Archives for posts with tag: parenting

I stumbled across this the other day and loved this presentation from a 12yr old on the state of education…look at what our children are capable of given the chance to love learning! I hope my boys will appreciate the time and thought i am giving to their early learning experiences…only time will tell!

FTDYWB

It seems like this year has whizzed past. My second little one is now reaching his first birthday, and so it is exactly a year since i finished making Babyhood.

I can’t believe how much my life has changed, but also how much my film seems to have resonated with people throughout 2012, so much so that I am involved in a pilot scheme in my area which sets out to improve the life of children.  I am part of a government funded “co-design” group, and we have decided to create a series of drop-ins specifically focused on pregnant women, new mums and mums with little one’s under a year. We are also creating an alternative Bounty Pack, which will have a copy of my film in it.

As I live in Westminster in London, we are a very densely populated ward, and therefore we are trying to help all kind of women from different backgrounds. Some of them have great attitudes towards babies, some have forgotten how to listen to their instincts. It is a great challenge, but fascinating, as what is clear from every angle is that attachment theory is something that everyone needs to be better versed in. And that gives me great joy. We are at last starting to make a difference to the lives of our children and their lives as adults if we can help them at this vulnerable and so important stage of life.

🙂

So it’s World Breastfeeding Week, and by chance I happened to take my LO’s to see the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum and we then popped over to the V&A to paddle in their lovely courtyard. On our way into the V&A there was this statue that seemed (there was one at the top and one at the bottom) to show us the way we could go using the ramps – we had buggies and slings on!  Nicely timed I thought. Its made by a french artist called Jules Dalou in around 1873…long time ago. I wish i could breastfeed this confidently in public!!

Anyway Babyhood is also showing as part of the Breastfeeding Festival on the 11th August. If you are in the area! Hope to write a bit more soon, but don’t seem to get more than a minute to myself these days!

i feel compelled to write about why i had to make my film and what i hope it might achieve.

when i got pregnant i was running a small business and spent much of my time working. As my tummy grew i started to take my foot off the peddle and felt a growing desire to experience the process my body was going through. It was an amazing thing, and out of this awe came a deep sense of respect for my body as a woman and for this baby who was growing inside me.

When i eventually gave birth I felt as if i was reborn myself, nothing i had done previously in my entire life even started to compare to the elation of giving birth to this baby. I can look at the photo’s taken at that moment now and feel again the freshness of birth, the feat of birthing, the pain mixed with pure pure joy. the overwhelming love of this immaculate creature.

the next weeks and months are a blur, but what i do remember was listening to the communication my baby was showing me. each cry meant something, and i would spend hours trying to decipher it. i would sometimes be outside and hear other babies crying and feel compelled to pick them up and comfort them, allowing them the release of their emotions and letting them know that their cry did mean something to this wide open space they have now come to inhabit. Imagining the cosy comfort of a womb, and the beauty of always being nourished without having even conceived those feelings of hunger, air, cold, noise, space…

listening to our babies first cries is probably the first way we can start to see them as individuals, begin to understand that they too will grow up and be people just like us one day.

and for me the responsibility sometimes seemed too much to bear, the idea that through our relationship i would help him to become a confident, secure, loved and loving individual. Huge. But each day i would find myself growing with him, allowing him to discover the world around him and being there for him to come back to my warm embrace when his exploring took him out of his comfort zone. My respect for him grew, and in the first year i tried not to lay any boundaries, so that he would be true to his primal instincts without me layering my experiences of the world on top of his, so he became a mini version of me. i found other ways of saying no. He climbed the stairs, we spent hours walking the streets so he could open and close every gate. i found a way of being able to respond to his cries of pain in a way that didn’t communicate my feelings of worry to him. our love affair grew and grew, and continues to grow and i learned to respect him as a human being.

Respecting our babies and children means listening to them, means not lying to them, means finding strategies to help them to form boundaries, means not hitting them, not punishing them, not feeding them a load of junk that has huge health implications for them in the future. I made my film in order to address these issues, to help other mothers out there to listen to their own instincts and find their own way with their babies. But most of all to give our babies a sense of ease in the world, to feel they do have a voice, and it is as important as any other.

we are all equal.

we need to realise this and believe it.

we can do anything, we just need to trust ourselves.

our babies arrive in moments of passion and pleasure – lest we forget

this is human. this is life. respect it.

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.

WOW – a very brave woman on the cover of Time magazine defending extended breastfeeding, and why not as she herself was breastfed until she self-weaned, and has warm memories of it. Interesting, as the conversations that are now going on are about her and the cover, rather than the portrait of Dr. Sears whom they call the man who remade motherhood.

In my film i talked to Suzanne Zeedyk about attachment theory, not to be confused with attachment parenting – although it is somehow born of the theory. Basically it is the idea that the better the relationship the baby has with it’s caregiver (s) the more chance that their brain will develop in the best way possible, and their ability to have relationships with other people throughout their lives will be optimal. It makes sense really.

It seems inevitable that women are getting defensive about how they are bringing up their children, as guilt and blame still feature so highly in this discussion. But I hope we can move away from feeling guilty about weaning our babies when we do, and accepting the differences in every family, and instead start to look as a whole at our attitudes towards babies and children, as we need to accept that…

“we have to take immense responsibility for care, as you [we] are generating the fundamentals of another human being for the rest of their lives” Camila Batmanghelidjh

i like this -“the idle parent” sounds like a mantra – i can be a proud idle parent! bring on the lazing in bed!

THE MANIFESTO OF THE IDLE PARENT

We reject the idea that parenting requires hard work
We pledge to leave our children alone
We reject the rampant consumerism that invades children from the moment they are born
We read them poetry and fantastic stories without morals
We drink alcohol without guilt
We reject the inner Puritan
We don’t waste money on family days out and holidays
An idle parent is a thrifty parent
An idle parent is a creative parent
We lie in bed for as long as possible
We try not to interfere
We play in the fields and forests
We push them into the garden and shut the door so we can clean the house
We both work as little as possible, particularly when the kids are small
Time is more important than money
Happy mess is better than miserable tidiness
Down with school
We fill the house with music and merriment
We reject health and safety guidelines
We embrace responsibility
There are many paths
More play, less work

So at last the film is uploaded onto a distrify player and now I am making a fan page on facebook…

https://www.facebook.com/babyhoodfilm

hopefully you can see it through this link…

I am guessing that most people have a facebook account, although I will post it up here in the future.