Tag Archives: values

The car seat

I was more of this

I want more of this

I have been neglecting my blog recently. For a couple of reasons – the most pressing being lack of sleep. DS is pushing through his eye teeth, we have mosquitoes (that LOVE me) and I am trying to stop drinking coffee – which for some reason leaves me restless at night.

I also have been feeling a bit down. I had a rather traumatic incident with DS – nothing dangerous – just emotionally exhausting for both of us.

All my best efforts to avoid DS crying unattended were stretched when I found myself trying to get home from my LLL meeting, and him refusing to get into his car seat. On the way there, I had had to stop to breastfeed and had been late, making me slightly annoyed. Anyway, this DS not getting into his carseat opened a huge conflict for me. On the one hand I really needed the toilet and I was also hungry and on the other hand I had a child who was refusing to be strapped into his seat, arching his back and shrieking. I felt at such a crossroads as I had thoughts of “he is not a baby any more, his needs do not trump mine every single time” and “he obviously does not want to be in the car seat now, why?” and I gave in. I did what was easiest for me, and took us both off by foot to a cafe for lunch. While I was able to go to the loo and eat a sandwich, I was not happy to have gone so out of my way to get my needs met.

What was also troubling for me, was that I was getting angry at DS for not just agreeing to be in the car seat. Angry enough to force him into the car seat with rough movements and not so gentle words.

As I was walking to the cafe, I was thinking to myself that if I would just take a deep breath, it would help me deal with the stress of having an upset child, and it would help DS, as he would not be having to deal with the extra stress of a mother getting angry. This option held the promise of an easier time of it.

Only that it did not work. I could not keep myself level headed when again DS refused to get into his car seat. His crying really upsets me and my getting angry obviusly upsets him more. To my horror, I found myself just strapping him in and ignoring his cries and driving with a shrieking child who eventually fell asleep exhausted.

I really do not want a repeat of this incident. I know that this is just the beginning of me and my DS having to negotiate different situations where there is a conflict of interest, and I want to find a way that doesn’t leave either of us too fraught or traumatised.

I feel in myself the conflict of “he needs boundaries” “he needs to know who is in charge” with “how can I ignore his crying”?  I asked for some advice on MDC, and was given some good advice and mothers shared their experiences. A piece of advice that I am conflicted about it giving sweets/food. DH has proposed this as a way to get DS to comply – but I am not sure. Firstly, we don’t feed him sugar at any other time, and I am concerned I will have a hyper child in his seat. I also do not want him eating sugar for a reason, ie his health. And, I am not sure about giving him sweets as comfort. Argh, is all I can say right now.

Yesterday I did give him a rice cake and that worked well…..

I am sure we will find a way that works for us and is line with our values.

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So who am I?

This

This

Since I can remember I have had two images of myself in my minds eye.

One is a woman with long flowing hair twirling in a field full of flowers wearing a light cotton swirling skirt and a knitted cotton top, bearfoot and smiling. Somehow this image has captured wholesomeness for me.

The other image is of me in a suit with my hair tied up, face made up, nails manicured, high heel shoes and my briefcase in hand. I look much more stern in the image in my mind.

Both of these images have been equally appealing to me at different times, and I think also equally confusing, as they seem so contradictory. And I know that within myself there is a huge conflict about just who I am and what are my values and what values do I want to nurture in my family. Yep, motherhood once again demands of me to be honest with myself and be the best person I can be.

At the moment I am feeling like the flower woman is who I am at heart and the manicured woman is whom I sometimes feel I have to be in order to be respected (one day I’ll look at why it is just so important to me to be respected ).

Somehow, in my mind, the flower woman does not deserve the same respect the manicured one does. In the culture in which I live, image means a lot and free flowing cotton does not inspire the same respect that tailored suits do.

I guess this is essentially about me and my confidence in myself. Do I really care what people think of me? Can that be important enough to me to not be true to my values and the things that I hold dear? Why can I not be both flowing cotton and tailored suit whatever I wear?

Today I am in shorts and a nursing tank top. It’s comfortable and practicle.

I guess what I am trying to tell myself, is that I need to make peace with the fact that my family eats organic local food as much as is possible, that we clean our house with ecological products, that I am raising my child at home myself, that I have a healthy suspicion of all things modern medicine related, that I find sense in a Waldorf approach to educating children, that I have religious feelings etc etc.This is part of who I am and it isn’t working for me to try and pretend these things are not important to me when in the company of people who belittle these choices or do not understand them. Somehow I need to make peace with the fact that I am a little bit out of the ordinary in my choices, and not feel defensive or apologetic about it. That just is who I am, and others might find it easier to accept if I accept it in myself.

And this

And this

(I hope to move out of this stage of defining more clearly who I am and what my values are and be able to focus on actually building those values 😉 )

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Morning Routine

I guess we have a routine of sorts going now. DS wakes up and looks for my breast and latches on while I try and catch a couple more winks. This continues for some time with DS moving around the bed and playing with the light switch and having a few more sips and me slowly accepting that my day is starting. It is very slow and leisurely, with DS taking his time to fill up on mamamilk and me taking my time to wake up. DH is usually still asleep – although he is enticed by babybreath and squeals of delight at the new day.

The next part invloves DS sliding down off the bed after getting over Aba (dad in Hebrew). And he makes a beeline for the floorlength mirror on our wardrobe. And chirps away patting himself and various objects he finds.

Phase 3 is climbing up the 3 steps and cooing at himself from the top of the step as he turns back and sees himself in the mirror.

Phase 2 and 3 can be repeated some number of time as DS climbs back down the steps and pats himself in the mirror.

And out we go. Mum sits down and checks out MDC to see what has happened while she was sleeping, dad feeds the pets and DS gets on with whatever is his latest craze. At the moment it is sweeping, attaching the leash to the dog and pulling things out of the kitchen drawers/cuphords. Coffee is brewed and the day has started.

I love this routine and the relaxed lazy way about it. I would not change it for the world. I love my son being able to have as much mamamilk as he needs, me having a slow start and DS having time to do the things that are important to him. It would break my heart to be rushing through the morning and not giving DS the time and space he needs to be in control of his own life and learning about himself and his world. Of course I am not complaining that traffic is but a distant memory.

This could all change. And will all change. Either through the arrival of a sibling one day (thinking next year early summer could be a good time) or maybe one day I will go back to work.

DH’s company made a 7% paycut across the board and while it is not exactly fun, we will manage. That is not the reason why I would need to go back to work. But I am reminded of just what a priviledged position I am in.

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Why bother?

I certainly do not have many answers and I am very much on a journey trying to find how best to grow my family. I have to wonder if it is at all important what happened to me as a child? Am I just making myself more miserable remembering the harder parts? My parents cetainly followed that route. If something difficult is happening emotionally, just pretend it isn’t and distract self with activity and positive thoughts. And this is many ways is how I expected myself to live as an adult. Until I became a mother. But why bother wading through all those hard memories?

I think it does have significance. When my child will not sleep and I am at my wits ends I long for that illusion of control that would come if only I could intimidate him into going to sleep. After all that is how I treat myself…. I intimidate myself to ‘not go there’. It is the way I know.

Does that mean that I am making a better parenting choice when I try to look at why it is so important for me not to intimidate, shame or manipulate my son to do what I need him to do in that moment in order to cope? I think so. If I had more tools at my disposal to deal with frustration, I think I would be a better mother/better me.

Today I did stamp my foot and raise my voice after the umpteenth time that DS giggled and slid down off the bed when moments before he had been definitly falling asleep.  And he got scared. And I knew that in no way would I achieve anything good with this approach. I do not want my child to be scared of me.

I am sure there are those who would argue that it is not that bad if they are a little scared, as at least he would do things when it suited me. I am not yet ready to instill fear in my child for lack of my own coping skills. I do not know if I ever will be ready, but it does not feel right.

I am his world, and together with his father, his everything. It seems too cruel to take that away. And yet it seems such a daunting task to find the tools to deal with those moments of frustration and surrender to them. I keep relearning this lesson of surrender.

I am so aware in the moment of my frustration that I need a ‘fix’ and need to bring the situation back under my control. I know it is an illusion that by stamping my foot and shouting it’s all better. I know that it is a quick fix and one that I cannot rely on.

DS, I am so sorry you saw your mummy shouting and stamping her foot. I was having a very rough morning and am stressing out about all the family coming for a birthday meal and I want it to be perfect. It is not your fault that I got angry.

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Was I too sure of myself?

It happened rather unexpectedly. The manager of the Occupational Therapy Services at the hospital where I work called today. She assumed that while I am not coming back to work before my one year is up, I would be back on the 18th of February 2009. Crikey. I tried to find a nice way to say that this not a foregone conclusion. Now I am doing my own head in as I try to rationalize why I am making this choice to say that I am taking more than one year.

I know that I am not going back. I am just in a bit of a mess as I contemplate saying it in a unequivocal way, a way that will leave me without a guaranteed job and essentially unemployed.

What does that say about me? I immediately started to think of study options and making this time count. But why can’t it count that I am being a mother? I know better than to tie myself up in knots at wasting my life and getting trapped into a situation where I loose my work skills and kiss my career good bye. I know this is not true. It does not have to be true.

I have been thinking about my values and how I know I would suffer leaving my child in the care of a paid someone. I would be worrying all the time that his needs are not being met. And I feel like a bit of a sissy for worrying. But DS doesn’t even speak – how the hell would I know if something were not OK? I feel like I am being made into some sort of freak for being OK with being at home with my child…. I am asked to think of offering even 2 -3 days a week instead of the full 5 day week. Something, anything. And I can’t.

This I think is the bottom line. I can not. There is just no way that I could put my child in the care of a stranger, however warmly recommended. I rationalize this by saying that no one else will take the time to cook DS organic fresh food. No one else will be bothered to use cloth diapers. No one else will ensure that he is not eating deep fried peanuts and chocolate millk (firm favorites for infants where I live). No one else will snuggle up to him when that is what he wants. No one else will take the time to accompany him on his journey of discovery of the world – there is far too much pushing the world onto little children in the hope that they will catch on faster. And I specifically do not want this. I feel myself (rightly or wrongly) the guardian of my child’s childhood.

I am getting messages, even from my parents, that I need to let go. I cannot protect my son from everything (this was in response to me saying that I am not sure I want to use teething gel with sweeteners in it). But when he is so little and there is so much going on in his body as it grows and develops, I do want to protect him. I have in my hands (and in my heart) the beginnings of a whole human life. How can I be flippant with that? How can I not take that seriously?

My common sense tells me that I will have to let go at some point. But I am not sure now is the time. Just like I have chosen to take my cue from my child as when to feed, sleep and cuddle, I would like to be able to take my cue from him as to when he will be comfortable without me near his side. I do not see the merits of stressing either of us out. I am hoping that the world will be kind and not punish me for taking the time to care for my child in is infancy.

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