Monthly Archives: November 2009

Identity in flux – again

What a moment

The internet has been a powerful tool for me in my journey into motherhood. It has given me the possibility to be in touch with (mostly) women who inspire and inform me on topics that I am passionate about. It has also triggered me to reconsider who I am and what my values are. Many of the choices I have made as a parent and a person are considered to be way outside the realm of what is acceptable.

It has been hurtful to read some of the scathing and bitingly rude opinions that exist on topics that I am passionate about. It has also been humbling to find very solid and sound support.

I am still somewhat naive and somehow hope for a reality where people are tolerant of differences in opinion and do not feel the need to attack with quite so much viciousness. I think I need to let go of that ideal. There are people who will wish me ill, question my intelligence, question my reasoning/judgement, question my decision making ability. Essentially my choices will intimidate some and there is nothing I can do about that.

Through this process I have learnt that I too have been judgemental.

There is no right or wrong. Although it pains me to write that. I desperately want there to be a right and wrong. It makes life so much easier.

However, there just is not a categorical right or wrong that can be applied in every situation when it comes to being a parent. Short of parents being true to their abilities and doing the best they can in any given situation.

Why all this contemplating my belly button?

I feel the need to check myself and the more unorthodox choices I have made. Have I just been brain washed by forums on the internet? Am I loosing my ability to think for myself and subscribing to ‘group think’?

On the issue of vaccinations, I wrote about a year ago on my suspicions for not using vaccinations as my preferred choice of preventative medicine. Today I am still not 100% confident in my choice not to vaccinate my son.

My choice lies mostly in my concern with the lack of long term safety known on the practice of artificially stimulating the immune system, as well as the missing data (and curiosity) on the safety of injecting common vaccine ingredients. I also am concerned about the efficacy attributed to vaccines. I do not think enough is known about how vaccines work in the body for there to be a clear enough understanding on what the side effects could be.

I also do not think vaccines are ‘causing’ anything, from diabetes to autism. I believe they can be a trigger for some babies/children/adults in some cases. The individual make up of the person: their genes, their nutritional status, their overall health. These things make a difference with regards to how people respond to vaccines. And unfortunately this seems to be little appreciated by some people who like to shroud themselves in science and say that they are 100% certain vaccines are safe and effective for pretty much every baby, child and adult – bar the odd very unusual case.

I don’t know if I am making the right choice or not. At the moment my choice is based on a hunch that the medical scientific community are not necessarily telling the whole truth when it comes to vaccines and diseases. They put all the benefit on the vaccine and all the risk on the disease. It is a very biased and overly simplified approach.

Being told I was too stupid to make the choice for myself, that my baby would die without the vaccines and to stop reading on the internet only piqued my anger and curiosity. It did not make me trust the people who were insulting me, and it did not make me think I should do as they say. It made me think that I need to understand just why they are so scared that they are prepared to bully me.

So, today I am in a situation where my 21 month old son has yet to be vaccinated. I check myself constantly. And for now I have yet to find a compelling reason to go ahead and vaccinate my son. I might find that reason. I am open to a sincere discussion. I might need to ask many more questions before I have a firm enough handle of the issues.

It is not easy to make choices that are ridiculed. It is horrible to have people mock and insult you, like what I have seen on the internet. And yet, as in the playground, that is not a good enough reason to just do what other people are doing, just to get the bully off my back

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I did it!!!

I have been doing a walk to run programme for the last 3 months and today was my first 30 minute run with no breaks.

I am so very proud of myself for this achievement. Years ago I used to run 5K a couple of times a week as part of my study programme for my finals at uni, together with my study buddy. I miss it.

So, I have gone down a dress size, and I am fitting into clothes I have not worn in about 4 years. And it just feels so good to have accomplished this.

I have started with barefoot running and run in Vibram Five Fingers. It really is quite a difference, and my lower back is definitly happier in these shoes.

And just ‘cos I can now, here are our two pets:

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Our Golden Retriever - who has started to make himself comfy on our outside couch

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Oh, to be a cat

 

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Living away from family

My father too has been missing my mother intensly and we have shared how different music is so evocative. Over the phone.

I miss him terribly and feel the pain of our distance so accutely. And I wish it were not so.

I live in fear of hearing of my fathers death and us never having shared quality time together, with him in his role as grandfather. I dread this.

To that end I keep trying to figure out a way to make it work so that we are all together, and everyone is happy and has what they need. But it just can’t be like that. There is no perfect solution. Right now it is not viable for us to be in South Africa, it is not viable for him to be here. We can visit each other. And this wrenches my heart like little esle. I have to make peace with the fact that my life is far away from my family. It is not like I would have chosen *not* to marry my husband if I had known that my mother would die when she did and I would not be able to be with my father. I am happily married and love my husband deeply. I cannot imagine having given up on our relationship so that I could be close to my family. And we started out life together in Israel, not South Africa. That is just the reality of it.

Anyway, I am tyring to find a way to be at peace with not being near my father at this time. I know there is nothing we can do for each other, other than be together and share meals, music and walks together. Just be together. And for now, my best contact is the phone. We have not skyped since the day before my mother died. The last time I chatted with her and that we chatted as a family.

While I would never want to give up on having met my husband and marrying him, it would be much simpler if I have fallen in love with a local boy and lived in driving distance of my family. Although, the local boys really were not all that enticing. DH really is a gem.

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Pics up and coming

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My first waistcoat - still to be finished and worn

This was knitted speedily in anticipation of SIL’s wedding. I didn’t really like the shirt that we found for DS. He loved it being soft cotton, I didn’t like the print. Anyway, the day turned out so hot there is no chance he would have worn it…. but I was very proud of myself for actually knitting and putting this together. 🙂

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Indoor play in the winter

I was amazed to see DS building towers like this. He is into lego at his grandparents house and into building towers, transporing his blocks, emtpying my drawers and cuphoards…. he gets busy indoors. Although he is definitly happiest outdoors, splashing in puddles or bringing in spadefuls of sand. He is especially attached to our bikes at the moment. He loves evening bike rides, and rides next to me when I go for my morning run.

And lastly for now,

Apricot Yummies

These were a hit with me and DH – less so with DS.

I am so excited to have images to share again. I have been brewing a post on toys and family values. I have a small collection of toys from my childhood that my parents saved. It brings me much joy to see DS playing with them.

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Apricot Balls

I am loving this menu. Serisouly.

I drew up the menu by hand, adding in suppers and the weekend (Deciding on those 6 extra meals and 4 extra snacks was like pulling teeth – but I got there). When I have made it all pretty and ready to go on my fridge, I’ll post a picture here. More on that later.

And this morning we had banana pancakes for breakfast, mamalega (polenta) with cabbage stew for lunch, apricot balls for afternoon snack, and we’re off for supper with the IL’s. It’s all a bit of a mishmash – starting Sunday I want to try and stick with the plan, at least unti it is second nature to sit down for all meals and snacks. And not just eat the quickest easiest thing (salad, fruit, pita etc).

So, I made a bunch of banana pancakes, with extra frozen. I made a stack of apricot balls, with extra frozen. And they are yummy! I have pics to post, just no USB cord 😦 I suspect DS has hidden it, and I just have not gotten around to buying another one – I keep hoping it will turn up.

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Lunch

I have often written about (or sometimes alluded) to my dificulty with fostering a rhythm in our home. I know that it is good, I am convinced it has the potential to be beneficial for me, the caregiver, and my DS. And I like to read up about just how it can be beneficial – but I have an awfully hard time actually making it happen – hence my purchase of the Winter Menu from Little Acorn Learning. Which I really like. It incorporates Traditional Foods methods in the food preparation (soaking and fermenting) and uses in season fresh foods. I think I am really going to enjoy working with it. Breakfast, lunch and two snacks are now all laid out for me – no need to think 😉

I used one of the recipes from Winter Menu. The coconut pumpkin soup, although I used sweet potatoes instead of pumkin and date syrup instead maple syrup. And it was scrumptious. Now I just need to get going with grinding my own grain and fermenting our bread 😛

And my kitchen is all clean and sparkling…. today is a good day. I even cleaned and organised the fridge. A part of me wants to cringe with embaressment that this has become a worthy goal in my life – but at least I know it is clean and I did not use any harsh chemials to clean it – just warm (ecological) soapy water, and DS helped me scrub the shelves. It was actually kind of fun.

I think I really just needed some sort of frame work to give us a varied diet and the reassurance of knowing what I am preparing (or DH is preparing – he is the more established cook between the two of us). I know what I don’t want (fast food, ready made food, industrial food) and I know I want made from scratch food loosely along the lines of Nourishing Traditions, but yikes. It is a hard one to actually put in practice – for me anyway.

So, here’s to our first day. And hoping that there are more in store and that I do not loose my mind in the predictability of having each week planned so meticulously…. I know I need it, I suspect DS needs it, it’s just so, argh!!!

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Mourning

I put on some old Crosby Stills and Nash this morning and was taken back to my mum through the song Teach Your Children. I sang it at school and also sang it at home with my dad on the guitar and me and my mum singing together.

The moment my father told me my mother had died is so starkly imprinted in my mind. My world stopped spinning for that moment. It just stopped.

I am still trying to make sense of this reality – that my mother is no longer in this world and that I no longer have that base of support. I recently received some photos from my dad (included in this post), and I just broke down. I was crying for the missed opportunities and the unmet potential. As I cried I knew that it was pointless. She is gone. And what about celebrating her life instead of being miserable about all that was not perfect. The photo that actually was unbearably painful for me was this one. It looks so perfect. A part of me wants to believe there were moments of perfection. But I also know it wasn’t all that perfect.

My family outside our home on a biodynamic farm - a moment caught unaware

 

I have been thinking a fair amount about my relationship with my mother and the pain that that memory evokes.

We never really got to know each other. We never really understood each other. And she still remains elusive to me.

I have also been thinking a fair amount about therapy and why I am happy to be giving it a break.

I had the feeling like my therapist was interested in helping me understand how the important relationships in my life helped mould my experience of myself and my life. And when I was able to see my mother through critical eyes, I had the feeling like my therapist felt he had done his job. My mother was no longer a mythical figure in my life.

And yet, I have been feeling in this time of mourning that his job was not done. He could have taken it a step further, towards encouraging me to find the tools to take what I had learned about my mothers shortcoming and weave that into a compassionate attempt to heal the rifts. This was ultimately my responsibility, and I missed the opportunity. And that hurts. Some want to comfort me by telling me that our relationship is not lost and that I can indeed work towards that healing even though my mother has died. I do not see how this can be. I wish it were so, but it eludes me.

And this all ties up with my IL’s too. I have to have some sort of relationship with them. And more importantly, I want my DH to heal any rifts or hurts that he carries with him. That is after all such a huge part of life – being at peace with life and the people in your life. So when I rant and rage about how completley inappropriate my IL’s are, I know that I need to be somehow taking it a step further….

My mother with me in 1977

Mum, I miss you and our potenital so very much. I hurt that we can never go out for another tea at our favorite cafe next to the sea in Kalk Bay – that we can never share what it means to be Mother – never know each other as a person. I still need you.

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