I was talking to another mum on Sunday whose little boy is about 2 months older than my daughter. Somehow eating came into the conversation and she passed a comment that stunned me, “Isn’t it just great to get them fully weaned and no longer clinging to you?” She also breastfed her children. I told her that we are doing baby led weaning and, therefore, while my daughter is eating food and in increasing amounts, she is still nursing just as often as she did do (but not as often as when she was a newborn!), but that actually I’m going to miss the days when she no longer needs me. I received a blank look in return. There’ll be a time when she gets all her nutrition from food alone. There’ll be a time when she decides she’s independant enough to not need comfort from me in such a way, but the time isn’t yet, and I for one am not going to push her before she’s ready even if that means having to put up with her clinging to me. Those times are times when we bond. I have to completely stop what I am doing and focus soley on her, she looks deep into my soul and sees there is a fountain of love for her in there and all is well in her heart and in her tummy. She can leave her aches and pains and worries behind and just relax in the embrace of love. Why would I want to rush these days past? Why would I want to get up every day longing for the time when she doesn’t need me anymore and I no longer have someone “clinging” to me? Why do we go through our children’s days hurriedly ushering them from one milestone to the next, relieved to get “that phase” over and done with, like it’s some great burden we need shot of, pushing them away from us before they are ready? Parenting is not about ticking off a checklist as fast as possible: born safe, weaned, potty trained, off to school, out of the house, check, check, check! No, it’s about embracing the here and now, the clinging, the giving of ourselves fully, being 100% in the moment, it’s about finding joy in the moments of no sleep, the times when something is stopping them from settling to sleep and stopping us from getting on with watching that movie or doing some other fun activity. It’s about developing ourselves as a person through learning about sacrifice and leaving our selfish desires to one side for the good of another. Parenting shows us the areas of our character that need working on if we let it. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon. Sure, you can sprint through it, but you miss out on all the sacred moments along the way and your children also miss out. Remember to slow down, enjoy the stage your child is at today instead of wishing it away for the next stage, because with a next stage also comes trials and frustrations. ENJOY your children as they are TODAY.
How do you entertain a baby and stimulate their brain?! These are questions I ask myself quite often. As a former teacher, I can’t help but want to make sure that I engage my daughter often in activities that are going to stimulate her brain as well as be fun. I hate just sitting her in front of the same plastic baby toys, and, in fact, baby toys don’t keep her entertained for much longer than 10 minutes if we’re fortunate, more like 30 seconds on a normal day. She loves to play with whisks and wooden spoons. She loves bashing on pots etc. I can think of lots of sensory activities for older children, but have struggled to think of safe activities for babies. So I have been on a mission to find activities that she can enjoy that are creative, messy, stimulating and offer her an opportunity to learn and explore the world around her. While she was having a bit of a nap at lunch time, I grabbed 3 little plastic bowls and filled each one with either pasta, rice or oats, I stuck a few plastic spoons in the bowls as well to give her something to bash and stir the contents with. This simple activity made up with store cupboard essentials I had on hand proved to be a great hit! It kept my little one entertained for 45 minutes which has to be some kind of record I think! She loved tipping out the bowls onto the floor and swooshing her feet through the mess. She enjoyed bashing the spoons through it all, clanging the bowls together, picking up handsful and watching as it all fell through her hands again, and best of all she loved the sound of the pasta as it hit the hard floor after she threw it.
What activities do you like doing with your baby?
*Please note: do not leave your baby unattended while playing if you decide to do the same activity at home.*
Before becoming a mummy, I had zero interest in sewing. And, apart from a few cross stitches about 7 years ago, I have not picked up a needle and thread or used a sewing machine in about 14 years since I was in high school and was forced to take home economics classes and sew a pin cushion, an apron, a wrap over skirt and and actual cushion cover. Since having my daughter and using cloth nappies/diapers and washable wipes, I have found a whole host of WAHMs making lots of lovely items on their sewing machines for sale. Lovely reuseable wipes, dribble bibs, nappies/diapers etc. You name it, they probably make it! Some of things I ws looking at made me think, even I could make them with some material and a sewing machine. I’m no seamstress, but I might could manage a simple line of stiches! So, I became inspired, and, in my mind, I redecorated pretty much our whole house! I made cushions, drying cloths, napkins, those cool, non paper, ‘paper towel’ rolls, washable wipes for baby, blankets for her. All sorts of lovely stuff……in my mind! One major obstacle is the fact that I have no sewing machine to try and get these ideas from my head to being a tangible reality. Well, seeing as Christmas is looming, I am starting to think ahead to that lovely time of year and stockings hanging up. We have a whole host of stockings in various shapes and sizes…mainly mine from childhood as my aunts bought me a new one quite often! Stockings were the best bit of opening presents for me. I started to think that I’d quite like my daughter to have a unique stocking, not just something I picked up from a store. So, once again it comes into my head the idea that I could sew her one :O I started on a hunt for festive material and have found the most gorgeous ones for her. My husband has asked his Grandma if we can borrow her sewing machine, so that’s no longer an obstacle if she can get it working, and I have watched you tube videos on sewing a stocking, and it looks pretty simple(til I actually embark on trying to cut out the pattern and sew various bits together). So far so good!! I am excited to give this new thing a try, and I just hope I don’t ruin some very pretty material in the process, but I find it amusing to see how much I have changed as a person since having my daughter. For one, it has made me want to be more creative, and I would never have classed myself as a creative! Even a year ago, I wouldn’t have dreamed of sewing anything, and I would have laughed so hard if someone had told me that this year I’d be on the hunt for material and haberdashery to make a stocking. I still find it very amusing that I am embarking on this little sewing adventure. Who knows where it will lead?! Maybe I’ll get hooked and actually make new cushion covers and my long list of other ideas afterall! How has becoming a parent changed you as a person?
Recently, I celebrated my birthday. We had the wonderful opportunity to spend it watching some paralympic events in London. After watching the paralympics, not just on the tv, but in reality and hearing the stories these athletes have to tell, you can’t help but feel slightly ashamed. There they are, with many viable reasons why they could be sat at home feeling sorry for themselves, and no one would blame them for having a pity party if they wanted to really, but they are out there choosing life and joy. They are overcoming major obstacles. They have great determination, and they are not letting their circumstances get the better of them. I sat there in awe watching them, and also feeling very ashamed at how often I complain about minor things, a headache maybe(as bad as migraines can be), not having x y z for my home, being tired, the list is pretty endless about what I can find to complain about. I felt ashamed at how often I choose to be a spectator in my life instead of being eager to use such a gift to full advantage. I don’t feel I have the skills to achieve something, so I don’t even bother trying. I’d rather stay in the same old patterns than attempt something new. Yet, here are people who have more right to complain about life’s circumstances than I have, who have more right to choose to not attempt something new than I have and yet they’re out there, chasing dreams, defying the odds and enjoying very minute of it. Oh to have even a 10th of their positive outlook on life. I came away forever changed and with a desire to stop complaining about all that I see wrong in my circumstances and to start being thankful for all that is right and to stop wasting the one life I have been giving by not even challenging myself to try new things. What kinds of things in your life remind you to stop complaining and start living?