Archives for the month of: June, 2012

Have decided to make some DVD’s of the film. Please email me if you want to buy one and i can give you details… katejangra [at] gmail.com

I just had my first local community screening. A small group of parents, who are active in the community running local children centre’s and working for charities like Homestart, took a couple of hours out of their busy lives to watch and give me some feedback on my film Babyhood. I was nervous about how it would be received by professional parenting and child support workers, and felt a huge sigh of relief to receive a round of applause when it finished!

We then animatedly discussed many of the issues raised in the film, from smacking and the need for non-violent discipline to technology and whether real life is boring in comparison, to the isolation of new mothers, and the rampant consumerism we are surrounded by. We also discussed the fact that there are so few decent male role-models for children and the impact this has.
Fittingly it was shown at Tell It Parents Action Group headquarters which has a lovely hand crafted sign outside that reads: “it takes a community to raise a child”. I will post a picture of this when i next walk past!

From the discussion I also realised that on a campaigning note the film could be used to highlight our terrible government policies towards maternity and paternity leave and pay, in fact just for being a parent.

It seems so obvious to me that the government is missing a huge trick. In the name of economic growth they want women in work, and yet they know that bringing up our children well in the first 3 years of their lives is now scientifically proven to be essential to a person’s well-being. We know that the better a child’s early years, then the more rounded an individual will join society in their adulthood. With teenage children being penalized by the media and the government, it really is time for us to “hug a hoodie” (thank you Plan B). Alienating our children is not going to fix the problem, we need to show them some love.

I would be very interested to know how many women and men would choose to stay at home for the first few years if there was a way of making those ends meet.  It seems so wrong that the responsibility to raise our children effectively is left to the devices of our poor economic policies.

In our modern lives, what really is essential? Do we have to pay £50 per month to watch TV? Do we have to buy our children the latest gadgets and video games? Is a ready meal really all we can manage, when to buy the ingredients fresh would be healthier and cheaper? (another thank you here to Jamie Oliver) Are our mobile phones so important that we need to spend hundreds of pounds on them? Not to mention the monthly fee’s. Do we have to surround ourselves with stuff, stuff, stuff?

What also struck me was when one parent said the thing with letting small children, i.e. under 3 play with technology was that once they had seen and experienced all that stimulation on a screen, they were effectively hooked. “you can’t take it back”. So while we have a tiny amount of control in their lives (0-3), can’t we keep them away from these devices and allow their stone-age brains to grow without short-circuiting from all that stimulation before they have had a chance to develop the other crucial bits…?

i took both my boys, and have to thank them for yet again allowing me the space to pursue my passions! peace x

So I have found a term that I had to google to try to understand…it seems lots of parenting blogs in the US are calling themselves crunchy. I found this quiz , which duly I did and was told from my answers I am a “Super Nutty, Ultra-Crunchy, Granola Earth Mama!”

Anyway to try to define this to any of you who don’t know about crunchy, I am led to believe it means something along the lines of natural birth, organic eating, co-sleeping, breastfeeding, attachment parenting, delayed vaccinations and all the other hippie ideals founded in the golden age of the 60’s (before my time…!)

So my problem with it is as ever the fact that we need to label each other, and then be part of the gang or outside it. And as much as I like being an “earth mama” – granola isn’t paleo…

Once upon a time I would have happily been vegetarian, and have always avoided as much processed food as I could, but my DH has introduced me to the concept of Paleo evolutionary nutrition principles lately (i.e. low/no sugars, no processed food, no/low dairy, low grains, lots of meat/fish/nuts/eggs) and it has changed our lives. (if you want to know more you can check out: The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson.) We are lucky as have a farmers market close by where we can buy direct from farmers, some free range and some organic.

So as I tuck into my crunchy peanut butter (organic and no added sugar!) rice-cake I am wondering whether I should label myself crunchy?

I am proud of my homebirth and believe all women can birth naturally given the opportunity

I love breastfeeding and know it is giving/has given my children the best start in life

I converted my life to living organically as much as possible soon after reading Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Co-sleeping made sense to me especially after reading Deborah Jackson’s book Three in a Bed

I made my film Babyhood because of an instinctual feeling that attachment is so relevant to our lives…and I wanted to make it something that we can all achieve.

My film has started to be watched on the other side of the world. Australia. There seems to be a big community of instinctual parenting in Australia, not that I met any when I was there at least a decade ago. But in those days I couldn’t have been less interested in babies!

It has also been watched in Denmark. As far as I understand Denmark is way more progressive than the UK with the length of maternity leave and paternity leave. If only we could follow in their footsteps with that, and with the way they educate their young children, they allow them to play up until 6 and only then start trying to teach them to read and write or is that Sweden…? Sue Palmer talked to me extensively when I met her, and as a Literacy Specialist I think she would know.  I wish I could be assured that when i send my little one’s to nursery school there wasn’t someone trying to teach them to read and write rather than just play and sing…