Thursday, April 26, 2007

From four wheels to two wheels

Well, a long time between posts. So much going on and I've been so tired. I run a choir, a role which I've been loving so much and spending more time when Beau sleeps, preparing songs.....Still not so much time for crafting but I will get there. We've been so tired of a night K and I that we flop in front of the TV (which we hardly ever watch) and plough through episodes of The Sopranos. I must say I'm enjoying where it's taking us.
We are about to get rid of our car - the Electric Camel as it has affectionately become known is soon due for rego renewal and given that it needs huge amounts of repair work we cannot bring ourselves to spend another cent on it and we have decided to become a bike family! It feels like a big step. We want to have another baby and I shudder a little at the thought of not having a car at that point in time but our plan is to eventually have a hybrid - a car that has the capacity to run on bio diesel. But for now we are preparing ourselves for the two wheeled transport - a world of baby seats, trailers, trolleys, wet weather gear and newly acquired street smarts. I would love to hear from anyone who has made this plunge as a family. I know one family near by who have a car but choose to ride over driving. My friend M has toddler on baby seat, 6 year old on tag along, and 8 year old riding alongside her. So inspiring . We will lat the very least be fit and save money. We were put onto a fantastic trolley! If anyone is interested check out My Smart Trolley.
Our goal is to be less and less of a weight on the environment and to create as sustainable and self sufficient lifestyle as possible. The ultimate goal would be to move to the country and I feel this will happen but for now whilst we need the proximity to the city, we will do our best here.
Nowdays I get excited about water tanks and types of native vegetation and chook varieties and the shape and colour of home grown egg plants, and swinging a matic or a shovel.....We have some friends near by who have created an oasis in their suburban home. Something so beautiful and practical and sustainable that one can't help but be influenced.
On Monday I visited a friend near the city who has a 4 year old and a baby, and she had another friend visiting that morning who has three boys. There I was in the company of mothers of children who were biters and who have lived to tell the tale and who made me feel so relaxed and understood it was quite a unique experience. It reinforced for me that parenting is subjective- EVERYTHING is subjective. And that everything is impermanent.
I look at Beau and I can't believe my fortune. He is such a lovely little boy and I get to be with him step by step as he learns how to be in the world and teaches me how to be more relaxed in the world.
Anzac Day for us was a blissful day at the beach with buckets and sandwiches and banana cake and Beau was in heaven in the water cold though it was. My youth was spent on the beach. Our family life centered around it and it was good and healthy and relaxed and simple. I do miss it. It's the air and the lack of constant stimulation for the eyes. All sky and water, soft and peaceful.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Caught in Her jaws

It's way past my bedtime and my boys are fast asleep. My mind is full thoughts following "Notes on a Scandal" (great film) and a phone conversation with a friend. To back track a little Beau has for just over a year now had a tendency to bite and scratch other children in various situations; mostly when a conflict arises over a toy or space, or when he is tired or overwhelmed in a small space with many people. Sometimes he has bitten without provocation . It has been a big journey for us - not really for him as he is an innocent two year old who happens to have this impulse and has only just recently begun to understand what's goign on. K and I have done a lot of research, spoken to a lot of parents, consulted a lot of books, had many, many conversations and tried many ways of dealing with Beau's behaviour and it seems we are not alone. It seems that it is the sort of behaviour that eventually ceases and usually when language becomes such that verbal communication can be used and encouraged. We are at that point now where Beau's language and understanding is actually very good and it will be interesting to see what happens form now on.
But my Gods it has been challenging. So much stuff comes up in me and in other parents. Now and then we encounter parents who don't feel triggered by their children experiencing pain or distress and can separate their feelings from their children's. But more often than not it is an emotionally charged situation. Sometimes I can have that spaciousness too, but often I feel very confused and that I have to please every other parent and be seen to be doing 'the right thing', and given that pleasing everyone is impossible, shame then emerges and all i want to do is remove myself and my child from the situation. Sometimes that is actually the best thing to do. My love for Beau is unwavering even in those times when I have ashamedly felt angry at him for biting, because it presents a situation that I find difficult. But that's about me not him . An adult should know better but a two year old child has much to learn about cause and effect and responsibility. For a long while yet I am responsible for Beau. There are times when I feel quite isolated; I stopped taking Beau to playgroup and I've tended towards one on one play dates rather than groups.Steiner philosophy suggests that until the age of two or three a child isn't naturally geared to socialising - that a toddler is happier at home with parents in a gentle, simple, nurturing environment. We have found this to be the case for Beau and because of this I haven't felt that keeping him out of playgroup is detrimental to his development. I must also say that Beau is a very loving, friendly, bright, responsive, and joyful little boy, who loves his friends and when the playing is good it's great. My sadness tonight is for the limitations we as adults create for ourselves and our children when we project our beliefs and conditioning onto others and are then unable to see what is really going on in the present moment. That our children love each other unconditionally and do and say things to each other but come straight back from an outburst or an altercation and play as if the moment is completely fresh and they hold no grudges. Yet we adults have years of habitual thought processes and emotions and opinions and expectations that we allow to cloud what would otherwise be the same moment of fresh possibilities. I'm trying to practice awareness and presence. Trying to notice what my mind is doing, trying to be patient with what is going on for others. I want so much to raise Beau without shaming him . I would love for him to feel that he is allowed to make mistakes and still have space and love to be himself. Both K and I wish to find the balance between boundaries and freedom, not to try to control Beau but to hold him firmly and lovingly and in ourselves to let go and relax so that we really can be there for him fully present. It isn't easy because conditioning is hard to break but I feel that this whole biting thing has been an enormous lesson and I'm actually grateful for it. It has taught me so much about myself and my relationship to others . I've learned so much about what Beau needs and it has shown me that there is a fine line between being protective and being controlling. There's so much more to come. Skeleton Woman reminds me to stay close to the process, that when we want to run is when we should turn and face the pursuer and let ourselves be vulnerable. So i"ll take my wobbly self off to bed and sleep for few hours before Beau wakes up and says "Cuddle Mummy" and climbs under the covers and snuggles up to me and a whole new day of bliss and challenges begins.