'm one of them sometimes. Love me. Love me. Love me. Like me? Ok just be civil to me at the very least. It must be exhausting giving me your negative vibes all the time.

Monday, 26 December 2016

Take a big big picture

Millie has sweets
She gave some to Ellie and Maia
She gave one to me and wanted to see it get small from sucking. I didn't know and when she came back in to see mine I told her it was finished. She went back in the other room and took one of the sweets she had given to Ellie previously in order to give it to me.

We felt Ellie should have understood that Millie was only wanting to make me happy and play a game with mummy and we surmised that Millie thought that since she had given Ellie a few, taking one wouldn't be a major problem especially since it was for mummy.

Ellie didn't. She completely freaked out at the injustice of Millie not asking for the sweet and she was so fixated on that part that we couldn't help her see why Millie had perhaps thought it was ok to take a sweet.

We explained to Millie that she should have asked Ellie.

No matter how we tried to explain it to Ellie she couldn't see past the initial injustice. Millie shouldn't have taken the sweet and that was that.

My hubby is a lawyer and he often says to his clients sometimes you need to see the bigger picture and that sometimes you need to look past your full legal rights.

A long time ago we discussed present giving.  The consensus on taking back a present because you've changed your mind was, that at that young age it was better for them to learn about compassion and make an allowance for the fact that the present giver is allowed to change their mind and that it's ok to. We felt that sometimes kids give things to their friends in the heat of the moment for the right reasons and regret it later. (They can also give things for wrong reasons, because they think thats how to gain affection. That's a different matter though!) 

Sometimes you need to see the good in people and not always think you are being wronged.

It also helps to see the bigger picture to help everyone to be happy (or at least fairly happy) with the overall outcome instead of one very happy winner and one very unhappy loser.

Sibling navigation is tricky.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Consent is not required

I'm a good person. I'm a nice person.  I'm an interesting person and I'm a fun person. I am also a principled person and when someone else tells me to temper myself and not be myself then it makes me want to be myself more. I don't like being told what to do. I especially don't like people telling me what to do with my kids. I absolutely abhor this one size fits all society we are being boxed in to. This 'you must do it this way because it's been deemed better for you.'



I still labour under the illusion that I have the right to choose what is best for my family. It's not like my girls are neglected or abused. It's not like I am damaging their health. On the contrary, the amount of chemicals that 'the mainstream' are finally realising causes health problems makes me know in my heart why I live my life the way I do. There are enough toxins in the air that I can't do anything about, without deliberately and consciously ingesting others.

So the issue for me is that the nursery are saying they can't use the toothpaste I provide because the government says there has to be a certain level of flouride in the paste. They will of course speak to the department that runs the toothbrushing initiative but surely it is better to brush than not at all. Not to mention the exclusion and singling out of my child when everyone else is brushing.

The most worrying aspect for me though is actually the wording at the top of the letter. It states:-
"Starting from Academic Year 2016/2017 Consent for tooth brushing is no longer required."
With a capital C for consent, just to drive home the power.

You may think I am reading too much into things. You may think I am over analysing. Yet it always starts with the small things and before you know it, the next letter you receive about your children and your life could read....
"Consent is no longer required."

If I become known as the crazy parent because I am always questioning and pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable to foist on to my girls then so be it.

This isn't my first rodeo. I have been advocating for my girls rights since before they were born and I am not about to stop now. Complacency is not an option for me and my family.

                       _______________



"First they came for their clothes, eroded their identity and stifled their individuality. 
Then they came for their teeth, infused them with neurotoxins and told them to swallow.  
Then they came for their immunity, injected them with poison and made millions. 
Then they came for their minds, censored their brains and conformed their bodies. 
Then they came for me but I had nothing left to give."

You get the picture.......is it sinking in yet????







Meltdowns - ALWAYS after swimming 
Losing the Plot - perhaps 
Breastfeeding - nearing the end of our journey :(





Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Time Time Time See What's Become of Me

This is it. I think this is really it.  For the first time in......I think forever......I am going to be getting a regular me time, by that I mean substantial weekly time, not a here and there few hours ( I hear the 5minuters stabbing me right now) where there isn't enough time to decide what to do before *poof* my ability to think and speak and walk and talk and feed and clean and move ANY way I want and not even ALL at the same time......is gone!!

When the girls were maybe about 2yrs-3yrs old, I remember reading someone's post along the lines of ... even  if they managed to sneak off and lie face down on the bed for even 5 minutes they considered it me time.....I decided to try it. I knew then, I was in for a long long long slog.

I may no longer be a 5minuter but I really believe you truly don't appreciate that consecutive head space of tranquillity until you become a mum. That ability to have a clear unfettered thought and choose to do whatever you want, whenever, knowing you will probably  still have time to do a few necessities, because, really,  who wants to be doing dishes and washing and ridiculous things like making food when there is  S P A C E   B E T W E E N   T H E   M O M E N T S.

This concept of me time is interesting. It's different things for different people but realistically, Yeeeees, I know I am meant to be feelzin' my moments.....mindfullnessing the green out of my grass, breathing my core to the top of the middle... but sometimes, as I am sure you are aware there just isn't time to do anything meaningfully worthy to be considered (charging self) me time when you have young kids. By the way, this increases exponentially the more kids you have.

But, I can hardly believe it.

It's good to just be able to slowly and deeply breathe in and out without interruption.
It's good having time to get past that shitty guilty stage of 'there are things that need doing, I can't really literally do nothing and get away with it' and be also able to actually literally do nothing. Its hard for me to actually do nothing for very long unless I am asleep, even then I am still moving around. Today I lay for about ten minutes and tensed and relaxed every muscle. I may even do it again because I will  have time!!

It's good not to be thinking I don't know what to do first, there is so much to do, I don't know where to start AND I need to do this me time thingy for me too and to not feel immobilized by how much there is to do that by the time I get my shit together it's too late and I've got very little done.
So far today, FOR ME, I have been swimming and tensed and relaxed my whole body for ten minutes and I still have a couple of hours left!!

It's good to not be thinking oh crap they are nearly home...did I do anything relaxing and meaningful, did I do what I needed to do, do I have time to........before.....with that one glorious rumble of stones on the drive way...with that slam of the door, with that jangle of the key in the lock....my whole world explodes into chaos and loudness and movement and neediness and...well......and life!!

I am giddy with possibilties!! Fortunately the internet is broken or I would have binge watched Gilmour Girls for sure! This way I've started as I mean to go on....there *will* be binge watching but this way has given me a chance to see other possibilties and to switch my body and brain off for 10 minutes of emptiness.

To all my 5minuter and 30mins and few hourers friends....your time will come. Hang in there or faceplant on the bed for 5 minutes more.........maybe call me and I'll help you get some head space....give me a wee chance though just to enjoy mine!!


Meltdowns - don't know I'm not with them!!
Losing the Plot - not likely, unless it a house DIY freak out
Breastfeeding - later