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The Barefoot family live an easy, relaxed life together playing, pottering and doing whatever feels right at the time!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

How do you want to be remembered?

A friend linked to this blog post the other day from Hands Free Mama, along with the comment that it was 'thought provoking'. I agree it really was. Along with also being very true, very real and very honest. It was uncomfortable in places and encouraging in others. I liked it.
It reminded me of my own pledge a year ago for my children not to remember the top of my head and the tap of my fingers as a lasting memory of their mother. Of my own inward struggle to manage my temper and demonstrate to my little mirror and firebox how to cope with situations without erupting and how to channel the flow when there is no other choice. Also of the ongoing reality of being a mother to my children, my business and myself. Letting myself also be nurtured and loved, giving myself opportunity to grow.
So yes dear friend it was thought provoking. I've come further than I ever realised but am still finding opportunities each day to learn from my less fine moments. But of all else it made me think about what my children will think.
What do you most want your children to remember you as? Loving? Kind? Gentle? Consistent? Fun? Happy? Brave?
I know my fathers generation of parents had a whole different expectation and not forgetting also a reality darkened by wartime pain and memories. My dad would have probably described his mum as a fighter. She was the fantastic tiny little hard as nails northern nanna. If I'd have grown up with her as my mother I wouldn't have pissed her off let's just say! Yet despite never remembering once any loving words from her lips, or even a moment of physical affection when hurt or scared I know so deeply she loved me fiercely. She would do anything for me, for us. As a child I knew it and it still resonates through me now when I think of her.

                            The lovely Edith Mary (second from left) with my grandad, John (first left)

Perhaps being amazing for our children isn't as hard as all the books and blogs make out. Perhaps we just need to really really love our children. Maybe as wild as it seems that is enough.

Steiner, Star Wars and Unschooling.

We love Star Wars in our house.

The grown ups have always loved it. Since The Dude and I met, we've often spent an afternoon watching either A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back, depending on who got to choose. When I was a child I used to watch it in the early mornings when I woke and had the run of the downstairs to entertain myself til everyone was up. Since then I'd say I've probably watched it at least an average of once every other month of my life. It never bores me. I still praise my favourite ever scene of every movie ever made each time it's on ( the scene with Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin and the Death Star dude whose lack of faith Darth Vader finds disturbing!).
As you can imagine we have a fair bit of Star Wars merch kicking around the house. Newt had often mentioned watching it but accepted she was too young, happy enough to wait. Then the Dudes parents cleared out their loft. Suddenly box loads of figures and replica space craft from a 70's childhood arrived. That was it. Newt was hooked. We agreed in the end to watching it together with her understanding some of the bits we may have to skip through.
When we all sat down for that landmark first viewing the Mancub was asleep. But as soon as that opening music began he woke up, his eyes glued to the screen, and that was it - he was rooted to the spot. Barely blinking, rarely moving. He loved it. The space ships, the robots all of it.
That was three months ago.
I have to admit, even as a hardened fan this is not what I had in mind for my near three year old boy. Though we don't regulate or put pressure on our children's screen time I had not planned on them regularly watching Star Wars at this age, if at all really. Lets just say its not very Steiner.
But the Unschooling souls in us has found a way to help it enrich our life together. For one we all share it. Unlike some dreadful Disney that we can't bear to watch we all enjoy watching this together, even now on its hundredth millionth viewing.
I quite like the role model of Princess Leia over The Disney Princesses. Yes she is rescued but she also leads the rebel alliance and is generally pretty god damn cool (though we don't talk about the Return of the Jedi Leia much...a little less tough and a bit more needy as each film goes on!).
One afternoon last month Newt disappeared upstairs on her own for half an hour and when she came back she had copied out her favourite characters into her art book. All by herself. Using her lovely Stockmar beeswax crayons of course.

(Here's R2-D2 and Darth Maul)

For the Mancub it's the ships. He loves them. His interest in planes and rockets has been boosted beyond what we ever thought possible for an under three. Everything flies. His first words muttered under his breath whilst his eyes are still closed but his mind awake are 3,2,1 boom. This is no cartoon or fake image of space ships. They are to him real space fighters, zooming around asteroids and moons (no wait, 'that's no moon'!).

This is Darth Vader (well a Tapir dressed up as Darth Vader) - Newt's favourite character

We've also found it has served as an amazing way to introduce so many concepts and information about the world. Desert, space, swamps, tundra. Personalities, agendas and attitudes. It's a surprise how much of life's teachings can be brought into your home through a set of classic old movies. The Jedi lessons are as valid to children (and grown ups) as they are to young Luke.

So to end my ramble about making the most of every opportunity and sharing passions here's a classic Yoda quote.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Enjoying our time together

About three months into this pregnancy I had a wobbly week or two.
My youngest, the mancub, was still so much my baby. Was it unfair of me to not start 'preparing' him somehow? Should I be easing him 'off me' if there was such a thing? We sleep snuggled up, he fed from me still and whilst newt goes off and has days out, and even weekends away with family he stays firmly here with me. Not because he wants to necessarily but just because he's the little one & it's easier for him to be with me.
As his daytime naps became more sporadic the daytime feeds slipped off completely. Before long it was only a bit of bedtime and breakfast booby...as much about getting him to sleep and letting me have a bit longer in the morning - not essential but just what was wanted and worked for us both. All of a sudden there was a week where he fell asleep every night without asking for boob. A week later I tried offering him a drink and a snack at 5am (his usual wake up time) and that's where we stayed. Thanks to my irritation at the continuous crumbs in the bed (argh pet hate alert) the snacking in bed faded out too now. We just have a drink, a cuddle and get up. Booby has finished though he occasionally still asks when he wakes. But for now the night long snuggles haven't.
I decided instead of preparing him for having me less I'd make sure that these final few months he has me as much as he can. I'm his.
On the days when Newt is out and about with others I've made a special effort to enjoy each other. Instead of using it as a chance to catch up on work I've used it as time to be together.
We've explored the riverbank. Played cars and read stories (....well the same story..over and over!).

Preparing him through attachment, through love and connection feels so much more right. I've been woken by kisses and strokes instead of demands. He runs to get his sandals when Newt leaves for her grandmas instead of crying at the door, knowing we will go somewhere together soon.

There is plenty of time for him to not need me. I'm just going to savour this time that he does.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Week 29 - As you were

Well it's been an eventful few days. Or rather it hasn't. I've been on a huge journey and feel like so much has changed yet nothing is any different.

Last week at my routine midwife appointment my midwife, who has been my midwife for all of this and both of my other pregnancies, thought she could hear two heartbeats, one each side. She couldn't work out what position baby was in and was concerned about the general size of bump (though not huge it was very high and full).
Thing is. I wasn't sure either. For about a month I've thought the movements seemed to be very continuous, the position of baby hard to fathom and in general...I felt very full. Whereas last time there was never any doubt to my connection with baby this time I've found it harder. I've felt different and since early on have joked and teased my already anxious husband about there being two!

We talked and I agreed that this would be one of those situations that a scan would be acceptable for us. I had already decided that before I went in had there been any doubt about multiples. The earliest scan I could get was four days later on Monday. Before leaving I quickly slipped in the next most important question....had she done many twin home births?!

On the long walk home though the emotional roller coaster set pace. Coupled with no lunch (cue instant upset lol) I was already finding it hard not to think about it. Kind of like sitting in an empty room with only a red button saying 'do not push'. This was the first day. Shock and slight panic. The second day was the classic guilt, embarrassment and fear. Fear of there being only one and feeling stupid. Fear of there being two. Embarrassment of how much weight I've put on. Guilt at how if there was just one how anything else could all be my fault...too much sugar, too little exercise. Why haven't I been more careful. How did I let it get so bad as to give myself gestational diabetes or worse. Thankfully day three was easier. Poor dude blurted it out to a friend at a festival - I had the upper hand now of being able to say...way to go to keep a secret! We just didn't go there all day, quietly reassuring and loving each other was enough that day. And day four my brain decided enough was enough and it would take charge. It stepped in with the one thing that it knows I will always listen to and cannot ignore. Money worries. It decided to spend the day making me panic and freak about our general lack of finance. Thanks brain. Worked though.

By the time we actually went into the maternity unit I was back to thinking that there would be only one and was not really even surprised when the scan showed just one wriggly mobile busy baby.

It's left a strange deluge of baggage washed up on the shore though. Though my mind is obviously relieved...five months ago I was freaking slightly at the prospect of fitting in just one baby after all....yet my heart feels sad a bit still. This baby has not had any of the excitement and attention the other two earnt. The guilt is already present for that. And I feel strangely now like I haven't any excuse for taking it easy a bit like I would have had there been two little pairs of feet squiggling around in there. Which is daft I know. I'm still having a baby. I'm still mum to two younglings, running a home and a business. Somewhere along the way having a third baby and my general day to day exposure to baby land had taken some of the sacred magic out of all of this.
I also discovered that despite my general feeling of impartialness to the idea of having to go to hospital etc that in fact the only reason I'm so ok about it is that I've not had anything to do with the place for five and a half years! I'm not as ok with it as I thought I was. I was a wreck on the inside at the potential loss of power just going into reception. Might need to work on that after all, you never know what's going to happen even with a Homebirth. I don't fancy tackling that one much during or after labour or something.

I am trying not to think about whether the scan itself was unnecessary now either. Thats Pointless now. I think I needed it this time to ease my multiple mindset. Though I know my midwife respects my decision not to scan and has never pushed against my choice not to have any blood tests etc either I also knew she would probably raise it again at some point in the nine months as we already discussed her feelings towards going into Homebirth without knowing placenta location last time round. At least I can say for sure now there is nothing for them to bother me about and I can go back to slipping nicely under the radar as suits me.

I'll go back to being my nearly normal self. To the outside world I'd never been anywhere anyway. All I'll say is, in the words of Vinny Jones 'its been emotional'.

Creating traditions

In the fluffy and rose tinted days of early family life one of the things me and The Dude talked about was making sure our family still had traditions. Had those things that always happen on those dates. Celebrated certain festivals and respected certain family rituals.
Not being religious means that these little things can be one of the parts of family life that fade. For some Christmas is one of the last of these times though instead of a family walk, or attending Morning service at the church it often sounds more like the traditions revolve around food and television viewing (pessimistic me?!).
One of the festivals I most fancied celebrating was the Day of the Dead at the end of October. A chance to share and remember in a joyful way the loved ones lives who are no longer here on Earth with us. We've yet to do this tho though this year might be the year we start.
Easier for us to integrate are the pagan festivals as they are all seasonal, slotting in to life naturally and gently. Each year we've built on them layer by layer.
When the opportunity arises to start a new tradition though we always try it. We already have our annual summer festival, and the Straw Bear in our home town each winter and then of course the solstices. Theres a pumpkin day at our local Riverford Farm we've enjoyed each year it's run now and a few other similar occasions.
Locally a May Day type fayre is trying to establish itself now, it felt almost our duty to go along and enjoy it with the family.

I enjoyed the nostalgia of watching the maypole dancing and in hearing what may have been the same warped sounding cassette tinnily blasting out ye olde folk melodies.


Sure enough we bumped into lots of friends, some from school, that the Dude hasn't seen for years, the grandparents came along and at the end of the day Newt wanted to know we would go again next year. I imagine we will.