Also – who knew Sunette could weed so gracefully? Lol
Also – who knew Sunette could weed so gracefully? Lol
In this episode of Redefining Education – Live Conversations with Real people on the Future of Education, we are speaking with Leila Zamora Moreno, mother to a toddler and actively working on bringing parenting ‘back to self’. We discuss what it means to bring parenting back to self, and why it is so important that we as parents learn to, not only take self-responsibility in our parenting, but also how to trust ourselves to parent in a way that is best for our child, despite what societal norms may dictate as ‘good parenting’. We discuss why changing the way we parent, is ultimately a step towards changing the world.
Every day we spend half an hour together in the afternoon doing whatever tending is required around the farm. We all have busy schedules, many projects running, and it’s easy to forget to take a moment to get down to earth and connect with the people around you. Here we are weeding by the Moringa trees, soon to be mulched for winter.
We met the spotted bush snake once more! I’ve been keeping my eyes open for him since I haven’t seen his kind before on the farm (or anywhere else really), and I’m quite curious about the little guy. Today while walking around with Cesar we found him by one of the raintanks. Cesar shouted “SNAAAKE!!!”. He likes playing pretend snake with rope like objects, making snakes from molding clay and flip through our snake book. So he was really happy to see a live one. We went ahead and admired him up close. Cesar stroke the little snake who didn’t budge, and then offered him some horsepoo to eat – which he politely declined! It’s funny how we tend to react in immense fear when seeing or meeting a potentially ‘dangerous’ animal. Take a lion, who on average kill 250 humans a year. Imagine if you see a lion, fear jolts through you at an intensity of ‘250 points’. Humans kill an average of 475 000 people on average a year. Technically, we should be scared shitless each time we spot a human. 1900 times more scared than what we are of a lion. We get so busy fearing nature and animals, we forget about the real dangers in life.
Cesar filling up the water bath for the horses. First Quizzy the little Welsh pony came along to drink from the little water that Cesar had already filled in the bath. Then Sagon came along and decided to chase Quizzy away from the water so he could have the bath all for himself. Even though Quizzy already moved and was waiting his turn, Sagon would throw ugly faces at him and pull his ears back at him. Each time Sagon got snappy Cesar would lift the nozzle of the water hose and spray some water in Sagon’s face who would get all confuzzled and then mind his own business again. I find it fascinating to see him play with these animals several times there size and having no fear when it comes to pushing their buttons. Sometimes I wonder who’s parenting who
When you buy modeling clay for your toddler but your husband can’t resist the temptation… It’s interesting to see all the activities and play we forgo because it’s seen as “childish”, things we used to enjoy and actually still enjoy – but don’t come up as something to do, simply because we moved ourselves from the ‘child’ category to the ‘adult’ category. Now we get to revisit these activities with a renewed sense of curiosity and a little one in awe of his father’s skill.
The scariest part of parenting is not having a child to look after. The scariest part is seeing yourself and who you have become as a person. Before having a child, I could seek comfort in knowing myself through various aspects of my life. I was able to define myself according to ‘what I do’, as the ‘job’ or ‘career’ I assigned to myself. I could experience a sense of worth and value in what I was doing. I could define myself according to my self-image, being happy with ‘how I looked’ and that I generally fit in what is deemed as ‘normal’ within society. I could define myself according to the relationships in my life, the amount of time and activities I spent with other people. From that, I experienced a sense of belonging and acceptance.
When I got my son, this all changed. Suddenly, all my time was spent breastfeeding, nappy changing and scrambling for sleep. Who am I without my work to provide me with a sense of value and worth?
My body was still stretched out from pregnancy with stretchmarks displaying deep fiery red colours as my body’s limits got reached towards the end of pregnancy. Who am I when I cannot find solace in what I look like, knowing that I don’t fit ‘the norm’ anymore?
Interactions with others were reduced to glimpses, and whatever activity or interaction which did occur – swiftly ended by the call of the little one requiring attention. Who am I when I am disconnected from those I depended on for a sense of belonging and acceptance?
I love my baby with all my heart, yet these inner frustrations and irritations keep nagging inside myself. I must do more, I must do something else, why can’t I just sit down and have dinner with everyone else, why is my body still out of shape, why do I cringe each time he wakes or needs me?
It’s not like he is actually, physically torturing me. All he asks is a lot of my time – my physical needs are met. Then why do I want to run away? I do not want to run away from my baby – this is clear. Whenever I meet him and look into his eyes, I just see innocence. He is here, simply expressing his needs as they come along. What I want to run away from then?
Although my child is dependent on me for his physical survival, I encountered his superiority every day, in many ways. He was able to move, slowly but surely, taking the longest time – to start crawling from one side of the room to the other. One – tiny – little – shuffle – at – a time.
He could sit for an hour, moving the same object around, in absolute peacefulness.
He does not know of work, friends, body image – yet he lives in total self-acceptance.
It’s frightening to see and encounter. So busy have I been my entire life, to find all the things for myself that he lives to readily. So simply.
All my achievements and successes I cherished, seemed pale in comparison to what I was witnessing daily, in a child simply living, being here.
But – it cannot be, right? I mean, he’s a child, a baby. How can a child – POSSIBLY – hold the answers to Life. Children are wild, irrational, savage creatures. They know NOTHING! How could this child possibly have anything for me to learn. It’s tough to lay aside your ego and admit you’ve been on a wild goose chase. That a babe is more strongly connected to itself and its life force than you are. That while you are the responsible one, you are also the most ignorant.
So what to do with all of this? So much inner conflict. Yet only one thing was certain: I know that I do not know.
Humbleness is the only option.
For the past couple of days, Cesar has been peeing and pooing in his potty or peeing and pooing outside in the grass. We let him be without diaper and he would pee and poo as it would come up, at which point we would point out that he is ‘peeing’ and ‘pooing’ to start establishing the vocabulary around ‘potty training’. Initially I had reactions to him peeing and pooing all over the place – though also seeing that he really liked not having to wear a diaper. I saw myself showing him to pee and poo outside or in the potty with some slight reactions – but could see that regardless of this slightest reaction, his facial expression showed that this was affecting him in those moments and would start being ‘confused’ about peeing and pooing and not knowing how to direct himself. The reactions had to do with morality beliefs around being ‘bad’ for peeing/pooing all over the place. Comparing him to other children / stories that I had heard. Not having the patience for him to establish his understanding / not wanting to be seen as a ‘bad parent’ that he is peeing all over the place etc. So I decided to let him pee and poo as he was, to keep working on the vocabulary and to only direct him towards the potty, toilet (which he doesn’t find comfortable yet with a toddler seat on top) when I would inside myself be absolutely clear and stable. Then the one day as I saw he was about to pee on the floor, it just came natural to explain to him to pee and poo in the potty or outside. There was no emotional attachment and the words flowed naturally. He immediately moved to the potty to pee and he hasn’t been peeing or pooing all over the place since. He goes to the potty / outside when he is able to – or comes to us saying what he needs to do.
The main point that stood out for me is to not underestimate a child’s understanding and willingness to cooperate – regardless of how small their vocabulary may be. That our emotions and reactions stand in the way of effective communication and the absolute necessity to first always reflect back to ourselves and clear out ANY movement before even looking at the role another plays in any situation.